Friday, April 10, 2015

The Gravity Room Method

Training in a gravity room has long been a dream of mine and every other person who has watched Dragon Ball Z and dreamed of becoming stronger. Unfortunately, technology is not quite at the level necessary to create such a glorious masterpiece (and I don't have a few billion dollars lying around for R&D).  So, it's my job as the Anime Trainer to develop a training program to help mimic the effects and benefits of training in a gravity room. Using a Gravity Room is how Goku and Vegeta became Super Saiyans, after all.

30 times gravity can't be that bad, right?


Obviously, the answer lies in weightlifting and weighted clothing, but I can't just leave it at that. People lift weights and wear weighted clothes all the time. For example, George does 3 sets of 10 reps for Back Squat every Tuesday and Sally wears a weighted vest while she jogs and does sit-ups.  I'm sure each of you has done some sort of weight training at one point in your life and there are obviously many roads to strength depending on what your goals are.

Ideally, before starting this program, you should already be active. Preferably, you will have an understanding of the basic movement patterns found in the lifts and have already been employing them in body weight training or otherwise. If you lack mobility, fix it with Luffy, the Rubber Man, Kureha's Flexibility Workout, or check out MobilityWOD. If you possess muscular imbalances, identify what they are and correct them.

This program is about strength and mimicking being in a gravity chamber. This program may not fit your goals if you just want to run or swim or get huge.

Please read all of the notes. At the end of the post, an example of the overall schedule will be laid out.

Phase 0: Pre-Gravity Room Training

If you have not been training regularly, I do not want you to continue with the Gravity Room Method. You need to have an understanding of human movement and have experience using those movements in a training setting.

If you are new to exercise, you should begin here:

  1. Starting the Journey
  2. Ippo's Recovery Time
  3. Goku's Gravity Room Workout
  4. Luffy's Early Training
  5. Yamcha's Weight Training
  6. Sailor Moon- The Beauty Workout
  7. SNK: Cadet's Strength and Conditioning Workout
  8. Lei Wulong- Jackie Chan's Real Life Training
  9. Strength Training- The Basics- General rules for strength training.
  10. Level Zero- Apply concept for any other Real Anime Training workout. 
If you've been training on a regular basis, especially with weights, starting with the next Phase shouldn't be an issue for you at all. 

If you need help, you can comment on the post or you can send me an e-mail at realanimetraining@gmail.com.

Don't end up like Yamcha.


Phase 1: Basic Strength Program (Please read all of the notes)

  1. Lower Body: Back Squat/Deadlift/Front Squat- 5 x 5* (See notes about rep schemes)
  2. Push: Bench Press/Overhead Press- 5 x 5 
  3. Pull: Pull-up/Bent Over Row/Chin-up- 5 x 5 
  4. Abs/Core: Decline Sit-up/Good Mornings/Overhead Squat/Hyperextensions/Weighted Side Bends- 5 x 5
  5. Choice: Choose 1 exercise for any body part- 5 x 5 OR 5 x 25 Meter Carry OR 10 Minute Heavy MetCon
(Notes:

