The 3 strength training methods you probably never tried.
The patient lifter.
This method works by the one principle that I think dominates them all, the law of repeated effort. By exposing the body to a given stimulus constantly, it will have to adapt and improve by physiological adaptation. The body will be forced to accept the demand as a new normal.
As an example, if you were to do 5 sets of 3-5 reps on the bench press, you use a weight that you are comfortable pushing 3-4 reps max. You keep that same weight until you can complete the full workout by doing a comfortable 5 reps. By repeating the same (boring) demand every single workout, you force the body into adaptation.
Here’s a workout sample:
A1 Barbell front squats 5x3-5 tempo 4010 rest 120 seconds
A2 Lying leg curl 5x3-5 tempo 4010 rest 120 seconds
B1 Atlantis Pendulum squats 5x3-5 rest 90 seconds
B2 Atlantis standing leg curl 5 x 3-5 rest 90 seconds
Alternating A1, A2 and B1, B2 will help save time and allow the nervous system to rest adequately due to the higher neurological demand of this type of workout.
For our athletes, we like to do sport specific modified strongman training. We build the session around the perfect blend of strength, power, and agility while pushing the boundaries of strength endurance. As an example, for our BJJ athletes, we need grip strength, power and explosiveness for throws, takedowns and sweeps and also to get out of trouble. We bring in the techniques and exercises to improve all these abilities by blocks, following given periodization schemes depending on competition preps and weight classes.
Here’s a workout sample from our strongman sessions:
Do as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes.
50 rope slams
10 heavy sandbag shoulder toss
Prowler rope pulls 50 feet
Toes to bar don’t stop till you reach 20 reps
4 sets, heaviest harness prowler pulls
Reach the heaviest weight possible by set number 4.
À la dinosaur training. If you never read some of Brooks D. Kubik’s work, I highly recommend you do so ASAP. You can’t get any better old school training than this. Don’t get fooled by the word abbreviated, which could be easily interpreted by short and sweet.
Short yes, but absolutely not sweet. The programs are designed with the basics. Full body workouts, two or three times a week. The cycle, depending on your ability to rest and how good your nervous system can tolerate, could be done on a 7-day or 10-day cycle.
Day one would be like bench press and bench on Mondays, standing press and dips on Wednesdays, deadlifts and cleans on Fridays. If on two days a week, Monday would be squats, bench, pull ups and seated presses. Thursday would be leg press, Romanian deadlifts, dips and curls with a thick bar. For reps and sets, do whatever you feel great doing. 5 sets of 5, singles, whatever strikes your fancy.
However, the key to this type of training is hard work. HARD WORK! Truly hard work makes this abbreviated training a great tool. You want to feel what is hard work? Here we go…
After a good warmup, set up a bar in a squat rack (very important) with a weight you can do no more than 10 reps, but don’t do it right away. Than go load a barbell with a weight you can do 10 reps max on the Romanian deadlifts. Than go load a bar on the bench press 30 pounds lower than your best 10 reps.
Now, go start on the squats, and do 20 reps. Doesn’t matter how long it takes you, just don’t rack the bar until you reached those 20 reps. Move on to the Romanian deadlift, and do the same thing. Follow it with the bench press where you will try to do your best and cleanest 10 reps you ever did, slowly and full range, make sure you have a spotter.
Now go on the chin-ups station and do 15 reps. If you can’t, use the rest pause principle and don’t stop until you reach 15 reps. Than go on the prowler, and do as many lengths of the turf in 5 minutes.
That is hard work.