T Nation

Think Tank--Strength Training

At any moment throughout the day, I always have a bunch of ideas on training floating through my head. I try to carry a notebook around to jot them down, but I always end up forgeting the notepad and scribbling something down on a paper towel or stickie note, hoping I’ll somehow remember to write it down when I get home. I always forget, and usually end up losing the original stickie/towel. I’ve lost more good training ideas this way than I care to think about, most of which I don’t ever remember exactly how I figured it out in the first place.

I want to start a thread for random training ideas. I may be away from a piece of paper, but more often than not I have access to a computer somewhere nearby. This way I’ll have a place to collect ideas without losing them.

This is for everybody to post whatever ideas you’ve been kicking around or just hit upon or thinking about experimenting with or whatever. Contribs welcome too (obviously :slight_smile: ). Stream of consciousness posts are fine. Whatever helps you remember things. This could be on weak point training, strength attribute training, organization schemes, whatever. I only ask that you note, somewhere in each post, what the specific goal is (eg–starting strength, bottom end strength, strongman events, etc).

Let’s kick some ideas around and get some ‘cross-germination’ going.

ideas don’t have to be original either, so don’t bother saying ‘well charlie francis came up with that idea in 1982 in a haze of bong smoke during poker one night’. This is just personal musings and trying to use other’s to kick off new original ideas in your own training.

Here’s one—

“building on” ideas–bottom end help in bench/DL

camber bar bench + pin/board press tri work

OH push press/strict press + pin/board press

pull from deficit + pin pulls

pull from deficit + reverse band pulls

snatch grip pull from deficit + pull from deficit + rev. band pull

zercher dl + pull from deficit + rev. band/pin pull

bottom end/start strength squat

concentric only oly squat, start dead bottom on pins or chains

conc. only GM

conc. only seated GM

conc. only front squat

I’ve noticed using front squats help me get more pop in my push press and make it feel lighter starting. why don’t I use the two together more?

Brett T’s routine on page 11 of Road to strongman looks cool

I just saw today’s article up–I Wonder. Funny, 'cause that’s exactly why I posted this thread in the first place. Cool article too.

Going to up volume until i reach my burnout point. I will learn more about my body’s ability to handle training this way than any overtraining article an author can write.

Regardless of weight, push or pull it as hard as you can.

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
ideas don’t have to be original either, so don’t bother saying ‘well charlie francis came up with that idea in 1982 in a haze of bong smoke during poker one night’. This is just personal musings and trying to use other’s to kick off new original ideas in your own training.

Here’s one—

“building on” ideas–bottom end help in bench/DL

camber bar bench + pin/board press tri work

OH push press/strict press + pin/board press

pull from deficit + pin pulls

pull from deficit + reverse band pulls

snatch grip pull from deficit + pull from deficit + rev. band pull

zercher dl + pull from deficit + rev. band/pin pull

bottom end/start strength squat

concentric only oly squat, start dead bottom on pins or chains

conc. only GM

conc. only seated GM

conc. only front squat

I’ve noticed using front squats help me get more pop in my push press and make it feel lighter starting. why don’t I use the two together more?

[/quote]

I use some of these in my training.

Generally every bench workout goes from a full or near full range lift and then moves to high pin presses.

So like low pin to high pin, or full bench to high pin.

I’ve also done squats to pin squats.

Works pretty well for me.

I think ankle extension work is more important than most people think. If you leave it off for lets say a year, and gain 10 lbs, you’re setting yourself up for injury. The ankle is the base of everything, and it isn’t a good area to have as a weakest link.

I think ankle extension strength should increase ATLEAST at the same rate as BW increases. Even more if you’re getting stronger. If you can jump higher, you’re going to land with more force.

[quote]vision1 wrote:
I think ankle extension work is more important than most people think. If you leave it off for lets say a year, and gain 10 lbs, you’re setting yourself up for injury. The ankle is the base of everything, and it isn’t a good area to have as a weakest link.

I think ankle extension strength should increase ATLEAST at the same rate as BW increases. Even more if you’re getting stronger. If you can jump higher, you’re going to land with more force.[/quote]

well couldn’t you just spend some time without shoes. I do that sometimes when I golf. I will walk over a couple a miles in a day and i will walk it all without shoes. I think that would make up for it. plus i’ll do squats without shoes on in my backyard. do you think this would be good enough?

[quote]That One Guy wrote:
Going to up volume until i reach my burnout point. I will learn more about my body’s ability to handle training this way than any overtraining article an author can write.[/quote]

I like. I’m thinking of doing this same thing, but I’m going wave style over the weeks to help myself not crash if I do this. Other way to go is I’ve been rereading some Russian manuals, thinking about a H,M,VH,L volume style or something more planned. I’ve been toying with the idea of making my own statistical background on various parameters via Excel or something to help find new indicators etc.

What rep range are you sticking with while doing this?

