New Routine Thread

Discussion in 'Weight Training' started by Pretty In Pink, Jun 21, 2017.

  1. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Valued Member MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Someone HALP MEEEE

    Monday:

    Squats 50kg 5x3
    Push ups to failure

    Wednesday:

    Dumbell bench press 14kg (each hand) 12x5
    Dumbell row 22kg 10x3

    Going to start doing circuits on Tuesday and Thursdays. Any kettle bell exercises anyone has would be very welcome.

    Any advice in general in fact.
     
  2. hewho

    hewho Valued Member

    What are you trying to achieve with it? :) I can send you a couple of my routines if you want, but they take a fair bit longer.
     
  3. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Best advice I can give is that you invest in a copy of "Science of Strength Training" by Vladimir Zatsiorsky and "Periodization Training for Sports" by Tudor Bompa.

    Those two titles alone will give you every bit of scientifically-proven information you need to progress in your strength training programme.

    As hewho said, you need to define specific outcomes for your training to avoid aimlessly lifting random loads/volume, and to avoid injury. (Improper training volume can be as bad for your health as improper technique.)
     
  4. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Valued Member MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Purely for strength. Want to get as much muscle without any significant size difference.
     
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  5. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    This is a simplistic approach, but you should aim for "big weights, small reps."

    That is, loads greater than 85% of your one rep max that permit sets of 1-5 repetitions.

    You're going to be giving max effort, so keep the selection of exercises on the low side. Pick movements that hit as many body parts as possible, in as many planes of motion as possible. Squats and deadlifts are obligatory lifts.

    Rest should be anywhere from one to several minutes between sets.
     
  6. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Forgot to add: changes in body composition (i.e. "more" muscle/less fat/minimal change in weight) will mostly be due to dietary choices.

    I recommend you research intermittent fasting and ketosis as a start.
     
  7. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Valued Member MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Oh God.... Effort :'(
     
  8. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Just remember - Roy 'Big Country' Nelson had a pretty successful UFC career despite his, erm, "rounder" physique. :D

    #AbsArentEverything
     
  9. hewho

    hewho Valued Member

    I'd stick to compound exercises, squats and dead lifts as above, bench press at various angles (use dumb bells if you don't have a spotter, and go one at a time if you're worried), bent over row.
    For your schedule I'd do a push/pull, with complimentary body weight exercises.
    Monday:
    squats: 5 sets, 1 of light to warm up, 3 on roughly 5RM, then 1 8rm with no rest from the last set.
    bench press: 5 sets, 1 of light to warm up, really focus on squeezing the muscle and pushing with the chest, 3 on roughly 5RM, then 1 8rm with no rest from the last set, work through the bench angles.
    clap press ups: 3xto failiure
    jumping squats: 3 sets of 30 seconds, 30 seconds rest

    Wednesday:
    Deadlift: I like to work up and down a weight, starting with a 12 rep set to warm up, doing two of 8RM for 8, then 3 5-6RM, then one of 8 for 8RM, then one of 12. take the rest as you need it.
    Bent over Row: 5 sets, 1 of light to warm up, 3 on roughly 5RM, then 1 8rm with no rest from the last set. try and pause for a second or two with the bar at your chest. keep your core tight.
    plank builders: 3 sets 30 seconds.

    as our goals are different, this is fairly different to how I work out, but it will increase your strength, and if you don't eat like a strongman or pro bodybuilder, you won't end up looking like one :)

    Obviously as you keep training, you'll want to mix it up, have slow weeks, and weeks with nothing but drop sets (fun fun fuuun!), and maybe try adding exercise.

    For diet, you can choose to make it really complicated, or you can do what I do recommend to the majority of my clients which is 'low sugar, high protein, decent amount of slow carbs, eat your fruit and veg'. You're a grown adult, and you know how much is too much, so don't eat until you're stuffed, have enough to fuel you, and to perform well. It's trial and error, but I find it easier than trying to count out every macro-nutrient. Things to avoid/cut down are also fairly obvious, coke/pepsi type fizzy drinks, crisps, big greasy fry ups, booze, etc. All the fun stuff ;)

    Hope that helps
     
  10. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    Ooooooookay, time for the coherent (I think :p) version of the infodump I sent you in private while I was commuting this afternoon :p


    Warning, LOLHUEG wall of text ahead (broken up into pieces because it's too long to post in full-.-):


    So weight training basically works like this:

    You train, which is a stimulus, and the stimulus elicits a response, which is recovery and adaptation. The response occurs while you are resting, and is mediated in great part by: How much and what you eat; how much and how well you sleep; how much training you did; what kind of training you did; and what other stresses that you may be going through (including illnesses and even seemingly unrelated things like work issues and other life stresses).


