Friday, April 1, 2016

Weightlifting: Cross-training

DC had a trainer create Batman's training schedule, if you need proof that Batman is superhuman.

You can be good at a lot of things, but you can't be great at everything. In fitness, that means that you can't be maximally strong, muscular, and powerful while having elite endurance. The same body that can deadlift 600 lbs for multiple reps can't run a four-minute mile. This is why everyone makes fun of Crossfitters, because they act like they can have it all. You can't have it all, folks. You can eat your cake, but it's going to make you fat.

Still, if you've been training for strength and muscularity for several years like I have, you may have let things slide in other areas. My cardiovascular endurance probably isn't great, for example. My ability to express strength quickly, i.e., power, probably isn't where it should be for someone who can squat over 400 lbs and deadlift 480. So I decided to come up with a little routine that still focuses primarily on strength and hypertrophy while also making one more powerful and building endurance. This would be a good offseason sports routine.  The weights I have listed are based on my current numbers. Let's give it a look.

Monday: Strength and hypertrophy

Back squats 135*5, 225*5, 275*5, 315*3, 365, 385, 225*10.
The above is a pyramid progression based on a 415 one rep max. You accumulate volume until you hit a heavy single around 85 percent. If you're still feeling good, you add weight and go for another single. A backoff set of ten at around 55 percent ends your squats. Though I've used percentages in my explanation, I don't really use them when I workout. I suggest doing your sets of five with gradually increasing weights that don't feel very heavy. You can over-think this shit, is what I'm saying. The above workout has 30 reps of squats. That's good volume, plus you are lifting over 90 percent of your max for a single. Next week, try to get closer to your max. Try for 395 instead of 385, and so on and so forth. Eventually you should surpass your max, and at that point you can decided whether or not you need a deload.

Dips six sets of 10. Perform dips in between your squat sets. This maximizes workout density while giving you something to do while you wait for your lower body to recover. Dips are just the best. They work your pectorals, front deltoids, and triceps as well as the muscles of your back and abdominals, which act as stabilizers, and they don't pin your scapulae and mess up your shoulders like the bench press. You can increase reps or add weight, but I consider this to be a light upper body day.

Tuesday: Power and conditioning

Cleans: 135*5, 155*3, 165*3, 175*3, 185*3, 195*3. Don't let your form break down on cleans, so keep the weights conservative. Pull the weight just enough to so that you can get under it; most people over-pull, and that's why you see so many ugly cleans. Cleans are a great power exercise, and you should try to put up 1.5 times your body weight eventually.

One-arm dumbbell clean: 100 lbs for 3 sets of 3. Unilateral work is important to prevent muscular imbalances. DB cleans are challenging and fun. Just don't mess up your shoulders with these by losing the weight.

One-arm dumbbell snatch: 60 lbs for 2 sets of 5. Another exercise that builds power and that should be performed with very little rest in between repetitions and sets.

Wednesday: Light conditioning

Go for a light run or do hill sprints. For the run, just do a couple miles at a slower pace. For the sprints, bust your ass but don't run much more than fifteen or twenty minutes. This is a recovery workout, since you're giving your body a break from heavy lifting.

Thursday: Strength and hypertrophy

Snatch-grip deadlifts: 135*5, 225*5, 315*5, 365*3. You can do regular deadlifts if you have short arms. With my ape-like limbs, wide grip deadlifts force me to pull for a longer distance and better work my posterior chain and back.

Pullups: Six sets, max reps.

You can throw in a few heavy barbell curls if you're worried about your guns.

Friday: Light conditioning

Just like on Wednesday, go for a light run or do hill sprints.

Saturday: Strength, hypertrophy, power

Front squat: 135*5,185*5, 225*3, 245*3, 275*2. Front squats force you to keep your torso erect, keeping the load on your quadriceps. They also stress the upper back, leading to big-ass traps, which everyone should have. Like everything else, work toward increasing your top set every week.

Push press or behind the neck push press: 135*3, 155*3, 185*3, 205, 215, 225. I prefer the latter, but it is an advanced exercise that can lead to injury if you mess it up. Presses from the front are safer, yet I find that I can handle more weight on behind the neck presses. This is an explosive exercise that damn-near works every muscle in your body.

Sunday: Off.

So that's it. If you don't have the time, just do the first three workouts Monday, Wednesday, and Friday but add a little more volume.


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