Exercise Detail: 2ct Pause Bench

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Exercise Detail:  2ct Pause Bench
by Mike Tuchscherer, August 15, 2017

I’d like to do a little series on various exercises where we really expand on the usefulness of certain movements. I don’t think this will be an every-week thing, but rather a “from time to time” thing.

This week, I’d like to discuss the 2ct Pause Bench. Any sort of long-pause bench is going to train the bottom of the bench. That much is surely obvious. But what specifically is the 2ct Pause Bench good for? In my experience, it’s best suited for those lifters who either can’t get the weight moving off the chest at all, or those who squish when they start to drive the weight up. Read more…

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Singles for Assistance Work — Why?

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Singles for Assistance Work — Why?
By Mike Tuchscherer, August 8, 2017

Summary points

  • All exercises should be placed in a program for a reason.
  • If the reason is enhanced by high intensity work (i.e. singles), then it’s worth considering.
  • High intensity work will cause your volume to dip, but don’t let it get out of balance. Find the sweet spot.
  • There are many reasons not to do singles. Some are contingent on the exercise.  Some are contingent on the lifter.  Be smart.
  • Not all tools are appropriate for all times.

Read more…

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Wrong but Useful: Central/Peripheral Models

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Wrong but Useful: Central/Peripheral Models
By Mike Tuchscherer, August 1, 2017

Go back and read articles from the early to mid 2000’s about powerlifting training.  Especially if the author is attempting to explain his thinking at a physiological level, you’re likely to come across the term “CNS” – or “Central Nervous System”.  And often it was in the context of “CNS Fatigue” or “CNS burnout”.

Fast forward to the 2010-2013 timeframe and “CNS” more or less left the lexicon of popular programming articles.  And that’s not without it’s reasons.  As the idea of “CNS fatigue” proliferated, too many people took it to be an absolute or factual description of what was going on.  That left many of us, me included, speaking against the abuse of the concept.  Every bad training day is not because “your CNS is fried, bro”. Read more…

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Performance Downturns

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Performance Downturns
By Mike Tuchscherer

Have you ever had this situation? You’re training, improving, and everything is going great. Then, you come into the gym one day and your strength is down by a lot – something like 5-10%. If it were just a bad day, then you’d expect the next session to be back to normal. But the next session isn’t back to normal. At best, it’s just a marginal improvement. You don’t think it’s fatigue because you feel fine – you even feel normal. Subjective indicators of fatigue, even objective ones like HRV, aren’t showing an accumulation of training stress. Read more…

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Project Momentum 17-1 Results

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Project Momentum 17-1 Results
By Mike Tuchscherer

Project Momentum 17-1 Post Project Analysis

I’ve often heard people suggest that the number of reps you can do with 80% loads is indicative both of fiber type distribution and how you should train to see the most progress.  The fiber type distribution claim wasn’t so interesting to me as a coach, but the training claim was.  More specifically, the claim as I came across it was something like this:

Lifters who can do low reps with 80% of 1RM are fast-twitch dominant and therefore should train with low reps per set.  That will allow them to progress the fastest.

I am aware of some studies looking at whether reps-at-a-given-percentage correlate to a fiber type distribution, but again, I’m much more interested in performance.  And I wasn’t able to find anything that tested the claim underlined above.  So we sought to test it in a practical setting.

What did we find?
First, a bit about the basic setup….  Read more…

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GPP Considerations for Strength Sports

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GPP Considerations for Strength Sports
By Mike Tuchscherer