    Now, you want your adaptive response to be centered on gaining maximal strength, and to avoid hypertrophic responses as much as possible. Since strength training can elicit both types of responses, you need to fine tune the training to skew the response towards the strength side, for which you need to control training variables, exercise selection, and nutrition and recovery.


    -


    Regardless of the type of training you do, there are three main training variables: Intensity, volume, and frequency; these are, for any given training stimulus, how big the stimulus is, how much of it you receive per application, and how many times you apply a given stimulus in a given time frame, respectively; in strength training, these correspond to the resistance to your movement in an exercise (in weight training, the amount of weight you lift), the sets and reps and/or time under tension that you use in a given workout and/or for a given exercise, and how many times, usually per week, you train, both in general and per exercise, per muscle group, etc.


    Greater intensities require you (and thus teach you) to apply more force to complete the movement, and are thus the tool of choice for maximal strength. However, more intensity will mean more fatigue at any given volume, and the more you get fatigued, the harder it will be to continue to do things, and to do them correctly, and the greater the recovery demand will be, so by going extremely heavy you'll greatly limit what you can do in an individual workout, you'll need more recovery, and at greater volumes will risk technique deterioration (which leads to both suboptimal training and greater injury risk). In weight training, intensity is the weight you lift on a given exercise, and is usually measured as a % of the heaviest weight you can lift for one repetition, and then no more (your one-repetition maximum/one-rep max/1RM); 70% is about the lowest number that everyone will agree is just heavy enough to develop strength with (at an appropriate volume).


    Volume is necessary for adaptation, but too little will not let you adapt and may make you regress, while too much will incur so much fatigue that it will eat up your ability to recover and leave nothing for further adaptation (and can also make you regress if you can't adequately recover); you balance it out with intensity to optimize the amount and the quality work you do over time WRT your goals. Higher volumes with adequate recovery (which means eating and sleeping enough, and well enough) are directly correlated with gains in both size and strength, with size depending more on nutrition (eat enough for your body to grow, stimulate it through weights to grow muscle, specifically), and strength on intensity (developing the mechanical and neurological attributes necessary to exert large forces, by exerting large forces regularly).


    Frequency is essentially how you spread out your total volume from session to session. It is intimately tied to exercise selection, intensity, and volume, and both low and high frequency approaches can work for different things depending on what exactly you do, and how, on each session. If you spread out your harder sessions too far apart, your body will never figure out that it needs to adapt (there is not a constant stimulus that requires it), but if you have them too close together you won't have enough time to recover (which is why some programs use lighter days in between).


    Long story short, for strength you want higher intensities (so more weight on the bar), at a per-workout volume and a frequency of workouts that won't kill you, and to avoid getting significantly bigger you simply have to not eat enough to gain weight (but not starve yourself because you still need to eat to recover).
     
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  11. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    Certain exercises are better suited for different types of training, and thus for different goals. "Strength" development requires the sustained exertion of high forces, which in turn requires heavy loads that can only be moved by having lots and lots of force exerted against them. In addition, strength is highly specific, and it is as much a property of the nervous system as it is of the muscles, so as well as strengthening the muscles proper, you need to train the motor coordination that allows you to use them in concert so that as much force as possible is exerted in specific directions, and not in others that do not contribute to the safe completion of the movement. So, we want exercises which involve many muscles acting together across many joints to move against the resistance (compound exercises), and within those, we want the ones which allow comparatively greater loads against which to push really really hard. There is a time and a place for both isolation exercises and lighter compounds, such as for hypertrophy, mobility, stability, weak point training, and in the long term for joint health reasons (joints and tendons generally do not like long-term sustained heavy loading, so every once in a while a break from it is beneficial), but maximal strength training is not it :p.


