This post was going to be very different at first. Simply a continuation of our “how to program like a pro” post from Monday. Then I made the mistake of going on social media. Reading an “article” on how programming isn’t really necessary. Programming after all makes workouts not fun, so why bother?
When people right such articles, I wish they would do me one favor. Please provide me ONE example where throwing s&%t against the wall led to high levels of success!
Sports? Nope, they game plan, practice, and do everything possible to be prepared.
Business? No again, business plans, analyzing information, making forecasts, sounds like a lot of preparation.
Cooking? I’ll have to say no again. While there is great art in cooking, ever notice that most follow rules on how to combine and layer flavors, how even the most creative actually do pay attention to some general rules of recipes, food combinations, etc?
I am at a loss, I can’t think of one instance where not having a game plan, some thought, results in something great.
Here is the BIGGEST myth about fitness programs, they can’t be changed! It is as though people think they are etched in stone like the ten commandments. No, a program is simply a plan. What do successful sports coaches, business people, and cooks have in common? They can adapt, they can change, they can accommodate for what actually happens.
The BEST workout is addressing what we know the most about the individual and the fitness goal. The real goal of a program is to give us direction, help us problem solve, give us insight into what’s working and what is not!
Think of nutrition. What is the first thing experts will tell you to do, keep a food journal. Why? They want to see what you are doing, your habits, the direction of your eating habits.
What is the first thing life coaches tell people to do in order to make their goals more realistic? WRITE THEM DOWN!
So, you have to excuse my frustration when I continue to read following a program is overrated. Financial expert, Dave Ramsey, has a wonderful saying, “adults make plans and follow them, children do what feels good.” Does that mean programs are actually boring and no fun? You are just going to have to grunt through them and do your best to find enjoyment somewhere? Heck no!
You know what is more fun than the novel exercise of the day? That really crazy workout we just did? RESULTS! I guarantee you the one thing that will encourage, motivate, and help your determination is the fact you continue to see results. Let’s continue to figure out how we do that crazy thing of actually getting you to your goals!
How Much, How Heavy?
I was taking a friend through a program and he asked me if he could do more. When I asked him why, he said, “cause I’m an American and we always think more is better.” Oh, I love him, but that philosophy just isn’t reality.
Especially in fitness, more can cause overtraining, stagnation, and even losing some of the progress you once made. So, how do you know how much to do?
Part of it is knowing yourself, part of it is knowing your goals, part of it is being honest with your current fitness level.
As a general guideline, if you are looking to build strength and/or power, your repetitions should be between 1-5. How heavy? I always tell people they should be using a weight that they could maybe squeeze another repetition or two out. The reality is when people really go to failure, their technique is often long gone.
Does that mean if you want to “get in shape” you shouldn’t be using strength/power protocols? Absolutely you should! Having better strength and power means you have the capability of building better endurance. However, instead of doing the typical 2-3 minutes of rest in between sets, you can follow what strength coach, Robert Dos Remedios, calls power endurance.
Power, Strength, Endurance, Athleticism come in many forms!
Try performing short repetition sets with rather short rest intervals. For example….
Hard Swing or Heavy Rotational Lunges x 5 reps per side-rest 30 seconds
1 1/4 Bent-Over Rows x 5 reps-rest 30 seconds
Paused Front Loaded Squats x 5 reps-rest 30 seconds
Clean and Push Press x 5-rest 30 seconds
Repeat 4-5 rounds
With such a routine you begin to get the best of both conditioning and strength. After all, most people are looking for a beautiful blend of both endurance and feeling powerful!
When do you use higher repetitions though?
Higher repetitions have their place, they teach the body how to deal with lactic acid as well as other positives. You should implement these strategies AFTER you have done exercises that are either very complex (i.e. Rotational Lunge) heavy, or have a lot of compression (like moderate to heavy Front Loaded Squats).
Does this mean the Rotational Lunge can’t be done for high repetitions? No, yet, it does relate to your fitness level. I have seen even advanced individuals getting extremely sore because of the unique movement that the Rotational Lunge provides, so sticking with these recommendations is a good idea for a bit of time.
How do you put it together?
A1. Rotational Lunge x 6 each side-rest 30 seconds (complex)
A2. Pull-ups x 5-rest 30 seconds (heavy)
Alternate between the two exercises, repeat 3 times
B1.Front Loaded Good Mornings x 6-rest 30 seconds (compression)
B2. Push Presses x 10-rest 30 seconds
B3. Kneeling Press Outs x 10-rest 30 seconds
Go down the three movements in a circuit style
This would be a terrific start for most people. In our last post, I’ll share with you how you can progress the program over time and see how easy it is to make sure you are always making progress!