Optimal strength training for runners

Discussion in 'Health, Nutrition, Injuries & Medical Conditions' started by Abide, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota

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    Yah, it'll be interesting to see how far I can progress. Due to my vagabond lifestyle, my liftstyle has never been consistent for more than 2-3 years at a time, with 5-to-10-year intervals of no lifting in between. I think this is the fourth time I've done semi-serious, consistent lifting, and I'm in the third year of it now, so I'll soon be entering unknown territory. On the one hand, I'm at an age where one is supposed to lose 1-2 percent of muscle mass per year, but on the other hand, I think I have a really good lifting routine going right now, and am making relatively rapid progress, so who knows how far I can progress if I stay consistent for another few years at least? But I'm pretty sure those intermediate levels represent plateaus for me, after which progress, if any, would come a lot slower. It's already happened on the bench press, I think. I'm using 220 as my weight, but I'm closer to 240 now after putting on 20 pounds over the winter . . .

    In any case, it seems that distributing the lifting more evenly throughout the week, but with shorter sessions, is going to be key for me. It can be mentally taxing though. Sometimes at the top of a session I look at the bar and think to myself, "again?" It's a bit of a daily grind, but I'm always glad I did it afterwards. And with the way my six weekly ST sessions are set up now--Bottom, Front, Back, Bottom, Back, Top, rest--I think I'm giving each body area enough time to recovery.
    You have more of a numbers approach than I do, so I can't really respond to that. I tend to do 2-5 sets of an exercise, 2-5 reps, except for the real heavy lifts, which I always try to pyramid, so there's more sets involved for those, and the reps are more variable. Still, besides having an idea of what my max weight for each exercise is going to be, I don't have any specific numbers in mind as to sets and reps.
    Yah, most everything I do now is low rep/high weight. It was either Jason Ferruggia or Ben Bruno who got me to take this monophasic approach. I don't think about supersets or any of that stuff. Every exercise is close to my max. If you want to get stronger you gotta keep pushing the maxes. One of those guys also said that there's no point in lifting more than 30-40 minutes, because you risk going into a catabolic state. That's why I've opted for lifting less but more often, and so far, I think it's working.

    Here's my pull up bar:
    www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Body-Press-Joist-Mounted/dp/B003TYCVKG?tag=ebp-pull-up-bar-20
    I like it cuz you mount it to a joist. Unfortunately, I don't use it as much as I should, because my pullup/chinup is crap. I need to lose more useless weight, and gain more strength, before I'll be able to use it more than my cables for the various pulldowns. I don't really care though. I'm getting a good pump on the cables, so I'm getting a good workout and making some progress.
    Here's my lat blaster bar:
    http://www.amazon.com/Body-Solid-LBB28-Lat-Blaster/dp/B000A6V3UA/ref=sr_1_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1395572985&sr=1-1&keywords=lat blaster
    Here's my platform:
    http://www.amazon.com/Body-Solid-Fu...r-Platform/dp/B002EEOOC0/ref=pd_bxgy_sg_img_y
    And here's the bar I use for neutral grip pulldowns and seated rows:
    http://www.amazon.com/Pro-Style-Lat-Bar-24/dp/B001U3973C/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1395573698&sr=1-1-fkmr1&keywords=24" lat pulldown bar
    Yah, I know. In the middle of my workday, I'm supposed to take 10-20 minutes off for plyo, sit-ups, and stretching/yoga. Just gotta get more serious about it.


    Hey, how do you do your shoulder presses? Do you take the bar all the way down to near your neck, or do you keep the elbows at a ninety degree angle? I've always done the former, but someone said you should do the latter, so yesterday I did it that way, with the barbell, but with the dumbbell presses I let the dumbbell come close to resting on my shoulders, in neutral grip, and then as I press, the bar goes parallel, with palms facing out.

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  2. Abide Barefooters
    1. Arizona -...

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    Its definitely a different excercise, if you do a narrow/medium grip barbell press I do hit my clavicales when I do these. Dumbell presses are naturally more wide and dont come down as far but I usually go narrow up top and also tend to go neutral. Sometimes I do wide behind the neck presses but dont go down all the way to my back and with lighter weight. Both the dumbell and behind the neck presses usually work more shoulders and the barbell press seems to use more triceps, chest and shoulders.

