Friday, February 15, 2008

Leave the gym a little crazier than when you arrived.

Most trainees think like Arnold. The bodybuilder/movie star/governor was famous for his exhausting workouts. He'd go to the gym, destroy himself for a couple of hours, then have to call a friend to pick him up because he was too weak to drive home.

That kind of work ethic and willingness to push yourself to the limit of your physical capabilities is admirable. But it's not the best way to train if you're looking to gain strength.

Want supporting evidence from a dead guy? Here's a quote from "Modern Weightlifting," written by British strongman Edward Aston in 1935 (read the full text here):
In training for a weight-lifting match it must be borne in mind that hard work does not necessarily mean success (...) therefore his work requires to be chosen with care, and only those exercises given him which will fit him for his contest, without over-taxing and drawing on his reserve energy.
Translated from the old-school, this means that your exercise selection and volume should be such that you don't run yourself down. Keep the volume low enough that you can fully recover between workouts. Don't clutter your workouts with frivolous exercises -- keep them short enough that you don't run yourself down. (But make sure they're intense enough to actually do some good!)

My personal marker for a workout that hits the sweet spot between too little work and too much work is when I feel more psyched up and crazy leaving the gym than I did going in.

It sounds a little weird, but some of you will know the feeling. When your volume and weight selection are right, when you've selected the right exercises, and when you push yourself as hard as you can on every rep, you leave the gym feeling stronger than when you went in. Of course, we all know that this isn't really the case -- you are always weaker immediately after exercise than before -- but that rush you get after finishing the last heavy rep of a good workout is one of the best feelings in the world.

Training 2-14-08

5 x 5 x 265

Push Press
2 x 5 x 155
3 x 4 x 155

Power Clean
5 x 3 x 165

3 x 5 x 50

3 x 5 x 95

Comments: The music in my gym SUCKS. It consists primarily of dance remixes of early-90's pop music. Squats felt much better today because I brought my iPod and cranked up my own music loud enough to drown out the crap. Push Press was disappointing, but I'm hoping it'll come up quickly as I get the movement down. Power Cleans felt really good. Pullups were a bit tough, but ok. Dips, as always, made me feel like a badass.

No comments: