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Old 08-06-2011, 03:21 AM   #1
joeseph
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Default Strength training questions

Hi there, before I give the question, I'll put a little bit of background on my weekly training routine:
I go to my gym 3 times a week where I focus on boxing skills and some cardio (bike riding or rowing machine) and do my strength and conditioning workouts at home on the days in between.

My first workout involves about 10x50m sprints up a pretty steep hill, about 80 burpees stretched out over 30sec intervals with 30sec break in between, Jump squats in intervals, 3 Wall sits and some core work

The second and third workouts involve purely strength, in which I do:
Pull ups - 7-8-9
Chin ups - 6-7-8
close grip chin ups - 4-5-6
Hammer grip pull ups -5-5-5
Decline knuckle push ups -11-11-13
Dips-8-8-11
Corework

I do a mixture of shadow boxing and skipping to warm up before each workout.

Although I am aware of the benefits of weight training, I'd rather not get into it yet since I am happy with bodyweight workouts. However, I do think that progressing with the amount of reps in each set is going to be superfluous in a while so I am considering upping the intensity by having extra weight by putting dumbell weights in a little sack and performing the exercises with that on. Which brings me to my questions:
What rep range should I keep the exercises in if I am introducing weights?
Should I follow the weight training range of 3-5?
Should the weight be enough so that I am struggling to finish my last set?

Thanks for taking the time to look at my thread and feel free to critique my workout in any way that you think is appropriate since I am hungry for new knowledge.
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Old 08-06-2011, 07:08 AM   #2
Boxinglad123
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Default Re: Strength training questions

Are your bodyweight exercises with added resistance?
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Old 08-06-2011, 07:58 AM   #3
joeseph
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Default Re: Strength training questions

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Originally Posted by Boxinglad123 View Post
Are your bodyweight exercises with added resistance?
Hi sorry, I think by putting up all the info about my routine that I didn't make the important stuff clearer. No, currently they are not with added resistance, hence why I am considering increasing the difficulty by adding weight, since it does seem a bit foolish to continue to simply increase reps thereby making them an endurance exercise.
Thanks for the reply.
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Old 08-06-2011, 08:02 AM   #4
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Default Re: Strength training questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeseph View Post

I'd rather not get into it yet since I am happy with bodyweight workouts.
However, I do think that progressing with the amount of reps in each set is going to be superfluous in a while so I am considering upping the intensity by having extra weight by putting dumbell weights in a little sack and performing the exercises with that on. Which brings me to my questions:
What rep range should I keep the exercises in if I am introducing weights?
Should I follow the weight training range of 3-5?
Should the weight be enough so that I am struggling to finish my last set?

Thanks for taking the time to look at my thread and feel free to critique my workout in any way that you think is appropriate since I am hungry for new knowledge.
Weighted or not weighted doesn't magically mean you have to change the rep ranges to get benefit.

The OPTIMAL for strength training is 1-5 reps, but does that mean you can't get very strong doing 6-20 reps on some things? Of course not. If you can do 20 one armed pushups with 20kg on your back, will you not get strong? Should you only do 5 because that's "strength training"?
Don't get caught up too much in the reps. HOWEVER, there should be a good chunk of your training time taken up by heavier, lower rep work. It is lower rep because you can't DO more reps, not because you are just doing less because your plan says so. So in response to your questions, add some weight and see how you go. When its bodyweight stuff, and similar movements its difficult to overload them too much, hence why dumbells and barbells are very useful in this. What's easier - to load up 100kg on the bench press, or balance 40kg on your back in an evenly distributed manner for pushups? That's why most bodyweight stuff is higher rep. But as I said, if you are doing 20 knuckle decline pushups, and in 2 months you can do 20 of them with a 20kg backpack on, you will be stronger. But on the pullups, for example, since they are easier to hang some weight off you, and nail something HEAVY that you can't do more than 5-6 reps with, that will be a great strength builder. Plyometrics are also a good way to get stronger and more explosive using bodyweight and without resistance.
A struggle is not necessary for you to get stronger, but if you are getting tired and have to work for it, do so, why not! But you don't have to AIM for that or think you are wasting your time.
Anything else, let me know, not sure if I was a bit vague.
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Old 08-06-2011, 08:11 AM   #5
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Default Re: Strength training questions

Dips and pullups are probably the "easiest" to add weight to, so build up with that. Don't worry about the reps. If you can do 3x10 with a weight (or no weight), add some and build up to 3x10 over the next few sessions.
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Old 08-06-2011, 08:33 AM   #6
joeseph
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Default Re: Strength training questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSmall View Post
Weighted or not weighted doesn't magically mean you have to change the rep ranges to get benefit.

