Expand Your Perspective (Athlete Journal 99)

To be successful in lifting, you have to use the greatest amount of intensity that you can sustain long-term.

Many lifters would argue for the idea that intensity is the name of the game when it comes to lifting success. I would agree, with one slight qualification: lifting success is highly correlated to the greatest amount of intensity that you can sustain long-term. In other words, consistency is ultimately more important than intensity.

Let me explain by asking a few questions to stimulate your thinking on this subject:

  • What’s more important? How many reps you do in one set or how many total reps you do for all sets of a particular exercise?
  • What’s more important? How much volume you rack up today or how much volume you put in over a whole week?
  • What’s more important? How hard you worked today or how hard you usually work?

In all three hypotheticals, it’s the long-term equation that matters most. In this way, training is quite analogous to nutrition. Obviously, if today you ate perfectly (however you might define that), but the rest of the week you ate poorly, over time that pattern would get you nowhere, right? Training works the same way.

Here’s an example from my training this week. On Monday I trained at Bret Contreras‘s place, and I ended up doing a ferociously hard workout, which I naturally felt good about. However, that session left me so destroyed that my volume and intensity over the rest of the week suffered as a result.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t push your limits when you can, and it’s not even to say that there was anything wrong with me pushing so hard on Monday. It’s simply a reminder that what you do long-term, day in and day out, not what you do once in a while, is what really matters.

This Week’s Training

Weekly Training Volume: 49,601 lbs (Last Week’s Volume: 48,032 lbs)

As I mentioned above, I had a super intense session where I not only racked up a lot of squat volume, but also did some heavy efforts on a few things that I don’t normally have access to, such as a 45-degree back extensions, glute-ham raises, and super heavy kettlebell swings. (I included a video of that entire session below, by the way.)

I felt fine walking out of that session, but it left me sorer than I’d been in years, which probably affected what I would have ordinarily have been able to do the rest of the week. That aside, I did have some very good lifts this week overall, and by week’s end I was starting to feel much more recovered.

That’s all for this week. As always, I enjoy answering your questions and comments, so please leave them below!

Significant Lifts:

  • 203lb Swings
  • Bench Press 195×10
  • Dumbbell Bench Press 200×8

Monday, July 7, 2014, 7:35 AM

Bodyweight: 200.8 lbs

Volume: 15,812 lbs

SQUAT

Set 1: 45 lbs × 5

Set 2: 95 lbs × 5

Set 3: 135 lbs × 5

Set 4: 185 lbs × 3

Set 5: 225 lbs × 3

Set 6: 275 lbs × 2

Set 7: 305 lbs × 2

Set 8: 315 lbs × 2

Set 9: 320 lbs × 2

Set 10: 275 lbs × 5

SWINGS

Set 1: 203 lbs × 8

Set 2: 203 lbs × 8

45-DEGREE BACK EXTENSION

Set 1: 100 lbs × 15

GLUTE HAM RAISE

Set 1: 200.8 lbs × 5

BARBELL HIP THRUST

Set 1: 365 lbs × 10

Video of this entire session, including voiceover commentary:

Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 4:00 PM

Bodyweight: 200.2 lbs

Volume: 12,049 lbs

BENCH PRESS

Set 1: 45 lbs × 5

Set 2: 95 lbs × 5

Set 3: 135 lbs × 5

Set 4: 185 lbs × 3

Set 5: 207.5 lbs × 1

Set 6: 207.5 lbs × 1

Set 7: 207.5 lbs × 1

Set 8: 207.5 lbs × 1

Set 9: 207.5 lbs × 1

Set 10: 195 lbs × 10

CHIN UP

Set 1: 10 reps

Set 2: 9 reps

Set 3: 8 reps

Set 4: 7 reps

EZ-BAR CURL

Set 1: 65 lbs × 5

Thursday, July 10, 2014, 10:30 AM

Bodyweight: 200 lbs

Volume: 10,400 lbs

HIGH-BAR SQUAT

Set 1: 45 lbs × 10

Set 2: 95 lbs × 5

Set 3: 135 lbs × 5

Set 4: 185 lbs × 5

Set 5: 225 lbs × 5

Set 6: 225 lbs × 5

BACK EXTENSION

Set 1: 65 lbs × 15

Set 2: 65 lbs × 15

Set 3: 65 lbs × 15

LEG EXTENSION

Set 1: 135 lbs × 10

Set 2: 135 lbs × 10

Saturday, July 12, 2014, 12:00 PM

Bodyweight: 200.2 lbs

Volume: 11,340 lbs

BENCH PRESS (DUMBBELL)

Set 1: 100 lbs × 15

Set 2: 160 lbs × 10

Set 3: 200 lbs × 8 (Video Below)

Set 4: 160 lbs × 10

CHEST-SUPPORTED ROW

Set 1: 100 lbs × 8

Set 2: 100 lbs × 8

Set 3: 100 lbs × 8

Set 4: 100 lbs × 8

BICEP CURL (DUMBBELL)

Set 1: 60 lbs × 12

Set 2: 60 lbs × 12

A big believer in practicing what he preaches, Charles Staley trains and competes just like his clients. Every Friday you can read what Charles has done this week in his workout sessions.