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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Deeper Look At My 2013 Peaking Program - Upper Body

Time for a quick run through of my upper body training for my peaking phase.

Now I haven't actually done the same training for upper body as I have lower body. In the 21 weeks I have done 6 - 7 cycles of Jim Wendlers 531 for bench press and chin ups. I started with military presses too but something was happening in my shoulder so I dropped them out for a bit.

It's all about the lower body for me so it's strength and nothing else really for upper body but for this peaking phase, as the lower body stuff is a lot lighter then other phases I have included more then the previous 21 weeks.

I am following what is called Prilepin's Chart which is a study done on 1000 odd Olympic weightlifters from Russia which depicts the optimal sets, reps and % load to increase strength. This makes planning your training pretty because it's all sub maximal  loads, with the aim to stay well away from failure as you can.

Here's how the chart looks:

55 - 70% load - 3 to 6 sets and reps per exercise - optimal rep number 24 - total rep range 18 - 30

70 - 80% load - 3 to 6 sets and reps per exercise - optimal rep number 18 - total rep range 12 - 24

80 - 90% - 2 to 4 sets per exercise - optimal rep number 15 - total rep range 10 - 20

90% + - 1 to 2 sets per exercise - optimal rep number 4 - total reps 10

So if you're lifting in the 70 - 80% range then for 70% you'd aim for the higher end of the volume table (18 - 24 total reps) then aim for the lower end as you work up towards 80% (12 - 18 total reps). How you break up the sets and reps is up to you. If you're feeling pretty good then you can aim for the lower set / higher rep end with 4 x 6 or if you're feeling a little sluggish from a tiring work week you can do 4 x 3.

For my training I'm doing 2 upper body sessions a week.

Session 1 see's me do military press and bench press at the low end of the total reps - 6 x 3. Session 2 I do the opposite and go for the higher end (5 x 6). Both days use the same weight which increases each week.

I haven't actually seen it done like this before so I'm trying this out but I'll need to be careful when I get to the heavier weeks how the twice a week thing goes with pretty good volume over the week.

I'm doing twice a week mainly because of my very low frequency and volume I've used for upper body since September and now that I have the chance I'm looking to improve my work capacity in the arly weeks of this.

All up it's 11 weeks all planned out until I reach the heavy load and low volume but I should be able to get through without missing a rep.

During session 1 chin ups are still rolling with 531 with a max that has been reset from my testing a few weeks ago (+40kgs x 2 reps). Session 2 I'm doing 10 x 5 mechanical drop sets for pull ups, semi supinated pull ups and chin ups. What happens here is that I do sets of 5 for pull ups until I can't then I move to semi supinated pull ups for sets of 5 until I can't and finish with chin ups if I'm still going. So each time I will do 50 total reps, it just depends how many sets of each particular variation I total.

For rowing I'm doing 8 x 8 mechanical drop sets for inverted rows during session 1 and session 2 I'm just doing some cable rows for traditional sets and reps.

Core is trained on both upper body days and 1 lower body day using gymnastic type moves that I'm trying to progressing through but having 80% of my bodyweight in my arse and thighs makes leverage exercises a terrible option but I'm persisting - hey better then 400 crunches - and an exercise I'm pretty sure I've invented, the station rotation I call it (I'll post a video later this week) which is a great name!!

So there it, my training for the next 3 and a half weeks (already 1 and half weeks into this). Let me know what you;re doing for your training via the comments section or Facebook.

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Deeper Look At My 2013 Peaking Program - Lower Body

In my last post I went into a little detail about the last phase of my off season training program, Triphasic Training.

I just finished week 22 of the program which was the first week of phase 3, the peaking phase and boy was it worth waiting for. After 21 weeks of 3 times a squatting mostly in the 70 - 90% range, this phase goes no heavier then 55%.

It also coincided with the first full week of footy training and the second week of basketball after the Christmas break so a fair bit of fatigue build up from those 2 which would have made another heavy week very hard (especially when my knee wouldn't let me walk Thursday morning - still played basketball Thursday night though as I'm a very quick recoverer!!).

In my previous post I also talked a little about breaking up my training into strength qualities and training them rather then muscles like most players do and movements like I normally do.

Here's how my lower body set set up looks:

Lower Body Days

Hip Flexion paired with Hip Abduction
Glutes
Eccentric Overload
Sprint Starts
Triphasic Training
Foot / Ankle Stiffness

Now after the first week I changed a few things going forward for the next 4 weeks to allow for some better recovery and spread things out a little more.

In this post I wrote about what I did for hip flexion using band hip flexion isometrics and why I did them. I have put these in again to keep improving my seeing phase which has gotten better even after the 6 times I did them in my last phase of training.

I added in some hip abductor work as I have a weaker glute medius on my right side which I think stems from a ankle mobility / foot tripod issue I'm working on too.

For glutes I'm doing barbell hip thrusts 3 times a week and just aiming to increase the weight each session. For some reason I've never really done these for an extended period of time so I haven't gotten any impressive numbers with them yet but they'll be a staple in the in season plan so I'm getting in early.