Kicking around a way of “solidifying” strength gains on a lift. Idea came to me in the lab a few weeks ago. Thanks for reminding me. Some kind of 3-5 method. Say you hit a new PR, take 85-95% of that, whatever you think you can handle. Stick to that weight and work up to 3-5 singles in that weight over the next few weeks, then try for a double or triple with the same weight when you feel ready. Work up to 3x3 with the weight, then try for a 4-5RM with it. If you get the 5RM you can either drop the exercise to focus solely on something else (90% of your previous landmark is now a 5RM), or bring it back to ME movement. I was thinking you could drop it to your 2nd exercise when you feel you can hit a good triple, and move on to a different ME exercise. Keep it as a 2nd movement till you hit 5 reps and cycle it back in to ME day. This would be like for a long term goal specialization or weak point (say, 500-600lb deadlift). Everything else in your program progresses with the new ME movement, except this–you might use it to keep maintenance during a squat or GM focus, or maybe to try to keep strength gains after an AAS cycle or MAG-10 cycle, or after a really awesome competition PR. Whatever.

Alternatively, after you hit 2-3x3 you could increase the difficulty of the movement each week and try for the same weight (chains, incremental deficit, different grip–maybe snatch grip in the example, probably not bands, as this is supposedly a 2nd movement)

eg–600 lb DL conventional

91.6%=550 lb

weekly progression:

3x1
3x1 —work down rest intervals
4x1
5x1
1x3
1x3, 2x1
2x3
3x3 --make it 2nd movement
etc, etc.

This is the only exercise you do aimed at this lift. Everything else goes towards your new cycle focus. Hmm. Maybe not, maybe start witha 2-3RM and work up to 5RM, might make the progression shorter.

[quote]vision1 wrote:
I think ankle extension work is more important than most people think. If you leave it off for lets say a year, and gain 10 lbs, you’re setting yourself up for injury. The ankle is the base of everything, and it isn’t a good area to have as a weakest link.

I think ankle extension strength should increase ATLEAST at the same rate as BW increases. Even more if you’re getting stronger. If you can jump higher, you’re going to land with more force.[/quote]

Define “ankle extension work”.

[quote]That One Guy wrote:
vision1 wrote:
I think ankle extension work is more important than most people think. If you leave it off for lets say a year, and gain 10 lbs, you’re setting yourself up for injury. The ankle is the base of everything, and it isn’t a good area to have as a weakest link.

I think ankle extension strength should increase ATLEAST at the same rate as BW increases. Even more if you’re getting stronger. If you can jump higher, you’re going to land with more force.

well couldn’t you just spend some time without shoes. I do that sometimes when I golf. I will walk over a couple a miles in a day and i will walk it all without shoes. I think that would make up for it. plus i’ll do squats without shoes on in my backyard. do you think this would be good enough?[/quote]

I really don’t know, it’s just one of the thoughts that has gone through my head about training.

I don’t think squats would help much since the weight is mostly kept on the heels. Walking would most likely help a little more, but I think sprinting would be an even better option.

More of my ideas…

  • Hip flexion strength is very important to balance out all the heavy squats, deads, GMs, etc.

  • I haven’t noticed much of a benefit with rotation (core) exercises. Although I will be using them after my lacrosse season to balance out all the rotation to one direction I do while throwing/passing.

  • I don’t like OH squats or snatchs. It seems If I take a wide grip I get pain in my wrists, and if I take a more narrow grip I get pain in my shoulders. So I stick to plyometrics / sprints / cleans / 1-arm snatchs etc. I’m also thinking about trying some clean grip snatchs.

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
vision1 wrote:
I think ankle extension work is more important than most people think. If you leave it off for lets say a year, and gain 10 lbs, you’re setting yourself up for injury. The ankle is the base of everything, and it isn’t a good area to have as a weakest link.

I think ankle extension strength should increase ATLEAST at the same rate as BW increases. Even more if you’re getting stronger. If you can jump higher, you’re going to land with more force.

Define “ankle extension work”. [/quote]

Isolation work ( calf raises )

Pogo jumps, or sprints + many other jumps

Olympic lifts

sled dragging + farmer’s walks most likely help aswell

Training manual laborers in the gym for performance enhancement is a waste of time and in some cases can actually become counter-productive.

When building houses and you’re setting a beam into its pocket, do you pick it in the same movement pattern or grip as a dead or squat? (remember kyphotic lifting postures are said to be more hazardous than lordotic)

If you’ve ever run a jackleg, there is no gym exercise that has ever been developed that can adequately train you to run this motherfucker.

Ever run tongs and slips for 16+ hours on a jack up? No amount of bicep curls or dips, deads, squats or shrugs will adequately prepare you for this.

Run a jack hammer and various chippers for 6 weeks straight, in positions that would make a porn star jealous, and then go into the gym. You’ll outlift everyone in the place.

