“The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.”

~ Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, the 15th

Hucked the fixie out to the track, with the medicine ball in tow. The wind was hard and in my face, which made for the feeling of riding in deep sand. Add to that the weight of the medicine ball (about 45 pounds), and my usual, fast “huck” quickly devolved into a pedal-round by pedal-round “grind”. Anyway, once I reached the soccer field, I did the following:

  1. 7-second sprints
  2. 50 yard’s worth of prime-times

Reached drop-off in round 8 of the sprints. The Prime-Times really helped to activate a “pull” run (i.e., propulsion from the glutes/hams primarily, vice from the quads), especially early on in the sprint. My tendency, especially after coming off of the bike (which is a quad-dominant exercise), is to “push” in the sprints for too long out of the blocks. Prime-times help to nudge me in the right direction sooner. Check out this article from Chris Korfist, of Wanna Get Fast, for explanations of Prime-Times, a general lack of hip extension, and the differences between “push” and “pull” running. The video clips are small, which make it rather difficult to pick out detail; Chris’s explanations, however, are illuminating and spot-on – as are his exercise prescriptions.

Then, I proceeded headlong on into this mash-up:

  1. caber toss (with medicine ball) for distance
  2. forward caber toss (with medicine ball) for distance
  3. single-arm medicine ball push-press for height (catch w/opposite arm)
  4. standing broad jump x 7 for total distance.

Hucked it back home following all of that, medicine ball in tow. This time, thankfully, the wind was in my favor.  Overall, I felt a bit slow today, though my throws and jumps were OK.  This might portend of a need to shift gears into a different modality emphasis; it could, though, just be that I had an “off” day.  It happens.  It is, though, something I’ll need to monitor closely.

Tuesday morning at the Y

I’d initially planned on shifting my focus for a couple of weeks to more of a hypertrophy type program, maybe working in some German Volume Training. I felt, though (during the warm-up for this session), that I still had a couple of power weeks left in me, and that maybe I just had an off sprint day on Sunday. I felt much more explosive today. I’ll keep close tabs on how I feel, and will shift focus when necessary, but not any sooner. I’m not a big fan of bodybuilding-type hypertrophy work, though I know it is necessary, every now and again, in order to move the body, as a whole, forward.

  1. Power Clean + Push-Press x 5
  2. Regular-Grip Power Pull-Up x 6

4 total rounds, then:

  1. Snatch-Grip High Pull x 5
  2. Snatch-Grip RDL + Low Pull x 5

3 total Rounds. All in 30 Minutes total workout time.  Lots of snap, power and strength.

Friday morning at the Y

Still feeling explosive and powerful, so I’ll continue on with my power-oriented workouts for the time being. Performed a quick vertical jump test as part of my warm-up prior to this workout and found that I was only a fraction off of my norm. I’ll keep an eye on this, along with continued self-monitoring my overall perception of “explosiveness” as an indicator of when I need to shift gears. The time is near, I can tell – but not just yet — and it could be that what I really need is a 4 or 5 day block of not working out at all.  Sometimes, it’s as simple as that.

This workout was a good test of my overall explosiveness, and I think I fared pretty well. One other variable I have to account for is the fact that these workouts occur so early in the morning, which is not particularly my “prime time”.  Here was the workout:

  1. Power Clean x 2’s and 3’s
  2. Front Squats x 5’s
  3. BTN, Split-Stance Push-Jerks x 6 total (alternating lead leg with each rep.)

Then: Snatch Grip RDL + Low Pull x 16 singles, rest-pause fashion.

So far, so good in the power/explosiveness department.  I’ll keep an eye on my progress (or lack thereof) as a gauge to when I’ll actually need to shift gears.

In Health,

Keith

14 COMMENTS

  1. This is an interesting look, for me, into the way you periodize, which I presume is mostly by feel. Most recently I am coming from the Crossfit, background, where periodization is almost as bad of a word as ‘smith machine,’ but I feel there are times when I just feel strong and want to develop strength for a while, and then the same for power. Is this essentially how you periodize? Go by feel, and when you start to feel a little less snappy, or a little less brutishly strong, you change gears?

    • Bryce,
      That’s the idea. Personally, I go more by feel, with a single qualitative measurement thrown in (the vertical jump). If I were actively competing, I’d more closely track my power output via easily measured parameters, such as sprint times, caber throws, broad jumps, triple jumps…you get the idea. You could utilize some specific CrossFit WOD times as benchmark as well, though, that would measure more of an overall, GPP aspect vice anything specific. For some target groups, though (law enforcement, military), GPP is the specific.

    • Robert,
      A “prime-time” is a stiff-legged “run” that derives all forward propulsion from the glutes. The motion is kinda like that of an upright drum major of a traditionally black college. I’ll see if I can find a better video example. It is an excellent exercise for forcing/re-enforcing glute activation in the sprints.

  2. Keith,

    So when your verticle jump drops off by a certain amount, you know you have reached a threshold where your ability to produce power (at least in the biggest muscles – the posterior chain) has been sufficiently taxed so that long term ‘recovery’ is needed. Is that right? What sort of drop off are you looking for? Also, do you have any innovative ways to test for verticle, if only to compare to previous marks? Should I do a vertical at the start of a workout once a week, to see if if is still up there? Finally (sorry for the question eplosion), do you consider sprinting to fall into the category of power training, and therefore lay off it when in a hypertrophy/strength cycle?

    whew

    good health, –bryce

    • Bryce,
      Usually the first indicator for me is sub par Oly lift performance and/or sprinting performance. Sometimes I’ll see it as an overall lack of “snap”, funky, achy joints, a general lack of motivation, even for my favorite lifts, etc. I won’t pull the plug immediately, though, because (as was the case last week) I may have just had an off day. If the off days become more numerous, or if by my vert (or whatever measure I choose) I can see that I’m slipping, then I know it’s time to shift gears. It’s not an exact science, of course — there is a bit of “horse trainer” experience involved.

      As for measuring my vert, I just always go barefooted and use a tape-mark on the wall that I’ve had in place for the last 2 years. I only move the mark up when I beat my old measurement — never adjust down. Now, I don’t always equal my best output, obviously; I can tell, though, by how far off my best I am when it’s a bad jump. A few back-to-back bad jumps on subsequent days, and I know it’s time to change up.

      And most definitely, sprints are a power exercise. When I go into a hypertrophy phase, I’ll still sprint, but I’ll extend the time of each sprint rep, i.e., I’ll do a few 200 meter and or 400 meter sprints, for example, vice the more explosive 10 to 100 meter runs.

  3. Anecdotal bragging….

    My nephew from Holland is here visiting me. He is 16 and 6’4.
    I’m proud to bragg that at age 41 and at 5’7, I blow him away on the 50 and 100 meter sprint.
    I’ve gotten faster and faster over the last year following your workouts Keith.
    Thank you and my nephew says F you. 😉

    Marc

    • Marc,
      Tell your nephew to start banging away on the power stuff, and to go Paleo as well. Tall guys can sprint if properly trained — just consider Usain Bolt.

  4. Heh, that’s awesome Marc, and thanks Keith for the insight. I’ll certainly be looking for similar cues in my performance before I shift to a strength phase. As always, your feedback is very helpful.

    -bryce

  5. I’m new to reading your blog. It’s a great entry. I just had a question about your 45 lbs medicine ball. Did you make this yourself? If not, where did you get it? Thanks.

    • Joe,
      I made it out of an old basketball, sand and lead shot. Check out this forum (from Ross Enamait’s site), and look around the homemade equipment thread. You’ll find plenty of how-to’s there, on a variety of equipment. It’s a great, and highly recommended resource.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.