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Troubleshooting September 2013

on Monday, 02 September 2013.

Ingrid I have recently signed a 12 month contract whereby I shall be working a fairly demanding 80 hour week for the next year. My single focus for this year in terms of my training is a dramatic improvement in strength. I am interested in your suggestion for a suitable training program for me to achieve this as well as being time savvy. Thanks in advance.

My advice would be to follow a fairly simple plan that will nail your goal, that of increased strength without getting too complex. So I am going to recommend the 5/3/1 training program that was devised by Jim Wendler. Wendler is a highly reputable strength and conditioning coach who has lifted over 1000 pounds in powerlifting meets.

The 5/3/1 philosophy is more important than the sets and reps. The basic principles of this program have been proven time and time again and Wendler's trainees and others who have utilised this particular program have been vocal about their successes. It has become an extremely popular program due to the accomplishments it brings.

Of course, to revise the basics it's no secret that this program is going to emphasise big multi-joint movements as do most strength producing plans. Just a reminder in case you are a novice that multi-joint lifts are movements that transfer over two joints and utilise maximum numbers of muscles. These lifts are by far the most efficient for building muscle and strength. Examples are the front squat, deadlift, incline bench press and the barbell row.....more 'bang for your buck' if you like.

Some initial pieces of advice. Wendler firstly suggests commencing your program reasonably light, and yes you did read that correctly. Don't go hammer and tongs despite your ton of enthusiasm upon commencing a 'new program'. Starting a touch too light allows for more time for you to continue upping your poundages on a constant basis. As I always advocate, progressive overload is paramount. Try not to let your sense of self take over as nothing will destroy a lift faster than ego! Secondly, progress slowly.

Slow progress may not yield you the best results today, but it will certainly do so tomorrow. The longer that you can progress, even if it's by a single rep or ¼ of a kilogram per side, it means you are advancing It's great if you come across a program that is going to add 20 kilograms to your bench press in 8 weeks, but sit and ask yourself, how much did you progress in the past year on the bench?? Be honest! I am betting it wasn't 20-25 kilograms.

I might just mention at this point that I highly recommend grabbing yourself some incremental weights. Most commercial gyms these days have 2.5 kg plates, or if you are lucky 1.25kg. Incrementals have 1kg, ¾ kg, .5kg and .25 kg. This combination won't be too heavy for your gym bag and will help ensure that you can PB each and every time you perform your lifts. Even an additional .25kg's a side totalling half a kg PB on your bench or military press over a period of 12 months will lead to fantastic gains over your 12 month period. Remember your goal is over a period of 12 months, so don't go straight to Oz, follow the yellow brick road.

Thirdly, Wendler encourages you strongly to perform weekly 'PB's (personal bests). This is fantastic because you walk into your gym on any given day with a very clear goal each and every time. You know what you have to do to perform and lift better than the week before. There is no guesswork (provided you write your lifts and reps down). Trying to attain a PB every session is like the carrot dangling in front of your nose and it will provide you with greater purpose and concentration.

I will add here, please re-read there is no speculation! Use a training diary because you don't have a hope in heck in remembering your poundages.

The 5/3/1/ training program.
This program is beautiful in its simplicity. Please review the general outline of the training I suggest and I shall expand on the salient points later.

* You can train 3 or 4 times a week, this is entirely up to you and what suits your lifestyle and work hours.
* Each training cycles will be for a length of 4 weeks duration
* In the first week you will perform 3 sets of 5 reps (3 * 5)
* In the second week you will do 3 sets of 3 reps (3 * 3)
* In the third set you will do 1 set of 5 reps, 1 set of 3 reps and 1 set of 1 rep
* In the fourth week you will do 3 sets of 5 reps (3 * 5). This week is your de-load week that will take some needed pressure off your central nervous system.
* Every week and every set has a certain % to follow; this will eliminate any deduction on your behalf.

