Lifter lazy…

Posted: September 9, 2010 in Posts

If you want to successfully improve your performance with any lift, or lifting in general. You have to allow the body ample time to recover. You have to be lifter lazy.

Most folks decide to hit the gym and plan out a five to six day a week schedule focusing on one specific area per day. Also, everybody starts with chest on Mondays. You can’t get time on a bench press to save a life on Monday. Screw that, I hate Monday, I take Monday off.

More on the point is that if you periodize, working chest and pressing movements on Mondays, Back and pulling movements on Tuesdays, legs on Wednesdays and then repeating the whole thing over again  Thursdays through Saturday, you miss three days you could spend recovering. If you workout with sufficient intensity, you’ll need that recovery time literally to heal. That’s one reason why beginners often see little to no progress on these types of workouts, either they cannot maintain enough intensity or they cannot recover from their training sessions.

But those workouts come from somewhere.  I’m not 100% up on the introduction of the concept, but  periodization may have been popular for all athletes for a while but now its mostly used by bodybuilder types (see Ronnie Coleman’s* workout here. Just look at it, don’t try to emulate it). It works for some of them largely for three reasons. One, they’re extraordinarily fit people who have worked up to being able to train that way. Two,  they don’t do much besides lift (even at that level they’re lifter lazy). Finally, three, they fully subscribe to better living through pharmaceuticals.

*Coleman is a prime example to spending years training with compound lifts. He began his career as a power lifter and came do bodybuilding after developing massive strength. The results are not only world class muscle but also world class strength.

As far as getting into that kind of condition, the only key to that is patience. You have to work at it for a long time. There has to be a balance of intensity and rest. As a beginner, if you’re working at a low enough intensity to be able to work for an hour and a half six days a week, you’re not pushing enough weight to stimulate much, if any, muscle growth or strength gain. Part two, like all athletes, pro bodybuilders make money from endorsements. Some of them make enough that they literally do nothing but train, eat and sleep. Out of the pro arena, a guy who works an office job may be able to handle this type of training better than someone who does some kind of labor for a living. Three, steroids happen, but largely I’m talking about a vast array of legal supplements available today. Some of them do wonderful things for elite bodybuilders, most of them do jack squat for the average guy.

For most people, the key to success is plenty of rest and recovery. Three days a week of lifting, with three days of conditioning work mixed in. What ever type of split or routine you use, the rest is key. Without out it you don’t have time to heal any accumulated hurts you might have. Muscular micro-traumas that occur normally during lifting don’t heal. Strength gains just don’t happen. Central nervous system fatigue starts to set in. Over-training, considered a myth by some, starts to take it’s toll.

The most insidious part about all of this is how easy it is to fall into the trap, especially with a new toy. My new toy is the Power Clean. I’ve Power Cleaned myself right into aggravating an old injury. I think, stress on the think, it’s an issue with my Ulnar nerve in my right arm. However, it could just as easily be a series of strained muscles and ligaments in the arm. The inside of my elbow, bicep to forearm, hurts. At rest it’s normal, but with a little work (especially isometrics) it get’s inflamed.

You really can’t think your way around over-training. Every day my arm gets abuse from throwing, turning wrenches at work, and on many days weight lifting. Two days on, one day off of a Clean and Front Squat heavy workout doesn’t work with my lifestyle. Four days a week might not injure me, but wouldn’t yield the same results. I’d have been much better off with a simple three sets of five, three days a week program that continued half way through the final week leading up to the games.

It’s time to get lifter lazy. I would like to spend half the day tomorrow working on my weight for distance form. What actually will happen is that the most strenuous thing I do is mowing the yard. The rest of my day will be sweet, sweet quality time with my heat pack. With just a little over a week to go, the worst thing I can do is over train more.

After the games, it’s more lifter lazy. I have a PT test coming up in October so I’ll spend three weeks running, doing Push up variations. a great deal of high rep ab work and a few other useful exercises like Dips and Pull ups. I’ll cut weight as much as possible during that time. Not a time to be lifting.

After that, and a visit with the doc about my recurring arm problem, I’ll likely begin working with some more of Dan John’s stuff. I’ll do two or three weeks of his renown “the warm up is the workout” warm ups, which often contain more reps than most workouts, but at very low intensity and weight. Just three weeks of something like the Juan Diego Warm Up** for three days a week and some hard core conditioning work for another three. After that, it’s time to dial in the form on Front Squats, Overhead Squats, Cleans and Snatches.

Lifter lazy means no heavy lifts until November. After that, it’s slow steady progress until next year’s Highland Games.

**Google it, it’s out there.

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