Jan 25, 2011

Choosing the correct load and progression for PLYOATHLETICS

STEP 3 - Finding the load

Finding the right load for your strength training workouts is essential in heaving progress. The biggest problem we see at gyms is not training too hard, or overtraining, it is training too light. The safest way to get results from your training is increasing the load, the volume or the intensity. Our body tries to adjust to any challenge you throw at it, but if you never challenge yourself, the body has no reason to get stronger. Here are some words you need to know:

1RM - This is the heaviest weight you can lift for 1 repetition.
6RM - This is the heaviest weight you can lift for 6 repetitions etc...

You get the picture. This is your max effort sets on fully recovered muscles. We use this to estimate progression  and deciding about the load.

Failure - This is the point where you cannot complete one more repetition.
Beyond failure - This is when you get help to lift even more when by yourself, you cannot do more.

The second to last set of an exercise is usually to failure. The last set of the same exercise is usually beyond failure. This is a very motivating way of training because you always feel you're doing your best, and you have rapid strength progression. Here is an example from bench. If I have a 6RM of 260 pounds I would choose the following load for plyostrength and plyosize:

PLYOSTRENGTH:
Warmup 1: 12x120 lbs
Warmup 2: 10x140 lbs
Working set 1: 5x250 lbs
Working set 2: 5x250 lbs
Working set 3: 5x250 lbs
Working set 4: 5-6x 250 lbs to failure

PLYOSIZE:

Warmup 1: 12x120 lbs
Warmup 2: 10x140 lbs
Working set 1: 10x180 lbs
Working set 2: 10x200 lbs
Working set 3: 8x220 lbs
Working set 4: 7x230 lbs
Working set 5: 5-8x240 lbs to failure
Working set 6: 4-7x240 lbs to failure and beyond

You see from this example you don't lift as heavy weights on a SIZE day as you do on a STRENGTH day. But you compensate by doing more sets and more reps, and you have shorter rests between sets.

I'm a big fan of auto-adjustments. This is a way of adjusting the load according to how you feel during your workout. I do this to a large degree on my SIZE workouts, and to a lesser degree on my STRENGTH days. If I start out my first set on a strength day, and feel crappy, I reduce the weight bu 10 pounds. If I feel incredibly strong I increase the weight by 5-10 pounds from my initial plan.

STEP 4 - Progression

In plyoathletics you try to increase the weights by approximately 5 pounds each week for 5 weeks. Then you reduce the load and increase the reps, before going another 5 weeks. Here is an example from benchpress.

Week 1 - 5x250 lbs for 4 sets
Week 2 - 4x255 lbs for 4 sets
Week 3 - 5x255 lbs for 4 sets
Week 4 - 4x260 lbs for 4 sets
Week 5 - 5x260 lbs for 4 sets
Week 6 - 7x250 lbs for 4 sets
Week 7 - 6x255 lbs for 4 sets
Week 8 - 5x260 lbs for 4 sets
Week 9 - 4x265 lbs for 4 sets
Week 10 - 5x265 lbs for 4 sets
Week 11 - 4x270 lbs for 4 sets
Week 12 - 5x270 lbs for 4 sets
Week 13 - 7x260 lbs for 4 sets 
etc...

Note that you deload in week 6 and 13 before building up again stronger then before. You repeat this cycle over and over again, and keep getting stronger and stronger as long as I stick with this program.

For PLYOSIZE you don't really follow the same strict plan. You try to increase the weights as you go, and  just do another heavy set or throw in another exercise. The progression in size-training pretty much follows the strength increase in a natural way.

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