Thursday, 9 July 2009

Istvan Javorek's Conditioning Program

Istvan Javorek seems to be getting a higher profile in the fitness world. A recent article on MSN highlighted his approach which involves:
  • [compressing] a high volume of intense work by shrinking or even eliminating rest periods, the complexes were originally devised to combat monotony and save time while improving endurance, muscle tone, coordination, and aesthetics.
High intensity workouts that are completed in under 30 minutes? This will be nothing new to the paleo crowd, nor will his ideas that "Overtraining comes from bad technique, bad diet, not enough sleep..if you eliminate these things, it's difficult for overtraining to be the real issue".

The MSN interview goes on to say that, "[his] full-body approach is mirrored in today's functional-training movement" and that "training while sore offers recuperative benefits, as long as the workout is 10 to 20 percent less intense than the one that made you sore".

There is obviously a big overlap with paleo workouts here, and the idea of 'training while sore' is close to the paleo mantra to 'self-locomote daily' and exert oneself according to a power law and invoke play.

While I am not that much of a fan of dumbell and barbell exercises (nor machines for that matter), they perform a service in that they offer a source of resistance. Used in 'complexes' you can get a demanding workout and looking at some of the example footage on you tube (here), this particular program is not dissimilar to my own iron-routines - although, unlike in this example, I reckon you gain more by (quickly) selecting a more appropriate weight for each particular exercise.

The MSN interview gives a good breakdown of Javorek's program thus:

The Drill
Three times a week, do either complex. For Complex Number 1, do 6 reps of each exercise and move to the next without stopping. For Number 2, do three reps of each exercise and move to the next without stopping, building up to 3 total circuits. As you advance, increase the number of circuits.

The Program
1. Upright row: Stand with your knees slightly bent and hold a pair of dumbbells at arms' length in front of your thighs, thumbs facing each other and palms facing your thighs. This stance turns your elbows slightly outward and your shoulders slightly inward. Look ahead with your chest up, back straight, and abs tight. Bring the weights up to neck level, keeping the pair aligned. Your elbows should be flared out to ear level. At the top, rise up on your toes. Return to the starting position.

2. High pull snatch: Stand with dumbbells as if you're about to perform an upright row, but lean forward to lower the weights to knee level, keeping your head and neck aligned. This is the starting position. Now raise the weights as you did with the upright row, but don't pause at the top; instead, flip your wrists back to bring the weights overhead, extending your arms fully while rising up on your toes. Return to the starting position. Keep the weights as close to your body as possible throughout the lift.

3. Squat push press: Stand upright and hold dumbbells at your shoulders, palms facing forward. Maintaining this position and looking straight ahead, bend your hips and knees to lower into a full squat, thighs at least parallel to the floor. As you rise from the squat, begin pressing the weights overhead, rising up on your toes at the top, at which point your arms should be fully extended overhead. Return to the starting position.

4. Bent-over row: Stand holding dumbbells at arm's length in front of you, palms facing back. Bend your knees slightly, and bend at the waist so that your back is flat and angled 45 degrees to the floor. Once your body weight is centered on your heels, you're in the starting position. Without altering this position—no swinging your trunk—bend your elbows to bring the weights quickly and explosively into your armpits. Return to the starting position at a slower pace.

5. High pull snatch: Repeat Number 2.

It is PALEO, but via the backdoor!

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