GERMAN BODY COMPOSITION & THE SCIENCE BEHIND THIS BLOCK

Behind the Block is a segment where we learn about the science, methods, and reasoning behind each 4-week training program. In the below post, Allegiate's Head Coach teaches you about: 

  • The theme of this block

  • The goals of this block

  • What we're focusing on

  • The movements, design, structure, and the why behind it all
  • How this block impacts our next block
  • How this block flows off the last intensification block

Scroll down to read the full interview or enter your email address to get the 9 minute audio version

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Block six. It's an accumulation block. What's the theme of this block?

We've been going through some pretty good strength and or intensification and accumulation blocks. The goal would be 1) an accumulation block let's build muscle, but the other part is 2) work capacity and body comp.

When we're looking accumulation block, we're trying set that framework for the next block which is intensification, whether it's strength or power. And the nice thing about this one, relative to some of the other accumulation ones is this one's really centered on work capacity and body comp.

We're getting conditioning while we're building muscle and burning fat. And the way we're going to do that is try to get a lot more density in our programming.

We’re getting conditioning while we’re building muscle and burning fat. And the way we’re going to do that is try to get a lot more density in our programming.

There's a lot of ways we can manipulate our program. We can add intensity by putting more weight on the bar. We can look at adding volume by adding a set or maybe adding some reps.  I did ten pushups this week, next week I'm going to do eleven.

The other way we can manipulate our program is density.

Density is simply more work in the same period of time. So as we're looking at how are we gonna manipulate our variables to get more out of our training, and we're trying to shift towards this work capacity/ body comp. The more we can add in a session, getting more total work in that same designated period of time, the more we're gonna get closer towards that goal of increasing work capacity or body composition.

The goal now is let's get things like compound movements – squats, bench, deadlifts, and pull-ups – organized in a way where you get these functional timeless movements and incorporate them in a specific way to get that desired outcome. Which is, like I mentioned, work capacity and body comp.

So the overall theme of this block, which has a term called German body comp, and we abbreviate it a little bit to fit our circumstances or our room here. 

And to stay in that motif of total body and compound multi-joint movements, we're gonna go an A1 through an A6.

A1 through A5 are those big compound movements, and we're gonna utilize a four second eccentric for eight reps. If you're doing the time, that's 32 seconds total time under tension for five exercises, so we're getting up into those couple minute marks per set.

A1 through A5 are those big compound movements, and we’re gonna utilize a four second eccentric for eight reps. If you’re doing the time, that’s 32 seconds total time under tension for five exercises

And then we're gonna compliment that at the end with some sort of total body conditioning in this program we're gonna do with the med ball.

The goal is to get about three minutes of straight continuous work, get recovery, and go back into that training. The energy system is really that targeted, lactic, more aerobic-ish type program. We can get into that fat burning utilizing that energy from fat, deplete glycogen first, which is our carbohydrate sources in our body. Burn through that and then start getting into our fat reserves and that's how we're gonna manipulate our body composition.

The more density we have usually equates to a better hormonal response post workout – specifically through our anabolic hormones, growth hormones, testosterone. 

There is pretty good research out there looking at high density, high load, gets a really big response from those two particular hormones. And if we're looking at changing body composition, you really want to tap into that naturally.

We can do that. And we can change that as long as nutrition, sleep, and lifestyle is really in check. We can get those really optimized and maximized. And at the end:

  • Now we have a really good platform,
  • We're in better physical shape,
  • We're hopefully have a stronger, more durable, more resilient muscles, We have a better body composition.

Usually leaner people are healthier. And we go on to another intensification block, which is gonna be power this next block. And we're gonna have a lot better pre requisite to be successful there. 

And then at the end – hopefully a yearly cycle – we're getting enough shots at building:

  1. Work capacity,
  2. Muscle
  3. Strength,
  4. Power

And at the end of a 12-month training cycle, we'll have this really good, balanced profile where we're stronger, faster, fitter, happier, healthier.

At the end of a 12-month training cycle, we’ll have this really good, balanced profile where we’re stronger, faster, fitter, happier, healthier.

Last block we saw a lot of people just beaming smiles on their faces after these sessions, walking on cloud nine. Almost a glow, post training. Do you feel the same way and why do you think that was?

