Pursuit of My Abilities

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WhatWouldHulkDo

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I don't know if my 8 year old finishing 3rd in the 34-39 age group says something about the other 34-39 men or if it says something about her at 8.
As a dad who is constantly trying to prod an 11 year old and 9 year old to do more races, I'd say that 32min is awesome at 8. Definitely reason for substantial fatherly pride.

That said, clearly not a fast crop of 34-39 men. ;)
 

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Week of May 5
Sunday
Off​
Monday
Run
3x 3' [2'] @ Interval Pace​
Press: Drop sets to failure
Incline Dumbbell Press > Flat Dumbbell Press > Push-Up > Knee-Push-Up​
Tuesday
Run
3x 3' [2'] @ Interval Pace​
Press: Drop sets to failure
Incline Dumbbell Press > Flat Dumbbell Press > Push-Up > Knee-Push-Up​
Wednesday
Off​
Thursday
Off​
Friday
4 Rounds
2' @ Interval Pace
Max Reps Push-Ups​
Saturday
Off
Spent the week in a hotel and didn't feel like doing too much. Felt the effects of being at a higher altitude than I'm used to.
 

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Week of May 12
Sunday
Push-Ups
5x Max Reps [5']​
Sit-Ups
6x18 [75"]​
Run
500-400-300-200-100m [4'] @ Repetition Pace​
Monday
Push-Ups
11-10-9-9-8-7-6x [10"]​
Sit-Ups
5x15 [20"]​
Run
500-400-300-200-200m [4'] @ Repetition Pace​
Tuesday
Push-Ups
6x18 [75"]​
Sit-Ups
6x15 [75"]​
Run
500-400-300-300-200m [4'] @ Repetition Pace​
Wednesday
Push-Ups
5x Max Reps [5']​
Sit-Ups
1x Max Reps​
Run
500-400-400-300-200m [4'] @ Repetition Pace​
Thursday
Push-Ups
11-10-9-9-8-7-7-6-5x [10"]​
Sit-Ups
6x15 [75"]​
Run
300-300-300-300-300m [1'] @ Repetition Pace​
Friday
Off​
Saturday
Off​
Performing a test on Monday. I didn't have time to get through a full 12 week cycle between tests but while I feel more confident under loads from the clusters and max rep sets, I feel I didn't get enough hypertrophy to really increase my endurance; I'll see tomorrow. I think I will stick with the same template but maybe try something other than clusters next time through. My running has definitely improved and I hope tomorrow is a good day to see that materialize.
 

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Week of May 19
Monday

PFT​
Tuesday
Off​
Wednesday
Off​
Thursday
20min Swim @ harder than I remember swimming to be ;)
20min Skierg @ zone 2​
Friday
3 Rounds
100m Sprint
5x med ball slams
30sec plank
10m leopard crawl
3/3x Lunge Press
10m Gorilla crawl
3x Inch Worm
3x Push-Press​
Saturday
8 Rounds
6x Deadlift
4x Pull-ups​
5 Rounds
10x narrow grip pull-down
12x lat pull-through​

PFT went well. PRs on every element; however, not by as much as I wanted - is it ever though? Currently have access to coaching from a strength and conditioning coach and will be doing a few weeks of circuit training M/W/F from what I understand. I really like the skierg and plan to do more of that to supplement the circuit training on T/Th. Will do some additional strength training on Saturdays.
 

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Week of May 26
Essentially started a fight camp for the next few weeks. Lots of strength/power circuits with crawling and medicine ball throws. Started some grappling which I have no experience with. This week, I have really had an appreciation for the TGU. My shoulders and core are strong and able to hold odd positions well because of them. This week has reinforced my thought that if I could only do one movement for the rest of my life the TGU is the one.

My previous knee injuries really reduce confidence in any jumping movements though. Also, I have been getting a pain in my heel which I think might be plantar fasciitis. I will purchase some insoles to see if that helps relieve it. I have been in new shoes for the last few weeks so it could simply be the adjustment and more activity.
 

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Week of June 2
Monday

Crawling Complex
Jump/Stability Circuit​
Wednesday
Crawling Complex
Med ball slams/Squat/Lunge Circuit
Grappling Drills​
Friday
Crawling complex
Sprint drills
300m acceleration repeats
Grappling drills
Swim sprint repeats​
Saturday
Crawling complex
2h Swings
TGU
Farmer carry
Swim sprint repeats​

Getting some incredible plantar fasciitis. I've been wearing barefoot shoot for a long time except running and recently purchased some "regular" hiking shoes for all day wear and I think it's messing up my foot. Everything I read about plantar fasciitis says to add more support but I feel that the additional support is what's causing it. It kind of all started when I got new running shoes but was manageable because I was only in them for relatively short time periods compared to all day in these hiking shoes.

Forgot how much I like swimming. Have not done much swimming since dive school but I think it's somewhat like riding a bicycle based on the improvement I've seen after only a couple sessions.

I really prefer 2h swings over single arm swings. I also really prefer more smaller sets over less longer sets. I feel like sets of 5x 2h swings helps my athletic performance more than sets of 10x 1 arm swings.

Trying to get to 3 minutes at 40% BW in each hand for the farmer carry. I have a ways to go because I am only at about 25% now. It might take a while but 3 minutes is a long carry. It is much more challenging than a much heavier but shorter carry.
 

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Last few weeks have been a continuation of similar circuits until this last week when those stopped. I had wanted to get back to my "normal" training program but some constraints appeared that make it difficult. In the meantime, I'll be doing 8-12 weeks of A+A double snatches, clean & jerks, or jerks only 4x per week with 2x per week of HIRT fartleks on the skierg or in the pool.

The HIRT fartleks I've been experimenting with have pretty much stabilized. Staple version is 10sec sprint at the top of every 5min for about 40min total. Here is an example of a HIRT fartlek session on the skierg.

SkiErg HIRT Fartlek

HIRT_Fartlek.PNG

The A+A follow M/H/L/L weekly M/W/F/S. Here are the two light days from this week. The profile from the Snatches has a much steeper HR incline and shows a better representation of what to look for in A+A movements I think.

A+A C&J

A+A_C&J.PNG

A+A Double Snatch
A+A_Double_Snatch.PNG
 
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Deleted member 5559

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Done doing A+A stuff. A little underwhelmed with where my athleticism has gone in the last 8 weeks. Not as strong, not as fast, not as anything really. I believe that I need to select the best method for the task to continue more progress - or at least get back to where I was a few months ago. Strength equals a barbell and endurance equals locomotion. I really like the 12 week program I was doing but I'm finding that it's not always logistically convenient just being a 12-week cycle. Something shorter that can be repeated is easier to get reps over time. Also, clusters are really good for training power but strength and hypertrophy are developed better for me getting more fatigued.

A few things that have made a positive impact on my training in the last 1-2 years have been:
  • Barbell Ladders
    • Good volume
    • Low Fatigue
  • Max rep last set
    • psychologically motivating
    • auto-regulatory
  • Threshold Intervals
    • Improve lactate processing
    • Improve VO2
  • HIRT Fartleks
    • Improve aerobic capacity at Easy pace
    • Improve efficiency at Repeat pace
  • 4 week waves
    • short enough to fit more cycles with interruptions through the year
    • long enough to make linear progressions
    • short enough to make wave progressions
  • Supersets
    • Efficiently fit accessory lifts
  • 3 day split that can be repeated twice per week if possible
    • Can get as far into the week as possible if interrupted
    • Fit 2 sessions each week of each concurrent task.
      • Strength
      • Low Intensity Conditioning
      • High Intensity Conditioning
 

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Last few weeks have gone well.

Mondays
Squat, @ 70-80%, 2-3-5, x3
Bench Press, @ 70-80%, 2-3-5, x3​
Tuesdays
Skierg fartlek​
Wednesdays
Threshold run​
Thursdays
Deadlift, @ 75-85%, 1-2-3, x3
Bench Press, @ 65-75%, 3-5-7, x3​
Fridays
Assault bike fartlek​
Saturdays
Threshold or VO² interval runs
The overall weekly and monthly template work a little better for me. However, the ladders are a lot of sets and take a little long. I plan to try some straight sets for a bit to see if that abbreviates the sessions a little.
 

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Spent the last couple weeks moving. Lost access to a fully equipped gym and going back to a home gym. Just got squat stands, bar, and weights today from Rogue. Will simply lift and run until I can order a SkiErg for the new basement gym. Will then continue with Lift > ski > run...repeat. I like the skierg over the assault bike if I had to have only one. It has low correlation to lifting and running so I can avoid becoming victim to over-training.