To Begin This Program
Firstly you must find the max's for your 4 lifts. Make certain these are not maxes you have done in a previous life or decade, that you think you can do, or that you may be able to lift. These are maxes that you can execute right now! If you are unsure, set aside a couple of days and work out where you are at, or you can take a rep max. This is a good way to get an idea of your strength without loading the bar for a maximal attempt. This is how:

* Estimate your 1RM for the lift.
* Take 80-85% of your max and perform as many reps as possible.
* Plug the reps and the weight into the following formula to get your estimated 1RM
Weight * Reps * .0333 + Weight = Estimated 1RM
Once you have your maxes for each of your four major lifts take 90% of this number and use this as your max for the first 4 weeks of the training cycle. The easiest way to do this is to take your max and multiply it by .9 . So for arguments sake let's say you have a 300 pound deadlift, 285 pound squat, 160 military press and a 215 bench press. Your numbers will look like this:
* Deadlift: 300 * .9 = 270
* Squat: 285 * .9 = 256.5
* Military: 160 * .9 = 144
* Bench Press: 215 * .9 = 193.5

Here is an example of a suggested method of training
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
65% * 5 reps 70% * 3 reps 75% * 5 reps 40% * 5 reps
75% * 5 reps 80% * 3 reps 85% * 3 reps 50% * 5 reps
85% * 5 reps 90% * 3 reps 95% * 1 rep 60% * 5 reps
(or more) (or more) (or more)

The last set should be an all about maximum effort. Anything above what is required will be building strength, muscle and character. In your de-load week ensure that you don't go for maximum repetitions. It' s a primer week, setting you up for the next three big weeks, and a chance for your neural system to re group.

Further, here are some assisting exercises that I personally would recommend whilst using this program. I would stick to the basics.

• Pendlay Row
• Bent-Over Barbell Row
• Incline Dumbell Press
• Incline BB Press
• Travel BB lunges
• Leg Press
• Stiff-Leg Deadlift
• Close-Grip Bench Press
• BB Curls
• Rope Crucnhes
• Hanging Leg Raises

This is a good, solid, proven method of training. Your 4 major lifts done with correct form and adherence to a structured plan will ensure superb gains in a 12 month period. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced trainee slow, steady and heavy progress will never go out of fashion.

Ingrid I have been watching my nutrition closely for the past 7 weeks. I am consuming the usual suspects; lean sources of protein, WPI, fresh fruit, salad and vegetables with flaxseed and macadamia oils with small amounts of nuts. I have lost a little weight on the scales, but my skinfolds have not really come down much and I am actually looking 'puffier' than when I started. Any thoughts on what might be going on, as I am definitely consuming less calories and eating healthier?

It sounds to me like you could be experiencing a food sensitivity of some kind. Most of us have heard of allergies to peanuts and shellfish, and they can have allergic reactions that are life-threatening, causing death in a matter of minutes. This is anaphylactic which is a specific type of food allergy. It is really common to have an allergy, sensitivity or intolerance to a particular food that is non-anaphylactic. These intolerances are unique and individual. One of the major side effects of eating such food is that it tends to make you hold water, hence increasing the difficulty of you getting really defined.

Eating an inappropriate food will create a low level of inflammation in the body. These inflammatory molecules pull water into the subcutaneous tissue – making you look puffy or bloated. Other consequences include impaired fat burning, fatigue, headaches, a foggy brain, acne, yeast infections, the list goes on. If fact if someone is not seeing results from being on a contest diet for several weeks the reason is almost always because they are eating a food that their immune system in reacting too. Once the offending food is identified and removed they immediately shed water and fat and tend to have more energy and feel better in general.

Depending on the individual, you could be consuming foods that are making you hold water. Common food allergies include gluten (found in wheat, barley, rye, non-gluten free oats, Bulgar, spelt, muesli. Gluten is also found as an additive and thickener in many sauces, soups, dressing and marinades, milk products including WPI, WPC, soy and corn. Though these are the most common reactive foods, other foods may create a problem such as citrus (grapefruit, lemon, lime and oranges. The night shade family (tomatoes, white potatoes, eggplant and bell peppers, onion and garlic, almonds and other nuts and cruciferous veggies (broccoli, kale, cauliflower, bok choy and cabbage.

Take a good look at the foods you are consuming if you are holding a lot of water or not shedding the projected fat loss per week, or according to your plan. You may just be extremely tired and irritable (Halts)

It can be difficult to tease out the differences between what is a 'normal' reaction to watching your nutrition closely. Or it could be sensitivity to the foods you are eating. Knowing that there is a strong possibility of food sensitivities gives you another tool to achieve your best results whilst watching your nutrition closely.

Ingrid I have recently signed a 12 month contract whereby I shall be working a fairly demanding 80 hour week for the next year. My single focus for this year in terms of my training is a dramatic improvement in strength. I am interested in your suggestion for a suitable training program for me to achieve this as well as being time savvy. Thanks in advance.

