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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    These might be worth considering. I wouldn't want anything too wide that might inhibit movement of the arms. Also, the one I have has weights over the abdomen, which makes belly breathing slightly more difficult.

    Fittest Narrow Vest Without Weights, Max weight 60Lbs
    Short Style Vest Without Weights, Max weight 90Lbs
    Pro Vest Without Weights, Max weight 90lbs
  2. Abide Barefooters
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  3. Abide Barefooters
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    I'll keep them up for a while who knows they may win me over.

    Read some comments on FB about dudes picking on Rippetoes style of squats... and have been thinking more about a deep low bar squat so basically low bar placement, close grip, narrow stance, push out knees and A2G. This might push a little more to the posterior chain and its a pattern I have never tried before? I'll report back.

    Anyway I am going to do max then back off sets for a while and see how they go so probably something like this:
    Bar x 10
    135 x 5
    185 x 3
    225 x 1
    Max x 1
    3 x 3 x 225

    So it will be roughly 12 working reps at the 225/225+ level.

    I do like the body weight press, and think that's a decent long term goal. I am also really hitting the incline press hard. The flat/incline/standing press rotation suits me well I think and my shoulders feel great. I also might add a heavy pendlay/yates row in there one day for heavy weights in addition to pulls, chins, inverted rows and dumbbell rows. It seems like a good volume/weight mix.

    The wife has been asking for some weights and it might be a good time to get another barbell for the gym...

    I keep thinking about this comment and wondering about what happens once we hit that point? I like your expectation of just following up with the heavier weight, but I have also thought about taking a look at 450? Focus on another lift?
    I would like to keep that strength long term but I suspect it may be close to my genetic potential at my weight without drugs so that consistent gains may fizzle out pretty soon after that.
  4. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Well, I was really impressed by Klokov's style (not so much by his training partner's). I was surprised last week when I found myself unconsciously adopting the thumbless grip, like Rippetoe recommends, but otherwise, I agree with you, his squat is too much of a good morning coming up, and I don't think just breaking parallel is enough. But he comes from a powerlifting background, so he probably wants to maximize the amount of weight that can be lifted, right? I'd much rather do less weight AtG. If you want we could try another contest, say first to 315 ass-to-grass.

    One thing about bar position. I've noticed that with a narrower grip, it becomes pretty obvious, to me anyway, where the spot between the traps and shoulders should be. It's felt really natural lately. Not sure what you mean by push out knees though. Do you have a video? The last few times my stance has narrowed a bit, and my toes haven't flared out quite as much, and this has felt better.

    I'm intrigued by your protocol of having a working rep count in mind, but I'm probably too undisciplined to adhere to it. Yesterday and even today my back was/is really sore, so perhaps I over-trained on the deadlifts on Monday a bit, I dunno, and a stricter rep-count might've helped. But I'll recover just fine in time for next week's DL session, so no harm, and it might've provided a boost. As the day wore on yesterday I started feeling it more in my legs too, so I decided to blow off yesterday afternoon's run so I could get in a nice run today on my birthday and also to push back my squats and press workout another day so that I have sufficient recovery time to start making a push on the AtG squats tomorrow. I'm curious to establish a baseline and see where I'm at. I got up to 265 a few months ago breaking parallel, so I'm thinking 225 might be a good 1RM to start with for AtG, and then 3x3x185 or 3x5x185 back-off sets. We'll see tomorrow.

    For the DL, the problem now is that I have that image of three 45s and one 25 on each side in my mind. I know the tendency will be to push until I can do it, but I also know it would be best to spend at least a week or two doing 3x3 worksets without a 1RM.

    Overall, I really like how strong my back is getting. It's the first time I've really pushed it like this. I'm thinking that with a stronger back, I may be able to start pushing the bench press again in the not-too-distant future. I had kinda settled on 225 as a top weight, but maybe I'm selling myself short. I know in Chicago I did at least 245, maybe 265. Thinking in terms of Olympic plates, 275 would look good, with two 45s and one 25 on each side.

    If you can do a body weight press, that would mean your bench press would be around 1.5 BW, according to several strength standard formulas I've seen. I like your idea of having a press rotation. I'm still experimenting, seeing what works best for my gimpy left shoulder, but it has been better lately. I think it's mostly because I've been doing more stretching and mobility stuff with it throughout the day. That's probably also why I can do a thumbless, narrower grip on the squat now. With a little more shoulder mobility, I may have to consider making power cleans my third main lift again, the one I do on Friday, instead of light squats and deadlifts.

    I definitely like having a row rotation. Each style attacks the back in a slightly different way. I think RDL is way too simplistic in his thinking, trying to reduce everything to just three exercises. But I like how he's thought carefully about the underlying logic to his programming. It's really helped clarify my thinking, reading through his stuff, even if I don't buy into his approach wholeheartedly.

