Concurrent Strength Training & Running 2015: Eight-Week Workout Cycle I

Discussion in 'Training Information/Training Regimens' started by Bare Lee, Jan 3, 2015.

  1. Sid

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    I started back a couple of weeks ago. I'm doing upper body in the morning before swim days and lower body before run days. Seems to be working okay. Also seems to cut down on the warmup time needed for cardio.
     
  2. Bare Lee

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    Cool, glad it makes sense to someone besides me. It's interesting thinking about the workout routine as a whole, coordinated plan, and it was gratifying when the bodywork masseuse told me I was 'balanced.' More and more, I think the posterior chain should always take priority. It's the foundation upon which the pushing movements (pressing, throwing, hitting, kicking, running) are built.

    I still think, however, that my injury was mostly a problem of not being warmed up properly--after all, I did more weight last summer, when my garage was steamy instead of refrigerated--but it's been good to have to think through things a bit more. And that sciatic nerve pain put the fear of god in me. Also, the prior hamstring strain early last fall most definitely was overtraining of some sort. I was well-warmed up and pyramiding down, just about done, at the time it happened.

    So it's good to build in anti-overtraining measures no matter what, since "listening to one's body" isn't always broadcast at the proper frequency or amplitudes, at least for me. Although I think I've gotten pretty good at rehabbing and eliminating problems as they crop up.

    Mostly I like having a system that, although perhaps a bit nerdy and overthought, keeps the actual workouts fairly mindless, like a good run.

    Lifting:
    "What's next?"
    "Look at the chart."

    Running:
    "What's next?"
    "Look ahead."

    Just saw my doc, it's official: I'm 6'1", 252 lbs and have hypertension. Hard to believe I had gotten down to 210lbs eighteen months ago. I explained to him that my blood pressure is normally fine when I run consistently, so he gave me two months to get the running up and running again before he'll prescribe medicine.
    Good luck getting back at it. The longer you wait, the harder it will be. I know--over the last few years I've become an expert at getting in and out of shape.

    This time around I seem to be more successful in adopting "beginner's mind," so it's not always a bad thing to take some time off. Especially with the squats, reducing weight has really helped me achieve better depth past parallel. I'll do my best now not to add weight if I can't maintain this depth. Just breaking parallel is OK, but going a bit further brings even more into play, it seems, like the groin muscles.
    Sid, I like the logic of that routine a lot.
     
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  3. BroadArrow

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    Barefooters
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    well, it sounds like well-balanced habits will be coming soon to a lifestyle near you! i can provide moral support but have no moral authority: i think i rely on 99% genetics and 1% super-awesome diet/exercise/worldview to maintain my emaciated state.
     
  4. Bare Lee

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    Yah, I think I'm a natural mesomorph. I didn't have to worry about weight until my late 30s, because I always had an active lifestyle. When I got back from fieldwork this last time, however, I weighed 240 and had hypertension for the first time. The same doc wanted to give me some medicine then, but I told him I was in the worst shape of my life (fieldwork was a lot of sitting, recording interviews, and eating fried food and starch), and so to give me some time to get back into shape and see how I could do. Within a few months of running, my blood pressure came down to normal levels. Losing weight in the process also probably helped.

    So I'm not worried about it. I know what has to be done, and I enjoy doing it, it's just that 2014 was horribly inconsistent running-wise. In 2013 I had gotten down to 210, which is only 10-15 lbs overweight for me, maybe even normal at my age. All these fitness types who claim that strength-training is the more effective approach to weight-loss have never had a client like me I guess. For me, strength training doesn't burn that many calories and it increases my appetite, especially for protein and fat. I know, they claim that ST gives you a greater metabolic boost afterwards, to recover and repair the damage and grow, and maintaining the extra muscle mass burns a lot of calories too, but aerobic exercise, for me, burns more calories and curbs my appetite better. Although, overall I don't think my diet is a problem--it's mostly whole foods, fruits and vegetables and nuts. Pretty Paleo on the whole. Anyway, if I can lose a pound a week I'll be in great shape by the end of the year. Another fitness goal . . .

    On the stubbed toe front, it's mostly healed but I think I'll wait until next week to start running again. I still walk with the foot a little everted, which puts a little strain on my ankle, so no use risking screwing things up. I'll wait until I can land and push off naturally.

