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Segue into Power

October 1, 2002 09:28 AM

Last week I discovered all 4 tires on my relatively new car were dangerously worn. After throwing a few mental ax hands at car manufacturers who stick us with such junk, I realized summer vacation trips were imminent, yet garages everywhere were impossibly busy. What to do? Always my best solution-- I contacted the busiest local tire dealer around. Though Laurel Gardens Tires sounded like a war zone, and Tom, the owner, barely was off the phone long enough to take my money (best prices too!), I wheeled out within 1/2 hour! You see, it's been my experience that the very busiest people imaginable always seem to be able to get EVERYTHING done quickly and efficiently -- no holding back, no excuses!

Yet what always bugs me is the trainees that never show improvement due to the constant EXCUSE, "I don't have TIME to train regularly!" or, even worse, "I'm too BUSY to get in 3 to 6 workouts per week" (funny, if you reduced television or computer time, my bet is that these naysayers would free up 30 hours per week!). Heck, even if time or business were a big factor, squeezing in a lifting and/or a combative striking session would prove highly energized and productive; some of my best workouts are fast, done under pressure due to time constraints! I have a sometimes training partner who does a quick, intense workout 6 days per week, never misses, by CONCLUDING his exercises at 6am,so he can be off to his usual busy schedule!

Which brings us to the title of this article: the term "segue" is defined as "proceed to what follows without pause". In training terms this refers to not wasting time between exercises, always on the move, forget the rest periods ("Plenty of time to rest after you're dead!"-- Sam Elliot). Because of its extreme conservation of minutes in the gym the segue system I'm about to describe also eliminates the self serving excuses offered by those who would rather talk training than actually do it (hey, we are ALL busy. In fact, I'm really too busy to be pecking out this damn article!).

Depending on your choice of resistance tool, whether it be barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, or rubber cables, select 3 total body exercises which vary in amount of force needed. In other words select one that is relatively light in terms of your own personal strength, a second which is medium heavy by your standards, and the final as heavy. Just so you can build up resistance in the first, keep adding weight to the bar to work through the second exercise, then continue adding weight/bands until you reach near limit on the last lift. A virtual "segue" of progression!

For example, you might consider starting with an overhead press for 3 or 4 progressively heavier single efforts (or 2-3 reps each set if you prefer, no more than 4-5 reps ever, if you're really interested in strength or explosion), add weight for 3 or 4 heavier sets of the bent over row, and finish by more piling on of plates for deadlifts.

Of course, with any form of resistance training we do need a little time to recoup and regroup the ole muscular forces. But why waste the valuable, often limited time? We in American Combatives can easily make use of that short down time to complete 5 speedy strikes or combinations per hand in a fast, dynamic, perfect-as-you-can-make-it style. Let's see, above I mentioned a total of about 12 resistance sets -- in between the first and second set you could do 5 cracking cup hands to your spar -pro, after the second set crisp darting faces smashes with each hand, third "working rest" could be a driving chin jab/forearm smash combo, next, well, you get the idea! Actually, the bell or band work, being more" strength-speed" oriented coordinates in perfect harmony with the much more ballistic striking techniques, which are their counterpart as "speed-strength". Each not only supplements and spells off the other, but together both achieve positive gains in power and performance. And hardly a second is ever wasted!

How long should this workout take, how often to do it? No reason why you can't workout every day ( I should apologize to those who persist in fooling themselves into thinking that once per week sessions are sufficient, but I won't!!) with this method because you can be done in at most 20 minutes, a little more with a quick aerobic warmup to start. Day to day you can change that 3 lift string of exercises, of course, to offer variety and continued motivation. But you will be pleased to discover how very easy it seems that you make rapid advancements in both striking power and strength fitness, 'cause your training time will seem to be just a quick blur in your daily schedule! I could go on, but son Sean is screaming to stop wasting time at this computer screen and join him in a workout!!!

?John McKean won multiple local, state, national powerlifting titles, masters olympic national titles, and national and world all-round titles during the past 40 years. He has written extensively for all major strength magazines starting with Strength & Health under John Grimek and was featured in Dr. Len Schwartz' famous book Heavyhands Walking. A certified instructor in flex band training and American Combatives, Mr. McKean offers his consulting services at