Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Demand More out of the Wall Mounted Pull Up Bar

The pull up is one of the most widely programmed exercises for gaining serious overhead pulling strength.  And with good reason.  Pull Ups work.

And as effective as the pull up is, many trainers and athletes are pushing the envelope with their training tools and finding new ways to use them as well.  With that in mind, we wanted to design a pull up bar that keeps more exercise options open so you can keep your training varied and effective.

Why Choose the Hammerhead Wall Mounted Pull Up Bar?

Distance From the Wall - One of the best things about our pull-up bar is the distance away from the wall that the bar hangs.  We've given you a full 31" of distance.  Why so far away?  Exercises like kipping toes to bar and the bar muscle up or butterfly pull up are difficult to do or even dangerous with a bar that is too close to the wall.  That extra distance away in our pull up bar design allows you to perform those exercises safely.

Ease of Installation - With our system you don't need an engineering degree to figure out how to install it.  And - we give you everything you need [aside from hand tools] so there's no trips to the local hardware store once your pull up bar arrives.  Take it out of the package and off you go.  Our system mounts easily on concrete walls, masonry or even wood studs.  And what if your wall studs are not spaced exactly the same distance as the bar?  No problem!  Our pull up bar locks into place in the brackets with set screws at any point along it's length so no matter how far apart the brackets end up you can install it square and plumb.

Strength - We know how important this is especially when you are stringing together pull-ups or knees to elbows.  You need a rock solid bar that doesn't flex or shake.  That can throw off your rhythm.  Our super strong triangle shaped brackets are up to the task.  Check that off the list.

Width - Designed to have the brackets mounted as far apart as four feet, you can comfortably jump up on the long bar even for those wide grip pull ups.  A pull-up bar also makes a great spot for hanging gymnastics rings and with our extra wide bar you can easily slide them off to the side and still have plenty of room.

Entirely US Made - A fact that we're super proud of.  We build all of our steel and wood products right here in the US.  We control all the processes from design to construction and packaging.

Ready to add this versatile training tool to your gym?  Get the Hammerhead Wall Mounted Pull Up Bar right here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Do You Need a Pep Talk?

No matter what we are pursuing; whether it is the goal of reducing our "Fran time", healthier eating or running a gym, there are times that our progress towards these goals can feel stagnant or even work backwards.  Our daily routine, left uninterrupted, can lull us to sleep.  We can easily lose our focus and instead of making things happen we simply allow them to happen.

Whether you are a gym owner, a trainer or a gym member, we should all have goals that we want to accomplish.  Those goals push us to become better at what we do.  And when we lose sight of those goals, it normally takes someone on the outside to see it.

We talk to gym owners, coaches and home gym athletes every day.  Many of them ask us for our opinion on what type of bumpers they should buy, if a free standing rig is better than a wall mounted rig or what size kettlebell is right.  And those questions are important.  But there are other aspects of running a gym or pursuing fitness goals that need attention, too and keeping them in mind is vital.

Realize you need to shake things up.  Even if things are going well, remember that what has made you successful to this point might be losing it's effectiveness.   So, no matter if your business is booming or if you just PR'd your Front Squat, set specific times to re-focus and re-evaluate your goals.

Caught up in the daily routine doesn't allow us to think outside the box.  Do something different.  Keep a fresh perspective.  Drive a different way to work.  Instead of shaving after your shower, do it before.  Change your workout time one day this week.  By interrupting your daily routine it forces you to think differently.  By challenging the routine you may very well find a better way.  "If you always do the same things, you will always get the same results."

Have a goal.  Make a plan.  Write it down where you will see it.  Writing our goals down on paper makes them more real and gives us more drive to actually pursue them.  I say take that advice a step beyond and not only write down your goals but re-write them every morning before you get off to work or just before you go to bed.  Keep them short and attainable.  Keep that clipboard right next to where you will see it every single day.  Make a plan for how you can accomplish your goals then do it.

Have a 'go-to' friend, relative, business consultant that you can take harsh advice from.  Super important.  And almost as important as this is that you need to grow a thick skin and not always take their advice.  It's not so much asking them how to fix what you think is broken, but ask them what they observe.  Just having that outside perspective will help you see your actions unbiased.  And once you've heard those unbiased observations, update your goals and make changes.