    Opps, in the new chart, I put the overhead-press-to-bench-press ratio as 1:2, should be 2:3.

    I wrote out the ratios hidden in the Excel doc, for future reference (the tab spaces have been lost here though). Might be of interest to others:

    Lifting Ratios
    Upper Body

    Foundation lift = Bench Press

    1. Bench Press to Overhead Press = 3:2
    2. Bench Press to Pulls (Pull-up, Row) = 1:1
    3. BB/Cable/Inv Row to 1-DB Row = 2:1
    4. Barbell Presses to Dumbbell Presses = 5:2 (each dumbbell)
    5. Bench Press to Pullover = 5:2

    Lower Body

    Foundation lift = Squat

    1. Squat to Deadlift = 4:5
    2. Deadlift to Power Clean = 2:1
    3. Squat to Overhead Squat = 5:2
    4. Deadlift to Russian Twist = 5:2
    5. Deadlift to Weighted Back Extension = 5:1
    6. Deadlift to Farmer’s Walk = 5:1 (each dumbbell)

    The basic idea is simply to get my weak main lifts as well as the assistance lifts in line with my two strongest main lifts, for better overall balance and attendant injury prevention while doing the latter. Better upper body balance has already resolved my left shoulder/bench press issue for the most part. I'm hoping better lower body balance will do the same for my deadlift issues.
     
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  5. BroadArrow

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    let me speak again as someone with no moral authority whatsoever. i, also, have never understood the weight-training to weight-loss plan nor the 20 minutes of "jump around, jump around". the only successful weight loss plan i've ever gone on was to eat some really bad food at a fancy-schmancy resort in africa. i lost like 15% of my bodyweight in about 2 weeks and it took me about a year and a half before i could eat anything at all without second guessing whether it would make me physically ill or not. psychological scars are no good...

    anyways, pardon me while my simplicity is showing. so, when you "lose weight", where does it go? i mean conservation of mass more-or-less applies, right? we're not in the quantum field theory domain or anything. so, there are only a few ways to get rid of something: you grow your hair/nails and cut them, poop it out, pee it out, sweat it out, or breath it out. i suppose there's also crying it out and exfoliating or straight up surgery ("just say no to cancer"). ok, so hair, nails, and skin grow pretty slowly and are mostly protein anyway. poop is, well, mostly poop, so that won't help. pee and sweat are mostly water, so that will get rid of hydrogen and oxygen. but fat is mostly carbon, right? so that has to go out as carbon dioxide; meaning, you have to *breathe* those pounds right back out the same mouth they came in through.

    which means we want a strategy that results in quite a bit of (extra) breathing, preferably in a sustainable manner so you don't get hurt and can keep it up for fairly extended periods of time. sure, you can do that with weights, but it seems like you would be more likely to get hurt than with a (sometimes dangerous) activity like running. there's just something about walking and running that seems different. ok, maybe the case can be made that cycling is superior, but *barefoot* running is more fun. shod running isn't (in my experience, anyway). but the point is that you want the big muscles exerting a moderate amount of effort for a fairly long time on a fairly regular basis.

    dunno, so some combination walking, running, cycling, and swimming with a token amount of weight training and a whole lotta "stop eating so much garbage" seems like 95% of the battle plan.

    oh, and all the usual advice for getting rich: pick your parents carefully and then marry well.

    so basically, your plan seems like it has a high probability of success from my uninformed perspective.
     
  6. Bare Lee

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    Yah, nothing like aerobic activity for dipping into the energy stores (breathing out carbon as you put it). Ideally my running would consist of one tempo run, one intervals/fartleks/hills, and one longer aerobic run.

    I may start using the rower for the aerobic portion of my routine while I wait for the still lingering tenderness in my left big toe met to clear up. It's super boring to row on a machine though. The Mississippi's ice has cleared, too bad I can't borrow one of the University's crew boats once in a while. I wonder what a mini-crew boat would cost.

    Feeling good about the ST. Just re-read this by Wendler to help maintain the "start light, go slow" discipline:

    "Starting Light
    While it may seem counterintuitive to take weight off the bar when the goal is to add weight to it, starting lighter allows you more room to progress forward. This is a very hard pill to swallow for most lifters. They want to start heavy and they want to start now.
    This is nothing more than ego, and nothing will destroy a lifter faster, or for longer, than ego.

