|While I no longer compete in powerlifting, heavy deadlifts are still a staple in my training program.|
My training has always followed Louie Simmon's conjugate method using a weekly plan as follows:
Monday: Max Effort Squat/Deadlift
Tuesday: Lower Body Extra Workout (focusing on joint integrity and/or restoration exercises)
Wednesday: Max Effort Bench Press
Thursday: Upper Body Extra Workout (focusing on joint integrity and/or restoration exercises)
Friday: Dynamic Effort Squat/Deadlift
Sunday: Dynamic Effort Bench Press
*In addition I practice Taijiquan and qigong 4-5 days per week, stretching and mobility work daily, and would usually perform some sort of cardiovascular training 2-3 of the training days.
This past January I began training BJJ and immediately realized I could not maintain my current strength training plan. You cannot keep adding high stress training activities and expect to recover properly. Since my BJJ schedule is regular class on Monday and Wednesday morning and usually an open mat workout on Thursday I decided to adjust my strength and conditioning to allow for optimal recovery while still hitting hard training sessions.
While it is common for a microcycle to last 7 days, I decided to spread my weekly training microcycle to 14 days and shift the days to keep high stress activities like the repeated effort and dynamic effort strength training sessions on the same days as my regular BJJ classes, and my max effort days were adjusted to the end of the week so I have the entire weekend to recover from the hardest lifting days. This allows for more recovery days between the higher stress training days. After a couple of weeks I am doing well with the training plan.
My current training plan spread over 14 days is as follows:
Monday: BJJ nogi class, repetition effort upper body strength training
Tuesday: low intensity cardio and upper body restoration exercises
Wednesday: BJJ gi class, dynamic effort lower body strength training
Thursday: occasional BJJ open mat training, low intensity cardio and lower body restoration exercises
Friday: max effort upper body strength training
Monday: BJJ nogi class, repetition effort lower body strength training
Tuesday: low intensity cardio and lower body restoration exercises
Wednesday: BJJ gi class, dynamic effort upper body strength training
Thursday: occasional BJJ open mat training, low intensity cardio and upper body restoration exercises
Friday: max effort lower body strength training
*I still practice Taijiquan and qigong usually 4-5 days a week in addition to the Taiji classes I teach each week as well. I include stretching and mobility work daily as well.
|Taijiquan and qigong has been one of the best practices I've added for health and longevity.|
In fact all of my pressing work is submaximal or repetition effort at this point anyway. My shoulders and elbows are pretty beat up from jiu jitsu training and there really is no need to push the bench press heavy at this point any way. I have found high rep presses with the bandbell bar, push ups and dumbbell/kettlebell pressing work, along with plenty of single joint accessory exercises for the shoulders, lats/upper back, and arms to be much better on the joints while still getting in plenty of quality muscle work.
In addition I have eliminated squats performed with a regular straight barbell in favor of belt squats, Hindu squats, and specialty bars like the safety squat bar or even the Buffalo bar. This seems to be much better on my shoulders as well. Pretty much the only lift I push to a true max effort anymore is the deadlift and that only happens every other week. I have found this to do wonders for my recovery between sessions and every training session I am pretty amped to lift.
The Tuesday/Thursday workouts are purposely low intensity. For conditioning I stick to lower intensity cardiovascular training, since my BJJ workouts are much higher intensity at this point. In addition I tend to do a lot of single joint exercises with bands for joint integrity - exercises like pushdowns, pullaparts, leg curls and good mornings all performed with bands for very high reps are great for restoration and joint health. I sometimes do some light club swinging or kettlebell conditioning on these days as well, and basically live on abdominal/torso work.
|Banded single joint exercises done for very high repetitions are excellent for joint integrity and injury prevention.|
There is no one best training program. It is crucial to understand all training methods and variables and how to implement them for your own level of readiness. You can only improve from training that you can fully recover from. That is optimal training and it is never static, the program must evolve as you become stronger and attain greater levels of conditioning. Simply put, if you are not able to recover you will not progress.
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Stay Strong AND Healthy!