Keep data.  If you don't know specifically what happened last month or last year you can't learn from it.  Keep a journal and write down strategies you are trying and what type of results you are getting.  What is your Deadlift max?  When did you pull that?  How about your 3 Rep max? 5 Rep?  What has your attendance at the gym been like over the past 21 days?  How many new memberships has your gym gotten in the past month?  Did you ask them how they heard about you?  All this is data.  Record it somewhere so you can repeat successes and change strategies on failures.

Use your desk calendar or iPhone to remind yourself to get at certain tasks.  I am most successful when I have good habits.  And there is a difference between establishing a habit of Blogging every morning at 9:30AM versus Blogging every day for one hour before noon.  Too strict a schedule and you can miss opportunities.  Too loose, and you will find yourself putting tasks off.  Let nothing interrupt getting something done once you've started.  Shut the phone off.  Escape to the local cafe for an hour.

Take time off.  We all need down time.  Don't feel guilty about it.  It's part of that fresh perspective thing.  It gets us out of our routine and helps us take in new ideas.  Go visit a local gym while on vacation and get in on an after WOD coffee if that's going on.  Don't be afraid to try something you've never done before.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Scaled or RX - What is Right For You?

Photo courtesy of CrossFit Roots
We see it and hear about it all the time.  The pressure to go as RX'd on the daily workout.  Granted, there is a great feeling of accomplishment to be able to put those coveted letters next to your name on the whiteboard.  And we've all learned that there is more strength and intensity in us than we thought.

But are those the right reasons for pushing ourselves past our comfort zone and perhaps into the danger zone when lifting with weights that might be beyond our current strength level?  I began thinking about this post when one of our customers was asking about how to prolong the life of their bumper plates.  We wrote a blog post on how to properly load the barbell to prolong the lifespan of your investment here.  Scaling workouts to the proper level has a huge impact on the safety of the athlete and in the lifespan of equipment.

Whenever I think of going as RX'd I think about the WOD "Grace".  30 Reps for time of men:135lb/women:95lb Ground to Overhead.  Since this workout has one of the largest ranges of motion [ground to overhead] it puts athlete and the barbell and bumper plates through one of the most stressful workouts.  It's meant to be short and intense.

Let's have a look at the advanced level athlete that can perform this WOD in under three minutes.  In order to move that quickly, the athlete needs to keep the bar under control.  They may tackle the workout in sets of 10-10-5-5 with quick rest breaks in between.  Or in the case of "Big Mike" at +CrossFit Central in Austin, TX - he breaks it up into 26-4 reps.  Impressive.  I don't think he had time to break a sweat!

So, what's the novice or intermediate level athlete to do with a workout like this?  If 5-10 reps at RX'd weight are a challenge, should we back off or struggle through it?  Here's what I see happen when the weight is more challenging and I'm guilty of it myself.  We get the weight overhead then take a step back and let it drop to the floor.  Imagine a gym full of athletes working with weight that they control like "Big Mike" does versus a gym full of athletes dropping each rep from overhead.

Now, obviously Mike wasn't taxed equally to an athlete that might take 3 minutes to do that workout. But what is the right mix of weight/time to accomplish what the trainers want us to?

What we have seen more and more on the whiteboards is programming that includes most if not all of these bullets.  And with programming like this, the athlete can push hard in all areas without putting self or equipment at risk.

  • Warm Up - usually 10-15 minutes of bodyweight or light weight movements to prepare for the class.  The coach puts as much thought into the warm up as into the other aspects of the class because a properly warmed up athlete is at far less risk of injury.
  • Skill Work - We really applaud coaches that include this as part of the daily workout.  Many athletes need time with the equipment in a less stressful, non-timed way to get comfortable with the movements and to gain skill.
  • Strength - It's here that the athlete can push their low rep strength limits.  Workouts like EMOM [Every Minute on the Minute] x 2 reps for 10 minutes.  This gives the athlete the chance to push well out of comfort zone but the low reps and short mandatory rest keep athlete and equipment safe.
  • Metcon - Here's where the coach pushes the engine.  Rounds for Time or AMRAPs with lower weights and body weight movements selected to keep the athletes moving quickly the entire time.
  • Stretch/Mobility - Just as important as the Warm Up, stretching and mobility not only decreases muscle soreness but also increases flexibility.  And going through proper stretching and mobility in class educates so athletes can use that knowledge at home.

Performing benchmark workouts as RX'd like Grace and Fran is a huge accomplishment but doing them within a 'respectable' time frame holds a lot of water, too.  The question becomes - what's more important?  Getting RX'd written next to your name or having bragging rights on performing Fran even if you did it in 10:58?  Instead of going for RX'd weight, instead try going for a respectable time.  The next time you walk in and see the whiteboard, ask what time or how many rounds you should be shooting for.  Then when you repeat those popular benchmarks, look to move closer to RX'd weight or movement but keep that score on time or rounds respectable.