    I was thinking the Yates Row might be a good substitute for the High Pull. I've only tried the latter a few times, but it doesn't feel quite right to me to bring the bar up to my nips or armpits. Bending over more with a Yates Row and bringing the bar up to the lower rib cage feels better, and it really attacks the upper back--traps and rhomboids--quite well.
    My thinking at the moment is to focus first on strength, and bring all my lifts up to a certain Olympic-plate standard, some combination of my 45 and 25 grip plates. I've become convinced that strength really is the basis for all other athletic/fitness performance. I also feel a little urgency to establish certain strength standards as I approach an age where the body will start atrophying quicker without active intervention. Once I reach those standards, the idea is just to hold onto them for as long as possible until the aging process inevitably begins to chip away at them.

    After reaching the ST goals, I want to work on 5K and 10K times, and maybe a half-marathon time. 24 minutes for the 5K, 50 for the 10K and two hours for a half marathon should be doable for me, especially if I can get closer to a lean bodyweight, but I really haven't thought about this too much. Anywhere in the 8-9mm range will probably be OK, but if I can do 8mm over two hours, that'd be fantastic, although I'm starting to question the wisdom of running long.

    Finally, there's plyometrics and conditioning work. I don't have any specific goals, and maybe I never will, but I do think it would be cool to be able to do things like box jumps and burpees at really high reps. I'm not pushing this right now, and I'm often blowing it off, because I have my hands full with the st stuff and just getting back into decent running fitness.

    Still, 45o would be awesome on the DL. Like you say, it would be interesting to bump up against our genetic potential, find out what it is. 455 would be all my Olympic plates--eight 45s and two 25s--plus the 45-pound bar, and when you consider that I've moved up from 275 to 355 fairly rapidly over the last several months, maybe that isn't an unrealistic goal. Time will tell, but I suspect progress will begin to slow down quite a bit and just getting from 355 to 405 may take longer than 5-6 more months.

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  5. Abide Barefooters
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    I don't have a video, its not an actual movement like flaring the toes out its just more of a constant cue to push the knees outward throughout the lift to prevent any inward tracking of the knees. It also helps with not letting your knees go past the toes. I'm not really sure if either are dangerous they just seem to transfer the load from the posterior to the quads some.

    http://bretcontreras.com/a-better-way-to-cue-knees-out-in-a-squat/

    Lets finish the deadlift comp and then I'll be game for the squat one. It will be fun to have a little friendly for a lift that is hard to get motivated about.

    Yeah I think I have read article from Rip that he teaches that squat becuase he feels lifting more weight for an accepted powerlifting squat (thighs below parallel) is more beneficial than increasing ROM for no reason. It makes sense from that perspective I guess. Olympic lifters go lower because then the pull doesn't need to go as high so its purely functional for that specific lift.

    I just wonder if recruitment is greater with a deeper lift, whereas Rip's point would be recruitment is greater with higher loads. Probably doesn't matter in the end and whichever keeps you healthy and lifting is probably best.
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  6. Sid Barefooters

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    Perhaps, parkour?
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  7. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Thanks, that's a good cue to keep in mind.

    I only looked at the first article, but will try to get to all the links within it at some point. When I was lifting heavier squats a month or two ago (to below parallel, not AtG), my knees did have a tendency to buckle inwards. That didn't happen last week, but the weight was only 185. We'll see what happens with greater weight, but also with the improved technique, bar position and grip I have now.

    Sounds good, but the contest has gotta be AtG. I'm going to start pushing the squat regardless though. I can't really push the deadlift much more, progress will have to come mostly on its own from now on, and the squat might help that along. I can't believe I've neglected these two lifts for so long. They really are foundational. And I'm still amazed at how just focusing on the basic lifts and letting go of most of the assistance exercises is leading to better progress. It took me a while to really buy in, but I think a simplified program really has to be based on the big lifts like deadlifts and squats to really work. Here's the latest modification to my weekly routine, which has been simplified even further:

    ST 3 -- Pull-Push-Pull 14.08.06.jpg

    (The boldface lifts are the ones I try to hit no matter what. The other ones I rarely get around to.)

    I'm halfway tempted to keep a training dairy like you did with the 40-day program, to chart my progress as I try to bring my lifts up. It's pretty funny to be taking lifting so seriously. I guess I've transferred some of the obsessiveness I had last year for running to lifting. I've been noticing more body recomposition, so it's nice to see results, even though I haven't lost much weight yet. Getting more of a V shape despite the lingering belly.

    Here's an article that reinforces your point from a while back about how strengthening the posterior chain with deadlifts and such may be more important for runners that lifts that work the quads, like the squat: http://www.runnersworld.com/workouts/study-strengthen-hamstrings-to-improve-your-running-economy

    Yeah, for me, I like the idea of having a good ROM more than lifting maximal weight for its own sake. Good for fighting off age-related creakiness. I like also how AtG squats seem to take a little pressure off the lower back, and they feel more stable coming up. But I've only done them for a few weeks now . . .