The OPTIMAL for strength training is 1-5 reps, but does that mean you can't get very strong doing 6-20 reps on some things? Of course not. If you can do 20 one armed pushups with 20kg on your back, will you not get strong? Should you only do 5 because that's "strength training"?
Don't get caught up too much in the reps. HOWEVER, there should be a good chunk of your training time taken up by heavier, lower rep work. It is lower rep because you can't DO more reps, not because you are just doing less because your plan says so. So in response to your questions, add some weight and see how you go. When its bodyweight stuff, and similar movements its difficult to overload them too much, hence why dumbells and barbells are very useful in this. What's easier - to load up 100kg on the bench press, or balance 40kg on your back in an evenly distributed manner for pushups? That's why most bodyweight stuff is higher rep. But as I said, if you are doing 20 knuckle decline pushups, and in 2 months you can do 20 of them with a 20kg backpack on, you will be stronger. But on the pullups, for example, since they are easier to hang some weight off you, and nail something HEAVY that you can't do more than 5-6 reps with, that will be a great strength builder. Plyometrics are also a good way to get stronger and more explosive using bodyweight and without resistance.
A struggle is not necessary for you to get stronger, but if you are getting tired and have to work for it, do so, why not! But you don't have to AIM for that or think you are wasting your time.
Anything else, let me know, not sure if I was a bit vague.
Cheers for the reply, vague or not you've raised some very good points. I do agree with you in that strength gains are not dependent on smaller rep ranges. However, although most bodyweight exercises are done in the higher rep range, is it not more useful and efficient (at least i think so, I may be misguided) to do say 5 chin ups with a 20kg dumbell added weight or 20 bodyweight chin ups? (Time saving is one of the main reasons I am considering upping the difficulty with added weight, since I can get more done in a shorter amount of time)

You mentioned the one arm push ups. I have always thought about training in order to do the one armed variety of chin ups and push ups, but was afraid that too much time would be spent on trying to learn a new skill that could be spent on increasing reps or difficulty for the two armed conventional types. Would you recommend learning how to do them?

And I do agree with you on the advantages of efficiency and safety of weight training (if done properly of course). I do aim to join a normal gym to work on strength training as soon as my uni work slows down, however in the meantime, it is just more convenient and cheaper to work out at home.

In relation to the pylometrics, I do burpees, clap push ups, jump squats and step jumps in intervals (I'm assuming that is the best way to perform them). Are there some other exercises that you might be able to recommend? Oh and should pylometrics be performed to failure (whilst not sacrificing form)?

Once again, thanks for reading my post and giving a reply
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Old 08-06-2011, 09:07 AM   #7
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Default Re: Strength training questions

Don't worry about the time spent. 20 reps will take you 20-30 seconds. 5 heavy reps will take you 10 seconds. The overall time spent lifting/moving is very small, if you want to save time, cut down your rest time, but not to a degree of sacrificing strength for your working sets, remember its a strength day, not a conditioning day.
And with 20 pullups vs 5 weighted pullups, yes obviously the heavier one would be more beneficial for strength building. Pullups and dips are easier to add weight and keep the form solid, with pushups, bodyweight squats with weight in a backpack or something, things like that, the technique can go to pot at heavier weights for lower reps. I.e you can't do a 1 rep max on a pushup, it will be more a balance exercise I imagine.

Yeah I wouldn't worry too much about the one armed stuff, the time spent learning is not really worth it for your purposes, it was just an example of you getting stronger with higher reps and that it isn't a death sentence.

Plyometrics are as you said. Other exercises, maybe some medicine ball throws, straight throws or rotational throws. You don't go to failure with plyometrics. Emphasis is on EXPLOSION and maximal force exerted, stick to 6-10 sets of 2-5 reps.
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Old 08-06-2011, 09:16 AM   #8
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Default Re: Strength training questions

Yes, you're right, push ups with weights on top do seem hard to execute with heavy weights compared to dips and chin ups. I'll have a go at adding weight to them, progressing eventually to 3x10 as you said earlier.
Thanks for the advice on the pylometrics as well, you have been an enormous help sir!
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