Monday, May 5, 2008

So while I'm at it...might as well pick up the pace

I have this new athlete...well he isn't exactly new...he's 19 and is a back row...but he's new to me as in I've been training him for 2 weeks...tonight is the start of his 3rd week...lets just call him AS.

When he 1st tested on the 21st of April he weighed 93 kgs (I'm almost tempted to put these in pounds now that I know the majority of people reading this now will be in the US...and by majority I mean the 5 of you state side versus the 4 of you reading it here in Ireland)and 187cm. Which is the right height for his position but probably 7-10kgs on the light side.

His results were as follows:
Height: 187cm
Weight: 93.1kg
Bodyfat: 20.3%
1RM Bench: 120kg
Pull Ups: 12reps
Push Ups(60sec): 45 reps
Inverted Rows(60sec): 13 reps
Squat: 15 reps*

Before he started with me AS was doing too much training and too little eating. Hopefully we have turned that around but more on that later.

Now what do you see in AS's results? What stands out? To start with...his inverted rows are just plain terrible...anyone who can do as many pull ups as they can inverted rows has a serious imbalance. The usual ratio of inverted rows to pull ups is about 3:1 at least. Just to give you an example JM who's results were posted here previously did 21 inverted rows and 2 pull ups. Suffice to say that AS has plenty of shoulder and thoracic mobility work along with his scapular strengthening in his warm ups. I'm predicting this work along with the rest of his program should lift his bench...if for no other reason than the fact that he has such poor scapular control and strength and improve his inverted rows in quick time. He has the strength in his lats and arms to inverted row but lacks he mid back strength to 'close it out'.

So what's he doing:
Session 1
Warm Up + Mobility Work
Deadlift (3 w/u) - 8 sets of 3 reps
Reverse Lunges - 4 sets of 8 reps (each leg)
Bridging (secs) - 3 sets of 60 seconds with a 15kg plate (well he thought it was only 10kg but we worked him up to 15kg without him knowing any different so we're sticking with it.
1A Incline Bench Press - 3 sets of 12 reps
1B Chest Supported Rows - 3 sets of 12 reps
Torque Press - 4 sets of 8 reps with a 30 second hold on the final rep of each set.

Session 2
Warm Up + Mobility Work
Bench Press (3 w/u) - 8 sets of 5 reps
Push Ups (mini band) - 3 sets of 15 reps
Side Bridging (30 secs) - 6 sets of 30 secs
Squats (95kg) - 100 reps
Seated Leg Curls - 3 sets of 12 reps
45 deg Back Extensions - 5 sets of 8 reps

Session 3
Warm Up + Mobility Work
Pull Ups - 5 sets of 8 reps
1A Inverted Row - 5 sets of 12 reps
1B Push Ups- 5 sets of 12 reps
Roll Outs - 5 sets of 8 reps
DB Hammer Curls - 3 sets of 8 reps
Lying Tricep Extensions - 3 sets of 8 reps

Questions? I suppose if people want clarification or justification or they can't see the reasoning behind the program construction they can ask.

I am hoping that as we go a few things will happen...1. That there will be more interaction between athletes that train with they come from different teams, sports and backgrounds and have a vast range of ages from those starting their careers to those trying to cling on at the end of theirs (You know who you are). 2. That people who are interested in training will make comment and observation and that the athletes themselves as well as myself can give feedback and response to queries and that we can 'talk it through' particularly as time passes and testing results accumulate. AS has 4 weeks on this program...then an unloading week and then will be retested.

*I haven't mentioned this before BUT if you can do 15 Pull Ups, 60 Push Ups, 45 Inverted Rows or in this case 15 full squats...then I've seen enough.


Shaf said...

Good stuff Will.

Bri said...

Will, could you describe a Torque Press?

Will Heffernan said...

I'll put some photo's up with a about that.

Bri said...

Cool, thanks.

Ian said...


The athlete has tested at 13 inverted rows in 60s, yet in session 3 he's down for 5 sets of 12. That isn't going to happen - is it?

What kind of inverted rows will they be doing, ie. position of feet, any knee flexion, typ eof grip etc etc.

I can just about do 10 neutral grip pullups, and just about 10 inverted rows with feet up on bench and a narrow underhand grip. I know my midback strength is hapless, but wasn't sure of the best way to get my strength up in this area.

Ben said...

will, do you always deload before re-testing?

Will Heffernan said...

You want to know how he does them...I'm actually laughing writing this...because he does them slowly and somewhat pathetically...that's how he does them. I will get him to come and comment here for himself as well.
The inverted rows are done with feet elevated on a bench, legs straight, strong torso and chest to bar with an overhand grip...but I tend to tweak programs on the fly within the basic framework so his inverted rows may for example be done with blast straps instead of a bar for example.

