Burnout? Overtraining? Not if You Cycle Exercises, Volume, and Intensity Properly

Here’s the deal: if you fail to rotate through a number of different exercise variations, and choose, instead, to continually hammer-away at a few specific exercises — the bench, squat and deadlift are, to a great detriment, rarely rotated out of a “serious” trainee’s program — you will eventually stagnate, regress and/or tumble into an overtrained state, both physically and psychologically.  Why can I go heavy and hard with very few down periods?  First, I continually rotate exercises and I continually juggle methods, volume and intensity.  This keeps me mentally, physically, and neurologically fresh, and able to push each and every rep to attain maximum power output relative to the exercise load I’m handling.  At 60% of 1RM, yes, the bar speed is actually blazing fast.  At 98% 1RM?  The bar speed is noticeably slower to be sure, however, the intent to move the bar as fast as possible is present — it’s a mental and neurological habit that must be incorporated and nurtured.

Some trainee’s will claim that their “big three” lifts will suffer if they don’t pound away at these lifts routinely.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  And try telling that to Louie Simmons, and the rest of the Westside gang.  Ask them how often they actually perform a competition squat, deadlift or bench.  The short answer is rarely, and/or only at an actual competition.  They do, however, rotate through a plethora of similar exercises, performing max-effort lifts weekly in both the pressing motion and squat/pulling motion.  All this max-effort, balls-to-the-wall training results in a severely overtrained athlete, right?  Again, ask Louie how overtrained his athletes are, and how stymied each athlete’s progress is.  And before you think this applies only to powerlifters, think again — this is simply the application that the science has been applied to.  The science, is fact, is relevant across any discipline; all that must be tweaked are the discipline-specific applications.

One thing, though: don’t confuse strength and power development with the “10,000 hour” principle of skill acquisition; fine motor skills and “reflex”, or “do without doing” is an entirely different animal.

The Last Couple of Days Worth of Action:

Thursday evening: 40-minutes worth of intermittent-intensity fixie romping;  20-minutes on, break for library cruising (about 15 minutes), then 20-minutes on.

Friday morning iron works:

elevated feet ballistic push-ups: bodyweight x 5, each round.  Rebound fashion (i.e., “hot floor”, minimize hand-to-ground contact time).  Used as a set-up, or “prime”, for the press.

standing front press (minimal hip kick): 115 x 5; 135 x 4; 155 x 4; 175 x 2; 185 x 2; 190 x miss; 185 x 1, 1

pull-up bar muscle-up: bodyweight x 3, each round

8 total rounds of that, then a superset of:

dimel deadlifts: 135 x 20, 20, 20
flat DB triceps extensions (palms facing one another): 45 x 8, 8, 8

Very little rest time between movements, even with the heavy presses.  Total workout time was approximately 45 minutes.  I perform Dimel DL’s as a release-and-catch on the eccentric portion of the movement.  Not much load required in this movement; in fact, too much load will destroy the speed of the movement.  Find the sweet spot here between enough load and the maintenance of speed.


New Book in the Rotation

This one is a re-read of something I devoured many years ago, something that nudged me on to my own particular, spiritual path.  I’m curious to see how I relate to it now: The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, by Dan Millman.

What’s for Dinner?
Check this free-range egg scramble out: mushrooms, spinach, cherry tomatoes, raw, grass-fed cheese, all scrambled-up in a generous amount of bacon fat.  Yum-o!