Thoughts on S&C: What I planned to do VS what I do

So in [this] post, I’ve given you some insight into what Chris and I are going to do in the gym over the course of the next few weeks. Since we’re going to fight on March 16th/17th (as a matter of fact, Chris is fighting tomorrow as well as next Saturday, that’s two tournaments in two weeks), I’ve drawn a whole lot of inspiration from [Dan]’s and Pavel’s [Easy Strength]. On a totally unrelated side note, I was impressed to see those guys are citing [Prof. Schmidtbleicher]… but I digress.

Anyhow, what I planned on doing was pretty much something like this:

  1. Hit the gym on Wednesday and Friday
  2. Do Power Cleans and Power Snatches to build power (do one of those heavy, limit the second to technique practice)
  3. Do Deadlifts and Squats to maintain strength (“kind of” max out on one of them every week, don’t do both in the same week)

Now usually coaching is a feedback-driven activity, the order of events looks something like this:

  1. Assess (where do you stand?)
  2. Plan (where do you want to be, when do you want to reach that goal, what do you have to do to make it happen?)
  3. Implement (go out there and work hard in the gym)
  4. Evaluate results and re-asses, start over from point 2 (did everything – or anything – work out like you planned it to? If not, why not? What do you have to change? If it did, where do you want to go now?)

That’s pretty much the “right” way to do it – pragmatic, analytical and result oriented. Yet still, sometimes, the results of step 2 (the planning part) don’t “feel quite right” when you’re actually training. That’s when people start to improvise. That’s also when things usually start to go south… I know all of this, but still, I’ve decided to modify the original plan a bit.

So, what I’m actually doing now (Chris and Frank didn’t hit the gym lately, as they’ll compete tomorrow) is this:

  1. Hit the gym on Monday, Wednesday and Friday
  2. Do Power Cleans for power (implement a [linear progression] model, do three working sets on every workout. Ditch Snatches ATM. For one, my right shoulder is giving me serious issues, so putting weight overhead probably ain’t the best of ideas. Also, Chris and Frank need to learn proper Cleaning technique before progressing to the Snatch. Now in theory, I could do those Snatches on my own, but my motivation to train alone isn’t all that strong.)
  3. Do Deadlifts on Monday and Friday, Squat on Wednesday (I feel that deadlifting is more important for me, also, I suspect squatting to be harder on the knees. Might all be wrong, but right now, I’m rather content. On everything, I stick to “easy strength” standards, so I don’t go all-out on anything. I quit every set when there’s at least one rep left in the tank.)
  4. Do three sets of six bodyweight Pull-Ups. For progression, reduce rest in between sets by 5 seconds every workout.

There you have it: three exercises per workout, four distinct exercises in total. Low sets, low reps, moderate-to-high intensity. A pull, a hinge, a squat, and a total-body explosive lift. Why no pushing, you ask? Well, I box a lot, so that should take care of horizontal pushing, at least in-season. I might add presses as a means of vertical pushing after the fight, haven’t made up my mind on that yet. Also, I might make Wednesday “Snatch day” as soon as my shoulder allows it. Time will tell.

Today’s session, for instance, looked like so:

Set # Power Clean Deadlift Pull-Up (115 sec rest between sets)
1 70 x 2 (warmup) 100 x 1 Bodyweight x 6
2 75 x 2 (warmup) 110 x 1 Bodyweight x 6
3 80 x 1 (work) 120 x 1 Bodyweight x 6
4 80 x 1 (work) 130 x 1
5 80 x 1 (work) 140 x 1 (easy!)
6 150 x 1 (medium-hard, quit)

Easy, huh? Well, maybe. But then it’s repeatable, to put it in Dan John’s words. I’ve already addressed the issue of not having a designated off-season in [this post]. Skipping gym time in-season probably would keep me from doing any strength training whatsoever. That’s not an option for me. In this regard, Pavel and John say “…don’t stop strength training in season but reduce the volume by two-thirds to one-half”. Ok, not a problem. Some other rules of “easy strength”:

  • Use a limited number of “big bang” exercises—for example, the deadlift and the floor press
    from Power to the People! – check (three exercises per workout, that’s pretty limited)
  • Lift two to three times a week. – (three times, check)
  • Keep the reps in the 1 to 5 range, emphasizing doubles and triples. (Okay, I’m going higher with the pull-ups. Might switch to sets of 5 with additional weight after the fight)

There’s a couple more rules to “easy strength”, which I won’t quote here for copyright reasons. Go fetch your own copy of that book, it’s worth it. Haven’t finished it yet, though, so I’m quite sure there’ll be another post or two inspired by that book…

So long,

take care

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