Day 4 – Gym Janitor

Posted: May 5, 2011 in The Ramping Method

It’s the beginning of week 2 – the 3 rep week.

Today’s session – Squats + Weighted pull ups (+plyometric pushing/rotational pushing exercises)

With regards to squatting, things are changing at the moment. I’m of the mindset that lifting for strength that’s useful on a day-to-day basis should include all varieties of human movement…but particular exercises may be of more benefit than others. With squats, we’ve always used a back squat. However my mind is beginning to change…I’m beginning to think that for your average guy, using the front squat may be the better idea (as long as you’re also Deadlifting). The logic behind it is the general consensus from professional coaches in athletics – the front squat has a higher carry-over into athletics than the back squat, i.e. training your front squat provides more benefits to athletic movement when compared to a traditional back squat. When stripped down and made simple, athletic movements are just exaggerated human movements. Lifting, throwing, running, walking, sprinting, jumping – these are all movements that could potentially be required on any given day and by any moving person. As such, we’re beginning to phase out the back squat for replacement with the front squat…the only issue is that we’ve fallen in love with squatting over the last few months. One extra session a week can’t hurt, right?

DISCLAIMER: My mind may change again, I’m still reading quite a lot of material…I opted for Olympic style lifts over power lifting methods for the same reason – it appears that for athletic movement, Front squat > Olympic style squatting > Power lifting, yet as for weight actually shifted, Power lifting > Olympic style squatting > Front squat. More weight shifted does not mean more carry-over into athletic performance…it means you can lift more weight on a barbell with a particular style within a particular range of motion.

With a new movement comes a new requirement for motor adaptions – for the next few weeks our squatting sessions will focus on learning the new motor pattern of the front squat (whilst also challenging ourselves with back squats to a lesser extent).

Back squat – 3 reps @ 60kg, 80kg, 100kg and 120kg.
Front squat – 5-8 reps  @ barbell only (20kg), 40kg and 60kg.

The back squats are done as forcefully as possible. It’s nice to see hands-on progress. The 120kg lift came off the ground from the deepest possible position in an olympic style lift – much different from the first failed attempt (when this all began) with a more supportive broad-based power lifting style.

Weighted pull ups – We’re much more efficient in the change over from set to set now and the belt is holding up well. Technically, we’re more aware of our own movements now. Ross and I have opted for different grips – mine has the thumb underneath the bar whereas Ross has this thumb on top of the bar (think “hook” more than grab). The difference is little, but with the thumb’s under-bar position I feel I support more of the tension with my forearms which places less tension on my lats. I would lift in the fashion Ross is opting for, but I’m currently using it as an assistance grip strength exercise – I may change over in coming weeks depending on developments with grip strength. I may be a rogue specimen here though…I spent years rowing with a grip similar to Ross’ in pull-ups and as such find that grip a bit easier. Try both and see what you prefer, I personally find holding the bar with my thumb underneath more challenging.

Lifts maxed out with an additional 25kgs in the last 3 rep set with Ross and I managing 1 full rep and 2 full reps respectively.

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Plyometric push ups/Rotational pushes were performed as circuits

– 2 x (3 plyometric bench push ups followed by L/R sided dumbbell presses (8 reps))
– 1 x (3 reps non impact plyometric pushes followed by L/R sided dumbbell presses (8 reps))

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Notables from today:

– New movements require practice. Currently, the front squat is not a test of strength, but a test of adaptation.
– Simple style changes can make up for training plan inadequacies (changing up technique in some lifts may aid your gains in others)

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