    When you think about it, deadlifts are about the only lift with absolute standards. Either it comes up or it doesn't, and the best way to do them is also the best way to lift the most weight. It's hard to compare different squats and bench presses so you have to go with numbers, but if your goal is healthy strength with good ROM, the numbers are meaningless in and of themselves, right? I didn't even realize until recently that few people took this into account. All those years of doing wide-grip bench presses for no reason . . .

    It would be fun to try Olympic lifts at some point, but first basic strength.

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  8. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Yah, I dunno, might be a young person's game. Or not. I'm amazed at how effortlessly kids can jump from twice their height, that's for sure.

    But I was just thinking, hey, it's my birthday, maybe a heavy bag? It would be great to do some kicks once in a while.

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  9. Josh16 Barefooters
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    The backpack I used is indeed hip supported. While it worked properly, I would assume a weight vest would still be better.

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  10. Sid Barefooters

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    Tried a new variation of the press. Instead of just using one dumbbell at a time, did two dumbbells held together using the same "free throw basketball" motion. It worked pretty good, shoulders felt fine, was more of a whole body workout. (The powerblock dumbbells that I have don't easily allow me to use both hands on one dumbbell securely.)

    Also tried the dead again, still feels a bit tweaky on the lower back. So, switched to squats today. Maybe try again next time.
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  11. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Got my five-foot bar yesterday, so I'll be giving the landmine (incline) presses another go today.

    Go super slow on the deadlift; it can take several months to properly prep the back before you're ready to start pushing it.
    Dammit Abide, now you got me revising my goals. I want a 455 deadlift, i.e., all of my Olympic rubber grip plates (eight 45s and two 25s) + 45-pound bar.

    And if that's the new deadlift goal, up from 405, then maybe the squat goal should be 365, or six 45s, two 25s + bar.

    And if that's the new squat goal, up from 315, maybe the bench goal should be 275, or four 45s, two 25s + bar.

    And if that's the new bench goal, up from 225, maybe the new OH press goal should be 185, or two 45s, two 25s + bar, up from 135.

    In powerlifting terms, that would put me over 1000 pounds (dl+squat+bench = 1095). That would be cool. If it's possible, I wonder what a reasonable time frame would be?

    Should never have bought those 25-pound grip plates. With just 45-pounders, it would be easy to stick to 405, 315, 225, and 135, but now they're going to be sitting there, on the sides, mocking me, if I don't include them.

    Thinking more about your idea of rotating presses, I wonder if I should do bench press one week, and oh press the other, and, instead of doing 3x5 sets across, adopt more of a 1RM to back off sets protocol, to really start pushing things and get a higher rep count. I could then follow up with db bench or db oh presses as assistance, while still allowing for plenty of recovery time. Meanwhile, I'm still doing my pulls twice a week so that my presses have a stronger foundation. On the bench press, I'm really going to start paying more attention to my lats and making sure they're properly tensed. Maybe they are already, but I've never really thought about it.

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  12. Abide Barefooters
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    Yeah I think overall it may be more comfortable and quick. I was just considering that it may be better to ruck a pack since backpacking would be a little more useful for me. Just trying to kill two birds with one stone.
  13. Abide Barefooters
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    Ha don't blame me you were the one that made me start thinking about it. I think we should shift the focus to percent of body weight mainly because at my current weight 90kgs (200lbs) I think 200kgs (440lbs) is doable but If I drop down to 85kgs (185lbs) I am not sure if this will be true?
    So maybe:
    2.0 - 2.25 x BW deadlift (400-450lbs)
    1.75 x BW Squat (350lbs) this one will be tough
    1.5 x BW Bench (300lbs)
    1 x BW Press (200lbs) not sure this one is possible?

    Man thinking about a 3 plate bench would be awesome, I have been there once but again I suspect at less 200lbs I couldn't do it. I feel pretty good too with running, biking swimming at 200 so it seems to be a good weight.

    So yeah 1100lbs. total with that I might do a PL meet just to see what they are like. And I don't know maybe by the end of next year for a time frame?

    There is a definite difference when I do a PL style bench vs a body building style bench. What I have noticed is a PL style bench is great for 1-3 reps but I get fatigued fast so if I am going to do more that 3 reps I wil almost always do more of a BB style bench with no arch and minor lat engagement.

    There are a million cues but usually what I do is lay down, bring my feet in towards my head, past my knees and usually up on my toes to make sure my but stays on the bench, but I have a good arch in my back and then pull my shoulder blades together as tight as I can. I unrack breathe in and hold it and bench, i tend to eshale before I get the bar back up and locked out.

    There is stuff like bring the weight down, break the bar etc.. but none of that has really worked for me. The Rip grip point is ok too.

