Friday, December 5, 2008

More On the Perfect Rep Quest: Volume + Integrated Cardio

I don't usually log my actual workouts here, but with growing interest in the perfect rep/strength development, thought it might be worth logging an experiment.

One of my current goals is to increase the size of the kettlebell i can press (i have dreams of the 24). Right now i'm pressing 3 of the 16 on the right and 1 of the 16 on the left.

The strategy:
  • try integrated cardio in strength work
The tactics:
  • part 1: kenneth jay's High Volume/Low Volume, discussed here.
  • part 2: integrating vigerous cardio between sets, as per Davis, discussed here.
  • part 3: using Timed sets rather than absolute numbers of sets, a la Charles Staley's EDT. If you're not familiar with EDT, there's some great articles on t-nation. here's one.
The specifics: high volume day

So with the goal of getting in about 200 perfect rep presses a side, i set the timer for 15, pressing 5 on one/ 5 on the other. Recovery. During the recovery, i did 10 body weight perfect form DLs - this actually keeps the heart pumping without taxing the shoulders. Using the DL also lets me practice bone rhythm, breathing, head posture, eye movement in my DL. Every second used.

Now i confess, when i got to a scant 45 reps with the 12KB (8 sets of 5), i had to drop to the next size down (8KB) in order to maintain form. So yes i sacrificed pressing the weight to focus on form. But i did not care. The lighter bell at this rate/volume was still effortful while letting me get that pattern engrained.

I did two 15 min "zones" as Staley calls them. Total, 175 reps/arm (17 sets zone one; 20, zone 2).

What was fun: concentrating on the form. With KJ's approach i feel like i've been given permission to do these lighter weigths just to think about form.

Fringe Benefit? By adding in the fast BW DL's between pressing sets, the presses, amazingly, felt smoother - easier even. I wasn't expecting that.

Now whether and how these cycles will lead to strength is of course the other key part of this equation. But for today, this integrated resistance/vigorous cardio felt great, let me focus on form for TWO moves, and strength benefits promised to come. ya hoo.

The next day:
that many bodyweight DL's - am somewhat aware of my hamstrings today - but perhaps that DOMS effect of vigerous cardio is making it less intense than it would be otherwise? hmm.

Part Two of this series continues here: volume and the perfect rep: it seems to be working.

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