A client asked me recently how she would know that she’s making adequate “progress”, with the context, of course, being fitness-related, and more specifically, strength biased. And I wish I had a ready answer for her; the truth of the matter though, is that “progress” is a tough thing to define, and even tougher to measure — it’s a little like herding cats. Sure we can say, for instance, that one’s squat has increased 30 lbs over a certain time frame — but what if in gaining that increased squat poundage, we had to sacrifice a tenth of a second off of a 40 time; 20 seconds off of a 5 k? The fact of the matter is that “progress” can only be measured relative to — and, in fact can only be defined by — our stated goals. As Dan John is fond of saying, the “goal is to keep the goal, the goal…” Now, this might sound a bit flippant at first blush, but I can tell you from first-hand experience just how difficult this is in practice. Dan also likes to base weight room progress on the movements: a deadlift max, maximum number of dead-hang pull-ups and the standing triple jump; you’d be hard-pressed to argue for better weightroom yardsticks and yet, what about the more nebulous indicators — blood work, say? Bodyfat levels…overall exuberance for life? Ever been around a bodybuilder in the final week (or hell, final month) of contest prep? Exuberance is not exactly a word that comes to mind. What if we’re looking to be strong, yes — but not at the expense of chipping away at our overall health (this happens to be my goal, by the way)? In that case, I think Art DeVany’s “metabolic headroom” is a great place to start. In other words, what’s the separation between your metabolic “idle” and metabolic “redline”? I’ll have to come up with a working definition here that doesn’t leave my intended audience with their eyes rolling back in their heads. Any help and/or thoughts on getting this point across to those not geeked-out on diet and fitness is greatly appreciated.
The week’s training — a mixed bag…and I like it like that!
It’s not often that I rumble through three training sessions in a row, but that’s just the way things shook-out this week. So in true power-law, random-loving fashion, I rolled right on along with life as it hit me.
Tuesday: a quick-hitter supper-set with these two –
barbell muscle-ups (from the high hang): 115 x 8; 135 x 6; 145 x 5, 5, 5
Efficient Exercise exclusive hip press: 400 x 12; 500 x 6; 545 x 4, 4, 4
I like this pairing for a quick, total body workout. If I had a bit more time, I would have tossed weighted pull-ups into the mix, and I’ll add those in next time I do this little number. Also, I’ve got some good 4-6 rep range numbers to work with now so as to employ Autoregulation principles to the exercise loading next time out.
Wednesday: making the most out of ready access to Nautilus equipment –
Nautilus pec dec: 110 x 11 (41×1 tempo), then immediately to
weighted dips: 70# x 6, 3, 2, 2, 2, 2 rest-pause extended set
and to round things out…
Nautilus pull-over: 230 x 9+ (not quite 10), 50×0 tempo
The extended rest-pause set: think of this as a hybrid between a DeVany-esq Hierarchical set, and the standby classic rest-pause method. The pec dec serves as a good pre-exhaust movement, here; big rep drop-off between the first and second “set” of dips. Without the pre-exhaust, we’re looking at an initial rep range of 10 to 12 or so, and an increased loading prior to the initiation of each and every “set” until we reach (about) the 2-rep threshold. From this point, we’ll bust-out doubles until failure.
Thursday: holy friggin’ HIT, Batman! Check-out the clip below –
If you weren’t keeping score, here’s what Skyler put me through: