A common question that gets asked.
ROP is promised to make us stronger, if we do not stray from the program. And this is true.
Due to a strained trap muscle, I headed to the commercial gym and fooled around.
Back squats were sweet, so we're pushups. After 4 sessions and 2 massages I did a freestyle session with bells.
28, previous 3rm, put it up for 6.
If our goal is to press half BW, are we cutting ourselves short by not cross training?
I don't mean doing a million exercises ...
, a few thoughts for you, and I agree with others here who've said it's a good and interesting topic.
1. There's a Latin language expression, "post hoc ergo propter hoc." It means that because one thing happens after another, we can't assume that the first thing was the cause of the second. Was 4 training sessions of pushups and squats the cause (a lawyer might say, "proximate cause") of you doubling your RM on a kettlebell press? I think it's difficult to say your improvement was due to "training" pushups and squats. But on the other hand, we see people achieve this same magnitude of improvement regularly at our SFG-I instructor certification, so it's clearly possible to make a big improvement in a short period of time, but I think we need to ascribe the improvement to some sort of "waking up" - of certain muscles, of an ability to get tight, both of which we might call a general improvement in technique, or to specific improvement in technique, e.g., you learned to grip the handle harder, or learned that "roll up your kneecaps" or to look at the bell during certain parts of the press - any of these things can make a big difference, and if you hit on more than one of them, perhaps even a doubling of your rep max.
But who's to say if it's "cross training" that's responsible? Maybe in your case it was the massages. Or maybe it was that you got "fired up" by being in a commercial gym instead of your usual training spot?
2. Minimalist training - there's a saying that 20% of what a person is responsible for 80% of their results. Even under those circumstances, it also means that there are benefits to the other things they do, just not perhaps as much benefit. Look, e.g., at high-level lifters - very few practice only their competition lifts and nothing else for years on end but, hey, many of them have the time and the energy to do that. Our PlanStrong manual makes the point that the percentage of assistance exercise work - "other exercises" in this context - goes up as a lifter becomes more experienced. There is benefit to strength training in a non-minimalist manner.
But there is the other side of this, too. For those whose job requires them to be physically fresh at all times, and frankly just for many very busy people who otherwise do nothing more physical than put their phones to their ears and their fingers to their computer keyboards, there is a lot to commend minimalist training.
And there are some things I find it difficult to explain, although I feel like I've tried in several recent posts on other threads. There are some of us who feel that a sharp focus on a few well-chosen things is, overall, more beneficial than a broader approach. It may not be the best way to put up the best numbers at those few things, but it's the best use of my available training time. I don't train this way all the time, but I keep coming back to it. For me, it's 1-arm kettlebell military presses and barbell deadlifts.
6 may be right for you for a while - go for it. You had, it sounds like, a real moment of discovery - a few new things and one of your old lifts RM doubled. I think that's great. But there isn't going to be a right number for every person, and even for one person there isn't going to be a right number all the time. The person who grapples several times a week, or is in harm's way every day defending our country, or who is simply busy trying to do their best at their job while also doing their best taking care of their family, all these people may find minimalist training to be the best fit for them.
I don't think we should overlook that words explaining the benefits of minimalist training are to be found in every book we have on the subject. If it's not for you for now, that's fine, and if 6 seems right for you for now, that's also fine.