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General Fitness In Australia
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General Fitness In Australia

BOX 33 TRAINING SYSTEM FOR GENERAL FITNESS

Fitness is an expression of strength, endurance and mobility. In order to improve over all fitness levels, a participant will need to work on all three of these elements. Multi-element training is known by many names, circuit training, PHA (peripheral heart action) and crossfit just to name a few. Any workout that combines strength and endurance is considered mulit-element training.

Probably the most fimiliar mixed-element training system would be circuit training. This format is sequential exercise training interjected with enduranced activities with no planned rest other than moving from station to station.

PHA Training – is reported to increase both cardiac and muscluar fitness by sequentially performing weighted exercises that were organised to distribute the work done to alternating parts of the body so the participant could go from one exercise to the next without planned rest.

Both circuit training and PHA took a dive in popularity in the late 70’s due to the increase in jogging and aerobics as the ‘must do exercise’ in becoming fit. It wasn’t until the late 1990’s early 2000’s that multi-element training made a resurgence largely by the Crossfit system of training.

Crossfit is a broad, general fitness template that uses monostructural metabolic conditioning, gymnastics and weightliftng with equal frequency throughout the training week. Exercises that are selected for any given workout are picked from the above mentioned elements randomly and evenly. The focus is increasing the trainee’s athletic preparedness for any given workout.

While this format of training has it’s benefits, it also presents weakness. For trainee’s who are just starting out in functional strength and conditioning, the sometimes assigned workouts if preformed at maximal intensity and higher volumes, produce too much metabolic stress to allow sufficient adaptation and consequently be detrimental to the strength component. Randomly selecting workouts and strength training sessions does not allow the trainee to apply focus toward weakness and can over-train certain muscle groups just as easily as it can under-train them.

Initially, the Box 33 training system focusses primarily on strength as it is the fundamental element of total physical capacity. Once a trainee has developed a sound platform of strength, Intensity Based Endurance (IBE) will be carefully structured into the program. IBE is athletic conditioning that varies in its level of stress depending on the specific volumes and intensities of the strength component. There are four levels of stress involved with IBE training being low, medium, moderate and high, each varying in time and intensity and specifically selected so as not to interfere with strength progressions.

MAXIMUM STRESS LEVEL

Tabata Workouts- 20 seconds 100% work effort followed by 10 seconds passive rest (no movement) for a total of 8 rounds. When conducted at maximum capacity these are the most stressful version of high intensity workout.

Typically running (uphill), rowing and then cycling will produce the best adaptive stress. Running should be done on an incline or upstairs. Rowing if done at 100% is an effective exercise due to the large muscle recruitment. Cycling isolates the lower body but still produces a large enough stress to force stimulus if done at high rpm.

Following traditional endurance exercises in preference is calisthenics and multi-exercise forms of training with implements. Full body and full range of motion exercises are preferable with a limit of 4 exercises. Any more than 4 exercises would ultimately move the intensity away from desired work rates.

Below are listed some Tabata exercises that can be used, not many other exercises are useful as the work rate would be too slow for this format.

Traditional endurance exercises.

- Running; to be done uphill or on stairs.

- Rowing; long powerful strokes at the fastest stroke rate possible.

- Cycling; to be done on spin bike at fastest pedal rate possible with moderate resistance.

Single exercise movements

- Thrusters (front squat + push press

- Power clean

- Standard deadlift

- Front squats

Multi-exercise movements

- Thrusters (front squat + push press)

- Power clean

- Standard deadlift

- Front squats

- Burpees

- Box jumps

- Kettlebell swing two hands

- Slam-balls

- Wall-balls

- Double unders (skipping)

- Pull-ups

- Tyre flips

- Sledgehammer strikes

Short Maximum Effort (5mins or less)

Multi exercise workouts are best used here. Limit your exercise choices to a maximum of 4 full range of motion, multi-joint movements. The short max is a 100% 5 min sprint that can be conducted one of two ways. Firstly select the number of repetitions to be completed and work through as many sets as possible in the 5 mins. The second technique is to pre-determine both the sets and the reps and move through the exercises as fast as possible with a cut-off at 5 mins if not completed in time. When using the latter format, it can be beneficial to the work rate to drop the repetitions after each round. This provides the trainee with a beneficial motivational influence as the end of the workout approaches.

Example One; 20 Kettlebell swings- 12 Burpees- 20 tyre flips

15 Kettlebell swings- 9 Burpees- 15 tyre flips

10 Kettlebell swings- 6 Burpees- 10 tyre flips

Example Two; 7 pull-ups- 7 wall-balls- 7 box jumps completed as many times as possible in 5 mins.

Example Three; Row 1km as fast as possible (5 min cut off)

Traditional endurance exercises.

- Running; to be done uphill or on stairs.

- Rowing; long powerful strokes at the fastest stroke rate possible.

- Cycling; to be done on spin bike at fastest pedal rate possible with moderate resistance.

Multi-exercise movements

- Thrusters (front squat + push press)

- Power clean

- Standard deadlift

- Front squats

- Burpees

- Box jumps

- Kettlebell swing two hands

- Slam-balls

- Wall-balls

- Double unders (skipping)

- Pull-ups

- Tyre flips

- Sledgehammer strikes

HIGH STRESS LEVEL

Long Maximum Effort(10 mins or less)- This work organisation can be conducted in a similar fashion (same exercises) as the short maximum effort with the additional option of adding a combination of traditional endurance exercise with calisthenics and or multi-exercise training if desired. This can be done due to the extended time frame to achieve required stress. As the work volumes will be higher than the short max, there will be a lower average work rate making this a more moderate stress on the body. The long max still needs to be conducted as fast as possible however a rate of work should be chosen that can be sustained for the duration of the selected set/rep sequence or until the full 10 min duration is completed.