    There's also the distinction between machine and free weight exercises. Free weights (all of the different "bells", bags, kegs, sleds, other people, anything you can move up and down or push or drag across the floor) generally require force transfer across large sections of the body (it all starts in the legs, otherwise you'd just fall down, and the weight will usually be on your hands or shoulders, but your torso and hips are in-between), and most of the time all the weight itself does is try to move straight down (suddenly gravity!) unless redirected by something, such as your body. Machine movements, which do include some really heavily loadable exercises, will have either a fixed range of motion for the weight, which may or may not be vertical, but does not deviate, or (for cable movements) a "free" pull in a direction other than down, and some of them will limit force transfer requirements by obviating weak links that would limit the usable load or fatigue halfway through. In the end it's all strength training, and there is nothing wrong with the heavier machine movements, particularly where the limited force transfer actually allows for more weight to be used or more volume to be performed, but you still need to train the aforementioned weak links to be able to apply the then-developed strength in a free-weighted movement anyway, so most people who train for strength opt for free weights.


    As for the actual selection of exercises, there are a lot, and they're usually categorized (sometimes in a slightly blurry fashion) by the basic motion of the exercise, and by the main body parts or muscles that are most involved (even for those generally considered "full-body" lifts), so you have pushes, pulls, squats, squats, hinges, carries, holds, leg lifts, arm lifts, unilateral and bilateral lifts, and so on. I'll give a list of some of the more useful ones for strength based on the above criteria (not necessarily for you to pick one of each or whatever, just to have an example of potential options):


    Squats ("vertical push" with the legs): There are two "basic" squats that you can go stupid heavy on, the front squat and back squat, with a barbell. In one the bar is in front of you on top of your shoulders, and in the other it's behind you on top of your upper back (can be higher up near the neck but not on it, can be lower down near the shoulders). In both you do the same thing: squat down as low as you can with heels on the ground and a straight back.


    Deadlifts ("hip hinges" with the legs and hips): Weight (ideally barbell) is on floor, you grab it with your arms straight and roughly vertical, and stand up with a straight back. There is the narrower-stance conventional style, in which your legs are between your arms and you lean over more, and the wider-stance sumo style, in which your arms are between your legs and you're more upright, but in both you stand up with the weight. Bloody debates rage across the internet regarding them and their relative merits and pitfalls, but you can do whichever you like most. There's also the Romanian deadlift, which starts from the top and doesn't touch the floor, and the deficit deadlift, in which you set up such that the bar is lower than the ~25cm off the floor it ordinarily is with a standardized 20kg plate on each side, but they are a lower load variants.


    "Horizontal" pushes (pushing with out arms roughly out in front of you, involving the chest more so than the shoulders): With weights you have bench press variants (flat bench, incline bench, closer or wider grip, floor presses), and with bodyweight (that is, at a minimum load of 1x bodyweight, and loadable above that but not below without changing the exercise) you have dips, which are not strictly speaking horizontal but are a "chest+triceps" exercise regardless.


    "Vertical" pushes (which go upwards, more in line with the body, using and building a lot of shoulder meat): Incline bench presses can overlap here depending on the bench angle, but mostly this covers overhead lifts: Strict press (only arms) and push press (push with legs first and then continue with arms), both from in front and from behind the neck if done with a bar (grabbing it roughly the same way as in front and back squats, respectively, with behind the neck lifts not being recommendable without a general base of shoulder strength and stability).


    "Horizontal" pulls (pull something that's in front of you, with your arms, towards you): Basically every conceivable variation of the bilateral bent-over row and seated row with any implement, one-arm rows of any kind with a teensy bit of body English (AKA "cheating" :p), and some may include pull-ups and/or chin-ups here if you point the chest up while doing them so you pull less in line with the torso. Bent-over rows can be done fully in the air, or with the weight on the floor at the start of each rep, the latter arguably being preferable for strength and explosiveness as you go from 0 to 100.


    "Vertical" pulls (pulling down for lats, pulling up for upper back and shoulders, respectively): Chin-ups, pull-ups, front cable pulldowns for lats, shrugs and Kirk rows for the upper back are the heavy ones here.


    Other useful stuff that can be done heavy: Farmer's walks and other similar carries (pick weight up, walk for time, distance, and/or step count), lunges (step out and low, then come back up), split squats (crouch and stand while in a lunging stance), plank variants (lay prone keeping torso and hips off floor, try not to die), ab wheel rollouts (combined dynamic plank and lats exercise).


