Programming for shift work and equipment restrictions - Alaskan Style
Looking for any advice I can get. Sorry in advance for the long post.
I recently started shift work. I work 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off on a drilling rig on the North Slope of Alaska (Prudhoe Bay). As I write this it is a balmy November evening... -5 degF. I have come to a bit of a standstill with training recently, and not sure how I should approach my situation.
- 2 weeks on: I work either midnight to noon, or noon to midnight. The latter is preferable but I have no say in the matter. I work on a rig, but sleep in a rig camp. The gym I have immediate (in camp) access to has a treadmill and a bowflex style cable machine. The gym I can drive to is at another camp about 20 minutes away, only open from 6-10am and 6-10pm, has limited equipment (see below), and driving is dependent on vehicle availability or weather/road conditions. If I sleep for 6 hours I can usually squeeze in 60-90 minutes of gym time.
Equipment: the larger gym has all the equipment you would typically see at a golds. Lots of metal plates, a few bars, a plethora of dumbbells, a few kettlbells, and some machines. There is nothing weightlifting specific so this means no bumpers, platforms, jerkblocks, etc... Basically I cant drop the weights because I will get tossed (people are sleeping in this camp at all hours)
Training up here: Provided that I can make it to the gym. I can squat, deadlift/pull, press, bench, etc. all I want...and heavy. Cleans, snatches and jerks have to be lighter to ensure I dont fail.
Nutrition: They feed us well
- 2 weeks off: assume no restrictions to equipment, sleep, nutrition, etc.
I need your help
-Should I just attack a Catalyst training cycle like I have in the past and moderate for the 2 weeks I am working?
-If so should I add in reps and sets to equal the volume as written (to account for the lighter weight?) Or just add in accessory work with dumbbells/bodybuilding stuff-When it calls for higher percentages on the Olympic movements is this a good time to back off and work on form or will this be a severe detriment to the cycle?
- Should I be doing anything in the weeks I have off work to make up for the weeks where volume in the Olympic movements will decrease?
- I have some serious form issues to clean up on my snatch and my jerk is abysmal. This could be a good time to do so with lighter weight.
I know this was long, however I greatly appreciate your input.
No matter what you do, it's obviously a less than ideal situation, so adjust your expectations accordingly.
It's probably a good time for a strength-emphasis training cycle - squatting, pulling, pressing, etc. and less work on the classic lifts, or as you said, adjust the weights down and do a little more tech work. I don't think that would be disastrous at all, and in fact, that reduction in overall work/intensity would probably be beneficial in these circumstances.
A couple possible choices -
Thanks Greg. Sounds like a good plan.
Here is an update on how the training is going. I decided to follow the 12 week strength and development cycle. I was able to stick to it pretty true but it ended up taking ~14 weeks. I took a couple more rest days when I was working shift work to help recovery and maximize sleep. I also missed a couple front squat days due to some wrist issues.
All in all I am much more confident with my squat, clean and jerk, and snatch. What was heavy and inconsistent before is a little bit more routine. Still need work on the classics, however I feel I have made some movement in the right direction.
- Clean and Jerk: 111 ---> 120 (9kg PR)
- Snatch: 93 ---> 95 (2kg pr) [100 is so close, overhead and locked out but I keep missing it]
- Squat: 184 ---> 190 (fairly easy... tried for 200 and didnt have the grind but i was having an off day because before I maxed squat I decided to snowboard for a few days, which meant that my legs were a bit weaker than expected.) (Front squat is still hovering around 157)
As you can see my classics are far below my squat strength, which is discouraging but I hope they can catch up a bit.
Question: Should I continue on strength cycles (like the ones you posted above) ? This is a good time in life for me to continue to get stronger given the equipment I have.
If so should I used 195 for max squat (I know I can make this...without a doubt) ?
Or should I try and work the classics more than I work strength to help them catch up?
Thanks so much for the programming and the resources.
Yes, I would keep doing similar programming right now. And yes, you can use 195 fs to calculate your %s.
Thank you again for the programming. the resources your provide (for free nonetheless) are invaluable for so many. Your book has helped me tremendously and without a coach here in Alaska, my lifting would not be the same without you and the Catalyst community.
I Just finished the 4 week Leg Strength Block 1 and the squat went from 190 to 197. Finally over 2.5xBW squat! The 3rd week was rough. I was able to not miss a day of squats, but I did miss some of the classic work and one of the thursday power work.
I will continue on with the second of the 4 week leg strength blocks and let you know how the progress is coming.
I am not peaking for competition so I plan on skipping the last 4 weeks of comp prep in this 12 week complete cycle, and roll back into another strength program.
I will be finished with the shift work in August and back to the 9-5 grind. This means that I will be able to train consistently and work more on the classic lifts at that point. But until then I will plan on making strength the priority and keep you updated with the progress.
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