    About your rep schemes, how about this idea from this article http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/9_great_ideas_to_improve_your_workouts. You know how much I like Dan John and I think this is one of his best articles.
    3. Embrace "Ish"

    Steve Ledbetter has an idea that really works well with competitive athletes who aren't competing in the Iron Game. He simply says "ish."
    The best example of "ish" is John Powell's approach to the 5 x 5. Each year, he'd set a goal of doing a weight for 5 sets of 5. If he chose 365 as his target weight, he'd plop down on the bench once a week and test himself.
    Workout One
    365 for 4
    365 for 3
    365 for 1
    365 for 1
    365 for 1
    He'd then add up the total reps of the workout (10 in this case). As the weeks and months progressed, he'd slowly work up into the teens, and then the low twenties. With a serious enough weight, it could take months to build up to the full 25 reps of a 5 x 5 workout. The upside of this workout may not be obvious, but it allows you to use heavy weights and slowly, steadily, build up the volume. Progress in life and the weightroom is as "ishy" as I can imagine.

    One thing to remember upper body work for me tends to require more volume for progress than lower body, so maybe Max to back off sets is the best idea?
  14. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Yesterday afternoon, the mission was to set a good baseline 1RM for AtG squats. I warmed up quickly to 225, did a couple of reps, and thought that it felt a bit light to serve as a baseline 1RM. So I added ten pounds. But 235 didn't feel much harder, so I added another ten. 245 still felt pretty doable. My knees did buckle a bit however. I had been focusing on that cue of pressing against the outer heel, but it seems like the "knees out" or "spread the floor" cue works a little better for me.

    Anyway, I did something a little crazy and jumped up 30 pounds, to 275, taking off the little iron plates and adding my two 25-pound grip plates. Once again, I needed some obnoxious white boy music to set the mood for a new PR, so I put on my Green Day Pandora station once more. Some band I had never heard of starting blasting in with teenage angst. . . . Um, OK, not exactly what I wanted, but it'll serve the purpose.

    When I unracked, the bar felt pretty frickin' heavy, and dug into my back. I haven't been using my squat pad for the last several months, in order to get a better feel for bar position, but now that that's more or less resolved, maybe I should go back to using it? After just a few weeks of ass-to-grass squatting I trusted myself enough to take the plunge, but of course I had my carriage bolts in place too, to act as safety clips if I couldn't make it back up. Well, I did almost stall at the sticking point, and my form got a little off, but I made it back up, really pulling down hard on the bar. Whew! So that's my new 1RM standard for the AtG squat now--275--with 225 and 185 figuring to be my back-off or work sets. At 225 I did two sets of doubles, then at 185 I did one set of 4 and one set of 3. I felt like I had a couple more sets of 3 in me, but remembering how sore I got from Monday's DL fest, I stopped there to see how my body would react the next day.

    Well, I'm not too sore, mostly in the quads, which leads me to believe that technique is still a limiting factor. Although yesterday's 275 felt like the absolute limit, I might have another 10-30 pounds in me at my current strength levels once I hone my technique a bit more. Learning how to utilize the stretch reflex and gaining more confidence in the AtG style are probably the two biggest factors. But I'm starting to wonder if AtG squatting is really harder than breaking parallel. It almost feels easier to start completely at "the bottom of the hole." Thoughts?

    From there I moved on to my bench. My left shoulder had been aggravated a bit by Monday's DL and Pull workout, in kind of a new way, with the pain sort of running down towards my triceps and shoulder blade. Usually its more in the front and on the side. I'm wondering if I tore a tendon a bit five years ago while attempting that ungraded upright row with my cement and paint bucket barbell in Mozambique, and then it healed leaving a little scar tissue that's interfering with things. Otherwise, it's hard to explain how it keeps moving around. It's like the muscles in and around the shoulder joint are trying to work around the weakness. In any case, doing more stretching and mobility throughout the day is really helping to manage the problem.

    So, taking a cautious approach, I just did 3x5 sets across at 185. Having shot my wad concentrating on squat technique, I forgot to pay attention to my lat tenseness while benching. One thing though, I found with my independent bench that perhaps I had been placing it too far forward. I moved it back into the rack a bit more so that I unracked the weight over the lower part of my sternum. This angle felt more comfortable for my shoulder.

    I didn't have time for the overhead press, but I had already been thinking about decoupling the two presses anyway. So I'll either do the OH press today with my rows and chinups, or put them off until next week.

    If I really start pushing the squats, I might have to rethink my weekly routine yet again. Maybe something like this:

    Mon
    DL, BB rows, Chinups

    Wed
    Squat, Bench, Dips

    Fri
    DB & Cable rows, Russian Twist, OH press, Chinups.

    This would get back to the idea of blowing off the power cleans while I focus on just developing brute strength. Power cleans and some of the plyometric stuff could be added in latter, once I start to plateau on the big lifts.

