Friday, September 26, 2008

Power Law Random Workout - Pick a card!

Here's something I came up with for a random, power law exercise plan. You will need: a deck of cards, some thought, and a fully stocked gym.

Each suit represents a different kind of exercise, and the value of the card represents the level of effort. For a workout, draw 5 cards from the deck and do the exercises in any order you choose. I recommend doing it this way so that if a card calls for a max anaerobic effort you can get that out of the way before the other exercises tire you out. Going from day to day, you can either shuffle the cards back into the deck or keep drawing until you do all 52 exercises.

This is what my deck means. Of course every individual should come up with a set of exercises that makes sense for him or her. You will want to adjust some of the numbers I quote based on your own weight and strength.

Hearts- Aerobics
Choose an exercise first- preferably one with sprints and/or intervals. Examples include, 100m sprint or "suicides".

If you draw a number card, (2-10), that's the number of sprints/suicides you will do.
Jack of Diamonds: 7 minutes on an aerobic machine: rowing, elliptical, treadmill, stairclimber, etc. Go fast!
Queen of Diamonds: 10 minutes
King of Diamonds: 15 minutes

Aces in any suit mean a max effort- Here it might be 15 or 20 sprints, or it might mean this is the day you run 5k. But decide what a "max effort aerobic" means, for you, in advance!

Diamonds- Body Weight Exercise
This can be pushups, pullups, situps, all of the above, or burpee factorial sets. Decide in which it will be before drawing cards, and stick to it! You can mix up the exercises. For example,

Number Cards- Burpee sets, up to 10! (10, then 9, then 8 etc.)
Jack of Diamonds: 15 reps of assisted pullups (-30lb), slow. 8 reps at -15lb, faster, 4 reps at bodyweight.
Queen of Diamonds: Three sets of pullups, all to failure. The first unweighted, the second at +10lb, the third at +20lb.
King of Diamonds: Two minute drill: pushups, situps, or pullups (make it 1 minute for pullups.)
Ace of Diamonds: max effort! How about 15! burpees? Or 20 ?. Whatever challenges you.

Spades- Steady Force Weight Training
The exercise you pick in this suit will depend on which muscles are sore that morning. Stick with big barbell, big muscle groups though. Bench or incline press if it's a chest day, squats or deadlifts if legs, or military presses for shoulders. The cards:

2-10 of Spades: the number of reps in an alactic set. Pick a weight at 70-90% of max, lift once, rest 15-20 seconds, lift again.
Jack of Spades: 15/8/4 style: 15 reps at light weight, slow. 8 at medium weight, faster. 4 at max weight, fastest. Example for me on the bench press: 15@ 95#, 8 at 125#, 4 at 145#
Queen of Spades: 5x5: five sets, five reps each, at a weight the allows you to finish.
King of Spades: Warmup set at low weight, then two sets to failure at a weight where you can just get 3-5 reps out. Do a negative on the last set. Use a spotter!
Ace of Spades- Get a spotter. Warmup set, then go for your maximum single rep. Then one or two sets at reduced weight. Example for me on the bench: 8@95#, one at 180#, 2x5 at 145#.

Clubs- Plyometric
Time to get explosive. Your exercises will depend on the equipment available. For me, my deck is:
2-10 of Clubs: Factorial sets of box jumps (with 50# barbell on back) or kettlebell swings. For example, a 6 of clubs means 6 swings with each arm, then 5, then 4, etc.
Jack of Clubs: Full squat clean and jerk at an appropriate weight (115#, for me), 2 sets of 8 reps
Queen of Clubs: Alactic clean and jerk, resting between reps. 6-8 reps. (@ 135# for me)
King of Clubs: Two minute drill: hang cleans at 115# with full squat.
Ace of Clubs: Clear the area! Max effort clean and jerk or power clean. Do a couple at lower weight for form, and then let it rip. My current best is 145#.

I'd love to see how my reader(s) do on this plan, and alternative card decks.

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