Monday, 22 February 2010

Three-Rep Chest Workout - More Paleo/Primal?

Location: Woodcock Sports Centre, Aston University
Date: 22nd February

Warm up:10 x barbell bench press with just the bar

Workout: barbell bench press: 1 rep @50kg, 1 rep @60kg, 1 rep @60kg (2 - 3 minutes rest between)

Total Time: 10 minutes

Post-Workout Nutrition: none - fasting until dinner.

My gym partner is trying to remain motivated to perform the various remedial exercises on his own post-operative knees, so at the moment I'm agreeing to go to the gym even when it's not the right time for a workout - which after yesterday's 3-hour run, it would be safe to say it was not.

That said, I've recently got into the idea of just throwing in a few semi-difficult reps in between proper workouts as a way to retain strength and mass without sabotaging other workouts. In fact it feels like a very Primal/Paleo way to train because let's face it, very few of our ancestors' activities would have resulted in near-muscular failure they way we seem feel compelled to do in the gym. I have read articles suggesting that progress can be made using a frequent, failure-shy approach. This may be something for future experimentation.

This morning it seemed like a few chest reps would be the safest bet, given my legs were the target of the long run. I also did some stretching on my legs which, although I've read various articles suggesting it's next to useless, certainly made them feel a lot better.


Adam said...

*Interesting idea. I am guessing that to maintain strength, the weight you use will have to build up to pretty close to your single rep max.

*I am skeptical that this approach will improve your single rep max, but it would be interesting to know for sure.

Q: On the other hand, do you think that significant repetitions of daily movements helped with strength for single maximal effort events?

E.g. Squatting for extended periods of time and getting up and down from a squat throughout the day, may have enabled greater strength for a leg related or total body related event.

Methuselah said...

Hi Adam - it's an interesting question as to how close to my 1 rep max I would have to go, and what frequency I would need to employ to maintain a given level of strength. I am wary of getting too scientific about it because I quite enjoy the randomness (especially after the BBS experiment!).

But I feel there's definately mileage in the idea that regularly doing something taxing, but not close to failure would increase our ability to do it more easily, and by inference, perhaps our maximum capacity. Intuitively it seems like that would be the kind of activity pattern we'd have exhibited in the wild and therefore something our bodies would respond to. Of course we wouldn't have needed to get ever stronger and stronger in the same way as we obsess about in the gym, so I suspect that this works only up to a point, and will keep me athletic but would not maintain the kind of bulk that is built up by bodybuilding.

Adam/SEE said...

*Here is the article I got the squat example from.

*See what you think.

*Likely those deep squats open the hips and lengthen and strengthen the hip flexors, which allows for more focused use of bigger muscles like glutes (through better stabilization), which in turn leads to better strength performance.

*Long story short, I agree with you that primitive activities, like a sitting squat, may lead to solid strength, through a more balanced use of all muscles, large and small. So, the strength is there when you need it.

Methuselah said...

Hi Adam - interesting article - thanks for sharing. Before my knee op I was really getting into sitting in the squat position as a way to stretch the quads. Never thought about its effect on strength. Hope to be doing it again soon!