Today, while I wait for moving truck to arrive with tools to assemble the squat stands, I supersetted some deadlifts and get-ups. One of my favorite simple sessions. Start with the bar and alternate adding 25 or 45 plates for 40 or 50# jumps between sets of doubles and doing 1R/1L TGU between sets. Add weight until it feels heavy.
 

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The last few weeks have been the same weekly schedule of :
Monday: Strength
Tuesday: Aerobic
Wednesday: Threshold
Thursday: Strength
Friday: Aerobic
Saturday: Threshold/VO2 Max​

The last month of strength days was Squat + Bench on Monday and Deadlift + Bench on Thursday. I did 10-20 reps of each between 70-90%. I didn't really get any stronger. My running got a little better though. I think the volume may not have been enough for only 2 days per week.

I'm going to do a cycle of conjugate for the strength days for a while and see how that goes. I think some additional volume of assistance work after will help too.
Monday: Dynamic Lower, Max Upper
Thursday: Dynamic Upper, Max Lower​
 

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Refining my program still. Built a lifting platform with ability to use bands for accommodating resistance and added a concept 2 SkiErg in the basement. Training has further refined to a 3 week cycle of:
Monday: Lower Body Power / Upper Body Strength
  • Box Squat / Floor Press
  • Box Squat / Close Grip Bench Press w/ Band
  • Box Squat / Reverse Band Bench Press
Tuesday: Easy Run/Ski Fartlek
Wednesday: Lactate Threshold or VO2 Max Intervals Run/Ski
Thursday: Upper Body Power / Lower Body Strength
  • Speed Bench Press / Box Squat + Band
  • Speed Bench Press / Front Squat + Band
  • Speed Bench Press / Reverse Band Squat
Friday: Easy Run/Ski Fartlek
Saturday: Long Run/Ski
Sunday: Off​

Broad brush, I like the 3 week cycle over something longer. I like coming back to something more frequently. When I was doing 12 week cycles last year and early this year, I felt like it was too long between training phases. For the cycle, I'm rotating through strength variants for squats and bench presses. I have become fond of using bands for the majority with periodically using reverse bands. I feel stronger using bands more frequently. I feel like if I can start it, I can finish it and it seems to be eliminating sticking points. The reverse band work really builds confidence and inspires prolonged acceleration of the load. The floor press and banded box squats really force acceleration by removing the stretch reflex and momentum.

The power or dynamic days are for the most part about 50% + a band that makes the velocity as constant through the motion that I can get. I sometimes move the weight around a little just for some variety but without something to measure bar speed, it's tough to dial in. I do prefer the power instead of repetition on this day; it doesn't beat me up as much over time. I get that repetition volume from doing some accessory movements during the rests. If it's upper body sets, I'll do lower body repetition during the rest and vice versa.

For the strength or max effort loads, I've worked on ladders at ~70-90%, working up to maxes, and clusters @ ~90%. I prefer the clusters at 90% so far. I still have to work with them longer to see if they stand the test of time though. I've worked with ladders using both static weight for all ladders and ratcheting weight up for each ladder and I kind of prefer the ratchet ladders of the two. I haven't had any problems with working up to a max effort but sometimes, I feel like it's hard to control volume depending on the weight jumps and how good I'm feeling and how far I'm able to go. For clusters, I've been doing ~20 sec intra-set rest with two minutes of inter-set rest. I've been pretty much following prillipens table for the volume of everything.

For the fartleks, I've been doing only 10 seconds of hard effort with long easy efforts between. I am trying to hit max power outputs on the 10sec efforts and with shorter easy efforts, I've been unable to reach the power outputs that I want to train during those 10 seconds. The work:rest ratio doesn't seem to be very common anywhere but it's increasing my 10sec max power outputs better than anything else. Most other work:rest ratios I've seen are something along 1:5 to maybe 1:9 but I'm doing more like 1:30 to 1:60. If I extend the work duration to 20 or 30 seconds, I'm able to reduce the rest time and train more in the normal 1:5-9 range because it's easier to maintain and repeat a lower power output for 30 seconds than to hit a max in 10 seconds. Additionally, the focus of these days is actually the easy aerobic volume so a different work:rest would somewhat defeat the purpose and I would just do steady state as the alternative.
 

