For many athletes, we have been able to return to the gym. It’s great and most people are incredibly happy and feel blessed for a day or two.
Then, reality sets in: I have lost strength.
And while the reality is that you probably haven’t lost strength neurologically, your body is slightly deconditioned. Getting yourself back under heavy load or grabbing that kettlebell you used to do swings with will FEEL heavy. So let’s embrace that.
Travis Mash has taken a method called PAP or Post Activation Potentiation and run with it. So much so, in fact, that he calls it the Mash Method. If you don’t know who Travis Mash is, look him up. He’s an excellent coach, lifelong learner and fun to listen to.
There are many approaches to PAP but we are going to focus on one specifically. It’s pretty simple. Load up a bar with more weight than you intend on lifting, about 5% more, get under it and hold it in position to move it for 15-30 seconds (works particularly well for squat, bench, and press). Rest 45-60 seconds and then go back to your intended weight and crush it!
We aren’t setting new personal bests right now, but let’s take this idea and apply it to our current situation. We know we want to start feeling more comfortable under heavy load again and the PAP principle above states that you should hold 5% more than what you intend on lifting.
Thus, overloaded barbell holds:
1) Back Squat hold: great if you feel like your upper back strength took a beating during the lockdown. Put the bar where you normally do on your back, walk it out, brace like it’s heavy as sh!t, since it probably feels like it, for 15-20 seconds, then walk it back in.
2) Bench hold: if getting back under a bar to bench scares you right now, do this. When you hold it, it will force you to find all the good positions you once had for your bench: shoulder tuck, core bracing, lower body activation and tension.
3) Press hold or Front Rack hold: this actually works great for someone who is plateaued on press because the hardest part is the first 6 inches of the movement. The heavy load forces you to lock in and then a new PR weight will feel like it can be moved easier. This also works great if you want to re-develop the anterior core strength and upper back strength for a strong front rack position and get the shoulders feeling mobile and healthy under load versus taking the strain on your wrist and elbows.
This method works great in three specific places in a training session:
1) Following a thorough warm up but before getting into the core lift for the day. It causes you to fight the weight and gets the body and mind ready to go to battle against the metal 🙂
2) As discussed previously during heavy attempts. Not a method we are likely to use now but can be utilized once stamina and structure have returned for our athletes
3) As conditioning at the end of a workout. It’s simple, causes little to no impact on the ligaments and tendons and will make you work HARD!
Try it out yourself or come to FIT and experience it first hand!