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MAX SET PROTOCOL This is a highly specific protocol for increasing reps on a max out set.
Lets use pullups as an example. After a light warmup that doesnt deplete any
energy from the prime mover muscles which in this case would be back, biceps
and forarms proceed to do 2-3 max sets of pullups with a minimum of 5 minute
rest between sets. The third set is optional. Sometimes the second set will be
greater than the first set, but the third set should never be better than the first
two unlessthe intensity was not 100%.
This protocol is to be completed 3 days in a row followed by one day of
complete rest. Active recovery is ok(example walking up 50-100 flights of stairs
at a medium intensity. This allows the back, biceps and forearms to recover
while still getting the blood flowing throughout the body which should help
speed recovery by way of increased nutrient delivery.
OK, so each cycle lasts 4 days(3 on, 1 off). It works best if you only do
the 2-3 sets and no other strength training. Doing more than the required 2-3
sets would create an inroad to recovery that would impede the results. If there
is any other training done with this protocol it has to be of light to medium
intensity and has to be opposing muscles or opposite body muscles (i.e. lower
This is what you can expect -- On the first day of the second cycle you
should match your previous record. On the second day of the second cycle you
should exceed your previous record. On the third day of the second cycle you
may exceed your previous record once again or match your prior days new
personal record. If you choose to try again on the fourth day you can almost
certainly expect a decline in performance again creating a deeper inroad to
recovery. At this point you would need 2 days off before starting a new cycle
and you risk not increasing your numbers during the next cycle. (3 days on
1 day off works best). This may sound like you are not doing a lot of work and
that is true, but the intensity has to be at 100% to make the progress. This will
require the correct nutrient intake, rest, sleep, and preworkout routine (mental
preparation) but the result will be weekly or biweekly increase in max number
Form also should be full range of motion. This is important for proper
postural integrity of the joints and to maintain the correct length-tension
relationships of the muscles during rest-( helps to avoid tight muscles, muscle
pulls, strains, etc.) Of course a proper stretching routine should also be in use
duringrecovery and pre and post training. (static, active, dynamic and self
RECAP - day 1 - 2 max sets with 5-10 minute rest
day 2 - 2 max sets with 5- 10 minute rest (expect to beat record)
day 3 - 2 max sets with 5- 10 minute rest (expect to match or beat record)
day 4 - rest
day 5 - repeat cycle
This is a highly specialized protocol that works best when followed strictly for one
exercise or simultaneous superset. ( i.e. benders - 1 muscle up, one pullup, one leg
raise). It is not for building size or getting a full body workout. Higher volume
training would be better for size and calorie burn. This is the exact protocol I used
in 2011 to win the Bar-barians forum competition for Benders. Give it a try if you
like and let me know how it goes. Yours in Health, Kalosthenos
Invented by Izumi Tabata from Japan, this protocol consists of 20
seconds of maximum effort followed by a 10 second rest for 8 consecutive
rounds. Use any exercise for this protocol and score the last round. Your
score is how many reps you can complete in the last round. This protocol
taps in theanaerobic and aerobic energy pathways and is excellent for
encreasing the VO2 max and increasing muscle endurance.
Pick any number of exercises and the specified reps you
wish tocomplete and perform the entire workout in the shortest
timepossible. You must stay with each exercise and complete the
required number of reps before moving on to the next exercise.
Example: 100 pushups
100 air squats
Record the time it takes to complete the workout, then try it at a later
date attempting to beat your time.
HIGH INTENSITY TRAINING (HIT): Not to be confused with HIIT. HIT is a
series exericises performed in order without rest except to catch your breath
or get a sip of water. This is not for the weak minded individual or
the inexperienced trainee. One must possess a high intensity attitude
to get the full potential of Hit Training. Hit is total body training.
Example 1: Bar-barians requirements 40 dips
All completed in one set each and in under 6 minutes.
Example 2: 50 pushups
10 handstand presses(against wall)
20 hanging leg raises
50 decline situps
30 back extensions
50 walking lunges
100 air squats
Complete the required number of reps in as little time as
possible. Take note of which exercises you couldn't complete
in one set and keep trying till you succeed. Then make the
exercise more difficult by adding reps, weight or switching
to a harder exercise.
HIIT-HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING:
HIIT is a broad term for interval training that consists of different work
to rest ratios. Tabata is a specific HIIT protocol with a 2:1 work to rest
ratio. Here we will explain different work to rest ratios depending on
which energy reserve system you wish to train. In the first stage of
anaerobic work the body utilizes the phosphocreatine system.
This system of energy typically lasts for 10-30 seconds and is
followed by a 30-90 second rest interval. The second stage(glycolytic)
of anaerobic work kicks in approximately 30 seconds in and continues
to be thedominant energy resource til 120 seconds has passed. This is
typically followed by a 60-240 second rest. The third stage of energy
is the oxidative(requiring oxygen)stage and is commonly referred to
as aerobic work.This is the dominantenergy pathway in intervals of
120 - 300 seconds and is followed by rest of 120 - 300 seconds.
