Thursday, May 05, 2011

Training The Advanced Client (and more Arnie quotes)

I've written before on this blog about the fact that our clients tend to be a pretty homogeneous group. They all tend to have desk based jobs, work long hours and have similar exercise histories. Consequently, they will usually have very similar training needs when they first come to see us. If you were to look at a training program for a handful of clients in their first three months of training they would probably have a lot in common, for example an emphasis on mobility at the hip, ankle and thoracic regions, and a good deal of training volume spent on upper back work and single leg exercises like split squats. One of our aims with all clients (in addition to their own personal goals naturally) is to have them full back squatting, deadlifting, chinning, pressing and performing some variety of olympic lift safely and with excellent technique within 16 weeks minimum. For most people it doesn't take nearly that long, but we do see the occasional person in pretty poor shape.

But if mastery of these core lifts is the goal, and we achieve that in our allotted time, what then? Today I'm giving an example of a program for a more advanced client, one who has gone through the process of developing proper mobility, stability, endurance, strength and technical proficiency to do it. In other words, this is the sexy stuff.

We name all our programs after characters from Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, so I call this one Matrix, after Arnie's character in the film Commando. So get ready because, to quote the man himself "all f**king hell is going to break loose". The idea here is very simple, for each session you choose from one of 3 movement patterns
- Upper Body Pushing
- Lower Body Hip Dominant
- Lower Body Quad dominant
You then choose 3-4 exercises that train that pattern. Each exercise should lend itself to using more weight than the preceding one. You then simply work up in weight in sets of 3 reps. When the weight becomes too heavy for that exercise you move on to the next exercise in the sequence. You should always strive to move the bar as fast as possible, and rest as little as you can without impairing performance (highly individual but this might be only 30-40 seconds on lighter sets moving up to 90 seconds on heavier lifts) Here's an example


Day 1 - Lower Body Hip Dominant

Power Clean from the hang - 4-5 sets of 3, progressively heavier each time
When the weight becomes to heavy move on to
Deadlifts - 4-5 x 3
Progessing in the same manner, finally moving on to
Rack Deadlifts from the knees - 4-5 x 3

Day 2 - Upper Body Pressing
Strict Military press (as above)
Push Press
Incline Bench
Flat Bench

Day 3- Lower Body Quad Dominant
Power Snatch from blocks
Front Squat
Back Squat

Day 4 - rotate back to Upper Body Pressing

Assistance work (upper back etc) is done either at the end of a session or between upper body sets. We train the back of the body quite differently to the front. You may often hear that you should do a set of rows for every set of presses to balance strength on the front and back of the body. I believe this is a misunderstanding of how the body should be trained for balance but thats a blog for another day. In the mean time , give Matrix a go and see if it turns you into "one gigantic motherf***er" (oh just watch the movie)

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