Work in a completely enclosed workspace the size of your apartment living room, crawling around on super heated pipe, in 100+ degree temps for hours at a time and then write a program to help prepare better for the next containment…can’t, no shit.

I’m not saying that lifting in the gym won’t help with general physical preparedness (geeky 18 year old green hand should be envisioned here). But to get strong at work…you have to fuckin’ work. To be honest, the strongest sons-of-bitches that I’ve ever met, have never set foot in a gym. When I got into the industry, I was the strongest guy in our gym (not pound-for-pound…THE strongest) and after my first day of loading two new build tri-levels with rock, I just about had a fucking embolism and was sore for a good three to four days afterward. Now, a 10 hour day working with no breaks barely has me breaking a sweat…and I’m weaker in the gym than I’ve ever been.

Strongman-type programs and protocol are really the only other way that I see to prepare yourself for manual labor.

But, I could be wrong…wouldn’t be the first time.

A set of Low Weight-High Reps immediately following a set of High Weight-Low Reps (or Vice-Versa)

Assume :In the bench press the point of max failure 2in off chest-upper abs might require wide-grip throat press to build up chest. At 4-8 inches failure may be front delts+ chest, add military press behind the neck. Any higher failure may be triceps, but if you wanna lock-out a big bench you gotta have strong triceps.

Something that has seriously worked for me lately… the more recovery work i do the more i can work out.

Nothing serious, just silly shit.

2-3sets of something really light, like mini bands pulldowns or whatever, do 70-100reps.

or sled drags, or lat pulldowns till 2-3 sets till i feel a slight pump. It takes like 10-15min to go through a full body deal if i dont pause and just go from upper to lower, upper to lower.

I had seriously problems with my training workload trying to train MMA twice a day but increase my conditioning AND maintain strength.

It seems counterintuitive but doing MORE work actually helped me. I increased my carbs a good bit, kept protien between 1.8- 2.0 gm/lb of bw.

and just the increased blood flow to my muscles (i’m guessing) made me feel really refreshed.

another training tidbit that improved my recovery has been taking naps as often as possible and going to bed before 12am. I haven’t been able to do it recently, but for the little while that I went to sleep at about 9pm, I was able to fit in more eating and training time.

The naps weren’t long, and sometimes I wouldn’t even sleep but my body would shut down for 15-20min and thats all i need to be kind of recharged. In my other session i didn’t even feel like I trained b4. (Exagerating a bit, but it was a lot better than if i didn’t take a nap)

[quote]Xen Nova wrote:
Something that has seriously worked for me lately… the more recovery work i do the more i can work out.
[/quote]

Are you talking about “feeder” workouts or something else? I’ve given some thought to adding a couple of light higher rep sets of whatever I did the day before to see if it helps with recovery (i.e. the day after a heavy chest day doing 2 light sets of 20 reps maybe with DB’s instead?). I haven’t played around with it yet, but would be interested to see what others may think.

yea basically feeder workouts

but even easier than dumbells like that

i know i can rep out about 50pushups fairly easily, but i’d just hit 2 sets of 35, then do 2 sets of 100 flyes and 1 set of 100 tricep pistons with a monster mini band.

thats it.

I mean its really short, nothing strenuous, i want to avoid adding any other stress to my nervous system (which is why I like working with the sled too, no eccentric)

I’m a student, and even my job requires sitting… i sit at school, i sit at work, i sit driving to and from work, when i get home i’m sittin down in front of the computer or sitting to study, i sit down to watch movies.

unless i’m training or its the weekend and i’m doing some sort of outdoorsy shit i’m probably on my ass.

I think thats why the recovery work is so important, to get that blood flow that I wouldn’t be otherwise.

add to the list glute activation exercises… made my speed squats easier, go figure… and static stretching my hip flexors before i sleep

i can almost do the splits!!

I think overtraining is hard to do, and most people don’t even come close. I also know from experience that every time I felt really, really beat up, a week or 2 later I felt and was stronger. I think the body needs to be broken down like this in order to build back up.

I don’t think chains and bands are advanced methods, just different methods. At one point in your life a pushup was hard, then benching the bar was hard, then benching a plate was hard, etc. This is no different. I think as long as you have enough strength you should use bands and chains. I also don’t think you need a ton of strength. The mini bands on the bench add 50 lbs each at the top. That means realistically if you can bench 250 lbs, you should be able to use bands. Chains can be as light as 25 lbs per side at the top, so you’re bench doesn’t even need to be that strong to start using chains.

I think the best way to learn how to squat is to know someone who can show you. Once they show you the best way to learn is to box squat with relatively light weight. My squat technique improved tenfold once both of the above happened.

I think most people on the Westside routine overlook the assistance exercises. They put a lot of focus on max work and speed work, then just half ass the other stuff. The other stuff is just as important, and in some cases more important, than the max and speed work. I am guilty of this sometimes also. I know when I really push my assistance lifts, my main lifts go up.