Under the Microscope #005 - Training, Progression, and Learning
Today we will be talking about strength training and progressions as well as how I like to use running to compliment my other exercises. I run 3-4 days / week and I try to lift 2-3 days / week and rest or actively recover 1 day per week where I focus on stretching, flexibility and mobility. Running is the thing that I love to do to shake things out between my heavy lifting sessions. I try to lift 1-2 x / week for heavy lifting and I do this every 5-7 days, it just depends on how I’m feeling that week.
Here’s what I did this past week
05.03.2020 rest day / family day / swimming 05.04.2020 run 6.5 miles 05.05.2020 lift heavy 05.06.2020 lift light 05.07.2020 run 05.08.2020 run + bboy + lift light 05.09.2020 lift light 05.11.2020 run + bboy 05.13.2020 run
This week, I was able to pick out some of the Chinese kale that we have growing in our backyard. It was really nice to be able to see the vegetables that were growing to start so small and turn into something. I was really surprised at how simple it was. You just put some seeds in the ground, let them grow. The main thing is being consistent and watering it everyday. It was nice to be able to enjoy this with my breakfast.
This idea that I am what I put into my body, the thoughts, the food, the training. I feel good knowing where my food comes from and how it was prepared and I get that same type of comfort from the type of training that I do. I feel better knowing that my body is well-trained with the intention of strength, endurance, and performance in all movements. And those are my health goals. It’s a very broad way to look at it, but the general idea is to increase my strength, power and performance in all athletics and body movements. Now, this is a tall order and covers a lot of topics, but I think at the bottom of the foundational pyramid we have strength. I support Eric Cressey’s’ viewpoint of strength in that at the bottom of the foundational strength pyramid we have
Mobility Endurance Power Speed Agility Joint Stability Strength
Strength is a major determining factor for maximal power performance and muscle mass can also play a role in power production. My goal was to increase my strength and muscle size by gradually increasing my volume, load and frequency with my lifts and I needed to have a solid plan centered around strength and size development. I am working on 4 sets of 6 at 185, which is 75% of my 1RM of 235 and I try to recover in between sets for about 7-8 minutes in between deadlifting and what I will do is fill 3-4 other exercises to fill the time. I went with chest press, with varying hand positions: narrow grip, 45 degree shoulder abduction, and a wide 90 degree shoulder abduction grip. I am doing 4 sets of 8-12 reps because I am looking to increase my overall strength and also and size. I choose to do a mixture of concentric and eccentric muscle actions and if I wanted a complete variation I would also add some isometrics. I choose eccentric movements because they involve less motor-units, require less energy, but they produce the most force per unit of muscle action. And because of this high ratio they also take longer to recover and you get delayed onset of muscle soreness quicker.
I choose to structure some of my workouts to have 2 multi-joint exercises followed by 2 single joint exercises. This is a common way to structure a workout by having the most demanding and intense exercises at the beginning to maximize your strength and neural coordination. You want to do the most difficult or complex movements in the beginning while you are still fresh. Save the more simple things when you are more fatigued. This reduces injury by not working on fatigued muscles. The reason why we do this is to work on Optimal muscle performance when they are at their peak. The goal is not to be able to perform when you are broken down. This is why when training for strength and power, it is essential to have long recovery between your sets so that you are working out on fresh muscles each time. Towards the end of my sets, because I didn’t give myself enough rest, I could tell my grip strength was fatiguing and failing and my form was starting to go. My back was going through more flexion and I had a harder time finishing the rep.
I choose to do a total body exercise program instead of the upper/lower split or chest and back split. It allows me to do workouts 3-4x/week and it also helps me to focus on building up a foundation of strength in the Olympic lifts. Programming is important, having a plan is important. Structure and content make or break results and if you want to do random exercises, you can expect to get random results. I learned the hard way, and now I choose to structure my workouts to have a goal and a plan of action. I’ve decided to do mostly total body instead of the upper/lower split or muscle grip split structure because I want to get more volume of training by doing it 3-4 times per week. Research has shown that multi-joint exercises have shown to improve all across the board, it may be wise to have a solid foundation of them to get optimal muscle performance. Then from here, I can program sport specific or athletic movements to fine tune my performance whether it be for basketball, baseball, gymnastics, breakdancing.
I’ve been running my whole life. It’s something that I took for granted and forgot some time. Now that I’m older I’ve got the appreciation for what it means. I really enjoy just getting out there and running the hills. I grew up running cross country and track and I never thought that I would enjoy just getting out there and running up the hills. I never thought I would be into running just uphill. I really love running uphills its awesome. It builds strength and character and it’s not something a lot of people do. And I take pride in that. I like doing something that not a lot of people do.
