2/10/10, A Post-Activation Potentiation-Aided, Explosive Combo

Yeah that’s a friggin’ mouthful alright, but what it essentially boils down to is this – I inserted a couple of heavy partial movements in the middle of (and purely to set up) the final few rounds of this morning’s explosive combo pairing.  Heavy farmer’s walks kicked things off again today.  Talk about a shock to the system right out of the gate.  And again I hit a few sets of light overhead squats as part of my dynamic stretch warm-up.  Heavy-ass farmer’s walks and OHSs when you ought to still be snuggled-up tight in bed in the cold, pre-dawn?  Crazy, I know – but if being fit were easy, it’d be on the Mickey D’s menu, right?  Right.  Shouldered-up next to the happy meal.

Moving on to the meat of the AM’s workout; here’s the drill –

snatch-grip high pulls (bar to chin each rep)
135 x 5, 155 x 4, 175 x 4, (*) 4, 3, 3

ab wheel roll-outs (stay on toes, knees as required to “spot”)
x 6 for all rounds

weighted dips

45 x 6, 90 x 4, 115 x 2, (*) 3, 3, 3

*begin partial dips, snatch-grip rack pulls here

snatch-grip rack pulls
355 x 2, 2, 2

dip partials
135 x 2, 2, 2

Between-set rest was limited to that required to change loading and stations.  The rack pulls and dip partials were inserted prior to the last 3 rounds of high pulls and dips purely so as to set up those last rounds.  In other words, under normal circumstances (and with straight sets), there is no way I would have been able to complete the last 3 rounds of high pulls and dips, explosively, and with good form, with the weight I was using had I not set-up each set with a heavy set of partials (rack pulls and partial-range dips).

Really, this is simply yet another manipulation/utilization of the post-activation potentiation (or post-tetonic facilitation, if you prefer) “wave” protocol.  Does this tool work every time and for every situation?  No.  But when used in appropriate circumstances, it works wonders.  Two strength-speed exercises paired in a no-rest-between-sets combo is just such an opportunity.

1/26/10, Two Exercises, and the Feathering of Two Distinct Waves

Farmer’s Walks again today to get things kicked-off and get the blood flowing; 105 lb DBs for 300 yds.  Ass-to-grass goblet squat/thrusters (x 5-ish) with a 105 lb DB, ballistic push-ups, ballistic pull-ups, DB pull-throughs (x 5-ish, 105 lb DB) interspersed throughout.  Hit some heavy dynamic stretching, especially of the hamstring and calf area.  Grip gave out in the final 50 or so yards, and so I had to resort to straps to finish up.  Nothing like heavy Farmer’s Walks done barefooted or in Vibrams; I’m actually thinking of doing all of my upcoming moving shod in my funky “foot gloves”.  Why not, right?

So what I did today was to feather two different exercises together, with each exercise done in a wave format.  Now your basic wave format is set up so as to positively manipulate the post-activation potentiation phenomena in one single exercise (i.e., no super-setting, as in what I did today), and is generally used in conjunction with a straight-up strength or power-oriented movement and modality. Charles Poliquin waxes poetic on the wave, here (via the T-Muscle site), and gives a couple of examples of a properly prescribed wave protocol for a single exercise:

(Note: though differences do exist, for our purposes, post-activation potentiation and post-tetanic facilitation can be thought of as the same thing).

“…[T]his system was shown to me by former Canadian national weightlifting coach Pierre Roy who was, undoubtedly, one of the brightest men I’ve met in the field of strength development. Wave loading is based on the principal of post-tetanic facilitation. Athletes will find that the hardest wave is the first one, while the succeeding ones are easier to perform.”

The following 3-2-1 wave-loading program (exceptional for athletes seeking greater relative strength) sample is for an individual who can do a 300-pound front squat:

Wave 1

1) Three reps at 270 pounds
2) Four-minute rest
3) Two reps at 285 pounds
4) Four-minute rest
5) One rep at 300 pounds

Wave 2

6) Four-minute rest
7) Three reps at 272.5 pounds
8) Four-minute rest
9) Two reps at 287.5 pounds
10) Four-minute rest
11) One rep at 302.5 pounds

If successful, proceed to the third wave.

Wave 3

12) Four-minute rest
13) Three reps at 275 pounds
14) Four-minute rest
15) Two reps at 290 pounds
16) Four-minute rest
17) One rep at 305 pounds

If successful, proceed to the fourth wave.

Wave 4

18) Four-minute rest
19) Three reps at 277.5 pounds
20) Four-minute rest
21) Two reps at 292.5 pounds
22) Four-minute rest
23) One rep at 307.5 pounds

Note: Most people will do two waves — maybe a third one on an exceptional day — but it takes athletes truly gifted for strength development four waves to reach their maximal load for the day.

The following 7-5-3 wave-loading program (suited for athletes in combative sports interested in moving up in weight class) sample is for an individual who can do a 350-pound incline press:

Wave 1

1) Seven reps at 280 pounds
2) Four-minute rest
3) Five reps at 295 pounds
4) Four-minute rest
5) Three reps at 315 pounds

Wave 2

6) Four-minute rest
7) Seven reps at 282.5 pounds
8) Four-minute rest
9) Five reps at 297.5 pounds
10) Four-minute rest
11) Three reps at 317.5 pounds

Note: Regardless of the strength profile of the athlete, two waves will suffice at this intensity zone.

So there are many ways to manipulate the post-activation potentiation (or post-tetanic facilitation) phenomena.  One could even alternate back and forth between an extremely heavy single (or even a static hold), and a set for reps (say, 3 to 7) for example.  5 rounds of something like that will dust you up pretty well.

Today I alternated between weighted dips and GHRs, with each exercise being loading in a wave format.  The rest was minimal between each exercise and between each round.  Here’s how it shook out:

Dips Glute-Ham Raise
Wave 1
Wave 2
Wave 1
Wave 2
45 x 5 90 x5 35 x 5 50 x 4
70 x 4 100 x 4 45 x 5 55 x 3
80 x 3 105 x 3 50 x 3 60 x 2
90 x 2 120 x 2 55 x 2 60 x 2
100 x 1 60 x 1

So this is yet another wrinkle to the old wave standby, another way to manipulate the PAP or (PST, if you prefer) phenomena.  Remember, there are no set rules to this game – there is only the best choice of among innumerable options given the trainee’s goals, circumstance, and available time.  This workout took approximately 30 minutes (post warm-up) to complete.  I squeezed a little more volume in today; I felt great this morning and I know I’ll be out of the gym for a good spell, so I decided to red-line things a bit.