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Thread: Stress and Progress

  1. #1

    Stress and Progress

    Good article on legendary Bulgarian coach Ivan Abadjiev and physiological principles that guide the training of his lifters.

    "Our athletes do not do any "supportive exercises" they stay with full clean and jerk, snatch, and front squat. We have found that taking back squat out is more effective for the healthy lifter. Sticking with the three lifts named above as the only training for the advanced and healthy lifter". If the athlete is injured they will do back squat or parts of the lift the full lifts (ie. high pulls, push press, etc...). You must be extremely careful with the stresses you put on your athletes. You must have direct benefits from each exercise because the athlete has limited recovery capacity." IA
    This reminds me things I've heard other experienced coaches and lifters say along the lines of the regarding the longer they coach/train the fewer exercises one finds useful. Or as Bruce Lee said "It's not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential."

    I feel the same way about training the general public, who typically already have too much stress on their CNS and body due to stressful jobs, busy family lives, crappy diets, being locked to a desk for 8-12 hours a day, don't sleep enough, don't drink enough water, have poor posture and otherwise poor movement quality and body awareness.

    Talk about limited recovery ability!

    As a result I haven't had anyone do a barbell bench press for nearly a year (exceptions for some I program for that care about progressing in bench), no back squatting for 4 years, and few people doing straight bar DLs for a couple of years.

    That's not to say those are "bad" exercises. For those that have the structural integrity to handle them, good technique, are working off of a solid program etc... great. For athletes looking to improve general strength and GPP those can be very useful. But judging from better results my clients have been getting, and how much better they move and feel I don't believe that not having them do some typical barbell exercises inhibits their progress in any way.

    The real key here is using the same movement patterns hip hinging, pulling, pushing, squatting, and so on, but altering the particular technique so as to lower the stress on joints that may already be compromised (shoulders, knees, and lumbar spine). In doing I've found that people still make great strength gains, drop fat, but also are less prone to having a tweaky shoulder or back creep up and derail progress.

    That said I do use tools that not everyone may have access too such as sandbags, trap bars, sleds, battling and climbing ropes, weighted vests, rings and other suspension training tools, and kettlebells. But maybe that is just one more reason for people to stop going to the typical machine and cardio class type of gym and find one that is designed for this sort of training, or simply buy or make some of these tools and drag them outside or to your gym and have some fun.

    Back when I worked at one of those shiny boutique gyms I would have to lug my own rope, rings, powerwheel, and sandbell in for clients. Pretty soon other trainers and members were buying their own, and eventually management took notice we soon had all of those tools and more.

    Don't be limited by what you see around you. Take the time and effort to explore and figure out what is essential to your progress.

  2. #2
    Administrator Roland Denzel's Avatar
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    Stress and Progress

    Nice article.

    The past month or so, I've been extremely busy at work and home, and decided to take a couple of weeks off from serious training. That ended up being 3-4 weeks, and when I got back into things, I put myself on a minimalist program. Granted my goal right now is to stay slim and fit, not get super strong, huge, or jacked, but I've actually lost some fat and feel better with 2 workouts a weeks with smart choices. I was shoehorning in all the stuff I thought was really necessary and ending up pretty tired.

    pushups
    chinups
    goblet squats
    lunges
    swings
    kb cleans
    kb jerks

    I do plan to go strong when things slow down again, but minimalist is surprisingly effective when you pick the right exercises and give yourself enough rest and recovery.

  3. #3

    Stress and Progress

    Thanks, and that is a good list of movements. Although I would suggest you get something in the frontal and transverse plans there Mr. Sagittal

    I've been doing something similar while in a holding pattern fitness-wise due to too many other things going on. I just make sure to hit my weak links and every plane of motion and joint action over the course of a week.

    Many of us are chronic under-recoverers (I'm patenting that word) anyway, so as you noted it's possible to get good progress by simplifying.

  4. #4
    Administrator Roland Denzel's Avatar
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    Stress and Progress

    Quote Originally Posted by "kuri":369j5x8v
    Thanks, and that is a good list of movements. Although I would suggest you get something in the frontal and transverse plains there Mr. Sagittal
    What would you suggest? I hope I'm doing them and just dumb enough to forget...

  5. #5

    Stress and Progress

    Just do lateral crab walks and 45 degree lunges around the office instead of walking. That should do it.

    Drop, lateral, and transverse lunges. Your favorite windmills. Anti-rotation patterns, landmines. Spiderman pushups. And many other smash hits.

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    Administrator Roland Denzel's Avatar
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    Stress and Progress

    Quote Originally Posted by "kuri":3fon5nbw
    Just do lateral crab walks and 45 degree lunges around the office instead of walking. That should do it.

    Drop, lateral, and transverse lunges. Your favorite windmills. Anti-rotation patterns, landmines. Spiderman pushups. And many other smash hits.
    After putting more thought into things (meaning Galya explained it to me), I am doing these things. It's mostly in my dramatically extensive mobility and warmup!

  7. #7

    Stress and Progress

    Thank Osiris for Bulgarians.

  8. #8
    Senior Member nate99's Avatar
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    Stress and Progress

    The point about stress and recovery is interesting. It may just be my perception, and it is certainly anecdotal, but I saw a big difference in muscle growth during the month of December when I did very little training.

    I did NROL starting in December 2009 and had stayed with it very consistently through November 2010 when I cut short the Strength 3 program as it was just taking too long for bad aches to go away after the heavy lifts. My daughter was born December 1, and between that and the holidays, I got a lot more rest than I normally do, and I spent a fair amount of time outside chasing my older daughter around, playing outside with her.

    Also, we had my in-laws around and my wife's mom can cook like nobody's business, so I ate better than I had in the previous year as well. Add it all up and there was a noticeable change in how I looked and felt.

    Back in my work schedule, I now get up at 4:30 and often don't get to bed before 11:00, and it feels bad.

    Rest is serious business.

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