Keep in mind, everyone. This is the first week of CHOOSING THREE day out of 5.
So choose wisely!
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Friday, February 8, 2013
Monday, February 4, 2013
Get ready folks. This one's a doozy. If you fall asleep, don't worry, you won't hurt my feelings, I passed out a few times while writing it.
Here it is.
Here it is.
Unless you have been lifting for a good seven years, you are more than likely a beginner lifter. Even the intermediate lifters can easily be considered beginners. What defines a beginner lifter is adaptation. An advanced lifter has maxed out his or her adaptation responses to the point where even minuscule progress may take a year to produce. These are people who compete at elite Olympic levels and their programming is designed years out from competitions for them to peak and maybe, just maybe the training will manifest a result.
The rest of us are beginners; simply because our bodies can adapt to stress much more actively. A heavy set of squats, a good meal or five, and a solid night’s sleep and all of the sudden, our bodies change. We adapt to facilitate and negate the stress with more work capacity. This is called the law of accommodation. It is also why you can’t just keep doing the same thing and expect results. So what do we do? We add weights to the bar to stimulate the same adaptation response. The cool thing is that for beginners, the programming is simple and focused around progress.
Here are a few approaches:
First let’s define a hypothetical lifter.
Hypothetical lifter –
Jack, Male, 165lb, beginner lifter.
1rms: squat – 185; dead lift – 250; Press – 105; Power Clean – 135
I linear program is one that elicits adaptation after every training session. It is phenomenally effective and work so elegantly. But, and this is a big BUT: it’s brutal. The idea dates back to the ancient Greek days when Milo the wrestler carried a calf around a track every day. The calf grew slowly and incrementally, and as such Milo’s body adapted to the ever-increasing load and demand of the calf. In time, Milo ended up carrying a full-grown bull around the track, but logically, he would have never achieved this task without the daily progressively increasing overload training imposed upon him by the growing calf.
A training protocol would essentially follow that logic. Every training session requires the lifter to lift a little more than the previous session.
So a squatting set would look like this for Jack.
5 @ 135 (~<75 135.="" 135="" 1rm="" 5="" o:p="" of="">75>
The last set of 5+ is the kicker. That’s where you get to lay down your worth and squat until your legs fall off or you pass out.
The next week:
5 @ 140, 5 @ 140, 5+ @ 140.
So slowly but surely; most importantly: CONSISTENTLY and PERSISTENTLY, jack will keep adding small increments of weight for his body to adapt against and that last set of 5+ will really stress the body maximally. He’ll use the same gradual incremental progressive overload model for the other lifts as well. And he’s going to get stronger. No two ways about this; the body will adapt.
Eventually, he might stall out and fail to make progress. No problem. All Jack has to do is “Reset”. Let’s say his last successful session ended with a set of 5 reps at 205. That’s huge progress, but he missed a rep at 210. Jack’s next squat session will reset him to 90% of the last successful session. So 205 x .9 = 184.5; round down to 180. So the next session will look like this:
5 @ 180. 5 @ 180, 5+ @ 180.
So not only is this 45 pounds of progress since the last starting point, the last set of 5+ (the + is the important part) will pick up the slack from resetting to a lighter weight. Use this approach for all of the lifts and you will make incredible progress as long as you follow this program consistently. If you start missing days and opting to do other things, then your body won’t invest in strength and you’ll fizzle out rather quickly. I know this for a fact. I followed a linear progression for a solid 18+ months. It works as long as you commit to it. If you want to do a little of everything and cherry pick your workouts, then this won’t be for you. You will fail more often than not and progress will be elusive at best.
So plan on adding 5 pounds to the squat, 1-2 pounds to the press, 5 pounds to the dead lift, and 1-5 pounds to the clean for every session where the lift is revisited.
Many different variants exist, but they all basically follow this approach.