    There are also both specific exercises and ways to perform general exercises that can contribute to refining your movement to exploit your potential speed/explosiveness (speed itself is not very improvable as a physical quality, but through technical proficiency and motor coordination you can learn to manifest more of what you do have, against heavier loads), which has some partial overlap with maximal strength training. More on that later.
     
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  12. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    You need to eat to live, to recover from stresses, and to adapt to stimuli, in that order, and both recovery and adaptation happen when you rest, so you need to rest for your training and nutrition to be productive.


    Food has nutrients, which provide energy and do stuff in the body. The major ones, which provide calories (a measure of energy), are proteins, carbohydrates, and fatty acids. Proteins are rarely used for energy unless you're starving, since they are the body's main structural component, meaning when digested and absorbed they get disassembled and re-purposed for anabolism (tissue building, ergo, you need them to recover from workouts, to spare lean mass if losing weight, and if you were to want to build muscle, to have the raw materials for it); carbs are the body's main short and medium-term energy source and contribute to the general function of the organism, especially the brain, for which they are its main fuel. If you require any endurance at all, you need carbs, because they are the source of muscle glycogen which fuels short and medium term sustained movement and effort; fatty acids are a longer term source of energy (more total energy, much slower breakdown) and are important for endocrine health (many hormones are chemically based on fatty acid structures, for example), and body fat is tissue with cells that store truckloads of fatty acids synthesized from unused energy.


    The sum total of all the energy your body spends passively to stay functioning (before factoring in any sort of activity) is your "basal metabolic rate" (the rate at which your metabolism consumes energy, measured in calories). This is affected by a huge amount of factors, including total body mass, body composition (how much there is of everything the body has), metabolic regulation (basically how much your body does, mediated by neuroendocrine factors), so it will vary from person to person (there are formulae that give ballpark estimates, but they're generic and there's room for error). If you factor in your approximate activity levels (your active energy expenditure), and you get an approximate number for your "total daily energy expenditure" (how much total energy, measured in calories, your body requires in a given day in which you do stuff). If you take in calories through food and drink that on average roughly match your TDEE, you'll tend to maintain your weight; a sustained caloric surplus WRT your TDEE will tend to make you gain body mass (how big the surplus is, what you do, and your nutrient distribution will determine the composition of the extra mass), and a sustained deficit will tend to make you lose body mass (ditto for the lost body mass). To avoid unwanted hypertrophy, you'll want to stay nearer your TDEE. If you don't count calories, it'll be roughly the food intake where your weight stays stable, and if you do count calories, it'll be the calorie count where your weight stays stable; end result is the same, just two approaches of differing precision. Still, you'll need to keep protein intake high-ish at least, to adequately repair your body after training, and you may find your TDEE goes up (lifting and recovering from lifting will mean extra calories burned, although not a colossal amount). On the micronutrients and fiber side, this is more strictly health-related and hinges more on variety, so eat your assorted veggies and some fruit or something (. For more detailed info on nutrition from people who actively research it in lifters and high-performance athletes, check out the info put out by Renaissance Periodization (particularly Mike Israetel), Brad Schoenfeld, Alan Aragon, and Eric Helms.


    Recovery-wise, I'm less informed on the technical side, but in practical terms, your body needs to recover from many things (at the end of the day everything is physiological in nature; neurotransmitters and hormones need to be resynthesized and stored, nutrients need to be processed, used, and stored, cells and extracellular components need to be resynthesized, tissular detritus, dead cells, metabolites, etc need to be processed, your immune system needs to do its thing, and so on and so forth, and there's only so much your body can do at once, with only so much energy with which to do it, and comparatively stress-free downtime in which to do it. Training is one stress that needs to be recovered from, but there are many others. All the cases I've seen of what is usually attributed to "overtraining" (overtraining syndrome is a series of burnout-like symptoms such as low motivation, low energy, irritability, low libido, etc, associated in the literature with sustained training at volumes, frequencies, and intensities too high to be sustainable, but many people run with the term and fearmonger rampantly whenever trains a lot, particularly via the notion that one MUST be on drugs to train a lot) haven't been from incredible training volumes, but from multiple life stresses (psych, emotional, work-related, health issues, etc) piling up simultaneously, and all were resolved by essentially dedicating time to R&R. Bottom line: no recovery = no reason to even train, so try to live easy where possible, and catch your Zs like your name is Ash from Pallet Town.
     
