Monday, 31 December 2012

The Next Phase

Happy New Years Guys & Girls!

Hope you had a good Christmas and a Merry New Year.

As promised I am starting a new phase of training for the new year.
For my strength sessions in this phase I have been doing some reading around the Conjugate Method, as made famous by The Westside Barbell gym.  I have also drawn inspiration from Matt Wichlinski (one of my favourite coaches) from The Strength Shop.

I have adapted these styles of training to fit my personal goals which are to be the strongest and fittest BJJ fighter I can be at lightweight (under 76kg with the Gi).  I am also incorporating quite a few gymnastic moves into my training, mainly because I believe they are of incredible value for building full body strength but also because...well...I want to be able to perform them!

Here is the plan.
Each week I will attempt to fit in:
2-3 Strength sessions (as described below)
1-2 BJJ sessions (Either at the BJJ club in the next town or partner drills)
1-2 Conditioning sessions (similar to my current conditioning sessions, lots of variation with some benchmark sessions, special focus on barbell complexes, see note on 31st Dec session)

On top of this I will be trying to snowboard for at least an hour 4-5 days a week.

My strength sessions will look like this:

Strength Day 1 Template:
- warm up & mobility work
- Lower body power move 3-5 x 3-5
- Lower body Max effort Strength (Pull or Push) 3-5 x 3-5
- Upper body High volume work x 1-2 exercises (Pull or Push) 2-4 x 8-12
- Gymnastic / Core exercise x1-2 exercises x2-4 sets of each

Strength Day 2 Template:
- warm up & mobility work
- Upper body power move 3-5 x 3-5
- Upper body Max effort Strength (Pull or Push) 3-5 x 3-5
- Lower body High volume work x 1-2 exercises (Pull or Push) 2-4 x 8-12
- Gymnastic / Core exercise x1-2 exercises x2-4 sets of each

From my (admittedly basic) understanding of the Conjugate method, I have taken the idea of regularly varying the Max-effort strength exercise used.  So for example instead of always doing a standard Deadlift for my lower body pulling max-effort exercise I will change it week by week, varying the grip, my stance, the ROM orthe style of Deadlift.  By doing this I hope to avoid stagnation in my progress.

I have used my own variation when it comes to programming the High-volume (or assistance) work, which I hope will avoid prolonged muscle soreness and recovery time between sessions.  It should also allow me to train other movement variations that might otherwise get neglected.

As you can see each template also includes the option of either Pull or Push for both max-effort and High volume exercises.  I will be varying this too, alternating between the two each session.

I realise that there is a lot of information in this post and that I might not be describing it perfectly but hopefully once I start posting session's on this blog it will become clearer.  If you have any questions then just drop a comment on this post.

I am not sure that this format of programming will prove to be the ideal for me at this time but from the information that I have researched and the knowledge I have of my own goals and my own body I believe it is a good place to start.  When changes need to be made I will make them but rather than sitting around theorising as to 'the perfect plan' I want to get out there and try this out, see for myself how effective it is.

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For those of you that are interested, below are the details for my last few sessions of 2012.
Two of them were standard strength sessions, from my old phase and the second two were benchmark conditioning sessions that I decided to do on the last two days of the year because I wanted to see how I was progressing with them.

Thursday 27th December:
1) 1 DB Snatch 3 x 4 per side (alternate) (65lb-70lb-70lb)

2) Deadlift 4 x 6-8  (6,6,6,5 @ 120kg)

3a) Straddle L (box low) 5 x max
3b) Handstand (w/lower) 5 x max

4a) Back lever (flat tuck - bar) 4 x (5x2 sec)
4b) Front lever (straddle - bar) 4 x (5x2 sec)
4c) L / Y / W / T shoulder exercises 4 x 15 each

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Friday 28th December:
1) Hang power clean x 2 + Hang clean x 1  x3 sets (55kg/60kg/60kg)

2) Front squats 4 x 6-8  (72.5kg x 7 / 74kg x6, x6, x5)

3a) Planche (flat tuck on DBs)  4 x (5x2 sec)
3b) Symmetrical Deadbugs 4 x 30 sec per side

4a) Around the world Pull ups 3 x 8
4b) 1 DB overhead press x 6-8 + 20 sec hold (with lats engaged) x3 sets

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Saturday 29th December:
Rest Day

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Sunday 30th December:
Conditioning session

100 Rope turns
10 Burpees (full style, not sprawl, no press up)
10 Press ups
10 Bodyweight squats
10 Pull ups (no kipping)

x 10 Rounds as fast as possible

Last time I attempted this workout I completed it in 27.35
I knew that the third attempt would be difficult but I managed to shave just over 1 minute off my previous time, completing it in 26.17

I felt pretty awful immediately after this session but was glad that I managed to improve my time.
I know that I am going to have to work hard on my conditioning if I want to shave more time off this session.

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Monday 31st December
Conditioning session

12 Deadlifts
9 Hang power cleans
6 Push press

x 5 rounds as fast as possible

Completed with 50kg, previously I had managed to complete this in 11.15 (12th November) and before that I had only managed 12.46 (1st September).

Today didn't go well and it took me 11.55 to complete this complex.

I can't deny that I am gutted about this.  It could have been down to external factors but I also know that this session is always a massive challenge for me, both mentally and physically.

I am not going to make excuses, it beat me today.

What I have learnt from this is that I want to build more of my future conditioning sessions around Barbell complexes.  I believe that they are fantastic for grappling conditioning and they are also something that I shy away from sometimes because they are incredibly gruelling.

I am slightly concerned that using heavier weights during my conditioning sessions (through complexes) might impact on my performance and/or recovery from my strength sessions but I will endeavour to build in adequate recovery time.

Lesson learnt, time to nut up and get the hard work done!

Happy New Year.

Train hard, live happy

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