There’s a lot of fancy programs out there these days, some good, most terrible. Some based on solid science and experience of those who know what they are talking about and have the creds to do so, some based on fantasy and “bro science.”
Nothing, regardless of the program, replaces hard work. A well thought out program will balance the variables of loading, volume, etc, etc. Some of my thoughts on that, as well as other authors thoughts on the topic, can be found here on the BrinkZone, so I will not rehash that here.
As a general rule, I think simple is best. Some times the most effective programs, are the simplest programs. People think complex = more effective. Most of the time, it just = more complex, while the guy who just plugs away on hard work doing squats, deads, etc, is making the real progress in strength, muscle mass, and so forth.
Of course, it depends on your goals. Different goals require different training methodology, and that’s a given. OK, back to why I’m posting this blog.
In my opinion, regardless of the program or the goals, one should also understand being strong/staying strong, is also important. Obviously, various factors like age, injuries, goals, experience levels, and so forth, all have to be taken into account, but bottom line is, within the context of those factors, it’s important to attempt to be strong. There’s no place in life where one can be too strong.
For me, once in a while, I like to do multiple sets of something close to a 1 rep max (1RM), on some ‘best bang for the buck’ movement (and squats always fit that bill!) and throw in something else I know to be highly productive/complimentary, which for this workout was heavy sled dragging and Romanian Deadlifts (RDLs).
This down and dirty back to basics “get err done” leg workout goes like so:
• 5X1 squats using approx 90-951RM (after fully warming up!). I took a full 4-5 mins between sets here.
• Sled drag: 75ft forward, 75ft reverse x 3 (using max weight you can do all three “sets” with…)
• RDLs, 4X5 using approx 80-85% 1RM
Sorry, I didn’t film the RDLs. If you look them up on the ‘net, you will see they look something between a standard deadlift and a straight leg deadlift.
That’s it. Might sound simple, but it’s a tough workout. Try it, it will get you back in touch with your inner gym rat.
Note One: Form. Is my squat form text book perfect? No, but under true 90-100% 1RM loads, it’s probably not going to be. Experienced trainers know where and when less than perfect form is acceptable, and there’s acceptable form under high loads, and unacceptable form under high loads. Knowing the difference, comes with time and experience.
Note Two: If you are not doing sled dragging, you should be! I consider it the most under utilized lower body exercise going. Forward is hard, reverse is brutal. According to the Elite Fitness site, the benefits of sled dragging is:
• GPP Work
• Injury Rehabilitation
• Strength Training
• Increased Work Capacity
• Starting Strength
• Acceleration Strength
• Strength Endurance
More info on drag sleds here.
Note Three: in case you’re wondering, not all the plates on the bar are 45s. Total weight was 425lbs. Not the type of numbers I could hit “back in the day” and I wont be winning any PL meets with it, but all things considered, it’s OK with me. With some wraps, thicker belt, and going just parallel, I might be able to hit 500, but I don’t care much about numbers anymore, just training effects. I don’t train specifically for 1RM strength either, even though I think training close to your 1RM once in a while is a good idea!
Will Brink is the owner of the Brinkzone Blog. Will has over 30 years experience as a respected author, columnist and consultant, to the supplement, fitness, bodybuilding, and weight loss industry and has been extensively published. Will graduated from Harvard University with a concentration in the natural sciences, and is a consultant to major supplement, dairy, and pharmaceutical companies.
His often ground breaking articles can be found in publications such as Lets Live, Muscle Media 2000, MuscleMag International, The Life Extension Magazine, Muscle n Fitness, Inside Karate, Exercise For Men Only, Body International, Power, Oxygen, Penthouse, Women’s World and The Townsend Letter For Doctors.
He’s also been published in peer reviewed journals.
You can also buy Will’s other books on Amazon, Apple iBook, and Barnes and Noble.