In my ongoing new regimen, today I pushed my best up to 8 one-leg squats per leg! Hey, at this rate, why not shoot for ten? (I also got another personal best for pull-ups). With the squats, I’ve found that my left leg performs a little better than my right – the left leg is slightly stronger and more coordinated than the other one. Why this is exactly, I’m not sure, although it is common to have some unilateral differences between limbs. It may be due to having played so much basketball as a kid; I would normally jump off the left leg for various shots, and this probably ended up giving me loads of good plyometric training on the left side, but at the expense of the right. I do strive to work both sides, and they are pretty close in strength, but I do sometimes get shaky on the right leg as I get more fatigued.
This new workout scenario is really agreeing with me. I should note that I’ve incorporated some ideas found in the excellent book Starting Strength, which is more geared towards barbell lifting, something I haven’t been doing much lately. I’ve been concentrating more on kettlebell lifts and bodyweight training, but good ideas are good ideas. Mark Rippetoe, the author, is a longtime weightlifting coach out of Texas. His writing style is very straightforward with just a touch of humor, and his ideas are very solid and practical – all in all a real winner if you’re interested in serious weightlifting. I think coach Rippetoe would get on my case because I don’t spend enough time actually under a squat bar, but hey, I’m getting great results with his ideas anyway, so we’re all happy!
Weight training books vary widely. At one extreme, they’re so academic that you have to be almost a doctoral candidate to follow what’s going on, and you’re faced with footnotes every four sentences. At the other end are the ones that are so informal and anecdotal that you wonder if the author’s just making it up. I tend to like a middle ground: scientifically sound, but readable and very practical. Rippetoe is not only very well-trained academically, but also has many years in the trenches as a lifting coach – really the ideal background for teaching weightlifting well.
Time for a break now – I’ve made great progress on my current routine, but it’s important to have some recovery time, too. And no, that’s doesn’t mean I’m going to stop entirely, eat donuts, and watch the boob tube all day long (much as I’d like to). Instead, I’ll do lighter strength training and some conditioning workouts. Then in a few weeks I may resume the Squat Program 2.0 and shoot for the “big ten”!
I am also considering doing some grip training, an entirely neglected field of exercise, and I’ll keep you apprised of how that goes.