Baseline for standing broad jump: 79 inches
I've gained a few inches, as I did a measured jump at 6'4" in the summer. I haven't been training for this one hard recently as I had a little hamstring tweak that I didn't want to aggravate. I'll be researching some more exercises to work on this as I am drastically short of my goal. I'm hoping that my vertical jump training will give a bit of crossover benefit here as well.
Only vaguely related: I found a great video from Dan Green on leg drive in the bench press. I managed to get my leg drive involved when benching yesterday and it made my 1+ set of 5/3/1 SO easy. Got off three reps no problem, could have kept going but I had no spotter.
So... um... yah, develop leg drive.
His points are excellent. I'm doing what he's talking about with the tucked foot position, and with some other form tweaks, this popped my bench max up by a good 20 lbs or so within a week or two. Just to break down some points on bench form (as I was totally ignorant of this before):
1. Leg drive/arch - You need to get arch in your back, and activate more muscles for your bench. You don't want your butt coming off of the bench, but you want good arch in your back. Using your legs to create tension provides stability and gives you this arch.
This decreases the range of motion (ROM) for the bench, making for less distance for the bar to travel (makes it easier), but more importantly, it puts your shoulders in better position, and helps to protect them. He does an excellent job describing this in the video.
2. Back squeeze- You should attempt to squeeze your shoulder blades together, and should have good tension through your back when you bench. This also decreases the ROM by pulling your shoulders back, and further protects them. He only mentions this in passing, but it is definitely worth noting.
Mad Cow: Olympic variant
Update to my routine. So on the Mad Cow program, Fridays are the heavy day. I'm doing the Olympic variant with Cleans and High Pulls in place of rows and deadlifts. I've found that doing cleans after heavy bench and heavy squats on Fridays is damn near impossible.
I find cleans to be one of the more taxing lifts both physically and mentally. Breaks in form due to fatigue can really mess you up, both workout-wise, and injury wise. So, I've had to make an adjustment to my program. Here's my routine including the Mad Cow base and my supplemental stuff as it currently stands:
Monday (Ramped 5x5 for all. This day is tough, and the workout is long)
Broad jumps/explosive jumps 10-15
Half mile warmup jog
High knee jumps 3x5
Sprint Starts 3-5
40 sprint 4-5
20 yard sprint 5-7
Wednesday (Ramped 4x5 light day)
High Pulls (From floor, full de-load on each)
Basketball jumps 3-5x20
Friday (Heavy day, 3x5, 1x3, heavy, 1x8 light)
Rows (adjustment, due to inability to do another day of cleans)
Sprint starts 3-5
40 yard sprint 3-5
20 yard sprint 3-5
New 40 time: 5.9
This was on slick grass, and I pulled my hamstring (minor) on this one, so I only got one timed run. I'm pretty confident under better conditions, I would have run at least a tenth less, but I'm not going to fudge this at all. In any case, lesson learned: Warm up better.
So this is down from my first timed run of 6.3, meaning I've went from completely laughable to just terrible. Still, I've only been doing moderately serious sprint training for about a month and a half. Hopefully I'll continue to make some kind of linear progress for the next few months.
After I pack on a little more muscle, I'm intending to drop a few pounds around the middle. I've got a bit of belly to spare right now, and I think shooting for a playing weight in the mid 230s should be fine to me, even after I add a little muscle weight. At least the wife will appreciate the aesthetics. Lightening up just a little should help with all of the running and jumping tests.
NFL Up! workouts
I just found this site which has some pretty cool football-specific workouts. Many of them would also be useful for people in combative sports.
Starting my testing again to see where I'm at. Bench and squat maxes from 11/22/13
Bench Max: 230
This is up from 145 at the start of my program about a year ago. Only another 100 lbs to go! I'm figuring that a max of 330 should allow me to put up 225 lbs 17-20 times which is my goal.
Squat Max: 330
Up from 190 at the start. 330 actually wasn't too crazy hard, and I'm pretty confident that I could have put up and extra 10 or 15 lbs. But since I don't have safety bars on my rack, and was lifting by myself, I wasn't willing to risk it.
