Coach Caleb’s Corner
Shed more fat, build more lean muscle, handle more work
It’s been an exciting week at Breakthrough! In addition to all the usual fun stuff; members achieving new Personal Records, peaking performances at the end of programs, and welcoming some amazing new members, we also have had a chance to kick off our first competitive Powerlifting Team’s training! This will be the first time every single member of this inaugural team will be competing in the great sport of Powerlifting. We salute you!
It’s an exciting thing to face down a new challenge and dare to step up to the platform on the appointed day, in front of judges, spectators and fellow athletes and attempt to lift something you’ve never lifted before. As much as I’d love to let the cat out of the bag and spill the details about the cool new block periodization programming the team will be using to achieve some amazing results in August, I’m actually going to take a surprising turn and talk about how the team’s training to peak their strength, will also incorporate our tried and true elements to improve body composition, conditioning and promote fat loss!
Fat loss? Isn’t Powerlifting a sport characterized by athletes who lift huge poundage and eat massive calories to support their formidable superstructures without a care in the world about body fat or the number on the scale? Not really. One of the things I love about the sport is that it is for all body types. You don’t have to be big to be a competitive powerlifter and, although it isn’t a figure competition, there are weight classes. Like combat sports athletes, powerlifters want to be as strong as they can be for their size. As such, a high proportion of lean muscle mass is desirable.
How does one achieve this? The same way we reach results for all of our amazing members who desire lean muscle mass and low body fat percentages; a nifty little thing some experts like to call “Hybrid Density Training.” Sounds complicated. It’s actually quite simple. We all know that prioritizing strength training is important for fat loss, right? (Obviously it’s especially important for competitive lifters too.) So when we couple resistance training (strength) with some high intensity intervals (conditioning) like kettlebell swings on an interval timer for example, we’re already most of the way there to achieving good results. Our members will recognize this formula immediately as a signature of ours; tough, but effective.
The more subtle “secret sauce” element is introduced when the density variable comes into play. This is when we use periodization over time to either incrementally reduce the overall time in which the same workload is being completed or increase the workload within the same timeframe. This variable can be applied in a general “add sets, weight or reps over time” fashion if one isn’t as concerned about peaking on demand, or in a closely regimented, goal oriented fashion like the Powerlifting Team is now using to peak on a particular day. This technique builds a body that can either do more work in the same amount of time, or the same amount of work in less time; a quality we sometimes refer to as “work capacity.” When a body adapts to handle a higher work capacity, it becomes composed of less fat and more lean muscle. Sounds like that kind of body I want to have!
In the minds of the uninitiated, body composition training for some reason always seems to mean “more cardio!” This is most unfortunate, but Rome wasn’t built in a day and we’re doing our best to spread the word. Whether you’re a powerlifter training for optimal strength for your size or you’re just trying to lose weight and get in better shape, strength training and a hybrid cardio/strength training that skillfully throttles the density variable should be your ace in the hole. At Breakthrough, this is one of the not-so-secret ways we love to “celebrate the strength in us all!”