We are in week two of our current training cycle, as well as week two of having multiple workout tracks available on True Coach. I thought it would be beneficial to break down what our training cycle is going to look like, the what, the why, and explain how the additional tracks come into play.
We are going to take a shift on this strength cycle away from our classic back or front squats and focus predominantly on single-leg work. This unilateral approach will help work out imbalances, strengthen our legs and take a break from the heavy loading of squatting. Heavy loading on single-leg movements is less taxing on the system as a whole but leads to just as much, if not more progress.
There will always be three different pieces to the leg-work on Monday:
1 – Base: Loaded Reverse Lunges
This is our large mover and building block movement for the 12 weeks. We are still looking for you to load heavy for the movement we are doing. Refer to our progressions for this movement. This movement and rep scheme will not change for the 12-week cycle. The rep scheme will be 5 sets of 4. We will be doing a linear periodization for this movement, the first day will basically look to build to an 80-90% effort and then each week we will build on this until failure. There is a lot of ways to approach this but focus on small increases each week until you cannot add any more weight to the movement. At that time you can begin bringing all of the working set loads closer together.
2 – Builder
This is meant to be a complement movement to the base. While our first movement will remain the same throughout the cycle, this movement will change every 4 weeks. There will be three different movements used as the builder for this cycle. These movements will have a tempo placed on them.
3 – Accessory
Lastly, we will have an Accessory movement to round out the strength session. This will rotate weekly and we will hit 12 different accessory movements over the course of the 12 weeks.
Most days we will be working on a clock, keeping our work organized and on track to get the absolute most out of our time. There will be more movements geared to hypertrophy and promoting better movement quality. I am confident throughout this training cycle you will find yourself getting more work and better work is done than you have in previous training cycles.
We are also re-introducing the 40 min EMOMs on Thursdays. A couple of notes about that:
1 – You do not have to do all 40 minutes. I would suggest a minimum of 20, but find a sweet spot you are comfortable with, which when you’re ready would mean finding a sweet spot on being uncomfortable.
2 – You can select movements that are more recovery-based. If you train several days a week, I would recommend using part of, if not all of this time to move well and get recovered, not accumulate more muscular fatigue. Your coach can help with this.
3 – You have the option to opt for one of the other workout tracks if you would like.
You may have noticed last week and so far this week, there has not been any Olympic weightlifting as part of any of the strength portions in class. There have been some lightweight variations in some of the conditioning workouts. This is by design. Our philosophy on fitness is to get people stronger, more fit, move better, and do it pain-free. The route you can take to get there can look like a lot of things and our approach has definitely evolved over the years with our exercise inclusion/exclusion and general training principles. If there is a better way of doing something, we have always been open-minded to making adjustments and changes that we believe will better serve the members. At the top of the list of expectations on us as a business, we take pride in always having your best interests in mind when making programming and coaching decisions. If you start seeing less of a movement or more of a movement, I can guarantee it is for good reason. It is no secret that I love Olympic Weightlifting. It is my primary training mode of choice and has been for several years. I also love to coach it and program for individuals that enjoy and want to excel at the sport. With that love for Olympic Weightlifting comes a deep respect for the complexity of the movements and what level of competency is required for a person to get something out of training these movements. Consider the basic formula for exercise competency:
Mechanics > Consistency > Intensity
When you consider the complexity of the lifts, combined with the mobility demands, it takes a considerable amount of time to get good or competent at snatching and cleaning. When you further consider the actual exposure to the lifts you get (once a week for 15 minutes at a time, perhaps twice some weeks), and we have a hard time ever getting out of the mechanics stage. Without increasing frequency, there will be difficulty in becoming consistent with mechanics. Thus making it irresponsible to turn people loose with intensity without having earned it.
Now let’s consider what the intent of Olympic Weightlifting is; producing power, expressing rate of force production. Simply put, move loads quickly and efficiently. There is a minimal amount of time under tension and minimal eccentric loading in the Olympic lifts. When you consider the effects on body composition, strength, endurance, Olympic Weightlifting provides subpar benefits there, even if you are very proficient at the lifts. There are dozens of other ways to elicit the same benefits of Olympic Weightlifting that does not require a steep learning curve nor mechanical demands that limit our ability to excel at the lifts.
With that being said, I am all for people training the lifts that enjoy doing so. Which is why alongside our regular class programming is a six-week, four days a week Olympic Weightlifting program. These are 45 – 60-minute sessions dedicated to progressing and becoming more consistent with the lifts. I have been seeing 6-8 people already in the past two weeks coming in and doing these sessions. If you enjoy Olympic Weightlifting, that would mean you would want to do it more than once a week for 15 minutes. Now you have the opportunity for as much or as little of an entire Olympic Weightlifting training cycle! Add it in, or even ask your coach if you can sub it in during class!
Although this cycle will not feature Olympic Weightlifting in regular class, there is still PLENTY of barbell and strength work in class. This cycle is going to push you and challenge you as we are working a lot of time under tension with various intervals and rest periods. This is the “Diamond in the Rough” cycle, we’re gonna get cut folks. If anyone ever has any questions about programming or would like to know why we do or don’t do certain things please never hesitate to ask. If I can’t answer clearly and effectively exactly why we do what we do, I’m probably not very good at my job.