Over the next few weeks, we are going to focus on energy systems. Why is this important? If you're an athlete or a highly active individual (training 3+ times per week) you can learn how to increase your performance by understanding how energy is produced in the body and therefore structuring your training and nutrition to improve energy metabolism.
The three energy systems (anaerobic alactic, anaerobic lactic, and the aerobic) work together to sustain life and meet the energy demands of physical performance. Each sport/activity challenges energy production in different ways based on the power output (sympathetic driven) and the work to rest ratio. Every adaptation in the body is about meeting the demands of the environment while maintaining homeostasis (body temperature, fluid balance, blood sugar, oxygen saturation, blood pH, minerals levels, hormones and enzymes). The human body priorities survival over both health and performance and hence energy management has a huge role to play in many different aspects of life and longevity.
Team Sustains last strength training block was more of an accumulation phase with some solid volume in the wave loading sets. As the weeks unfolded we gradually lowered the volume and increase the intensity (load). This was in preparation for the maximal and repeatable strength sets in this new block, say hello to Cluster Training.
Team Sustain Strength
The Cluster training method is probably one of the best methods to build strength without putting on too much size. This method of training was popularised by Carl Miller in The Sport of Olympic-Style Weightlifting, Training for Connoisseur.
Who doesn’t want to be stronger? As a coach, we are always looking for ways to improve the strength and performance of ourselves and our athletes. We hunt for training principles that elicit greater muscular development, neuromuscular responses and improve athletic performance. The Wave Loading Method is a system often seen in advanced strength and power cycles to prepare an athlete for maximal attempts.
The concept of wave loading is based on the principle of Post-Titanic Potentiation (PTP), where one goes and primes the motor unit recruitment to facilitates the recruitment of higher threshold motor unties. Put simply this means we trick the mind and body into lifting heavier loads, or being able to perform more reps at a given load, or being able to lift faster at an given load. The mind-body connection has numerous automatic protective mechanisms intended to prevent us from hurting ourselves, which can put the breaks on high-intensity strength training. Wave loading, used correctly, helps the athlete to push back the inhibitions and open the door to a whole new world of opportunities.
Not everyone has a gym membership or trains to achieve specific goals, yet we all experience movement on a daily basis. The least active people in the world are likely to wash, sit down and get up, eat and drink, get in and out of bed regularly, and even when it comes to these simple tasks of life, it quickly jumps to the eye that some do it better.
Far too often we see athletes training to build strength and fitness, but failing to draw the link between posture and performance. Endless hours of lifting heavy weights and performing high volume repetitive repetition will never deliver the optimal results if the technique is compromised by posture.
“Movement Is life”… “No movement? No life!”
Your spine has roughly 50 joints that allow you to move in complex ways. Unfortunately, due to a sedentary lifestyle and lack of movement complexity, most of us have lost full control of our backbone. A healthy spine is a mobile spine, how often do you move yours?
In the 5/3/2/1 method, we start with loads just under 5RM and attempt to add 2-3% more weight every set, performing 1 fewer repetitions every set until you achieve a new 1RM. This progression has the advantage of teaching the skill of expressing your true maximum in a 4-week block. We cannot go from a block of performing 3-5reps per set (MAX Weight PART 3) and expect to perform well in a 1RM until we have allowed the body to recruit higher-threshold fibres. Therefore, we will slowly increase the percentages of each set from week-to-week with the aim of increasing your 1RMs by 2-3% in 5 weeks from now.
The Functional Strength Method - with this system in the first two weeks we are going to perform four sets of [4-6] tempo repetitions. In the first two sets, we want to be hitting 6reps. In the final two sets, we expect to be hitting 4-5reps as the load reaches maximal. Always use your quality of movement to set the limits of yours.
Kipping/Butterfly pull-up variations can often be very bad for shoulder health, primarily if we have not built robust, stable and highly mobile shoulders. Repetitively falling down into the bottom of the pull-up and forcing the shoulders into extension (taking the arm behind the body) will cause serious injury, just do a quick Google search for "slap tear” and digest the number of injuries caused by plyometric pull-ups in CrossFit. How is your shoulder mobility?
In this post, we are going to talk more about the value of using external loads to improve bodyweight training and cover some of the red flags we should be watching out for to prevent an injury before it occurs.