Wednesday, August 28, 2013

21 Day Squat Challenge, Fall of 2013

One of the more disruptive training ideas I've come across in the last few years is high-frequency training. I stumbled across Nick Horton and his 21 Day Squat Challenge some months ago, and the idea intrigued me. There are a few groups of athletes that train daily, and their recovery capacity is something I just completely lack. I have a few months before I compete again, so the time is ripe for change.

I started this on August 19 as a sort of jump-start for my offseason GPP.  I'll be using the author's "Volcano" ramp and "Classic Nemesis" intensifier (references), alternating back/front squats and dips/chins+cable rows daily. (I have never had enough upper body mobility or strength.) This program has a lot of sets and build-up, so my maxes are usually 205 back and 175 front by the time I get there.

Horton and others define 4 intensity zones as shown below:
  • Zone 1 – 90% of max to 100% of your 1 rep max (B185+, F160+)
  • Zone 2 – 70% to 89% of max (B145+, F125+)
  • Zone 3 – 50% to 69% of max (B105+, F90+)
  • Zone 4 – 49% and lower (B105-, F90-)
The first 4 days were all Zone 3, until I got my movements back under me. The goal is to have 70% of your total weight moved done above 70% of your day's max. I'm also observing that by the time I hit a 3RM, I probably can't add any more weight for 2RM and 1RM. That ends up being 3-2-1 at probably the same weight, then the intensifier sets. This week's work looks like this.

Tu: back squats, dips
3-2-1RM: 3@195, 2@195, 1@205
(zones start at 185, 145, 105)
3@Zone3: 145,155,165, 185
5@Zone2: 115,115
- Dips: 6,5,5.9,10,7x5 (70)
Notes: 6175 total, 31%/zone1, 38%/zone2, 31%/zone3
155 is my new "out of the hole" weight. Almost missed 3rd 195. Dips felt great, almost 2.5x my usual volume.
W: front, chins
-> goal: 5000lbs, posted on Facebook
3-2-1RM @175
(zones start at 160,125,90)
3@Zone2: 3@125,135,145,155
2x5@Zone3: 2x5@95
Chins: 5,3,5,3,4
Rows: 15,15,10,10
Notes: 6110 total, 25%/z1, 43%/z2, 32%/z3,
Maybe do 5k back w 20lb increments, 4k front w 15lb increments. This took a whole 1:15. Need to be fresher when I hit 1RM and not be here all day.

I have never squatted 6000 pounds in a day before, let alone by front squat. I've also never done this volume of full-bodyweight dips before, which should help my lockout. I've read that the upper body can take a tremendous volume. This will be interesting to monitor, as these exercises don't exactly degrade before they stop.

There's always criticism that "girevoy sport (GS) is an endurance sport that doesn't benefit from max strength". This highlights two points that I'd like to just get out of the way. First, Americans love using the Russian word "girevoy". The several Russian and Ukrainian immigrants I've asked didn't even recognize the word or the sport it represented.

Second, I'm not training for max strength. The honored coaches and top-level athletes of GS still do GPP work to protect their resiliency and mobility, and I don't have their years of foundation work to rely on. I will not even argue these points at this time in my life. I'm training this because a) I'm not strong enough at my baseline, and b) I need to improve my day-to-day recovery. Nine days in, I feel good, and my volume is through the roof.  Will post again next week if I can still type.

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