Optimal strength training for runners

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

  1. Sid Barefooters

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    On second thought, I'm going to try 3mi twice a day. I can't seem to convince my body to get up at 4am. :D
    I'm just going to deal with the heat, rain or whatever. Plus, I can maintain better form with my foot rehab, doing 3mi with 12 hrs of recovery time, rather than 6mi every 24hrs. I can feel my left foot getting stronger already!
    Yeah, already there. If I stick with the weights, I might consider those bigger Powerblocks as a holiday present for myself. :D I'm not sure if I should get the 125 or 175.
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  2. Abide Barefooters
    1. Arizona -...

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    Can you leave the bar in the landmine? It shoudl help speed things up a bit. You can use your standard weights on the pull down and your trap bar still right?

    Nice find for dips and your right it can fit right on a barbell. Yeah I am always suspicious about advice that says something that has been accepted as healthy for ever all the sudden is terrible for you. Maybe with the exception of partially hydrogenated oils. Its like that Paleo fascination with eliminating beans.

    I am going to add some protein supplementation. I might even try up to 50 grams a day. I found another interesting study via facebook I'll post in a second.

    Haha you are not that old, why was he selling them?
    Yeah that is the mundane part about minimalist routines. I'm not sure if I would necessarily advocate such a simple routine at this point either. I like the 2 workout variation but it does get a little routine. I don't think you would lose strength if you shifted the focus a bit, you might not gain but I would assume as long as you are doing either heavy squats or deadlifts your strength in either would remain the same. I could be wrong though.
    McGill's knock on spinal flexion has been the bog one I have heard against non isometric ab work. I really liked doing GHD situps though even though they have a bad rap. I guess I'll just stick with ab rollouts and leg raises and focus on getting a stronger squat.
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  3. Abide Barefooters
    1. Arizona -...

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    I think it might be a difference in patterns, I tend to hold loosely and let my hand slide around vs. forcing the entire weight to spin. So you pull until its floating and then spin your wirsts to catch at the top. I don't know probably doesn't matter.

    I think 125 would probably be adequate. I don't know too many people who can even lift a 100lb dumbbell. But chances are at that weight they would be used for deadlifts, rows and farmers walks? Maybe chest press? A 100lb DB chest press is pretty impressive.
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  4. Abide Barefooters
    1. Arizona -...

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  5. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota

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    I'm using my standard plates on the lat machine/cables, and dumbbells. I used the Olympic bar in the landmine yesterday, and I really like the thicker grip of the 2" bar. For the t-bar rows however, the Olympic plates were way too wide/high, and I could only do half rows. So I finally manned up and did proper Pendlay rows with my Olympic bar on the floor. Ah yes, much better. So my lat-blaster bar may become yet another piece of equipment that gets set aside to gather dust. But without experimenting, it's hard to know what's going to become an essential part of one's routine, and what was just a passing fancy.

    For my deadlifts, I got three 45-pound plates on either side, so 2x1x315, then 3x3x275 when I substituted two 25s for two 45s. Man, it felt great to use a proper Olympic bar. Probably all mental, but I feel more motivated. Plus having a little more floor space frees me up mentally as well. 405 still feels like a long ways away though. 315 is pretty close to my true max.

    The plates have a little damage inside the hub because they were used as bumper plates. A few of the plates he was selling were cracked or even had chunks missing, but I got the last of the good ones I think. The guy's garage was outfitted with some serious equipment. He said he sells gear as a side business, and got the plates cheap from some commercial gym, with the intention of reselling them.

    I wondered if I was making an impulsive purchase, but after yesterday's workout I think I made a good decision. Olympic plates feel better.

    In karate I liked to do sit-ups on a decline bench, with my feet secured under a padded bar as in GHD sit-ups, twisting from side to side to make a V-shape. It really helped seal my abdomen and protect me from body blows. I also think it helped me develop some power in my punch. But before that I noticed after the first six months of training that I already had a pretty ripped stomach just from doing all the kicks.

