T Nation

S+C Coach: 'Stop Doing Stronglifts'

Hey guys been following sl 5x5 and doing grappling and standup.

After dropping the weight and perfecting form I am progressing and enjoying.

Last week I had a couple of sessions with a well respected s&c coach.

He told me he liked the core lifts of stronglifts and the emphasis on compound lifts but recommended I do 10 sets of 3 repetitions and stick to tabata sprints followed by stretching as opposed to running.

I am at work and have his routine at home, it is something like:

Monday:

Overhead press
Dead lift

Tuesday :

Tabata sprints

Wednesday:

Front squats
Weighted chin-ups

Thursday:

Tabata sprints

Friday:

Cleans
Push press / thrusters

Saturday:

Tabata sprints

Just thought I would share. Wondered if this is a rep range and volume anyone had tried before.

I’m not going to argue with a coach who you have worked with face to face, who has met you, been able to observe you, clearly assess you and has a better insight of your goals than me. However, if you ask me 10x3 is a lot of volume, assuming you are pretty active in grappling and standup.

There are different ways to do 10x3 though. Are you keeping the weight light and rest periods short? Are you focusing on making the movements quick and explosive vs grinding the reps? Are you going heavy (85% or more of 1rm)?

I’ve used 10x3 before for a strength/mass routine before and I got good results from it. It is time consuming and gets boring. It is also very taxing and requires intense recovery. Without knowing anything else about you other than what you posted, I would suggest perhaps a 5x3, and than through in a few higher rep sets, or a few bodyweight based circuits to balance things out.

Your exercise selection looks good. A ‘bodybuilding’ goal based trainer might not like it, but for simple strength, I like it. Just basic barbell lifts, and to the point.
Sprinting over distance running is a good substitute. If you watch the S+C trends, including those of MMA, you have seen that distance running had faded away in favor of sprints, and is now making a comeback. Perhaps include both, alternating, not on the same day.
Once again, take everything I say with a grain of salt. Internet advice doe not trump that of a qualified face to face coach.

No.

This is all pure conjecture. You have not said anything about your training schedule. You have not said anything about your current strength levels.

In summation, you have provided nothing to evaluate you or your plan, to an audience of anonymous people.

I am going to wager you have not trained combat sports or weight training all that long.

[quote]666Rich wrote:
No.

This is all pure conjecture. You have not said anything about your training schedule. You have not said anything about your current strength levels.

In summation, you have provided nothing to evaluate you or your plan, to an audience of anonymous people.

I am going to wager you have not trained combat sports or weight training all that long.[/quote]

Under a year mate.

170lbs

10+ hours grappling a week
3-6 hours boxing a week

I’m going to be honest he explained why to do this workout but I just nodded along pretending to understand. Something about if one dude can lift x weight in 1 second another in two. Zoned out had just done first tabata was dead and retarded.

Will provide reason next time see him and go over it

666Rich nailed it.

The only thing I would add is to use kmcnyc’s paradigm that

TECHNIQUE

is more important than…

CONDITIONING

is more important than…

STRENGTH

And that the way to navigate this is to just work everything until one starts to interfere with another. Than you cut back on the one that is lower on the ranking.

Regards,

Robert A

You aren’t doing tabata sprints. You may be doing sprints, of some fashion, but you aren’t doing the tabata method.

[quote]zecarlo wrote:
You aren’t doing tabata sprints. You may be doing sprints, of some fashion, but you aren’t doing the tabata method. [/quote]

Good catch.

Of course I think very few of the “tabatas” done actually follow the method. Tabata is in danger of becoming a “common use” term.

Side note/selfish derail:
I know you have a strong BJJ/grappling resume; what, if any, importance do you place on grip work?

Regards,

Robert A

Tabata sprints? I tried those. Those are impossible.
20 seconds of sprinting followed by 10 seconds of rest…for 4 entire minutes? No way.