    I would not take the bar in front of me with a wide grip or 90 degress (I think we are talking about the same thing) I think it puts the shoulder at an awkward position if you get down any lower than your ear level, which is about as far as I go behind the neck.

    Basically I would do whatever feels comfortable and lets you lift the most weight, but I do think wendler makes a good case for staying away from wide grip presses and benches for shoulder health. And since I have started narrowing my grip for both my shoulders have not had any issues. I don't do dips anymore either.
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  3. Abide Barefooters
    1. Arizona -...

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    I also prefer that set/rep range, but with pull-ups since the weight isn't increasing the only thing to increase is reps. 20 is pretty ambitious though, maybe if I get down to 180 again. And then the other lifts go the opposite way.

    Also something I have found that works well is to superset the pullups with your entire workout but only do 3 reps. Its an easy way to get 30 pullups quickly and doesnt tire you out too much especially if you are doing other back work.
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  4. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota

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    Thanks, I think I'll work the behind-the-back presses back into my routine. I read somewhere they're bad for you, but I see that all the major st/bodybuilder sites still have them listed. I'll do the behind-the-back presses down to about ear-level, the front presses down to clavicles, but with normal, not-too-wide grip, and then dumbbell presses, starting with neutral grip but ending up with pronated grip at the top of the movement.

    The every day lifting is getting to be a bit too much, and I still have the problem of having the kids at home on the weekends, so this week I'm going to try a five-day, Monday through Friday schedule, rolling my shoulder day in with my squats day, since the rack is at the same setting for the squats and the presses.

    I've just started working dips back in, after getting a sore shoulder from shoveling too much snow. I really like dips as a finishing exercise on my chest and arms day.
    I can only do one pullup/chinup at my current weight. I added 20 pounds over the winter. Gotta try to get down to at least 210lbs, but 200lbs would be ideal. And then my ExRx's strength standard max weights would lower too! Right now even just 10 reps of pullups/chinups is way out of reach for me. It was easy in high school when I weighed next to nothing.

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  5. Abide Barefooters
    1. Arizona -...

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    6 days straight is tough, plus running and whatever else. I can't wait to get in one day a week. The weights are coming in on Thursday and the rack in a couple of more weeks.
    Thanks for the landmine links, I found a comparable one on the German Amazon I think I will pick it up from there and it connects to the rack which is a plus!
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  6. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota

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    Yah, you'll love the landmines. Fantastic for the obliques! Note you might have to mess with the tightness of the pivot or whatever it's called inside the platform. I had to loosen mine a bit in order to get a nice smooth arc movement on the landmines.

    Making the lifting more of a workaday, weekday thing is probably the way to go, but now the length of the each workout is going back up again. I'm trying to cap them at 40 minutes. That seems like a pretty good amount of time. Everything still feels fresh at the end of it. So 30-40 minutes of running in the morning, 30-40 minutes of lifting in the afternoon, then long run on Saturday, and plyometrics/mobility on Sunday. The only real trick is figuring out where to put the shoulder workout. This week I'm combining it with squats on Thursday, but it could also go with the pulldowns on Friday. I've attached yet another revised workout schedule. I've taken out some of the exercises I never do, and the whole thing looks a lot cleaner now at only three pages. On the heavy lifts, the first column is my current max, and then I have the projected maxes in the second and third columns, with the third column being ExRx's intermediate level strength standard, my goal (except for the bench press, which is already at my goal max, and the second and third columns are projected maxes towards the advanced level).

    Also, I was just perusing ExRx while having my second breakfast/brunch, and was watching a Louie Simmons video. One guy was doing knee cleans and snatches, which would be a good solution to my low garage ceiling problem, and would help work in some more plyometric-type lifts.

    Yesterday afternoon failed deadlift at 285, but then was able to get 265 up to four reps. I felt fine at the beginning of the workout, but perhaps all the running I'm doing in these final weeks of the Winter Challenge is taking its toll. Or maybe it was just a lack of concentration. I'll settle into my above, more reasonable schedule with more consistency next week. Right now I'm still running a lot in the afternoon in order to be able to run bare for longer in the higher temps.

