My Gym training took a fully different form after the shoulder surgery. For the past 10 weeks the main exercise has been the leg press. Dropping the squat and the deadlift out of my program was a bit of a shock. Today I look at my quads and see a somewhat different looking pair of legs than I had a while back. I’m feeling confident this was not only a good but also a necessary step in changing my gym training routines to better support my goal events, the sprint and the kilo. I do recognize the looks may be deceiving. I’m yet to verify if and how this change has actually improved my cycling performance.
I had not touched the press for quite some time, as I do not like the damn thing. Loading and especially unloading the sledge is a workout itself, not to mention single handed. Unfortunately it was the best and also the only effective exercise I was able to do to train my legs. Surely better than spending the 10 weeks just sitting on my butt. At first I carried my arm in the sling and had to minimize the upper body involvement, which in turn led to limited weights. Single leg leg press was the answer.
I made steady progress first with the 3 x 12 and now with the 6 x 5 program. Last Saturday I really emptied the tank with a progressive 6 x 5, starting at 320kg and finishing at 370kg (sledge not included). Would be nice to know the max and that way have a better idea of the intensity of this workout… but that’s a side track and in all honesty my body already told me it was a tough one! Ok, but what do these weights mean? When it boils down to squat there seems to be a general consensus about the strength requirements for a Sprinter being equal to 2.0 – 2.5 x BW. Chris Hoy squats 227.5kg so that seems to be in the ball park. I read through my old journals and found a record dated Dec. 15th, 2011. I did a 5 sets of 3 rep squats at 185kg combined with a 4 sets of press ending to 300kg. Accoring to this I think I have a fairly good reason to feel I’m pretty close to what I did last year or slightly above.
Another important aspect of the gym training is the working capacity, which for me is certainly on a very different level than a year ago. The chart on the right calculates a total tonnage of a leg press exercise I did about a week and a half ago. I just realized this does not count the warm up sets. Anyhow, together with the weighted step ups I get a total score of 14850. That is roughly 50% more than what I got for the 15.12. exercise.
When starting with the 6 x 5 I also added a dynamic effort day and my weekly gym schedule now includes two strength and one power day. I just realized that for the DE day I should estimate the weight of the sledge too as the purpose is to explode and too big of a weight is probably counter productive. So last time I loaded 50kg on the sledge and tried to kick it through the wall. Sounds fun, doesn’t it…
So the leg press is keeping me busy 3 times a week, at least for a while. Together with the 6 bike exercises I have a pretty steady stream of training stimulus to keep my legs constantly on the sore side. What has surprised me the most is how my joints and ligaments have strengthen during the process. At least that is the feeling I get. Most of the issues I’ve had so far (knee and lower back) have been caused by tight muscles. The press and the still somewhat weak shoulder have certainly creted some unique problems, but let me talk about those in a separate post.