My advice would be to follow a fairly simple plan that will nail your goal, that of increased strength without getting too complex. So I am going to recommend the 5/3/1 training program that was devised by Jim Wendler. Wendler is a highly reputable strength and conditioning coach who has lifted over 1000 pounds in powerlifting meets.

The 5/3/1 philosophy is more important than the sets and reps.[1] The basic principles of this program have been proven time and time again and Wendler’s trainees and others who have utilised this particular program have been vocal about their successes. It has become an extremely popular program due to the accomplishments it brings.

Of course, to revise the basics it’s no secret that this program is going to emphasise big multi-joint movements as do most strength producing plans. Just a reminder in case you are a novice that multi-joint lifts are movements that transfer over two joints and utilise maximum numbers of muscles. These lifts are by far the most efficient for building muscle and strength. Examples are the front squat, deadlift, incline bench press and the barbell row…..more ‘bang for your buck’ if you like.

 

Some initial pieces of advice. Wendler firstly suggests commencing your program reasonably light, and yes you did read that correctly.[2] Don’t go hammer and tongs despite your ton of enthusiasm upon commencing a ‘new program’. Starting a touch too light allows for more time for you to continue upping your poundages on a constant basis. As I always advocate, progressive overload is paramount. Try not to let your sense of self take over as nothing will destroy a lift faster than ego! Secondly, progress slowly. Slow progress may not yield you the best results today, but it will certainly do so tomorrow. The longer that you can progress, even if it’s by a single rep or ¼ of a kilogram per side, it means you are advancing It’s great if you come across a program that is going to add 20 kilograms to your bench press in 8 weeks, but sit and ask yourself, how much did you progress in the past year on the bench?? Be honest! I am betting it wasn’t 20-25 kilograms.

I might just mention at this point that I highly recommend grabbing yourself some incremental weights. Most commercial gyms these days have 2.5 kg plates, or if you are lucky 1.25kg. Incrementals have 1kg, ¾ kg, .5kg and .25 kg. This combination won’t be too heavy for your gym bag and will help ensure that you can PB each and every time you perform your lifts. Even an additional .25kg’s a side totalling half a kg PB on your bench or military press over a period of 12 months will lead to fantastic gains over your 12 month period. Remember your goal is over a period of 12 months, so don’t go straight to Oz, follow the yellow brick road.

Thirdly, Wendler encourages you strongly to perform weekly ‘PB’s (personal bests).[3] This is fantastic because you walk into your gym on any given day with a very clear goal each and every time. You know what you have to do to perform and lift better than the week before. There is no guesswork (provided you write your lifts and reps down). Trying to attain a PB every session is like the carrot dangling in front of your nose and it will provide you with greater purpose and concentration.

I will add here, please re-read there is no speculation! Use a training diary because you don’t have a hope in heck in remembering your poundages.

The 5/3/1/ training program.

This program is beautiful in its simplicity. Please review the general outline of the training I suggest and I shall expand on the salient points later.

v You can train 3 or 4 times a week, this is entirely up to you and what suits your lifestyle and work hours.

v Each training cycles will be for a length of 4 weeks duration

v In the first week you will perform 3 sets of 5 reps (3 * 5)

v In the second week you will do 3 sets of 3 reps (3 * 3)

v In the third set you will do 1 set of 5 reps, 1 set of 3 reps and 1 set of 1 rep

v In the fourth week you will do 3 sets of 5 reps (3 * 5). This week is your de-load week that will take some needed pressure off your central nervous system.

v Every week and every set has a certain % to follow; this will eliminate any deduction on your behalf.

Here is what a basic week looks like:

**Daniel can you put this in a table please!!!***

 

Let’s say you opt for 4 days a week.

Day 1              Day 2                   Day 3                   Day 4

Warm UP       Warm Up            Warm Up            Warm Up

Standing         Deadlift               Bench Press        Squat

Mil Press

Ass Ex            Ass Ex                 Ass Ex                 Ass Ex

(assistant exercise)

To Begin This Program

Firstly you must find the max’s for your 4 lifts. Make certain these are not maxes you have done in a previous life or decade, that you think you can do, or that you may be able to lift. These are maxes that you can execute right now! If you are unsure, set aside a couple of days and work out where you are at, or you can take a rep max. This is a good way to get an idea of your strength without loading the bar for a maximal attempt. This is how:

v Estimate your 1RM for the lift.

v Take 80-85% of your max and perform as many reps as possible.

