Different ways to measure lifting progress

There are three main ways to measure lifting progress: intensity, volume and density.

  • Intensity – weight per individual repetition i.e. heavier kettlebell = higher intensity
  • Volume – total amount of reps lifted i.e. more reps = higher volume
  • Density – amount lifted in a given time period i.e. same weight in less time or more weight in the same time = higher density

There are more ways forward than simply lifting a heavier weight and shifting focus between measures can give some nice variety. You may also find you respond to one better than others.

Recently I have been focusing on increasing volume with my kettlebell workouts but am getting close to the maximum I can get out of my current template. I could continue to add volume with additional sets and time but would prefer to keep these workouts shorter than 25 minutes. With that in mind, tonight I worked to increase density by tinkering with rest breaks and press RPM. To give an idea of what that looks like, here’s a comparison of my last two kettlebell workouts. As the weights used do not vary much between workouts I like to measure volume by total weight lifted.

Last week
Intensity = 16/20kg – far from record breaking but not what I am currently aiming for
Volume = 6,000kg – six tonnes, I love that!
Density = all work completed in 22 minutes, so 6000kg/22 = 273kg per minute

This week
Intensity = 16/20kg – same
Volume = 6,000kg – still six tonnes, I still love that!
Density = all work completed in 20.5 minutes, so 6000kg/20.5 = 293kg per minute

So, density goes up by 20kg per minute. Same work done in less time = progress.

I reckon I can squeeze in a couple of RPM more on the jerks and an extra set of presses so next week will be back to a volume focus. I will probably have to increase rest times so will spend the few weeks after that working on getting those reps done in less time (density).

The workout:

Joint mobility warm up

16kg snatch – 3mins, 30sL/30sR, 20RPM = 30L/30R (960kg)
1mins rest
20kg swing/jerk – 4mins, 30sR/30sL, 32RPM/12RPM = 32L/32R/12L/12R (1,760kg)
1min rest
20kg swing/jerk – 4mins, 30sR/30sL, 32RPM/12RPM = 32L/32R/12L/12R (1,760kg)
30sec rest
20kg swing/jerk – 2mins, 30sR/30sL, 32RPM/12RPM = 16L/16R/6L/6R (880kg)
1min rest
16kg press – 4mins, 30sL/30sR, 10RPM = 20L/20R (640kg)

Time = 20.5mins (6,000kg)

Core flow – one round

Back bridge – 2 x 30sec 

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Strength day

Not much to report here really except that this template is working nicely.

Each of these exercise clusters goes together really well and everything felt strong. I’m especially pleased with back lever progress. Each of the four goes through the ring routine had a good strong back lever with one leg extended.

Joint mobility warm up
16kg snatch – 2 x 10R/10L

Ring assisted pistols – 3 x 6R/6L
(prone cobra, 1kg – 3 x 10)

Ring routine (pulling*) – 1,1,1,1
(fire hydrant – 3 x 10R/10L)

Straight bridge – 3 x 12
Ring row – 3 x 6
Pony clamp pinch – 3 x 6R/6L

Weighted one leg glute bridge, 16kg – 2 x 10R/10L
8kg PC shield cast/shoulder cast – 2 x 12R/12L (each exercise)

Back bridge – 2 x 30sec

* 3 l-pull up, inverted hang, back lever, german hang, front lever

Kettlebell timed sets – lots of swinging & jerking

My snatch technique has felt horrible for the last couple of weeks so I’ve reduced the volume. I’ve switched the emphasis over to the swing/jerk combo and will do more regular snatch practice as part of my warm up.

I will stick with this as my template for a while. Progression from here will be to increase RPM for jerks and presses and also reduce rest breaks.

Joint mobility warm up

16kg snatch – 3mins, 30sL/30sR, 20RPM = 30L/30R (960kg)
1mins rest
20kg swing/jerk – 2mins, 30sR/30sL, 32RPM/12RPM = 16L/16R/6L/6R (880kg)
30sec rest
20kg swing/jerk – 2mins, 30sR/30sL, 32RPM/12RPM = 16L/16R/6L/6R (880kg)
30sec rest
20kg swing/jerk – 2mins, 30sR/30sL, 32RPM/12RPM = 16L/16R/6L/6R (880kg)
30sec rest
20kg swing/jerk – 2mins, 30sR/30sL, 32RPM/12RPM = 16L/16R/6L/6R (880kg)
30sec rest
20kg swing/jerk – 2mins, 30sR/30sL, 32RPM/12RPM = 16L/16R/6L/6R (880kg)
1min rest
16kg press – 5mins, 30sL/30sR, 8RPM = 20L/20R (640kg)

Time = 22mins (6,000kg)

Strength day – bodyweight and clubs

I kept to similar format to last week for tonight’s workout. Lots of bridging, glute work and upper body pulling. All good.

I’m still greasing the groove with one arm push up variations so didn’t include any additional pushing exercises. Last week, I played with the idea of adding in HeSPU but it’s unnecessary. I do plenty of overhead pressing/push press/jerking with kettlebells.

The workout:

Joint mobility warm up

Ring assisted pistols – 3 x 5R/5L
(prone cobra, 1kg – 3 x 10)

Ring routine (pulling*) – 1,1
(fire hydrant – 2 x 10R/10L)

Straight bridge – 10,10,10
Ring row – 8,6,6

Weighted one leg glute bridge, 16kg – 2 x 8R/8L

8kg PC shield cast/shoulder cast – 3 x 10R/10L (each exercise)

Back bridge – 2 x 30sec

* L pull up, inverted hang, back lever, german hang, front lever, L pull up

Here is a Novel Concept

I very rarely (never?) write anything on nutrition. This post from Escape The Herd pretty much sums up my views.

There is more to cooking and eating than just the consumption of food. The kitchen and dining table are the centre of our family home and I hope it stays that way.

“Buy real food, cook it, and sit down as a family and eat it. This will improve the health and well being of everyone involved. Don’t have the time or desire to help your children thrive? Stop relying on others to prepare and cook your food.”

http://escapetheherdblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/here-is-novel-concept.html

Monday night kettlebelling

No climbing for me tonight as I went on Saturday instead.

I still wanted to do a little something though so swung some kettlebells around for a while.

Joint mobility

20kg push press – 2mins, 30sL/30sR, 12RPM = 12L/12R (480kg)
30sec rest
20kg push press – 2mins, 30sL/30sR, 12RPM = 12L/12R (480kg)

Swing drop sets:
28kg x 10, 24kg x 20, 20kg x 30 (1,360kg)
28kg x 10, 24kg x 20, 20kg x 30 (1,360kg)
28kg x 10, 24kg x 20, 20kg x 20 (1,160kg)

Total = 4,840kg

Back bridge – 3 x 20sec

Old Time Lifting ?? A Dirty Dozen

I’ve come across a article by Paul Wade that I thought I’d share. He’s the guy that wrote Convict Conditioning.

It details twelve bodyweight exercises that could be used as substitutes for popular barbell exercises. Regardless of whether you use them as subs or not, there is some quite interesting stuff there.

I gave the squatting calf raises a shot last night and the were pretty good (in a pretty bad way!). I also plan to use straight bridges to replace glute ham raises as my hamstring strengthening exercise. My current GHR set up involves jamming my feet under the sofa with a cushion under my knees. It works but isn’t ideal.

Here’s the link:

http://oldtimelifting.com/articles/a-dirty-dozen/