With regard to improving mid back strength and inverted rows in particular...I'll actually make a post regarding that...because like chins and pull ups...there's more to it than just 'doing the movement'.

Will Heffernan said...

Yes, I do. That probably isn't the answer you were looking for with regards to detail but if you want to ask more specific questions go ahead. I want to do something different with this blog. I will show you the program, I want people to be able to ask questions of and get answers from the athletes and for us all to see what the results are be they good or bad.

So in short...most of the programs are 4 week cycles...a 3 week build up of either intensity or volume or a blend of both and then an unloading week or some of the guys and gals call it a technical week. In that we usually drop the volume, change the exercises and do some 'technique' benching or squatting or deadlifting or whatever it is we are 'working on' this is the time I get to spend with athletes a bit more intensively. So they have 5-7 days to freshen up a little before starting there next cycle.

Does that answer your question?

Ian said...

Hi Will,

Thanks for the prompt reply and look forward to future posts.

I perform my inverted rows much the same as your athlete; legs straight and elevated, pull up until chest touches bar and strong torso. The problem I have is working out how best to regress and progress the exercise so I get stronger. I don't have a weighted vest so looking for ideas.

PS. Tracking and reviewing actual workout sessions via your Blog is a refreshing change.

Will Heffernan said...

No problem re the reply...I'm actually writing programs as we speak so I will try to get back to people with queries asap whenever I can.

Regarding progressing and improving...what I've found works well is to do Y,T,W,L's with the scapular pre retracted (does that make sense?). So you squeeze your shoulder down and together and then perform your Y,T,W,L's either as a complex or straight set fashion. All the push ups you see my athletes do are done focusing on getting the shoulder blades down and together before commencing the movement. If you are not following let me know and I'll post some pictures and descriptions of this as well? I'll try not to make these replies to long winded but basically I really try to get athletes to work on 'fixing' their scapula...having excellent scapular control with all their work...this carries over into there inverted rows....most people have the strength to do them....the just lack the postural and structural control to apply that strength.

If you have any other tips or suggestions...or if anyone does for that matter...let me know.

Ian said...

Hi Will,

I'll make this my last reply so as not to take up too much time on the same subject...but :)

I struggle to understand the idea of 'fixing' the scapula down and together, and yet allowing some freedom of movement of the scapula to complete the range of motion in an exercise. Does that makes sense? e.g. in a pushup, would you allow the scapula to protract at the top of the movement?

Note to self: must do more YTWL's.

ben said...

yeah thanks will, I use that test with the guys i train (we chatted on BR about it a while ago). Ive never bothered to deload any of them because to be honest i dont think any are so far advanced that just a few days off isnt enough for them to freshen up. so thursday is usually there last session, then the next tuesday i test.

Some of them are progressing though, so it was something i was thinking of adding in the future if it doesnt conflict with there compettion schedule (it always seems to be time to test when they are a week out from a fight).

thanks for that

Will Heffernan said...

Ask as many questions as you like. The more specific the question the more detailed the answer.

I will take some photos and put some descriptions together of this at training this afternoon or evening and I will make a post specifically about it and show you how I've integrated it in different ways into different programs.

And yes...more Y,T,W,L's, scap rows, scap pulls, inverted shrugs and scap push ups.

Will Heffernan said...

Glad it is going well...with regard to is usually a matter of bringing down the strength work and ramping up the conditioning work....a lot more interval and steady state conditioning work in this week...we use it as a bit of a rest from strength work and a chance to top up our conditioning work.

ben said...

thanks will, thats usually how it ends up without me changing anything anyway. when i get them to back off the weights they ramp up their running or bike on their own because they feel like they arent doing enough. at this stage i dont think its an issue coz they are young and resiliant and theur numbers keep going up, so im not gonna fix what isnt broken - but probably going too far off topic now


Will Heffernan said...

If you are talking about training then nothing is off topic.

I've trained (strength and conditioning last time I said I trained boxers someone thought I was claiming to be one of the Mayweather's)amateur boxers to an international level at various times over the last 10 years. When I we get the time one of the athletes that I'm going to interview about training is Irish Olympic Middleweight representative Darren Sutherland...he likes to look his best so we are waiting for 1. my new camera and 2. Dazza's next hair appointment. If you have any particular questions you want asked let me know when I announce the interview and I will get him to spill the beans?

october_red said...

Will, what are you doing for this guy's mobility and scapula work?

Will Heffernan said...

If you aren't happy with my next post...then let me know?

october_red said...

Okay, you got it!

october_red said...

Alright, I just read everything through the 7th, but don't see any mention of what mobility work you are talking about. Maybe you mentioned it but didn't call it "mobility work," I don't know.

Did I miss it?