I have written quite a bit so far about the “Heavy” day in our weekly workout (A Weekly (not weakly) Workout Program!) and the concept of breaking (Breaking – It’s a Good Thing) on your heavy day lift. Probably equally important, though, is our philosophy and how we approach our “Light” day lift.
A quick review/ reminder of what a week’s workout looks like in our program. We have 4 Core lifts, Bench, Squat, Push Press, and Hang Clean. We lift four times a week, each day doing one lift at a Heavy intensity, one lift at a Medium intensity, one lift at a Light intensity, and omitting one lift each day. The way we have our week structured is this:
- Monday – Heavy Bench – Medium Squat – Light Push (no Clean)
- Tuesday – Heavy Squat – Medium Push – Light Clean (no Bench)
- Wednesday – Heavy Push – Medium Clean – Light Bench (no Squat)
- Thursday – OFF
- Friday – Heavy Clean – Medium Bench – Light Squat (no Push)
The challenge with many of our athletes, because of their competitive nature, is making sure that they stick to the set/ rep percentages that are on their card for their Light day. The percentages on the Light day start at 60% (of their 1RM) on the first set, and increase to only 80% on their last set. Inevitably they will try to do more, or come to me and say “Coach, I know I can do more than what my card is saying for my light day!”. They will be tempted to add weight and do more. And they are right, they could do more weight than is on their card, but that is not what we want on the Light day.
We try to educate our athletes to the importance of sticking to the workout and the philosophy behind having a Light day. The way the program is set up, the lift intensities cycle between Heavy – Off – Light – Medium. After a Heavy day, we take day off from that lift to give that muscle group time to recover. When the lift comes back into the rotation, it is only at a Light intensity.
The Light day is a great day to really concentrate on form and technique. If they are having any technique issues on any of the lifts, their light day is the day to work on those problems. It may be going through the full range of motion (past parallel) on squat, working on their “dip” when they Push Press, really working a controlled descent on their Bench Press, or improving the “Drop/Catch” phase of their Hang Clean.
If we are going to change things up (as was discussed in a previous post “Throwing a Changeup”), the Light day is typically the day we will do it. Here are some examples of what we might sub in place of a Light day lift:
- Light Squat – substitute front Squats.
- Light Hang Clean – substitute Power Clean from the floor.
- Light Push Press – substitute Hang Snatch.
- Light Bench Press – substitute Incline Bench.
Staying with the percentages on the workout card, and using the Light day to recover and work form and technique is an important concept in our strength and conditioning program.
Any questions? Just comment or email… I always respond!
Jeff Floyd – firstname.lastname@example.org