Now some of you might be wondering what eccentric overload means? Well if I can go back a bit, the more force you can absorb, then the more force you can put out. Think of your muscles and tendons as rubber bands and when you go to jump and you dip down, think of that as pulling the rubber band back. As you transition jump up the leaving the ground, that is you letting go of the rubber band and watching that sucker fly.

Now the harder and more force you pull the rubber band back with, the further it will go once released so if you can absorb a great amount of force then you'll be able to put that force out presenting as great sprinting speed and jumping ability.

For this I'm doing some high frequency swings 4 times a week with moderate load switching to overspeed eccentric swings at the half way mark of the phase (2 - 3 weeks). As a side note I touched a basketball ring off a 2 foot jump last Thursday for the first time ever at 168cms so we'll see if these swings can improve upon that. My reach is about 216cms so with a basketball ring being 3.05m that puts my leap at 89cms or 35.6 inches. Not bad for a 34 and a half year old if I do say so myself.


About a month ago I purchased the Joe Defranco and Jim Smith Speed manual which I've been waiting to be released for a few months now. I'm doing starts 3 - 4 times a week using the progression from that manual.

Lastly I have foot / ankle stiffness which is kind of similar to the eccentric overload stuff but also a lot different. Stiffness in the case of the foot and ankle refers to being able to absorb eccentric forces and to quickly transition into putting that power back out. For instance watch your reserves ruckman or big full forward who's probably a few kilograms overweight try and do a u-turn and note the giant turning circle. Now watch your best midfielder change direction and see how effortless it looks.

What makes it look so easy is that the elite players can contract and relax quicker then anyone else which is why you can watch Ablett and Cotchin at full speed and they just look like they their jogging in the park, even with someone on their hammer.

For my training I aiming to improve the ability of my feet to absorb the force I can put into the ground while sprinting and with minimal deformation of the foot, put the force back out (think of kicking a flat footy versus a pumped up footy). For this I'll be doing straight legged switching lunge jumps to training for foot / ankle stiffness and also the actual joint angles of sprinting 2 a week.

So my week for lower body looks like this:

Monday AM - Gym / PM - Footy Training

Wednesday AM - Gym / PM - Footy Training

Thursday PM - Basketball

Friday PM - Gym

Saturday - Track + Swings + Foot / Calf Stiffness

That's 7 lower body sessions per week of varying intensity so I hop I haven't tried to squeeze too much in but if I feel run down a bit then I can take some stuff out if I need to.

In my next post I'll detail my upper body training for this phase.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

My 2013 Peaking Training Program

After the disappointment that was my sprint testing day a couple of weeks back, I'm back with the last phase of the Triphasic Training program.

The 3 phases are differentiated by the load used during that phase. Phase 1 was 80%+ for all days, phase 2 was 55 - 80% for all days and phase 3 is 25 - 55% for all days.

Phase 1 used eccentric and isometric training methods, phase 2 uses the same but also a day of using a drop off to determine the volume of training for that day but phase 3 is a bit different.

Where the previous 2 phases were for traditional sets and reps for the most part (4 x 2, 4 x 1 etc) phase 3 is sets for time. Now normally I hate sets for time because the way they are normally used is for 30 - 60secs and all quality of technique is flushed down the toilet but that's not the case here. The entire program is based on quality over quantity.

The eccentric and isometric protocols used in the first 2 phases have been the bane of my existence for the last 21 weeks. That is a long time to do something that you hate and literally had to drag yourself off the floor to do but for dramatic improvements in life you have to do what you need to do, not necessarily what you want to do (bench presses and curls anyone??).

With the high frequency squatting (63 squatting sessions in 21 weeks is probably more then most gym goers will do in a year!) and the intensity used in those sessions have left me salivating at this phase where the load is light. It will also allow me to add in a little extra work for area's I have been wanting to improve but just couldn't really fit into with the current template and be recovered for each session.

All the hustle and bustle of the end and start of the year is over too so I can now really sink my teeth into this peaking phase, and peak I will!!

For about the last 12 or so months I have been breaking up my training a bit differently then normal. Real world normal is muscles or bodyparts (gag!!) and Troy real world is movement patterns (which we do in the studio). What I do now is separate and train strength qualities for 90% of my training.

My number 1 goal is sprinting speed and 90% of my programming is geared towards that goal. At 34 if I can maintain my speed then I can still compete at the senior level, regardless of endurance (which is moderate and never really gets above there).

So here's how I have broken up my training programming:

Lower Body Days

Hip Flexion
Glutes
Eccentric Overload
Sprint Starts
Triphasic Training - Resistance
Triphasic Training - Plyometrics
Foot / Ankle Stiffness

Upper Body

Eccentric Overload
Vertical Push
Vertical Pull
Horizontal Push
Horizontal Pull
Core

Upper body days have been 1/week for 2 x 531 exercises for the last 12 or so weeks so this time around, with the extra recovery I'll have from the lighter Triphaisc lifts, I've added some 8 x 8 mechanical drop sets.

I also have a track session incorporated for Saturday's that runs through some of the pre season training manual stuff.

I'll detail some of this stuff in my next post later this week.