Correcting Max-Effort Technical Deviations
By Mike Tuchscherer, 10 September 2017
I’ve written before about why I think including assistance work is a good idea. And I do mean *assistance* work, not just supplemental work. And the more I think about it, the more convinced I become that this is the best way to develop strength over the long term.
Quick aside on exercise classification before we get started…
Competition Exercise: The exercise as it’s performed in competition. If you squat low-bar in competition, then high bar squats are not a competition exercise. If you wear a belt in competition, beltless work is not a competition exercise.
Assistance Exercise: Exercises that are very closely related to the competition exercise, but contain 1-2 small changes to give the lift a certain emphasis. Things like pause squats, deadlifts with chains, or board presses all fall into this category.
Supplemental Exercise: Exercises that train the same muscles, but not the same movements. Usually trained for higher reps as well. Exercises like lunges, military press, and good mornings fit into this category.
What’s the Recovery Value of a Massage?
By Mike Tuchscherer, 5 September 2017
We’ve always said massage is good for recovery, but how do we know? I get massages periodically. I would like to do it weekly, but often I’ll go a month between them. We always *thought* it was good for recovery, but as time has gone on I’ve noticed less and less of a difference. With the time constraints that one accumulates with life, I began wondering if it was time well spent or not. So I pulled my TRAC data and compared my scores after a massage to my scores after a normal rest day. I was very surprised by the results. Quick aside: TRAC is our athlete monitoring system. It’s how we monitor the recovery for all of our athletes. It’s available for everyone for free via the RTS website – just click on apps in the main menu.
By Mike Tuchscherer, August 22, 2017
We all go through busy times in our lives. For a lot of us, some of those busy times are coming up later this month and next. For others, those times are year-around. Stuff like that can affect training and sometimes that’s unavoidable. When one of my lifters finds himself in this situation, I often use a Flex Template.
A template is simply a designation of what work you do on what days. Read more…
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…
Travelling to Compete: How to Shift Your Circadian Clocks And Lift at Your Best When Travelling Across Time Zones
By: Thomas Kaminski
With the IPF World Classic Powerlifting Championships approaching, I thought it would be useful to write an article explaining how the human circadian systems work and how athletes can adjust their body clocks to the new time zone so that they can lift at their best. Ensuring that your body clock is adjusted for the time of the competition is essential for performing optimally. This is because athletic performance can vary greatly depending on your internal circadian time (Teo et al., 2011; Dijk, 1992). Contrary to the opinions of some, your muscles will not work optimally by simply setting an early alarm and just giving them some time to ‘wake up’ before the competition. The fact is, if they are at a point in their circadian cycle where they are not meant to be working, then they simply cannot work at their maximum capacity. To illustrate this point, when you have jet lag induced insomnia the reason you can’t sleep is because your circadian system is telling your brain that it is not time to sleep, and just as trying harder to sleep cannot fix this problem, trying to get your muscles working when they aren’t supposed to be isn’t going to work either! For this reason, it is extremely important to adjust your circadian clock so that your body is ready for the competition.
In this article, I give a brief overview of some of the relevant human circadian systems Read more…
By Bob Wanamaker
Not only do we have to consider intensity in developing a program, but we have to consider volume as well. While the two are interrelated in getting from Point A to Point B, a good way to look at it is that intensity determines the training effect, and volume determines the magnitude of that training effect. So, as a coach, I prescribe less reps per set with more intensity to develop strength in an athlete, and more reps per set with less intensity to develop (say) hypertrophy.
This important to note: for intermediate and advanced athletes, the rep range is always prescribed by programming, when the coach develops the training cycle. Different rep ranges target different systems; doing an all out set of 3 reps is not the same as doing an all out set of 10 reps.
This approach differs greatly from a well-known 5×5 program, used by many beginners. In this program, which will remain unnamed, the lifter is supposed to do five sets of five reps with a target weight that increases each week. Typically, there will come a time when the lifter can do the first set or two quite easily, but has trouble after that. S/he might hit the third set, and gets four reps, the fourth set two or three reps, the fifth set two or three reps. Read more…
RTS for Strongman
by Mike Tuchscherer
Reactive Training Systems began as a system of training for Powerlifters. It has since evolved into a system of principles that can govern any sort of physical training from Weightlifting to general fitness, from Bodybuilding to MMA. One of the most interesting applications so far has been applying RTS to Strongman.
I like training Strongman athletes for several reasons. The biggest reason is that Strongman requires a very interesting and ever-changing skill set to be successful. Success in one show may depend heavily on absolute strength in an athlete’s back where success at the next show may depend heavily on speed during walking events. Add on the comparatively complex energy system demands and you can have some pretty interesting training problems! But solving those problems is part of the fun of programming.
So without further adieu, here is a primer on using RTS to train for Strongman. Keep in mind that a complete discussion of the topic would well exceed article-length, so this will just get you thinking about the various training topics and how to address them. Read more…
By Bob Wanamaker
Quick review: autoregulation is a strategy to control the intensity and volume of training so as to maximize training effect while accounting for changes in the individual. Changes which impact training can include stress, illness, and injury. Of note is that “stress is stress.” Whether stress originates from training volume, from relationship problems, from money problems – there’s only one mechanism in the body for coping. So if that mechanism is busy coping with external stressors, the last thing we want to do increase stress from training.
A tactic that can be employed is RPE. RPE quite intuitively provides a means to regulate intensity on-the-fly: the basic concept employed is that of “difficulty in moving the weight.” As the athlete adds weight to the bar for the back squat, the move becomes progressively more difficult, and the athlete works with more intensity, up to maximum possible intensity: the one-rep max (1RM). Intensity determines training effect.
So why not just use the 1RM, and Prilepin’s table, and develop training blocks based on that?
Using RTS on a Sheiko Base Program
By Mike Tuchscherer
I talk quite a bit about long term planning because in my mind there are so many ways to do it right. As far as training goes, most of us understand that it is both art and science. We’re after producing effects for the athlete and that’s what matters. If you get good effects, then you did it right. If you don’t, then you did it wrong. Read more…
By Mike Tuchscherer
A while back, I went to go see the movie “Safehouse” with Denzel Washington. Something you should know about me is that I can be a bit picky about movies sometimes. I like movies that have a strong theme. Don’t just blow stuff up and use cool special effects – I’m a sucker for a really great story. Or at least a character that HAS character.
So when I first saw “Safehouse”, I thought it was okay. It seemed like a fun movie to watch, but it lacked the compelling theme that I really enjoy at movies. Regardless, something about it kept turning over in my head for a while. And probably a week after seeing the movie, I was finally able to put my finger on it.
Denzel’s character was obviously a great spy. One would imagine that he was one of the best. But if you watch what he does at key points in the movie, it’s not his ability to manipulate people or his tradecraft that makes him so tough to catch. It’s his ability to immediately accept the circumstances around him and make the best decision of his available options.