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I work with a great deal of people over the world via my personalized program design services. Many of my clients have more than one goal. For example, one client may want to build muscle, lose fat and increase muscular endurance. Another may want to put on size, train for the RKC Kettlebell certification, and improve his or her numbers on Military PT tests.
I am a strong believer that a trainee should only train for a few goals at a time. Otherwise, the trainee will be all over the place and get mediocre at several things rather than make exceptional progress in a few areas. While working on several goals at a time is not the ideal way to make progress in each area, it is possible to work on multiple goals and make progress.
This week let's take the example of a trainee that wants to improve his pull-up numbers, increase muscular endurance and build some strength.
Let's start with the pull-ups. In order to get better at a skill you have to practice it often without burning out. For example, if you want to learn to play the violin, practicing once a week is not going to be as effective as practicing several times per week.
If you want to learn a martial art, getting instruction several times per week is going to be much more effective than once a week or less. A great program that focuses on strength training as a practice is Pavel's GTG (greasing the groove program).
The GTG program is just the ticket for ramping up pull-up numbers. Here is an example of an effective GTG program for pull-ups:
- Monday: Three sets at 50% of one set max (example: if your max is ten reps, do sets of five)
- Tuesday: Three sets at 60% of one set max
- Wednesday: Three sets at 70% of one set max
- Thursday: Three sets at 60% of one set max
- Friday: Three sets at 50% of one set max
Ideally, you do the sets throughout the day. For example, do one set in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the late afternoon or early evening. However, for most trainees this system will not work. Thus, do one set in the morning before work and two when you get back from work. Or do all three sets at one time with 5-minute breaks.
The key is to be fresh at each set. Focus on making every rep perfect. The more you practice the more efficient your grove will get. Training to failure will just fry your CNS so avoid it and have the discipline to leave each set feeling fresh. Train for your goals rather than the stimulus of training. Once a month test your one set max and adjust the training numbers accordingly.
| The Central Nervous System.
The human central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord. These lie in the midline of the body and are protected by the skull and vertebrae respectively.
This collection of billions of neurons is arguably the most complex object known.
The central nervous system along with the peripheral nervous system comprise a primary division of controls that command all physical activities of a human.
Neurons of the central nervous system affect consciousness and mental activity while spinal extensions of central nervous system neuron pathways affect skeletal muscles and organs in the body.
Next let's focus on strength training. Assuming the trainee is not under a great deal of stress and is getting a good amount of quality sleep (7-9 hours), we will start with two strength training sessions per week and two muscular endurance sessions. If the trainee has a hard time recovering, we will reduce the volume on both and if necessary the frequency. What we are looking for is the minimum dose required to get the job done. More often than not less equals more.
Here is what the strength training portion of the program will look like:
- A-1: Barbell Clean and Military Press 3x3 (80% of one rep max)
- A-2: Renegade Row (use dumbbells or kettlebells) 3x5 (a weight that the trainee can do seven reps with)
- B-1: Barbell Squat 3x5
- B-2: Double Swing 3x5
Do a set of A-1, rest for one minute and then do a set of A-2, rest for one minute and repeat A-1 again. Continue in this format until all three sets are completed. When you can do three sets with the same weight, move up five pounds. If using kettlebells for Renegade rows, add a pause at the top of each rep to increase the difficulty.
Do a set of B-1, rest for one-minute and then do a set of B-2, rest for one minute and repeat B-1 again. Continue in this format until all three sets are completed. When you can do three sets with the same weight, move up five pounds. Finisher: Hindu Squat 50-100 reps
- A-1: Incline Dumbbell Press 3x5
- A-2: Barbell Bent-over Row 3x5
- Barbell Deadlift 5x3 (start with 80% of one rep max and take two-minute breaks)
- Finisher: One-arm Kettlebell Swing 1x15 l,r (left and right)
Start with weights that you can do seven reps with for each exercise. Do a set of A-1, rest for one minute and then do a set of A-2, rest for one minute and repeat A-1 again. Continue in this format until all three sets are completed. When you can do three sets with the same weight, move up five pounds.
Finally, let's cover the muscular endurance workouts. HOC (high octane cardio) based on "roadwork' will get the job done for not only ramping up muscular endurance, but burning some fat as well. Just keep in mind that fat loss is at least 70% diet and 30% training so practice pushing yourself away from the table more often and using ballistic strength to stay out of the kitchen. Here are some sample muscular endurance workouts:
- One-minute of Jump roping (an alternative is 25-50 Hindu Squats)
- One-arm Kettlebell Swing 12 reps l,r (pick a weight that you can do 15 reps with)
Ten Sets Of:
Do the jump rope and kettlebell work back to back and then take a 1-minute break. When you can do ten sets with one-minute breaks, take the breaks down to 50 seconds. Long-term goal is 30-second breaks.
Friday: Track & Kettlebell Workout:
- Workout Station 1: One-arm Snatch 10 reps l,r (left and right)
- Workout Station 2: One-arm Clean and Push Press 10 reps l,r
- Workout Station 3: One-arm Swing 12 reps l,r
- Workout Station 4: One-arm Clean and Front Squat 10 reps l,r
- Workout Station 5: One-arm Snatch 10 reps l,r (left and right)
- Workout Station 6: One-arm Clean and Push Press 10 reps l,r
- Workout Station 7: One-arm Swing 12 reps l,r
- Workout Station 8: One-arm Clean and Front Squat 10 reps l,r
Place two kettlebells on opposite sides of a track field. Each bell represents a workout station. Jog around the track and stop at each station as follows:
Record the total time it takes to complete this workout and work on beating that number at each workout or add more stations. In other words work up to 12-16 stations. Just keep the workouts under 45 minutes to avoid depleting anabolic hormones.
Yes, you can train for a few goals at the same time and make it work. The key is to adjust the intensity, volume and frequency to your individual situation. Also, focus on improving your weak points for balanced progress. If you have any questions about my program design services, click here for more information: www.mikemahler.com
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