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Over the last few weeks, some days felt slow but then the following week felt really fast. Not sure if it's the dynamic effort work or the consistent work @ 90% that is the primary driver of progress. I'm going to test by swapping the light dynamic effort work for some moderate weighted clusters. Still keeping the volume in the Prilipen range. Going to replace the speed squats with sumo pulls @ 80-85% and the speed bench with a military press @ 80-85%. A little lower volume for pulls and a little higher for presses.

Clusters seem to keep the stress lower and are easy enough to recover from that I will see if I can handle 80%+ loads twice per week. Also, clusters keep the velocity high so I'm not sure the dynamic speed work is necessary when solely using clusters.

My long runs are a nice way to get out of the house and get outside but without any additional running during the week (due to how early it gets dark), I'm not acclimating well enough and once-per-week long runs are just making me sore. Instead of long runs for the winter, I'm going to spend that day doing some A+A or lactic threshold work on the skiERG or threshold run on the weekend.

I tried an A+A session using the skiERG today. Love it!! Did an OTM circuit of 6x swings (R), 6x Swings (L), 6x Ski Pulls. Each ski pull cluster hit above 600 watts and by alternating an anterior and posterior movement kept all the sets hitting higher watts each set of ski pulls. Really like the antagonistic combination of skiERG and swings. It's interesting to see how the swings and ski both raised my heart to about the same level but my heart rate dropped immediately after the swings but had a little delay after the ski.
A+A_Swing+Ski.JPG
 

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The last two weeks, I started a cycle of revisiting linear progression with a variation of Starting Strength that I came across from Powerlifting to Win. I'm stalling pretty quickly though. I'm hitting new PRs for reps but I think that is from the time doing conjugate work for a few months prior. I feel less athletic doing linear progression and taking sets to RPE 9.5. I'm also not using bands this cycle like I was the last few months either. I still have 2 resets coming before I will consider this linear cycle complete though so we'll see. I am still doing the A&A with swings and skierg and I like that weekly session a lot. Those two movements together really work everything, in every plane. I'm still hitting new wattage PRs, even if it's only a single watt each session (week).

My favorite strength training has been conjugate rotating through a few variations with and without bands using clusters @ 90%. I also prefer a double or triple progression of increasing volume prior to increasing weight over this linear weight method. To be fair, this cycle has a double progression based on fluctuations in reps. The linear incremental weight jumps are just kind of draining on me. Perhaps when this cycle is done, I will look at a triple progression of accommodating resistance clusters. Clusters, accommodating resistance, and ladders are tools in the toolbox that have never been a disappointment. I will probably try to reduce the rest between rungs to just turn the ladders into cluster sets. Then I will probably rotate through a few accommodated resistance variations and see where that takes me.

I haven't really revisited Reload either which could be good option too. I honestly am simply impatient and just don't want to wait 2 months to hit a 2.5# or even less PR. One of the problems I have with long-term percentage based periodization plans is that they don't capitalize on a good week or weeks. Some weeks, I get great sleep, good nutrition, and the stars align making a week to make better improvement than others. I think a good program should take advantage of that in more real-time rather than leaving some of that on the table and missing some of the fruits on the final test.

On the bright side, I would say I'm getting close to as strong as I've been in the past and hope to break through to some new ground for myself. It is a bit harder now that I'm older, littered with injuries, have less time, and more responsibility. I wish I would have done something like Starting Strength and Texas Method when I was starting training in high school and could really recover and make progress. If I only knew then what I know now. At least I will have the knowledge now to share with my kids.
 

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The linear cycle did not last long at all. I hit a wall right away and started not sleeping well, along with other stuff. I just can't handle so many sets at RPE 9+ during a week. I'm not terribly strong so I thought a novice/intermediate program would still work for me. However, I am older with more stress in my life that I can't handle a program like that. I suppose it would be good to have a set of questions to ask myself with scores that I can add up to identify what class of program I should be on. A younger person can recover better, a single person can recover more, a newer athlete can recover more, etc.

