Today we start a new 12 week training cycle, one that I have already put a lot of hours into developing. This cycle consists of 3 week blocks arranged in an alternating fashion. This organization allows us to alternate between Volume Efforts and Intensity Efforts in our primary strength movements (squats, deadlifts, vertical & horizontal pulls, and vertical & horizontal presses). As we progress, you will see that this cycle is big on building strength, stability, and posture in the positions that are most challenging in each movement (think pause squats, isometric pull up holds, and other gems similar in awesomeness).
As we start down the road to increased awesomeness I offer you some food for thought in the form of the below article from Athlete Cell. Read it, think about it, be honest with yourself and make your own decision. There is not really a right or wrong choice, I just want everyone to hear the reasoning laid out in the article, give it some honest, critical thought, and then make an informed decision. I went through this process at the beginning of the summer. I had to swallow my pride a little at first, and accept some “lower” numbers, but now a few short months later I am not only glad I made the changes but wonder why I waited so long to make them.
There are many unique training tools in this world. Some that help us recover, some that provide support, others that pump us up… there are even things that can make us feel less pain, produce more testosterone, and even produce more red blood cells. The sky has honestly become the limit with regards to technology.
While many great leaps have come in human performance via the use of technological ingenuity, every athlete must know without a shadow of a doubt why they are using “IT,” how long they intend on using “IT,” and what RISKS are they taking by using “IT.”
Every day there are new inventions and designs. Some turn out for the best like the swim suits of Team USA in Beijing, and others not so well like another similar Team USA skate suit used in Sochi. By applying math, science, medicine, engineering, and more, we have provided athletes with “bolt ons” and “band aids” to make them perform at the top of their game. The reason we are even talking about this, though, is that their still exists that concept of RISK. If I wear a weight belt during every back squat I do, I am protecting my low back by providing a shear panel support to spread load throughout the trunk and core. Great. But do you think you are stressing your lumbar spine, erectors, transversus abdominis, etc. enough to actually support that load without the assistance should you ever need it? What happens every time you do a squatting session on a day when you forgot your belt? Do you find yourself waking up feeling like a truck ran over you the next day because your spinal support muscles got absolutely man handled by a 65% 1RM lift? .
How often do you step into your gym and see people wearing knee sleeves, wrist wraps, and Oly shoes for Back Squats and Push Presses? For Fran? For Cindy? It’s a disease and we need to fight it.
Today’s strength workout contains pure OLY skills… OLY shoes can be worn. We encourage you, however, to not wear them. If you are one of those people that has worn Oly shoes every time you see a barbell movement in the workout, you have been cheating yourself.
You have been wearing a stiletto heel that reduces your ankle range of motion, shifts your center of mass into a non-ideal quad dominant position, and you have forced your body to make sacrifices and cover ups instead of full on repairs.
Stop going down the route of inserts to turn your Nano’s into Oly’s and acting like you just “got better.” Instead… actually get better. Actually work on your ankle mobility, actually work on building you core and glutes, actually make choices to build a better you one brick at a time. You should desire to be a more versatile athlete that uses things like Oly shoes and Weight Belts for 1RM efforts or that final competitive advantage of ease and support when you are at the edge of your limits, more so than every day like they were a “no shirt, no shoes, no service” based rule. We aren’t trying to say you made the wrong choice, or that you were misinformed as to the risk v. return. We want to empower you, where we believe most of these things (like oly shoes) enabled you.