The switch to the Madcow 5x5 is really stacking on a ton of muscle in my lower half. I've always ramped up quickly with squats, but this is getting ridiculous. I'm getting a bit concerned about my typical squats to bench imbalance again. My bench has slowly started ramping up again, but my squats are outpacing these gains pretty drastically.
Next week, I'll be maxing in cleans for fun, then getting 40 times, vertical jump and broad jump testing.
Max cleans: 190
That is up from 170 before, so that's cool.
This completely sucks, and I need to tweak my training to do something about this. My measurements might have been off by an inch or so either on this one or my last one, but in either case, I haven't been making many gains here. I'll probably need to make two major tweaks here.
First, I think that my volume of jumping drills is too low. I've been slacking lately and maybe just working on verticals two days a week. I think that I really need to get this up to maybe 4-5 days a week. When I used to have mad hops in high school, it was due to being on the basketball team and practicing 5 days a week.
Also, back in the day, I weighed about 60 lbs less. (Currently 240ish, used to be about 180 in high school). This weight definitely has a huge impact on leaping ability. For both the vertical and the broad jump, I'm guessing losing a few pounds should help a fair bit. I need to focus on losing a little more gut. Low 230s with a bit more muscle should be good.
I'll also be looking into some more jumping drills, and will post them up here. Right now I'm jumping rope, doing repetitive jump-and-touch high point basketball drills, and doing depth jumps. I will be doing more depth jumps as that seems to be universally touted from every jump coach I've seen things from. I'll boost this from the current once a week to at least 3x per week as well as adding in some additional stuff.
I will have new 40 time and broad jump stats in a couple of days.
Broad jump max: 89" (12/3/13)
This is a good gain. I am very stoked about this. If I can keep increasing at anywhere close to this rate, I may hit my goals.
Injury, program update
So, I screwed up my back about 3 weeks ago, and had to put most exercise in hiatus for a bit. How I did it was rather ridiculous. I'd been really grinding on squats, cleans, and sprints, all of which are really taxing on your body as a whole. I then went to work and sat on my exercise ball as I usually do, and about halfway through the day my back just gave out, intense pain, etc.
I was quite pissed about this as whenever I usually injure myself it is due to my own stupidity. I can only chalk this up to muscle fatigue and consequent failure due to slumping forward on the ball, which obviously provides no back support. Anyway my injury caused a ton of pain while sitting, and anything causing vertical load or any forward bending was a killer. So, squats, cleans, jumping, and most running was out of the program for several weeks.
Luckily lying down was not a problem, and arching my back was OK too. So I could do bench.
New/old bench program
Due to my bench stagnating for several months on the Madcow 5x5 program (maybe 5-10 lb gain in nearly 3 months), I decided to resume my bench-centric workout. I'm going to write this one out here, because it is working great once again, and I've probably increased in the neighborhood of 15 lbs in a bit less than a month. Here is the program once again:
Bar warmup, increasing
5x1 at 90% - Explode! 3 min rest..
3x3 at 80%
3x5-7 at 70%
Bench - 4x7 at 60-65% - Stay light!!
Bench - 5-7x3-5 at 80%
* % refers to percentage of 1 rep max.
Important Note: When ever you are able to perform the heavy day workout successfully it is then time to increase the entire weight progression scheme by five or ten pounds on the heavy day (Monday) and five pounds on the light (Wednesday) and medium (Friday) days.
Source is here if you want to read more: Increase your bench thirty pounds in six weeks
I'm going to roll with that for the next month, then max and deload at the end. I'm not sure if it's such a great program to run indefinitely, but I may try to extend it a bit longer after the deload.
My back seems to be better now, so I just resumed squats and cleans (very light, sore as hell from squats) this week. I'm going to be dropping the Madcow program due to my bench/squat imbalance, and the resumption of my old bench program. For my goals, I think this will work better for me as I was really struggling to improve my bench on Madcow, and I'm getting immediate results after the switch.
I did enjoy the ramped 5x5 sets, as they seemed easier on the joints, and really put me in a good mindset for finishing sets successfully. So I'll be keeping those for several lifts. I also like squatting 3x a week, and will continue to do so. If anyone is interested, I can post my new program, but in any case I'll keep logging improvements toward my goals.
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