Good Friday all! (Pun always intended.) Welcome to the latest installment in our epic story that never ends. Today I want to discuss with you what I like to call Building and Chasing. It is the fundamental cornerstone of my current strength training routines. In a nut shell, it involves subjecting your body to familiar stressors over a period of time (Building) followed by changing stressors over the period of a routine (Chasing.)
Consider it this: Building a foundation on which to put a home.
In a weight training anecdote, consider the following, if you spend all your time constantly increasing the weight you can move in any given exercise, you will eventually hit a point where you approach what is considered your one rep max. Imagine now that every workout you chase that same high point, constantly placing a new stress on your body. Well, like building a tower, eventually it’s going to collapse on its self if the base gives way under the weight. But if you take the time to build the strength or density of that base, then you can continue to build that tower higher and higher without risk of toppling! Or in the case of strength gains it is equivalent to blowing out a joint, tearing a muscle, or a myriad of other injuries that can occur from over exertion of the body.
Now, being on this kick, several of my clients have also been forced to go through this methodology (I’d never teach anything I didn’t know worked on me) and they have been great sports through the process, each enjoying the physical differences they could see and feel in their power as we have come towards the end of this Macro Cycle of Building and Chasing.
For 4 weeks (The length of my Macro Cycles) I have kept them on a rotating strength micro cycle (Bi-Weekly alteration.) During the first week of the cycle, they Chased weight.
By Chasing weight I mean, they followed a pyramid type scheme (12-10-8-6 Rep ranges) increasing weight on each successive set by 5 – 10#’s over the duration of 4 sets always aiming for 12 reps, and falling in a predictable pattern of less reps as the weight went up.
In the following week, they repeated the same exercises, and same weights, this time aiming for 12 reps every set. In doing so, many of them were able to reach 12 reps with as much as the first 3 sets not following the same repetition decline as before. This is when they were doing their Building.
Now, on to week 3, we started from the highest number they reached 12 reps at, and started chasing again, moving up in weight 5 – 10#’s on each successive set.
Again, the predictable pattern of decreased reps over increased weight returned.
And for the final week of this Macro cycle we repeated the building again and achieved similar results where up to the third set was pushed to 12 reps.
In the most extreme of the strength gains, I had a client go from Dead Lifting a 45# bar, to 185#’s on the bar in just one month. Another client found themselves from struggling with Bench Pressing a 45# bar to having a 45# plate on each end of the bar (135# total.)
Their gains were quick, and their form stayed solid!
This was because with each subsequent routine, they took the time to make sure all the stabilizing muscles and tissue was conditioned to the stresses that were being put against it. This allowed them to then be further stressed and then the foundation strengthened even more, creating an opportunity for their gains to increase over the period of 1 month by as much as 400%.
So that’s where this methodology helps out those who are new to Strength Training, but what about those of us who are veterans of it? The ones who need new stimuli to encourage further muscle growth and development, and better yet, what to do with that new found strength and development?
For this, I am the guinea pig.
I used the method of Building and Chasing and applied it to a 2 Macro cycle endeavor.
Over the course of 4 weeks I began the cycle with a week of power lifting, chasing my max weights with a pyramid rep and weight fashion, followed by a week of 3 sets of body weight exercises that do not repeat themselves in any set. These first two weeks were my new stimuli for my body, my Chasing. The two weeks that followed, I repeated my power exercises except rather than chasing weight, chasing reps on the same weight up to 12. For my bodyweight week, I chose 1 exercise per muscle grouping and repeated it over the course of the 3 sets. These were my Building weeks.
In the following cycle, I repeated the endeavor, following the same methodology. This cycle has concluded on many personal bests for me and some pretty wild bodyweight feats. Some of which will be appearing in video form soon! I don’t want to spoil it, nor use my blog as a platform for bragging so I will end with this.
To those of you just starting out, this is my own proven methodology for some serious strength gains in as little as one month.
For those of you who are experienced and trying to get off a killer plateau, use this method when planning your next cycle. It helped me break things up and crushed some of my plateaus!
Always keep changing your mode when your body is no longer responding to the stimuli.
Shake things up! In life and in the gym.