(For anyone that was waiting to know why they didn’t PR on Helen, here is the breakdown) Part A and Part B. Deceivingly simple names for the nasty pieces of work that we give you guys on a daily basis. Yet, it is important to understand how and why these pieces work together to make you a better athlete.
If you haven’t noticed, we often have two pieces in a class, the strength, skill, or technique portion (Part A) and the metabolic-conditioning portion (Part B). Often, Part A is a barbell movement to build strength and get you comfortable with the general barbell movements we use on a regular basis. If you want more info on why we do strength, look here at one of Forrest’s posts. We want you guys pushing hard on Part A, as this is where you will truly start to build some muscle and strength. Part B is where you get to push your lungs and muscles to see what you can accomplish in a short amount of time. Again, we want you guys pushing hard, as this is where you develop your endurance, stamina, and general “staying power”.
Now, how do Part A and Part B work together?? Well, they interact in a few ways. First, you will almost always push harder at one than the other. This is a function of the various systems in your body, primarily your nervous system, endocrine system and your muscles themselves.
First, the endocrine system: It is a struggle to get your hormones (think adrenaline) keyed up for a max effort attempt, and each max effort attempt drains these reserves. (So trying to PR on your back squat, and Helen, and that set of max HSPU you threw in after the workout all in the same day is going to be pretty tough). In addition, advanced athletes come to rely on this hormonal energy boost when going for their max effort, so it is now a necessary part of attempting their best effort. Ever see someone going for a new record?? Depending on the person, they might yell, kick, punch, or go completely silent before walking up to the starting line or barbell. This is their way of getting into the proper mental state and tapping into their endocrine system for the necessary boost of energy.
In addition, if the different max effort attempts involve the same muscle groups (ie core, hamstrings and glutes for back squatting, running and kettlebell swings), your nervous system will become fatigued with each successive attempt and will not be capable of generating its true max due after the first attempt. This is true when attempting to PR on multiple workouts or movements on the same day. You will see better results when completely fresh (this isn’t always possible to do, but we are talking about ideal scenarios).
Thus, the idea is to push as hard as possible on both Part A and Part B, knowing that we really aren’t at our true 100% on either. That is OK. This is why we deload, to allow for that extra recovery from pushing yourself in 2 workouts every time you come in. However, for advanced athletes, if you are truly looking to increase both strength and conditioning at the fastest rate possible, it will be necessary to start breaking up strength and metabolic conditioning to see better results.
Finally, for those who PR’d on their 5RM Back Squat but didn’t on “Helen”, part of the clue might be that it was the first day after the Thanksgiving holiday break. Most of you had a bit more food than usual and weren’t training as hard the week before your attempt due to the holiday. While this was a good thing for your back squat, it is not as conducive to a workout with running and pull-ups.
So, in conclusion, if you didn’t PR on “Helen” last week, you have another chance this Monday to see where you are really at. This one will be without a draining, max effort Part A and without the extra food and time off that might have slowed you down last week. Also, for those of you that want to see how changing Part A and Part B around can affect your results, you can attempt a 5RM back squat after doing “Helen”.
Workout of the Day
3 Rounds for Time:
21 Kettlebell Swings (1.5/1)
B. Back Squat 5RM or Stretch Hamstrings, Lats and Hips
A. Rest for exact amount of time required to complete previous row interval
B. 10 rounds
20 sec Plank hold