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  13. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    So now you have a rough idea of how to structure your training, of what things you can do when you train, and of the necessity of proper food and rest. Let's move on to how to actually make a program: We need to look at your current schedule (and whatever stresses both general and specific may be already present therein), at your goals and their implications, and finally to the arrangement of the program itself, in light of all the above info:


    Look at: work, study, social and family life, and existing training.

    Is your work physically demanding? Do you have a horrible boss or coworkers on whom you want to use black magic? Is the workload itself really tiring? Any 'yes' here will mean that you have stress from your work that needs to be taken into account. Same thing if you're studying something and uni is stressful, or if you have nagging relatives or a loved one who is ill, etc. Finally, your MA and other "extracurricular training" (cardio circuits, for example). All this will factor into your recovery demands, as well as obviously taking up time, so you need to see where and how you can fit in strength training so that it: A) Isn't enormously borked by existing stresses (ie no deadlifting if you just worked moving heavy boxes and fried your lower back, no going and doing heavy technically demanding lifts immediately after a class that you know is stressful or mentally tiring, or after a beasting at BJJ, etc); B) Minimally borks the rest of your schedule, or does so with the least inconvenience possible (either training or whatever it displaces would then become an annoying chore, and that will be extra stress). If you handle rest and nutrition adequately, life is good, and you manage your training stimuli properly, then in between weights, circuits and MA you can easily train every day and/or do two or all of them in a single day on some days, but it takes some management and a lot of concessions (ie none of the training can always, 100% of the time, be at full speed ahead, it has to flow such that you can recover from everything to keep training productively and adapting). Coincidentally, Mike Israetel who I mentioned in the nutrition section, is a very big and strong lifter and bodybuilder, an avid BJJ practitioner and competitor, AND a university teacher with a PhD who regularly travels to give international seminars and talks, so he's also someone to check out WRT balancing weight training, martial arts, and all of life, the universe, and everything. I seem to remember him having at one point spoken or written specifically about it somewhere, but I can't find the link right now. Another good resource would be Ross Enamait, the boxer dude who does all the training with homemade strength equipment and is strong like bull. Icefield here on MAP is also savvy about it and has posted multiple times on the subject, iirc.


    -


    So, once you determine more or less when and for how long you can lift, and what you can push hard and what needs easing back on each day, you then need to look at which lifts you'll do in that time. Your general goal we've gone over in the above sections; more strength, not much more size. Now basic strength training is fundamentally more or less the same for everyone, particularly at the start; you pull some, you push some, you squat and/or deadlift some, and you gradually go heavier while learning to do the movements less wrong (remember strength is as much about how much of your potential force you can properly exert where you want to do so as it is about how hard your muscle fibers can contract). However, your reason for getting stronger can influence your choices, as depending on what you want to do, you may want to prioritize certain lifts above others, add certain lifts, remove others, etc, within the framework of basic training.

