Thanks as always to everyone who came along to train with us last week. A special thanks to the 30-girls who took themselves WAY outside their comfort zone at the ‘Self Defense Seminar’ yesterday (Saturday) afternoon…I was so glad I made it along to see first hand the amazing combination of furious concentration and laughter going on in that room. Thanks also to everyone for supporting the updated programming in the boxing gym – that stuff is continuing to roll (I mean, we had a partners class today and this coming Thursday will be the first ‘post-pandemic’ bike challenge) and I think will just continue to go onward and upward.
I wanted to post today about what ‘HEAVY’ means. We have seen quite a few new faces in our Functional classes recently and I think one 100% key component to achieving both body comp changes (muscle gain and fat loss) together with improved performance in those classes is pretty simple – you need to understand what ‘HEAVY’ means.
I guess in many ways you need to understand ‘HEAVY’ in boxing as well…but since those classes are so ‘go-go-go’ cardio focussed, it simply isn’t quite as important (but just picking up a pink kb because you always do is an equally bad plan). But if you are set up for a workout that includes a 15-minute ‘genuine’ strength block where you might do a TOTAL of 15-reps (a completely foreign concept to the Boxing crew who would do 30 reps every minute for 30-minutes!) then if you want to make improvements you had better get ‘HEAVY’ right.
Essentially when you start you wont have ANY idea what you are doing. The coaches can maybe help and guess – but they don’t know what they don’t know either – and if you are just starting out they wont know you! My only advice here is that you need to WRITE DOWN what you are doing for each movement (that, after all is why I pay for each of you to have access to the SugarWOD system!!) and constantly refer back to those numbers. After ONE MONTH (30-days!) in the Functional gym, you *should* have developed a good understanding of ‘how much’ you can lift for each of the core lifts we teach (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press, Overhead Press, Power-Clean and Pull-up). ONE MONTH will (or should have!) give you a good starting point!
The thing to focus on from there is to achieve a GENUINE, LINEAR PROGRESSION (this type of progression wont work forever by the way but this story is simply being told about someone who is JUST GETTING STARTED). And starting with a LINEAR PROGRESSION is your first step to understanding ‘HEAVY’.
What happens so often is that people come into the strength gym and the bar feels ‘heavy’. And no matter whether they are doing 3-reps of an exercise or 10, they use that same ‘heavy’ weight. The reality is that the weight they are using is heavy – but it is not ‘HEAVY’. It is not even close. What is ‘HEAVY’ for 3 cannot be the same thing that is ‘HEAVY’ for 10. It just cant and it just isn’t. You find out what ‘HEAVY’ feels like by increasing your weights every single time you do the same movement – but only by a SMALL AMOUNT. And by small, I mean ‘2.5kg’ in total (or one of the tiniest plates on each side of the bar).
Consider this example. If you started doing 5x 5 squats this week with the weight set to the empty bar (20kg) and went up in weight by 2.5kg every week, this time next year you would be lifting 150kg. Which will have some people shrugging their ‘so what’ shoulders but it is a BIG INCREASE. And it comes from SMALL, CONSISTENT increments (linear progression) and it comes from understanding HEAVY!
What’s HEAVY? HEAVY is when the bar cannot PHYSICALLY be lifted. HEAVY is where one week you successfully finish all of your reps – but the week after with just a small increment the bar cannot even be pulled off the floor. HEAVY is soul crushing and frustrating. HEAVY is a pain in the butt. And HEAVY is constantly moving around – something you are forever trying to find…yet at the same time it is something you need to always know ‘kinda sorta’ where it is.
To be successful with your training you need to be prepared to be uncomfortable – and you need to be prepared to really challenge yourself to go up ‘just a little bit’ each time you are in the gym. And be prepared to really ‘push and drive’ to get the lift finished. When I look back at some of my old training notes I can point to times when 100kg deadlifts were being reported as ‘HARD’ – yet others when 200kg deadlifts were ‘easy’. ‘HEAVY’ means different things at different times in your lifting life – but to improve you simply need to know WHERE you are AT and you need to understand ‘HEAVY’.
That’s it guys. The key (as always) is that you have got to stress to progress – and in the gym that stress comes from adding a little bit of extra weight to your barbell!
See you in the gym,
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