Monday, 24 October 2011

What now?

After hitting the squat rack twice a day for over  a month now I have made small tweaks to my original plan each week to the point I have updated the squat program to only include squats.

Overall through studies by Lee Saxby a natural barefoot squat has the same plantar pressure as running and encourages and maintains the nessary mobility and stability required for running and nordic skiing and through experimentation the squat movement just seems to suit my goals. So to that end I have eliminated dead lifts as part of my squat program.

Also, last week after each set of squats I would put in 30seconds on the treadmill at 12mph before resting for 3 minutes but I have found completing the 30sec sprint first and then completing the squats I can push considerably more weight.

I now use front and overhead squats as part of my warm up as well as chin ups, push ups and other supplement core exercises. This seems to prep the body well for the work ahead.

During my warm up I use the bar for balance which allows me to drop deeper into my squat warming up the hips for the back squats to come.

I follow my front squats with one leg hops to prep the body for the run intervals.

I then follow the overhead squats with overhead one leg jumps which seems to help with upper body positioning and stability and leads to a more powerful stride.

After warming up and feeling comfortable with my squat technique, I use back squats as my main exercise starting at 6 reps of 125lbs and slowly increasing to my 1rep max, which currently stands at 255lbs with the amount of sets being dictated by how the fluid the squat feels. If I am unhappy with technique or positioning I continue with the same weight until I am happy with the movement and then move onto the next weight. Each set starts with 30secs on the treadmill as follows;

9mph followed by 6 reps @105lbs 
10mph followed by 6 reps @155lbs
11mph followed by 3 reps @175lbs
11.5 to 12 mph followed by 2reps @205lbs
11.5 to 12 mph followed by 2reps @225lbs
11.5 to 12mph followed by 1reps @ 255lbs
11.5 to 12mph followed by 1reps @ 255lbs
11.5 to 12mph followed by 1reps @ 255lbs

With each set of 30sec running it takes 30sec for the treadmill to get up to speed and 30sec to come down from speed which allows me to ease into and out of the technique shown below. If I do not ease into goal speed my technique sticks and feel a little choppy

I would say things are progressing well with hugh gains made in my SI joint stability which I now think was the main cause of my back instability and inflammation. I also seem to be moving better in general and able to lift things in my day to day routine without putting my back out as I was doing quite often in the past.

As we move forward, I am sure there will be many more adjustments but I am optimistic I am on the right track and look forward to the continued path.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Squat technique videos

With all this talk in my blog about squats I thought a post on squat technique would be the order of the day and thought this series of videos would be of benefit.
Squat technique part 1
Squat technique part 2
Squat technique part 3
Squat technique part 4
Squat technique part 5

There are some good accessory exercises within these videos over and above the technique pointers focusing on posterior core strength, increasing specific strength for squats but more specifically for myself increasing specific strength for running;
  1. Seated good mornings for upper back strength
  2. Reverse hypers for low back strength
  3. Glute hamstring raise for hamstring strength
  4. Functional standing abdominal exercises for abdominal strength

Now back to the squat rack:-)

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Get up & get after it

Great week of training, get up, get after it and get it done has been the phrase of the week.

Get up each morning hit the squat rack, hit the road then off to the shop. At the end of the day back out on the road with the crew for the shop workout and then back home hitting the squat rack one more time before sitting down to bang out a few emails.

Sunday's tempo run, Lake Minnewanka in Banff

Squating twice a day has been quite the adjustment and on occasion making me claim, "today I am officially an old man"

One day after making that claim, something clicked and my stride changed producing new strength and power, begging the thought, when the muscles are firing properly everything else falls into place.

Somedays in feels like I am squatting more than running, putting in upwards of 50 reps per day but the effort seems to be paying huge returns.

I will post a video of the routine in a few days, worry not, I have me some longer shorts:-)

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Looking ahead

Training is progressing well and I thought I would take another shot at putting in a solid race before switching over to Nordic and take a look to see if there were any late fall marathon options. As luck would have it the Hamilton marathon falls on November 6th and is 30minutes from Shauna's sisters, so we can combine a visit with the marathon.


With this in mind looks like running will be the focus up until the marathon and then we will switch over to Nordic starting November 12th with the Lake Louise early season on snow training camp.

As we look ahead, we have a few things on the schedule;
  • Oct 8-9 ~ Run training camp in Canmore
  • Oct 15-16 ~ Run training camp in Kelowna
  • Oct 22-23 ~ Regular training
  • Oct 29-30 ~ Regular training
  • Nov 5-6 ~ Hamilton marathon
  • Nov 12-13 ~ Nordic training camp in Lake Louise

After the marathon we will take a look at the Nordic calendar and see which events we want to do this winter, depending of course how the back responds to the current strength regime.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Squat Program - Updated

I have refined the Squat Program slightly to include only four exercises. With these four exercises I feel I can maximize my time in the gym and get the most from my training and by using these specific exercises I also make considerable core strength gains as squatting and deadlifting also build tremendous core strength;

Squat Program
  1. Squat
  2. Chin up
  3. Deadlift
  4. Push ups
Each squat is performed with full range of motion with 6-3-1-3-6 pyramid reps, starting with 6 rep warm up,  increasing weight for 3 rep warm up and then increasing weight for the bulk of the workout with 1 rep max. After the max set I reduce the weight and start the reverse pyramid but still aim to come to failure after the 3 rep set and the 6rep set.

I take a three minute rest between sets to maximize recovery, during which I do weighted chin ups with full ROM, i.e. dropping back down to full extension.

Once I have completed the squat set I move on to deadlifts with the same progression and complete push ups during the recovery phase.

Home gym

So how does all this fit into my day;
  • am - Squat program
  • pm - 6min - 12min tempo - 6min + modified Squat Program
  • am - Squat program
  • pm - 12min - interval program - 12min + modified squat program
  • am - Squat program
  • pm - 6min - 12min tempo - 6min + modified squat program
  • am - Squat program
  • pm - 12min - interval program - 12min + modified squat program
  • am - Squat program
  • pm - 6min - 12min tempo - 6min + modified squat program
  • am - 12min - interval program - 12min
  • pm - Modified squat program
  • am - Squat program
  • pm - 90min tempo run
It is allot of squats to be sure and it is certainly something new and it will be interesting to see how it helps with improving the strength of my back and running.

Certainly a less aggressive and more realistic version would be to complete the squat program three times per week, gaining good strength for both nordic skiing and running.