    Taking as an assumption that you want to be stronger for MMA, you'll need to be strong all over, basically. Barbell lifts are some of the highest load lifts you can do, but are almost always bilateral and symmetrical with no lateral or rotational components, and will overwhelmingly work extension of the trunk, but not flexion (the abs will work to stabilize, but are best developed with a bit of dedicated work). At the strength training level, rotational and lateral strength can be developed somewhat by doing unilateral work without needing to rotate or bend sideways, simply due to the stabilization demands of asymmetrical work, so lunges, one-arm rows, and one-arm presses or push presses (with any implement for the former and a dumbbell or kettlebell for the latter two) can be useful, and if you have an ab wheel or can build one you literally don't need anything else for abs (nor for lats, freeing up time that you might otherwise need to spend training your back), with planks being an adequate substitute and/or progression. Squats and deadlifts will work non-lateral, non-rotational strength in your legs, hips, and lower back better than basically anything else, so one squat and one deadlift variant per program will likely serve you well for years, more so if supplemented with lunges or something similar. Within squats, front squats will work a lot of back extension strength as the weight will try to flex your spine, but they will also fatigue your back more than back squats. Conventional deadlifts are in the same boat, whereas Sumo deadlifts are less taxing on the back but rely more on leg strength, and both will contribute to strength in the lats (keeping the bar close to be more upright and not faceplant); use your best judgment WRT which variants to use, always keeping in mind you can regulate the training variables to increase compatibility. That pretty much takes care of the legs, hips and trunk, leaving the upper limb. You can push upwards, you can push forwards, you can pull backwards, and you can pull downwards. If you do one-arm rows, you don't need much additional pulling, maybe some chin-ups, or strict barbell or machine rows, and you can pretty much do whichever pushing variants you want. Flat bench press is the highest-load push, but by itself is slightly risky for the shoulder joints, so best paired with an overhead move and/or general mobility work, which is likely already covered by your grappling. In the long run, you'll also benefit from shoulder, spine and hip work. Heavy strict pulling and your grappling work will likely do for shoulders; grappling, deadlifts, and ab work will do for your spine, and squats, deadlifts, and lunges for your hips, but there's always the chance you'll need some dedicated work later on.

    Re: Kettlebells: Kb swings, if done really heavy (for which in the long run a T-handle is preferable and more affordable), may or may not be of use, although opinions on that vary (many very strong people do really heavy swings, many more don't swing at all; *shrug*). Look up material by Dan John for some nice KB stuff integrated with some general strength stuff.

    Regarding speed and explosiveness, some exercises, like heavy swings, the Olympic lifts (not recommendable unless you want to compete in weightlifting or have a very savvy sports coach making you do them), throws, slams, jumps, etc, are designed to necessarily be done quickly, so their performance hinges on maximizing implement speed. This has, as previously mentioned, some partial overlap with maximal strength training, where maximizing implement speed makes you push harder, since more force acting on the same object will result in it moving faster, although in strength training that's relative and can actually be quite slow in absolute terms (it's the maximal effort that you want, with the comparatively increased speed being a side effect rather than an initial necessity). In explosive exercises, the load is kept relatively low most of the time (Olympic lifting is one exception to this) so that speed and/or throw distance are maximized, and in maximal strength training you aim for maximal speed on the push so that you end up exerting maximal force, and can therefore move the heaviest possible load, or move submaximal loads with more oomph and less fatigue per rep (since they take less time to do). Another peculiarity worth noting is that pulling movements like rows have their hardest point at the top of the pull rather than halfway-ish like pushing moves, so instead of failing them halfway through, you can keep going, but at shorter ranges of motion. This makes stuff like maximal or circamaximal rows a very silly thing, so they're generally done for lower weight and higher reps, and/or enforcing strict technique for low-rep sets, even for strength work.

    Finally, remember that strength is specific; if you train just to get strong, perfect, but if you want to apply your strength to something else (for example, martial arts), then you need to transfer the strength that you build in the weightroom to the motor patterns of the activity you want to strengthen, and that means that you need to keep practicing your sport-specific skills, same as you would your weightroom technique, such that you can perform the motions with the least "bleed" possible that would slow you down or hold you back. Just lifting will make you strong in general, but may not necessarily immediately make you strong at something in particular, unless you focus on doing that thing in particular, harder, so to speak.
     
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  14. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    Ok, last bit now: How to actually build a bloody program now that we know all this stuff :p


    You know that volume needs to be moderate and intensity needs to be high, and all that jazz, but no reference values for it, which is inconvenient. Different people have different thresholds and tolerances for volume, and there are different ways of looking at that, but one important initial reference is how intensity relates to repetition-maximums (that is, how many reps you can do at any given weight, and then do no more). This can vary, but a one example is this (check the table labelled "Estimated Reps at Percent of 1 Repetition Maximum"; these percentages correspond to formulae that the gentlemen named in the left column used to estimate a 1RM off a given rep-max (example, 1RM 100kg, Brzycki says you can do up to 7 reps with 80kg, Baechle says with 83kg; if you do 7 reps with 83kg, Baechle would estimate your 1RM is 100, but Brzycki would say it's 103 and change). This gives you an idea of how many reps you can do with any given weight, which over time you'll learn to tweak based on experience and trial and error, and later to just eyeball weights or rep counts and immediately have a rough idea of what you can do. Next, now that you know how much you CAN do, you need to know how much you SHOULD do, ie how many sets of how many reps. One good reference for this is Prilepin's chart (Prilepin was a Soviet researcher who worked with Olympic weightlifters, and his chart goes over guidelines they used for planning training volume, and has since been copied and bastardized all over the internet). As always, generic rules risk being suboptimal for the individual, but as a starting point it's one of the best (keeping in mind that it was devised specifically for weightlifting specific training, which is heavily power- and technique-based and so high reps are generally avoided and high speed is generally desirable).