Train hard and often!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Max Effort Method

Chris Marang, part of the coaching staff here at Hammerhead, continues his discussion of strength development in what some may see as unconventional.  But as Chris reminds us - the enemy of progress is having a routine.  His approach to Maximum Effort Training Days is a compelling read and will force you to think outside the box when training for strength.

Max Effort Method
Chris Marang

The max effort method is the fundamental method for developing absolute strength. It involves overcoming maximal resistance in lifting a max load. This method increases strength without significantly increasing muscular size. A big misconception in the strength world is that muscular mass is a direct correlation to muscular strength. This could not be further from the truth. Absolute strength is measured by the greatest force that can be produced during a maximal muscular contraction. The more your body becomes adjusted to lifting maximal weights the greater muscular contractile potential you will possess leading to larger lifts.
When implementing this method you need 72 hours rest between a maximal lift for adequate rest. Sure you could max out every day but that would get you nowhere. We are looking for quality not quantity. Let’s say you try to squat a max load every day and you can get 405. That’s a good lift but if you rested appropriately, along with applying some variance and science to your lifting, you could squat 455 possibly at that point in time. Rest is very important between your max effort days because this is a powerful and effective physiological irritant you are inflicting upon yourself.
Now that we have discussed the basics we are going to discuss how to structure these days. The posterior chain is the strongest part of the body so that is what we are focusing on primarily for these days. Rotating every three weeks between a squat max the first week, deadlift the second and a good morning max the third week is an excellent way of placing maximal loads on the posterior chain, working similar groups, but with a change each week promoting athletic growth. The following statements is where many of you will struggle applying. If I am trying to increase my back squat max the last thing I am going to do is max out my regular back squat because that lift is clearly stuck where it is at. If anything that lift will not move unless I change how I am testing it. Rather than doing a traditional back squat max this is how you should approach your maxes for that lift. I will list off several ways. Establish a one rep max, on a max effort day, with 100 pounds of band tension over the barbell, establish a one rep max to a 12” box (or just below parallel) with a wide stance, a one rep max with the barbell set on pins at a height right at your sticking point in the squat (eliminates all kinetic energy you have in the squat and requires raw strength to lift), a one rep max to a box with band tension, a one rep max with a 5 second pause at the bottom with no bounce allowed coming out of the pause, one rep max with an axle bar and so forth. Establishing all these different records for just that one squat will dramatically boost your traditional back squat. I personally change up how I max out weekly and make the lifts as difficult and strange as possible. Putting myself into incredibly challenging positions that I would never lift from makes it that much easier when I go back to lifting in my convention setup. We have to make exercises hard! If we constantly do something that is easy how will you ever be strong when the weights get hard?  You won’t be. Stepping outside of your comfort zone is the best thing you can do for yourself. Crossfitters are constantly improving on their Met-cons because they are constantly varied. They rarely do the same workout twice a year and you should approach your max effort days with that same mentality, constantly varied. The first time I went to Westside I did some of the most bizarre and brutality challenging maxes I had done to date. Here is a list of maxes I established while I was there:
-max front squat to a 14” box with a camber bar
-max straight leg sumo DL using hook grip
-max banded power clean
-max clean and press
-max clean and push jerk
-max banded snatch
-max clean using the lightening method(reverse bands)
-max front squat off of pins from sticking point
None of you will be establishing that many maxes in one week. I did all of these throughout the week because I had limited time to train at Westside during that time of the year and Louie needed to see where I was at. You will have one max effort day a week, possibly two. It is ok for many of you to do 2 possibly 3 maxes in a day because many of us do not lift that much respectively. If you can deadlift 800 pounds though then you probably won’t be wanting to do anything after you pull that kind of weight. You will be surprised by how quickly your lifts will begin to change. Three months ago my 5 rep max deadlift was 405. Just this past week I retested a 5 rep max deadlift. I pulled 395 for 5 reps with 140 pounds of band tension over the barbell. This was also the first time I had done a regular deadlift in 8 weeks. One of the athletes I coach has severe upper back weakness so that is my primary focus to strengthen that area. I put him into positions/lifts that stress that part of his body. I never have him do anything besides squat or deadlift maxes, and he hit a 25 pound PR on his one rep max split jerk this week. Case in point is that doing these maxes does not just improve the lifts you are working on, but instead all of your lifts. Push press is my absolute favorite exercise, but I rarely ever do them. I went a six week period without doing a single push press and just by implementing this max effort method my push press went from 205 to 245, and that is testing it by cleaning it off the ground. Like I stated earlier, make exercises hard! For pressing you should be applying the same thought pattern. The last press max I performed was as follows; 1 power snatch + 1 behind the neck snatch grip press + 1 front rack snatch grip press. Will I ever test my shoulder press from a snatch grip position? No.  But by doing that I know I am strengthening my weaknesses. Doing complexes involving the Olympic lifts is also a good idea to throw in on your max effort days. Shying away from the traditional Olympic lifts is something you should do regularly. I have done both a stiff leg snatch max and stiff leg clean and jerk max and both of my traditional setup clean and jerk plus snatch have increased. Doing the same thing over and over and over will get you little results! N.P. Laputin stressed to his world class Olympic weightlifters to implement stiff leg snatch and clean into their training. Even for his squat snatch lifters he would have them perform split snatches to change up the training stimulus and test the organism’s trainability. R.A. Roman regularly made his lifters do wide stance squatting and lunging because it placed greater demand on the squatting muscles along with changed the athlete’s traditional squat stance promoting absolute strength development. 
The enemy of progress is having a routine. Do not perform the same stances and lifts repeatedly. There is no right or wrong way to perform your max effort day, but every time you go into the gym - set a new record. This day will physically and emotionally prepare you to always set a record whenever you are testing a lift. You will no longer have the little voices in the back of your head whispering “I don’t know if I can do that” or “I can’t beat that record”. Rather you will be going into your training sessions with the mentality, “I am going to crush this lift” and you will. Perform your first two sets of warm-ups with sets of 3 repetitions, but after that switch to doing one repetition until you’ve established your record. Doing multiple reps all the way up until you are just about to hit your max is a waste of energy, but most importantly you are now working on strength endurance instead of absolute strength! Do not be afraid to make large jumps in weight either. Your body will learn more about its potential if you make larger jumps in weight up to submaximal loads. Once you have gotten close to your max then you may increase by small increments. There is a positive correlation between how quickly an athlete’s gets to working loads and the athlete’s maximal results. The quicker an athlete reaches submaximal/maximal weights, meaning reducing the number of warm-up sets, the greater results they produce. Attached will be a following max effort post with a sample list of lifts for you to establish. Stay strong and train smart.

