Flexible Templates

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Flexible Templates
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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Mental Cues for the Squat

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Mental Cues for the Squat
By Mike Tuchscherer

I’m a very cognitive person. I think through everything – even when I lift I like to stay very mentally engaged. Lots of guys shout and yell before a big attempt. Not me. I even prefer silence as it lets me focus better.
One thing I’ve struggled with in the past is the depth of my squats in training. This has only rarely been a problem in a contest, especially in recent years, but it makes me wonder how much better of a competitive squatter I could be if I simply trained how I compete.
It took a lot more than this simple realization to make a difference in my training. At least for me, it wasn’t just “squat deeper” and voila. A whole array of technique cues needed to be lined up for me to squat well. I broke the lift up into a few phases and I developed a mental checklist that I think to myself as I execute each rep. That checklist helped my consistency immensely and that’s what I’d like to share with you today.

Read more…

RTS for Strongman

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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…

AMRAPS in Training

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AMRAPS in Training
By Bryce Lewis

The AMRAP or AMAP set is a training concept meaning simply to perform as many reps as possible with a given training load, taken from the acronym for “as many as possible”, or “as many reps as possible”. Bryan Mann, a researcher from Missouri State links the origins of this idea to 1945 and military surgeon Captain Thomas DeLorme, who used a basic increase in load from session to session and a set to failure after three sets of ten repetitions for post-surgery soldiers healing from bone and joint repairs. From there, Mel Siff proposed the idea again in Supertraining, called it the APRE (autoregulated progressive resistance exercise) method. It was Bryan Mann who did the research on APRE in comparison to linear and block models of periodization.

Since then, it has experienced a resurgence of popularity in the last year or two, and many athletes are interested in how to make use of this training tool. This brief article will serve to illustrate some concepts of the AMRAP set and cover some psychological, programming, and strength benefits, and some potential pitfalls. Read more…

To Belt, Or Not To Belt: An Equipment Primer for Raw Lifters

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To Belt, Or Not To Belt: An Equipment Primer for Raw Lifters
By Mark Robb

When should you use a belt? This, and many other equipment questions, keep periodically coming up among lifters new to RTS. This article is meant to help those unfamiliar with RTS training techniques and / or with raw lifting with their understanding of some of the equipment used in both training and competition. This first article will deal primarily with the use of a belt, and to a lesser extent shoes.

By definition, raw lifting uses minimal equipment, making it even more important that you understand how to get the most out of what little you are using. At the very least, your equipment should not hinder you! I will be addressing equipment allowed in USAPL/IPF “Classic” competition as that is what I am familiar with. I do not consider the use of knee wraps to be “raw” lifting, but rather, an overload technique. Use of knee wraps as such will be addressed later on in this article series.

The most important pieces of equipment used in raw competition are a lifting belt and your shoes. All else is pretty much inconsequential to the generation of strength. Read more…

The Driving Analogy

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The Driving Analogy

By Mike Tuchscherer

I’m going to use a little different analogy to describe what RTS does for you.

Think of your strength like a place. It doesn’t matter which place – you are where you are right now. That might be 700 Totalville. It might be 2000 Totalville. Then your goals are another place somewhere else. Perhaps that’s Word’sStrongestMan City. Or even WorldRecordstown. So how do you get to your goals? You use a car (training).
Read more…

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