strength training

Top Ten Things I Apply to my Training Programs

Letterman

The following items are philosophical tenants I apply to all my training prescriptions and programs. I have found that when I keep these items at the forefront of my process of training, my athletes and clients are trained to a much higher level with less volume and fewer problems.
1. The first 5:00 minutes of the workout sets the tone for the entire session and the last 5:00 minutes of today’s workout is the start of tomorrow’s session.
2. Pattern Before Power
3. 20% of Corrective Exercises applied during the training session will tend to positively impact 80% of the problems and complaints of the athlete/client.
4. Just because you can does not mean you should.
5. The quality of the focus, effort and repetition are the key to optimal performance.
6. Body weight before external loading.
7. Build in fun and competition.
8. Speed, power, strength, core and fitness sequencing are the key to maximizing the performance training prescription.
9. After clean patterns and added volume and load – integrate time under tension, speed, unilateral loading, complex and combination patterns of training for added stimulus and improvement.
10. More is Better – more rest, more recovery, more quality and more nutrition
The first 5:00 minutes of the workout sets the tone for the entire session and the last 5:00 minutes of today’s workout is the start of tomorrow’s session. The first 5:00 minutes set the tone, tempo and focus of today’s session. Many corrective exercise strategies can be seamlessly integrated into the warm up process. The last 5:00 minutes of the workout can be focused on passive recovery and/or active regeneration techniques in order to maximize the benefits of the session as well as begin to train the athletes that warm – up and recovery are a part of every training session.
Pattern before power. If the athlete/client does not have clean movement patterns, why load them, increase their volume, add speed, etc? It makes absolutely NO sense to have the athlete continue to execute crappy reps. Good to great reps are acceptable, depending upon the athlete/client. The novice can get away with good, but not the veteran.
20% of Corrective Exercises applied during the training session will tend to positively impact 80% of the problems and complaints of the athlete/client. Most of the poor compensation/movement patterns I have encountered are from ankle immobility, hip immobility, low core instability, T-spine immobility, anterior shoulder tightness and scapula instability. Addressing these items during the warm up, cool down or the training session with a few easy to do exercises will tend to address most of the issues that people have when it comes to movement and overall muscular-skeletal health.
Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. If you can do 50 snatches in a row, should you? Why? 100 hang clean and squat presses? 100 burpees? Why? To get smoked? Ok, that makes a little sense. Very little. Are you training or are you working out? If you are working out – go ahead. If your focus is to increase work capacity – fine. But just doing it to do it or for work capacity is like running around the goal post to warm – up. It accomplishes the goal and nothing else. If you are training and you have a goal or have an issue or have a technique or pattern problem – then why do a bunch of unfocused, crappy reps? When you get tired and keep going – you most likely are doing crappy reps.
The quality of your focus, effort and repetition are the keys to optimal performance. Not only do your patterns need to be optimal but your effort needs to be intense and your focus needs to be great in order to get the most out of your training session. If your effort is average, your return on your effort will be average. If your focus is poor, generally your execution and pattern will suffer. If you are training with great effort, optimal focus and executing great reps, your return on your training will be maxed. Effort and focus can pertain to speed, power, pauses and holds as well as rounds and reps.
Body weight before external loading. If an athlete cannot execute 20 reps of air squats and push-ups properly, then why prescribe loaded squats or bench press? If they cannot execute 3 good pull-ups, why let them continue to bench press 225 and do lat pulls with 90 pounds? If an athlete cannot execute a single leg sit down squat onto a bench for 5 reps, why load them with dumbbells for lunges? Body weight before external loading.
Build in fun and competition. If it is not fun, why do it? If the person does not like to compete, why are they in performance training? If you are just working out, then you do not need to compete. If you are not going to be graded or measured in any type of physical parameter, then you do not need to compete. But it always MUST be fun, or, why do it?
Speed, power, strength, core and fitness sequencing are the key to maximizing the training prescription. Would you time a mile and then test a 40? Would you test bench press max and then test seated mediball push test? Would you smoke the core and then test a dead lift max? NO! Then why set up your training sequence so that the athlete trains in a poor order or sequence of stimulus? If they do not improve on test day, then the training program was flawed. The Russian coaches felt that if 60% PR’ed, it was a poor training cycle. If 70% Pr’ed it was an average training cycle. If 80% PR’ed then the training program was outstanding. How do your training cycles compare?
After optimal movement patterns are established and/or volume and load are added – integrate time under tension, speed, unilateral loading, complex and combination patterns of training for added stimulus and improvement. If the same workout prescription is done time after time, with similar progressions, similar loads and similar exercises – why would you ever expect different results? New stimulus must be applied and training emphasis focus must be integrated and weaved in and out of the program as speed, power, strength and fitness are all vital components for competitive athletes to improve during the off-season.
More is Better – more rest, more recovery, more quality and more nutrition. It is America and yes more is better. However, it is not always just more volume or more load. What is critical to integrate is more quality stimulus at the optimal time, more proactive recovery and better nutritional support at the times that it is critical and the body is starving for nutrients.

