Home Posts tagged "Weight Training" (Page 5)

Who Needs Training Percentages?

Q: Eric - I bought your e-book on deloading. Thanks for it! I'm 57 and compete in WABDL. I'm going to do the high-medium-very high-low programming set-up you outlined prior to the 8 week precontest cycle you mention. What percentages do you use in those eight weeks? My next meet is June 14th, so including this week, I'm 12 weeks out. Thanks! A: I rarely use percentages. Think about it this way... If you test your squat and it's 500 at the beginning of a 16-week cycle, and then put 50 pounds on it over the course of that period, the percentages based on that 500 number aren't very accurate by the time week 11, 12, 13, etc. roll around, are they? The secret is to build tests into your training program. Within the high, medium, very high, low set-up, it's best to test them right at the end of the medium and low phases. Or, if you're a more experienced lifter, you can rotate exercises on a weekly basis - and test maxes on lifts almost weekly as long as they're changing. So, an 8-week set-up for bringing up a back squat using this approach might look like: Week 1, High: Front Box Squat, work up to a heavy single, then 5 singles over 90% of that 1RM Week 2: Medium: Trap Bar Deadlift, 1RM, then two singles over 90% of that 1RM Week 3, Very High: Back Squat, 5 sets of 3 Week 4, Low: Sumo Deadlifts, 3x3 easy Week 5, High: Box Squat, 1RM, then 5 more singles over 90% of that 1RM Week 6, Medium: Front Squat, 4x4 Week 7, Very High: Back Squats, 1RM, then 8 more singles over 90% of that 1RM Week 8, Low: 3x5 nice and light back squats (maintain familiarity) Week 9: Retest Back Squat 1RM as part of Week 1 of next phase Week 0: 1RM Back Squat Test
The Art of the Deload
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Rugby Recovery

I am currently in the midst of my rugby season and have a few questions for you. My training schedule breaks down as follows. We play a match every saturday morning (80 intense minutes), train for 1 hour-1.5 hours Tuesday evening, Wednesday evening AND Thursday evening. These training sessions can be pretty tough.

I would like to continue resistance training but am finding it very difficult to recover from the training sessions alone. I feel stiff, sore and rundown by thursday and am often not 100% for the match. I fear throwing in weights to the mix will exacerbate the situation. Do you have any tips for recovery and how would you implement resistance training into this schedule? Cheers in advance EC, your book is awesome!

It's all about selecting the appropriate volume and exercises.

In terms of volume, you need to keep volume down and frequency up in the 2-3 sessions per week range. Sessions shouldn't last more than 30-40 minutes. Get in, keep your strength up with a few heavy sets, then do just enough prehab work to keep you healthy.

In terms of exercise selection, don't rotate exercises too frequently in-season. Stick to familiar ones to minimize soreness.

Eric Cressey
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Lifting at a Young Age

Thanks for your great articles and for the guidance you provide here. I'm planning to buy your Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual and had asked a question over on EricCressey.com and Omri asked me to post it here: I have enjoyed lifting for the past 30 years and now my 11 and 12-year-old nephews are training with me in the weight room. They are making tremendous gains in strength and are very enthusiastic about our workouts. Family members are appreciative of the time I spend helping them and can see the results, but they are also expressing concerns because of their young age. The boys are in early and mid-puberty and are both tall for their age (5'7"). They have a great-uncle who is 6'10", so they will possibly be pretty big. They're growing very fast right now. Their family has a history of knee problems on both sides of the family. Also three generations of hernia weaknesses on one side of the family. The older boy has very flat feet, but they seem to still enjoy running and sports (tennis and volleyball). Are there any lifts that we should be avoiding at this stage? Any dangers of bone damage, hernias, etc? I realize that you would have to send them to a Dr. for a physical in order to give a certain answer, and standard disclaimers apply, but considering that they both seem to be perfectly healthy and doing very well, it doesn't seem like the program is doing anything but good at this point. I have helped them see what proper form looks like and they are both adamant about form (and they tell ME when I'm not using proper form!). Would appreciate any insight, especially things I need to watch out for which could be doing more harm than good. Thanks again. Your goal should be to expose them to a wide variety of movements and set them up for success. Keep it interesting and FUN. Avoid maximal loading, obviously, but do work to incorporate quantifiable progressive overload for the kids; it'll keep them motivated. Start with plenty of body weight drills; get them stable at the lumbar spine, shoulders, and knees, and mobile at the ankles, hips, and thoracic spine. That'll set them up for success long-term. Getting them barefoot more often is great. The weight-training will actually help tremendously in avoiding that "clumsy" stage that occurs when guys grow a lot in a short amount of time. Avery Faigenbaum from The College of New Jersey has some good writing on this subject, and Brian Grasso (IYCA.org) is the king of training young athletes. GREAT reading material. Good luck! Eric Cressey
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Enhance your Pressing Days