  1. If you are an absolute weight-lifting beginner, start with very light weights for the first few sessions, so that you are properly training the movement pattern of each of the lifts and only stick with the 5 x 5 rep scheme. 
  2. Your Phase 1 workout will be 2 of the first three exercise selection groups, then abs/core, and your choice of exercise. First workout would be Lower Body and Push. Second Workout would be Push and Pull. Third would be Pull and Lower Body. It would recycle from there. After you've advanced a little while into Extended Sets, it alters slightly (see Note #10).
  3. These lifts are with a barbell.  
  4. 5 sets of 5 reps, building up to 85-90% of your 5 rep max.  For instance, 1 set at 50%, 1 at 60%, 1 at 70%, 1 at 80% and 1 at 85-90%.  
  5. Begin with a warm-up set of 10 reps at about half of your first set's weight. 
  6. Rest 2-3 minutes in between each set. 
  7. You will cycle through the exercises in each group in each Phase 1 workout you do. 
  8. If you fail on your final set, drop back to your 3rd set's weight and perform 8 repetitions. Do not however, do this on days that you have extended rep schemes (see Note #9).
  9. *REP SCHEMES- On each Phase 1 Workout that you do, choose one of the first three groups of exercises to do additional work beyond 5 x 5.  The sets will be 1 x 3 and 3 x 1. That means for that one exercise for that day you will do sets of the following: 5/5/5/5/5/3/1/1/1+.  Your weight should increase, even if just 5# on each of the last 4 sets.That last set may or may not be your absolute maximum, but will be your heaviest weight of the day.  However if you still feel like you can go a little bit heavier beyond those sets, go ahead and try for additional singles, or you can start doing rack pulls or half or quarter squats. On upper body, you can use a power rack to do additional singles with a limited range of motion by only doing the top portion of the lift. On days you are scheduled for extended rep schemes, if you only get 3 reps on your fifth set (where you should have been doing 5 reps), go ahead and continue on up with another set of three and then the sets on 1. 
  10. If you do Lower Body for an extended rep scheme in one session, the next session will be Push, and the one after that will be Pull. You will then take a session off from the extended sets and start again on the following session with Push, moving to Pull, then Lower Body, then rest. The next cycle would be Pull, Lower Body, Push, rest. See the chart at the bottom of this article.
  11. When it looks as though your Extended Push sessions are going to be the same exercise, just switch to the other one. You'll see an example of it in the chart below. You don't want to only be doing extended sets on Bench or OHP.
  12. If you succeed on your final set of 5 x 5, increase your weight on the final set in the next training session by 5 pounds. Use this new weight as the basis for your build up.  If you've added 20# to your lift, your build up sets should also be slightly heavier, at least in proportion to what your initial sets were. Your extended rep scheme sets should be recorded, but will have no bearing on your weight increase for the next workout, except the next time you do the extended rep sets.
  13. The last portion, labeled "Choice," is an opportunity for you to do a heavy version of whatever exercise you would like to do. The only catch is that it cannot be one of the exercises in the rest of the Phase 1 workout. You could do Barbell Lunges, Dumbbell or Barbell Curls, Leg Press, or whatever. The main point is that it is heavy like the rest of the workout. You could even do heavy sled pushes or drags. I recommend throwing single-limb movements in here to make sure both sides of your body are doing equal work. Also, you have the option of doing a 10 minute heavy MetCon, which means you'll be doing multiple heavy lifts or one-arm/one-leg movements in rapid succession for the time period. The MetCons can be whatever exercises you like, but try to focus on heavier lifts or harder bodyweight movements. 
  14. You can add weight to the side bends by holding a dumbbell on one side or by having a barbell on your back. 
Phase 2: Maximal Weight Exposure

  1. Back Squat Hold: Top Position- 10 Seconds 
  2. Back Squat Hold: Bottom Position- 10 Seconds 
  3. Front Squat Hold: Top Position- 10 Seconds 
  4. Front Squat Hold: Bottom Position- 10 Seconds
  5. Overhead Press Hold: Top Position- 10 Seconds
  6. Overhead Press Hold: Bottom Position- 10 Seconds
  7. Bench Press Hold: Top Position- 10 Seconds
  8. Bench Press Hold: Bottom Position- 10 Seconds
  9. Pull-up Hold: Top Position- 10 Seconds
  10. Chin-up Hold: Top Position- 10 Seconds
  11. Pull-up Hold: Bottom Position- 10 Seconds
  12. Chin-up Hold: Bottom Position- 10 Seconds
  13. Bent-Over Row Hold: Top Position- 10 Seconds
  14. Bent-Over Row Hold: Bottom Position- 10 Seconds
  15. Deadlift Hold: Top Position- 10 Seconds
  16. Pick One Position Above- Max Time Hold
  17. Front Rack or Back Rack or Overhead Positions- 50 Meter Walk

