Friday, October 22, 2010

Practice really does make permanent

I've been experimenting with two new things lately, high-volume overhead presses from Kenneth Jay's "Perfecting the Press!" and bodyweight exercises from Paul Wade's "Convict Conditioning".  Working near my personal "long session" limits has taught me a few things first-hand that I've only previously seen in books.  Everyone else already knows this, but it has been interesting to me.

Practice what you want to do - I'm doing long sets of CC squat progressions as part of my workout instead of weighted squats to recondition my pistol.  A month ago, these were stretches for me, and weighted front squats were workouts.  The change has improved my endurance and mobility some, but it cut my weight-bearing squat strength almost immediately.  I struggled today to squat 5 times with a weight that I routinely press overhead.  I have squatted twice this amount in the past. I need to practice both volume squats and heavy squats going forward, like I do with swings and presses and get-ups. (brilliant, huh?)

Practice success, not failure - I've pressed 5x5 ladders and sat there on the plateau like most of us. When I have tried additional ladders or variations with longer rungs, I have fought fatigue and even injury. I clearly have endurance limits at this level of strength.  As part of this new program, I have pressed as much as 20x3 ladders without injury.  That's 50% more volume than 5x5 ladders, but programmed to avoid exhaustion.  The program does have a high-density module with 4 ladders and 5 ladders, but that will follow weeks of training 120-150 reps instead of the ROP standard 75.  The important point is that I'm now practicing high volume instead of fatigue and failure.

Practice progress - Lastly, I've been pressing a heavier weight in 4-5 sets of 1+2 reps on my Heavy Press Days.  That has become almost "easy" because I was already doing this a few weeks ago. It's much cleaner now, more confident. Since the heavy day workload hasn't changed in maybe 5wks, I tested 5 straight reps this morning. All good. Start lifting 5 reps more often, and start training 1+2+3+4 ladders right away.

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