Hey Eric. I just wanted to see if I could get some quick suggestions from you. I have been powerlifting for a little over a year now and absolutely love the sport. I had been training hard since 2001, but eventually training just to train lost its luster. So I turned to the strength sports. I compete raw in the 181 class and typically weigh 175-178 at any given time. My Squat and deadlift have made steady progress over the past year...I have primarily been using the basic westside template the entire time. Right now I am squatting around 425-435 and deadlifting consistently in the low 500s. My bench press is where I have absolutely made no progress at all...I have actually regressed. In my meet this past weekend I only managed 275 and struggled with 286 as if it were 350. The most I have ever done in competition is 290. I have followed your writing as well as many of the coaches on T-Nation and elitefts. I have read stuff from Bill Hartman about determining whether or not you are elastic dominant or muscle dominant. Right now I think I may need some more muscular based work...going from that dead stop after the pause in competition is very difficult for me...my sticking point seems to be basically right on my chest. If you could throw some suggestions my way on things I can do on my pressing days to improve things I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks for all that you contribute and keep up the good work! A few thoughts on this front: First, it would definitely be to your advantage to get your body weight up a bit during the off-season; bench and squat gains tend to come along quicker when you are less cognizant of weight and more in tune with eating what it takes to support performance. When the time is right, gradually take the weight off and work to maintain the strength you've built. Second, work on strengthening your upper back and really emphasize both speed and heavy work off the chest with a pause. Good luck! Eric Cressey
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Changing Parameters: Volume and Intensity

Q: It's almost the off season and I can't wait to start hitting the weights hard again. Just need your wisdom on a few things. I don't fully understand the volume and intensity weeks. If I perform, for example, 4 sets of 4 for deadlifts on week 1, and the next week calls for 6 singles, how am I supposed to progress since the parameters have been changed so much? I hope that makes sense, thanks for your time EC. A: Work up to a PR in good form for the day in week 2 - and then work backward from that. Let's say you work up to 400 and it's the best you can do in good form - and on the way up, you took 365 as your last warm-up. 360 is 90% of 400, so you've got two singles over 90% at that point. Then, take four more singles between 360 and 400, and you're done. www.EricCressey.com
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Clarifying A Jaw Dropping Study

Q: Just got The Art of the Deload. The overtraining study you quoted was fairly jaw dropping (for me). I always thought intensity overtraining was worse than volume, but it appears to be the opposite. Given that study, it would appear to me that the best way to induce hypertrophy (via rep work) would do a 1 set to within 1 rep of failure, then do rest pauses or drops, but not to total failure. Thus, you have minimum nervous system fatigue and little potentially anabolic hormone level lowering volume fatigue. Do you agree? A: I wouldn't say that one is necessarily worse than the other - just that intensity-related overtraining is tougher to detect. Basically, a performance drop-off is all that you'll see (nothing endocrine, and no muscle damage markers). I think the secret is fluctuation of training stress. It's always about finding a balance between stressors and tolerance to stress. Supplements can help, sleep can help, minimizing stress can help - and the same goes for a host of other factors. The right answer is constantly fluctuating based on what's going on in the world outside the gym. What you outlined might work one week, be too little another week, and too much in a third week. The secret is to listen to your body and eventually learn to be one step ahead of it. Eric Cressey Download My New Special Report: The Art of the Deload
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From Old School to New School

Q: I just ordered and downloaded your e-book, The Art of the Deload. I am going to scour and devour it, I am curious about my situation, I am about to turn 50, I am entering my 22nd year of competitive powerlifting, I am used to linear cycles ( I know, seriously old-school) I have toyed with a Westside type template, where I took their standard Max-effort/Dynamic Effort and rolled it over on a three day program (Mon-Wed-Fri Mon), But, when I jump-started my lifting career last Sept for a Push-Pull meet I went back to the standard linear cycle. After that long winded intro, here is my dilemma, I have a full meet on the last Sat of April (first time for a full meet in 5 years due to Five knee operations) Would a jump into a deloading cycle help me of hurt me this close to a full meet (Raw, no Gear, and no "Gear")? I have already written out and started lifting my typical Cycle, Should I "dance with the girl who brung me" or kick the old girl to the curb and consider a cycle with the deloading weeks built in? A: Thanks for your email - and your purchase. As you can probably tell from my e-book, I'm not a fan of linear periodization at all. If you look at the research (Rhea et al from Arizona State), you'll see that it's been proven inferior to undulating models on multiple occasions. And, anecdotally, the conjugated periodization have had much more success when they switched away from linear. And, to be honest, if you've had five knee surgeries in five years, you ought to take some PLANNED deloads so that you don't have to take UNPLANNED ones. Give this article a read; I think it'd interest you in how I structure my stuff: You can count backward from the date of your meet.
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Smith Machine Salaries