(Notes:
  1. Do not move into Phase 2 until you have been lifting regularly for at least six months. Static holds of this nature should not be done by absolute beginners due to the amount of weight being worked with. 
  2. Ideally, you should be using a power rack with self spotters to do this portion of the training. It will make your life a million times easier. Do not do these movements on a Smith Machine.
  3. Use only weights for Phase 2 that correspond to at least tops-of-thighs-parallel squat, a competition height deadlift, and a normal bench press, overhead press, and pull-up. 
  4. The weight on each of these positions is going to be different. However, there will be a thread of consistency running through the training. On each of these positions, your starting weight will be 100% of whatever weight you were using to train those movements during the Basic Strength Program. However, you will be calculating the weights for this Phase based on the final set of the 5 x 5 and NOT the extended sets. Once you are able to complete this session using 100% of the weight of the lifts from the Basic Strength Program (which, I'm sure that you will be able to, because you will be moving that weight for 5 repetitions already), increase the weight of each of these positions to 105% of the weight of your current lifts in the BSP. That means the weights will be higher due to the percentage increasing and because your poundages should be increasing in your Strength Sessions. If your 5 reps on the BSP was done with 100# this week, that means you will be holding the positions for that lift with 100#. However, next time, due to the increase of the weight (105#) and the percentage (105%), you will be holding 110# instead of 105#. 
  5. Maintain proper body alignment at each position on this list. Keep your core braced. 
  6. You may treat each lift's hold (top and bottom) as separate from the other lift's holds, e.g.- back squat vs. pull-up. You may be at 120% on one lift, but 110% on another. 
  7. You will be able to hold more weight on the top position of squats and presses and the bottom position of the pulls than you will their counterparts.This is natural. Just remember to keep track of each individual position's percentage. You may be at 105% at the bottom of your squat and 120% at the top. This is normal.  At the bottom of the bench press and the overhead press, the bar should be supported by your hands and NOT your chest. It may touch your chest, but the weight should not rest there. 
  8. To get into the bottom of the squat, you'll most likely want to start in the top position and lower yourself into the bottom. If you try to get into position from the bottom, you'll have a very hard time getting your body properly braced and you'll most likely be trying to hold that weight from a broken-down position. When you lower yourself, make sure you maintain a tight core and muscular tension in the legs, glutes, and hips.
  9. The bottom of your squat should ideally be with the crease of your hips below your knees. Tops of thighs parallel is the bare minimum for a successful lift in the squat. 
  10. To get into the top position of the deadlift, use the power rack and do a very short Rack Pull to get to the top of the motion. Your Rack Pull should be only about 2-3 inches.
  11. This workout should be paired with another workout during the day, but should be shorter or of lower intensity than other regular workouts. You can do the workout before or after the Phase 2 training session. You can either pair the Phase 2 session with a normal workout with volume or weights cut in half or you can pick a shorter workout that is higher in intensity. 
"This was a terrible idea!!"



