Resistance training tips

Watched a cyclist staple himself today in a squat. Some pointers:

  • A lot of cyclists understand that a big benefit of lifting heavy is the neurological component in high force production. But you can’t start lifting heavy in big compound movements like squat, deadlift, or bench press. It is imperative you start light, probably around 10 reps/set with at least 3 reps in reserve (RIR). Use that first month to research and develop your technique. For the slow-twitch folks, this is imperative because it’s not uncommon for you to be able to grind out crazy numbers of reps. If you grind out those reps with poor technique, you will get injured.
  • For the fast-twitch folks, expect failure to come hard and fast. You’ll likely be able to lift very heavy, but pay attention to how your body feels when it’s about to give out. For me, when I start to get the shakes I know the next rep will feel like the weight’s doubled, so I rack it the moment I feel the shakes.
  • There is no “right way” to lift, but there are innumerable wrong ways to lift. If the lift is hitting the muscles you’re targeting, not causing any pain, and you’re seeing benefits, do the lift that way. If, no matter what you do, squats seem to hurt your back…don’t do squats! Go do leg presses or something else.
  • If you’re lifting heavy, make sure you’re balancing your muscle groups. Pay attention to your posterior chain, I’ve injured my knee by being too quad heavy.
  • Rest as long as you need. Your heart rate should level out, you shouldn’t be feeling out of breath, and you should be motivated to do the next step. Whether that’s 2 minutes or 10 minutes, take the rest you need. You’re working on high force generation, not endurance.
  • Warmup with the exercises you are going to do. Yoga or other mobility exercises are not a good warmup to squat heavy. Warmup with squats, first the bar (to get the technique down), then a little more weight at 15 reps, then some more weight at 10 reps, then 5 reps or start your first work set.
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This. It’s hard to emphasize “start light” too much. Like if you’re starting to squat heavy, do the bar. Increase by 5 lbs/session. Be patient.