    Attached Files:

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  7. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota

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  8. Abide Barefooters
    1. Arizona -...

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    Nice, I actually built a GHD/hyper extension thing for my garage and it was one of the most used things I had. Its definitley a good piece of equipment and its easy to add weight as you get stronger.
  9. Abide Barefooters
    1. Arizona -...

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    I know you mentioned you don't like supersetting but it is a great way to keep your workouts short. I don't like to superset real heavy lower stuff but I do like to do lighter lower/core/heavy upper supersets. Even similar excercises seem to be ok. So do your flies and curls together, or rows and extensions.

    Your leg day is killer though, I wouldn't superset anything that day. How do you even walk after that?

    Deadlifts are always like that for me, some days 285 feels like nothing and others it barely goes up. I wouldn't worry about it unless it happens twice more in a row. Then it might be something you are doing the day before like a long run possibly?
  10. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota

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    Well, I've never really tried supersetting. For me, the secret to keeping workouts efficient is focusing on a specific body area and then organizing the gear so that I do all the relevant exercises with each piece of equipment, one after another, before moving on to the next piece of equipment. So flies and dumbbell curls go together, since both are in the "front" workout, and both use dumbbells. I could superset those I suppose, that'd be easy, but I don't know if I'd want to start thinking about how different body areas would combine, from different days, or about having to get different pieces of equipment out for a superset. I really like giving each body area at least 48 hours to recover, and not having to think too much about setting things up. And in any case, I've been getting really good results lately, so no real need to change for the time being. I always appreciate your suggestions though. More often than not I use them. In fact, my whole approach has been greatly influenced by our exchanges on this thread.

    Which leg day are you referring to? I have one deadlift day, and one squat day. Keep in mind that I don't always get through all the exercises, and I only expend maximal effort on the main ones. My idea is to maintain a fairly consistent, medium-effort level for the most part. On Tuesday I was really feeling it and overdid the chest and arms day, and I'm still sore! Much better to hold back and let the improvements come gradually, especially as we age.

    Yah, I'm not worried about the deadlift fail. The bench press can be like that too sometimes. I've been running more than I normally do, in order to pad my Winter Challenge mileage before we wrap up at the end of March. My stomach was also a little upset, and I probably wasn't concentrating as much as I needed to. The two times prior to that I max lifted 300 x2 and then the following week 305 x1, respectively, so I expect I'll do that or better next week. I've also noticed that with these really heavy lifts, sometimes you have to take a step back before you take two steps forward. It's not always steady progress. I'd be surprised if I'm not doing at least 325 by the summer.

    I'm going to try mixing in my shoulder stuff with my squats today and see how that goes. If it feels like it's too much, I'll move the shoulder stuff over to my upper back day on Friday. There should be some nice synergy there, and that spaces the shoulder presses from the bench presses on Tuesday pretty well. Separating the squats and shoulder exercises also makes sense because I want to start pyramiding the squats more, which will take extra time, and also try knee snatches and cleans, which look awesome if I can manage them.


    So yeah, the idea is really to focus on both my legs or 'bottom' days, as that's where I see the greatest need and potential for improvement. Like you, the upper body stuff comes easier. I don't know if that's genetic, or just a legacy of doing the typical guy thing and focusing on the upper body for aesthetic purposes when I was first starting out, but now my priority is having a really strong butt and back.

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  11. Sid Barefooters

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  12. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota

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    Killer!

    I think Roman Chairs are for abdominals:
    http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/HipFlexors/WtRomanChairSitup.html
    Whereas Hyperextension Benches are for the lower back:
    http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/ErectorSpinae/BWHyperextensionHead.html
    But I've seen hyperextension benches described as Roman chairs, and I suppose you could use them for abdominals. It can be dangerous to go too far back with the abdominals though--not a very natural movement. http://www.philkaplan.com/thefitnesstruth/abdominalexercises.htm / http://www.exrx.net/Questions/DangerousExercises.html#anchor415546. I prefer a decline bench with or without a medicine ball, sometimes straight up, sometimes as a V, from one side twisting to the other.