    It would make the most sense to move the squats to Friday I guess, to space out the DLs and Squats more, but then it's kind of hard to figure out what to couple with the bench on Wednesday. Maybe more rows? That gets to be a heavy upper body day, and I don't know if my shoulder could take it. It didn't like it a week or two ago when I tried it.
    200lbs is probably what my lean bodyweight should be too. Could even be 190-195. That's what it was back in my karate days, when I was super fit, but I'm probably stronger now, so 200 might be about right. I'm getting a little frustrated that the weight hasn't really started coming off now that I'm starting to run more consistently. Might be time to consider dietary possibilities more serious, but I've been enjoying doing my st on nearly full stomachs, which means eating a lot during the day.

    In any case, I'll probably stick to the Olympic plate standards for my main lifts. It has the most visual appeal for me. I have two 5-pound plates and four 10-pound Oly plates, to increase or decrease in 10-pound increments between the grip plate dictated increments, but they're normal, small iron ones. The rubber grip plates are kinda out-sized and demand attention. Even my wife, who couldn't care less about weights, finds it impressive when there's three of those big damn plates on either side of the bar. So the standards are

    455, 405, 365, 315, 275, 225, 185, 135, 95

    Those odd numbers are starting to feel familiar now, almost two months since I bought the plates.

    Dammit Abide, now you're just like Barefoot Dama, getting me thinking about competing. But you're right, it would be cool to see what a PL meet is like. End of next year seems like it might be a doable time frame. I'm gaining more confidence that my squat will never be too far behind my deadlift, so if I can get up to 405 deadlift, then a 355-65 squat should be possible. And if I can get up to a 455 DL, then who knows, may be squat could begin to approach 400. Right now the difference is 80 pounds, but I'm just beginning to take the squat seriously, so that gap might close more to 50-60 pounds.
    Yah, I forgot to think about bench press cues yesterday. Thanks for giving me a few other things to think about. I was always taught that it's cheating to lift your back, so it would be hard to overcome that preconception. But it's definitely worth thinking about. The bench press has always been the centerpiece of my strength training, the one lift I took seriously, so I've kind of taken it for granted, but now that I've spent so much time thinking through the proper technique for other lifts, I need to come back to the bench and give it serious consideration too.

    There are several good ideas in there, some of which I already practice. Over all, I'm pretty much an "instinctive" lifter. Especially now with a simplified lifting program, it's pretty easy to adjust to daily fluctuations in motivation and energy and left shoulder gimpiness. Still, it all basically comes down to hitting the 1RM most workouts and then, for a heavier workout, descending in small increments before hitting the worksets, or, for lighter workouts, dropping 40-50 pounds right away and heading straight into the worksets. The number of worksets is usually 2-3, and the reps in each are usually 3-5. I dunno, I don't mean to be closed-minded, but this approach just seems to work for me. I should probably mix in a few more workouts with a higher volume of reps though. I'm pretty sure that would provide a boost. Like, maybe next Monday, do some 3x3 worksets at 315 and then 3x5 worksets at 275, and forgo the 1RM altogether.

    Here's a quote in the comments section:

    "Honestly, an "ish" workout done purely instinctively would be tough to record in the log, but might be perfect long term..."

    That pretty much sums it up for me. Who cares about a frickin' log? All that counts is the 1RM you can do right now.

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  15. Abide Barefooters
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    "Well, I'm not too sore, mostly in the quads, which leads me to believe that technique is still a limiting factor. Although yesterday's 275 felt like the absolute limit, I might have another 10-30 pounds in me at my current strength levels once I hone my technique a bit more. Learning how to utilize the stretch reflex and gaining more confidence in the AtG style are probably the two biggest factors. But I'm starting to wonder if AtG squating is really harder than breaking parallel. It almost feels easier to start completely on "the bottom of the hole." Thoughts?"

    Yeah you get much more of a bounce when you go all the way down, but I do think it is more difficult especially at the parallel point on your way back up which is usually the place I get stuck. Plus its not easy to bounce a max squat as I'm sure you found out.
    I think this is why the low bar works better for the parallel squat, I think if you put your feet out wide and do a GM squat you get the same reflex as the a2g one, it just happens more in the rear end than the quads and knees.

    "Yah, I forgot to think about bench press cues yesterday. Thanks for giving me a few other things to think about. I was always taught that it's cheating to lift your back, so it would be hard to overcome that preconception. But it's definitely worth thinking about. The bench press has always been the centerpiece of my strength training, the one lift I took seriously, so I've kind of taken it for granted, but now that I've spent so much time thinking through the proper technique for other lifts, I need to come back to the bench and give it serious consideration too."

    Technically a cheating lift is lifting your ass off the bench. A pretty strong arched back is always recommended. It changes the dynamics a little and makes it easier to build up tension in the back. Like this one.