[quote]legendaryblaze wrote:
Tabata sprints? I tried those. Those are impossible.
20 seconds of sprinting followed by 10 seconds of rest…for 4 entire minutes? No way.[/quote]

He said a Russian weightlifting group adopted the tabata thing to bring squats up and that to do one correctly you have to reach 170% of something and if your doing it right sprinting you probably won’t ever get through all eight rounds.

He said it was originally done on a bike but our gym has none

[quote]BeginnerBrah wrote:

[quote]legendaryblaze wrote:
Tabata sprints? I tried those. Those are impossible.
20 seconds of sprinting followed by 10 seconds of rest…for 4 entire minutes? No way.[/quote]

He said a Russian weightlifting group adopted the tabata thing to bring squats up and that to do one correctly you have to reach 170% of something and if your doing it right sprinting you probably won’t ever get through all eight rounds.

He said it was originally done on a bike but our gym has none[/quote]

It’s 170% VO2 max. In gross oversimplification this refers to the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize during intense effort. It is measured in millilitres of oxygen used per kilogram of bodyweight per minute. Everyone’s VO2 max is different and it is largely genetic.
It will be a good indicator of maximum potential aerobic endurance.

The original Tabata study did use stationary bicycles with closely regulated intensity and resistance. In other words the participants were required to maintain a set rate of pedal strokes per minute at a set resistance on the bike for all the intervals. One group trained at a steady 70% VO2 max (moderate intensity) for 60min./day 5 x/wk over 6 weeks. The other group did 20 sec at 170% VO2 max (high intensity) for 20 seconds then rested 10 seconds and repeated for a total of 8 sets or 4 minutes also 5 x/wk over 6 weeks.

You will almost certainly not hit that intensity for eight rounds of consecutive 20sec sprints with only 10 sec rest between. Tabata is a buzzword that has almost lost all meaning. However it sounds cool, vaguely mystical and samurai-like so people assume that if they do something, anything balls out for 20 seconds then rest for 10 seconds and repeat they will be doing Tabata and therefor they will be awesome. What happens though is that the actual intensity of their max efforts drops off rapidly in terms of actual intensity with each round due to fatigue because they cannot recover properly with such short rest periods.

In sprinting terms, let’s say you can run 150 metres in 20 seconds at 170% VO2 max. you would need to get 150 metres consistently for all 8 sets to be getting the same intensity. Intensity and effort are not the same. If you are trying like hell in you third round of 8, but you only make it say 110m in 20 seconds (which is likely) you are no longer running at the same intensity. By the fifth round you will be even slower and so on until you are probably barely jogging for 7 and 8.

I could be wrong, but that’s how I interpreted the original study when I read it.

1 Like

[quote]Robert A wrote:

[quote]zecarlo wrote:
You aren’t doing tabata sprints. You may be doing sprints, of some fashion, but you aren’t doing the tabata method. [/quote]

Good catch.

Of course I think very few of the “tabatas” done actually follow the method. Tabata is in danger of becoming a “common use” term.

Side note/selfish derail:
I know you have a strong BJJ/grappling resume; what, if any, importance do you place on grip work?

Regards,

Robert A[/quote]
Tabata is becoming a joke. I read people with their versions of it, which don’t follow the original protocol, and claims of how awesome it is for fat loss, even though that was not part of the original study. One major point people seem to miss or ignore is that it was originally performed by elite speed skaters, if I recall correctly, who were already in great shape. The idea was to see if already in-shape athletes could get into even better shape so those people who start with Tabata are already wrong as it wasn’t intended as a way to get into shape if you were out of shape. And in shape in this case means increasing VO2 max. Yes, those who participated in the original study were lean but they were elite speed skaters so they were already lean to start.

Maybe one can substitute another exercise for cycling but you can’t substitute every exercise and you most certainly can’t substitute sprints. I doubt there is any human on the planet who could follow a Tabata protocol with sprints. Imagine telling Usain Bolt that after he crosses the finish line in the 200m he has exactly 10 seconds to “rest” before duplicating that feat and that he has to do it a total of 8 times. It would be impossible and even dangerous. As far as other exercises: have there been any studies to show they are as effective as cycling? I don’t think so.