Where to from here? Over the past couple decades, I have identified some things that have worked well for me or that I at least enjoy about different programs. None of them completely meet or match current goals and constraints but all have principles that can be applied to developing my next program. I am still searching for the perfect program for myself and some match the criteria better than others. Certain elements get drawn out and kept, others get pushed aside. I find myself looking over programs I've done in the past and assessing what I liked about it and what I didn't like. Some of the elements that standout looking back:
  1. Deadlift volume x1, squat volume x2, bench press volume x3, press volume x5
  2. If going to RPE >9, only one set of it. Otherwise, percentage based progression accumulating easy volume
  3. Frequent exercise rotation keeps me interested and helps prevent injuries
  4. Increase load volume over time
  5. Intensity forces adaptation, modifying rest manages fatigue. The body needs a signal to cause an adaptation
  6. Hitting a new PR of any kind (weight, reps, duration, watts, etc.) somewhat regularly is psychologically very valuable
  7. Different adaptations have different super-compensation curves
We'll see what happens over the coming weeks, but I'm primed for revisiting some old programs modified to meet my current needs and see where it takes me.
 

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This last week was an exploration of a program I used a few years ago. I created it based on Purposeful Primitive by Marty Gallagher. It is a rolling split program of pull, press, squat, repeat. When I last used it, I was younger and able to progress easier. I decreased the volume to manage fatigue better but it was not quite enough. The original version I did a while back was:

Mon: Deadlift > Pull-up > Rower Intervals​
Tue: Bench Press > Dips > Skierg intervals​
Wed: Squat > Abs > Jog​
Thur: Clean > Curls > Rower intervals​
Fri: Press > Triceps Extensions > Skierg intervals​

I would work up to a 5RM for the day and then do 3x8 @ 75% of that 5RM. I could do it for 3 weeks and then take a week off. I wanted to reduce the intervals and the volume as well as include a better form of progressive overload. I like the overall rolling split concept. I started with reducing the volume based on INOL and replacing the intervals with A&A sets instead. The week went well but this weeks modifications will be to replace the press with a light bench press day, replacing the cleans with light deadlifts, and lightening the squats and squat volume a little. The older format front loaded the week with hard days and the later days were a little easier. This week I will be alternating the heavy days with light days to look like:

Mon: Heavy Deadlift > A&A Swings​
Tue: Light Bench Press > TGU + Crawl​
Wed: Medium Squat > A&A Swings+SkiErg​
Thur: Light Deadlift > TGU + Crawl​
Fri: Heavy Bench Press > A&A SkiErg​
Sat: Run​
I am reducing the volume to some reduced INOLs for the deadlifts and squats due to the swing and run volume contributing to the fatigue. The bench press can still handle the higher INOLs from what I can tell though. I intend to run a 4-week cycle using preparation > accumulation > transmutation > realization/deaload. The big things I think will contribute the most is the daily and weekly undulation of INOLs to better manage fatigue. I also like the minimalism of only a few movements. One idea that I have to make it even more simple is to work up to different wights and include or not include back off sets to adjust for light, medium, heavy days as they align to the different weekly phases. We'll see how this cycle goes first though.
 

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I received some new training books this last week. One of them being Periodization Training for Sports by Tudor Bompa. Getting some great training ideas and most importantly understanding about some anecdotal observations I've made in my training over the years. After reading through the book, the two primary program templates I've been coming back to are pretty good. The rolling split one now I'm using for more of a winter/inside/gym strength and power program, and the previous one for more of a summer/outside endurance program.

Some of the big takeaways from this book for me this first time through:
  • Choose the intensity/rep scheme for a specific objective (there are more specifics than I thought)
  • Undulate volume rather than intensity during the week/microcycle for fatigue management (H/M/L days)and undulate intensity for de-loading during the macrocycle.
  • Use step loading for the low end of the intensity range when starting into training and use flat loading when at the high end of the intensity range. (I've never seen anything about static weight for a couple weeks with a barbell before)
The biggest change is using a more static rep scheme for my objectives. 5s for bench press because I want a little hypertrophy to improve absolute strength in the upper body. However, my lower body is much thicker and extra lower body weight only makes everything I enjoy more difficult so squats will be 3s for more relative strength and deadlifts will be 2s for more power orientation. The next biggest change is a more narrow range of intensity to work with. Bench press in the 70-80% range, squats in the 75-85% range, and deadlifts in the 75-85%. The jumps will only be 2.5% increases also. Lastly, once I'm in the high end of the intensity range, I will keep the same intensity for two weeks, deload, then repeat a little heavier.