    [IMG]

    Yeah too much to think about all once though.
    I need to do some catching up on the squat, jumping to 275 is awesome! I have been lazy this week maybe it will be a good time to max to have another starting point? I think you have to buy some whitey tighties to compete and a singlet. Those two things might keep me out of it...

    Yeah I think the max lift is probably a good way to lift, its the west side way and it seems like a lot of people have good results. The only problem I have with it is its time consuming. So I think maybe just maxing up on one lift a day will work for me?

    I'm curious at what point it will be good to add in some lower body assistance work. maybe at a significant plateau in one of the lifts? Maybe you could do something like SLDL or TBDL on Wednesday?
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  16. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    "Well, I'm not too sore, mostly in the quads, which leads me to believe that technique is still a limiting factor. Although yesterday's 275 felt like the absolute limit, I might have another 10-30 pounds in me at my current strength levels once I hone my technique a bit more. Learning how to utilize the stretch reflex and gaining more confidence in the AtG style are probably the two biggest factors. But I'm starting to wonder if AtG squating is really harder than breaking parallel. It almost feels easier to start completely on "the bottom of the hole." Thoughts?"

    Yeah you get much more of a bounce when you go all the way down, but I do think it is more difficult especially at the parallel point on your way back up which is usually the place I get stuck. Plus its not easy to bounce a max squat as I'm sure you found out.
    I think this is why the low bar works better for the parallel squat, I think if you put your feet out wide and do a GM squat you get the same reflex as the a2g one, it just happens more in the rear end than the quads and knees.

    Yah, it's not so much a bounce, which, as you say, is kind of impossible at max weights anyway, but learning to use the reflex to turn the movement around quickly and efficiently. That's something I tried to focus a bit more on yesterday when I came down to do the work sets. With heavy loads it's probably too dangerous to go down so quickly that you utilize the stretch reflex completely. Still, I was amazed at how natural 275 felt yesterday. I did spend more than a normal amount of time beforehand though, imagining how a successful rep would feel, and telling myself that I could do it. It was big moment in squat progress, kind of like doing a 335 DL was a few weeks ago, when I trusted myself enough to allow more than a normal amount of strain.

    In the past, my MO for the bench press, the only big lift I took seriously, has been to wait for a certain weight to feel easy, or reach the 2-rep level, before adding on another 10-20 pounds. With the DL and Squat I've been ignoring that and allowing myself to push up closer to my limits. I think I'm still being safe, but I wonder sometimes if I'm not getting a little too carried away. I've always been extremely cautious, and have, with the exception of that ungraded upright row in Mozambique when I was attempting to get back into shape too quickly, avoided injuries. But it's truly awesome now to be working with these heavier weights. It's like last year when I found out that yes, I could run 14-16 miles. Not the numbers per se, but the feel of it, the feel of all that weight on your back or coming up off the floor, or the sense of covering so much ground running.

    "Yah, I forgot to think about bench press cues yesterday. Thanks for giving me a few other things to think about. I was always taught that it's cheating to lift your back, so it would be hard to overcome that preconception. But it's definitely worth thinking about. The bench press has always been the centerpiece of my strength training, the one lift I took seriously, so I've kind of taken it for granted, but now that I've spent so much time thinking through the proper technique for other lifts, I need to come back to the bench and give it serious consideration too."

    Technically a cheating lift is lifting your ass off the bench. A pretty strong arched back is always recommended. It changes the dynamics a little and makes it easier to build up tension in the back. Like this one.

    [IMG]

    That photo is pretty convincing (where'd you get it?!). And it looks like she's benching more than her BW. Pretty impressive.

    Yeah too much to think about all once though.
    I need to do some catching up on the squat, jumping to 275 is awesome! I have been lazy this week maybe it will be a good time to max to have another starting point?

    Yeah, I'm still a little amazed I was able to do that. It's just that I got to 245 and I knew I had at least another 10 pounds in me, maybe 20, so why not try 30? But I came very close to stalling out. On another day I might've and I might next week too. But at least now I know it's possible, so that's the standard. Like that Dan John article said, it's good to have relative standards in mind. I've been mainly using the ExRx's strength standards, based on a BW of 22o, even though I'm actually more like 245. I figure a conservative estimate of my lean BW is 220, but probably more like 200 when I consider all the other places I'm a little soft besides the obvious belly.

    Here are the ExRx.net standards for all the big lifts at 90kg/198lb (my ideal BW?) and 100kg/220lb (my achievable BW in the not-too-distant future):

    Strength Standards 198 & 220 BW.jpg

    Maybe we could start a thread on the training forum with the four big lifts minus the power clean and just list our new PRs and maybe particularly noteworthy training sessions? Lemme know if you're interested. We could continue to use this thread to discuss training logics, options, interesting articles, etc., with Sid, Josh, and everyone else.