Grip:

Obviously grip strength and endurance is important for grappling. I notice that if I do no gi for a while and then return to the gi that my grip gives out. I remember doing a Judo tournament for the first time and my hands were dying during my last match. So I basically concluded that training with a gi will strengthen your grip, which again is probably obvious.

I used to try and incorporate direct grip work in my training outside of class but I think it ended up overworking it. I already did (and still do) deadlifts, pullups, rows, various types of curls (I use the grip4orce with some of them), etc., so my grip was already getting worked. I know some grapplers will train their grips directly but I think a lot of them aren’t lifting much so they aren’t in danger of overtraining. So personally I find that lifting heavy weights will make my grip stronger and training in a gi will increase my endurance. I look at it this way: rolling for an hour or more (several times a week) will work my grip better, and under real (sport specific) conditions than using some gripping tool for a few minutes. It just seems counterproductive and superfluous. I’ve seen people doing pullups using a gi hung from the bars but if you are going to be training later it doesn’t make sense to me. Now, if you aren’t training in a gi then I could see the benefits of doing things like that.

zecarlo,

Thanks for your insight. Grip strength is both something I want to work on, and something that I have burned out/caused tendonitis with in the past. I strongly believe it is one of the few types of “gym” strength that pays direct dividends, so you can never have too much. However, it seems like it is also easier to overdue than most other things. Going conservative may be the right way to approach it.

RE: Tabata exercise selection

The killer for me was always the “rest”. On something like a sprint I can go “max effort” even without “max result” for the required rounds. The biggest issue for me was trying to slow down, rest, and strart up in 10 seconds. I don’t like to come to a stop abruptly after sprinting. So I either “rested” only a few seconds, or found myself gaming the on/off periods and turned Tabata into some kind of bullshit interval(BS because I needed way more than the short time).

I have had good results(Good in the sense of completing protocol without injuring myself AND still experiencing the post exercise sweating/high metabolism) with an exercise bike or a rowing machine(cardio, not weight lifting). On both of these you just go hard as you can and then stop on the rest. The pedals may keep going on the bike, but you can safetly sit there. Even so, I know I get better results in terms of compliance with longer less intense conditioning. Of course my limitations and failings may not at all apply to anyone else.

Regards,

Robert A

strong lifts is the greatest copy paster in the intwerwebz
dont read his shit.

tabata - is possible if you use a bunch of technology

in interval timer perhaps a heart rate monitor

and really you need to ride an exercise bike use a rower or a versa climber
the latter two both have programable timers built in

use the built in timers etc to count strokes - distance watts RPM what ever is on the display that is measurable
to ensure you are getting close to the same output

gi will give you a great grip
so will shoveling snow or most manual labor

I have always associated grip strength with how good your cardio is
often fatigue will manifest in the hands losing strength and shaking

so building a better grip is two fold
lift heavy crap
get conditioning in line-

Good posts by zecarlo and kmc about grip strength. I personally have seen the most improvement in terms of grip from doing conditioning work that also heavily taxed my grip (in terms of carryover to combat anyhow). Things like heavy farmer’s walks for distance/time, wrist rollers made with very thick handles, hanging for time at the end of intense conditioning workouts (when your grip and forearms are already fatigued) where you never “let go” of the bar but instead gravity eventually rips your fingers off of it, battling rope drills, etc… My instructor Shihan Charlie Lysak has the strongest grip of anyone in the martial arts and he’s got some awesome workouts and exercises that he puts us through that really tax and develop your grip.

Heavy sledge swings are also fantastic for grip, in my limited experience. I have never done tire swings with one, but I’ve worked enough manual jobs to know that an hour or two of swinging a 16lbs sledgehammer, or mattock around will improve the strength and stamina of your grip.

[quote]batman730 wrote:

[quote]BeginnerBrah wrote:

[quote]legendaryblaze wrote:
Tabata sprints? I tried those. Those are impossible.
20 seconds of sprinting followed by 10 seconds of rest…for 4 entire minutes? No way.[/quote]

He said a Russian weightlifting group adopted the tabata thing to bring squats up and that to do one correctly you have to reach 170% of something and if your doing it right sprinting you probably won’t ever get through all eight rounds.

