Post by Leiborus Mies
Its that time of the cycle again. The bars are chalky and the gainz are awaiting. Time to test your fitness and set that new personal record (PR). “But coach, how do I do that?!”. Well it’s not as simple as just adding a few half pound clips to the bar and lifting it. You must prepare your mind, body and inner eye of the tiger to rise up to the challenge. All 1980’s anthems aside, it does however take a specific strategy in place to guarantee success. This strategy will consist of maximizing preparedness and minimizing fatigue, all supported by the rally and cry of your fellow athletes.
Your “Preparedness” will be determined by the quality of rest and warm up you get. Rest meaning precisely that, good’ol rest and relaxation. The neurological demand needed to perform with maximum effort, is large enough to be affected by something as minor as forgetting to sign in to class. So if you have been feeling stressed or just didn’t get enough “Zs”, perhaps resort to something lower intensity than murdering your last PR.
After getting some beauty sleep and signing in, your next step will be to get nice and warm. The warm up should consist of a general to specific approach. Warming up the entire body to start, and then steadily tapering to movements with similar mechanics and muscle groups.
Let us take the squat as an example:
We should begin with a light row or airdyne boute. Attempting to build a minor sweat and raise the heart rate. This will ensure your sympathetic nervous system is ready for a fight. Next we can move on to range of motion (ROM) work, such as Controlled Articular Rotation (CARs) and/or some dynamic stretching. Then we get specific, beginning to warm up the legs and core with some lunging and/or light goblet squatting.
Last but certainly not least, we get under a barbell.
This is the most important aspect of our warm up. Making sure that every rep is performed with maximum effort.
However, keep in mind we must ensure that our level of preparedness continues to increase while maintaining a low level of fatigue. So perhaps 3 sets of anywhere from 6-10 repetitions (3×6-10) with just the bar itself to ensure everything is operating as it should be or to chip off some of the rust that has built up since the last leg day.
Then we will increase in weight while decreasing the reps. This might look like; 2 sets of 5 (2×5) at 40% and 50% followed by a set of 2 or 3 at 60%-70% and singles there after. Note that these are general numbers and an example. So please understand that every individual is different. So whether you are an experienced lifter or have no idea what all of these percentages mean, the objective is to ensure the legs aren’t burning or tired by time you get to a significant weight.
With all distractions aside, a comfortable amount of sleep last night and a stellar warm up we are now fully equipped for this lift.
However, the last but most frequently overlooked tool in our toolbox is the support of our fellow teammate every great lifter needs for success. Every athlete in that gym has a specific goal in which they are there to obtain. A PR is an expression of that goal. So whether it be 5 lbs or 500 lbs, support and acknowledge that athlete for successfully taking one more step, squat or deadlift closer to their goal.
Now; let’s get after it!