Right now our CORE 4 Fit members (group class members) are starting week 8 of their 12 week strength training program. We start at week 1 and progress using 3 week training blocks. The weeks leading up to week 10 is all about progressing in a multitude of ways to improve our 1 rep maxes at week 10. Let's take a further look into what weeks 8,9, and 10 look like.
This week (week 8) and next week (week 9) is our heavy concentric phase. In short, we are going to lift something heavy and then do something fast for 2 weeks to prime your nervous system to test 1 rep maxes on the final week (week 10). On Monday's we squat so here's an example of what I am talking about: Barbell back squat 6x3 for a percentage of last weeks weight followed by a lunge jump w/ switch for 6x6 (moving fast). Lifting heavy followed by a fast plyometric exercise will heighten the responsiveness of fast twitch (speed and power producing) muscle fibre. More of these muscles’ fibres become available for use in the subsequent exercises – boosting your potential to jump or lift. This type of training will lift your power and speed capability over time.
Week 10 is the week we test our 1 rep maxes. What is a 1 Rep Max? 1RM is the maximum weight you can lift in one repetition of an exercise. When you lift your 1RM weight, you shouldn't be able to complete a second repetition. The idea is that you give everything you have in that first rep — that's where the name comes from. Why Test Your 1RM? We test 1RM's because it is the most effective way to increasy strength. It's also easy to keep track of and progress your numbers throughout the entire 12 week program. This ensures that you maximise your training benefits and build strength systemically. A small 2012 study by McMaster University, Canada, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, compared the training effects of light weights to heavy weights. Over a 10 week period, researchers tested the effects of performing leg extensions with either heavy (80% of 1RM) or light (30% of 1RM) weights. The researchers found that both heavy and light loads increased muscle mass equally. But for building strength, the 80% load produced superior results.