the joy of strength training

Gubernatrix

March 7th, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Are you fit to train?

Dumbbell snatchStrength athletes often underestimate or forget to take into account the importance of being ‘fit to train’. Healthy, recovered, injury-free and able to endure the training sessions – all of these things are prerequisites to improvements.

Some warning signs that you may need to improve your training fitness are:

  • Your rest periods between sets are getting longer;
  • You get tired quickly during the training session or need extra caffeine/stimulants to get you fired up;
  • You have been doing heavy, near-max work for a while.

Improve training ‘fitness’ by spending a couple of weeks doing higher reps at 70 per cent of max. So for weightlifters that would be sets of 3-5, and for powerlifters sets of 5-8.

The best time to do this is just before you start a new strength cycle, on return from holiday or if you have been stagnating for a while.

Active rest is also under-utilised by strength athletes. Personally I use walking, circuit training or kettlebells. It makes you a fitter and more mobile human being, and this can help you tolerate more training and therefore get stronger. 10-15 minutes of high intensity circuit training will improve fitness and make you feel energised.

One of my favourites has always been Ross Enamait’s Magic 50. It has some of my favourite exercises in it and it kicks my butt! The Magic 50 is:

5 dumbbell snatches each hand
5 dumbbell swings each hand
10 burpees (with press up of course)
5 rounds for time

I also find that cleaning up my diet helps me to feel fitter and more dynamic. Often when you are going through a heavy phase of training it can be tempting to eat whatever is around; getting the calories in is important to support the training. However, in a ‘fitness’ phase you should be less hungry and tired and therefore this is the ideal time to sharpen up the eating strategy.

So how do you get fit to train?

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  • 1

    I look at it the other way a lot of athletes who train for endurance, strength endurance, martial arts etc could benefit from doing more strength work to prevent injuries, iron out imbalances caused by their sport, and to raise their work capacity, after all if you are working near at 95% max capabilty all the time that is goning to cause more stress than working at 75% max capability.

    Personally i train for just strength 2 x a week the low volume work makes nice change from the higher volume circuits and martial arts stuff.

    tentigers on March 11th, 2011
  • 2

    Good point, I agree with this too.

    gubernatrix on March 11th, 2011
  • 3

    i think a little cross training is good for any sports man, its almost like active rest for mind and body.

    tentigers on March 12th, 2011
  • 4

    whoops it should read ‘sportsman or sportswomen’ haha!

    tentigers on March 12th, 2011
  • 5

    […] Are you fit to train? […]

  • 6

    Yes, excellent point, sometimes I have to work up to a program, especially at my age. When I’ve had a lot of downtime, due to sickness or crazy work schedule, I usually start back up by doing a lot of simple movements – walking, dancing, yoga. My flexibility is the first to go, so it’s important to regain basic abilities before attempting anything advanced.

    Gingersnapper on March 14th, 2011
  • 7

    […] Are you fit to train? […]

 

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