Chunk Training (Next Level Members Only)Apr 29, 2016
Here are the expanded notes for Chunk Training for Next Level Members Only.
I have been working on the concept of Chunk Training for the past 2 years and experimenting with the system with my athletes and myself.
Here is the concept. Most training sessions involve a combination of cardio, anaerobic, aerobic, strength exercises, power exercises, correctives, warm up, cool down, and sport specific drills.
A trainer or coach is judged on his or her ability to combine all these elements in a creative manner that leaves the athlete in a ball of sweat.
The sweatier the better! What if the cost of one element compromises another element. For example, if your focus of the training session was to improve strength in a specific pattern.
As a strength coach this goal is simple to accomplish. The science of adaptation has provided us with a proven recipe of sets and reps to achieve a variety of outcomes. Lets say the recipe for our hypothetical athlete involves 4 sets of 5 reps for 6 weeks.
During the session you throw in some high intensity intervals (HIIT) in-between each set. After 2 sets of strength and HIITS the athlete asks to reduce the weight on the strength maneuver.
After the 3rd set of strength followed by HIIT they indicate they are too tired and can’t continue. “Man that was a kick ass workout!” But was a good workout? What was the purpose of the session? To improve strength.
We didn’t complete the recipe and the physiological results will not match the desired adaptation goal. If the athlete only performed the strength sets and reps with rest between sets they could have completed the recipe. They may not have felt like it was a metabolically challenging workout but they would have accomplished their goal.
So why can’t we separate the metabolic HIIT training and complete that in the morning and save the afternoon for the strength element or vida versa?
This would be Chunk Training.
When designing your training session you can close to add as many components or remove as many as you need to create the perfect load, intensity or outcome.
The example above shows how you can add a Joint Integrity component to your training session. The order is important when adding and subtracting components. Joint Integrity should always precede Strength Components. You would want to stabilize and activate the joints, segments or muscles that will be used in strengthening circuit. The Joint Integrity Component could include Hip Focussed and T-Spine focussed exercises featured in the Next Level Program for instance.
The Strength Component example below includes a Push, Pull, Vert Thrust, Core Control, Rotational and Scapular Stability exercise. The sets and reps would be determined by your desired outcome. Hypertrophy? Pure strength? Combination of strength and hypertrophy? Each attribute requires a different recipe.
Here are some guidelines that will help you decide your sets and reps for your strength exercises. You need to use your discretion when picking sets and reps. Certain movement patterns or exercises don’t make sense when you apply a set and rep recipe to them. These exercises would include core, snap stability and some rotational exercises. The chart below is only meant to be a guideline to help you determine the desired outcome from your strength
If you were crunched for time I would save the Metabolic Component till after the Strength Component and finish with a good quality Cool Down or Movement Reinforcement Component at the end your session.
Ideally you would complete the Metabolic session during a separate training session. I always like to get my metabolic work done at the start of my day. Great way to wake up and supercharge your morning. I try to get my heart rate between 15-165 for 12 minutes. If I am doing interval training the range may between 120-180 beats per minute but will average between 155-165 for the session.
For me this is my heart and lung workout and improves work capacity. Before any Metabolic session I will do a Dynamic Warm Up. (Please see the Dynamic Warm Up for the Gym) Cool down could involve a Kinoga (See Video Archive) sport specific movement or technique refinement, and some breathing exercises (See Breathing & Bracing).
I challenge you to play around with your exercise chunking. Pick how many of each component needs to be completed in a week. (5 Metabolic, 3 Strength, 4 Joint Integrity) and complete each element on its own. After 3 weeks reply below or in the #YOJASY and let me know if you individual sessions were more focussed, more intense, better outcomes or any negative results. Each component should take 12-30 minutes.
This should give yo more flexibility and the ability to fit in more workouts in small windows of time that would previously have caused you to miss your training session that day. I have been enjoying some great gains and so have my athletes.
I know you will too! Enjoy Chunk Training and listen to the Coach Glass Podcast Ep125 for more on this topic!
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