2/7/10, Easing Back Into Things

What better way to climb back in the saddle than with some ass-to-grass front squats and explosive GHRs?  I’m amazed at just how “heavy” a not-so-heavy weight feels after having been away from the gym for a while.  The CNS, I suppose, adjusts accordingly – ramping-up/down as required so as to accommodate for perceived “threats”.   The same type of adjustment occurs when an athlete moves up a rung on the competitive ladder – i.e., adjustment to a new, higher intensity level, an increased “game speed”.  Soon enough, the CNS adjust, and the new higher-intensity, increased speed becomes the new-normal – until the next step up, when the process repeats anew.

Today’s workout came at 1PM, following a 10 AM meal of a 3-egg, bacon and cheese omelet.  I didn’t perceive much difference one way or the other (vs working out in a fasted state) as far energy or strength levels are concerned, which I believe bodes well for my body’s ability to maintain a high energy level even under fasted conditions.  Yea Paleo.

So, how does one attack things when he hasn’t been in the gym in over a week?  Walk in, drop the gym bag, immediately pick up a pair of 105lb DBs and hit two back-to-back sets of 180 yd. farmer’s walks, each completed in less than 2:10 secs.  Nice little pre-warm up.  I followed that up with 5 or 6 sets of light overhead squats to get my body uncoiled.  I’ll do quite a bit of these in the days to come, as OHS are one of the best dynamic stretch/warm-ups I know of.  Then it was on to the day’s fun:

Front squats (all ATG, very strict, no form break)

Wave 1

135 x 5

175 x 4

185 x 3

190 x 2

205 x 1

Wave 2

195 x 3

205 x 2

215 x 1

GHRs (each rep explosive – no form break, no grinds)

10 sets of 3s at 40 lbs.

Post workout meal?  Some beef roast and 1/3 stick of raw butter.  Total calories and fat/protein composition?  I have no idea, and don’t care to investigate.  The amount of roast was just what was leftover in the fridge, and the amount of butter was simply deemed “a decent amount”, and cleaved from the stick.  How’s that for weighing and measuring?  🙂

1/25/10, An Abbreviated Push-Press Wave

First off, note the big decrease in volume today.  This is by design, due to the way my week looks to be shaping up.  As always, my modus operandi is to plan ahead as best as possible, with the information I have available at the moment – then shrug and continue on in a new path when when my new “current reality” inevitably renders all that careful prior planning useless.  Such is life; complicated, unpredictable.  I just roll with it and go on.

Anyway, the current short-range “plan” is to squeeze-in a short-burst workout on both Monday AM and Tuesday AM, ahead of the packing/moving frenzy that will kick into high-gear beginning (new revision to plans 🙂  on Wednesday morning.  I don’t expect to be back into the gym, on my fixie or sprinting in Vibrams again until the middle of next week (if that), so these two workouts are as much for psychological health as anything else.

I like to begin my warm-up routines with either sprint-starts or farmer’s walks (and sometimes both), working-in some full-body ballistic movements and dynamic stretching along the way.  Today I kicked things off with approximately 300 yds worth of farmer’s walks with 85 lb DBs.  About every 50 yards or so I hit ass-to-grass goblet squat thrusters (x 7-ish) with one of the 85 lb BDs, then immediately resumed my FWs.  This gets the blood flowing nicely.  Some bodyweight ballistics (push-ups, muscle-ups, Russian lunges) followed, with a late-in-the-warmup phase-in of some more Oly lift oriented warm-up work (ala, an abbreviated, push-press/jerk specific, Bergner warm-up).

Then on to the abbreviated push-press wave.  Pull-up bar muscle-ups x 3 (at bw) to begin and end the session, and in between each set.

Wave 1
135 x 5
165 x 4
185 x 3
205 x 2
215 x 1 (grind)

Wave 2
195 x 3
210 x 2

Here’s an example of the effectiveness of post-activation potentiation: 215 x 1 had to be ground-out for the last half of the movement to lockout, while each rep of 210 x 2 snapped right up.  The self control I exhibited by cutting short this workout surprised even me, because I felt as if I could have really piled on the weight today.  I definitely left a lot in the tank.