    Now, when you start, in between the stimulus being new, and you needing to develop lifting technique, you MUST start light, and gradually and progressively add weight, and there's not much point fiddling with volume and frequency, so might as well keep them moderate but constant at first; the technique work will naturally transition to strength work as the weight gets heavy enough, and you may breeze right through your initial "max" and never know it (the "newbie gains" you'll often see mentioned across the net, and the basic principle behind many popular "linear progression" routines such as Stronglifts, in which the weight is continuously increased workout by workout with everything else staying the same).

    Afterwards, when the beginner progress machinery starts grinding to a halt and either the weights simply stop moving or you find yourself needing to take a break due to starting to burn out, you'll need to start training in a cyclic manner, where the chart and other resources like it become more relevant: Alternating periods of recovery ("deloads", generally a week of either easier training or outright rest) with short cycles of gradually ramping training (usually a month or thereabouts, depends on the person and on the program) where one or more training variable is periodically increased (per week usually), going from easy to unsustainably hard, using the deloads to recover and adapt enough that the next work period can be heavier, or higher-volume, or whatever other progression you choose. This is also when any needed changes in training focus are usually made, such as switching to a strength cycle after working hypertrophy, or priming the body to manifest maximal effort after spending time building strength but having accumulated fatigue that prevents you from expressing it.

    A reference such as Prilepin's chart, combined with some common sense (for example, if a movement is technically demanding, don't do too many reps on it or fatigue will deform your technique and it won't be productive, or don't do high volume work for the same movement too many days in a row or you won't recover well from it, etc), an idea of your limits based on the end of your beginner gains, and a couple of tweaks on the march should then let you pretty quickly settle on numbers that work well for you on a per workout basis (weekly frequency is going to be more individual as it's an extension of volume, and volume tolerance varies a lot, so it'll be more trial and error), while progress can be gauged after each deload by seeing if you can lift more weight for a given volume, more volume for a given weight, or if you can lift better, or faster at the same weight and volume; this may be found out during the course of a regular training cycle, then estimating a new max with a calculator or eyeballing an approximate number based on performance, or you could choose to test it on purpose outside of regular training, both of which would then let you assess your current training plan and/or make an updated one for optimization purposes.


    As an example of how something like this might go, and to integrate all of the above info, let's (arbitrarily) say you lift 2x a week and do squat, strict press, and row one day, and deadlift, bench press, lunge the other one, all for 3 sets of 3 to 5 reps:


    You might start with an empty Olympic barbell (20kg) on strict press and bench press, row, lunge, and squat, and 40kg or so on the deadlift so that you can lift from the floor. An initial linear progression might have you adding 2.5kg per session (in this case the same as per week) to the strict press (the lowest-load lift here), 2.5-5kg to the bench press, the row and the lunge, and 2.5-10kg to the deadlift and squat (unless you have a longcat-level torso, you'll usually tend to have more DL than squat strength, but deadlifts are still generally more fatiguing due to tiring out the lower back, so keeping them more or less equal can help prevent the deadlift from spoiling the party as the weights go up).

    Maybe (arbitrarily) the first weights at which you'd fail a final set of 3 on a linear progression like this (remember these numbers are completely made up) would be a 50kg strict press, a 72.5kg bench press, a 100kg lunge, a 65kg row, a 110kg squat, and a 130kg deadlift. These lifts obviously won't get there at the same time, with some hitting their first stall earlier than others.

    The normal solution in a linear progression, instead of a planned deload week, is that, as each lift stalls, the next workout you roll that lift back by X kg (let's say three weeks' worth for each lift) and continue as usual, staggering the lift rollbacks as they each stall in turn, until you've rolled them all back a certain number of times, or they just stop going up, upon which you take a break for a week or so, and move in to cyclic training.

