Matt Perryman Matt Perryman

Back to Overtraining

I’m a bit short on time (read: behind) this week, so this won’t be a big update.

I highly suggest a look at The Death of Heavy Days: How To Do More Work with Less Obsession by Nick Horton of PDX Weightlifting.

I’ve recently become aware of Nick through Glenn Pendlay’s forum, and we are very much in agreement on the mindfulness or — pardon the somewhat overused expression — ‘Zen’ of training.

Speaking of Glenn’s forum, there have been quite a few interesting threads popping up recently. This one on specificity vs. variation in training is worth a read, as is this one on the current popularity of “Bulgarian” training (pay special attention to post #53 /shamelessplug).

I started back on a full John Broz-influenced powerlifting routine this previous week, based on this post of John’s. As of this writing I’ve squatted to a max six days in a row, pulled three times, and pressed three times (alternating push presses and incline benches, as I’ve completely dropped the bench press) — and I’m ready to do more.

The deadlift was my bane last time I tried this method. I could not figure out how to fit it in, so I’m giving his suggestion a try — lots of doubles at reasonable percentages and varied mechanics (all off the floor for now). I’m rotating between clean pulls, snatch pulls (using straps when the hook gives out), and then one day of more traditional roundbacking. Hook gripping is mandatory, as another way of ‘training weak’ to compete strong.

There’s a sweet-spot with this kind of training. You want to get enough to stimulate the nervous system, to get the potentiation effect, without going overboard and leaving yourself exhausted. There is a learning curve (though I suspect most anyone with a year or two of ‘serious’ training could pick it up quickly). Once you hit that zone, you go on cruise-control. Training makes you feel better, almost like you need to squat to a max to feel right.

Which is, of course, the desired effect. You want the extraordinary to become normal. When maximum lifts become as casual as getting out of bed, you’re in shape to do some amazing things. Like this lifter of Broz’s, lifting in a completely raw AAU meet:

Also worth reading: Broz on dealing with injuries. There is much truth in what he says about, effectively, hardening up and going to lift. Popular forum wisdom says that training more often will lead to greater injury rate. Yet I’ve noticed exactly the opposite — the more often I train, the less my old injuries bother me. Sure you get the floating Mystery Pain that changes from day to day and is more an annoyance than a real injury. What has yet to happen is the larger muscle tears or joint kinks that have always happened when I was only training a lift once or twice a week. There’s another piece of forum wisdom to disregard.