We're finishing March's strength block where the theme was the 5x5. For April, we'll be focusing on building lean muscle mass, improving our work capacities and improving our body compositions by utilizing a training style known as German Body Composition Training. We're getting conditioning while we're building muscle and burning fat. And the way we're going to do that is try to get a lot more density in our programming.
There are a lot of ways that we can manipulate a strength program.
We can add intensity by adding more weight on a bar; like we did with the 5x5 Block.
We can add volume by adding a set or maybe adding some reps; like we did with German Volume Training.
The other method we can manipulate a strength program is density.
DENSITY IS SIMPLY MORE WORK IN THE SAME PERIOD OF TIME.
So as we're looking at how we are going to manipulate our variables to get more out of training, and we're trying to shift towards this work muscular endurance, work capacity and body composition focus. The more we add in a session, getting more total work in the same designated period of time, the more we're going to get closer to that goal of increasing work capacity and improving our body composition.
The goal of this block is to take all our primary compound movements - squats, bench press, deadlifts, rows, and pull-ups and organize them in a way where you get these functional timeless movements and incorporate them in a specific way to get that desired outcome. In this case, the designed outcome is improving work capacity and body composition.
HOW DOES GERMAN BODY COMPOSITION TRAINING SHRED FAT?
When we look at our energy systems - phosphagen, glycolytic and oxidative, we look at the classification of the energy system, and which primary fuel source is attached.
GERMAN BODY COMPOSITION PREDOMINANTLY TARGETS AND UTILIZES THE OXIDATIVE ENERGY SYSTEM.
In order to get to the shred zone aka the "MAXIMUM FAT BURN ZONE", we need to first exhaust fuel that might impede fat burning. Fuels like glucose and glycogen.
THE BODY USUALLY USES GLUCOSE AND GLYCOGEN, PRIOR TO FAT,WHEN IT IS AVAILABLE. SO IN ORDER TO GET TO THE SHRED ZONE, WE NEED TO DEPLETE THESE SUBSTRATES (GLUCOSE AND GLYCOGEN).
Once we deplete these substrates, we will be able to better utilize fatty acids via oxidation, and thus reach the maximum fat-burning zone.
This process is key for any program focused on fat-burning and body composition.
GERMAN BODY COMPOSITION TRAINING UTILIZES COMPOUND MOVEMENTS
ONE OF THE BEST WAYS FOR YOU TO CHALLENGE AND DEVELOP YOUR FULL BODY IS TO UTILIZE COMPOUND MULTI-JOINT MOVEMENTS.
Movements like: squats, pull-ups, dips, and kettlebell swings.
One of the reasons behind why we utilize compound multi-joint movements is the concept of N.E.A.T. - Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis). This refers to how we utilize our fuel substrates - even after we've stopped working out. Said another way, this is the compound interest of our efforts in the gym. If we only focused on bioenergetics and heart rate, it would be easy to say, "just hop on the assault bike and go." But that is approached is flawed and very limited. Why? Because it fails to account for the idea of specificity.
SPECIFICITY MEANS BECOMING BETTER AT WHAT YOU REPEATEDLY DO.
If you only enter the shred zone on a bike, you body becomes adept at creating systems to handle something it can predict. This will, in turn, lower the effect of N.E.A.T.
BY USING MORE DIVERSE FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENTS. WE RECRUIT MORE MOTOR UNITS, AND HAVE A MUCH GREATER POST-WORKOUT EFFECT THROUGHOUT THE REST OF THE DAY (REMEMBER N.E.A.T.)
(N.E.A.T. means Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) referring to how we burn our fuel substrates - even after we've stopped working out.
HOW TO SET UP GERMAN BODY COMPOSITION TRAINING SESSIONS
We'll be organizing our compound movements into total body circuits consisting of 6 exercises. When you see the workouts on our monitors, they will be indicated as A1 through A6.
Here is an example workout utilizing these protocols.
4x8, 4/0/2/0, REST 10 SECONDS
A1.) Zercher Squats
A2.) Goblet Squats
A3.) Plyo Lunges
A4.) Snatch Grip Deadlifts
A5.) Dumbbell RDLs
A6.) Russian KB Swings
A1, A2, A4 and A5 are those big compound movements, and we're going to utilize a 4-second eccentric tempo for 8 reps. If you do that for time, that's 32 seconds of total time under tension for 4 exercises, so we're getting up into those couple minute marks per set. And we're going to compliment that the middle A3 and end A6 with some sort of total body conditioning in this program.
WHY GERMAN BODY COMPOSITION TRAINING WORKS
The goal is to get about 3-4 minutes of straight continuous work, get recovery, and then go back into that training again. The energy system that is really targeted is the lactic, more aerobic type program. We can get into that fat burning utilizing that energy from fat, depleting our glucose first, which is our carbohydrate sources in our body. Burn through that and then start getting into our fat reserves and that's how we're going to manipulate and hopefully improve our body compositions.
The more density we have usually equates to a better hormonal response post workout, specifically through our anabolic hormones, growth hormones and testosterone. There is pretty good research out there looking at high density, high load, gets a really significant response from those two particular hormones. And if we're looking at changing body composition, you really want to tap into that naturally.
We can do that as long as our nutrition, sleep, and lifestyle is really in check. We can get those really optimized and maximized for the best results possible.
By the end of this block you should have a good platform and understanding of our compound movements, be in better physical shape, become stronger, more durable, more resilient and have a better body composition.
The beauty of German Body Composition training is that it is scalable to different fitness levels. You don't have to implement this training style in all its tortuous glory, you can still adapt some of its underlying principles and see remarkable success.
In the first instance, the idea of shorter rest periods is something of immense value for individuals looking to lose weight, increase volume and potentially induce a greater growth hormone release through training. Similarly the use of slower tempo speeds is something of immense value. This principle increases resistance without raising the weight and somewhat anecdotally, can provide some of the most intense pumps of your life.
Finally, this training style highlights the need for good old fashioned hard work in training programs. As anyone who has done this program's sister, German Volume Training will attest, the difficulty of the workout is often matched by its effectiveness.
We're finishing an accumulation block 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.
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 leading into the first KPI week of 2022!
THE HISTORY OF THE 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.
We believe in strong people and strong communities, and that's why strength is what we preach and coach. So the recipients of this scholarship are those who are involved in "strengthening" their local community and enriching the lives of others.
After sorting through numerous nominations, we have finally selected two winners, one for each of our gym locations: Cranford, NJ and Metuchen, NJ.
Here are our Strength for Strength Scholarship recipients and more information on how they're positively impacting and empowering our communities.
Thank you for all you do.