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  6. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    It would be nice to know exactly what their loads are. Seems like the strength routine could be done heavier with fewer sets. But then the overall tonnage wouldn't be the same. I personally can't imagine doing 10 sets of 3 reps at 90-95% max effort, taking 30 minutes. I would quit lifting after a week. Maybe they were doing more like 80% max effort, but doing 10 sets would still be mental agony for me. About three worksets at 3-5 reps seems about right for me, for the big lifts, with a few 1-2 rep max effort sets first, on the squat, deadlift, and bench, to prime everything. Works for me anyway. Then assistance work is more in the 5-8 rep range. Not because I'm following a hypertrophy protocol, but just because that range feels about right for lighter-weight exercises. I simply couldn't do a Russian Twist or Rope Pushdown at 1RM, not with proper form anyway. I spend the first 10-15 minutes on the big lift, then everything speeds up. My workouts take about 40-60 minutes, three times a week. Seems reasonable.

    I'm still intrigued by the 40-day protocol, but since I'm making progress with what I'm doing, I'll probably stick with it until I plateau or get bored.

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  7. Abide Barefooters
    1. Arizona -...

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    It said they were not beginners and the loads were taken to failure on the last set so they had to be decent. If they are benching 250 and squatting 300+ at the end that's pretty good.
    I was a little more surprised to see that size gains are the same with higher volumes regardless of rep ranges. It's something to keep in mind. Density builds mass as well as hypertrophy.
    In the end all of this is already "understood" but it is definitely making me consider making some changes once I am off the 40 day thing.
    17 minutes is kind of intriguing. Although sets a 10 squats is not.
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  8. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota

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    Yah, but I was thinking what if the last set was to failure after just three sets of 3-5 reps? That would take a lot less time and maybe provide the same results, in terms of strength at least if not hypertrophy. According to that ExRx article I posted a few days ago, there's a big drop-off in gains after even just one set of close to max effort. Doing 7 sets of 3 reps and calling that a strength protocol seems a little crazy, although I really don't know my way around serious lifters. I just don't see what those last 3-4 sets or so are benefiting except burn-out.

    I think maybe the size gains were the same because the strength group was doing such a high volume. For me, the biggest fault in the study was that they wanted to maintain equivalent tonnages. But one of the advantages of a strength protocol is that you can get a lot of benefit with a lot fewer reps, so even if the max is 90% instead of 60-70%, the overall tonnage should be a lot less.

    It's like asking sprinters to run as many miles overall as endurance runners. And then comparing the results. It's going to take the sprinters a lot longer because they need a lot of rest intervals. But who sprints that much? A good 10-15 minutes of sprinting with proper rest intervals should be equivalent to an hour of aerobic running. That's the theory anyway. Higher intensity/less duration = lower intensity/greater duration.

    The only way I can see the higher rep protocol working is with higher frequency, like what you're doing. I do each big lift once a week, so even if I push it to close to max effort, I have plenty of time for recovery. I could do the same lift 3-4 times a week at a lesser effort level, and possibly get the same results, but for me, that wouldn't work psychologically. I would look at the bar and think "Again?" "Didn't I just do this yesterday?"

    Today I'm doing squats, bench, dips, and overhead presses. My last workout I did deadlift, hip thrust, bentover row, Russian twist, supine pulldown, straight arm pulldown, and face pull. I guess I need that variety to keep things fresh, because lifting weights is already a pretty boring thing to do, compared to running (outside).

    Still, I think possibly a 40-day style routine might work for me if it was done in weekly alternation with my current, high-intensity, once-a-week routine. There might be a lot of benefit in doing lower weight deadlifts three times a week and then once the following week at close to max effort. It would also be a good preventative to overtraining.

    Another possibility is to do drop sets at progressively lower weights instead of sets across at 80-85% max effort, increasing the reps at each lower increment. Might be the best of both worlds. For the bench for example, do:

    2x1x225
    2x5x195
    1x10x175
    1x20x135.

    I've experimented a little with this, and I didn't really like having to do all those reps in the end, but it might lead to better overall conditioning.

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  9. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    OK, let's do the math: the hypertrophy guys were doing 30 reps per workout per exercise, the strength guys 21 reps. The tonnages were equivalent. So, on the bench, for example, 30 reps times, say, 135 pounds = 4050 lbs per workout for the hypertrophy group. Then 4050 divided by 21 reps = about 192 pounds for the strength group. For me, 195 is a good 3x5 weight, so 7x3 should be possible, but 3 x 10 x 135, the hypertrophy protocol, would still be pretty easy. I would have to try it, but I would say 3x5x195 wouldn't take any more time to do than 3x10x135, would involve less overall tonnage, and would provide more benefit.

