You have most likely heard of and experienced the Second Wind Effect.
This is a real physiological phenomena. Typically used in reference to long distance running, but in fact can be applied to anything.
In the gym you can take advantage of this phenomenon by switching exercises (see Novelty). Think about cross-fit : how do people do it without burning out in the first couple minutes? Well, it is impart due to the second wind effect.
20 minutes of continuous squatting would be impossible. But doing rounds of 5 pull up, 10 push up and 15 squat for 20 minutes is not actually that bad.
I am not a proponent of cross-fit because Strength should be prioritized. However I am not against learning from cross-fit and taking the good things from it!
Try this out:
- test how many reps you can do of a certain exercise (lets say bench press)
- the next day: do 20-30 swings and then immediately test out your exercise from the previous day.
- you will surprise yourself at how closely you come to your maximum reputations – in fact – I have experienced/witnessed many times an increases in maximum reps (see P.A.P.)
There are 101 ways to organize your training to take advantage of this and all the other principles you have to live by. The point of these short, almost-daily posts is to drip feed you information that you really should know in order to optimize your training. I encourage you to join me in implementing these principles into your / your athletes training.
In this context Novelty means variations in exercises (specialized variety) and volume (load/reps/sets) – at StrongFirst they call it simply “waviness“.
Your body and your brain need novelty to stimulate progress.
If you are doing the same workout everyday, you will quickly plateau. Your body will adapt so that those same exercises are easier and easier to do – and after about 3 weeks they will be completely ineffective at promoting change.
The easiest thing to do is to vary each day by 20%. Choose which exercises you will be focusing on and stick to them for at least 3 weeks. If you are training 3 times a week then you have an 90% day / a 70% day / a 50% day.
90% of what you may ask?
– reps done
– weight used
– difficulty of the exercise selection
I suggest choose one variable. track it and adjust it for each session – and record any notes / progress / soreness etc. However you will be adjusting more than one variable per workout as you progress (and this is were programming gets tricky!)
Honestly, following this principle makes the whole training process easier and ensures you don’t train at a constant intensity, which leads to plateaus and burnout.
Do NOT go hard every day. Your muscles need novelty of intensity as much as volume and exercise selection in order to get stronger.
Apply this principle into your training and reap the benefits! An added bonus if you can incorporate the topic from the last post : Progressive Overload.
– week 1 = 80%/60%/40%
– week 2 = 90%/70%/50%
– week 3 = 100%/80%/60% … rest 2 full days …. then test your new 100%
Let me know how it goes. Until then,