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Advanced program design with Charles Poliquin

Last week world renowned strength coach Charles Poliquin taught his advanced program design course in Marbella Spain, here are a few of the lessons I learnt whilst there.

After 12 weeks of hard focused training it is important to take a week of active rest.

Highly trained individuals need to do some form of activity in order to prevent an increase in insulin resistance and loss of muscle mass.

Ideally it should be the polar opposite of what the athlete or client usually does. A sports example might be a rugby player going for a week in the sun and playing tennis. For a regular gym goer who resistance trains this might mean getting out the gym after a 12 week phase of hard training and taking a holiday and learning a new sport such as snow skiing or mountain biking.

The best advice applies to 70% of the population but you need to acknowledge the extremes!

Dr Mario Pasquale is one of Charles long standing mentors and he says that the best advice only applies to 70% of the population and that the other 30% lye on the two extremes. This is true across many fields, to take a strength training example:

The best bench pressers in the world can press approximately 306% x their bodyweight yet:

  • 15% of them train bench press once every 5 days.
  • 70% of them train bench press every day.
  • 15% of them train bench press once every 14 days.

So there are many different methods to reaching the same achievement, the key is knowing what works for you. The best coaches can identify where an athlete or client lies and accommodate them even if they lie on the extremes.

For best results acknowledge your neurotransmitter profile

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that determine how we think, feel and behave. The four main neurotransmitters are: Dopamine / acetylecholine / serotonin and gabba. The first two are excitatory so are needed to wake up and move whilst the later two are inhibitory so help you to unwind and sleep.

To maximize results in the gym you need to establish which one you are dominant in and also which you are most deficient in. You can do this by taking the Braverman Assessment.

An underrated element to training is recovery as you can only train as hard as what you can recover from. The Braverman test provides a great insight into which recovery methods are most suitable to that individual.

For example if an athlete was deficient in Gabba then one method to help bring this up would be to recommend ‘Reshi Mushroom’ extract. If however you have a general pop client who is new to training they may well be deficient in all four neurotransmitters, in this case recommending chiro inositol alternated with magnesium inositol would be a good start.

A few random pearls of wisdom from Charles to finish

“Don’t live in your ego, live in the moment.”
“It is good to make mistakes but never twice.”
“Know the history of the training systems your using.”
“Success breeds success.”
“A good sniper will be high in Gaba and serotonin.”
“Go heavy or do something else.”
“Everything in biology is explained on a continuum.”
“Cold brewed coffee is the way to go.”
“All relationships are built on the speed of trust.”
“If a drug causes a problem it’s because you don’t need it.”
“Always add weight to the bar, never take it off, it’s a sin!”
“If you want athletes to train get results.”
“Results, results, results!”

To find out more about Charles and his courses please visit: Strength Sensei

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