As discussed in the last mailing, although it’s sometimes tough to stay motivated to train hard, it can be equally as hard to curb your training enthusiasm so as to avoid the downward spiral of overtraining. Even if you’ve been involved in weight training for several years, it’s quite easy to get caught up in the more-is-better approach.
By instituting the heavy/light training, we were able to enhance our recovery a bit. Unfortunately, even that method wasn’t quite enough, as we were soon pushing just as hard, if not harder, on our light days. Some new changes that have allowed us to fully optimize recovery time have been to modify our light days. By eliminating the stretch movement and using more machines instead of free-weight exercises, much of the stress and trauma is alleviated. Those are pretty simple issues to deal with. The bigger problem generally comes from intensity levels. There’s a fine line between keeping the intensity at a beneficial level and training to complete failure. Once you’re in the mind set to build muscle, it can be a major effort to try to not reach failure. One way to accommodate that last point is to incorporate antagonist-supersets. By training one body part hard and heavy you get just tired enough that training the antagonist muscle should be light by necessity.
Well, that approach works fine, except when you’ve grown accustomed to it or you’re truly in an intensity mind set. At times like that, it’s still possible to push too hard on the light work, thereby defeating the whole purpose. Of course, another solution was needed.
The latest additions to our quest for more recovery are stage sets and 1 1/4 reps. True, it sounds like we’ve added more work which would interfere with our recovery plans, but these are techniques we’ve incorporated into the existing plan rather than adding actual sets or reps.
Both of these techniques have been described briefly in past E-zines, and covered thoroughly in ‘Train, Eat, Grow,’ so I won’t bother describing them now. You might remember that we used the stage sets extensively during the summer. Our goals are obviously different at this time of year, but we can still use the technique to our benefit. At this point, they’re only used on light days because they can lighten the stress load while still allowing for enough work.
The 1 1/4 reps have the same benefits as the stage reps’allowing enough work, but forcing you to lighten the work load’but they’re best when used on exercises that emphasize peak contraction, such as leg extensions and concentration curls. Tension time is actually increased slightly with both of these methods, so even though you’re using less weight and causing less trauma, you’ll still get a great pump. At this point, you should be just tired enough that stopping short of failure will be a treat to look forward to.
The routine is only changed from last month in that we’ve incorporated the stage sets and 1 1/4 reps. The full routine can be found in the March ’02 issue of IRONMAN, but here’s a quick look at the heavy lat/light delt portion based on last months example for comparisons sake:
Modified superset for postactivation
Wide-grip pulldowns 2 x 6-8
Stiff-arm pulldowns 2 x 8-10
Arnold presses (light) 2 x 10
Machine pullovers (with stretch burns) 2 x 8-10
Lateral raises or dumbbell upright rows (light, 1 1/4) 2 x 10
As you can see, there’s nothing too extravagant too worry about. It’s a simple change, but it was certainly necessary in order to adhere to our recovery plans. The new techniques that were added, along with the day off in the middle of the week, as well as the weekends off, seems to be allowing us plenty of recovery time without hampering our enthusiasm.
This is, however, ia pretty busy routine with the variety of exercises involved, as well as the supersets. Therefore, for those readers who train in crowded gyms, there’s an alternate routine listed in the March ’02 issue (on-sale around Feb. 1, 2002) as well as the full routine that we’re using.
To follow the ITRC training program in ‘Train, Eat, Grow,’ get a copy of the latest issue of IRONMAN. For more on POF training go to http://ironmanmagazine.com/ironman/training/POFbasics.htm
This special report was submitted by Jonathan Lawson
From the IRONMAN Training & Research Team
The ITRC Training Newsletter is not intended as training advice for everyone. You must consult your physician before beginning any diet or training program. You may forward this email to as many friends as you want, but do not photocopy or reprint this report in any format without the written permission of the copyright holder.
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