Tuesday, December 18, 2007

30lbs In 72 Hours

Something told me when I designed the 3rd phase of my squat cycle that my frequency had to change--I just wouldn't admit it to myself at first. I'm glad I did.

Here's a recap of the cycle I put together. It's highly scientific and I'm absolutely sure no one has ever seen anything like this let alone done this before so you'll want to pay close and careful attention (he said, tongue-in-cheek, thus once again proving there is "nothing new under the sun").

Phase 1: Accumulation: 5x5, 2 minutes of rest, 3 days per week--approx 2 weeks
Phase 2: Intensification: 5x3, 3 minutes of rest, 3 days per week--approx 2 weeks
Phase 3: Realization: 3x3, 5 minutes of rest, 3 (?) days per week--approx 2 weeks

I had a hunch that I wouldn't be able to stay on Phase 3 for longer than 4 training sessions, as the higher the intensity (with regard to load, not effort) the quicker I adapt.

My goal was to get back into some sort of squatting "shape" (Hey, "round" is a shape...) by using 2 key indicators: 315lbs/5 x5 with a 2 minute rest and a 3RM of 405lbs. (Don't ask me how they correlate in my head, but for some strange reason they do...)

Anyway, I didn't realize how accurate my predictions about the "realization" phase would be: The heavy loading was very taxing on my NS and I found I couldn't squat every 48.3 hours but instead had to push it back to 72 hours. This all came in the form of a gut check around the 48 hour mark and I had to listen to my intuition--which in this case was what my body and mind were telling me. Each time, I decided to wait another day. And although I was tired, I became more efficient as the load increased within the training session, with each set being better than the former.

Yesterday, after a very demanding 48 hours and losing 5-7lbs in the same time frame, I decided I was ready for 405. I can't explain how, I just knew it. The previous three training sessions were as follows:
  • 363lbs/3 x5, 3 minutes rest on Sun, 12/9
  • 345/3, 355/3, 365/3, 5 minutes rest on Tues, 12/12
  • 355/3, 365/3, 375/3, 5 minutes rest on Fri, 12/15
And then last night's, 12/17:

365/3, 385/3, 405/3, 5 minutes of rest

The third rep of 405 was a little off. Looking back, I could've squeezed out a 4th rep if you made me. However, with the heavier loads, my form would falter a little bit--I'd kick the neck into extension. Once I would drop the chin back to neutral, I could drive my elbows forward again and stand up pretty explosively. This is something to work on for the next BSQ cycle.

Anyway, from an RPE standpoint 375/3 on Friday was about an 8.5 and last night was about a 9 or so. As I figure it that's approximately a 30lbs jump in 72 hours give or take a little bit on the RPE scale. Not bad, especially given the loss in bodyweight, which of course means very little except for leverage.

How'd I do that?

Obviously it's my outstanding program design skills--or then again, not.

The reality is Z-Health has taught me how to make my body more efficient in almost all movement. The more Z I practice, the easier movement becomes for me. Not only that, it makes the re-acquisition of old movement patterns that much easier. It was only about a month ago that I hit that 315/5 x5 while I was in FL. I've also noticed immediate improvements in the expression my leg strength while on the platform. It just feels lighter.

Interestingly enough, I was also able to break many of the rules of training, like load cycling of individual exercises within the training session. The other 2 exercises I used were the barbell military press and the weighted chin-up. Usually, it is prudent to pick one heavy, one medium, and one light exercise each day, cycle the H-M-L through exercises. I did not. I was able to lift continually heavier and heavier each training session. Last night's MP culminated in 205/3. Certainly nothing to write home about, but more than I've been able to in a long while, perhaps upto 3-4 years ago. Not only that, the squat load should've taxed my NS to a degree to prohibit an RM on the MP--which technically it was not--I think there was another 10lbs in there for another 3 reps.

The Z-Health is fascinating to play around with strength acquisition and expression. I have no doubt based on my current experience that I will achieve all my athletic goals. Although, technically speaking, this is strength re-acquisition. Although I might be able to counter that with the argument that my current squat mechanics are dissimilar to my pre-Z squat mechanics. Either way, it provides food for thought and certainly hope for the future.

One more thing I forgot to mention--last night's squats were pain free. I've NEVER squatted 405 pain free. That's a great feeling.


Blogger Franz Snideman said...

405 pain free? Must feel amazing Geoff!

Merry Christmas to you and your wife!

God Bless you two!

12:41 PM  
Blogger Geoff Neupert said...

Thanks, Franz. Merry Christmas to you and Yoana.

7:34 PM  
Blogger Howie Brewer said...

Geoff how long ago did you start practicing Z? I've just recently starting easing into it.

9:33 PM  
Blogger Geoff Neupert said...

Howie, I started in Jan/Feb 06. I practice some form of Z daily. Occasionally, like this past Tuesday, I do nothing.

11:40 PM  
Blogger Mike T Nelson said...

Awesome work Geoff!

I think the more you follow the Z principals (you mean like listening to your body instead of someone else?)--you can throw most periodization out the window. A basic template is great, but you can't predict all the stress and how your body will be weeks ahead of time. Thanks to Frankie for pointing this out to me multiple times before I truly "got it".

I don't think most people even need much that is "advanced" either as you have pointed out in the past also.

Rock on and awesome job on your accomplishment!
Mike N

11:16 AM  

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