    P.S., speaking of experimenting with protocols, I'm going to try the 'grease the groove' idea for chin-ups. I got a doorway chin-up bar for my office. I'm going to use it with a resistance band under my knees and try to do a few assisted chin-ups everyday when I first come in. One of my secondary goals in st is to be able to do 10 unassisted chin-ups eventually. So add that to the list:
    400 deadlift
    320 squat
    240 bench
    160 press
    225 power clean
    two-hour half marathon.
    24-minute 5K

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  10. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota

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    "(especially given data suggesting that growth is optimal with a twice per week training frequency)"

    I found this interesting, because it jibes with my own sense of things too, although I would frame it more in terms of strength gains than 'growth'. Twice a week might be optimal, but I don't know if I could go to a four-day weekly workout. But I'm kind of doing that with my three-day schedule if you include front squats and equate power cleans and trap bar jumps to deadlifts.

    Ignoring some assistance exercises like the Russian twist, my scheme for the main lifts is this.

    M: deadlift, rows, pulldowns

    W: squat, bench, press

    F: power cleans, front squat, trap bar jump, rows, pulldowns

    That gives me twice a week on all the main lifts except the presses, which I'm laying off of to see if that helps my shoulder. Monday and Wednesday are my main days, doing all six of the basic force/direction pairings fairly heavily, then Friday a version of four of the main lifts is repeated but at lighter weights. If I wanted to do the presses twice a week, I might include them this way:

    M: deadlift, rows, dips, pulldowns

    W: squat, bench, press

    F: power cleans, front squat, trap bar jump, rows, db press, pulldowns.

    But I'm liking putting a greater emphasis on the posterior chain.

    Also, I forgot to mention, haven't used the trap bar much since I got a little soreness with it doing trap bar deadlifts last year. And now with the Olympic plates, I wish I would've gotten an Olympic trap bar, because they're about half the price. I may try floor presses with the trap bar, and this week I'm going to try trap bar jumps, as another plyometric-type lift, in addition to the power cleans, on Friday.

    I thought that study's conclusion on hypertrophy was pretty flimsy. There was only a difference of 1/5 of an inch in the biceps, and the hypertrophy guys didn't do any arm specific exercises, like they normally would, right? And they only did each body area once a week, whereas the strength group did full body workouts each time, so maybe they're arms were worked more overall?

    I just don't think the study was as well-designed and conclusive as they summary suggests. Just another interesting finding to throw on the pile, but the practical data, like you say, is already there and more convincing, after decades of trail and error by thousands of pro bodybuilders and power-lifters. I just don't see the point of a hypertrophy program for a runner. You're just adding useless mass, slowing yourself down. I want strength with minimal mass gains, if possible. I think the low rep/heavy weight protocol is the best bet for that goal.

    P.S., tried hip thrusts again yesterday. I just don't know about that exercise, whether it's worth the time. Thoughts anyone?

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  11. Abide Barefooters
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    Yep, no arm work, but the interesting thing was they did the same exact lifts just scheduled differently.
    Well that's what's grabbed my attention, it kind of confirmed that you can get similar hypertrophy from body building or high density low rep strength training. So the point for us runners would be to stay away from those type of programs. So low reps and fewer sets, but now the question is what frequency?

    "(especially given data suggesting that growth is optimal with a twice per week training frequency)"

    Does higher frequency encourage smaller growth with similar strength gains? Basically better neural gains than lower frequency programs?
  12. Abide Barefooters
    1. Arizona -...

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    I've never had the oppurtunity to try gtg with pull ups. The little I have read though makes it seem legit. Something else you can try is to go real heavy with the pull downs and do max sets of 3 or 5.
    I have been doing pulls/chins most days and I just switch grips each day for about 10-12 reps total. That seems to work too.