General Physical Preparedness (or “GPP”) has become somewhat of a catch phrase for Powerlifters in the last decade or so. It is a term tossed around to describe a wide range of activity from mowing the lawn to dragging a sled. The truth is that we often misuse this term or apply it loosely. I’m not here to be the word-police, but today we’re going to learn some more about GPP – what it is and how it can benefit you.
GPP describes the body’s general ability to do work that it is not specifically trained to do. Simply break the word down – How prepared is your physical body in general terms? Do you tire easily or can you work all day and still have energy left at the end? For powerlifters, bodybuilders, and other gym-rats – can you go outside and play a pickup game of basketball or football and at least look coordinated? GPP is more than just work capacity – it is a general measure of the other physical fitness traits that are not assessed evenly by your given sport of choice. For example, Powerlifting focuses on the development of absolute strength. So things like flexibility, aerobic fitness, etc would fall under the category of GPP.
But why should you care about GPP at all? As a strength athlete under normal conditions, improving aerobic fitness won’t improve your squat and flexibility won’t make you snatch more. Or will it? Read more…

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TRAC Instructions

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TRAC Instructions
By Mike Tuchscherer

If you don’t know what TRAC is, you should definitely check out the information on it here.This article will focus on how to execute the required tests to get your TRAC score.
TRAC consists of three tests: The Orthostatic Test, the Reaction Time test, and the Tap Test.All tests are performed in that order first thing when you wake up in the morning. The first test we’ll discuss is the Orthostatic Test. This test seems to be the most difficult, but it’s really not hard once you get the hang of it. There are two versions of the test; the test for those with a heart rate monitor and a test for those without a heart rate monitor. Read more…

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Understanding Your TRAC Score

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Understanding Your TRAC Score
By Mike Tuchscherer

We live in a smart age. Smart phones. Smart bombs. Even smart cars (yuck!). It’s about time our training system got smart too. When you think about it, this is really the mission of TRAC – smart training.
And boy, is it ever smart! When you perform your tests in the morning, it takes somewhere between 7 and 10 minutes to complete it. Using that data, TRAC can figure out how several systems in your body are functioning and it spits it out on a nice, smart report! Your TRAC Report is really what gives you insight on how you can react to your body. But when you’ve got smart tests, smart systems, and a smart report, do you have to be smart too? Well, maybe a little, but by the end of this article, you should be smart enough to get the bulk of your TRAC report.
Just to reiterate, it can take a few days before your report is populated and several days after that before TRAC “gets to know you” well enough for your report to be reliable. But just the same, the more you use it, the better it works. Read more…

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Getting Over Overtraining

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Getting Over Overtraining

By Mike Tuchscherer

If you read interviews with top athletes, especially powerlifters and bodybuilders, a favorite question to ask them seems to be if they made any mistakes in their early training. And most of them will say that they spent too much time early in their careers overtraining. Many of these athletes feel that if they hadn’t, they could have reached their current levels faster or maybe could have been even better than they already are.
Overtraining is a result of training stress, plus the rest of life’s stress, exceeding an athlete’s ability to recover. This results in stagnation, or even injury. At a minimum, it is inefficient – meaning that the athlete won’t improve at their optimal rate.
If overtraining is so bad, and it’s easy enough to fall into that even top athletes sometimes mess it up, what can you do about it? Well, I’m glad you asked! Below are five practical tips that you can use to prevent and/or treat overtraining. They are not in a particular order, nor are they all-inclusive. However, they are effective. So without further delay, let’s jump right in. Read more…

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RTS for Bodybuilding

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RTS for Bodybuilding
Mike Tuchsherer

Bodybuilders and Powerlifters have not historically gotten along very well. Although the relationship strain seems to be mostly limited to internet forums, it’s interesting nonetheless. The thing is we can learn a lot from each other just by looking.

Getting along
I like to think of myself as observant of trends in iron sports. Training in general is fascinating to me, so it’s always enjoyable for me to watch how things develop and evolve over time. Whether it be the way Olympic lifting ebbs and flows in and out of favor for training athletes, or the way that foam rolling first gained popularity and is now becoming almost cliché, it’s interesting to watch. One trend I’ve noticed lately is that bodybuilders are beginning to train more like powerlifters and are showing good results because of it. Additionally, powerlifters are beginning to have a more balanced approach (similar to bodybuilders), and also seem to be benefitting from it. This simply highlights the fact that we can learn from one another. Read more…

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