Learn everything there Is to know about fItness, performance, fat loss and lifestyle from Adrian McDonnell.
1. How to Overcome Strength Barriers
We’ve all been there. You go to the gym, remember your numbers from the previous session & tell yourself today is the day you’re going to hit a new PR (personal record). Let’s use the bench press as an example because I think a lot of us can relate to this one! You do a few arm swings, get 2-3 warm up sets done and then go into your max effort lift. You un-rack the bar, lower it down and get buried as you try and press it. Your spotter lifts the bar up & reassures you ‘it’s all you bro!’ You leave it off & tell yourself next week will be different. Repeat.
Now ask yourself, how could you improve this? Firstly, I would say focus on building strength as opposed to testing strength. In other words, instead of testing your numbers every day in the gym, focus on building them up by lifting slightly lighter weights for more reps e.g. 5x5. Do this for 5-6 weeks and then, test yourself and check your progress. But, how can you expect to make progress if all you ever do is test & never build?
Here is an actionable step for you to take right now without needing a gym. Seen as home workouts are prominent at the moment, I’m going to use chin ups as an example. Your goal is to hit a new PR but you can’t seem to grind out that extra rep. Here’s what you need to do:
Using 20 reps as your target, you might do 6 reps in your warm up, two sets of 5 reps in your session and a final set of 4 reps before you call it a day. It doesn’t really matter how you do it, once you get the volume in. After a few weeks of building strength, you can test your strength and you might be able to perform 10 chin ups instead of 8. Then, you can apply the same formula again 10 x 2.5 = 25 reps – which becomes your new target for your session.
2. How to Recover Better when in a Deficit
You’re trying to get lean & drop bodyfat for the summer months. You’re tracking your calories and training hard. But, waking up in the morning and getting out of bed, your muscles are aching and sore. You plan on training that day but can’t perform to your best because you haven’t fully recovered from yesterday’s session.
Want to know a quick tip to help speed up your recovery without increasing your calories? Drink BCAA’s during and after you work out. BCAA’s or Branched-Chain Amino Acids contain the 3 essential Amino Acids – Leucine, Iso-Leucine and Valine. Essential meaning your body can’t produce them and therefore you need to source them from food and/or supplements. By getting BCAA’s in powder form and supping on them during and after your training, you will speed up your recovery and therefore, be able to train harder.
3. How to Assess your Level of Readiness to Train
It’s hard to over-train but it’s very easy to under recover. However, that being said some days your output is just not as high as others. Legendary strength coach, Joe DeFranco outlines two unique ways you can assess your level of preparedness to train. I have used these methods myself and have definitely found them beneficial.
1.Get an average measure of your resting heart rate first thing in the morning. If it is higher than normal, maybe take a rest day or reduce the intensity of your session. You can do this with accuracy by buying a heart rate monitor with a chest strap or alternatively, locating your pulse at your wrist, counting the number of beats in 20 seconds and multiplying this answer by 3.
For example, say you place your hand on wrist, locate your pulse and count 18 beats in 20s. 18 x 3 = 54 beats per minute (BPM). You might do this for 4-5 days in a row and you average the 54 BPM which is your average resting heart rate. However, one morning you wake up, count your beats and are surprised to get 20. 20 x3 = 60 BPM which is higher than normal. That is a good indication that your body needs an extra bit of time to recover and so a rest day, mobility work or a light session might be best.
2.Buy a grip strength tester and use it daily to check your grip strength. Like your heart rate, get an average reading of it. On the days your grip strength is better than usual, you might decide to do more of a ‘max effort’ type session or increase your intensity. On the flip side, when your grip strength isn’t as high as normal, you again might decide to reduce the intensity of your session, do some extra mobility work instead or take an active recovery day.
P.S. With summer just around the corner, and everyone having more time than ever before to commit to their training, click here if you're interesting in claiming a FREE consult call so I can help get you guaranteed results.
Adrian McDonnell -
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