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Monday, March 7, 2011

Pattern practice for strength gains

There has been lots of talk about the Dan John/Pavel 40 day training program lately and quite a few people are having a tough time understanding how you can perform the same movements every day. I understand that this method may be tough in large groups or with high school athletes but the principles behind it are amazingly simple.

Here I will outline a easy template on how to practice a movement every day without feeling like that's all you are doing.

I will focus on 4 patterns so you can get the idea. They are:

Hip Hinge
upper body push
upper body pull

Yes, there are many more but I want to make this clear as mud. There will be 3 components that are practiced in this program and they are:

Movement Preparation or MP- you will practice the patterns as part on your warm-up once asymmetries and imbalances are addressed.

Deliberate Pattern Practice or DPP- you will focus on 1 or 2 patterns with a relatively low weight for 1 to 2 sets done at the beginning of your workout but after the prep.

Core Lift or CL- this is one of the lifts that you have a primary focus on. If you are focusing on deadlifts and pull-ups that day then these are your Core lifts

Here is how you can lay this out in a 4 day strength training program. I will use a MP, DPP and CL every day and practice one of these patterns via of those. I will address a squat, hip hinge, upper body push and upper body pull on each of these.

You can add much more volume to these as they are examples and not full workouts

Day 1

MP-pushups, 2 sets of 10-15 reps- upper body push

DPP- 2x10 goblet squats-squat

CL #1 Deadlift- covers the hip hinge

Cl #2 bent rows- upper body pull

Day 2

MP-naked hip hinge- this is a patterning drill with no weight. I normally have my athletes tap their butts on the wall- hinges

DPP- 2X10 DB rows- upper body pull

CL #1 front squat- squat
CL #2 Bench press- upper body push

Day 3

MP- Body weight squats- squats

DPP 2x10 light DB press- upper body push

CL#1 Pull-up- upper body pull
CL #2 RDL- hip hinge

Day 4

MP- 2x15 band rows- upper body pull

DPP- 2x25 kettlebell swings- hip hinge

CL#1 Back squat- squat
CL #2 Incline bench press- upper body push

There are hundreds of variations on this but I hope you get the idea. I would rather have my athletes own 4-8 exercises in 12 weeks instead of stinking at 16 in 12 weeks.

My point is that you are giving the athlete a basic skill set and understanding of how to move properly instead of confusing them and their CNS. If I am teaching someone how to build a shed I am going to start with a hammer, screwdriver, saw and a wrench. I would not give them a hilti gun, dremel tool, chainsaw and power drill and expect them how to use it.

Teaching proper movement is a gift. This gift can keep you moving better, feeling better and performing better. It can also keep you from injuring yourself.

Movement is a process and proper steps must be taken to move well and to move often.

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