    Maybe you make progress through several rollbacks until it basically stops dead, and you end up with a final set of 3 of (again, arbitrary made-up numbers) 65kg on strict press, 95kg on bench press, 112.5kg on lunge, 80kg on row, 145kg on squat, 162.5kg on deadlift. Those lifts are now not going anywhere, your body aches, you're tired, your BJJ is suffering because you feel like you went through a wood chipper, the works; you then decide to take a rest week, enjoy life again, and shove so much food into your gob that the UN sends you an angry letter telling you to stop.
     
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  15. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    Your first linear progression is over, you have rested and now feel super fine, but now it's time to get back in the gym; you need a plan, and our boy Prilepin has got your back. You want strength, so you know you want to lift really heavy, and you decide you'll use the 80-90% numbers, because those last heavier workouts on the LP did not feel very nice. The chart is meant for weightlifting's lower volume training of explosive lifts, but you decide to use it as is because you try to lift as fast as possible, and need to minimize fatigue because of your BJJ and conditioning circuits, so you settle on 3 sets of 3 reps for each lift; you remember how unstable heavy lunges felt, and how you were cutting heavy rows short, and decide you'll use the 70-80% numbers for them instead and do 3 sets of 6 reps. You use a 1RM calculator to get an approximate max for each lift, calculate 75% of that for your 3x6 lunges and rows (side note: 75% of a tested 1RM is close to the maximum usable weight for 5x5 all at the same weight, with some being able to go up to 80-ish), and 85% for the rest, and you resume training, this time increasing the weight by around 5% of 1RM per week, rounding to the nearest 2.5kg. Two weeks later, you're trying 85% for 3x6 and 95% for 3x3, which are percentages and volumes that under ordinary circumstances do not belong together. Depending on how accurately you predicted your 1RM, your particular individual variation, how well you adapted during your deload, etc, you may succeed with those numbers (if you underestimated your 1RM and/or adapted extremely well and got a ton stronger), or you may not, but you're already going beyond the numbers recommended in the chart, so you decide to deload (maybe with lower reps, maybe with lower weight, maybe both). You decide you were a bit overzealous with your progression, so in the next cycle, you decide to start a little bit heavier, at 80% and 90%, but only increase the weight by 2.5% per week, so you'd finish it at the same numbers, but how those numbers feel, how fast the bar moves, how many of those goal reps you get in the last week, etc will tell you if you got stronger or not.


    Maybe then, during your subsequent deload, you get an itch to really know what your maxes are, so you decide you'll test them the next week, before starting a new cycle. You could do a 1RM proper, but it just happens that your MA training groups are ramping up the physical training at the time, and six 1RMs in one week plus MMA, BJJ, etc, would ruin you, so you do a very relaxed 3RM for each lift instead; one that you guess you could have done for maybe 5-6 reps if you had gone all out and lifted like your life depended on it, but you purposefully lifted easy and left reps in the tank to recover. Knowing this, you use the 1RM calculator and compare the results for those weights as 5RM instead. Now you have six probably more accurate, but potentially slightly-too-high estimated maxes, but knowing the numbers that you hit last month, you can check what percentages of your new maxes those weights are, use that as a reference to see if they match the reps that the rep-max charts say correspond to those percentages, and make adjustments to the max estimate as needed before you run it through Prilepin's chart again to see what numbers you're going to do when you resume normal training, possibly starting lighter if needed for adequate recovery from the 3RMs without having to deload again.


    Something like this (the general method, not the specific lifts or numbers here, which are arbitrary) would let you very comfortably structure training for a fairly long time with minimal fuss once you get used to it, and the fuss itself will take a long while to arrive as you literally spend weeks only adding weight each session.
     
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  16. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    Aaaaand done. Hopefully that's intelligible and of use to you, else I shall be sad.
     
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  17. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Seriously great info Fish.

    Are you studying S&C at uni?
     
  18. hewho

    hewho Valued Member

    Fish, I think I love you!
     
  19. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    Nah, physiotherapy. I just lift for fun :p
     
  20. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Oh awesome, a fellow PT! :D Are you going to specialise in a specific branch (msk/neuro/resp)? (Apologies if you've already graduated btw lol)
     

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