Picture the scene….
Its squat day, you’ve been visualising crushing the weights all day long whilst at work, and as soon as you feel the bar on your back you’re gonna smash some records!
So you get to the gym, put on some heavy tunes, do a few bodyweight movements to get started, then some mobility/flexibility work, then you start out with the bar and gradually add plates until a weight you have never lifted before is on the bar…..here’s the moment you’ve been waiting for all day!
You get set, lower to the box, and smoke it! You just destroyed your previous lift and it felt easy! New max!!!
Now what? …..uh….dunno….didn’t plan this far ahead.
All too often the above scenario occurs, we break records in the gym then go home, or do some half arsed workout and assistance movements cos we’re suffocated by our pride! Yeah, breaking records feels good, but should it stop you having a great workout? Hell no!
Max out on a lift, then move to your second movement and go balls out on that one too! Unless you’re the world champion you have nothing to be proud about.
The second movement in a workout is hugely important, following the heavy strength work your body is in an ‘excited’ state, and can produce much more force than when at rest, however, this state is movement specific, you won’t boost your curl performance by doing some heavy squats, but you will improve jump height!
To maximise strength and muscle gains the second exercise in your workout has to be in a similar movement pattern to the first. You can even use the same exercise, just be sure to use less weight and increase the reps to fatigue the muscles rather than your central nervous system.
Here is a couple of exercise pairs that you can use to boost performance and carry on the momentum of heavy strength work into the rest of your workout:
1. Heavy box squat 2. Box Jumps
1. Heavy bench press 2. Press-ups on gymnastic rings (max reps)
1. Heavy Deadlifts 2. Power Cleans
1. Heavy Pull-ups 2. Med Ball Slams
Do 5-6 heavy sets of the first exercise, then ‘assist’ that movement pattern with an ‘assistance exercise’ (NOW do you understand why we call them assistant exercises? haha!).
With the second exercise, simply use sets and reps to suit your purpose;
To help build even more strength, use 3-4 sets of 3-5 reps, however, I suggest using an exercise that’s considerably different to the first exercise but still involves the same exercises.
E.g. Box Squat first for 5x5, then use glute ham raise for 5x5.
For hypertrophy I recommend using 3-4 sets of 12-20 reps (2-3 sets if going for max reps as this is much more stressful!)
STRENGTH SPEED (Moving a decent weight at a fast speed, good for blasting through sticking points!)
To boost your strength-speed, use 4-8 sets of 2-4 reps with around 60% of your max, be sure to move the weight as fast as you can, if its moving slow lighten the load!
SPEED STRENGTH (Moving a light weight or your bodyweight as fast as possible)
To increase speed-strength, use 4-8 sets of 4-8 reps with 0-30% of your max. You CAN get gains with just bodyweight! Be sure to move as fast as possible.
- max out on your first exercise
- use a second exercise that mimics the movement patterns and/or muscle groups of the first
- use sets/reps specific to your performance goals (strength? hypertrophy? speed?)
Now go and finish the rest of your workout!!
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