There comes a point where daily/weekly progress becomes unsustainable or life makes it a bit hard to keep up with the demands of physiology. Not everyone can handle the progressively escalating load demands. Workouts become scary at best and form takes a back seat to the numbers.This is where a monthly progress method becomes useful. The idea here is that if you focus on making progress in your 65-85% or 1RM ranges, then theoretically, your 1RM will also progress.
Example: if I make Jack squat 135 (75%) 5 times today, 6 times tomorrow, 7 times the next day and so on, we can assume that by the end of the month Jack got stronger.
Lucky for us, someone figured out a more effective periodization than simply battering the body repeatedly: enter the 5/3/1 method. This method utilizes monthly progress. It is slow and steady and very effective because much more focus is placed on form and volume over high intensity.
The program follows a weekly breakdown of monthly baselines.
In this case, Jack would use his 185lb 1RM squat as the starting THEORETICAL MAX. But, to enhance form and progress, he would reduce his tested 1RM to 90%. So 185 x .90 = ~165. So the ACTUAL starting 1RM is 165lbs.
** Note: This method applies to all of the lifts. The squat is being used as the example.
The 5/3/1 program incrementally increases the loads weekly as a percentage of the 1RM for 4 weeks at a time. Each lift being trained once per week. So you’re not jumping into the unknown every day like you would with a linear progression. You’re usually lifting weights well below your maximal efforts.
So for the squat, it would look like this:
Week 1: Warm up; 5x @65%(105lbs); 5x @75%(120lbs): 5+ @85%(140lbs). DONE!
Week 2: Warm up; 3x @70%(115lbs); 3x @80%(130lbs); 3+ @90%(145lbs). Done!
Week 3: Warm up; 5x @75%(120lbs); 3x @85%(140lbs); 1+ @95%(150lbs). Done!
Week 4 (deload/recovery): Warm up; 5x @40%(65lbs); 5x @50%(80lbs); 5x @60%(100lbs). Done!
At the end of this 4 week cycle Jack would simply add 10lbs to his Theoretical 1rm: 185 + 10 = 195. Then, he’d once again, he’d reduce that to 90%: 175. This is his new Actual baseline 1RM. Thus the progress continues and the resets work the same way as in a linear progression. Where does the progress come from, you ask? From the sets that have the +. This is where you have an opportunity to blast through what you previously thought was impossible. You can even use a formula to estimate where your progress is taking you: Weight x Repetitions x .0333 + Weight = Estimated 1RM; but don’t worry too much about this.
This program works. Plain and simple. It is relatively less stressful and leaves you open to doing plenty of other activities for workouts.
This program is highlighted in the back of some of your log books. Let us know if you need one.
Also, there is an iPhone app called "Big Lifts" that will track things for you.
So choose the lifts you want to make progress in, hopefully all of them, but not necessarily and come in on the lifting days (Monday, Wednesday, or Friday) and hit those numbers. The most important thing is to adhere to a program; the more simple the better. Adhere to it until you reach your goals and make the progress you were shooting for. Until you do, don’t go cherry-picking and lallygagging around doing a little of everything. If you want to squat 315 and you've been stuck at 185, well, you have work to do. You should probably aim to squat 195; then build on that. Investing a month here and a month there and hoping something hatches just won’t work. Strength requires applied commitment.
Reminder: This is how the new 5-day layout will break down.
Monday – Strength (Squat + Press), Assistance lifts (optional TBA), Complimentary short Met-Con
Tuesday – Varied workouts (standard BHIP protocol).
Wednesday – Strength (Dead lifts/RDL/Rack-pulls), Assistance lifts (optional TBA), Short Met-Con
Thursday – Varied workouts (standard BHIP protocol).
Friday – Strength (Squat + Press), Assistance lifts (optional TBA), Complimentary short Met-Con
Again, if you don’t want to lift or are to beat up to lift, you can side-step all that business altogether and do a met-con or anything else to your heart’s content as long as it is suitable.
I hope this helps shed a little light on the protocols. And if this is all over your head, don’t worry; we’ll have plenty of coaching on hand to help you figure things out.
* I realized this is an exercise in futility upon reading this.. but maybe you'll learn something.