    Progress Slowly
    This ties in with starting light, and it keeps lifters who want to get big and strong yesterday from sabotaging their own progress.
    People want a program that will add 40 pounds to their bench in eight weeks. When I ask how much their bench went up in the last year, they hang their heads in shame."

    From: http://www.t-nation.com/workouts/531-how-to-build-pure-strength
     
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  7. BroadArrow

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    slow and steady seems to be working. today's workout wasn't quite the heaviest loads ever, but was right up there. everything seemed to move pretty well and didn't seem ridiculously hard. it didn't take any longer than usual. and this was all after having run the fastest 13 1/2 miles of my life a few hours earlier. i guess i got a good night's rest last night, but it isn't like i ate a lot of food or anything. so, i guess i might be in the best shape of my life, although it doesn't feel terribly different than anything before. :)
     
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  8. Bare Lee

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    Congrats on the new fitness PRs! A new PR is always motivating. I'm beginning to warm to the idea of setting new rep maxes, but in the back of my mind, I still want the singles for the big lifts--deadlift, squat, bench press, and maybe OH press.

    It occurred to me yesterday that fitness can be conceived as four body bases, reflecting good endurance, strength, and flexibility: A strong heart, a strong back, mobile hips, and mobile shoulders. If you got those four things, you got a decent fitness routine.

    P.S., I realized I should probably make the Overhead Press my foundational lift for the upper body, instead of the Bench Press, since it's my weakest lift. It will be hard, but I may try to limit my bench press according to how much I can press overhead, at a 3:2 ratio. In the short term, this will mean taking my bench down even further, but in the long term, stronger shoulders and a more balanced upper body should allow me to bench more without risk of injury, which is what I'm hoping will work for the lower body as well by tying the deadlift in with the squat. This also makes sense because now the upper body pulls, tied to the bench press, are more in line with everything. They're not as strong as my bench press, but not as weak as my OH Press. Bringing everything down to the OH Press level will allow me to really focus on that for a month or two before, hopefully, I can start to bring everything back up. First the OH Press has to catch up with the pulls, then those three have to catch up to the bench press.

    Then the question becomes whether or not I should tie the lower body lifts in with upper body ones. Should I limit the Squat to two times the OH press, for example? Something to consider. Then my little chart would only have one independent variable. Just plug in a new OH Press PR and every other lift goes up proportionately. Hmnn, I like that.

    It's interesting, most of the lifting literature comes from bodybuilders or powerlifters. Bodybuilders want each muscle to pop out, powerlifters want to lift the most weight no matter what. But for pure strength training, what's the bottom line? I would think it would be balance. Balance between the agonistic and antagonistic muscles, balance between the prime movers and secondary and stabilizing muscles, and balance between the upper and lower body.

    I think I also read that the overhead press will help bring up your bench press much more than vice versa, just as the squat will help bring up the deadlift more than the other way around. I wonder if the same principle is at play in both instances. Maybe the squat and overhead press require more secondary and stabilizing muscles, which helps with their bigger complementary lifts and also helps prevent injury while doing the latter . . .
     
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  9. Abide

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    Hey guys, sorry I have been out for a while, life has been a little hectic. I attempted to run that 65k Saturday but decided to bail a bit early. Lets call it my mercy kill race. I did learn a bunch so even though it was a bit of a disappointment it was very worthwhile.

    I also switched up my log a little. I am still trying to organize a log and plan to make it quicker to update and track some metrics. Including weight, I really need to drop a few pounds...

    Glad to hear you three are doing well!
     
  10. Abide

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    Wendler's start light and DJ's easy strength are very similar concepts to me. And I think the concept is more rooted in developing the whole structure before moving on to heavier weight. Obviously muscle development is the quick one and then all the other soft tissues follow along much slower. I've read 3-4 times the length of time to develop strength in the supporting structures? It seems to hold true in most forms too, lifting, running etc... So the question about timing of progression seems to be potentially more important than how much? I'm not sure I necessarily agree that limiting all the lifts on one, or a ratio of, is the best solution? I would have to assume that some lifts will be stronger dues to potential mechanical advantage and other weaker for the same reason. And by doing that you would be restricting others for logic's sake.

