Training Intensity & Arousal Part 1 - We are all bitches.

Training Intensity & Arousal Part 1 - We are all bitches.

Something that we have been talking about recently in the gym, and something that a lot of us feel we have started to rectify, is the lack of intensity in our sessions. A tendency to live in the pocket, almost as if you’re so far in the pocket you’re in the sock. Programming via relative intensity means, i.e. RPE-based training and RIR, has been great in progressing the big 3 lifts, but for accessories, we are not driving ourselves close to the point that we need to in order to progress, for strength and hypertrophy.

 We feel there has been a series of events that drove us to realise, that we’ve been bitching it. Here’s the timeline:

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Move Slow, Learn Fast

Move Slow, Learn Fast

When it comes to improving our overall strength for the three big lifts, there are three key factors that we must pay attention to. The first is muscle size; a larger cross-sectional area of muscle has the potential to produce more force. The second is neuro-muscular adaptations; the nervous system’s ability to recruit those motor units. The third is skill acquisition; our ability to express our strength efficiently with a barbell. All three play a major role in strength adaptations, but for the purpose of this article, our focus will be on the third and final factor, skill acquisition. Strength is not just a physical adaptation in terms of muscle size and motor unit recruitment but ultimately a skill, and in order to efficiently express our physiological adaptations, we must be able to move effectively and optimally.

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Force Absorption & Production Outside the Sagittal Plane

Force Absorption & Production Outside the Sagittal Plane

In athletic development and strength programs, the pursuit of improved force production qualities is heavily biased towards the sagittal plane, this is mostly due to the glute max’s role in hip/ triple extension. However, the muscle action of hip extension is generally looked at in isolation without addressing the hip’s frontal and transverse plane functions of abduction and rotation. When programs focus on those actions, they are generally in isolation, too.

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Where You Are Going Wrong with RPE Training

Where You Are Going Wrong with RPE Training

The common misconception when it comes to training solely with RPE is that there is no direction in your training and that RPE allows certain lifters to ‘undershoot’ when they want training to be easy and other lifters to ‘overshoot’ when they want to training to be hard and heavy. This is subjective use of RPE and is the incorrect use of the programming system. Even when programming is fully autoregulated, using RPE in your program still needs to have a specific goal for each and every session. Overarching goals of the program must always be adhered to with the prescription of the variables and the execution by the lifter, regardless if the prescription is RPE based or percentage based.

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