Doing More with Less by Matt Carlson
I’ve seen a lot a questions lately on the 531 page about “doing more” and then the inevitable this hurts and that hurts tirade that follows. I understand the want to do more mentality and the feverish desire to ALWAYS be training. But most know that isn’t reality. I don’t care what the X-fitters and other Zumba trainers tell you. You need balance, proper programming and recovery. You also need to be wary of always being in perpetual deload. So what the hell? How can one find the right balance between being a machine or being a side lined mouth breathing wall leaner?
I use myself as a guinea pig quite often when it comes to training. I’m mildly experienced and educated as well as I know my limitations. I’m also a patient man. Patience took decades for me to accept. I’ve said it a million times that patience is a lost art and those who don't find it are doomed to wander the streets of mediocrity. If you take nothing else from this article take that last sentence. I have been very patient these past few months in finding the right amount of movements to add to my 531 Full Body Template. I needed to keep hold of the spirit of the program without taking anything away from it. If my main lifts suffered I understood and made small changes. That way I new what worked and what didn’t. With my age, 37, and my future career as a firefighter, being injury free and both cardiovascular strong and Strong are equally important.
I grew up in a military family. I was one of the only members of my very large extended family who didn’t join the service. I highly admire the mental and physical strength my family and friends have. So I used them in mind as well as some ideas I picked up from my friend Harry Selkow. I made myself some guidelines to follow in my quest for badassery:
- No matter what “stage” of training I’m in I should always be able to run 1-2 miles. ALWAYS!
- Give my body time to adapt
- I will do some sort of conditioning 5 days a week
- I will get stronger
- Make my Viking Ancestors Proud
I have a few others but those are private. The following is what I do every day (5 days a week) before lifting or running:
- Jumping Jacks x 50 reps
- Push-ups - Regular x 40 Reps
- Mountain Climbers x 25 Reps
- Burpees x 25
- Flutterkicks x 25
- Dive Bombers (Hindu Push ups) x 10
- Leg Lifts x 25
- Lunges x 20
- Bicycle x 25
- Band Pull -a- Parts x 25
- Dips x 10 - 15
- Running x 2 miles ( I run 2-3 times a week )
This is nothing ground breaking. You do all the movements one after the other with no rest. Do this before running if not lifting that day or before the lifting; the workout should only take 6 -10 minutes tops. You will be gassed at first but... So. These are calisthenics. If this wipes you out before you lift then you have work to do. This should be a primer so to speak before training. Your lifts will not suffer as you are not going to failure on any one of these movements. As soon as the reps start to burn move to the next movement. DO NOT GO PAST THE ADVISED REPS. There is a method to this. You are building up your weekly volume slowly. If one of the movements you only get 8 reps? So. Move on. With the 531 it’s the main lifts that matter. Keep to that philosophy and the warrior horns should begin to blow. This “pre workout” is only meant to build up your work capacity without taking anything away. Also on lifting days save the running for after the lifts. I usually do the prowler or some of my conditioning circuits inspired by the CPAT (Candidate Physical Ability Test) involving the prowler, sled and farmers walks afterwards. But feel free to continue with what ever you are doing.
As for my 531 full body template? I’ve moved things around a bit involving ideas from Jim’s other templates. The reason is that squatting three days a week started to piss my shoulder off. I’ve been doing the Full Body Template for a year and absolutely, by far think it’s the best one to follow. Nothing makes me feel more athletic and brutally inhuman then this. It fit my philosophy of simple and to the point. Which really urked me when I felt I might need to move on from it due to the shoulder. I did move on but it only lasted a week before I got pissed. I don’t like the upper/lower split. Nothing bores me more then looking at my notebook and seeing just upper body. So I played around with stuff and I settled on this:
- Squat 40,50, 60% (box jumps between warmups) * I’m also following the phases in the 2nd edition*
- Bench 531
- Chins 5 set AMRP
- Barbell Straight Arm Pull overs 3x10
- Power Clean to Press 531 (Fucking Awesome, my press has begun to take off again)
- Dead lift 531
- Dips superset with Chins or inverted rows 3x amrp
- Curls 3x?
- Squat 531 (box jumps between warmups)
- Close Grip Bench (Sets and Reps from the Simplest Assistance Template from the 2nd edition)
- Rows 3x a bunch
- Upright rows 3 x a bunch
There you have it. As I’ve said my main lifts are still moving. My shoulder seems to have worked it’s self out with the daily body weight movements and squatting twice instead of three times a week. Oh and since I know some will wonder, and want to know of any body composition changes occurred, I did take a measurement of the gut and body weight before the first cycle. Mind you this is with no changes to my feedings. My wife even made homemade dark chocolate cupcakes and I ate them everyday. I drank beer on the weekends as well as enjoyed some wings and pizza. 90% of my diet is eating the way one is supposed to. When you do this you can enjoy time with friends and family and not be concerned with what you are eating. You should be enjoying your life and company. After the first cycle I dropped 3.5 pounds and lost an inch and a half around the gut. And to make Harry laugh, I’m more “California toned now.” I know it’s more now but I haven’t checked. I’m not interested in losing weight or as Jim puts it "being a diet/cardio queen. But I was pleased with the inch and a half loss in 4 weeks. But this wasn’t the reason I did this. My goals are simple. To be a machine. The rest was just a by product of diligently kicking the throat of lame.
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