Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Progression Wednesday: The Squat



Last week we started a series to talk about how we structure our progressions. Everyone comes to class from a different starting place and we don't want to throw you in the deep end, so we start with less technical versions of our movements and have you work at your pace up to the harder movements.

Today, my favorite: the squat

I generally start with a goblet squat (squatting, holding a kettlebell upside down). It's almost impossible to goblet squat incorrectly. You have to keep your chest up and keep your hips back and put your weight back off your toes. If you don't do that, you'll fall down.

Then I try a barbell squat to see if you can do a squat with the barbell safely. If you can, then we stay there and start putting on weight. If not, then we'll fall back and work up like this:

goblet squat
box squat
front squat
back squat (we call that the squat)
overhead squat

I learned the front-squat-before-back-squat technique from Randy. Most of the time you'll see coaches do the front squat after you've learned the back squat. The front squat appears to be more technical since you have to balance a barbell on your chest while squatting, but just like the goblet squat, it's much harder to do it wrong. After you learn the front squat, it's an easy transition to the real squat.



Warm-up

row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips

Strength

push press 5-3-2-3x2

Accessory/Skill

5 Bulgarian split squats between strength sets

Group Workout

rowing sprints:
2x200
4x100
8x50
rest 20s between efforts



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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Why you need to have real instruction


There are hundreds, if not thousands, of places where you can get free or cheap programming. We even give our programs away for free (see below). With all of this free information around, why do we still have full classes and people paying to come to see us?

Randy often talks about how coaching and programming are so tied together that one without the other is worthless. Doing a program on your own or having a coach that buys their programming elsewhere only solves half the problem. He has a great rant about this brewing, so I'm not going to steal his thunder. I have a second rant that's a little different and inspired by a conversation that Amy had with one of our members.

One of our runners was talking about his training years ago when he got his programming from running magazines. Magazines used to be a major source of training information and were taken as seriously as internet-famous coaches and athletes are today. There was a famous runner who published some programs in a running magazine, and all of the amateurs copied it and did on their own.

Later, our member met this famous athlete and asked about the program that he was following. It turns out that the program was simply made up because the runner was a pro who didn't want to give away his training secrets.

Even if you could perfectly execute a program you got off of the internet, how do you even know that it's even a real program? How many people just sit down and write something simply to get another article published or to keep their real programming secret? Coaches who write their own programming have a vested interest in its effectiveness.



Warm-up

row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips

Strength

front squat 5-3-3-3x3

Accessory/Skill

2 TGUs between strength sets

Group Workout

EMOM 20:00
3 very heavy KB clean and jerks



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Monday, February 20, 2017

Strength and Power Cycle 1 Week 4


Yay! Deload week for the Strength and Power class. Take it seriously, you've had 3 weeks of heavy work, you really do need a break. Don't let your ego get in the way of the program. We'll start back into the heavy stuff next week.

The pattern will be 3 heavy-deload-3 heavy-deload-test for a 9-week cycle.



S&P Week - Download this week's program with space for you to write in your weights

Day 1

10x1 Clean Lift Off (3 sec pause) + Hang Clean + Jerk - AHAP, rest 60 seconds. 

Press: 40%x5, 50%x5, 60%x5
Close Grip Bench: 40%x5, 50%x5, 60%x5

Lats, Upper Back, Triceps, Biceps

Day 2

10x1 Snatch Lift Off (3 sec pause) + Hang Snatch - AHAP, rest 60 seconds. 

Deadlift: 40%x5, 50%x5, 60%x5
Front Squat: 40%x5, 50%x5, 60%x5

Hamstrings, Lower Back, Abs

Day 3

12 min to establish a 1RM Snatch
12 min to establish a 1RM Clean and Jerk

Bench Press: 40%x5, 50%x5, 60%x5

Lats, Upper Back, Triceps, Biceps 


Day 4

5 attempts to establish a 1RM of the complex:
1 Clean
3 Front Squats
1 Jerk
3 Back Squats
1 Behind-the-Neck Jerk 

Squat: 40%x5, 50%x5, 60%x5
Straight Leg Deadlifts: 40%x5, 50%x5, 60%x5 

Hamstrings, Lower Back, Abs



Warm-up

row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips

Strength

deadlift 5-3-3-3x3

Accessory/Skill

5 heavy swings between strength sets

Group Workout

8 rounds
every 2:00
3 heavy snatches



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Friday, February 17, 2017

Eat like an adult


I saw this a while ago, I thought it was kind of funny to see a meme from a Dan John quote. I steal from (or rather, am inspired by) a lot of Dan's programming. It's simple, old school barbell work. He's a bigger fan of high rep schemes than I am, but in general we agree on a lot about training. When I saw this quote about food I laughed. I always say "It's not that hard, people. Eat meat, cook it in fat, add some veggies. That's it."

It's hard to sell that message because it's more fun to publish complicated cookbooks that promote a fancy diet. But you don't need a fancy diet. Just eat like an adult.



