Threat and Performance: Central Governors
By Todd Hargrove
Imagine getting the keys to a Ferrari. You like speed, so you floor it to see what’s under the hood.
After a few seconds of acceleration, you notice your mom is in the passenger seat telling you to slow down.
You’re all grown up now, so you tell Mom to chill out, blast the radio, and continue your quest for speed. But for some reason the car won’t go past 65. Then you notice Mom has her foot on a brake that has ultimate control over the car’s velocity. Whenever she thinks you’re driving too fast, she uses the brake to slow you down.
The Overhead Shoulder Rotation Quandary
by Derrick Blanton
One thing I noticed very early on in my training journey is that people move and lift stuff differently. Even the top lifters in the world rarely do it exactly the same way. I find myself constantly making mental notes on different lifting strategies.
As you might imagine, I also spend a ton of time studying the coaching techniques, rationales, and cues of the most prominent names in S&C; and then trying to tie it all together with my “in the trenches” observations and firsthand experiences.
Every now and again, I see a disconnect between the “right way” to do a lift, and effective “real world” expressions of loaded movement. Of course, then I obsessively go about trying to figure out the root of the discrepancy!
We all want to be making progress in the gym, but unfortunately, many lifters remain stagnant. In general, you want to make sure you’re getting stronger over time. Getting stronger means using more load or achieving more repetitions with the same weight. This is the essence of progressive overload, which I discussed in great detail HERE. While there are a million ways to progressively overload, I’m going to outline a very simple system I use in my own training and with my clients.
3 Set Total Reps
When I prescribe an exercise, quite often I will use the same load with all 3 sets, and I’ll simply note the total number of reps they achieve (this is in contrast to pyramids, which I wrote about HERE). Once they reach a particular total, I’ll increase the load. I first learned about this method from a Joe DeFranco DVD that I purchased many years ago, and it’s something that I’ve consistently sprinkled into my training since then. With this method, you want to keep the rest periods fairly consistent, say around 90-120 seconds. Let me give a specific example.
Kenny Rogers sang The Gambler in 1978. On the surface, the song appears to be about gambling, but there’s a much deeper meaning pertaining to life in general. The song is very appropriate for the field of strength & conditioning, and the lessons contained within take most lifters two decades to fully comprehend. Here’s the video:
And here’s the chorus:
You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em
Know when to fold ‘em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done