I am a big fan of anything that includes lifting heavy objects. Traditional Bodybuilding, powerlifting, and Olympic weightlifting routines have been a staple in my training toolbox for years. To improve your chosen weightlifting sport, you need to take your time and execute each lift with good form, proper set and rep schemes and load. You then need to rest properly between each set or else your next lift will suffer. This method will work for the majority of your training; in fact it is imperative that you follow certain lifting rules in order to add more weight to the bar.
There will come a day where your results will come to a halt and you will see progress come slower and slower. If you are a seasoned lifter, this will happen quite a bit since the newbie gains have subsided. This is where you can mix it up and do some unorthodox training methods to ignite some new progress to happen. My favorite way to do this is to incorporate some challenging strength combos come into play. You still need to use a substantial amount of load but your body and mind need to be challenged in a different way.
When you combine strength exercises with substantial load and push yourself to either get done as fast as possible or perform as many reps as possible in a given time, good things start to happen. A huge hormonal cascade runs through the body and your neuromuscular system is challenges like is hasn’t been before. In result of this you increase some untapped strength, muscle fibers for growth and increased work capacity. Not to mention the mental capacity it takes to push through these workouts.
Below are some key reasons why these challenging strength combos work:
They Kick-start New Muscle Growth
These combos kick-start muscle growth by creating massive amounts of metabolic stress and damage to a large part of the body. This also causes the migration of satellite muscle cells.
They Increase Conditioning and Work Capacity
If you fit in more work in less time, you force your energy systems to adapt and improve. If you are used to doing traditional 3 sets of 8-12 reps, or heavy singles and doubles, your body will be pushed to make new adaptations due to the new type of metabolic stress, thus increasing your ability to do more work.
They Burn Fat
Your goal may be to increase muscle and strength, but it is always nice to get a little leaner. These types of combos are very similar to HIIT (high intensity interval training). Once you increase EPOC (excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption) you will keep your metabolism elevated for hours after you workout.
You Challenge Yourself Mentally
Pushing yourself to move a lot of weight, such as squatting 500 pounds takes a lot of grit, hard work and time under the bar. These combos are not for the weak minded. You must be willing to embrace the pain and push yourself beyond what you think you are capable of. That being said you can’t do these workouts all of the time, so make sure you stay fresh and take recovery seriously.
- Perform each of these workouts on different days in one week. You will need the three rest days.
- However you need to break up your split in the week is up to you.
- I suggest doing this for only 4-weeks and then taking at least 4-weeks off from doing any workouts like these. You don’t need to stop training completely, just turn down the intensity a little and make sure you leave some in the take after the workout to stay fresh and recovered.
- Make sure to warm-up and take care of any mobility issues or correctives that you need to do before the workout. If you do these workouts right, you won’t need to add any other strength training or conditioning exercises.
- Track your progression and try to move a little more weight, more faster and get a couple more reps in from workout to workout.
Combo #1: Chin-up and hard style swing combo
Perform 6 rounds of:
6 weighted chin ups and 10 heavy hard style kettle bell swings. The chin-ups need to be hard enough where 6 are almost impossible to get without coming off the bar. If you do fall short of the six reps, which is fine, come off the bar and rest for a bit and jump back up and get the reps in. The swings should be explosive as possible with the biggest bell you can move for 10 clean reps. No overhead swings here, so stick to the hard style Russian kettlebell swing. Set the timer and move as fast as possible and record your time and weights you used.
Combo #2: Double kettle bell front squat and farmers walk combo
Set the timer for 20 minutes
Clean the bells to your chest and perform 8 squats. Then bring them down to your sides and walk with them for 40 meters. Repeat this combo as many times as possible in 20 minutes. It’s that simple but not easy.
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Combo #3: barbell bent over row push press and stiff leg deadlift
Perform 8 rounds for time
8 bent over rows
8 push press
8 stiff leg deadlifts
Your goal is not to put the bar down until you complete 8 reps of each exercise. Eight rounds of eight may seem like a lot but don’t worry. That is all you will need that day. Rest enough to stay safe with the bar but push the pace and record your time
Combo #4: sled push/Dip/Inverted row combo
If you load the sled right, this one is the toughest.
Set the timer for 30 minutes. Perform a heavy sled push for 40 meters. You know it’s heavy enough of you are struggling to make the 40 meters without slowing down to much. Then go over to the parallel dip bar and bang out as many dips as possible with just your bodyweight. Then perform as many inverted rows as possible with your bodyweight. Then run back to the sled and repeat as many times as possible. Record your reps and time.
Talk To Me In 4-Weeks
The traditional 5 sets of 5 reps and 3 sets of 8 reps with 3-5 minutes of rest in between sets workouts can produce marvelous results. It just won’t work all of the time for the veteran lifter. So, there comes a time when you need to get out of your comfort zone and do something that challenges you both mentally and physically. Give this workout a try in 4-weeks and let me know about your results. I think you will be pleased.
About the Author
Justin Grinnell is a strength coach, personal trainer, nutrition enthusiast and owner of State of Fitness in East Lansing, Michigan. You can follow him on Facebook, on Twitter@JustinGrinnell4 or check out his website grinnelltraining.com.