Maybe I am getting a little wiser with age  🙂

1/22/10, Doin’ the Deadlift Wave – the TTP Way

In the most simple of terms, a “wave” (as it applies to weightlifting), is any rep grouping/template that aims to take advantage of the well-known temporary physiological adaptation known as post-activation potentiation.

Standard waves are figured using percentages of the trainee’s 1RM in the particular movement.  This method of set/rep load determination – while probably sufficient for beginning/novice-level trainees – leaves much to be desired in the more advanced trainee.  A couple of the more obvious problems in using straight percentages for this purpose are (1) actually defining a true 1RM for the movement in question(do we mean competition max?  Gym max?  All-time max?  And within what time frame are we speaking?), and (2) the lack of factoring for the effects of surrounding training/stresses (fatigue) which are totally unrelated to the particular movement in question, i.e., factoring for what my best effort can be, considering today’s unique set of fatigue-related circumstances.  I’ll probably add more to this over the weekend (if time permits), but for now just know that I use more of a per-workout drop-off method to determine my per-set/rep/and wave loading; my first wave being what I would consider a “feel” wave – getting a general feel for what the day’s max effort is likely to be.  I realize this is a bit too right-brained for some of the more left-leaning readers who insist upon hard/fast numbers, but this is how I roll.  I call it ruthless subjectivity, and it requires the ability to push one’s self (or your trainee) well beyond the day’s comfort zone, regardless of what any “spreadsheets”, “progressions” and mojo “calculations” predict that you should do.  Now that’s not to say that my best efforts are not factored into all of this – they most certainly are – but only insofar as this number imparts a ballpark notion of where I ought to end up.  I know I need to head west to reach California; getting From G-Vegas, NC to LA, though, requires a little more in the way of planning, mapping and intra-trip adjusting.

Today’s workout – rise and shine at 4:30 AM, in the gym at 6:15 AM, coffed-up and ready to roll:

Warm-up – farmer’s walk/gobblet squat combo.  220 yrd farmer’s walk with 80 lb DBs, goblet squats x 7 (80 lb db) every 50 or so yds (5 sets total of goblets).  Some dynamic stretching and plyos.  Then:

Snatch-grip “deadlifts”.  I say “deadlifts” here because these are actually a deadlift/RDL hybrid – in other words, I tried to minimize the quadriceps involvement in the movement, shifting as much of the load as possible to the posterior chain.  I “pushed the floor away” with my heels throughout the pull, reaching as far back with my butt as possible until the bar cleared the kneecaps  – this creates a slightly different knee angle than the traditional deadlift, somewhat reducing the quad involvement.  I can tell that I maintained a good bar-to-shin relationship, since both my shins are now rubbed raw.  The snatch-grip also helps to nullify any natural deadlift pulling advantage I’ve got due to having long, gibbons-like arms.  Added pull-up bar muscle-ups x 3, and a few bw drop-squat rebounds between each set.  hey, I get itchy in that 2 minutes or so between sets that I’m supposed to be resting.

1st wave –
5 x 225
3 x 275
2 x 315
1 x 355

2nd wave –
3 x 315
2 x 355
1 x 365

3rd wave –
3 x 335
2 x 365
1 x 375

I put bar speed at a premium here, with the only “grind” rep coming on the 1 x 375.  What we’re going for here is the potentiation effect of the heavy single allowing for (i.e., potentiating) a heavier loading in the subsequent 3s and 2s.  This means that the heavy single is only a means to an end – not an end in and of itself.  My intent was to hit a 4th wave (only a 3 and 2 set, though – no need for an end single, unless I just felt like I had it in me) and that’s why I did the last single at 375 (to potentiate the next two “money” sets).  I’d lost track of time, though, and realized I wouldn’t be able to squeeze those last 2 sets in.  Anyway…  This took about 35 minutes to complete, but I wasn’t concerned so much with this being a MetCon-esq workout, so I didn’t keep close tabs on that.

Post workout nutrition was a Fage Total Greek yogurt and a handful of walnuts about 1 hour following the workout.  I Put some free-range yard bird in the crock-pot along with a couple of sweet potatoes before I headed out for the gym this AM.  By the time I get home from work this evening (hopefully before 7PM), I’ll have a nice dinner awaiting me.  I’m sure the dogs are going absolutely snake shit right about now with that good chicken aroma wafting about the house.  Poor little dude and dudette.