As of July 1, 2006, the IHRSA reported that there were 29,000 commercial fitness centers/health clubs in the U.S. Now, this is a few years old - and we're in a growing industry (this number had more than doubled since 1995). So, just for the heck of it (and because I'm not going to search around too hard to find the new info), let's say that there are 32,000 now - plus another 3,000 hotel gyms. Next, assume that of these 35,000 exercise facilities in the US, 80% have purchased Smith machines; that's 28,000 Smith machines in the country. I've seen these retail at anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500 - so let's just say that retail at $1,500. Figure a 30% profit on each one, and here's what you get: 28,000 x $1,500 = $42 million $42 million x 30% = $12.6 million Let's assume that these gyms replace their Smith machine, on average, every three years. $42 million / 3 years = $14 million $12.6 million / 3 years = $4.2 million So what does this tell us? Smith machines are a $14 million/year industry in the U.S alone. There may be 42 people in the U.S. grossing six figure incomes from Smith machines alone. Scary thought.... Now, just imagine: leg extensions are even more popular than Smith machines. Scary thoughts, indeed.
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Troubleshooting End Range Shoulder Pain

Q: I have pain in the front of my shoulder just at the end of my range of motion on rows. I thought rows were the universally safe exercise when it comes to shoulder health? A: Normally, they’re a very safe bet – but as with any exercise, if performed incorrectly (or not matched to individual tolerances), they can cause problems. This scenario most commonly occurs when the humerus goes into end-ROM extension, but the scapula stops retracting. Generally, this early end to retraction occurs secondary to a tight pec minor, which gets people stuck in protraction and anterior tilt. When you keep forcing extension on a fixed scapula, the humeral head translates forward in the joint capsule – and you can develop anterior shoulder laxity over time. A strong subscapularis can help to resist this anterior pull. However, if your pec minor and infraspinatus/teres minor are tight, subscapularis is weak, and you’re forcing end-range a bit too hard, it’ll irritate you sooner than later. This is why it’s so important to ensure that the shoulder blade move back AND down as you row. You’ll be in trouble if the scapula tilts anteriorly as you approach end-range. Obviously, there are a ton of other factors at work with shoulder function, but this is a good Cliff’s Notes version to what’s going on with you. Eric Cressey


Click here to purchase the most comprehensive shoulder resource available today: Optimal Shoulder Performance - From Rehabilitation to High Performance.
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Should You Always Lift Your Heaviest?

Q: I have a question for you in regards to your Off-Season Training Manual. In regards to writing programs and actually doing them, how important is lifting the heaviest weight possible always? I am for the first time getting out of progressive overload style progression and I like the layout of High, Medium, Very High, Deload. I have already started to incorporate this into my training program. At the same time, I am fuzzy on exactly how to figure out how much weight I should be putting up week-in, week-out. With progressive overload it was pretty easier. If I did the weight one week, I move up the next. I have read through the entire thread and you've only mentioned that you should always be using the heaviest possible weight. Maybe I'm over thinking this, but in my mind adding weight while removing volume is essentially the same amount of work. i.e. If I drop a set when moving from high to medium, but add 10lbs to the working weight, am I really even doing a medium amount of work? Regardless, I guess any general advice on your strategy in regards to actual weight on the bar management would be good. A: You have to listen to your body. No, you aren't going to PR every time you walk in the gym, but it is still important to get some work in. I've often said that programming is 75% in advance, and 25% on the fly. You need to learn to roll with the punches and listen to your body. Additionally, it's important to learn to understand how rotating your heaviest compound exercises plays into this. You'll see that in the programs in the book, you change every other week. More advanced lifters can change weekly. Novice lifters can go 4-6 weeks without plateauing. Understand where you fall and act accordingly. Eric Cressey
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  • Avoid the most common deadlifting mistakes
  • 9 - minute instructional video
  • 3 part follow up series