Written By: Brandon Lum
Consistency is King - a statement commonly heard echoed as one finds their place at King: Strength and Performance - a sentiment many would agree with, but not necessarily follow. As a multi-sport athlete, I’ve been drilled to practice, practice, practice; to run consistently, whether that be 4-5 times a week, or running two-a-days. Traditionally, an average week for an average amateur runner consists of some kind of a long run, some form of speed work, a base run, and a recovery run. You can sprinkle in different flavors and some extra toppings to make it fun/exciting, but ultimately that’s most weeks.
Let’s try a little scenario:
You’re planning on running a half-marathon, maybe this is your first half or maybe you’re a bit more seasoned and this is your fifth. You have a typical 9-5, so you need to run either really early so you have time to stretch, shower, and then get to work, or you run in the evening after work, though a little tired, you won’t have to worry about falling asleep at your desk. Maybe you also have a goal of a certain pace or maybe a certain finish time. You decide you need a plan that fits your schedule as well as get you to the finish line in the time you want so you look online for some kind of running plan, find something suitable, and then start running. Race day comes, you run your race and finish, congratulations! The next few questions/answers that pop up usually consist of:
All these questions are valid, but it starts somewhere. After you’ve decided you’re mentally ready, now you have to prepare yourself physically. What’s the plan? Find a new plan or maybe use the same plan, run a little faster, a little harder, and hope your finish time is better than your current one? Eventually you hit a wall, whether that be limitations of your body or mentally you’re just done. One thing people may not realize or notice, professional athletes at the highest levels don’t just become the best by just doing the same thing over again and continuously beating up their body without the very least taking care of it. There was some news floating around a bit ago, Lebron James - Basketball Player, considered by many as one of the greatest of all time - spent ~$1.5 Million on his body each year to make sure he’s in tip-top shape for all the abuse he takes. Eliud Kipchoge - Marathon Runner, considered by many as the greatest marathon runner of all time, first individual to break the 2 hour barrier for a marathon - gets a massage after every run, takes an ice bath after every run, and even trained in a gym before starting his world-record breaking races, of note, specifically revolving around his 2019 year consisting of his record breaking marathon in Berlin (2:01:39) and his mind-shattering 2 hour barrier marathon. These two individuals specifically, considered at the top of their field, don’t just compete in their respective sport and do nothing else. They take care of their bodies, whether that be nutrition, sleeping at a reasonable time for an appropriate amount of hours, taking “easy” days for recovery, working hard on “hard” days, and also many hours in the gym. We don’t all have $1.5 Million to spend on our bodies and we don’t have top tier coaches or masseuses to tell us how to train or how to recover or what to eat. Some of us go to a gym, MAYBE get a personal trainer/coach, drink beers, eat junk food or fast food, hang out late, have a job, spend time with our friends and family.
As an athlete, I’ve always felt that a strong foundation builds for performance. You have to walk before you can run. In the case of strength training, you have to have strong enough muscles to help stabilize your skeletal structure to take on the beating of whatever activities you plan on doing. I joined King: Strength and Performance because I’m a strong believer that Consistency IS King. I saw that there was a great benefit to strength training as a base to not only help avoid tacking on more injuries to my long history, but also to help me perform at a higher level, consistently. I may not become the world’s fastest runner or a name that is known in every household, but I’ll be sure to be known amongst my peers as an individual that puts in the work and time to make sure I am still competing 20, 30, 40 years from now.
5 TIPS FROM KING STRENGTH & PERFORMANCE TO SQUEEZE IN YOUR TRAINING BEFORE A BUSY WORK DAY.
As far as gym excuses go, we've heard them all at King Strength and Performance...
"I'M SURE I'D LOOK LIKE THAT TO, IF I DIDN'T HAVE A FULL-TIME JOB."
"I REALLY WANT TO HIT THE GYM LATER, BUT I HAVE NO MOTIVATION AFTER 8 HOURS OF WORK."
"I WANT TO BE IN BETTER SHAPE, BUT I JUST DON'T HAVE THE TIME."
This list could go on for days, but that's not what you came here for. Fitting in a workout in your daily schedule can seem like an impossible task.
With long work days, your schedule is probably all booked up right? But somehow, we always manage to fit an hour long scrolling session on Instagram or an extra episode of Netflix at night. Whether we like it or not, we all have the same 24 hours in a day. It's all about priorities.
Right now, setting an alarm 1.5 hours earlier sounds about as fun as doing burpees in class. However, the endorphin high that you feel the rest of the day is worth it.
Here are some hopefully helpful tips to get in that workout before a busy day at work:
If you have any tips of your own - share them below! We would love to hear your personal advice and share it with the King Strength and Performance community!
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ACCUMULATION VS INTENSIFICATION
As a reminder, we rotate our strength blocks between two central themes:
We're finishing the first accumulation block of 2020 where the theme was Advanced German Volume Training, where the primary focus to effectively build endurance and improve our work capacities. The improvements will be seen in the next strength block immediately.
For Strength Block #2 of 2020, we are shifting gears and heading into an intensification block. The theme of this intensification block is the 5x5. It will take us 4 weeks to go through this strength block cycle.
THE HISTORY OF 5X5
THE 5X5 IS FOCUSED ON THE BIG THREE MOVEMENTS: SQUAT, BENCH AND DEADLIFT WITH THE PROGRAM DIVIDED INTO HEAVY, MODERATE AND LIGHT VERSIONS.
March's King Strength and Performance strength block is the famous 5x5, a program invented by strength and conditioning legend and pioneer Bill Starr.
Bill Starr landed on the set and rep scheme because he thought it was the perfect balance of volume and intensity that would develop muscular size and strength at the same time.
For some historical context, Starr designed this program at the time when most of his athletes and lifters worked full-time, manual labor jobs outside of training. They'd do hard labor in factories and then after work, they had to go to the gym to train.
Starr had to be strategic with program design to get the most results for his athletes. By trial and error, he realized what we adapt to is the most important. And that it's not about how much one can do, but about how much one can sustainably handle.
His methods became something of a legend and ushered a whole new world of strength and conditioning that took deep roots in all aspects of the physical culture.
WHAT MAKES THE 5X5 SPECIAL?
The 5x5 program split is three separate days focused on the big three: Squat, Bench and Deadlift. The program is broken up into a heavy, moderate and light version.
This is important because it was one of the first great attempts to look at pattern development from a movement perspective and performance perspective. On one hand, you need a certain level of exposure to master the movement. On the other hand, you need a certain amount of intensity to perform optimally in the movement.
But if you push one exercise everyday at maximal intensity, you will break (which we imagine was a product of learning this the hard way). There has to be proper manipulation and variability in training intensity to accommodate proper recovery.
HERE'S HOW THE 5x5 PROGRAM WORKS
The 5x5 program has three days that start with a heavy version of Squat, Bench or Deadlift followed by a moderate version of Squat, Bench or Deadlift, followed again by a light version of Squat, Bench or Deadlift.
You push the weight as heavy as you can on each for 5 sets of 5 reps but the weight is deloaded based on the rage of motion, vector, distance from center of gravity, joints involved, and balance required.
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