    You could do better than 135, probably more like 155 or 165 for 3 sets of 10 failing on the last one. So the low end would be 221 for 7 x 3 which would be a lot more difficult or even 3 x 5 of 221?
  13. Abide Barefooters
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    Don't forget farmers walks with the trap bar! Its probably the best excercise for that thing.
  14. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Yah, I wonder. I suspect it's a little of both: both greater muscle growth and greater neural adaptation when done twice a week. Any more than that and there probably isn't enough recover time, at least for the big lifts. Plus, we gotta keep in mind that different lifts use the same muscles, just in somewhat different ways, so working out full-body three times a week, I'm really working every muscle in my body anaerobically about three times a week. And just from personal experience, I don't think I could do heavy deadlifts, squats, and bench presses more than once a week. It'd have to be less intense the second time around, which is what that ExRx AB-heavy/AB-light plan that you copied is all about. That way you get the second dose of neural stimulus, and enough muscle stress to prevent any atrophy. That really seems like the way to go, and I think my latest Bottom-Middle-Top 3xwk scheme does a good job of hitting all the right parameters fairly well.

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  15. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Yah, I'm thinking heavy chin-ups/pulldowns once or twice a week, then lighter the other days, kind of like abdominals. With my new cable and pulley set-up, the weights are a lot different. I was doing 3x5x160, but yesterday 200 felt easy up to eight reps per set, so I gotta adjust my expectations a bit. I can't really understand because I think the number of pulleys was the same, but I don't remember my high school physics too well.

    I can't do 7x3x221. I was trying to find a weight that might be more reasonable, although without trying it, it's hard to be sure. 195 is what I've been doing for my back off sets, 3x5, after two sets or so of 1-2 reps at 225 for the bench. The last back-off set of five is challenging for me. So I would think adding four more sets and lowering the reps from five to three would be roughly equivalent effort-wise. Using that weight at 21 reps overall gives you 135 for the 30-rep hypertrophy equivalent, according to that study's formula. But like I said, I question whether total tonnage is the variable you want to control for. Weight to effort isn't a linear relationship. Dropping 10 pounds from a 1RM deadlift can mean an extra rep, or twice as much. Dropping 10 percent can mean 5 reps, a fivefold increase. The hypertrophy guys were doing 60% of the weight but almost 50% more reps. Seems like they could've done more weight, and the strength group fewer sets, and that would've been more of a real approximation of what guys actually do in the gym. But then the time it overall takes each group would become roughly the same too.

    So I dunno, I still think if you want to be strong, you gotta lift heavy once in a while, and if you want to run fast, you gotta run fast at some point.
    Yah, but with my space restrictions, it's easier to do the loaded carries with dumbbells. Yesterday I did hip thrusts instead of loaded carries, and am kind of regretting the decision. I just don't know how much hip thrusts benefit me, and they're a little hard to set up.

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  16. Abide Barefooters
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    Hip thrusts to me seem like doing 1/4 squats? I did them for a while and I honestly didn't see any benefit. I suspect it's one of those lifts that work great for some but to so much for others. Primarily ones who don't naturally recruit their glutes.
  17. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Thanks for the feedback. That jibes with my experience and helps me eliminate them. I may do unweighted, one-legged ones from time to time, because those require no set-up, and may be good for hip mobility, but the weighted ones are too much hassle and I can't really see them doing anything the squats and deadlifts aren't already handling. Seem a little bit like a girl exercise for those who don't like doing deadlifts and squats, or, as you say, have trouble recruiting their glutes.

    Worked a little more on the new apparatus yesterday. Put in some washers to better align the pulleys dead center, and then raised the whole thing up on a 4x4 and a 2x4 base so that the garage door opens completely. I'm using some 1/2-inch carriage bolts as safety pegs on the squats and bench. Online the purpose-built ones are $65! I also put some furniture glides/coasters under my new, super heavy bench. It's the kind that's meant to be bolted down. I put the one that came with the rack in storage. The guy had substituted the original Stamina adjustable bench for one that is more heavy-duty but has a weird lumbar contour to it, I guess for support, but I didn't like the feel of it. A good, simple flat bench is all I need anyway.

    Really looking forward to doing squats and presses on my new toy later today . . .

    Here's a link just now from my older brother: http://gymflow100.com/jason-statham...ard-minutes-not-an-hour-and-half-of-nonsense/

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  18. Abide Barefooters
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    You know my bench is strange like that too and I am now wishing I had bought a simple flat bench. It has a cutout between the seat and upper pad so you can incline it but the gap is just too big for me and I have to position my butt there when I bench. The overall width of the bench is too wide as well. Oh well thats what I get for buying stuff online. Maybe I will like it more once I start incline benching again.

