Ski season is very quickly approaching and I’ve been hitting strength training for months now. It started with doing 5×5 until my knees needed more time to recover than just a day or two. I tried lowering to 3×5, but that too showed a top out too soon. I then came across 5-3-1 on the MultiYear App on my iPhone. This offered some more variety and gave my joints time to recover.
Alternating 3 to 4 weeks of 5-3-1 with 2 weeks of 5×5 has been working well. I am finally nearing Lightly Trained, though I seem to have plateaued a bit over the last few weeks. My deadlift is now over body weight on the heavy work set. My squat is getting very close to 200 pounds and I look forward to the attempt. My bench press is approaching 150 pounds. As my left shoulder is in need of some rehabilitation, I’ve added strengthening exercises for the shoulders.
The 5-3-1 workout by itself is quite short and has very few exercises. I’ve been adding a few for targeting muscles a bit more, add some more fat burning potential, or to strengthen supporting muscles. The workouts are 20-30 minutes which helps me get back to my life. As much as I like being in the gym, I really have other things to do. Ok, at least a few.
Late last week, a fellow gym goer was complaining about his current leg workout. He has a desire to improve it. He hasn’t been doing full squats long and seems to have hit a bit of a wall. Last October I blogged about Roger Lockridge’s grueling leg workout that was given in the May issue of Iron Man Magazine. I mentioned it to him and he seemed interested.
Since I use the app on my iPhone to also track my rest time, I flipped over to Safari and found the post. While I was doing my next set, I let him read the article, in particular the workout. He had one simple reaction, “Holy cow!”
I’ve been wanting to add more endurance to my training. I’ve tried a little cardio here and there, using an interval style. While it works, it is too boring. Skiing requires a mix of strength and endurance, and this workout gives both due to the volume and low rest periods.
One starts by using the leg extension and leg curl machines to warm up and stretch. No pre-exhaust here. That’s good ’cause my knees no longer care for the high weights for the leg extensions before squats. Next comes a strength via pyramiding the weight and reducing the reps through 10, 5, 3, 1. This pattern is done twice and rest between sets is 90 seconds. This is strength oriented.
The next three sections of the workout are more geared toward endurance. A superset on leg presses with two different foot positions gives a new meaning to “feeling the burn”. There is no rest between the sets in each super, though there is 1 minute of rest between supers. One does three supersets, with the reps for each set inside them being 15, 12, 10. That is, 15 reps with the feet high and then 15 with the feet low. Yeah, endurance.
The finishing sets of leg extensions, curls and then calf raises to really give the legs a push through. I look forward to having a partner for this workout. As we will most likely do different weights for these, I’m doubtful we will be watching the clock for rest. As soon as one finishes, it will be time to change the weights and let the other get the reps in. It will be brutal. I can’t wait.