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Training Plan Follow-Up

Updated: Apr 10





Training Plan Follow-Up

               

Seven weeks ago, I published a post describing a general methodology for writing a solid training plan. I conducted pre-program assessments, established my training goals, selected the primary exercises, built realistic progressions, and did my best to follow through with the plan. Last week, I finished that training plan and, on Monday, I performed several end-of-program assessments to measure the results of my training. As a refresher, here is where things stood back in February.

 

Pre-Program Assessment (February 19th)


  • Trap Bar Deadlift for Max Reps @ 230 lbs: 0 reps (low back has been bothering me, decided to skip test after warm up sets)

  • KB Military Press for Max Reps @ 28 kg: 6 reps on right, 6 reps on left (could’ve gotten 7 on right)

  • Pull Up for Max Reps @ Bodyweight: 11 reps (could’ve gotten 12)

  • KB Snatch for Max Reps in 5 Minutes @ 24 kg: 60 reps (not a good effort, honestly)

  • Weight and Body Composition: 173.1 lbs and 18.1% Body Fat

 

And here’s a review of the goals I set for myself at that time.

 

Goals

  • Trap Bar Deadlift Max Reps @ 230 lbs: 12 reps (this would extrapolate to a 1RM of 330 lbs, which would be double my bodyweight if I reached my body comp goals below. Long-term, I want to hit 5 reps @ 2 x BW.)

  • KB Military Press Max Reps @ 28 kg: 10 reps on each side (this would be put me on track to reach my long-term goal of pressing half bodyweight on each side)

  • Pull Up Max Reps @ Bodyweight: 16 reps (for now I just want to get back to my previous PR of 16)

  • KB Snatch Max Reps in 5 Minutes @ 24 kg: 100 reps (perchance it might even feel somewhat "easy")

  • Weight and Body Composition: 165.0 lbs and 15.0% Body Fat (I’m really looking to get lighter and stronger so that I can run faster over 100-400 meters, which is yet another goal of mine.) 

 

Finally, here’s how things ended up at the end of the training cycle.

 

Post-Program Assessment (April 8th)


  • Trap Bar Deadlift for Max Reps @ 230 lbs: 12 reps (+12 reps)

  • KB Military Press for Max Reps @ 28 kg: 11 reps on right, 11 reps on left (+5 reps on R+L)

  • Pull Up for Max Reps @ Bodyweight: 12 reps (+1 rep)

  • KB Snatch for Max Reps in 5 Minutes @ 24 kg: 80 reps (+20 reps)

  • Weight and Body Composition: 175.0 lbs and 18.5% Body Fat (+1.9 lbs and 0.4% BF)

  • Turkish Get-Up, 10 reps in 10 minutes @ 28 kg: Pass (Extra Assessment)

 

Takeaways

 

                First off, I’m really happy with the results, especially since my execution of the plan was far from perfect. As you may remember, my back was bothering me a lot at the beginning of the cycle. Throughout the training cycle, I frequently had to work around that lower back issue, modifying exercises, reducing the volume of sets, or even eliminating movements all together. I had to skip my swing or snatch segment several times. In the end, being smart paid off as my back is feeling tons better and I’m able to heavy cleans, deadlifts, snatches, you name it.

                The press progression was really quite difficult, and I ended up mixing the load by dropping down to a 24 kg on sets as needed. It worked great. I added 5 reps to my press on each side. That extrapolates to something like a 38 kg 1RM, which is more than I’ve ever pressed, and the 32 kgs have never felt as light as they did today when I started my new training cycle.

                Obviously, the pull ups did not improve very much in terms of max reps, however, my pull ups are feeling pretty explosive right now. I feel awfully close to getting a strict (no kipping) muscle up, which is yet another goal of mine. I definitely built power, but not endurance. I just chose the wrong progression given my specific goal. And that’s why it’s important to check your work.

                Every so often I must needs do a snatch test as part of my StrongFirst re-certification or a Tactical Strength Challenge. It always seems like it’s hard regardless of how I train leading up to the event. One day, I hope to change all that. That's the big rock candy mountain I dream of, that right alongside the bulldogs with rubber teeth and hens that lay soft-boiled eggs there would be an easy snatch test.


(If this last sentence confuses you, please click the following link to enlighten yourself: https://youtu.be/E6F0IhdaaWI)


The other thing I learned is that doing the snatch test after presses for max reps is not a great idea. I’ll look to change how I do that in the future. Still, I’ll live with 80 reps for now as I figure out the best way to move forward towards kettlebell Utopia.

                The one clear disappointment this training cycle pertains to my body composition goal. I moved backwards. The why is simple. I stopped tracking my food and just started winging it. I started eating what I felt like eating based on my mood rather than sticking to the plan. I also kept telling myself that I would get back on track the next day. Winston Churchill purportedly once said that perfection is the enemy of progress, which is a wonderful piece of wisdom, but I’m not sure he’s who I should be listening to for nutritional advice, though he did live to be ninety, which is amazing considering his life was essentially one unbroken cheat day.

 

“Cheat days are the enemy of progress.” – Winston Churchill

 




And also:

 

“Comfort (food), the enemy of progress.” P.T. Barnaum




 

                Digressions aside, it’s not perfection I am after, but I clearly need to be more consistent with my nutrition if I want to reach my goals. So I’ll go with a not very pithy Dwayne Johnson here.

 

“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” – Dwyane Johnson


"Brevity is the soul of wit, Dwayne. Let’s do better." - Me




(see what I did there?)


"Can you smell what the Rock is cooking?" - Dwayne Johnson


"Yes, I can. Is that smoked paprika?" - Me, again



Conclusion

 

                All in all, I think everything worked out pretty well. I’ve made some good progress towards my goals. I’ve learned a few things along the way, and I’m ready to reshuffle things and do it all over again. Clearly, nutritional consistency needs to be a focus moving forward. I’ve got my next training cycle already written, and day one of that is in the books. Hopefully, these posts were helpful for illustrating the value of creating solid, goal-based plans and systematically measuring the results. Thanks for reading and good luck!

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