    I think you have to buy some whitey tighties to compete and a singlet. Those two things might keep me out of it...

    Yah, I do everything in loose Brooks running shorts, so that'd be a hard sell. Plus the reality of it is that a live, public competition would probably make me try to lift too much, and risk injury. I've never really enjoyed competing against other people that much anyway. Tends to turn people into assholes, including me. Even driving turns people into jerks. I like our low-key, friendly contest though.

    Yeah I think the max lift is probably a good way to lift, its the west side way and it seems like a lot of people have good results. The only problem I have with it is its time consuming. So I think maybe just maxing up on one lift a day will work for me?

    Yah, it is time-consuming, but it's been a good way to accelerate my training and find my baseline 1RMs for the Deadlifts and Squats. It's just that I didn't expect to keep progressing with the deadlift virtually every week. I think I only missed one attempt at a new PR. But 355 really is close to the limits, and once I get to 365, I'll probably go back to my old MO of just staying there until it starts to feel easy or until I can do a double, before adding 10. Same with the 275 Squat, and I'm glad it only took a few weeks to find out what my AtG 1RM is there. It's been kind of an amazing last month or two though. I'm glad this thread has helped serve as a vehicle for documenting it.

    Also, when I consider how much better I sleep after a hard workout, or how much better I'm able to concentrate when I sleep well, then working out an hour instead of 30-40 minutes isn't much of a sacrifice at all.

    I'm curious at what point it will be good to add in some lower body assistance work. maybe at a significant plateau in one of the lifts? Maybe you could do something like SLDL or TBDL on Wednesday?

    Yah, for the moment, I sticking with the trend towards simplification, really focusing on the six basic lifts, and spending the workout time really pushing them. I like the idea of making assistance lifts really function as assistance to get you beyond a certain plateau. Until you reach that, just keep going heavy with the basic lifts, like Rip, StrongLifts and others recommend. It took me a while to completely buy into that approach though. But I've also been impressed with how much synergy there is between the basic lifts, like Dan John says in the article. I used to compartmentalize them more, as body parts or body areas, but I'm pretty sure a better squat and deadlift are going to help my presses, and vice versa. Like Dan John and others say, work on your weakness. When I stumbled upon the ExRx Strength Standards, I saw that my bench press was 'intermediate' level, but everything else was lagging behind. So I began to work on my deadlift, the least weak of my weaknesses, and thus the easiest to get up to speed. Now that too is intermediate level (BW220=350). So now it's time to work on the Squat (220BW=300), then the OH press (155). For the pulls, as we discussed, it's a little hard to establish equivalent standards, but I think a 110-120 db row done with strict form, or maybe a 225 BB row could work, first as a Yates then as a Pendlay, and maybe 5-10 reps for unassisted chinups?

    Light hex-bar deadlifts might be an option for Wednesday, but I'm souring on the idea of doing anything light. Seems like less, done more intense, is more. And the DL and squat have been interfering with my running lately, now that they're so heavy, and they also seem to need more recovery time as they get heavier, so I kind of like the idea of having 3-4 days of rest in between. Still, doing the squats just two days after the deadlifts will probably work if I scale them back a bit, keep the working reps to 10-15. This week has been unusually intense, but if my left shoulder can take it, I should be pushing the upper body lifts equally hard. This week they've taken a back seat.

    With this routine, posted above--

    Mon
    DL, BB rows, Chinups

    Wed
    Squat, Bench, Dips

    Fri
    DB & Cable rows, Russian Twist, OH press, Chinups.

    I'm basically pushing two lifts each workout--

    DL, Row

    Squat, Bench Press

    Row, OH Press

    with the chinups being the only lift getting short shrift.

    Chinups are my weakest lift, so they'll get pushed last, after everything else is up to intermediate level. Rows are done twice, because I think having a stronger back will help bring up three of the other main lifts, and the heaviest ones--squat, deadlift, and bench--more quickly. I would say, in other words, that my back is my weakest link right now, in terms of overall progress. After yesterday's squats, I feel about as sore in my upper back as in my quads, for example.

    Once everything is intermediate level, I'll try to train everything a little more evenly and, if I start to plateau, start to add in more assistance lifts, until, hopefully, I achieve ExRx's "advanced" levels in all the main lifts, which roughly correspond to the Olympic plate standards.

    ________________________

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  17. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota

    Member Since:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Message Count:
    5,166
    Hmnn, thinking about it a bit more, another possible workout schedule could be:

    DL, BB Row, Chinups, Hyperextensions

    (Power Clean), BB Bench Press, (DB Bench Press), OH Press, (DB OH Press), Dips, (Landmine Press), (Pullover), (French Press)

    Squat, DB Row, Cable Row, Russian Twist, Chinups, (Biceps Curls)

    (The heavy, prioritized lifts once again in boldface. Tertiary exercises in parentheses.)

