Wednesday, 9 September 2015

How Am I Lifting?

Thought I'd post up a quick look at my approach to training with an outline of my core routine.  I keep the movements big and basic, and include both barbell and body weight work. 

My set up for the past few years has been largely based around this warm up, and the following routine:
  • Monday
    Deadlift
    Chin Ups

    Wed

    Sprinting
    Front Lever to Back Lever (see Dragon's Door).
    Planche variation

    Friday

    Squats
    Hand Walking

I find it important to stick with the same exercises for several mesocycles (each mesocycle is usually around four weeks in duration and I will string three mesocycles together before taking a full week or so off and engage in active rest.

If I am particularly bored then I might throw in a variation on an exercise for one session in a mesocycle!  But it seems to me that if you mess things up too much by changing exercises, you crush progress with that lift/movement.  The time to substitute an exercise is after at least three months.

As I said above, I train in blocks of about 4 weeks (a meso-cycle), and after repeating the mesocycle three times, I then take a week off doing something like swimming or walking instead (active rest). Sometimes I will extend the meso-cycle to six weeks if I am doing RPT or 5x5 training.

Varying modality is a good way of reinvigorating your routine and sustaining interest.  This is principally through manipulating sets, reps, weight and rest times along one of three modalities; 531, RPT and 5x5. 
  • 531 - A strength training phase lasting 4 weeks - however I sometimes loop through two of these with an aim of equalling my previous RM at the end of the first four-week cycle, and then beating my RM at the end of the second four-week cycle. 531 - For strength!
  • 5x5 Sets Across - A 4-6 week cycle where I keep the weights constant throughout all 5 sets and the rests down to one minute.  5x5 Sets Across - Lyle offers sound advice here.

    - Sometimes I work on pushing up to 8 reps of each set before I look to increase the weight (and go back down to 5 reps each set)

    - Sometimes I chose a weight in which I fail to hit 55555 in week one and look to get all the reps by week four (for example, staring on a weight that allows 54321).
As a general rule I will often go through each of these in successive meso-cycles, one after the other in the order presented above, to build a 12 week training block and always using the same exercises.


So after a period of working an exercise I will swap it out.  My favoured variations are:
  • Deadlifts -> Deadlift off a Deficit (using lighter weights)
  • Chin Ups (palms inwards) -> (Assisted) One Armers or Pull Ups (palms outwards)
  • Squats -> Pistols (single-leg squats)
  • Walk On Hands -> Handstands
  • Sprints -> Vary the distance (between 50-150m), mix up the rests (60s-120s), and mix sets(3-5)

Final tips:
  • Watch your technique! 
  • Eat well and heartily -  avoid junk food or highly processed food, and don't drink your calories.
  • As a general rule at at least 2g of quality protein for every kg of lean body mass each day! Animal protein is best.
  • Take a week off after three consecutive meso-cycles.
  • Always de-load in the first week of a meso-cycle by using lighter weights than you would normally do (use this time to work on your technique).
  • Keep a record of what you lift every session for every exercise and modality variation.
  • Consistency matters.
Soon I will reveal Russian and Chinese strength secrets!*

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