See Chris' other posts on Strength Development here:

One of the strength training tools that we've designed with Chris is the Adjustable Tension Lifting Platform.  
This platform is lightweight, affordable, easy to install and will bring about dramatic strength gains.  Get it here.

Not only is the platform essential for adding accommodating resistance to lifts, the multiple band tensions that can be added will keep your max effort lifts constantly varied.  The enemy of progress is routine.  Changing your grip, stance, bar type, adding deficits and band tension are all acceptable methods to keeping your program varied.

Max Effort Sample List
Chris Marang
Below is a list of different max lifts for you to establish on your max effort day. These are not the only limits to what you can do on your maximal effort day however. Do overhead presses as well along with anything else, but the point I am trying to get across is that you need to constantly be changing up how you are maxing out. The more records you establish the more weaknesses you are killing. You cannot perform the same max over and over. Here is an example why not: let’s say you squat 500, but your knees cave in every single time you go near that number. It doesn’t matter that you can squat that much weight because you still have the same weakness you had when could only squat 200. Changing up your stance and style of lift will eliminate all weaknesses you have in your movement allowing you to reach your true potential. The enemy of progress is having a routine so mix it up and challenge yourself! Set a new record every time on max effort day, until you want to retest a preexisting lift, and you will be physically and emotionally ready to set a record anywhere and anytime.