    This would put 4 and 3 recovery days between the DLs and Squats, as well as the two Row days. It also follows a Lower Body/Upper Body split somewhat, and incorporates a half-assed Pull/Push split too. Thursday, after three days' recovery from the DLs, could be the running day where I push things a bit, with intervals, hills, tire pulls, or something, although I always have trouble programming a strict running schedule. These days I mostly just run whatever pace I feel like and finish off with some fartleks with walking breaks when I get tired or bored. This flexible approach has worked well during this phase of trying to get the big lifts up. Anyway, regardless of how the running fits in, this st workout schedule has a pretty good balance, based on my current abilities and goals, and I like that I only really commit to two lifts per workout. So some days I might go super heavy on those, other days I could take more a workaday, "punch the clock," 3x5 or even 5x5 approach and get in more of the secondary lifts and plyo/mobility/stabilization stuff.

    Edit: Here's a powerlifting competition that allows shorts and t-shirt, and welcomes beginners: http://www.thegym365.com/powerlifting-meet

    ________________________

  18. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota

    Member Since:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Message Count:
    5,166
    OK, more Abidean influence/channeling Dan John:

    If I were to take a more systematic approach to rep counts, and add a little more volume, there are basically two possible ways I could install the 1RM>Backoff sets protocol. One is the incremental approach, with a 1RM followed by descending increments of 10-20 pounds, 1-2 reps each, ending with some kind of 3x3 or 3x5 sets across. Or the jump-down approach, where you go from 1RM straight down to 3x3 or 3x5 sets across.

    If you use both 3x3 and 3x5 sets across, however, you then end up with a kind of 1/3/5 scheme, say 3x1/3x3/3x5, but with each different rep number representing an increment measured in totals of my 45- and 25-pound Olympic grip plates.

    DL: 455, 405, 365, 315, 275, 225, 185, 135, 95

    SQ: 455, 405, 365, 315, 275, 225, 185, 135, 95

    BP: 455, 405, 365, 315, 275, 225, 185, 135, 95

    So, using my current 1RM PRs as a reference, I could set up an "ish" scheme like this for the three big lifts:

    DL: 3x1x365/355 1RM > 3x3x315 > 3x5x275

    SQ: 3x1x275 1RM > 3x3x225 > 3x5x185

    BP: 3x1x225 1RM > 3x3x185 > 3x5x135

    That's 27 total reps. If that proves too ambitious, then I could do two sets of each rep number instead of three, for a total rep count of 18:

    DL: 2x1x365/355 1RM > 2x3x315 > 2x5x275

    SQ: 2x1x275 1RM > 2x3x225 > 2x5x185

    BP: 2x1x225 1RM > 2x3x185 > 2x5x135

    Once in a while I could go down in 10-pound increments instead of jumping down to the next grip plate level. In that case, I would either take off one or two 3- or 5-rep sets, or do them all anyways. Here's what a 20/21-rep count version of the incremental approach would look like:

    DL: 1x1x355/345/335/325 > 2x3x315 > 2x5x275

    SQ: 1x1x275/265/255/245/235 > 2x3x225 > 2x5x185

    BP: 1x1x225/215/205/195 > 2x3x185 > 2x5x135

    I think I like this last possibility best, and will try I next week, adjust actual reps perhaps if they proves too much or too little.

    Thoughts?

    ________________________

  19. Sid Barefooters

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Message Count:
    2,255
    Ueah, I plan on continuing to work on the dead. Though, I'm wondering if the dumbbells promote poor mechanics. Videos indicate the bar coming close to the knees and legs. Can't do that with my dumbbells.
  20. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota

    Member Since:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Message Count:
    5,166
    Clear out that old pile of Popular Mechanics mags in your garage and make room for a serviceable set of plates and barbell bought on Craigslist. The plates stack up neatly and the bar can be stood up and put in the center hole or leaned against the wall when not in use.

    And then there's squat rack, and bench . . .

    it's a slippery slope.

    Speaking of which, got a a Title "LiquiShock" foam & water heavy bag for my birthday, due this week sometime. http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B002EJ4OXE/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    • [IMG]
    Can't hardly weight to finish up my workouts with a few kicks and strikes. Nothing serious, but it's no fun doing air kicks, and kicks are one of the best ab exercises ever invented. I'll hang it from the pulldown post of my rack.

    P.S., put all of my unused 5- and 2.5-pound plates on a barbell for overhead presses yesterday, so that I could do them standing up in my low-ceiling garage with just a slight bend in the knees. That added up to 115. Did 3x2, then 3x3x105, then 2-3x4x95. I would imagine my 1RM is up around 135, but I won't attempt any singles until my form and strength improve. Today no soreness in my left shoulder, so that's good. Looks like the presses are back in business, and the shoulder issue is manageable.

    ________________________

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