    Thanks for bringing it up this is an important discussion because right now staying healthy for me is the most important goal. Or the first goal I should say. On the lifting side of things I think I am going to just set short goals and work up to those for now. So on the squat 5 x 2 x 100kg will be the focus and once it gets easy I'll increase that weight? On the other end I think losing weight right now is really going to have the biggest effect on running. Which is ironic because running more helps me lose weight.
     
  11. Bare Lee

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    Good to hear from you!

    Yeah, I think just taking each lift on its own and adding weight when it starts to get easy is a fine approach. That's how I always used to do it, and there's a good chance there was nothing wrong with what I was doing last year. For the hamstring strain, I was probably just overtraining a bit and ignoring signs that it was time to stop the workout early that day. For the Sacroiliac thing, I probably just needed to warm-up better. Now I know better, I hope.

    But forming a plan to rehab these issues got me thinking and looking into things a bit more, and there are a few substantive reasons for tying the lifts together too. At first, I just wanted to tie the deadlift into the squat to prevent injury, reasoning that the more difficult lift would be a good limiter on the easier lift. If I can do x weight doing squats, which require more balance and ROM, then it should be OK to x weight + 25% with the deadlifts, but not more. If I feel a niggle on the squats, I know x weight is too much, I should bring it down next workout, and probably avoid deadlifts until then.

    But I've also read that the squat has more carryover to the deadlift than vice versa, and the oh press has more carryover to the bench press than vice versa.

    I also noted that I've had issues with both the deadlift and the bench press, but not the squat and oh press.

    So I'm figuring the carryover factor and the injury factor are related. There must be something about the squat and the overhead press that makes them more beneficial--both in terms of general strength gains and injury-prevention--than the deadlift and the bench press. I think it might be the greater ROM and stabilization required by the squat and overhead press.

    In any case, since both my deadlift and bench press are stronger than their complementary lifts, the squat and oh press, respectively, according to the 2:3:4:5 ratio, the easiest way to prevent future issues seems to be simply to bring the deadlift and bench press down within those ratios and see if that helps. So it's not really numbers for numbers sake, but numbers as a fairly mindless way to reprogram things a bit and see if I get better results. Although, I have to admit, I like the simplicity and elegance of this formalistic approach.

    It's really cool now to just plug in a number for the OH Press and watch everything else adjust automatically. I'll continue tweaking a bit, but this is one way to establish that punch-the-clock approach.

    Yesterday's workout felt pretty well-balanced, and today everything feels great. I feel generally sore, but my left shoulder and right hip feel fine. So building up gradually from this point seems like my best option. I miss the intensity of heavier deadlifts, but everything else is pretty satisfying, and being forced to do light squats, currently at a 1.5:1 ratio to the oh press, has helped me achieve greater depth and resist the temptation to add weight for greater intensity and sacrifice depth.

    That's interesting about the muscles adapting sooner than the other soft tissues. Makes sense and jibes with my experience running, where I had ITB and MCL issues after I thought my running fitness was already reasonably established. Having a Dan John or Wendler recommend a more gradual approach helps curb the enthusiasm too. I like envisioning where I'll be in one or two years from now now. I think I finally get it.

    Running and weight loss are a vicious/virtuous circle, right? Right now I'm on the first half of the equation. My left big toe is still a little tender so I guess I'll wait until next week to start running again. I walked a mile barefoot yesterday picking up my daughter and didn't notice any limp, but a few more days of healing can't hurt.

    I like your new chart by the way. Very clear and pleasant visually.
    Hey BA, are you doing partial squats?
     
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  12. Abide

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    Hey Lee how do your ab roll outs feel for your warm-up? Do you have any issues with your shoulders?
     
  13. Bare Lee

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    I haven't gotten around to doing my warm-up for a long time. The box jumps, bench hops, and step-ups are kinda the centerpieces of those three three-exercise warm-ups in my chart, but since I've been in perpetual rehab mode for a while, I haven't been able to do them because all three issues--hammie strain, sacroiliac injury, stubbed toe--would be aggravated. But it's my good intention to do them in the not-too-distant future!

    Why, have you felt any strain in the shoulder? That one guy who tells you to avoid everything except for the bench, squat, and row, says not to do ab rolls because of the strain it places on the shoulder.
    http://www.rdlfitness.com/avoid-ab-wheel-rollout/
    I dunno, a lot of people like the ab roll, but I've never done them consistently enough to have an opinion. They seem kind of unnatural, but I would like to give them a chance.
     