RECAP: ANAEROBIC PHOSPHOCREATINE: WORK 10 -30 SECONDS
RATIO 1:3 REST 30-90 SECONDS
GLYCOLYTIC STAGE: WORK 30-90 SECONDS
RATIO 1:2 REST 60-240 SECONDS
AEROBIC OXIDATIVE STAGE: WORK 120 -300 SECONDS
RATIO 1:1 REST 120-300 SECONDS
TAKEAWAY: STRENGTH TRAINING - STAY IN PHOSPOCREATINE STAGE
MUSCLE HYPERTROPHY(SIZE) - STAY IN GLYCOLYTIC STAGE
MUSCLE ENDURANCE AND VO2 MAX - STAY IN OXIDATIVE
Like Tabata, many protocols tap into all 3 pathways. This is because as you
start the protocol the body uses the phosphocreatine reserves then the
glycolytic path takes over and finally 2 minutes into the tabata the oxidative
path kicks in. HIIT can be highly specific to your goals or you can use it
for overall fitness.
DENSITY TRAINING: Used to rapidly gain strength, endurance or both. First
picka target goal of reps you wish to complete. For example lets say you
want to do 30 pullups in a row. Double the goal amount, meaning
your total volume is going to be 60 pullups. Start with 5 reps per minute
for 12 minutes. When this becomes easy move to 6 reps per minute for 10
minutes . When this becomes easy move to 7 reps per minute for 9 minutes.
Follow this progression until you reach 15 reps per
minute for 4 minutes. When you can perform half the goal amount (30/2=15)
for 4 minutes easy, you will theoretically be able to do your
goal of 30. Perform this protocol twice per week.
For more on density training look up Charles Staley and Ethan Reeves.
FATIGUE CYCLING: This is a type of fixed rep workout. Choose exercises in
order of difficulty. Start with the hardest exercise and then
continue on to the next easiest without rest. Do higher reps on the
easier exercises and lower reps on the harder ones.
Example: 5 pseudo planche pushups
10 diamond pushups
15 elevated feet pushups
20 standard pushups
When this becomes easy reverse the order. The workout now becomes
much harder due to the fatigue from earlier exercises.
When this becomes easy you can add more reps, or pick more
TIMED INTERVAL: Pick one or more exercises and choose the time you
wish your training session to last. perform as many reps as possible in
the time allotted.
Example 1: As many air squats as possible in 5 minutes.
Example 2: As many pushups and pullups as possible in 10 minutes.
Do equal amounts of pushups and pullups. For example 10 pushups then
10 pullups and keep going back and forth.
In order to track you progress you must record how many reps you
complete so you can work against you personal record on a later date.
STRENGTH TRAINING: Strength training is typically performing
work in 1- 5 rep max. Rest intervals can run between 2 - 5 minutes allowing
for complete muscle restoration of creatine phosphate.
Example: planche pushups 5 sets of 5 reps
handstand pushups 5 sets of 5 reps
shoulder rolls 5 sets of 3 reps/side
pistol squats 5 sets of 5 reps/side
SINGLE REPS: This is a great strength training protocol. If you can
only do one pullup then multiple singles is a great way to build strength.
Do one every 10 seconds. When that becomes to difficult then extend
the rest to 15 seconds. When this becomes to difficult extend the rest
20 seconds and so on. When you can no longer do the required rep
it's time for negatives.
NEGATIVES: Or commonly referred to as forced negatives. Negatives
are essential when it comes to breaking through plateaus in your
training. For example if you can not complete a one arm pullup
you can try doing the eccentric part of the movement(lowering
of your body from the top position). Use extreme caution. If you
can not control the descent then you are not ready for one arm
pullup negatives. See Isometrics. Lets take a look at a simpler
example. Lets say you can do 50 consecutive pushups.
immediately upon completion of the 50th rep assist yourself
into the top position of the pushup and lower yourself slowly
to the ground. Continue until you can no longer control the
descent. This is a form of fatigue cycling and will build strength
and/or muscle endurance.
DIFFICULTY LADDERS: Pick any number of exercises and perform
them from easiest to hardest.
Example: 5 body rows
5 close grip body rows
5 wide grip body rows
5 close grip pullups
When you can no longer perform the hardest exercise, drop it
and continue with the rest of the exercises until you are left with
only one exercise.
PYRAMID TRAINING:This style of training has been around for
years and well for strength and muscle endurance. When
pyramiding one can pyramid up, down or do a double pyramid.
Deciding what numbered scheme depends on ones goal.
Example: muscle size and strength - 12,10,8,6,4,2,2,4,6,8,10,12
O.K. lets assume here that you are using pullups to build your
back and biceps. Hypothetically client X can do 20 consecutive
pullups. Client X does 20 pullups for a specific warmup. Client X
will perform 12 pullups with a 10 pound dumbell between
his/her feet. 10 pullups with 15 pounds. 8 pullups with
20 pounds and so on. Beginners should start out with a positive
pyramid for a couple weeks then progress to a double pyramid.
