Thursday, October 29, 2009

WOD 102909

Press 3-3-3-3-3
Push Press 3-3-3-3-3

Is that it?

Over the past few weeks, we have started including more strength days into our workout programming. The question has often come up, is that it? Is doing 5 sets of 3 reps enough? With the majority of our workouts in the past being Pukie inducing sessions(pools of sweat, seeing stars, the room spinning around etc.), strength workouts would be something new for most PushMore-ians.

Why a strength workout? The obvious answer would be to get stronger. If you have to ask why get stronger, consider the following quote:-

"Strong people are harder to kill than weak people and more useful in general." - Mark Rippetoe, author of Starting Strength.

Strength is important. No two ways about it.

To get the most out strength days, here are some pointers:-

1. Technique. Strength days normally focus on one lift(Deadlift, Squat, Press etc.). So after a general warm-up, work on your technique before starting on your lifts. Strive to iron out any issues you may have with the movement. Get a coach to check on your form. Technical flaws in movement can only get worse when you add weight to the equation.

2. Sets and progressions. Start with a light weight and do a set of 3-5 reps to groove in the movement. Start your first set with a weight you know can lift. For example, if your 3RM(RM=rep max) for a press is 70kg, start with 60kg or even less than that. Aim to build up to your previous max by the fourth set. On the fifth set, attempt a weight above your previous PR. If you're unsuccessful, just drop the weight back to your previous max. However, if you have not established a previous max, be more conservative with the increases in load. You can always come back another day and try a heavier load.

3. Rest. Between sets, a general rule would be to rest about 3-5 minutes between sets. If you think think you need more rest, take it. When doing heavy strength workouts, mental preparedness plays a big role as well. If you don't feel ready, don't go yet.

4. Intensity. Strength workouts are intense on a whole different level. Depending on the rep range, you may be working extremely hard in the anaerobic(without oxygen) zone for 2-3 seconds each rep. When you take into account the entire set, this places a huge a systemic load on your entire body and nervous system. You may not feel a "pump" similar to doing a met-con workout like Angie or Fran but you should feel like you put everything you had into the lift. And if you are lifting a near maximal or maximal weight, the load on your central nervous system is even larger. So, yeah, strength days are intense.

5. Show Up. Most important of all, show up. You can't get stronger from just watching other people lift weights on YouTube.

Happy lifting!

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