As a tactical athlete, I have a burden of constant fitness. I am in a continual competitive season and the flat loading is what is recommended for the competitive season to manage fatigue and keep the intensity high to prevent involution. In the military I had a more normal "season" that I could periodize for because the in-season was a deployment and the off-season was being home. I also read an article this week from a major league baseball strength coach that had modified his strength training to be higher intensity and lower volume during the season to keep athletes more peaked for baseball's very long in-season.

Overall, the rolling split template is working well. I really like the A+A conditioning work after strength training, especially on the skierg. Actually seeing watts displayed on the screen really helps for motivation and knowing the status of training. I keep hitting new highs every so often which is motivating and inspires confidence in the training approach. The antagonistic approach of alternating the skierg with swings really creates some great power output and manages fatigue well.

I am noticing that if I don't do a 5min warm-up on the skierg, it takes 18-20 sets before I start hitting higher numbers. For both, that works out to being about 120-150 reps. I've seen improvements in strength training after doing a 75-100 (3-4x25) rep warm-up also. This anecdotal evidence is that it takes about 100 reps to prime all the muscles to start working together. I've heard of Litvinov conversion training, doing a heavy set of squats, then dropping the barbell and sprinting. The idea is to invite all the muscle to the party before asking them to do the work. I don't know if that's considered potentiation of some kind or what, but it's taking me a significant warm-up before being as strong/powerful as I can be.

Using INOL is still appearing to be the best way to select the appropriate number of sets and total volume each week to manage fatigue and ensure enough volume to create adaptation. I'll still use linear intensity increases, but the INOL from week to week might undulate a little by modifying the number of sets. Not sure if it will be necessary but I'll play with it to see if I notice a difference.
 

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Good week of training. Only negative aspect to the rolling split is missing a day throws off the whole weekly schedule. I introduced VO2 max intervals this week. I do like the suck that session offers. It's different than just grinding out a high workload against a clock though. Using a 1:1 work rest ratio at a high intensity I know is working on specific adaptations and not just hard work for hard work sake.

When I really consider what I need from a training program, low intensity steady state (LISS) is not really part of it for anything other than 20 minutes as recovery session. All my on-the-job needs are strength and power oriented with a max duration of about 5 minutes. Perhaps there is a selection of some kind that could require an endurance component but I feel that A&A swings and skierg will keep the aerobic capacity training just fine and is better suited to the daily job aspect. That's why I thought I would try replacing my weekly threshold run with VO2 max intervals and I haven't been doing any LISS for a few weeks now and instead have only been doing 20x5 swing/ski sessions instead which take about 25 minutes after strength training.

I feel that I've been training endurance to fulfill a training objective that doesn't really exist for the sake of the science saying LISS for 40-80 minutes is needed for aerobic development in order to better fuel everything. Now I'm starting to see longer duration LISS as a means to train for handling the breakdown that occurs over longer duration rather than to improve aerobic capacity. I just haven't seen an improvement in the last two years of LISS work. I think the majority of that dissatisfaction is just because I haven't had a need to realize the benefit of longer endurance events. All my tests and application are short and using different energy adaptations. I had the mindset for a while that the LISS aerobic base was preparing my body to better recover from high intensity work but I just haven't seen that be the case. At the end of the day, sleep and stress management affect recovery dramatically more than aerobic capacity.

All these training concepts and tools are spaghetti noodles being thrown against the wall and some stick and others don't. What's sticking over the last few years is:
  • Daily high-contrast volume
  • Short macrocycle
  • Flexible microcycle
  • Power lifts and variations with bands
  • High-intensity repeats with specific duration and rest to match energy system targeting
  • High-volume warm-up
 

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Yesterdays conditioning session I tried applying the 5/4 snatch template to the skierg. I only did 5 clusters but the first set of each cluster increased successively and I saw about a 10% decline in power output by the fourth set of each cluster.

I had been doing 6x every 75 seconds for the last few weeks which I think is similar to plan 015 except a little shorter sets and slightly compressed rest.

I might start alternating these into the mix periodically.

Screenshot_20200303-191825.png
 
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