Welcome to the second installment of my ‘HEAT Transformation Challenge’ blog. In my first blog post I encouraged you all to structure your workouts with hypertrophy as your primary goal. And let me say, I’ve seen some gains around the camp floor. Kudos to each of you for your dedication and hard work; we as coaches have noticed! Now, let’s look at how best we can finish this challenge. It’s time for some good old-fashioned strength training.
Strength training is a broad term that simply means performing exercises that will produce strength adaptations in an athlete. These adaptations include greater motor-unit recruitment, improved synchronicity amongst motor units, and greater signal intensity within motor units. That’s a fancy way of saying that you’re lifts are going to involve more muscle, feel more controlled, and move faster than ever before.
In the world of exercise science, strength refers to the amount of weight an individual can move one time. That means your routine’s about to get heavy AF. The typical strength ‘work zone’ will be between 2 and 6 reps in a set. Weights that are light enough for an individual to perform more than 6 repetitions with good form will simply not induce, to a great extent, the previously mentioned neural adaptations that you’ll want from your routine.
“Cody, if strength refers to the weight that you can lift one time with good form then why did you say that I should perform between 2-6 reps of that exercise? Shouldn’t I just do one heavy lift?” You sure can, if you want to spend one week recovering from a maximal Deadlift. Remember, you’re lifting a weight that requires more muscular involvement than you’ve ever done before. This generally means that you’re going to be wiped-out after your workout. And what, my friends, do we do when we’re spent from a heavy day of training? We REST!
Even more important now than in your hypertrophy phase is your recovery strategy. Long after your muscles are no longer sore, your neurological system will still be fatigued to a decent extent. This means that you may only work out 2-3 times per week due to said recovery demands. If you think that you can lift heavy 5 days per week, you’re either a professional athlete or you’re not lifting heavy enough.
“OK Cody. Heavy weights it is! Anything else I should know heading into the last weeks of the challenge?” Yes! The ‘progressive overload’ principle still applies, so start figuring out now what you can lift only 5 or 6 times with good form then progress down to 2 or 1 rep by the last week of the challenge. If you’re unfamiliar with the principle of ‘progressive overload,’ wander back to my first blog post regarding hypertrophy. You’ll find a (hopefully) helpful definition of this crucial training principle.
Well, that’s it folks. Again, I’m incredibly proud of each of you for sticking to your goals and testing your limits. You’re discovering parts of your character that you likely never knew existed. And this is only the beginning! I look forward to seeing you all flexin’ in camps.