Back squat, Front squat
*Without being as specific as I could have been with counting there is a minimum of 172 squat records here that you can establish, 86 each, that’s variety.
Wide stance
Wide stance or close stance for any of the following 
Regular bar
Axle bar
Axle bar with bands such as purple, reds, blues, greens
Axle bar to a box
Axle bar pause squat for a 2sec pause, 5sec or 10 sec
Purple band, red band, blue band, green band for regular barbell or any type of barbell
Squat to 10” box, 12”, 14”, 16”, 18”
Box squat with either purple, red, blue, green, or a combination
Squat with 50# of chain, 80#, 100#, 120#, 150#, 200#
Box squat with any type of weight in chains
Reverse band squat with any type of band
Pause squats
Negatives with a pause
Camber bar 
Squat from pins at various heights such as bottomed out, sticking point, half squats
Overhead Squat
Regular bar
Axle bar
Box squat to various heights
Box squat with any type of weight in chains
Pause squats
Negatives with a pause
*There is a minimum of 60 deadlift records here to be established.
Convential with axle bar
Sumo stance
Sumo stance with axle bar
Straight leg sumo
Clean grip
Snatch grip
Mixed grip
Straight leg convential, straight leg sumo
Straight leg deficit for clean grip or snatch grip
Straight leg from floor for clean grip or snatch grip
Pulls off of blocks such as 2”, 3”, 4”, 6”, 8”
Pulls off blocks with axle bar
Pulls off blocks with straight leg setup
Purple bands, red bands, blue bands, green bands
Pulls off of blocks with any type of band
Doubled up purple or red bands
Lightening method/reverse band with any type of band in any stance
Use chain weights such as 50#, 100#, 150#, 200#, 300#
Chair deadlift
Complex pulls such as straight leg, bent leg with any type of grip
Good Mornings
*Be careful with going to a true single max, Recommended to do a 3-5 rep max
Regular good morning
Seated good morning
Bands pulling from in front for a regular good morning or seated
Good morning to a box squat
Lunging good morning
Power, Full
Single band max power clean
Single band max clean
Double band max power clean
Double band max clean
Straight leg power clean or clean
Wide stance power clean or clean
Straight leg wide stance
Bent leg wide stance
Max with chains in various weights of chain
*same as clean

Roman, R.A. The Training of the Weightlifter.

Laputin, N.P., Oleshko, V.G. Managing the Training of Weightlifters.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Using Resistance Bands in Strength Training

Adam Cristantello, part of the coaching staff here at Hammerhead, gives his take on using resistance bands as a supplement to strength training:

In the previous post on incorporating resistance bands in training we covered the concepts used to get the most out of our band training. This post will get into the practical application, and more specifically the use of bands in strength training. 

My philosophy is that while resistance bands can increase strength (especially in the untrained), their limitations make them better suited to strengthen weak points/positions that impede heavier work. Yes you can pretty much do all the same exercises as weight training, but rubber will never truly replace weights. For example, doing triceps pushdowns is a great way to strengthen the lockout of the elbow in pressing, the snatch and the jerk. BUT doing some banded presses and triceps extension is unlikely to get you a 300 pound bench press.

Bands are more aptly suited to be the primary strength tool with instances you cannot use weights (i.e. traveling, deployment, before bodybuilding shows, intimidating your daughter’s boyfriend with a pump, etc.). They are also incredibly effective for auxiliary work in the group class settings such as CrossFit.

Here are some general rep ranges* to use when programming your band exercises:

Strength: 3 to 6 reps - Strength gains in this rep range are more from neurological adaptations than increases in muscle size (some increase in size will occur). 

Hypertrophy (Mass Building): 7 to 12 reps - Moderate strength gains due to increased muscular size.

Endurance: 12 + reps – Conditions the muscle to buffer acid accumulation that interferes with contractions.

* Due to the nature of resistance bands, strength work in the low rep range is usually impractical unless used with a loaded barbell. The other ranges are best when only using a band.

Example Auxiliary Strength Circuit:
Single Arm Pull Downs x 8 each side
Banded Hip Flexion x 8 each side
Side Plank x sub max hold each side
*Rest 60 seconds and repeat 2 to 4 times

Now that you have an idea of how to program resistance bands into your training, it’s time to see what type of exercises you can do with them. Certain videos will include variations as well. This is by no way all-inclusive list, just a starting point with the some of the most effective exercises. The videos do not include the technical breakdown. If you are unfamiliar with the technique, seek out a qualified coach.

*Remember to change band or adjust band tension to get proper resistance.
Exercises for strength [videos coming soon]:

