Consider Reassessing your Training Paradigm

I came across an article written by Aaron Cowan at Moderno that really described a shift in my training paradigm three years ago.  Cowan writes, “All things considered, the case for a sedentary life or simply practicing the gun and not strengthening the body is not just weak, it’s effectively dead.”

It’s particularly intriguing when observing the amount of time and money spent on firearms and firearms training, compared to our own personal health.  Stephen Luntz shared an infographic Julia Belluz created, comparing money donated to fight various diseases and the number of people in the United States who die from the same diseases.  It appears we consistently, myself included, have difficulty prioritizing our issues objectively.

Seriously.  It seems there are a lot of people dead from a preventable condition.

I’m not particularly heavy, but I should shed a few pounds.  Moreover, I believed I can develop and push my marksmanship training further if I was stronger, and perhaps more conditioned.  I began a workout regiment and ran regularly in 2011.  I managed to run 3 miles at a 9:10 minute pace, but I wasn’t making progress with my strength.  Despite acknowledging my lack of progress, I continued without a program, inconsistently over the next two years.  Further, I experienced more injuries as I was adding weight too fast, or simply had poor form.  I eventually tapered my workouts all together.

Perhaps I should have been paying attention to Hsoi’s fitness posts.  He had the right idea.  I was gassed throughout Cecil Burch‘s class, and my ass handed to me at a Shivworks ECQC course in 2012.

I started 5×5 starting strength after Burch’s class in April until I established good form.  I made steady, and progressive improvement overtime with no injuries – especially when I started to focus on hip mobility.  Then in April 2014, I switched to Wendler’s 5/3/1 program with boring but big accessory movements.

Reviewing my notes from January 2014:
Deadlift:  1 x 315 lbs x 3
Squat:  1 x 245 lbs x 5
Bench: 1 x 145 lbs x 5

Wendler August 2014 Cycle, week 3 of 4:
Deadlift: 1 x 360 lbs x 2
Squat: TBD
Bench: 1 x 205 lbs x 2
Press:  1 x 120 lbs x 3

After this Wendler cycle, I’m going to get back to conditioning.  I’m signed up for another ECQC course this November.  It’ll be interesting to experience how much progress I’ve made since 2012.

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3 Comments on “Consider Reassessing your Training Paradigm”

  1. September 11, 2014 at 3:37 am #

    I had a right idea about something? There’s a first time for everything. 😉

    That’s some good progress on the lifts there!

    Is there any reason you’re stopping strength work and starting conditioning work? I mean, the two do not have to be mutually exclusive. Read Wendler’s stuff — he’s big on conditioning, things like Prowler pushes or sled drags or hill sprints or whatever. Paul Carter (Lift-Run-Bang) has in one of his eBooks a conditioning phase where you’re basically walking. Start with a basic “mosey”, but over the days and weeks it picks up in intensity, and you start walking “with purpose”, or as Paul describes “like an angry gorilla”. Getting a weight vest helps.

    For me, one thing that helped was to cut down my rest periods between sets. So squat and don’t take 3-5 minutes and fully catch my breathe and let my heart rate return to normal… no… 60-90 seconds is all you need, and squat again. Some parts of the program have to be adjusted for, you need time to adapt, but it makes a difference.

    And while I hate to admit it, on my present “fat loss” journey I’m required to walk 60 minutes a day on my off days (so that’s 4x week). I’ve noticed I’ve picked up the pace, and more difficult sessions aren’t so difficult for me any more. I cannot deny that it’s helped my conditioning, because I do notice how it affects me when say I’m out at the gun range to teach and have to move equipment around, etc.. I just don’t suck wind all the time. So it’s not running miles on end, but it’s enough for me to not be a slug. 🙂

    I too am going to be curious how I’ll hold up in ECQC (Spring 2015, if I’m still able to take it).

    Point is, you don’t have to treat lifting and cardio as mutually exclusive. Yes, they can work against each other, depending what your goals are and the end to which you wish to achieve. But if it’s just general fitness, heck… do both! But in the end, so long as you have a targeted goal and a plan to get you there, that’s really the important thing.

    Glad to see you blogging again!

    • September 11, 2014 at 10:07 pm #

      I wouldn’t call it an all stop on strength work. I’m going from 3 days a week, to two days a week. I’m going to include light jogging on the third day, and some jump rope on two additional days to gradually get back into it.

      I’m glad you reminded me that cardio and strength training isn’t mutually exclusive. I’ve been performing the BBB accessory primary lifts like how you described, so I don’t think I’ll be too far behind. My primary motivation is really to just be ready when ECQC comes around. After the class comes and goes, I’m going back to chase after 405, 235, and 315 for the deadlift, bench, and squat, respectively. Just for giggles.

      Thanks for the warm welcome =)

      • September 12, 2014 at 5:06 am #

        That sounds like a good plan – gradual shift. Jumping rope is really good — I suck at it, despite going through many rounds of trying to dedicate to it and not sucking at it. 🙂

        I do hear you about wanting to be ready for ECQC. You’ve got a goal, you know what you need for getting there, so just a matter of executing! Curious tho… once you get the initial conditioning back in line, would you want to pick it up with more intense conditioning work? HIIT type stuff. I mean, ECQC isn’t a 1 mile run, it’s a short, full-on, burst of furry. So do you think eventually doing work like “tabata” or other HIIT, especially that might involve upper-body (e.g. sledgehammer work pounding the tire as hard and fast as possible for tabata intervals) might be a way to go? Maybe barbell complexes? things like that.

        Your strength goals seem like great numbers to go for. It’s always satisfying when you add another wheel to the bar. 🙂 Good luck and lift on!

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