v Plug the reps and the weight into the following formula to get your estimated 1RM

Weight * Reps * .0333 + Weight = Estimated 1RM

Once you have your maxes for each of your four major lifts take 90% of this number and use this as your max for the first 4 weeks of the training cycle. The easiest way to do this is to take your max and multiply it by .9 . So for arguments sake let’s say you have a 300 pound deadlift, 285 pound squat, 160 military press and a 215 bench press. Your numbers will look like this:

v Deadlift: 300 * .9 = 270

v Squat: 285 * .9 = 256.5

v Military: 160 * .9 = 144

v Bench Press: 215 * .9 = 193.5

 

 

 

 

Here is an example of a suggested method of training

Week 1                Week 2                Week 3                Week 4

65% * 5 reps       70% * 3 reps       75% * 5 reps       40% * 5 reps

75% * 5 reps       80% * 3 reps       85% * 3 reps       50% * 5 reps

85% * 5 reps       90% * 3 reps       95% * 1 rep        60% * 5 reps

(or more)             (or more)             (or more)            

The last set should be an all about maximum effort. Anything above what is required will be building strength, muscle and character. In your de-load week ensure that you don’t go for maximum repetitions. It’ s a primer week, setting you up for the next three big weeks, and a chance for your neural system to re group.

Further, here are some assisting exercises that I personally would recommend whilst using this program. I would stick to the basics:

·       Pendlay Row

·       Bent-Over Barbell Row

·       Incline Dumbell Press

·       Incline BB Press

·       Travel BB lunges

·       Leg Press

·       Stiff-Leg Deadlift

·       Close-Grip Bench Press

·       BB Curls

·       Rope Crucnhes

·       Hanging Leg Raises

This is a good, solid, proven method of training. Your 4 major lifts done with correct form and adherence to a structured plan will ensure superb gains in a 12 month period. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced trainee slow, steady and heavy progress will never go out of fashion.

Ingrid I have been watching my nutrition closely for the past 7 weeks. I am consuming the usual suspects; lean sources of protein, WPI, fresh fruit, salad and vegetables with flaxseed and macadamia oils with small amounts of nuts. I have lost a little weight on the scales, but my skinfolds have not really come down much and I am actually looking ‘puffier’ than when I started. Any thoughts on what might be going on, as I am definitely consuming less calories and eating healthier?

 

It sounds to me like you could be experiencing a food sensitivity of some kind. Most of us have heard of allergies to peanuts and shellfish, and they can have allergic reactions that are life-threatening, causing death in a matter of minutes. This is anaphylactic which is a specific type of food allergy. It is really common to have an allergy, sensitivity or intolerance to a particular food that is non-anaphylactic. These intolerances are unique and individual. One of the major side effects of eating such food is that it tends to make you hold water, hence increasing the difficulty of you getting really defined.

 

Eating an inappropriate food will create a low level of inflammation in the body. These inflammatory molecules pull water into the subcutaneous tissue – making you look puffy or bloated. Other consequences include impaired fat burning, fatigue, headaches, a foggy brain, acne, yeast infections, the list goes on. If fact if someone is not seeing results from being on a contest diet for several weeks the reason is almost always because they are eating a food that their immune system in reacting too. Once the offending food is identified and removed they immediately shed water and fat and tend to have more energy and feel better in general.

 

Depending on the individual, you could be consuming foods that are making you hold water. Common food allergies include gluten (found in wheat, barley, rye, non-gluten free oats, Bulgar, spelt, muesli. Gluten is also found as an additive and thickener in many sauces, soups, dressing and marinades, milk products including WPI, WPC, soy and corn. Though these are the most common reactive foods, other foods may create a problem such as citrus (grapefruit, lemon, lime and oranges. The night shade family (tomatoes, white potatoes, eggplant and bell peppers, onion and garlic, almonds and other nuts and cruciferous veggies (broccoli, kale, cauliflower, bok choy and cabbage.

 

 

Take a good look at the foods you are consuming if you are holding a lot of water or not shedding the projected fat loss per week, or according to your plan. You may just be extremely tired and irritable (Halts)

It can be difficult to tease out the differences between what is a ‘normal’ reaction to watching your nutrition closely. Or it could be sensitivity to the foods you are eating. Knowing that there is a strong possibility of food sensitivities gives you another tool to achieve your best results whilst watching your nutrition closely.



[1] Wendlar pg 7

[2] Wendlar pg 7

[3] Pg 8