Barbell complexes are merely using a light weight for moderate to high reps in several exercises in a row without rest. In this video, I demonstrate a simple complex of ordinary barbell exercises as well as explain the benefits of complexes. They include building muscle, a low to medium systemic total body stress, a decent workout when strapped for time, and decent conditioning work.
PR Friday — Post your training updates, PR’s, and questions to the comments for the 70′s Big crew.
I thought this video of Travis Cooper and James Tatum lifting in the World’s training hall was really cool. Do you know anyone who has competed in a sport at a high level? What did they say about the preparation for the event? Did it bring out their best, or did it make them anxious?
Two years ago I wrote a post about Transitioning Into Olympic Weightlifting. If you have considered making the switch, it’s worth a read. @conorjmcclure asked how the program could be turned into a 3x/week program instead of the regular 4x/wk.
There are two ways to use the original template: 1) as a transition into weightlifting to allow joints and soft tissue to adapt to the explosive movements or 2) as a combination of explosive weightlifting movements with traditional strength movements. How I’d approach a 3x/wk would depend on the trainee’s intention, but usually people still want to get stronger while incorporating the Olympic lifts. Here’s how I’d do it:
Clean and Jerk (medium)
Press or Push-press
Clean and Jerk (heavy)
Squat or Bench
It’s not a perfect template, but I like the symmetry of snatching and CJ’ing on the first and third training days instead of bunching them on one side of the week. If the lifter was young (and therefore can recover well) or an intermediate squatter wanting to push it hard, they could squat on Friday. This weekly structure would work well with a traditional Texas Method set up, and depending on the lifter’s deficiency, they could focus more on the Olympic lifts or the squatting. Otherwise, I’d clean and jerk heavier near the end of the week, use that as some squatting work, and then get some benching in if the person was weak or still wanted to get bigger. I don’t usually knock bench completely out of a program unless someone is no-shit committed to weightlifting.
I always like to get quality RDLs in most programs since most trainees rarely develop their posterior chain properly and they can be a benefit in weightlifting. If someone wanted to, they could squat and bench and RDL, but that’s kind of a lot of shit going on. The benching could always be lighter or medium-ish and supersetted with RDLs for the sake of getting through it.
As far as the snatch and CJ, I’d approach it like I mentioned in the previous article. To summarize, you’d lift heavy in one of the lifts and then “medium” (or about 80% of the hypothetical max) with the other lift. Snatch is always done first since you’ll always CJ after a snatch in a meet. Monday would be heavy snatch, medium CJ. Friday would be medium snatch, heavy CJ. For the medium lift, accumulate 6 to 10 reps preferably on a clock (1 minute for snatch, 90 to 120 seconds for CJ). For the heavy lift, work up to heavy singles, meaning you can only do about five of them. Each week you’ll aim to increase the weight by 2.5 or 5k. When you can’t maintain 5 singles, just do about 3 and keep progressing. Eventually you’ll only be able to hit one heavy single and can’t repeat it. Keep pushing the weight each week with as small increments as you can. If you did this progression right, you should have about 2 or 3 months of work. If you have serious mechanical errors, then decrease the top load about 10% and work on your issue.
This is pretty much a beginner progression on the Olympic lifts that can last anywhere from two to four months. It’s simple and effective. Once you peter out on this progression, you’ll be ready for more complicated programming unless you just want to continue doing sub-maximal work on the Olympic lifts and max them every few weeks.
Ideally you’d want a coach before starting so you don’t ingrain bad habits or movement patterns, but once you complete this progression you definitely need to seek out a coach. If you spend a couple months working on something, it means you’re dedicated enough to spend a little money and improve on whatever you accomplished solo.
I wouldn’t add much more to this other than pull-ups or chin-ups sprinkled in on any day. Of course, muscle imbalances should be corrected when necessary, but most people throw too much shit into a training program, clutter it up, and they miss out on raw performance gain that the basic barbell lifts provide.
In a recent post by my Australian SOF buddy, Shaun Trainor, he reminded me that I recommended he do speed deadlifts and RDL’s while he was deployed in lieu of heavy deadlifts. In a program or circumstance that can’t tolerate the systemic depression or local soreness associated with heavy deadlifts, using speed deadlifts with posterior chain work will still get explosive work with the posterior chain. When Shaun returned home, he was able to jump back up to his previous deadlift numbers fairly quick.
Speed deadlifts can be alternated every week with heavy deadlifts, as they are in a few of my Texas Method templates, or they can be done every week to maintain some deadlift work without getting beat down. Not to mention you can accumulate some decent volume with doubles or triples on deadlift to develop a jacked back.
If you watch until the end of the video, you’ll see an explanation of NOT leaning back at the top of a deadlift. It’s a common fault that is incredibly injurious, looks ugly, and makes someone look inexperienced with anatomy or lifting. Simply lift the chest to ensure a neutral spine; don’t lean back.
Low back pain? Sacro-iliac problems? Chances are you have jacked up muscles as opposed to disc or S/I joint issues. Enter QLGM into your vernacular, and it stands for quadratus lumborum and glute medius. These are the muscles you should focus on if you have low back, sacral, and rear pelvic pain.
The quadratus lumborum (kwa-DRAY-tus lum-BOR-um) connects from the bottom rib and sides of the vertebrae (specifically the transverse processes) to the top of the pelvis on both sides. This muscles laterally flexes the trunk, but it mostly functions as a stabilizer and supports the entire upper body. Since it attaches on the rim of the pelvis, tension in the QL will pull up on the pelvis. The more tension there is on the pelvis or sacrum, the more pain there can be. The video shows how to do some soft tissue work on the QL to relieve tension.
The glute medius attaches from the outside rim of the pelvis to upper thigh bone (specifically the greater trochanter of the femur). When you take a step with your right foot, the left glute medius holds the pelvis in place by supporting the entire body weight. Because of the leverage, it handles a force around twice body weight, so it’s working really hard just when you’re walking. Things like walking with a load, running, or lifting can tighten it up…so everything we do. The video shows how to identify the GM as well as the glute minimus (which has similar function to the GM) and some soft tissue work you can do to address it.