    Hehe that article seems to be ignoring the elephant in the room. Honestly though doing that crossfit or metabolic conditioning inspired type of workout is probably a good wy to workout if you were looking for the biggest bang for your buck.

    I also have no idea with the pulley's, but if its just a two pulley system it should be actual weight? Pulley's don't start assisting until they are compounded from what I remember. I'm still thinking about what to do next but your comments about 2 good days a week seems to make the most sense. I might stick with a 2 or 3 day plan and work a little more on my running. I am trying to figure out that 400lb/2hr hm/21min 5k goal. Should this all be done in one week or sometime during the year?
  19. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    I've never done incline bench presses so I don't miss them. It always felt awkward clearing the bar from the rack at that angle. Although I suppose in any sport where you push against your opponent, like linemen in football, that's about the angle you doing your pushing from, so it's probably good training for that.

    Yeah, that's a helluva workout, a bit complicated for me, here's what I just emailed my brother:

    Basically he does the lifts I base everything on: deadlifts, squats, power cleans, bench press and overhead press, pull/chin-ups and rows. I reason there are basically six force/direction pairings, and you need to hit each one once a week:

    Push/down: squats
    Push/up: overhead press
    Push/out: bench press
    Pull/up: deadlift
    Pull/down: chin-ups
    Pull/in: rows

    I then throw in Power Cleans for a more plyometric-type weight exercise and dips as another push/down (force/direction) pairing.

    Recently I’ve concluded that my chest is overdeveloped relative to my back so my current three-day routine goes like this

    Pull day
    Bottom: Deadlifts
    Middle: Rows
    Top: Supine Pulldown (chin-up)

    Push day
    Bottom: Squat
    Middle: Bench Press
    Top: Overhead Press

    Pull day
    Bottom: Power Clean
    Middle: Rows
    Top: Neutral grip Pulldown

    I also have some assistance exercises I try to get around to, but that’s the basic scheme. Then on rest days I try to do my CAMP routine (CAMP = Core, Agility, Mobility, Plyometrics). Of course, I also try to run 25-30 miles a week.

    I kind of regret selling my rowing machine to dad, cuz Jason's routine reminds me it’s a great way to warm-up and it’d be nice to end my lifting workouts with some high-intensity intervals on it too.

    It seems like there’s million options out there, Jason’s is just one. His routine is too complicated for me, but it could work for you. Once I meet my strength targets (405 deadlift/315 squat/225 bench [already got this one] and 225 power clean/135 overhead press), I may incorporate more of a body-weight, higher rep set of exercises like he has. My strength targets are a reduced version of the idea that at 200 body weight, a good intermediate lifter should be able to do 500 DL/400 squat/300 bench/200 press. Taking the top end down to 400, the ratios are then 400/320/240/160. Adjusting to the weight increments of Olympic plates, I get 405/315/225/135.

    For the pulleys, the set-up between the two pulldowns seemed to be the same. I asked my younger brother about it, and he agreed, and he's more mechanically inclined than I am. I dunno. I'm going to start doing bodyweight chin-ups again so that should give me some idea of how much mechanical advantage they're conferring. If there's none, that's great, because that would mean I'm not as much of a chin-up wuss as I thought.

    I think two heavy days is about right, then my third day is a bit lighter, but still a good workout. Gives you a lot of recovery time and doesn't interfere as much with the running.

    I don't necessarily want to meet all my performance goals in the same week. My idea is to be able to routinely meet those numbers, in the course of my weekly workouts, if possible.

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  20. Abide Barefooters
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    Damn you Lee. Thats infinitely more complicated.
    I'm gonna have to drop some weight if thats the case. Maybe down to 185ish.

    Ok modified goals
    400lb DL
    20 Chin ups
    21k 5k road
    2hr half mary on trails
    Routinely?...

    I think hollywood drugs and diet also have to be mentioned with hollywood trianing plans. There is no way we would get to that type of physique unless you have the genetics (but then he wouldnt be asking) or drugs and a spot on diet.

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