The Russian Classification Chart
By Mike Tuchscherer
What is your experience level as a Powerlifter? Kind of a hard question to answer, huh? Some will answer with how many years they’ve been competing. Others will tell you their total. Still others might give a vague “not much” or “been around a while”.
What if I told you we have a tool that allows us to approximate a lifter’s experience level? Well, there are many charts out there for classifying lifters, but the one I have had the most success with is the Russian Classification Chart.
The Russian Classification Chart matches a lifter’s raw total against his weight class to give an experience classification. Read more…
A Resurgent Emphasis on Exercise Selection
By Mike Tuchscherer
When a lifter is first introduced to weight training, or physical activity in general, it is usually best to have wide and varied exercises to teach useful and efficient movement patterns. As they settle into a late-beginner or early-intermediate status, the exercise selection usually is reduced to the contest lifts with a few others. But then as the lifter progresses and specific problems arise, exercise selection again becomes key to continued development.
There is a problem, though. Many lifters don’t understand exercise selection enough to pick the appropriate exercise for their current training status. That is to say, if a lifter is in the beginning stages of a training cycle, oftentimes they do not understand the goal of the training block and therefore don’t understand which exercises are best suited to meet their needs. So proper exercise selection depends on understanding the style of training you are using, what the goals and objectives are, etc.
Including a large section on how to know the goals and objectives of your training cycle is beyond the scope of this article, but there are a few general points to be made, as you will see shortly. Read more…
Choosing Sets-n-Reps; A Guide to Protocol Selection
By Mike Tuchscherer
For those familiar with the Reactive Training Manual, you have surely noticed the multiple times in the book that selecting protocols is mentioned, but in terms of guidance, you are given two lists. Choose from list one during your volume block and list two during your intensity block. Beyond that, you’re told to choose randomly. Read more…
By Mike Tuchscherer
As I’m writing this, I’m preparing for the Raw Unity meet for 2010. I was thinking about the coming contest and its possibilities. As with so many other meets I’ve done, I realized that it will come down to who makes more lifts.
You see, the winner of a powerlifting meet is not necessarily the strongest lifter; it’s the person who competes best. This seems to be the same thing, but let me explain for a moment. Read more…
Training discussions often turn to which method or program is the best. And there are a lot of programs out there, too. So deciding which one can generate progress can sometimes be a daunting task. And even if it’s not that bad for you, figuring out how to apply it, or if there is a better way can be a challenge even to seasoned coaches.
The thing is whenever we evaluate programs to decide how good they are, we can always come back to the Seven Fundamental Principles to help point us in the right direction. These aren’t the only principles and they also aren’t always applied equally, but we can use it as a yardstick of sorts to measure programs. I didn’t invent these principles – they are based in scientific observation collected over the last 60+ years.
What I would like to do is go through each principle, discuss it, and also show you some practical application for it. If you think this is too elementary for you, then you aren’t looking deep enough.
Fatigue Percents Revisited
By Mike Tuchscherer
In the RTS Manual, I introduced Fatigue Percents as a reliable, effective way to autoregulate volume based on stress. In the Seminar DVD, I discussed them in more detail and outlined several more dynamic examples on how to use them. Today, I want to outline some different ways that you can use fatigue percents to effectively control your training volumes for other various training effects.
Down to the essentials
At the most fundamental level, a fatigue percent is simply trying to measure how tired you’ve gotten. If you’re familiar with the principles of RTS, you’re aware that it is possible to reasonably estimate a 1RM on most sets given the load, number of reps, and RPE of the set. If we watch how this estimated 1RM behaves from set to set, we can easily see when fatigue begins to creep in.
by Mike Tuchscherer
We all know that training is stressful. And most of us understand that it’s not the stress of training itself, but rather the recovery from that stress that produces the gains that we all work so hard to achieve.
Recent research is showing some very interesting trends. It seems that the more often a muscle is stressed, the greater the aggregate gain becomes. So do you want big gains quickly? Most of us do. Then research suggests that you train more frequently. Read more…
All About Intensity
Training intensity gets more press than training volume, but most of the time it just scratches the surface of the discussion. If you do more than the minimum amount of reading on the topic of training, you no doubt know that “Intensity” does not refer to the amount of emotional excitement you feel during your training, but rather the weight on the bar. You also probably know that intensity is often referred to as a percentage of your 1 rep max. But that’s about all the knowledge most guys have on the subject.
It’s true that Intensity is not the level of emotional excitement, but instead it refers to the weight on the bar. To be specific, absolute intensity refers to the absolute amount of weight on the bar, most often measured in pounds or kilograms. When people start talking about percentages, they are talking about relative intensity. This is most often a description of intensity relative to your 1 rep max.
At first the percentages might seem unnecessarily complicated, but they are actually very useful. They allow us to talk about training with one another and easily understand the loading parameters that are being discussed without asking a lot of background questions. The percentages themselves might seem a bit awkward at first, but that goes away with familiarity.
An Experience Report: Eccentric Training to Rehab Tendinopathy
By Bernhard Klinger
I was pushing my training hard for an upcoming competition and about three weeks out I started to feel a slight twinge in my right hamstring during heavy deadlifts – nothing too bad, just a minor uncomfortable sensation.
The competition went very well and afterwards I thought I’d just take it easy for a few weeks to let things heal up – but I was wrong. Even though I only had slight discomfort performing my lifts at the competition and I took some time off afterwards the hamstring started feeling worse and worse and what once was a little twinge had turned into a sharp, stabbing pain at the origin of my hamstring. In less than 2 weeks my injury became so bad that it was causing pain during everyday activities – so I knew I had to seek out professional help.
Gainz not Painz: Sacroiliac Dysfunction (low back, hip, inner thigh pain)
by Jake Noel
I usually hear one of two stories when I’m working with someone suffering from S/I dysfunction (Sacroiliac dysfunction). The first story goes something like this, “I went to rip a deadlift off the floor (or hit a heavy squat) and I felt my back round slightly. Then, my low back and butt cheek started to hurt.” I also hear of pain in the groin and sometimes hip flexors / front hip, either way something happens to the lifter that causes pain . The other story I often hear is “I have no clue what I did. I’ve just been getting more and more pain in my back and hips and groin and my numbers have stalled for, like, no reason.” In either case, the lifter is likely dealing with differing forms of S/I imbalance; the former being the acute case, the latter being the chronic, slow burn into imbalance caused by a slew of issues ranging from sleeping position to “overtraining”.
The reason my very first article for RTS is about S/I dysfunction is because 8 out of 10 of the lifters I work with have developed some form of S/I imbalance (in my anecdotal observation). Approximately 100% of lifters could benefit from this article assuming they’re going to encounter S/I imbalance at some point because in the sport of Powerlifting.. The S/I is really the whole boat when it comes to bearing load in the squat and deadlift (assuming you’re executing the movements with even the slightest technical proficiency). In fact, S/I imbalance is so common in the sport, that it is safe to treat yourself like you have it, even if you’re not expressing the symptoms yet.