The Second Half of the Pre-Trip Workout Plan and, Some Excellent Travel Reading

So, in a supreme act of creative schedule juggling (*pats self on back*), I was actually able to push this workout out until Wednesday.  That’s a good thing on two counts, the first being that I would be better-off, following my last full-body beat-down, to take two days off free of intense weight training.  The second being off course that that I can push my recovery time out further into my travel period.

So, here we go with round 2 of the pre-travel, full-body, free-weight blitz (Compare to round 1, here) –

I started off with one of my favorite explosive movements: DB snatch (aka, the Cred) + single-arm DB split jerks:

65 x 3(3); 75 x 3(3); 85 x 3(3); 90 x 2(2), then 95 x 7 singles each arm (alternating arms).  Notation: Right arm (Left arm)

then the following superset:

front box squat (12” box): 135 x 3(3); 165 x 3(3); 185 x 2(2); 190 x 2(2)

parallel grip/reverse grip pull-up: 45 x 3(3); 70 x 3(3); 80 x 3(3), 3(3)

Compound sets again here; in other words, 3 reps, 5 – 10 second rest, then (3 more reps).  In the case of the pull-ups, I performed parallel grip pull-ups, 5 – 10 set rest, then (3 reverse grip reps).

Finished-up with a round of Nautilus 4-way neck: 55 lbs x 12, front, side, side; 65 lbs x 12, back.

That weight room bout pretty much totally zorched me, and oughta set me up for at least a chillaxin’ plane ride to Austin tonight.

And speaking of traveling: I ordered from Amazon and, just in time for my trip, received Doug McGuff and John Little’s The Body By Science Question and Answer Book.  I’m looking forward to really digging into this offering, as I appreciate and value Dr. McGuff’s intelligence and insight, especially in matters of diet and in those areas shaded by the “big, wide umbrella” of what I like to term “Physical Culture”.  Dr. McGuff and I are, for the most part, in agreement when it comes to exercise theory and prescription, and we’re totally in agreement with respect to what constitutes the optimum human diet.  I think where we have differences of opinion lay in how best to optimize the performance of the “upper outliers”, i.e., the natural athletes.  Disagreements are good, though, if the discussion is civil, and undertaken in the spirit, not of “winning the argument”, but of teasing-out the truth.  I think Doug would agree with me that our discussions have always been framed in this light.  Basically, the question boils down to:

Does the athlete make the exercise, or does the exercise make the athlete?

In a closely related vein – and in case you happen to have missed it — Vicki B asked this question in my last post:

Keith,

I was browsing the Conditioning Research site today and came across this interview:
http://conditioningresearch.blogspot.com/2010/07/interview-fred-fornicola.html
The part that raised a flag with me was when he went into lifting explosively. It seems as though he is saying lifting weights fast and explosively, as you do in your training, has no benefit.

Thoughts?

And my response –

Vicki,

What usually gets left out of the HIT/SS vs Explosive (Oly, Oly-derivatives, plos, etc.) training debates is a definition of just what training demographic we’re talking about. If we’re talking about the vast majority of everyday trainees, then I agree with Fred — there is no real need to train explosively; the risk/reward ratio for this demographic utilizing this manner of training simply isn’t there. The most bang-for-the-buck for this population is related to strength and hypertrophy gains that can be more than adequately achieved via HIT/SS protocols (for example). Now, if we’re talking about the small subset of trainees who are in fact athletes, however, then I have to respectfully disagree with Fred’s stance. Now, this of course leads into the age-old debate of “does explosive training make great athletes, or do great athletes make for impressive explosive training?” And my answer is yes…to both sides. To put it another way, it is my belief that good athletes are born, but better athletes can most certainly be made. So yes, it takes an innate athletic gift to pull this type of training off to begin with, but in a self-perpetuating, positive-feedback loop kind of a way, performing these lifts does make one a better athlete. Explosiveness, RFD, CNS efficiency — all of this can be trained for aside from actual sport participation. Deriving benefit from explosive lifting is kinda like hovering around the blackjack table — if ya wanna chance at winning, ya gotta ante up; the problem is, with this table you’re only admitted by legacy/birthright to even have the option of laying down an ante. At this table, though, the real odds-buster just getting the chance to play; if you’re at the point were you’re being dealt to, you’ll win more than you’ll lose. Does an athlete need to build a solid base of strength before engaging in explosive training? Oh hell yes absolutely! But once that is achieved, there’s no sense, in my mind, of pulling the plug there. Is there greater risk involved with this manner of training? To be sure, which is why every athlete’s needs to be weighed against the risk/reward ratio of the pending training method.

Let me just say, though, that this is a debate that could fill volumes, and that this is simply my personal opinion gleaned from what I’ve seen over the years.

One thing I’d add here is that the trainee will have a pretty good idea of what genetic hand has been dealt early on in the game.  Just as “natural athletes” are born, so too will basic strength and hypertrophy come fast and relatively easy to a certain subgroup.  This, by the way, is also the subgroup that can tolerate (and, in my opinion benefit from — if the risk/reward ratio is deemed appropriate) higher intensities dosed at more frequent intervals than ought to be delivered to the “average” trainee.  Know yourself, be honest about your abilities, direct your goals accordingly, and train smart/appropriately.  Everyone can benefit enormously from basic strength training; few need to dabble in the highly explosive, more skill-dependent movements.  Those for whom the risk/return ratio for explosive/skilled movements is justified, though, I believe can benefit greatly from this type of training.  The key, as always – from the beginning trainee to the most advanced — is constant evaluation and dedication to fixing the weak link.

Another little something to contemplate over the next few days-

I speak quite often of the notion that one need not be a slave to, or resigned to, the dictates of a particular genetic hand.  To be sure, everyone comes into this world saddled with certain limitations, both genetic and, we now know, epigenetic.  However, to a large extent, DNA need not be one’s destiny.  This, to me, is a fascinating revelation, and lends credence to the much parodied, self-help guru notion of mind-over-matter.  Seen in this light, old coots like Jack LaLanne and Paul Chek just might not be as “crazy” as some of their peers within the Physical Culture community paint them to be.

You are, to a very large degree, what you believe yourself to be.  Confidence, self-talk, and what you allow to enter your “temple” – whether sensory or nutritionally –matters greatly.   And we now know it matters greatly to your progeny as well.

Represent.

See y’all when I get back from Texas.