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  14. Barefoot Dama

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    Sorry about the race-next time right? I would love to hear more details thou.
     

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  15. Abide

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    I will put up some pics and some details soon Dama. I haven't run very much over the last couple of months so I think it was good decision to stop early, I finished 45-50km so was still happy with that outcome. Plus spending some time in the Belgian country side is always fun.

    Lee I have felt minor shoulder issues but its more from a lack of stabilization. Once I fix the lack of focus they never bother me. I will add them into my warmups too as I have been wanting to fit them in somewhere. After the jump rope and swings it should be fine.
     
  16. Barefoot Dama

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    That is a respectable distance for someone who hasn't done much running-congrats!
     

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  17. BroadArrow

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    yes and no. since i had had two straight days of nearly full intensity workouts, a longish run the day before, and volleyball on the same day, i declared it to be one of those fool around days where you try something different before reverting to the normal plan. the idea was to test out the "press" (yes, i repeated last cycle's max performance, but it was really slow and there was no way that bar was going up again or with any additional weight). then to try out the faux-bench-press close to the beginning of the workout instead of the end where it normally is. apparently, it isn't really constrained by the preceding exercises (and/or i really was tired from the previous days plus volleyball). so then i wanted to do squats and figure out how high i could go while remaining in the safe zone. so that was fine up to 125lbs at full depth. then i cranked up the weight for some super-maximal weight/sub-range just to crush the bones or get a feel for it or something.

    i did notice that at the 125lb stage, i would have a tendency to tip into a "hip drive" set of angles for a moment. but strangely, it doesn't feel as natural or strong, so i would momentarily pause and then realign things the way i like it and then zoom the rest of the way up. kind of an anti-rippetoe squat technique. :)
     
  18. Bare Lee

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    Yah, I don't like the Rippetoe hip drive. I guess he has his reasons. Maybe it allows one to lift more weight overall? Maybe his knowledge of physics and biomechanics dictates a certain logic? But I like the torso to stay at the same angle throughout the movement.

    I've been noticing with greater depth I seem to work my adductors more--they're sorer the next day.

    Anyway, I was just asking because partial squats are supposed to be bad for your knees. You probably know this and, as I think you've noted, it's always best to focus on full ROM rather than load, if the goal is healthy, functional strength and not PRs. The latter are just a means of objectifying progress in the former, not a goal in themselves, right?
    Hanging knee tucks are easy to set up and pretty good for the abs. I also like doing flutter kicks on the bench (with slightly bent knee) and that bicycle exercise where you also lie on your back on the bench and pedal your legs while meeting the knee at the top of the cycle with your opposite elbow.

    I think there's a growing consensus that crunches and traditional sit-ups aren't that beneficial and place stress on the back.

    In any case, I think I get plenty of 'core' or ab work just doing things like heavy squats and deadlifts.
     
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  19. Abide

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    Yeah I'm not too worried about any additional core work other than ab-roll outs. I did them this week in the warm up and it felt fine. I actually think its a nice warm up for your shoulders before benching and pressing.
     
  20. Bare Lee

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    Yah, hopefully next week I'll start incorporating my warm-up in earnest.
    P.S., I think we're in week 6, not 7. When you're hectically busy time speeds up.
    P.S.P.S., I just emailed my brother and his friend the former gym owner about my latest workout routine. Here's how I summarized it:

    1.) Do the six fundamental lifts (Squat, bench press, overhead press, deadlift, row, pullup/pulldown), which correspond, respectively, to the six basic force/direction pairings of push down, push out, push up, pull up, pull in, pull down.

    2.) Vary the parameters of frequency, volume, density, and intensity:

    Monday (Volume Day): 4x5 @ 85% 1RM
    Wednesday (Density Day): 2x7 @ 80%1RM, variations of the main lifts (e.g., DB Press instead of BB Press) plus assistance (e.g., Back Extensions)
    Friday (Intensity Day): 3x3 @ 90% 1RM

    3.) For good muscular balance use these ratios:

    2:3:4:5

    2 = Overhead press
    3 = Bench press, Row, Pulldown/Pullup
    4 = Squat
    5 = Deadlift

    Take your weakest lift and apply the ratios to it, don’t go heavier on the other lifts until the weak lift(s) has caught up.
     
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