Phase 3: Daily Weight Exposure

  1. You may not start this section until you have reached an average of 1.5x your bodyweight on all of your main lifts, i.e.- the first three groups. The pull-up and chin-up just have to add half your bodyweight in addition, since you're already pulling your bodyweight up, but not on the squats, because (well) squats. After all, your lower body is super strong, so don't cheat it.  Average out all the weights of all your lifts and see if it equals 1.5x your bodyweight. The goal of this is to make sure that you are not neglecting any of your lifts. 
  2. Wear 5% of the highest weight you have held in the Maximal Weight Exposure section. Your first weights should be added center-of-mass up to at least the first 25#.
  3. Examples of weighted clothes you can wear are: vests, ankle weights, wrist weights, weighted shorts, weighted shirts, weighted shoes, weighted gloves, weighted helmets, and weighted belts. The preferable weights are ones that are going to be more center-of-mass, like the shirts, shorts, vests, and belts. Acquire and add weight to those first and then acquire and add weight to the extremities. 
  4. Ideally, this weight will be worn the majority of the day and may be worn while you train, but not during your Phase 1 and Phase 2 workouts or any other workout that is about lifting maximal weights. Workouts that are not about lifting maximal weights, however, are fine, e.g.- bodyweight, running, sprinting, climbing or non-maximal lifting workouts. If you have a job where you cannot wear a weights or you are absolutely sedentary at work, just wear them while you are at home, running errands, doing chores, and during your training. 
  5. The weights will obviously make your non-lifting workouts more difficult. That is the point. We are adding additional resistance to your other workouts to increase your performance on top of your previously built strength base. 
  6. As you can see, you will not be wearing a ridiculous amount of weight here: even if you were able to hold 1,000# at the top position of the squat, you would only be wearing 50 pounds around on a regular basis. But imagine what you would feel like after wearing weights for weeks or months during all of your non-maximal lifting training and then not wearing them. How light would you feel? How much faster would you be? How much higher could you jump? How much longer could you go? Studies show that wearing a weighted vest during your training can improve speed, vertical leap, and endurance and that wearing a weighted vest during your every day activities improves basic agility. For instance, at the beginning of DBZ, Goku is wearing (arguably, depending on the source) anywhere from 140-250#. Now, he can plainly lift far more than this, as he has lifted huge trees, cars, and stones over his head. If you were to calculate the highest weight Goku would hold following the strategy I laid out, he could have held upwards of 5,000# as a maximum hold. That's a reasonable amount given that his power level was around 400 without the weights on when he fought Raditz.
That moment when you take off the weights and your power level jumps 70 points.


The Program


Example (please note that "Other" is a choice of exercise or MetCon)-


Mon
 Tues
 Wed
 Thurs
 Fri
 Sat
 Sun
 Week 1
 BS
5/5/5/5/5/
3/1/1/1+
Bench Press
5 x 5
Decline Sit-up
5 x 5
Other: Overhead Lunges
5 x 5


 Cardio
OR
Recovery
OR
Mobility
(Can do 2 of above together if easy)
OHP
5/5/5/5/5/
3/1/1/1+
Pull-up
5 x 5
Good Mornings
5 x 5
Other: Muscle-ups
5 x 5
Phase 2 
Workout
+
Choice
Choice of 
Real 
Anime Training Workout
 Cardio
OR
Recovery
OR
Mobility
 Recovery
Week 2 
Deadlift
5 x 5
Bent Over Row
5/5/5/5/5/
3/1/1/1+
Overhead Squat
5 x 5
Other:
8 Deadlifts @ 225# and 12 Pull-ups
10 Min AMRAP
Phase 2
Workout
 +
Choice
 Cardio
OR
Recovery
OR
Mobility
(Can do 2 of above together if easy)
Front Squat
5 x 5
Bench Press
5 x 5
Hyperext.
5 x 5
Other:
One-arm Push-up
5 x 5
 Cardio 
OR
Recovery
OR
Mobility
OR
Choice
Choice of
Real Anime Training Workout
Recovery


Mon
 Tues
 Wed
 Thurs
 Fri
 Sat
 Sun
 Week 3
 Bench Press
5/5/5/5/5/
3/1/1/1+
Chin-up
5 x 5
Weighted Side Bends
5 x 5
Other: Sled Pull
5 x 25 Meters


 Cardio
OR
Recovery
OR
Mobility
(Can do 2 of above together if easy)
Back Squat
5 x 5
Pull-up
5/5/5/5/5/
3/1/1/1+
Decline Sit-up
5 x 5
Other: Pistol Squats
5 x 5
Phase 2 
Workout
+
Choice
Choice of 
Real 
Anime Training Workout
 Cardio
OR
Recovery
OR
Mobility
(Can do 2 of above together if easy)
 Recovery
Week 4 
Deadlift
5/5/5/5/5/
3/1/1/1+
OHP
5 x 5
Good Mornings
5 x 5
Other:
Barbell Push Press
5 x 5