    Hey a question for Abide or anyone else: I'm thinking of doing the hyperextensions with my plyo/mobility stuff, about twice a week. Any harm in doing hyperextensions more often than free weight exercises? That is, in treating them more like abdominals (which you can do everyday at higher reps) than bar/cable-&-plate-type exercises (which I do once a week, low rep/heavy weight)? I don't plan on doing them weighted. I would prefer higher reps.

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  13. Abide Barefooters
    1. Arizona -...

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    I think they are similar to ab work, I've used them for warmups and would do 3-4 sets of 25 a few times a weeks and I didn't have any problems with soreness. Its very similar to a sit up in my opinion and I would really only experience soreness from them if I would hit 40-50 reps a set. When I added weights I would often feel soreness in my glutes the next day after 3x10 with a 45lb. plate. One thing that i try to do on the extension is focus on driving up with my glutes vs your lower back.
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  14. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota

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    Thanks for the confirmation and the tip. I'll try to work the hyperextensions into my plyometrics/mobility workout then, which also includes abdominal stuff. They'll be a nice complement to decline sit-ups, as well as pikes on my power wheel (which I need my old Kayano sneakers for, so at least they're getting some use!). I'll try to get the plyo/mobility workout in twice a week, so the (idealized) workout schedule (for the time being) would be this:

    Sunday
    am: 1 mi run
    Plyo/mobility
    pm: 1 mi run

    Monday
    am: 3-4 mi run
    pm: 1 mi run
    ST: Bottom (Deadlifts)

    Tuesday
    am: 3-4 mi run
    pm: 1 mi run
    ST: Front (Chest & Arms)

    Wednesday
    am: 1 mi run
    Plyo/mobility
    pm: 1 mi run
    ST: Middle (Rows & Landmines)

    Thursday
    am: 3-4 mi run
    pm: 1 mi run
    ST: Bottom (Squats)

    Friday
    am: 3-4 mi run
    pm: 1 mi run
    ST: Top (Cables & Press, Raises)

    Saturday
    am: long run

    Some of the logic of this schedule is:
    1] The plyo/mobility workout falls on minimal running days, and on Wednesday it falls on the same day I do my rows and landmines, which should create some nice synergy.
    2] The two Bottom workouts are spaced apart maximally, as are the two heavy shoulder workouts, Front and Top.
    3] Besides the weekend long run, I'll try to make one or two of the weekday runs a tempo/hills/intervals/fartlek type workout.
    4] On my squats yesterday, I realized doing the shoulder stuff would be too much, so I'm going to do them today with my cable workout.
    5] This schedule has me running about 30 miles a week on average, but only three runs per week will somewhat challenging. About half the volume will be easy.

    Attached Files:

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  15. Abide Barefooters
    1. Arizona -...

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    I meant the deadlift day so will you actually do 3 sets of the DL, one set of SuitDL and 3 sets of powercleans? And then the additional items if you have time/energy?
  16. Abide Barefooters
    1. Arizona -...

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    Your cable/press day would be a great day to superset. You don't have to match them very well just don't do things like lat pull down with pull ups or heavy curls.

    When I had access to a cable machine I wanted to add more pull down volume so I did sets of 18 heavy but I switched them each 6 reps. Something like this
    6 x wide grip
    6 x pull up width pronated grip
    6 x close supinated grip
    You can use the same bar and weight too. Wide grips are the toughest for me so I always did them first and close supinated are my strongest so they went last.

    Prepare to be very sore.
  17. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota

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    Yah, I should qualify that.

    The Deadlifts I do 8-12 sets, because I pyramid those, warming up in 50-lb increments until I reach max weight, then staying there for a few sets, then coming down in 10-20-lb increments. I take longish intervals in between each set.

    The power cleans I still do relatively light at 125lbs because I'm still taking it easy with my left shoulder, and getting a feel for how they work a day before the chest and arms day. About 3-5 sets, 3-5 reps each, some pyramiding.

    I start to take shorter intervals

    The suitcase deadlift I just do one or two sets. I'm still finding my way with those, and don't take them too seriously.

    Now the intervals are pretty brief, but the pace is still leisurely.