  • Pull Aparts: Great for building a strong base for bench, finishing overhead movement, and general scapular strength.
  • Good Mornings: Quick and dirty way to help build up the lower back endurance. Research shows that low back endurance, not maximal strength, is more important in maintaining back health. Use this to supplement your heavy Dead Lifts.
  • Triceps Extension: Builds triceps strength that is essential in all pressing movements, especially the lockout.
  • Bicep Curls: This exercise may not be the definition of functional strength, but it can help with building chin up and row strength/endurance (especially for women).
  • Pull Powns (variations included): One of the downsides of bands for assistance is that the bottom is the easiest. This is not only a way to build strength for pull ups, but also get stronger at the bottom.
  • Sprints: The resisted sprint helps with creating greater acceleration and force production when sprinting. Another variation having someone run behind you with the band to resist your run for a slightly longer distance.
  • Resisted Push Up: Slightly awkward, but a good addition to building a more explosive push up.
  • Straight Arm Pull Downs: One of the biggest weaknesses I see with people when it comes from pulling from the floor (DL, Cleans, Snatches, etc.) is limited Latissimus Dorsi Activation. This is a great way to build awareness, proper muscle activation (pull from the back not the arms), and keep you over the bar and maintain balance.
  • Row (Variations): Rows are a great way to balance your posterior torso with the anterior torso, and are an extremely functional movement.
  • Presses: Overhead presses are actually one of the better “strength” movements. Not because I think they will get you a 200lb press, but because they are pretty well loaded at the top and the balance effect has a huge neurological effect. 
  • Squat Variations:  Definitely cannot replace a bar, but this can still have use especially with traveling/air squats. The overhead variation is a great way to start to build some strength while perfecting the bottom position. Not having much load at the bottom, nor having to worry about a barbell can help build success.
  • Deadlift: Similar to squats, you just can’t replace the barbell. 
  • Back Extensions/Glute-Ham Raises: Adding weight is probably easier than using the band, but the band will force you to accelerate through hip-extension.
  • Sit-ups: This is a great way to overload and progress your sit ups. However, due to the injury potential of the sit up you may want to use this sparingly, or not at all if you have a history of back problems.
  • Leg Curls: This is best used as an auxiliary exercise or for injury prevention in athletes.
  • Baby Jumper: Who says you can’t be strong and goofy?!

In the next post in the series, I’ll give you some ideas on how to incorporate some of these exercises to specifically work on increasing strength for a pull up.

Browse our selection of resistance bands.  They ship free to anywhere in the continental US!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Dynamic Effort Method

In the coming weeks, Chris Marang will be expounding on and explaining the methodology behind the use of Accommodating Resistance in barbell training.  Chris is a Certified CrossFit Level 1 Trainer who has studied directly with Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell.  
Accommodating Resistance can very easily be incorporated into your existing strength training program.  Chris will be demonstrating movements using the Hammerhead Adjustable Tension Lifting Platform.  Our unique, patent pending platform is lightweight, installs easily in any garage, basement or commercial facility and can bring about some amazing results.

**Read the testimonials at the bottom of the page to see the amazing results band tension has brought to the athletes that Chris has been training.**

Dynamic Effort Method
Chris Marang

The methodology we will be discussing is the dynamic effort method.  It has been perfected by Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell. The fundamental basis of this method is derived from the former Soviet Union system designed by their highly respected sport scientists.  Many coaches claim to have vast knowledge about proper strength training but have yet to read a single book about training.  Everything about to be discussed is based on real research and these are real numbers.  It has been said “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” 
A.D. Ermakov and N.S. Atanasov studied 780 highly qualified weightlifters, master of sport class, and they observed that the largest distribution of training volume occurs between 75-85 percent of the maximal load. Out of all training percentages starting from 55 percent to 100 percent, increasing by 5 percent increments, it was calculated that 50 percent of total training volume occurred between 75-85 percent. Keep that range in mind as we begin to discuss how the dynamic effort method works.
The dynamic effort method is using sub maximal weights with maximal speed.  This method requires a 3 week wave per cycle before switching to a different lift.  The bar weight percentages will be 50 percent the first week, 55 percent the second week, and 60 percent the third week.  For each week we use 25 percent accommodating resistance, based off of your 1 rep max. The resistance can either be bands, chains or a mixture of both. Now before you say “oh those percentages are way too light” think about what I just said. Bar weight is 50-60 percent of your max with 25 percent accommodating resistance. That’s 75 percent at the top the first week, 80 percent the second and 85 percent the third week which fall directly into the ranges discussed earlier. There is band shrinkage so the resistance decreases at the bottom of the lift, but increases as you get further into ROM making you accelerate through the resistance. Here is a chart based off a 400- pound squat to show how it is set up.
Band Tension

Bar Speed is between 0.7-0.9m/s
The first week in your wave you are doing a total of 24 lifts, the second week is 24 lifts and the third is 20 lifts because we are now into that 80-90 percent zone where the total range decreases. You have to squat a certain amount of volume per week to maintain and improve your squat and that is why the lifts are set the way they are. So if you were using bands you would have 100 pounds of band tension as your accommodating resistance because that is 25 percent of 400 pounds.
Each row represents one week in a 3 week wave. The reps and number of lifts have been chosen based off of A.S. Prilepin’s research that established what the optimal number of lifts were and the ranges before the training effect decreases:
Optimal # of Lifts
Total Range of Lifts