Phase 2
Workout
 +
Choice
 Cardio
OR
Recovery
OR
Mobility
(Can do 2 of above together if easy)
Bench Press
5 x 5
Bent Over Row
5 x 5
Overhead Squat
5 x 5
Other:
Standing Ab Wheel Rollout
5 x 5
 Cardio 
OR
Recovery
OR
Mobility
OR
Choice
Choice of
Real Anime Training Workout
Recovery
Notes:

  1. Cardio, Recovery, Mobility, or "Choice" workouts can be Real Anime Training workouts or another workout.  
  2. Cardio Workouts to choose from.
  3. Recovery Workouts to choose from.
  4. Mobility Workouts to choose from.
  5. Your Recovery/Mobility Days are good days to work on muscular imbalances such as an anterior/posterior/lateral tilt of the hips or rounding of the thoracic spine (upper back). 
  6. Remember to warm-up and work on mobility before your workouts and to cool down and stretch afterwards. 
  7. If you don't recover, you don't get stronger. Remember that. 
  8. Pick your other workouts in accordance with your goals, be they sport, strength, endurance, or otherwise. If the workout doesn't fit your goals, don't do it. 
  9. Please understand that trying to simultaneously increase everything at once (speed, strength, endurance, flexibility), specifically in one workout, will not work as well as increasing one, then another, then another, while the ones you are not increasing are merely at a maintenance phase. 
  10. Your chosen workouts should also seek to hit your muscles from another angle, so try to pick workouts that have exercises in them that hit the same muscle groups, but differently. For instance, you could select a workout with heavy lunges or carries for your legs and back, you could select a workout that has one-arm push-ups or handstand push-ups for your pushing, and choosing a workout with seated rows, climbing, or even grappling for pulling.  Don't kill the same movement patterns over and over again. You'll notice that if you branch out and train hard and heavy with the same muscle groups in different ways, that you can continue to progress without a rest longer than if you just used a single movement pattern. 
  11. If you are not in Phase 2 yet, then just do whatever workout you would choose for that day. 
  12. The days on and off repeat every two week in the same fashion. That does not mean that the exercises or the Extended Sets repeat in the same way, however. 
  13. At 12 or 16 weeks of training, it is recommended that you take a de-load/recovery week, or one of each, if you need it. During the de-load, you will perform all of your normal movements, but at no more than 50% of what you normally would do. Keep the reps the same, just lighted the load. During a recovery week (if it is a separate week from your de-load), you would focus on each movements, light cardio, foam rolling, stretching, and getting additional rest or sleep. However, if you feel as though you are stagnating or getting burnt out, please take a de-load or recovery day, so that you can heal and get back to it. Most times, if you are recovering properly during your normal training schedule de-loads are not needed unless you have been training for a few years.
  14. I left a lot of room for choice in this program, specifically so that people could modify it to their own needs or desires, while still training strength and getting acclimated to heavy weights. If you need to recover, make sure you use the days listed in the schedule for recovery.
  15. If you have to modify this program due to your sport, please feel free to do so. You may need to collapse all of the lifting (Legs-Push-Pull-Core) into a single day because you're already doing so many other things. Many martial artists have to only lift 1 day a week in order to preserve their energy for skill training. 
  16. You may also completely drop off the additional "Other" exercise if you have sports practice or if you need to get in additional skill work instead. Remember: strength training is secondary in high skill sports!!
  17. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have about the program, it's implementation, or about how it might relate to your goals. However, if you are not quite sure where to begin, you may benefit from a Personalized Training Program.

That's all for today! Until next time, good luck and train hard!

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