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Second steady state cycle

It was a while ago now I started relying on what Coach Sommer calls a “Steady State Cycle”, which basically means that one designs a workout problem which is quite demanding and then sticks with exactly the same exercises, repetitions and sets even after they begin to feel too easy, giving the body enough time to build the necessary strength before moving on to more the next, more demanding cycle.. For some reason, this kind of planning seems to work exceptionally well for me and I’ve been able to stick with a reasonably strict schedule for almost four months, much longer than any previous attempt to gain control of individual strength training (I wrote more about this when I finished the first cycle in February). I have soon completed five weeks out of at least eight on the second cycle, so that is what this post will be about.

Before I talk about the second cycle itself, I’d like to share with you some benchmarking I did between cycle one and two (I spent one week trying out maximum reps/duration for the exercises to have something to compare with later). These figures are worthless on their own and the goal here is not to show what I can do, but rather to show the difference between now and one cycle ago, and perhaps more importantly, to function as a reference for future similar checks. The only truly remarkable result is for the chin-ups, where I managed to make a 50% increase from 16 to 24 in two months without ever doing a set with more than three repetitions!

Exercise: After first cycle (before first cycle)
Chin-up: 24 (16)
HSPU wall: 11 (5)
Adv. tuck planche: 36 (24)
Adv. tuck front lever: 51 (N/A)

Having dealt with the benchmarking, let’s take a look at cycle two. Since most information is stored publicly (click here to see the document), I won’t restate anything already there. As can be seen, the second cycle is very similar to the first. There are some differences, mostly for the core/leg exercises because I’ve finally found a routine which covers what I want to cover without requiring anything else than a chin-up bar and an ab wheel. There is also a heavier focus on handstand this time, partly because I like the exercise, but also because I really want to accomplish that one hundred metres of handwalking I set up a long time ago.

In short, this is by far the most successful way of designing a program I’ve ever encountered. My guess is that it’s because it’s divided into manageable sections (eight to ten weeks) that the mind can handle easily. Setting a goal to do a certain routine for roughly two months is not a superhuman task, but setting the goal to do the same exercises with gradually increasing difficulty indefinitely is a lot more daunting. Focusing really hard on few selected exercises and then evaluating the result, designing a new program and moving on is a lot more realistinc, if not physically, then at least psychologically. If you’re interested in any of this, you can glean some information from my previous posts about steaty state training (or click here for a list of posts related to exercise), but more importantly, you should consult the coach himself, either by reading his book Building the Gymnastic Body or by checking out the forum.

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  1. Svante’s avatar

    Good. This reminds me that I really should design a regular routine.


  2. Svante’s avatar

    Förresten, en fråga. Måste man ha så många olika övningar varje gång för att få någon (tillräcklig) effekt? Jag förstår att det delvis är en följd av att man har många saker man vill trycka in i veckoschemat, men för mig ser det ändå ut att vara en hel del att göra varje gång, både tids- och orkmässigt.


    1. Olle Linge’s avatar

      Det finns visst överlapp mellan övningarna som förstås gör att det blir lite mer träning om man gör allt på en gång, men programmet bygger inte på att man kombinerar övningar just som jag gör. Det är dock väldigt effektivt att matcha motsatta övningar, typ chins och hspu, men utöver det spelar det nog mindre roll. Jag har läst många exempel på folk som till exempel bara kör front lever och planche en minut vardera fyra gånger i veckan och får bra resultat. Mitt ser ut som det gör enbart för att jag vill trycka in mycket.


      1. Svante’s avatar

        Äh, jag har många övningar jag vill få in jag också. Jag har byggt ett program som jag testar nu, jag kan ju visa upp det om jag gillar det och bestämmer mig för att köra det en hel period. Ett problem är att jag kommer att vara borta så mycket de närmaste veckorna att det inte blir rätt kontinuitet i början.