It is important to stress that the bar speed is the most important factor on this day. This is your speed day and speed is the focus! In physics force equals mass x acceleration or F=MA. The bar has to be moving between 0.7-0.9 meters per second. If you do not have something to gauge that speed go to YouTube and look up Westside dynamic effort day so you can watch and get an idea for what it looks like. For some of you this may be an ego check for you to deal with. If you cannot generate the proper speed at the given bar percentages then reduce the bar weight. I do not care if you are the strongest guy/girl in the gym, check your ego and do it right. The focus is speed and I cannot stress that enough. We are using this method as a way to increase force development because the more force you can produce in a minimal period of time the stronger you will be. The definition of absolute strength is the greatest force that can be developed during a maximal muscular contraction. Using the accommodating resistance appropriately will aid in this speed. Remember that as we get further into our range of motion that resistance is getting harder and harder which makes us accelerate through that resistance. Case in point, this eliminates bar deceleration and teaches us to accelerate faster and faster throughout every range of motion.  
Whenever we are using this dynamic effort method for squatting we squat to a box. Why? Because it breaks up the eccentric-concentric phase which in physics is known as collision. By controlling your way down to the box, not collapsing onto the box or plopping onto it, you are creating a loss of kinetic energy because it is dissipated as a result of the collision. This is the reason why box squatting is superior because it requires you to explode up off the box rather than the traditional “bounce” technique we all use when squatting which solely relies on your stretch reflex abilities rather than your squatting muscles. As you sit on the box relax your hip flexors while keeping everything else in your body tight then explode off the box. That temporary relaxation of the hip flexors is what breaks the eccentric-concentric phase and builds absolute strength. Box squatting is also safer and requires you to use better form which will greatly reduces injuries, less soreness and allow for a faster recovery time. Squatting to a box ensures that you will always be squatting to the correct depth because we’ve all seen or been guilty of not going low enough. An important note is whenever you are box squatting we use a wide stance because you use more squatting muscles when squatting wide rather than when using a close stance. It places greater loads on the correct squatting muscles such as the hips, glutes and hamstrings. Doing this will make your close stance squat drastically go up along with your deadlift. I have only deadlifted a few times in the past two months but by using the dynamic effort method and box squatting my deadlift went from 440 to 505 weighing 160 pounds.
The pacing when you are doing this should be quick as well. So many times I see people just standing around when they are doing strength work but that’s not “working out” that’s “hanging out”. In any type of sport you need to be strong and explosive while in a fatigued state so why not get conditioned while you are getting strong. In the beginning of your wave try resting 45 seconds between sets, the second week try 30 and then 25 seconds the third week. There’s no right or wrong way to do the pacing, except do not be resting for over a minute. If you are a Crossfitter try starting out with 30 seconds and working your way down to 20 seconds. When I give the rest times it is important to say that that isn’t at 30 seconds start getting set up again. That is at 30 seconds that bar needs to be moving again because then all of sudden now its 40 second then 50, 55 seconds before you get moving again so be disciplined with your rest times. The group of teenagers I coach do this and for a group of 3 kids they get a total of 36 sets for their squat and 30 sets for their deadlifts done in under 18 minutes combined. That’s 66 total sets with one work set being done every 18 seconds. Their strength and conditioning has drastically improved from that alone. In the past two 3 week waves I have recorded this for their increase in pulling power alone. Just last week I had them do a max deficit deadlift on a 4” box and there was an average of 20-30 pound increase over their traditional deadlift max from the floor! The only time I have had them deadlift was once a week on their speed day and just to be clear so that people understand the loads they were moving it was ranging from 265-285 pounds for their maxes on that deficit deadlift with the average age of the group being 13 years old. A good friend of mine who is a well established trainer came in to observe their speed day a few weeks ago and even he noted how incredible their pacing was and the speed they were moving at. I recorded the times just to show him how fast it went. 9:28 for their squat session and 7:18 for their deadlift session which followed immediately after the squatting. They work together in teams and constantly rotate through changing out weights and box heights for the next lifter and it is an excellent tool to building teamwork. 
This method is proven that it works. Westside Barbell has been using this for years. They have 19 members that squat over 1,000 pounds and is the strongest gym in the world. If the strongest gym in the world uses this methodology and it is supported by actual scientific data proving it works rather than just a creative imagination of some coach why would you use anything else? If you play any type of sport, have any desires of getting truly strong, discover your athletic potential or just want to stay fit this is what you need to do.  Progressive gradual overload system used widely throughout the US is a waste of time and you will not become nearly as good as you could be.  Use a system that has physics and mathematics behind it.  Stay healthy, stay strong and train smart.

