So here’s the thing: it’s not that there is any single workout methodology that is the “best” (or “worst”, for that matter), but that there are aspects of many various methodologies that, when combined in an intelligent, systematic way according to each individual’s n=1 goals and needs, provides for the most advantageous workout stimulus; “advantageous”, of course, being defined by the individual. That is to say, while one person may be concerned primarily with achieving optimum health, another may have athletic aspirations; and we know, of course, that athletic prowess does not necessarily confer an optimum health profile. As has been said before, optimum performance often begins where superior health ends. There’s a give-and-take with everything, folks — chasing athletic supremacy is no different. Where do I fit on this continuum of optimum health to athletic performance? Well, for the most part, I try to straddle that razor’s edge between the two; admittedly, though, there are periods where I’ll make a decide push toward improved athleticism at the expense of overall health. Now, though, is not one of those periods. There’s just too much going on in my life at the moment — moving cross-country, new job, new house…hell, a whole new existence! — exciting to be sure, but also hella stressful. I mean, damn, we just recently stumbled across the box that contained our silverware (ah, it’s the small pleasures in life!). Being that all stress is cumulative, I guess you could say that I’ve temporarily dialed-down a tad bit — not so much on the intensity (I still go at it when I do workout) — but on the overall frequency and volume.
Wednesday’s HIT Parade
Super-Slow Leg Press: (hierarchical rep scheme, 3010 tempo) 12, 6, 6 – then immediately to:
Super-slow ham curl: 180 lbs x 12, approx. 30 secs rest, 190 x 8 – 4010 tempo
Nautilus Pec Dec: 110 x 8 ( 4020 tempo), then immediately to:
Super-Slow chest press/crunch: 170 x 8 ( 4020 tempo)
Nautilus pull-over: 220 x 9 (4020 tempo), then immediately to:
Reverse grip pull-ups: bodyweight x 8, 6 (40×0 tempo)
Nautilus shoulder lateral raise: 170 x 10 (4020 tempo), then immediately to:
X-Ccentric upright press: (no counter weight, no added weight) x 7 rest-pause singles (40×0 tempo)
Couple of things to note here: although I am utilizing equipment made by the entity “Super Slow” (which, by the way, is great equipment), I’m not, as can seen in my tempo references, utilizing the super-slow tempo/TUL technique. The hierarchical repetition scheme (hat tip to Art DeVany) is this: choose a weight that will leave you feeling a good burn (but not yet to failure) after 12 reps, take a slight pause to add weight, then hit 6 more reps; pause again, add weight and hit 3 more. I called the loading a little shy, here, so I was able to eek out six reps on the final blast.
I followed that up with a little explosive work on Thursday, with a superset of behind -the-neck split jerks and blast strap reverse flyes.
btn split jerk: 135 x 5; 175 x 3; 185 x 3; 205 x 3; 225 x 5 resp-pause singles
blast strap reverse flyes: bodyweight x 8, 10, 7, 8 (4010 tempo)
Friday turned out to be a rather extended day in the fixie saddle — approximately 20 miles with a good deal of sprint intervals tossed into the mix. If you have errands to run, you might as well turn it into a workout, right? The ol’ legs protested mightily at the onset (heavy split jerks will take more of a toll than one realizes) but wound-up rebounding and responding nicely.
One of the day’s pit stops was at Thomas Repographics of Austin, to pick up these, my new business cards:
I guess this means I’m official now, huh? 🙂
Then it was a stop by Texas Coffee Traders to pick up some fine, roasted gold for my home brewing pleasure. So many fabulous coffees to choose from! I settled on a pound of the organic Peru (thanks for you help and expertise, Jessica!), saddled-up, and hucked it on back to the Efficient Exercise Rosedale studio.
Damn the old-school crunch…
So a client of mine who sprinkles-in some “bootcamp” fitness classes into her training mix reported to me that she “tweaked something in her upper back/trap/neck area” while performing hands-clasped-behind-the-head crunches. Yeah, I know, big surprise, right? This particular client is an endurance type athlete (sprint tri’s, etc.) who — and wisely so — strength trains for bettered performance and injury prevention. She’s had lower back issues in the past, and so the vast majority of my exercise selections for her have some element of core strengthening involvement. We’ve begun to incorporate perfect form deadlifts into her routines (trap, straight bar, etc.) which she is (and rightfully so, as I believe she’s never really been taught proper form) leery of. Folks, the “core” is primarily a power transfer medium, designed — much like an earthquake resistant structure — to be stiff, flex but not break. A rock-solid core, which includes a bomb-proof lower back, can’t be built with the old-school crunch. I’ve linked to this interview with Dr. Stuart McGill before, but I believe it deserves another mention.
Also, check-out an interesting read from my Efficient Exercise partner, Skyler Tanner, on the gut-wrenching realization that, sometimes, your publicly-stated n=1 experiments don’t necessarily align with your fitness goals. In Skyler’s case, mass gain runs completely counter to his immediate (ultimate?) fitness goal of being a better rock climber. An increased strength and/or power-to-bodyweight ratio is what he really needs, not mass — unless of course that increased mass translates into an increased strength/power-to-bw ratio. Skyler discusses why a mass gain (in him, at least), likely wouldn’t translate, in the near-term, into an improved strength/power ratio. Nice call, Skyler. And yes, there are no failures, only feedback.