    The Hip Thrust is pretty low intensity, I don't do them weighted, and they might get moved over to the plyo/mobility workout. 1-2 sets, 8-10 reps.

    Tipping bird is also low intensity, cuz I'm still pretty new at it and clumsy, so I'm mostly focusing on form, not weight, until I get the hang of it. 1-2 sets, 5-8 reps.

    Lunges I usually blow off, especially since I'm in this phase now of trying to improve my deadlift max. But I really should do them more, I know. Could be another exercise I relegate to the plyo/mobility day until I start doing them with more weight, but I'll probably keep them here.

    The squat swing with a t-bar (kettlebell-less kettlebell swing) I haven't done in a long time. But I keep it on the list to remind myself of the possibility. For the most part though, I didn't feel much benefit from them. How did your kettlebell swing experiment go?

    The trap-bar deadlift is meant to alternate with the barbell deadlift, every other week. But several months ago I felt some soreness in my knee caps while doing them, and haven't done any since. Once my barbell deadlift gets a little better, I'll give them a try again, and see if there's benefit in alternating them with the barbell deadlifts. Or, maybe I could do them towards the end of the workout, as listed, but do them high rep, lower weight, to take care of any concerns about putting pressure on the knees. They'd then be more of a finishing exercise than a main one . . .

    Since I'm not doing the trap deadlifts, I don't normally get the trap bar out and loaded just for the shoulder shrugs, but I know I should. I've never had a good feel for the shoulder shrugs, but I've never stuck with them for very long either.

    So, in general, I have a lackadaisical approach and my lists shouldn't be taken too literally. They're more like idealized versions, and the deadlift workout is probably the least ideal in practice right now since I'm really focusing on the barbell deadlift. I would say that in any given workout, I get to 60-80 percent of the exercises on the list, but only do 1-5 of the exercises at max effort. Apologies if I misrepresented myself. My ST sessions aren't that intense.
    That's pretty much how I do the cables, except I start out with the neutral grip 24" lat bar, at 140lbs, then supinated grip on my pulldown bar about shoulder-width, and go up to 160lbs, then pronated grip wide on the pulldown bar, going down to 120lbs. Then I take some more off and do straight arm pull-downs and seated rows at 80lbs, and then finally take another 20lbs off and do triceps push-downs and face-pulls at 60lb. I know the exact weights are fairly meaningless with cables/pulleys (recalling my high school physics) unless we're using the same machine, but it gives you an idea of the ratios. I do about three sets of everything, about 5-8 reps feels right for this stuff. Too heavy/low rep and my form goes to hell. I know some say to start with the lowest weight /hardest exercises first, so you have plenty of gas, but I find the wide grip pronated grip is best done after I'm good and warmed up, as it places a little extra stress on the shoulders.

    And yeah, I definitely get nicely sore from this workout. It's what I'm doing later today, then I'm going to see how it works to do my shoulder stuff right afterwards. I'll go light on the shoulder stuff, so it should be OK. This organization is in the file I just uploaded in the post this morning. If the shoulder stuff is too much, I'll go back to trying to sneak it in on the weekend sometime, but I think I'd rather go light during the week with it, since I have to be careful with my left shoulder anyway.

    So yeah, I guess I have one superset day afterall, except my understanding of supersets, strictly speaking is that one exercise has to be done immediately after the other. So I guess I could try a pulldown and then a press, right?

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  18. Abide Barefooters
    1. Arizona -...

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    Yep just move into one right after the other. I usually take a short break between sets though. Do you do your farmers walks?
  19. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota

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    Yah, I prefer short breaks, I think I get more benefit with time for a short recovery. I almost never sit down during them though, I just pace back and forth so my heart doesn't go to a completely resting rate. I know I should do some kind of circuit training with weights, but I do that more with my plyometrics/mobility workout. If I can start doing that consistently twice a week, I should have that fitness facet covered.

    I've only done farmer's walks a few times. My garage space is pretty cramped with the weights and everything else. I can only walk about five or six steps in any one direction. Do you think you get a lot of benefit from them? I could do them outside now that it's getting warm.

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  20. Abide Barefooters
    1. Arizona -...

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    I don't know it's hard to quantify benefits of farmers walks. They seemed to be good for joint health though.

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