a triathlon coach demonstrating an exercise
January 26, 2008

Mike Ricci


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General Adaptation Phase
Frequency: 2-3 times per week.
Sets: 2 to 5 ideally, with 3 working sets.
Repetitions: 15-25
Rest between Sets: Done as circuit rest 15-60 seconds between individual exercises within each circuit and 1-3 min. between circuits.
Tempo: 1 count lift, 1 count isometric (pause at bottom), 2 count lower, 0 count rest.

A. Warm up: First warm up with 5 to 10 min on spin bike or tread mill, then do the 3 warm up exercises. This combination should give you a general warm up. THEN, you MAY need one or two light sets in your first circuit to get a specific warm up. This is particularly true of dead lifts – it generally takes a few sets to be ready to do a working set.

B. Working set: In general, the goal of a working set is to use enough weight such that you reach failure within the intended range of repetitions. So if your goal is 6-10 reps, and you can do 12 then you need to increase the load on the next set. Conversely, if you can only do 5 you need to decrease the load.

C. Progression: As you progress through a phase, begin with a weight that allows you to perform reps at the higher end of the range. As the phase goes on, increase the weight such that you fatigue in the lower end of the ranges. It is OK to change the weight between sets in any given workout. Also note, one can use this same method of “progression” with in a single workout – especially in the beginning of a new stage. In the first working set, select a weight that might cause fatigue near the top end of the range of repetitions. Add weight on each set such that you can accomplish fewer repetitions yet remain inside the target range. This conservative approach help prevent injury.

D. The End – One might thing about it like this: over the next 12 to 16 weeks, I am preparing myself to do 3 or 4 workouts during, in a two week window, each of those I will do 3 max strength sets where I lift as much weight as possible for 6-10 reps. THREE QUALITY working sets where I give it 100% and work to exhaustion within the 6-10 reps!

Good luck!

Coach Mike Ricci is the Founder and Head Coach for D3 Multisport.  His coaching style is ‘process-focused’ vs. ‘results-focused.’ When working with an athlete, their understanding of how and why they are improving is always going to take precedence over any race result. Yes, there is an end goal, but in over 2 decades of coaching, experience has shown him that if you do the right work, and for the right reasons, the results will follow.

Coach Mike is a USAT Level III Elite Certified Coach, Ironman University Certified Coach, and Training Peaks Level II Certified Coach. He was honored as the USAT Coach of the Year.

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