He said it was originally done on a bike but our gym has none[/quote]

It’s 170% VO2 max. In gross oversimplification this refers to the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize during intense effort. It is measured in millilitres of oxygen used per kilogram of bodyweight per minute. Everyone’s VO2 max is different and it is largely genetic.
It will be a good indicator of maximum potential aerobic endurance.

The original Tabata study did use stationary bicycles with closely regulated intensity and resistance. In other words the participants were required to maintain a set rate of pedal strokes per minute at a set resistance on the bike for all the intervals. One group trained at a steady 70% VO2 max (moderate intensity) for 60min./day 5 x/wk over 6 weeks. The other group did 20 sec at 170% VO2 max (high intensity) for 20 seconds then rested 10 seconds and repeated for a total of 8 sets or 4 minutes also 5 x/wk over 6 weeks.

You will almost certainly not hit that intensity for eight rounds of consecutive 20sec sprints with only 10 sec rest between. Tabata is a buzzword that has almost lost all meaning. However it sounds cool, vaguely mystical and samurai-like so people assume that if they do something, anything balls out for 20 seconds then rest for 10 seconds and repeat they will be doing Tabata and therefor they will be awesome. What happens though is that the actual intensity of their max efforts drops off rapidly in terms of actual intensity with each round due to fatigue because they cannot recover properly with such short rest periods.

In sprinting terms, let’s say you can run 150 metres in 20 seconds at 170% VO2 max. you would need to get 150 metres consistently for all 8 sets to be getting the same intensity. Intensity and effort are not the same. If you are trying like hell in you third round of 8, but you only make it say 110m in 20 seconds (which is likely) you are no longer running at the same intensity. By the fifth round you will be even slower and so on until you are probably barely jogging for 7 and 8.

I could be wrong, but that’s how I interpreted the original study when I read it.

[/quote]

Its my understanding that intensity is independant of actual work output and more related to heart rate. For example if you for whatever reason are only walking on a treadmill at 2.5 miles per hour, but you heart rate is 180, this is still a very intense exercise.

Theorizing why tabata intervals may allow someone to remain at 170% of their vo2 max while performing less work could have something to do with the previous oxygen debt as a result of the previous sprints. If someone sprints to the point where they are needing to consume that much oxygen (lets just say they are at 170% their vo2 max) in the 10 seconds off this value doesn’t drop to 0 again, they are still sucking enough wind where they are very close to this number. As a result of being fatigued, and still at a huge percentage of their vo2 max upon the start of the next sprint same ammount of work isn’t required to get back to the levels of oxygen consumption illicted by the previous effort.

As spmeone else said, these ARE possible, and a heart rate moniter is likely the best way to make sure that the right level of intensity is being maintained.

[quote]Defekt wrote:
As spmeone else said, these ARE possible, and a heart rate moniter is likely the best way to make sure that the right level of intensity is being maintained. [/quote]
It is beyond the capacity of any human to do Tabata sprints. Michael Johnson held both the 400m and 200m world records. His conditioning can’t be questioned. The idea that after crossing the finish line in the 200m (which took him just under 20 seconds) he could repeat the feat of running as hard as he could for another 20 seconds after just 10 seconds rest (and then repeating that 6 more times) is absurd. And we are talking about a highly conditioned athlete of Godlike proportions, not some gym rat.

The elite athletes who were part of the original Tabata study were dying and they used a bike (which is easier than sprinting).

Likely not, but he could probably repeat in an effort that maintains that level of oxygen consumption and heart rate, for the reaspons stated in my previous post.

Also I’m not sure if you are aware that you just said that it was impossible, and then gave an example of where it occured.

[quote]Defekt wrote:
Also I’m not sure if you are aware that you just said that it was impossible, and then gave an example of where it occured. [/quote]

It is impossible, and no he didn’t.