Monday, June 24, 2013

Random Reflections on the Past 7+ Years of Real Physical Training


I got into the world of real strength training about 2004 or so through Pavel's book Power to the People. Before that i was educated through mainstream bodybuilding (classic 3x10 with isolation plus bodypart splits) books and conventional rehab books (again 3x10 and isolations, squats are bad for your knees which i did not believe by the way etc.).

Fast forward to present. I have delved deeply into some of the most revolutionary fitness system in the market. Here are some of my reflections from each system.

Max Strength Days - Hard Style (Russian Kettlebell Challenge, Naked Warrior, Enter the Kettlebell, Optimum Performance Training System) 2004 - 2007+

Best things learned:

1. Strength is built by tensing the muscles as hard as possible (near 1RM).

2. Intensity is determined by %1RM, not by how fatigued you are, nor by volume.

3. Irradiation (in CST language: "the tighter the lighter" or The 7 Key Components of Structure).

4. 2 sets of 2 exercises is enough per workout to induce strength gains.

5. Volume builds hypertrophy.

Mistake made:

1. Not knowing about Compensatory Movements, leading to Elbow Tendonitis and Shoulder Tendonitis / Impingement.

What could i have done:

1. Stretch and back off.

Why i stopped to pursue the next system:

1. Low rep sets are not sufficient to make big jumps in weight (eg sets of 5 of 24kg kettlebell press to progress to 32kg).

2. Higher rep sets are not good done with maximal tension due to fatigue.

Next up...

Strength Endurance Days - (high rep pistols done kettlebell sport style, Kettlebell Sport and International Clubbell Sport, all with Circular Strength Training background) 2008 - 2009+

Best things learned:

1. All Circular Strength Training principles.

2. High reps build strength and conditioning to make big jumps in weight for kettlebell sport (4kg increments).

Mistakes made:

1. Not doing much maximal strength training leading to stalling at 24kg.

2. Not enough program design experience nor access to good programming.

3. Not doing a wide enough vocabulary of movement leading to weaknesses in combative training.

What i could have done:

1. Maintaining a maximal strength routine on Moderate Days.

2. As above.

3. Use what i learned before in Optimum Performance (NASM based) on program design: horizontal push, horizontal pull, vertical pull, vertical push, hip dominant, quad dominant, core ec.

Why i stopped to pursue the next system:

1. To strengthen movements in 6 degrees of freedom.

Conditioning Days - (TACFIT 26 and other TACFIT) 2010 to early 2013

Best things learned:

1. Conditioning and strength endurance are totally different animals.

2. All around athleticism is much better trained.

3. Bodyweight exercises which are explosive and / or mobility based are easy to progress and maintain.

Mistakes made:

1. Not doing much maximal strength training leading to stalling at Level 3 / Beta (ie 24kg kettlebell, 35lb clubbell).

2. Maximal strength (barbell work, particularly Deadlift) although have not been trained much have decreased significantly from an actual 1RM of 120kg @ 62kg in 2006 to and estimated 1RM of 99.0kg @ 65kg on 7 May 2013.

What i could have done:

1. Maintaining maximal strength work on Moderate Days.

Why i stop to pursue the next system:

1. To bring up my maximal strength. I think it is obvious from the past two training systems that when i drop maximal strength work, stalling is inevitable. I stalled at double 24kg in kettlebell sport and now stall again at 24kg in TACFIT 26. Recent training also shows me that to get better in TACFIT 26 at 35lb, i need to specifically train with 35lb for strength. This is also confirmed by training clients. Simply if they can't do a certain weight properly at Moderate intensity, no way are they going to use it as a working weight at High Intensity.

Next up...

Max Strength Again

Convict Conditioning and 5/3/1 would be my main training protocols for maximal strength. Conditioning wise, i am taking a break and maybe test once in a while to see where i am at compared to previously.

However to avoid the same mistakes made before when doing Max Strength Days in 2004 - 2007+, no longer are reps restricted to 5 or so. Milk all the reps as long as i can get benefits from it, as recommended in Convict Conditioning. Maybe i'll progress only when i reach 50 reps for each exercise / weight. We'll see...

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