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Men’s Fitness Transformation Day 12

Sean Lerwill's Men's Fitness Cover December 2012

Friday was the last session of the week for Ped so he had a two day rest weekend to look forward too. With the hard upperbody session from the day before already taking it’s toll on Ped’s upper body, I had a cheeky leg session planned. However, in keeping with Thursday’s session, we put Ped on the treadmill for a warm-up, performed a dynamic stretch and then planned to do a set of Tabata sprints.

Unfortunately Ped felt a little niggle in the hamstring as we progressed the warm-up into a quicker speed. Considering we had a leg session to complete and a transformation to continue, I made the decision not to have Ped sprint on the treadmill – a sure fire way to turn a hamstring niggle into a tear if we did. Instead we got Ped off the treadmill and jumped onto the Watt Bike. Ped cycled slowly to begin with and had no trouble at all with the hamstring. We increased the pace and then added a little more resistance; still fine.

Keeping the resistance relatively easy, we moved into the session, starting with Tabata sprints which in turn  acted to fully warm the leg.

The session looked like:

  1. Tabata sprints on Watt bike at level 3 keeping between 130/140 for all 20sec intervals.
  2. DTP Squats: keeping rests 60-90seconds between sets
    20kg 50reps
    25kg 40reps
    30kg 30reps
    40kg 20
    50kg 10
    50kg 10
    40kg 20
    30kg 30
    25kg 40reps
    20kg 50reps
  3. Weighted Plank 10kg for 20sec holds with 20sec rests x 4.

On paper this seems like a short and straightforward session. It’s not. Completing this session shows how far Ped’s mental strength has come since we started. Completing 40 squats with 25kg having done all the others sets and know 50 more squats are yet to come is tough. I’ve done it a few times. It’s not easy to get the head around.

Furthermore, completing this high volume session allows us to drill Ped’s squat technique with light weights. The repetition of strict form for multiple reps helps solidify the technique he’s picked up over the last 4 weeks, but it also helps us see if he slips into any bad habits as the reps get higher on the way back up, when he’s tired. He didn’t. Like anyone he may start to go a little less deep, but a reminder soon put that right, the groans of lactic build up re-occur and the session continues with near-perfect reps.

I know some trainers would argue that DTP squats is too much volume for someone as new to resistance training as Ped is. Equally, that after a hamstring niggle at the start of the session, legs probably should have been avoided. My take on this is as it was with Royal Marine recruits: if someone has a “niggle” or something that doesn’t “feel right”, but they are relatively new to training, it can be the case that they just aren’t used to their own body. That they haven’t had the experience to know if something is truly the start on an injury or simply something that feels strange due to asking them to perform something they aren’t used to. With Ped on this occasion we just worked around things that DID cause the strange niggle feeling and things that DIDN’T. Had the Watt Bike have had the same feeling as the treadmill, we wouldn’t have continued. Same with the squats.

Back to Ped, he continues to get better each session as he learns to adapt mentally and physically to the sessions thrown at him. One of the trainers who co-habits with me at NKD Ambition who hadn’t seen Ped for a week or so commented that he’s changing physically, which is a great sign. For me, although the physical change is always the one people strive for, the Royal Marine PTI and PGCE qualified teacher in me finds the mental change far more satisfying. I have seen exercise do so much for so many, and in the end it is the mental changes that are even more life changing for the majority.

Sean Lerwill - Author

Sean is an former-Royal Marines Commando Officer & Physical Training Instructor. He has been published as a writer five times, has a BSc in Molecular Genetics and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education. He is also a MaxiNutrition ambassador.

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