Over the last few weeks we laid out our repetition menus for power, strength, and assistance. Using the examples we put up alone, you could provide years of variety to a client without even changing movements. Pretty crazy, huh?
And let’s face it- are you, or your clients, going to acclimate to intensity, volume, density, or movements first?
A lot of us sure reinvent the wheel with adding and changing movements, so that muuuuust be the answer, right?
Unfortunately, and yet fortunately, no.
Remember what Dan John said in our Q&A last week about creating success?
His client pointed at him and said:
“YOU can’t get bored!”
So really, we probably just need slight tweaks to intensity, volume, and density- and only occasionally change up the movements.[It's of note, you're following a program like that now!]
Okay, okay- so we’ve spent the last three weeks tearing apart periodization, reps, and intensity. We didn’t get a ton into density, but we will…
But this week we are going to look at types of loading strategies, or what I like to call our “loading type menus.”
There is a lot of information to follow. Don’t let it overwhelm you!
This is OBSERVATION ONLY for now… we are simply laying out the “what.”
What types of loading do we commonly use for power?
Well, I can only speak for myself. But I commonly use the following:
We use these most commonly. In fact, it’s what you’ve been doing thus far in Strength Faction. Think along the lines of traditional sets and reps.
Think of cluster sets as mini sets within a set. Or maybe you’ve called them rest-pause sets. We did some of these on neural charge sessions within Strength Faction… We commonly prescribe breaths instead of time, for rest between clusters.
Multiple exercises performed for multiple reps, with a single implement, consecutively (i.e. no break).
Multiple exercises performed for single reps, with a single implement, consecutively for rounds (chains).
Now we’ve got some variety within the category. There are three types of ladders that we commonly use (some of these are closely related to cluster sets):
Multiple, or single, exercises performed for escalating reps per round, with a single implement.
There are a lot of options here. I’ll lay out a few examples…
Speaking for myself again, here’s the common types we use for strength:
Same as we used them for power!
The name does not imply that we implement Cal’s and Ben’s system, but rather that we are influenced by it. It all comes down to manipulating tempo of exercises for given purposes. Typically we employ an eccentric focus for a few weeks, then an isometric focus, and finally a concentric focus.
The build up prepares the individual to be able to control the varying points of the lift to increase rate of force production. Essentially, the athlete/individual that can turn the weight around the fastest, wins- or at least in the weight room from a GPP standpoint.
Same as we used them for power!
Combining strength movements with related plyometric movements.
Again, there are more options you can throw in for strength. Choose what fits your system!
Honestly, I don’t use a whole lot of variety for strength… Here’s my two favorites:
You get it by now!
We use density sets to control the tempo of our assistance work sometimes. We simply write a time before the exercise name, much like this:
Oh conditioning… This one could get crazy. To make a short list of types that we use is a tall order. But alright, let’s look at a few:
Fixed time for work, fixed time for rest
Work to set heart rate, rest to set heart rate.
Work to set heart rate, rest for set time.
Work for set time, rest to set heart rate
Work until goal is hit, reps or distance, usually recording time of completion and working to beat it in future sessions.
Prescribed time to complete prescribed repetitions, remainder of the time to rest- just like in assistance.
Prescribed time to complete prescribed repetitions, remainder of the time to rest. Increasing repetitions per set.
Prescribed time to complete prescribed repetitions, remainder of the time to rest. Decreasing repetitions per set.
Perform straight sets exercise for set reps per set, alternated with countdown reps exercise for descending reps per set. Record time to completion.
Perform straight sets exercise for set reps per set, immediately followed by count-up reps exercise for ascending reps per set. Record time to completion.
Perform exercises as prescribed, sometime with built in rest between exercises, other times continuous movement
What do you want?
Don’t go just adding in crazy loading types for variety sake… You need to have an important conversation first.
What’s the goal (what do you want)?
What fits the goal?
The “why” to the “what.”
We’ll get to that before we wrap up this phase!
For now, do yourself a favor and build your menus!!
The more than we can write down these systems, the easier we can pull from them in the future.
As you build an understanding, you will hear the goal and go to your menus.
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