You haven't seen a training update on the blog in a while, have you? Well, now that I am back onto a relatively structured program, I figured it's time to bring you all back up to speed on my weekly training activities.

Weights: This was the main focus of the past week. There's four days of lifting per week in the Maximum Strength program: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Monday and Friday are lower body, Wednesday and Saturday are upper body. To get an idea of what a typical session looks like, here's Monday's lower body session:

Box Squat - 5x4 - 185lbs.
Speed Deadlift - 8x2 - 160lbs
Walking Dumbbell Lunge - 4x8 - Two 45lb dumbbells
Reverse Crunch - 3x12
Prone Bridge - 3x30s

*My results are shown in italics

I nailed all four weight workouts this week, and I am happy with the program. Each workout is preceded with some mobility work, too. I like Cressey's program because each session has 1 or 2 key lifts (in this case, the box squat and speed deadlift) followed by some assistance work (in this case, lunges, crunchs, and bridges). Basically, you get in, lift HARD for a few exercises, then get out.

Cycling: The highlight of the week was a 38 mile ride on the powercranks. I killed this on Sunday, and I felt surprisingly strong! The first few rides on the powercranks, I could barely pedal for 2 straight minutes.

I attribute this rapid increase in powercranking ability to gains in nueromuscular efficiency. Eric Cressey, author of the Maximum Strength Program, describes nueromuscular efficiency as follows,

Nueromuscular efficiency is a broad term that refers to the contribution of brain-muscle communication to strength performance... If you think of the brain's role in muscle contractions as being like that of a drill sargent commanding a platoon of muscle fibers to contract, then this increase in neural drive is like turning up the volume from a whisper to a shout.

The powercrank movement is a completely new activity for me, so the connection between my brain and my powercranking fibers had been weak - my brain had never needed to activitate those posterior chain muscles while cycling before. Now that the powercranks force me to use the quads and hamstrings more, my body is getting used to telling those muscles to fire during the pedal stroke. My body is using those muscles more efficiently, so the powercranking is rapidly becoming easier. Gains in nueromuscular efficiency can happen more quickly than gains in muscular strength, and gains in nueromuscular efficiency can happen independent of gains in muscular strength.

Energy System Development: Following the weight sessions, I try to get in a quick HIIT session, usually involving 30 seconds of all out activity followed by 1 minute of active rest. I do about 10 of these intervals. This keeps my aerobic system strong without my having to swim, bike, or run for hours on end. This past week, I did some HIIT with sand sprints on the beach, one with burpees, and a third with jump rope.

If you're not sure wha a burpee is, check out this video:


Running: I had planned on running the PAL half marathon in Boca Raton on Sunday with a friend from my gym. However, I slept right through my alarm Sunday morning and missed the 6:30am start time. Poop. It's probably for the best, as I don't know how my legs would have held up after the tough week of lifting.

I didn't swim at all... but, I am a better swimmer than 99% of the triathletes out there, so I'm not worried.


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