Can you train every day and make progress?
Damn straight you can.
I’m an old martial artist and many of the guys I train are martial artists and regardless of whether we train Muay Thai, BJJ, Judo, Karate, Eskrima or anything else you can think of, ALL martial arts guys live by the “more is better” attitude.
A solid martial arts session will last for 2 hours or more, leave you in a pool of sweat, exhausted from chasing technical improvements and left on the floor from testing those techniques in a hard spar.
The problem arises when you take this attitude into the weight room.
Many, my younger self included, look to feel the same at the end of every gym session. The more wiped out we are, the better we will be.
But that’s not true. Not in the gym.
We can only train as hard as we can recover from. And the iron is unforgiving in this.
In our martial arts training we can roll easy, we can look to be technical instead of physical, our training partners will understand and accommodate.
But a barbell is just a barbell and doesn’t give a shit that you hurt your knee yesterday or didn’t sleep too well last night.
This is where a sensible approach to volume and intensity is needed.
As volume increases, intensity must go down.
So if I am to succeed in daily strength training, I must consider my ability to recover.
Recovery is a combination of calorie intake, sleep and taking care of the body.
What do I mean by taking care of the body?
I mean mobility work, foam rolling, extra attention to the hips and shoulders and keeping mobile.
This should make up your warm up.
10 minutes of targeted work on anything you suck at is enough. But get it done.
Next is the lifting.
A big lift first. Be it a Squat, a Deadlift or a Power Clean.
Follow this with an upper body pull and an upper body pull.
Legendary strength coach Dan John tells us that you can only really get 10 good reps done of any lift.
Listen to Dan.
Pavel Tsatsouline has a book called Power to the People where he advocates Deadlifting 5 days per week for 2 sets of 5 reps. That’s 10 reps. Coincidence?
In Matt Perryman’s excellent Kindle book “Squat Every Day” he talks about setting a daily minimum and being sure to hit that each day, if you feel good go heavier.
Put it all together and you’ve got a great recipe for hitting hard and heavy strength work each and every day without burning out.
Here’s how it looks:
1: Squat or Dead / Clean, work up to a daily minimum weight and hit 10 reps of that weight or more.
2A: Big press, same formula as above
2B: Chin Up, just do these. You can handle volume on chins. For BJJ guys I like inverted rows here too.
Just three lifts, thats it.
If you need to do conditioning work on top of this, I’d cut these to maybe three sessions tops per week.
Bear in mind, you’re already training your sport multiple times per week, and more is not always better. Sometimes it’s just more.
The key here isn’t killing yourself in every workout. It’s about accumulating a good volume of high quality work over the course of the week or the month.
The actual day that’s in it is almost irrelevant. The average over the longer term is what counts.
So today you lift 10 singles and hit a new PR on three of them. Tomorrow you’ll be a bit wiped so you may just do your 2 sets of 5 at the minimum. On average, you’re still up.
Now here’s a rider.
Don’t jump into this unless you’re already an experienced gym rat.
If you’re new, work from Power to the People. 2 sets of 5, that’s it, no variance. Stick with the same weight the entire week, no variance. The following week add 5-10% to that weight and keep it all week.
Do this for a couple of months to acclimatise to the increased frequency.
After that, start playing with the daily minimum.
Now the sales pitch!
Fighting Back – my eBook on supplementary strength training for BJJ that focusses on the low back and removing low back pain has been very well received since I released it.
I got several requests that we take the rope design from the cover and turn it into a Rash Guard.
Well, it’s here……..
Check this out:
Now the good bit.
If you buy the eBook, I’ll send you a discount code for the Rashie. Those who already have it, already have an email from me with the code.
If you buy the Rashie, I’ll email you the eBook.