Breakdancing is something that I’m interested in and was afraid to get back into. After suffering an injury back in 2006 to my Left Elbow, I had to get surgery and improve all of my movements. I’m finally at a point where I feel like I can do the things I used to and more.
Shout out to my friends from college for inspiring me to move and keep going!
Here’s a routine that Yoonsung Han came up with!
I haven’t messed around with this stuff for 12 years! So it took me a while to figure it out.
There are several ways to learn: reading, written, auditory and kinesthetically. I had to figure things out kinesthetically and visually.
I also had to use lean learning to figure this out by myself. There are 4 steps to lean learning.
1: understand the core principles of the concept or material interested in learning
2: go do it
3: get feedback and make adjustments
4: repeat steps 2, 3
As I was learning the routine, I had to use block learning and whole learning to help figure out the movements.
Block learning: compressed learning in an intensive manner focusing on one topic or aspect
Whole learning: doing the whole thing
I focused on certain sections and practiced the parts that I wasn’t hitting. Then I would follow up by trying to complete the whole routine with my newly refined and polished parts that I was previously having trouble with.
Learning this breakdancing routine has helped me to remember how important it is to do things that you love, things that you care about and things that make you happy. How I can use this love and passion to share myself with the world and positively impact people.
Once I started to learn the core of the routine, I stopped worrying about increasing how many repetitions and began to focus more on the quality of each performance. Strive for quality not quantity. Take you time and get it right.
Light lifting at 50-70% 1RM and 3+ sets at 10-12 reps. Purpose is to get more volume and repetitions. Get the work in, when you can. I program my complex lifts and large muscle movements so that I make sure to get these major muscles and improve my conditioning and fitness.
Cross training is important to me. Hitting the important big concepts is important to me. Having fun is important to me. This allows me to get all things I need to get done done. I get the big time movers, I do the cross training to focus on sport psecifc things and then I also work on my endurance and have fun too.
Progressing myself over the last 8 months has been great progression. Going from 1-2 workouts per week to now 6 days working out 3 days running and 3 days lifting. It’s all about finding your passion. I’m excited to train. I feel like I can finally do the things I’ve always wanted to do.
I can tell with the consistent training now how I have improved over the last 8 months. I have been basically doing the same run consistently every week and don’t change it. I’ve noticed how it has changed from being at day 1.
Initially when I first started running up hill I would do the same 8 mile route and kept track of how much time it took and how I felt.
I remember feeling like I was at
a Level 9: very hard activity – can barely breathe and speak only a few words to now 8 months later it feels like I’m at
a Level 2-3 light activity – easy to breathe and can hold a conversation.
I use the RPE: rate of perceived exertion
10: max effort. Impossible to keep going, unable to talk. 9: very hard activity – can barely breathe and speak only a few words 7-8: vigorous activity – borderline uncomfortable. Short of breathe 4-6: moderate – breathing heavy, short conversation. 2-3: light activity – easy to breathe, can hold a conversation 1: very light – slightly more than watching TV
Running up mountains has been good for me because it has helped me to be stronger, more resilient and disciplined.
I needed a goal or something to aim for. I needed to know, that by this time I need to be here.
Running is just one of the things that I like to do, it’s not the main thing that I to do. Because I’ve learned that you can’t just do one thing. I thought that I was gonna just be a runner, but it lead to me getting more and more injures. I learned that I had to be strong, I had to be flexible I had to be everything. If I only had endurance, that meant that I was gonna have deficits elsewhere. I learned that it was all about being well rounded and smoothing out any flaws. Raising yourself to the top of your potential. Because humans are amazing, we are awesome. We can do anything we choose to just as long as we put our minds to it.
Running is something that I do now because I love it. I’m more happy now that I don’t have to see it as this obligation where I have to run 6 days a week and I’m really happy running 3-4 days a week and being more balanced with 3-4 days of strength training during the week. When I look back on running in high school, I wish that I had had more complete training because my small frame needed fundamental strengthening, complex movement coordination, and balance training.
It’s about the journey, but also about the destination. Because I get to see a great view such as this. It’s a reward for waking up early and putting in the hard work and seeing something like this. Not a lot of people are going to see this because a lot of people are asleep. Take a look around, because no one else is around you. No where else in the world it’s just you. You get to feel special. And that’s part of the joy of it for me.
Here is the article that I used to reference my strength training, progression and exercise selection.
Fundamentals of Resistance Training: Progression and Exercise Prescription
Here is Eric Cressey's website and blog article