Last week was actually a good week in the gym. If I sound surprised it's because I am. I have been struggling for some time with keeping things moving. I keep going to the gym but like many people I struggle with the patients needed to allow something to progress, or be willing to let my body define what I do even if it's different from what is on the internet.
Right now in power lifting there are three major schools of how to train. I realize these are major simplifications but the point of this is not to detail the the different programs but to give a brief overview, or at least my overview, of each one.
West Side type training promotes the idea of training without using the major three lifts. You will do box squats and bench with boards at limit weights but you won't train the major lifts heavy. You do speed work for the technique portions of your training involving the major lifts.
The second major school that I see is the sub maximal trainers. These people promote using the three lifts but training them with a percentage of your max weight. Focus on speed of the movement and using a higher rep range.
The third school I have seen is to use the major lifts and train them heavy in the 2-3 rep range. Never going to a max effort lift but still going heavy.
My problem had always been that they don't work for me.
I am not an athlete. In fact I suck at most athletic activities. The only way I can get better at the three lifts is to work them heavy like the third school but I burn out quickly. Then I switch to one of the others but as soon as I get a limit weight in my hands it feels crazy heavy and my form falls apart.
So I decided to switch things up. How can I work the three lifts in a heavy range but not burn out. My plan was do a week of heavy work in the three major lifts followed by a week of heavy accessory work. Front squat and stiff leg deadlift instead of squatting on Monday, stuff like that but still going heavy in the 3-6 rep range. Last week was the first time I had cycled back to the heavy lifts and everything felt good and strong.
One of the things that is often overlooked, especially buy people who watch the elite level lifters, is how difficult it is for a non-athlete to improve on a very technical lift. I must practice the three major lifts on a regular basis or I will loose the ability to perform them. There are people who can not squat for months, or only squat %60 of their max, and hit the platform in stride but I am not one of them.
I don't really think I have discovered anything that many of us genetically typical lifters didn't already know but this is the first time I really pushed myself on it. I would often try one method then switch to something different but never branch out on my own and try something that I feel would work for mine.
Now I will be the first to admit that I will never in 100 years break any records. I will most likely never even total elite in any weight class but I will hopefully continue to make progress and improve myself.
Like taking the Red Pill it's about always moving forward. Always improving. Always practicing.
A good workout one week doesn't mean they will all be good, and one day of my wife letting me touch her doesn't mean there will be more to follow. In fact if my workout were anything like my wife then everything would be a failure over the long haul.