Simmons, Louie. Westside Conjugate Method
Simmons, Louie. Box Squats for Big Gains. 2014
Komi, P.V. Strength and Power in Sports. 1996
N.P. Laputin V.G. Oleshko. Managining the Training of Weightlifters. 1982

Verkhoshanky, Y.V. Fundamentals of Special Strength Training in Sport. 1977


Training with bands has increased my strength and muscular endurance an enormous amount. While I have been going to CrossFit, I have not seen nearly the amount of improvement and success as I have training with bands. My original deadlift was 195lbs but now I Have increased it to 255lbs in 3 months. The system of training at specific percentages of your max and increasing each week while rotating through various movements and muscle groups creates a significant increase your ability athletically and in general life. The bands add weight as you get further into your lift forcing you to constantly accelerate instead of teaching your body to slow down as you progress through the lift. This is incredibly beneficial to training. I am a 15 year old female and   am now able to squat 185lbs, press 95lbs, clean 130lbs, all of which is more than I would have ever expected. The rotation between dynamic effort work for speed and maximal effort work for personal bests keeps training interesting and exciting. I am always surprised and extremely excited when I beat old maxes I thought would have never happened. This type of training gives results that are unbelievable!
-Kori P., 15

Bands have helped me in training and they helped set some huge max weights for myself. I have been able to deadlift 300+ pounds for numerous deadlifts and do a 295lb squat.
-Alex S., 14

I am 13 years old and Have drastically improved my health, strength and speed as a result of this new training method. In the four months I have been participating in the work of accommodating resistance through bands I have become significantly stronger. At the start of my training I was participating in CrossFit and I had put on lots of muscle, but when I started using these new methods I saw insane improvements! My deadlift improved over 60lbs putting it at 305lbs. After more speed days I have gotten my back squat to 200lbs which is a 30 pound increase. My press is now 105lbs which is a 30lb gain. These weights round my CrossFit total to 610lbs at 13 years of age. Lastly my sumo deadlift was recently tested and I pulled 350lbs which is a 90lb personal best. All in all, the system of banded barbell movements have greatly improved my athletic skill/strength and I believe it is a great technique to use if you are trying to be a better athlete or you just want to be fit and strong.
-Kasy P., 13

Through the two months that I have been training with bands I have improved greatly compared to when I wasn’t improving at all. I have deadlifted a 3 rep max at 325lbs. I have improved my push press to 165lbs and pressed 130lbs. My squat has gone from 200lbs to 240lbs, which has been stuck at 200 for over half a year. One last lift that has majorly improved is my sumo deadlift which is now at 355 pounds.  Band work is constantly varying and keeps the training interesting. Without the accommodating resistance making movements harder throughout range of motion I would not have the strength capacity I have now.

-Mason M., 14

Since I began lifting in 2012 my squat and deadlift had remained relatively stagnant. In May of this year I tested my deadlift at 395 and my squat was at 305. I then began working three times a week using banded lifting and supplemental exercises to help improve my lifting. Four months later I tested again with my deadlift at 480 and my squat was 360. Both of these lifts far exceeded my expectations and are the largest jump in max lifts that I have ever seen in my life.
-Pat T.       

I have been training with resistance bands three times a week for the past two months and have noticed improvements in my lifts. My backsquat max has gone from 200lbs. to 220lbs., my deadlift has gone from 225lbs. to 275lbs and my shoulder press has gone from 90lbs. to 100lbs. The unique exercises we do during max day, speed day, and special exercise day allow us to work on muscles we may not otherwise get to. I like this program because the skills transfer over into all aspects of crossfit; lifting, jumping, speed, strength, mobility, etc. I like how each exercise has a specific purpose and how each week leads into the next.

-Nicole A.
In three months I’ve increased my deadlift max by 50 pounds and backsquat max by 35 pounds using band resistance training. I spend one day per week training at 50-60 percent of my max. The effort I put in feels minimal, but has dramatically increased the speed and rate of force development of my lifts. Now I lift more weight with greater ease.

-Julie N.