Example One;

20 Kettlebell swings- 12 Burpees- Row 400m

15 Kettlebell swings- 9 Burpees- Row 300m

10 Kettlebell swings- 6 Burpees- Row 200m

5 Kettlebell swings- 3 Burpees- Row 100m

Example Two;

Row 2000m as fast as possible.

Multi-exercise movements

- Thrusters (front squat + push press)

- Power clean

- Standard deadlift

- Front squats

- Burpees

- Box jumps

- Kettlebell swing two hands

- Slam-balls

- Wall-balls

- Double unders (skipping)

- Pull-ups

- Tyre flips

- Sledgehammer strikes

Max Effort Intervals (4-6 rounds)- Once again a trend of single or multi- activity workouts continue but now we introduce the element of intervals. Instead of one continuous unbroken effort, maximum effort intervals have periods of maximal work (100% effort) separated by passive rest (no movement rest). Traditional endurance exercises are extremely effective for producing huge amounts of stress to the body with the benefit of faster recovery times. Multi-exercise organisation work is also effective but can be harder to recover from between sets due to the eccentric component generally associated with these movements. The trainee has two options in the selection of Max effort intervals being predetermined distances/repetitions or predetermined periods of work. With either method approximately 1 to 1.5 work/rest ratios should be applied. One min work with ninety seconds rest is a good combination as the work time is long enough to push for non-oxidative stress and not too long as to allow diminishing rates of work. The amount of sets should vary depending on how long each effort is.

Example one;

10 to 15 (multi-exercise movement)- rest 90 seconds.

Example two;

Row, run or ride for

30 seconds work / 45 seconds rest = 8-10 intervals

60 seconds work / 90 seconds rest = 5- 6 intervals

90 seconds work / 140 seconds rest = 3- 4 intervals

Traditional endurance exercises.

- Running; to be done uphill or on stairs.

- Rowing; long powerful strokes at the fastest stroke rate possible.

- Cycling; to be done on spin bike at fastest pedal rate possible with moderate resistance.

Multi-exercise movements

- Thrusters (front squat + push press)

- Power clean

- Standard deadlift

- Front squats

- Burpees

- Box jumps

- Kettlebell swing two hands

- Slam-balls

- Wall-balls

- Double unders (skipping)

- Pull-ups

- Tyre flips

- Sledgehammer strikes

MEDIUM STRESS

Race Pace Interval- Goal effort intervals are exactly the same as maximum effort intervals only slower. Traditional endurance exercises work best as they are easier to monitor work rates. Working between 80-90% of maximal output will allow the number of sets to increase to 6-8 for the one minute efforts. Work rest ratios can be extended to 1 to 2 for this format. Multi-exercise training can also be employed for this method however it is harder to control work output. In order to stay under maximum effort only 30-40% of 1RM/bodyweight should be used. The trainee should feel like they have been worked hard but still fresh enough to recover within a few minutes of completion.

30 seconds work / 60 seconds rest =10-12 intervals

60 seconds work / 120 seconds rest = 8- 10 intervals

90 seconds work / 180 seconds rest = 6- 8 intervals

120 seconds work/ 240 seconds rest= 4- 6 intervals

Traditional endurance exercises.

- Running; to be done uphill or on stairs.

- Rowing; long powerful strokes at the fastest stroke rate possible.

- Cycling; to be done on spin bike at fastest pedal rate possible with moderate resistance.

Race Pace Endurance- This method is a sustained work rate for 15-20 minutes with maximum work rate of NO MORE than 80%. Once again traditional endurance exercises work best here. If a weighted exercise is chosen then ensure that the conditioning weight guidelines are obeyed and a rate of one repetition every 6 to 10 seconds with resting as required to ensure work rate remains under the 80% threshold. Running at a steady pace (faster than jogging) for 20 mins either across flat ground or undulating terrain works best and will provide only a medium level of stress.

Complexes and Chains- A complex is a series of compound exercises performed sequentially with the same weight and WITHOUT REST. All the reps for one exercise are completed before moving onto the next exercise in the sequence.

A chain is a series of compound exercises performed sequentially in which each exercise is performed before the sequence is started again. Each time the sequence is performed is considered one rep.

Common complex and chain exercises are the deadlift, power clean, front squat, press, push press/jerk and back squat. When conducting complexes the reps should be no more than 5 and limit the routine to 4 or 5 exercise choices. 4- 6 sets is more than enough for novice trainees.

Example of Complex

Deadlift x 5

Hang Power Clean x 5

Front Squat x 5

Press x 5

Example of Chain

(Deadlift + Hang Power Clean + Front squat + Press) x 5

Example of Complex Chain

Deadlift x 5

(Power Clean + Press) x 5

Front Squat x 5

Push Press x 5

WEIGHT SELECTION FOR BARBELL CONDITIONING

EXERCISES

When performing this style of barbell training, weight selection is crucial so as not to evoke destructive exertion that will ultimately affect your strength component. When choosing weights for barbell exercises to be used in this format ensure that the weight chosen is the lightest of the following three options;

50% of the trainee’s one rep maximum.

50% of the trainees body weight.

A weight that can be strict pressed 8 times

The reason why I had mentioned earlier that these movements sometimes are less desirable than traditional endurance exercises in preference is largely due to the fact that these movements involve an eccentric component (lowering movements) that may induce micro-ruptures in muscle cell membranes and come at a huge metabolic cost.

Ensure trainees don’t select barbell exercises that will have a direct effect on their next strength session, i.e. don’t do lots of conditioning squats when squats are programed in the next strength session.


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