Warm-up

row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips

Strength

squat 5-3-3-3x3

Accessory/Skill

2 pull-ups + 2 dips between strength sets

Group Workout

6 rounds
row 250
10 KB snatches
10 burpees
10 lateral stick jumps



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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Vaidy shows how to keep a vertical torso on a heavy triple



Warm-up

row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips

Strength

power snatch 3-2-4x2

Accessory/Skill

5 push-ups between strength sets

Group Workout

AMRAP 12:00
7 KB snatches
7 burpees
7 push-ups



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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Our classes are for everyone - we will work with you to learn the movements

Jyothi shows one of our push-up progressions: inclined box push-ups
I've been getting lots of questions lately about how someone would start taking an S&C class. Do you need to do anything first? Or can you just walk in?

Don't worry, you can just walk in to class and we'll work with you to find appropriate movements. Our goal is to create a learning environment, so you don't need to know everything (or really anything) when you come to class.

If you can't do a specific movement, we have a series of progressions to help you work up to it. How we progress you depends on who's teaching the class. Since I wasn't a natural athlete and everything took me a long time to learn, I tend to ease people into a technical movement very slowly - maybe too slowly, but I want you to feel comfortable before we add complexity.

I'm going to do a series of posts about how we progress you from a simple movement to a more complex (or maybe just harder) one. Today: push-ups.

We program push-ups pretty often. So it may be intimidating to see that when you read what we do on a daily basis. What do we do if you can't do a push-up?

From easy to hard:
Wall push-ups
Inclined box push-ups
Real push-ups on the floor
Inclined ring push-ups
Horizontal ring push-ups

We start you where you are in that progression and make a plan to move up. Each movement in the progression builds on the earlier ones. As you learn the proper movement patterns, they will translate to the harder movements.



Warm-up

row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips

Strength

squat 5-3-3-3x3

Accessory/Skill

2 pull-ups + 2 dips between strength sets

Group Workout

8 rounds
every 2:00
5 heavy front squats
5 tall box jumps



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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Marlena Preigh talks Weightlifting, Irish Dancing

Well it's been about two months since I last posted an interview on this blog and it seems high time to change that. My teammate and friend, Marlena Preigh, agreed to answer some questions about her experience with Barbell Strategy following two wonderful performances (and 2 new PR's) this indoor track season.

For starters, tell us a little bit about your running/training background, how you got involved with Barbell Strategy, and how long you have been doing supplemental strength training with them.

I’ve been running since last winter, and continued through the spring, summer and fall. I lifted with Barbell Strategy over the summer through Ric Rojas, and started up again this winter.

If you could describe the coaching/training environment at Barbell Strategy in one word, what would it be and why?

I would describe the environment at Barbell Strategy as supportive. The personal attention that each athlete receives is amazing, and there’s always someone to help you out!

You recently ran an incredible new 800m PR at the University of Washington High School Invitational, do you feel that strength development assisted your performance? If so, how?

I definitely think that strength development aided my performance at the University of Washington. In addition to allowing my legs to move faster without getting tired earlier, I feel like it also assisted in my kick, allowing me to sprint for 100 plus meters without dying.

What is your favorite and least favorite lift and why?

My favorite lift is the split jerk, because I like the short burst of power. I like most of the lifts I do, but the overhead squat is probably my least favorite, because I have difficulty balancing during it.

Has there been any race, practice, or time trial lately where you could really pinpoint the effects of the training?

A couple of weeks ago I broke 60 in the 400m up at the Air Force Academy, which has been a goal of mine since the spring. The strength I’ve acquired from lifting definitely gave me the power and ability to do this. It was especially clear in my kick that the strength allowed me to push to the finish while fatigued.

With the outdoor track season coming up, do you have any particular goals in mind, or races that you are targeting? 

I plan to focus mostly on the 800 meters this spring, but also want to improve in the 400. I hope take my current PR in the 800 of about 2:17 and run a second or two faster, as well as run under 59 seconds in the 400.

What do you feel has been your most significant take-away from the weightlifting?

Through weightlifting, I’ve learned how important strength training is to reach my fullest potential in track!

Please tell us one random fun fact about yourself.

I used to do Irish Dance, and I still remember how to do all the moves and jumps!

Marlena crushes the competition at the USATF Colorado State Indoor Championships, running a new 400m PR. 

8 medals this weekend



I got the medal count from Randy. Of the 15 athletes competing this weekend, the team won 8 medals plus the overall Women's 3rd place team. Randy barely had time to eat all weekend since there were lifters in every session!

Martha: Gold
Jacyln: Gold
Molly:Silver
Diana:Gold
Jordan: Silver
Darla:Gold
Ross: Gold
Tim: Gold



Warm-up

row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips

Strength

clean pull 5-3-2-3x2

Accessory/Skill

2 windmills between strength sets

Group Workout

EMOM 10:00
power clean + push press + jerk

rest 2:00

EMOM 10:00
KB clean + push press + jerk
each arm or double if you feel ambitious




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