Before Tri-Cities came into my life (or rather, I came into the life of Tri-Cities) my strategy for lifting sessions was heavy and short. Lifting sessions were something like 5 sets of 5 reps, 5 sets of 3 reps, or find a 1 rep max, and I beat this horse so dead that I could tell you my 1 rep, 2 rep, 3 rep, and 5 rep max for every lift off the top of my head. For me “volume” meant a few sets of 8 or 10, which I rarely did. I am very fond of this style of lifting and it served me well, and it gave me plenty of left over time in my hour for MetCons. In fact, while programming this way I achieved a 3:23 second Fran time.
But last week at Tri-Cities I smashed that score and completed Fran in 2:48, that’s a 20% decrease in time! And the one change I made to my programming in preparation for this? Volume training.
We are currently in an endurance phase of training, with multiple sets of 10 or more, a practice I shunned before coming here. But boy o’ boy have I enjoyed the benefits. Here is what endurance lifting has done for me over the past seven months:
1. Proper muscle engagement
First, I learned how to really activate the proper muscles on lifts. This was because after 70 squats, my quads (secondary muscles) were burnt out and my glutes (primary muscles) had to get the job done.
Blue is Primary / Red is Secondary / Green is Stabilizer
Now my glutes and other primary movers have taken their rightful place as dominant on every rep, and because of that I’ve learned…
2. Proper movement patterns
When the right muscles are firing, the body starts moving safely and efficiently. The two areas helped most have been my hips (less but wink and more external roatation, thank you wide stance box squats and sumos) and shoulders (locked down and back, thanks banded pull ups).
And because I took a step back and corrected my movement patterns, I am now so much..
My primary muscles (glutes, lats, all the big ones) are finally developed in proper relation to my secondaries (quads, biceps…), and wouldn’t you know it, they are actually stronger than the secondaries! I have unlocked more lifting potential so that I gain strength now, and when I return to low rep sets I’ll blow the lid off my old PRs. Even my Olympic lifts have gone up (almost their, Lasha).
And because I am stronger, I have consistently achieved…
4. Faster MetCons
For me, this is what it is all about. I love a good MetCon, one that perfectly crushes your muscles while taxing your cardio. It takes the right combination of reps and movements to be a great MetCon, such as Fran, Jack, or the Bergeron Beep Test (personal faves). The endurance training I’ve been put through at Tri-Cities has helped me reach my goal of better MetCons, whether 3-minutes or 20-minutes long.
Take it from us here on the Tri-Cities staff and stick with it. You’ll find out for yourself why we like it so much.