Yeah I absolutely felt the same way, but I think the most important reason why that is is people want to see things come to fruition. They wanna see their efforts being paid off and rewarded. I can't tell you how many one off conversations I had with our members like, "I never hit this weight in my life."

And a lot of our members played high level athletics.

To be able to say that maybe after their playing career, or after whatever their endeavor they were in in terms of performance, to be able to come in here and say, "I've never hit this on bench. I've never hit this in squat or pull up." I think is a big part in people feeling now I see where this program's really going, and I can see all the efforts, and all the hard days.

It paid off, and there are dividends. You see an actual ROI. 

But the other part, and this goes into that what we see with our work loads from our RPE on accumulation block week one, it's hard to do a lot of this lactic, glycolytic type of training. It beats you up, and we see it through our RPE's week one of accumulation block. We're skyrocketed.

It's six, seven, eights for a straight month, and then you come into intensification block, and it's this nice steady ramp up where week one, they're 2's and 3's. And people that have been here know that, and they feel good about that. And then next week it's like alright, getting up in intensity, going up, but not crazy. And then by the time week four comes, you've gotten a good couple weeks of lower volume, not hitting that lactic system as hard, allow that body restore, and you feel good.

And you're like, "Okay, sleeps up. I feel like I'm recovering from these workouts. I feel like the strength is coming back. I feel like wow I'm not just completely beating my body down."

Which goes back into this constant cycle of let's really get some good hard concentrated high-workload stuff. Let's get some really good concentrated high strength stuff and neural stuff, and hopefully at the end you have this nice balance between pushing stuff really hard for a period of time, and then matching it with understanding and listening to your body enough for recover to come in. 

At the end you have this nice balance between pushing really hard for a period of time. And then matching it with understanding and listening to your body for recovery to come in. 

In regard to transitioning from an accumulation block to an intensification block, why do you program to have the main squat be back squat to back squat, or front squat to front squat? Compared to having back squat one block, front squat the next?

The biggest part is looking at the motor learning aspect. When working with people we need a period of time to really get as comfort with certain movement.

We all know that transition from back squat to front squat, or back squat to even say a split squat, is a little bit of a learning curve, right? Having an eight week period of maximizing a certain movement really helps in that perspective of:

  • "I've got a good comfort with this."
  • "I know the loading perimeters."
  • "I know how to get just the right position."
  • "I know what the impact's gonna be the next day."

That's a really big part of it. The other part is they're higher threshold movements. Back squat's gonna have a lot more load than something like a front squat, or even like a split squat. And when you're looking at over the course of the year you wanna have some perspective on how many times you can tap in the well off these big nervous system movements. Back squat's gonna have a bigger dent on your nervous system just from a load perspective. 

If you look at your 1RM of back squat versus front squat, typically on a really good lifter who's got a lot of experience with front squat, cannot lift more than 80% of your back squat. So if your back squat's 100 kilos, your max on front squats could be no more than 80. And if you're looking at an overall tonnage effect, which is calculating total sets, reps, and weight lifted per load sets and reps, that's gonna have a lot bigger impact there.

Tonnage makes a big impact on the amount we impact the nervous system.

Tonnage makes a big impact on the amount we impact the nervous system. Back squat's just gonna have a bigger impact there. So having that balance there.

And then the other aspect is, I think there is a point where we gotta look at axial loading, or loading of that just spine and that body, the compressive load, and back squat being a higher load movement maybe a position that if you're a little tight and restricted you might have to adjust yourself to get into. 

If we have a really good balance between back squat and front squat where let's say and RDL and a single leg RDL, or we're looking at bench work at all angles like incline and overhead press, or some other variations, we're getting great structural balance from what we're trying to do programming wise, and we're not having people go so long on something they're having to compromise position, technique, or even their potential safety to accomplish a goal.

We’re getting great structural balance from what we’re trying to do programming wise. And we’re not having people go so long on something that they’re having to compromise position, technique, or even their potential safety to accomplish a goal.

And we're now moving onto the next task of let's accentuate front squat, let's accentuate split squat, let's look at some of the movements to really to really achieve driving adaptation while avoiding injuries as much as possible. 


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