Due to the volume of a double pyramid beginners should be
cautioned of the amount of muscle soreness that can be
expected 24-72 hours following a weighted pyramid.
REP LADDERS:Rep ladders are similar to pyramids, but can be used
interchangeably between strength training and muscle endurance
training. For this you will start out with an easy set and increase
the number of reps for each set. When you reach a set that is
challenging start back at the easy set and work your way back up.
Example 2: standard pushups - 5 reps, 10 reps, 15 reps, 20 reps, 25 reps
5 reps, 10 reps, 15 reps
5 reps, 10 reps
5 reps, 5 reps, 5 reps
CIRCUIT TRAINING:Pick any number of exercises and choose the
number reps to be performed by each exercise. Choose the amount
of totaltime you wish to train and perform as many circuits as possible
in the allotted time. Record how many rounds you complete so
you can beat your personal record at a later date. Only break
to catch your breath or get a sip of water. This is a highly aerobic
way to train.
PERIPHERAL HEART ACTION (PHA) CIRCUIT:This term refers to a
circuitwhere upper body and lower body exercises are alternated
back forth. What this does is force the blood flow to keep switching
to different parts of the body as you change exercises emphasizing
different muscle groups. It results in a more demanding workout
for the cardiovascular system because the blood flow isn't able
to get into an established pattern like it could if you were just
working the same muscle groups. CAUTION: this is not for
newcomers. This will work the heart extremely hard.
Example 1: 1 minute of air squats
1 minute of pushups
1 minute of air squats
1 minute of pullups
rest 1 minute and repeat
Example 2: 100 burpees
ISOMETRICS: Isometrics is a type of strength training without any
visiblemovement in the angle of the joint. Also referred to as static
holds.This is a great type of training for beginners as well as the most
advanced trainees. Basic wall sits and planks work well for beginners.
Flex arm pushups and 90 degree pullup hangs work well for inter-
mediate trainees, while planches, levers and human flags work
well for the more advanced. Recording your maximum hold time
and progressively increasing your personal record will reap huge
strength gains. Isometrics are also a great way to enhance
"fatigue cycling" training.
SUPERSLOW TRAINING:Are you looking for a massive pump in the
shortesttime possible. If yes you must try superslow training.
Example 1: 2 minute pullup - 1 minute concentric
1 minute eccentric
Ascend up for 1 minute until your chin is over bar, then
attempt to descend for 1 minute. Only a handful of elite trainees
can accomplish the 2 minute pullup. If you can do it, try reversing
the order. First go down for 1 minute, then pullup for 1 minute.
Example 2: 2 minute dip - first go up, then go down. Reverse direction
for higher level of difficulty.
Notes: Scale down the time based on your level of strength. This
should not be attempted by beginners due to the stress on the joint
structure. Be creative and come up with your own superslow
set based on you personal goals.
PLYOMETRICS:This is the ultimate athletes training protocol.
Plyometricsis a type of exercise training designed to produce fast,
powerfulmovements, and improve the function of the nervous system,
generally for the purpose of improving the performance in sports.
Plyometrics is used to increase the speed or force of muscular
contractions often with the goal of increasing the height of the
jump, press or pull. Think clapping pushup, clapping pullup, box
jump, tuck jump, etc. CAUTION: Plyometric exercise involve an
increased risk of injury due to the large forces generated during
training and performance and should only be performed by well
trained individuals who are under supervision. Good levels of
physical strength, flexibility, and proprioception should be achieved
before commencement of plyometric training.
UNILATERAL PROGRESSIONS:This is a type of strength training that
is usedby the highly skilled trainee. When standard exercises like
pushups, pullups and air squats become relatively easy one can follow
progressions to using one arm or one leg to perform exercises.
Unilateral training takes a high level of core strenght and stability.
Progressive Technique 1:
Step 1 - Basic movement
Step 2 - Weighted movement
Step 3 - Assisted unilateral
Step 4 - Negatives (unilateral)
Step 5 - Negatives plus assisted positive
Step 6 - Unilateral movement
Progressive Technique 2:
Follow specific exercise progressions as defined on "Exercises Page".
PROGRESSIONS:Learning to do an exercise that may seem impossible
is just a matter of knowing the correct progressive steps to embark upon.
Leverage: Pushups with elevated hands on a bar are much easier than
pushups on the ground. Start with pushups elevated and work your
way down inch by inch as you get stronger. Different level bars can
be found at your local park. Gyms have "smith machines" which
have an adjustable bar. You can simply use a bench or invest in rings,
USA apparatus, of TRX system all found at THEBARUNION Store page.
Added Weight: Add weight with a weight vest, dip belt, dumbells
between feet or fill up a back pack with books. All of these can help you
improve your strength and/or size.
Grip Position: Simply move your hands closer or wider on pushups and
pullups to increase the difficulty. Try a mixed(alternate) grip. Finger-
tip pushups or 2 finger pullups. Attempt with extreme caution at your