Finding your Hidden Strength Reserves

It’s amazing really, so many indirect actions are perfect metaphors other areas of your life. Take exercise for instance. From my observations, your level of dedication to your workouts indicates:

-How disciplined you are in other daily or frequently recurring activities (uh, diet anyone?)
-How much effort you put into those activities, or barring that:
-How hard you push to complete or push those activities to the next level

Of course, regular workouts can also contribute to your well-being on a daily and ongoing basis, but I’m talking about the less frequently connected dots in life. For instance, little victories in life tend to lead to, or contribute to a belief that you can, accomplish small (and large) victories in other areas of life.

Take a look around the fabric of your week after a good workout or two. What did you accomplish in those workouts? What did you attempt? How did you challenge yourself?

Often, we find that the best victory (especially as you push past 40!) in a workout is finding out how much effort we could give. Realizing, ‘damn, I didn’t know I had it in me!’

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter that you didn’t reach the goal, or complete the WOD. What matters, and what is most exhilirating, is discovering a power within you that had been dormant or undiscovered. A power that surfaces through the expenditure of energy from a synergy of mind and body.

That is what lifts you up. That feeling is what drives you on. Empowerment makes you realize that you have barely tapped your own potential, and damn that feels good.

Here’s my empowering workout from today. I really didn’t know I had it in me, specifically that many pullups in one workout. I have been struggling with consistency and setting up the right combination of home gym equipment in my garage and backyard. Now, I can’t wait to load up another 50 lb. sandbag and add weight to my pullups!

Warm-up at track:

-Joint rotations (see instructions here. Just scroll past the first paragraph for the videos.)
-3 laps (jog/walk; sprint/walk; sprint/walk)
Coupled those with:

Finger-only pullups: 3 sets of 3-4 (on a fat steel beam, thus the fingers only)

At home:

5 supersets of:

-Kipping&strict pullups: x 3-4 (not to failure)
-Sandbag ‘hug’ lift from floor, 100# x 1-2 (not going for failure)
-Single arm ‘gas-mower starters’ with 80-120# power band x 5 each

So now it’s your turn. Go out and start exercising. Do what you do, Crossfitter, runner, triathlete, whatever. If you don’t do anything, just walk. Really push yourself. Reach deep. When you want to quit, keep going. After you ignore that quitter a few times you might just forget about it altogether.

Chances are, you will discover something about yourself that was long forgotten, or perhaps you never even knew about.

Cheers,
Mo

Working Out the Same Muscles Two Days in a Row

In a recent Men’s Health magazine e-mail, they were pimping a book called “Huge in a Hurry” by Chad Waterbury. In this book the author expounds upon the virtues of working the same muscle groups multiple days in a row. 
Because I focus a lot on the energy system and performance aspect I am improving when I train, this concept made perfect sense to me. Let’s go over the basic idea here.
First, working the same muscle group two days in a row does not mean taking the same bodybuilding workout routine you did for your back and repeating it the next day. That is a sure way to overtraining. 
Instead, consider the gymnast. One day’s workout may consist of a typical warm-up, then technique work on the rings. If one day is heavy on the rings, the next day may be split between strength work (in the gym) and a review of the previous day’s techniques. 
The same muscle groups are being used, but the ring’s training load has decreased, and a different modality is used in the gym. The next may be spent doing recovery exercises. An example would be lighter resistance and stretching; nothing too heavy or difficult. 
Functional workouts, such as those used in Crossfit gyms or at GymJones, focus on a particular energy system. The workouts are designed to improve strength, power, endurance or build muscle; but usually a combination of these. This approach means the same muscle groups will often be trained several days in a row, or at least with less than 48 hours recovery time.

For example, an Absolute Strength day may look like this:
Warm-up: 10 minutes on stationary bike or rower.
Dynamic-specific warm-up for:
-Deadlift: 1-2 sets at 40-50 percent of 1 repetition max x 10-20. Not to failure.
Then:
-Deadlift: 5-6 sets; work up to singles or doubles at 90% of 1 rep. max.

A Strength Endurance day:
Same warm up and dynamic warm up (only one set this time.)
-Deadlift: 5 x 12, 6,5,3,12, working up to 80-85 percent 1 RM.
Between deadlift sets do:
Stationary bike or rower x 1 minute at hard pace.
After deadlift/sprint rest 90 seconds and repeat.
Finish with 20 minutes at steady pace on rower or bike.

A Power workout using the back squat could look like this:
General warm up
Dynamic warm up with bodyweight squats or light weight.
Then:
Back Squat: 8 x 3 reps. Use a fast but controlled eccentric movement (going down,) and accelerate the bar as fast as possible when standing up. The power reps are not to failure, and are done with 40-50 percent of your one rep. max.
Although you may not want to train any single performance aspet two days in a row, these workouts could be done as strength, endurance and power three days in a row. Or as strength, power and strength/endurance. Other combinations training sport specific activities are also possible.
There are training systems that subject the trainees to heavy workloads on a daily basis, such as the Bulgarian method. Bulgarian Olympic lifters have been known to work on maximum and near maximum lifts six days a week, often enduring more than one workout per day. 
If weightlifting is not your full-time job, though, stick to varying your workload and your intensity. The results will be magnificent, and you just might make faster gains than you ever have before.
***Get the advice of a professional trainer or coach (which I am not) before attempting new and different exercise programs!
Listen to Louie Simmons teaching about increasing bench pressing power. This man has a wealth of knowledge.
Get Chad Waterbury’s book “Huge in a Hurry” here:

                                           

For more information about lifting with bands, go here:

http://www.flexandflow.com

Read more about muscle-building workouts here:

http://www.realmusclefast.com

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