Miscellaneous Miscellany Monday: It’s Go Time Edition
It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these.
First things first: We’re in the final countdown for baby Gentilewis1 to arrive. Lisa entered week #40 this week and we’re gearing up for the due date which is technically this Friday, January 27th.
We think we’re ready, but we’re both pretty realistic about the shit-show (literally and figuratively) that’s about to be dropped into our laps. Don’t get me wrong: we’re both super excited and pumped. However, all of that is met with equal parts trying not to destroy the back of our pants too.
If for some reason I happen to not update this blog this week, you will know why.
Wish us luck….;o)
1. It’s still surreal to think that by this time next week I’ll be someone’s daddy. I have zero confidence I’ll be able to keep my bearings and I know it’s going to be one of the most emotional and spectacular events of my life.
My emotions came to the forefront even more this past weekend when I finally sat down to watch the documentary, Gleason.
It’s hard to explain in words how this film made me feel. As a relatively newlywed (1.5 years) and a dad-to-be, it definitely brought to light the unparalleled beauty, complexity, and tragedy that life can deal us sometimes. We can either bow down or do something about it.
Do yourself a favor and watch this film. Keep a box of Kleenex handy too.
2. My wife is a rock star. Throughout her entire pregnancy she’s been hitting the gym pretty hard. She’s kept up with her strength training 3-4x per week in addition to teaching three spin classes per week.
Lisa will be 35 weeks pregnant tomorrow. Forget the idea that we’re quickly approaching the “shit is now getting real” window and that I’m equal parts excited and trying not to destroy the back of pants. How cool is it that Lisa’s still getting after it in the gym? Strength training through pregnancy can be a tricky thing and I always default to how the woman feels and whether or not anything makes her feel weird. Prior experience plays a key role here. In Lisa’s case: 20+ years of strength training prior (and the load used in this video – 155 lbs – is no where near her 1RM). All that said I do find there’s still a lot of stigma with training through pregnancy and unfortunately many women are told to stop lifting weights. Of course no pregnancy is the same, but assuming one is healthy and has experience there’s no reason not to keep up with it. Modifications need to be addressed as a woman progresses (in the case of the video above we elevated the trap bar, even with high handle setting, to accommodate for her belly), but we need to do a better job at relaying the message that pregnancy is NOT a disease and doesn’t mean you have to be relegated to the elliptical and pink dumbbells.
Although, she did stop teaching her classes three weeks ago and has only been attending them since. Slacker.
I feel there’s a lot of stigma with regards to strength training and pregnancy, which I find dumbfounding. Everyone is different and the answer as to whether or not a woman can (or should) do it is dependent on her previous experiences (and preferences). That said, women have been giving birth for thousands & thousands of years in much more complicated scenarios, and the body is more resilient than we give it credit for sometimes.
There’s a degree of bias in me saying this but, I don’t feel strength training is in any way deleterious during pregnancy. In my eyes strength training during this time is helping to prepare the body for something a helluva lot more taxing than a few sets of deadlifts.
I wrote a much more thorough article on the topic a few years ago HERE when I was working with a few female clients through their first pregnancy.
3. I’ll be the first to admit my wife is a bit of an outlier. As an example throughout her pregnancy she’s still been hammering her chin-ups (and having weird taco cravings). Even with 25-30 lbs of natural progressive overload she’s been crushing them. Beast mode.
I think she made it to week #34 or 35 before she started giving me the “dude, really? look” and we stopped performing bodyweight chins and started using band assistance. She’s already planning her “come back” and is excited to give Kourtney Thomas and Jen Sinkler’s The Bigness Project a go once she’s cleared to resume normal physical activity.
I happened to get an advance copy of it last week, and am really impressed. What I love is the message: it’s okay, nay, more than okay, for women to want to put on muscle.
All this past week Kourtney and Jen have been putting out killer content in anticipation of it’s release this week:
And the latest, Pace Yourself for Big Payoffs.
Keep your eyes peeled because this program is going to change a lot of women’s lives.
4. The topic of program design is an abyss of dichotomies, paradoxes, and juxtapositions. What works for one person may have the polar opposite effect on someone else. I never like to marry myself to any ONE way of doing anything and wholeheartedly believe that it’s important to cater each program to the individual.
What’s more, each program is going to be contingent on several factors:
- Past/current injury history.
- Training frequency.
- Ability/Experience level.
- Equipment availability.
- Expectation management. I had someone ask me to write them a program to bring their deadlift from 300 to 400 lbs in four weeks. Um, yeah, what’s next? Beating The Mountain in being a ginormous human being?
This will likely be a topic of a more thorough blog post down the road, but there are some “rules” I have to program design to carry over to most everyone.
- I LOVE using fillers. In short, there are various l0w-grade mobility, activation, stretching drills that are paired with a strength exercise. So, rather than make someone feel like a patient and bore them to tears with a litany of “correctives,” I can include fillers to take on that role and still ensure a training effect. For example, if someone lacks hip flexor length and t-spine mobility a good pairing may be:
- Trap Bar Deadlift: 3×5
- Stationary Spiderman w/ Reach 3×4/side
- Volume is an under-appreciated component of muscle growth. However, it’s important to understand that training to failure all…the…time isn’t the same thing as volume.
Volume aids muscle growth. Training to failure all the time impedes your ability to do more volume due to fatigue. Leave 1-2 reps in tank.
— Tony Gentilcore (@tonygentilcore1) January 13, 2017
- I’ve been trying to do a better job at making sure my clients leave a rep or two in the tank in their earlier sets. The idea is that if they putter out too quickly, it’s going to impede their ability to hit all their prescribed reps in the first place.
- Along the same lines, and a bit counterintuitive given what I said above, one easy way to get your bench up is to include more rest/pause AMRAP sets. This is something I “stole” from strength coach Greg Robins. After you hit your top set on your bench do this:
- 80% of 1RM for AMRAP, rest 20s, AMRAP, rest 20s, AMRAP
- Rest 3 Minutes
- 75% of 1RM for AMRAP, rest 20s, AMRAP, rest 20s, AMRAP
- Try not to die.
5. Two coaches who are putting out amazing content of late are:
Check them out if you aren’t already.
And that’s all she wrote. See you tomorrow, I think….;o)