These are some of the tenants that I judge every one of my training programs and workouts by as I prescribe them to my athletes and clients. They have helped me over the years and I hope they are of some inspiration to you.

Beginning Strength Training Loads Based on Percentages of Body Weight

Many times it is very difficult to determine what level of load to use as you begin to resistance train.  I believe you must have the athlete/client demonstrate a certain level of skill with body weight as the resistance before moving on to external resistance loading.  This may be something as basic as the 20 rep rule where the person must be able to do 20 quality reps of a movement before adding external loading.  Being able to demonstrate twenty quality reps of the squat, push – up, lunge, step – up, back raise or glute ham and the pull – up are good base lines to use.  As long as the patterns are clean and the movements are controlled and stable it is now acceptable to add resistance once the baseline threshold has been met or exceeded.  Where do we begin?  Below are some suggested loads to use for some of the exercises and movements we commonly prescribe in resistance training.  There are no set or rep guidelines, those are up to you.  Remember, the chart below is an example of a continuum that can be implemented with respect to the abilities of the athlete/client.  The determination of the sets and reps will move the difficulty up and down the continuum of training.  For example, 3 x 10 will be much more difficult than 3 x 5 at the same relative load due to the simple math of 30 reps (3 x 10) is much greater than 15 reps (3 x 5).

LEG EXERCISES

Exercise         Untrained                     Novice             Intermediate               Advanced                Athletic

Squats             Bodyweight(20 reps)      35% of BW           65% of BW                   100% of BW           125% of BW

Increment Change – 10%

Dead Lift          Bodyweight(20 reps)      35% of BW           65% of BW                   100% of BW         125% of BW

Increment Change – 10%

Leg Press           50% of BW                     75% of BW          100% of BW                 125% of BW             150% of BW

Increment Change – 15%

1 Leg Press        25% of BW                    50% of BW            65% o BW                   80% of BW              95% of BW

Increment Change of 10%

Step – Up        Body weight (20)             10% of BW             25% of BW                    40% of BW             55% of BW

Increment Change – 5 % of Body weight

Lunge              Body weight (20)             10% of BW              25% of BW                    40% of BW            55% of BW

Increment Change – 5% of Body weight

Jump Squat      Body weight (20)             2.5% of BW               5% of BW               7.5% of BW        10% of BW

For Power  Increment Change – 2.5%

Jump Squat      Body weight (20)              5% of BW               10% of BW             15% of BW          20% of BW

For Strength  Increment Change – 5%


BENDOVER EXERCISES

Exercise               Untrained                 Novice                Intermediate             Advanced                 Athletic

Stiff Leg Dead Lift     20% of BW            40% of BW               60% of BW                  80% of BW              100% of BW

Increment Change 5% of BW

RDL                 10% of BW                30% of BW               50% of BW                 70% of BW               90% of BW

Increment of Change 5% of BW


UPPER BODY “PUSH” EXERCISES

Exercise                Untrained              Novice               Intermediate              Advanced             Athletic

Bench Press          Push – Ups (20)        25% of BW                50% of BW                  75% of BW            100% of BW

Increment Change 5%

Incline Press    20 Feet Up Push – Ups   20% of BW              40% of BW                  60% of BW               80% of BW

Increment Change 5%

Behind Neck  Prs    5% of BW                15% of BW              35% of BW                  50% of BW               65% of BW

Increment Change 2.5 – 5%

DB Bench               Push – Ups (20)       15% of BW           30% of BW                    45% of BW                60% of BW

Wt in each hand Increment Change 2.5 – 5%

DB Incline      20 Feet Up Push – Ups    10% of BW           20% of BW                    30% of BW                40% of BW

Wt in each hand Increment Change 2.5 – 5%

DB Shlder Prs         5% of BW              10% of BW              17.5% of BW                25% of BW              32.5% of BW

Wt in each hand Increment Change 2.5%


UPPER BODY “PULL” EXERCISES

Exercise             Untrained                Novice               Intermediate             Advanced                  Athletic

Pull – Ups        Assisted 50% of BW   Assisted 25%      Bodyweight (5)         Bodyweight (15)         Bodyweight +5%

Increment Change Assisted 10 – 15% Reps +5 per set Weight 2.5% or Pause ea. ¼ rep

Pulldowns                25% of BW         40% of BW               60% of BW                 80% of BW               100%+ of BW

Increment Change 5

1 Arm DB Rows     10% of BW                   17.5% of BW          25% of BW             32.50 % of BW           40% of BW

Increment Change 5%

Individuals will vary greatly from exercise to exercise based on maturity, injury history and training age.  This is a guide to determine a starting point for the individual.  If the individual is overweight, then the load may be set up as a percentage of Fat Free Body Weight.  A functional screen, movement assessment, flexibility test and strength evaluation will assist greatly in determining the actual abilities of the client, athlete or patient.