Went purposely heavier on the push-presses today (i.e., more of a strength bias, a little less endurance) while extending the total time to completion of the 21 reps.  I actually went a bit heavier than I’d initially shot for, as I’d intended to clock-in at an approximate 12-minute time to completion.  Reps 20 and 21 ended up being a bit slower in execution than I’d otherwise accept, but being that I’d skewed this “set” toward more of a pure strength emphasis anyway, I was ok with that.  Anything slower, though, and I would have pulled the plug on the set early.  Today’s workout:

  1. Behind-the-neck push-press: 135 x 3, 3; 165 x 2; 185 x 2; 190 x 21 (rest-pause) ==> 2s until rep 6, then singles thereafter. 14:15 time to completion.
  2. weighted, reverse-grip pull-ups: bw (ballistic) x 3, 3; 45 x 3; 70 x 21 (rest-pause) ==> 3s and 2s until 15, then singles thereafter.  Straps after rep 12.  4:50 time to completion (compare to same weight at 5:30 last time out).  Increase weight to 75 next time out.

My initial intent was to perform a 21 rep rest-pause round of GHRs.  I think I got plenty of hip work with the heavy push-presses, though.  I also performed tire flips on Sunday and plan to perform low pulls on Thursday.  Don’t want to overdose on hip extension/PC work.

The loading, time-to-completion, and execution of these two exercises today are good, practical examples of the two extremes of the strength-endurance modality, at least in the way I define that particular division of the modality continuum.  Note that in the BTN push-press, the nod was given more toward the expression of strength via a heavier loading, and more rest between reps.  The opposite was true of the round of reverse grip pull-ups, where the emphasis was hedged toward endurance (lighter loading, less between-rep rest).  The actual per-rep execution, in both cases, however (except for the last 2 in the push-press), was fast and crisp.  Not quite as fast as I am capable of in a power-emphasis modality, but still pretty damn fast.  In fact, it would take a fairly astute eye to notice the difference in repetition speed.  The difference in feel is much more noticeable, though.

What I mean by 3s, 2s, and singles is how I managed rep execution within the 21 rep, rest-pause, extended set.  For example, I might hit this frequency within my 21-rep, extended “set”: rep, rep, rep, pause….rep, rep, pause…rep, rep, pause…rep, pause…

Now, the next obvious question here would be what’s the damn difference between a “pause” and in what defines anyone else’s “set”? And that’s a legitimate question for which I really don’t have a definitive answer, other that to say a pause, to me, is “breaking just long enough to enable nailing the next rep”.  A “set” would define a group of reps off-set by a noticeably longer rest period – long enough to ensure nailing the next group of reps.  Or, alternately, breaking to move to another movement.  It’s just one of those things you have to experience in order to understand.  Far off in the distance of my mind’s eye resides the goal of 21, quick-succession, rest-pause reps – and a little further out yet is the time-to-completion goal.  My immediate hurdle, though, while performing the 21 rep rest-pause scheme, is The Next Rep, and only the next rep.  What follows that next rep is anyone’s guess, as far as I’m concerned – I might nail it, miss quit, bottom-out, pull the plug on the exercise, whatever; I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.  And once there, the process begins anew.  Sisyphean in nature.  Mini “Ground Hog Days” is how one of my old training partners aptly put it.

…and speaking of strength…

…check out this SpeedEndurance.com post on sprinting speed being the result of net forces acting upon the ground (as apposed to, say, stride length, and other issues).  A nice summary of the “Allyson Felix” topic I covered in this recent post, and some good commentary – as well as a couple of interesting video clips.  Power-to-bodyweight ratio, folks, is what it’s all about.  Interesting stuff to geek-out on – after you’ve done your work in the gym and/or on the track, of course.  First things first 😉

8 COMMENTS

  1. Is the “Behind-the-neck push-press” the same as a military press starting from behind the neck? I’ve been told by personal trainers that this is bad for the shoulders.

    • This is another “old wife’s tale” that gets perpetuated within the big box “personal training” community. There are no “bad” exercises per se – now, a trainee may not be suited for a particular movement due to build and/or pre-existing condition (old injury, etc) that would preclude them from performing a certain exercise. There is also the issue of poor exercise execution. For instance, I don’t get a favorable “cost/benefit” return on the back squat. I still think it’s a fantastic exercise for those better suited to it, though.

  2. Also, the push press would be less stressful than a strict press behind the neck, because the muscles of the shoulder aren’t what lift the weight for those initial inches when the bar is behind the head. The hips are doing that that initial lifting, and the shoulders don’t really take the full control of the weight until it’s over the head, at which point there’d be no added stress.

  3. Would you be able to provide some links to your articles where you explain more about Power-to-bodyweight ratio? I’ve tried using google to search the sight but even though the phrase comes up many times, I can’t easily pick out which articles my focus on that.

    • Jedidja, check out this post, and this one as well. If you’re familiar with CrossFit’s mission statement of improving work capacity over broad time and modal domains, then this notion of improving the power-to-bodyweight ratio in a particular movement will begin to make more sense.

      • Thanks for the links! Definitely beginning to understand what you’re talking about here and looking forward to more topics on this in the future 🙂 As was mentioned in one of those two articles, the ‘power zone’ is to fitness as ‘paleo’ is to diet. (I guess technically I’m more on Mark’s primal side of things, but the basic concepts are similar)

        • “Primal” and “Paleo” – I consider these to be just slightly different permutations residing under the same “evolutionary fitness” umbrella. It’s all good 🙂 And, too, it’s part and parcel of the n=1 mind-set to tinker until you’ve found what works best for you. The results, and resultant tweaks, emanating from your n=1 journey, properly performed, will be different than anyone else’s.

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