Maximize your heavy lifting with this unloading strategy courtesy of strength coach and personal trainer Amanda Jessop, CSCS.
For athletes and weekend warriors alike it can be difficult to ramp down the intensity in the gym. We grow up hearing that we need to push to the point of failure every single time we pick up a pair of dumbbells or even whiff a power rack.
But a planned reduction in intensity and weight can actually help you get stronger and more beastly over the long term.
Amanda Jessop, CSCS, and owner of Channel Your Inner Athlete, a mobile personal training company in Savannah, Georgia, stopped by to talk about how she likes pairing heavy lifting with strategic unloading during the workout routines she gives her athletes and clients.
Here is Amanda with the details.
Unloading: How to Get More From Your Workouts by Lifting Less
There is a hybrid workout approach I like to use called unloading. I adopted it from Juan Carlos “JC” Santana.
For this type of workout, specific muscles are targeted for traditional heavy hypertrophy or strength on one day of the week and are unloaded with functional training on the other days of the week.
Say for instance you had Monday that would be a heavy leg and hip day and then Wednesday would be a heavy day for the pulling muscles.
- See also: Looking for a barbell for your home gym? Check out this breakdown of the best Olympic (and other non-Olympic) barbells for your home gym.
On Monday you would work the legs and hips with traditional strength exercises (squats, lunges, deadlifts), and then on the same day you would unload the pulling muscles with functional exercises (TRX Rows, Band pulls, etc).
On Wednesday you would focus on pull muscles with traditional strength training (Pull downs, cable rows, DB rows) and unload the legs and hips with functional exercises (Stability ball leg curls, Single leg RDL).
I like this workout because it not only provides the muscles with hypertrophy stimulus, but it also gives the muscles an ‘active recovery day’ and the ability to address any correct/rehab concerns.
I then add in at least one rotational exercise for total body and core stiffness. The functional exercises still have a high intensity and volume.
Perform the traditional strength exercises for 8-12 reps and the 10-20 reps for the functional exercises.
Here is a sample workout below that I like to do:
- 1A) Traditional Exercise: Barbell Bridges
- 1B) Unloading Pulling Muscles: Resistance Band Staggered Stance high to low row
- 2A) Traditional Exercise: Barbell RDL’s
- 2B) Unloading Pulling Muscles: TRX High Rows
- 3A) Traditional Exercise: Leg Press
- 3B) Unloading Core and Pulling Muscles: Half kneeling High to low Chop
You can connect with Amanda online at Channel Your Inner Athlete. She provides mobile training, 1:1 coaching, sports performance coaching and more. You can also find her on the ‘gram.