I got a great question the other day that I wanted to address. It’s about how to integrate strength based work into your program, especially when it comes to calisthenics. What we’re talking about here, is using different workouts to emphasize different qualities from your training so that you can do the same exercises in various ways to emphasize endurance hypertrophy and strength. Typically the way it works, is like endurance that is more of the light stuff that you can do for a longer period of time. It’s kind of in the middle and then the strength stuff is the really hard grind work that you can only do for a short period of time. Now again, make no mistake about it, every form of training, no matter what you do is all three of these at all times and it’s just where is the emphasis. Everything builds endurance, everything builds muscle, and everything will build strength to some degree but the question is how do we incorporate strength stuff into our program? This is a very smart thing to do because when you are getting stronger your ability to build muscle and even endurance gets a lot better and a lot of people struggle with these two because they’re not getting stronger, so it makes sense to emphasize the strength to some degree. You can do this a number of ways one is to go with a classic periodization program where you spend a number of weeks at each of these. Usually two to three weeks or so, maybe as much as four to six weeks working on strength based exercises, where you’re just grinding out short reps and really building up your strength. You can also do it on a week by week basis. This is good because you might spend one week heavier hardier style calisthenics and the next week medium style and then the next week even higher. What I like to do is mix it up within the week so I have a three-way split between the big six and combat conditioning and so I have push-ups twice a week. The first time I do push-ups which is Wednesday I go more with the strength style, so I’m picking a push-up variation that I can only do maybe, three to five repetitions. Then four, all the way to the next strength workout which is a max type push up workout that I do, which is on Saturday. I go more in this range where I’m doing an easier push up variation but it’s much higher repetition and this way I get a variety of training within the week. You can also do it within the actual work out itself, so you can do one that’s more high rep, while the next set is medium repetition with a high fatigue factor and in the following set, I recommend going the opposite way, starting with the strength stuff. When your nervous system is fresh then go with the medium set hypertrophy and then your third set is just like a finisher, all out as many reps as you can of an easier version. Drop sets are a classic example of this as they go really heavy then they drop the set down so they’re going medium and then really high as well so you can approach it many different ways. It’s really more of almost a personal preference as to which one works best for you.
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