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"The Total"



Our “Code for Fitness” is centered around the philosophy that you have a Coach for Life, a focus on fundamental movements essential for thriving in life, consistent training, accountability, and community support, and a plan of action that helps set you up for long-term success.

In an effort to help support this awesome lifestyle, we encourage you perform our Code for Fitness 2-3 times per week.  Our Code for Fitness is essentially performing functional movements that help support your lifestyle 2-3 times per week on either the group class setting or in 1-on-1 Personal Training sessions.

Let's take a deeper look at what makes up our "Code for Fitness", which means learning to lift external resistance in a safe and progressive manner.  Every once in a while, once appropriate, we will test our abilities in the form of "The Total".

Here is our take on "The Total", which is adapted From Mark Rippetoe's 2006 article: 

From Rip:

"We have talked many t
imes about the fact that people who come to us from a strength-training background tend to perform better in the key aspects of the program. When you’re stronger, metabolic conditioning is easier and endurance stuff (i.e., 5k or 10k runs) is about the same—and workouts like “Diane” (three rounds, at 21-15-9 reps, of 225/155-pound deadlifts and handstand push-ups) are just not possible without a considerable amount of strength.
 
In essence, it is easier for a lifter to improve his or her time on “Diane” than it is for a runner to develop the ability even to finish the workout without scaling it back to a very light weight. So the conversation focused on a way to work more strength into the program while maintaining w well-rounded approach to it.
 
Powerlifting has been very successful in its approach to strength testing and training, but it is plagued with what some consider to be significant problems. I have great respect for powerlifting, having competed, coached, and announced in power meets for 20 years. Without belaboring the issue or attempting any judgment beyond these comments, I see two main problems with it.
 
First, the use of equipment that enables otherwise impossible weights to be lifted inflates the total. “Raw” meets, where the only equipment allowed is a belt, address this issue. But the second problem remains: the bench press. It requires special equipment, it cannot be done with limit weights safely without spotters, and it is not a very functional exercise since it is performed while lying on a bench that supports the weight during the movement.
 
The way to bring more strength to our approach is with The Total. The Total is the sum of the best of three attempts at the Back Squat, the Press, and the Deadlift, the three most effective lifts in existence for developing and testing functional strength.
 
All three lifts are done while standing on the floor. They require minimal and inexpensive equipment. They are not technique dependent to the extent of the Olympic lifts, yet they require
technical proficiency beyond mere passing familiarity. They are safe when performed correctly, since they can all be performed without spotters. But most importantly, the Total more accurately reflects the level of functional strength available to an athlete than any other test available.
 
The Rules
 
The rules for the lifts will need to be simple and well understood by everybody, both the lifters and people in the position of judging them, so we’re all on the same page. The idea is that when you post a "Total", yours will be done to the same standards as everyone else’s.
 
The lifts must be easy to judge, easy to understand, and as difficult to corrupt as possible. By starting out with a clear picture of what we want and don’t want from a "Total", many millions of hours of bitching, hard feelings, and confusion can be averted. It must be understood that good form in the lifts is inherent in the rules for testing them.
 
The order for performing the three lifts will be Back Squat, Press, and then Deadlift. The best single attempt for each of the three lifts are added together for the "Total". There is a time limit (all 3 lifts completed during 1 60 minute training session). 
 
Back Squat Rules
 
The Back Squat must be done from the racks. The bar must be placed on the back and walked out to clear the rack completely. No contact with the rack is permitted until the bar is replaced in the rack. Once the bar is lowered, the stance cannot change until the bar is to be racked.
 
The starting position must be completely upright, with the knees and the hips fully extended and with the chest up. The hips are lowered until the top surfaces of both of the legs at the hip joint are lower than the knees, and then the bar is lifted back up. The bottom position is identified by
 
A) the apex of the crease in the shorts formed as the hips are lowered,
B) the surface of the top of the patella,
C) the plane formed by a straight line between the two, and
D) the dipping of the hip end of that plane below
horizontal.
 
The finish position is the same as the starting position, and the athlete must return to it before the bar is racked. When the finish position is secure, the bar must be walked back into the rack and successfully replaced.
 
Any halt in the upward motion of the whole bar, identified at its position on the back rather than at its ends, constitutes a missed attempt, as does any change in position of the feet against the floor during the squat. Any deliberate attempt to lower the bar counts as an attempt. 
 
Press Rules
 
The Press is also done from the racks. The bar is held in both hands in front of the shoulders/chest, taken out of the rack and walked back away from the rack. No contact with the rack is permitted until the bar is replaced in the racks. Once the stance is assumed it cannot change until the lift is completed. The starting position must be upright, with the knees and hips fully extended and the chest up. The bar must be in contact with the top of the shoulders or the chest, whichever individual flexibility permits.
 
After the starting position is correctly assumed, there must be a 1 second pause before the bar is pressed overhead until the elbows are completely extended, with the bar in a position directly above the ankles, knees, hips, and shoulders. Once this position has been attained, the bar is lowered back to the front of the shoulders and walked back into the rack and replaced.
 
Any halt in the upward motion of the bar, identified as the part of the bar between the hands, constitutes a missed attempt, as does any change in the position of the feet against the floor during the attempt, any bending of the knees, or excessive backward lean of the torso as identified by
 
A) the position of the most anterior aspect of the armpit,
B) the most posterior aspect of the buttocks,
C) the plane formed by a straight line between these two points, and
D) the movement of that plane to a position behind the vertical. Any deliberate attempt to raise the bar counts as an attempt.
 
Spotters are not permitted for this lift.
 
Deadlift Rules
 
The Deadlift is performed with the bar on the floor. The lifter assumes a position facing the bar, with the bar parallel to the lifter’s frontal plane. The bar is gripped with both hands, and pulled with one continuous uninterrupted movement until the lifter is standing erect with knees and hips fully extended, the chest up and shoulders back. Once this position is attained and the bar is motionless, the bar is lowered under control with both hands back to the ground. The bar may not be dropped.
 
Any halt in the upward motion of the bar constitutes a missed attempt, as does failure to assume a fully erect position with both knees and hips extended. Any attempt to raise the bar counts as an attempt.
 
The equipment that can be used is minimal. A belt of any type can be worn but is not required. Knee wraps or sleeves are permitted, but if they are used they must be left on for the entire duration of the session in which the lift is performed—e.g., they must be put on before the squat is warmed up and left in place until the last squat attempt is completed. Wrist wraps are permitted; lifting straps are not.
 
Now that we know exactly what we’re doing, we need to figure out the best way to do it. For people not used to doing single maximum attempts, some tips on how best to safely do them are in order. After a warm-up, the Back Squat will be performed first. Some squatting with the empty bar should have been included in the general warm-up so that the knees, hips, back, and shoulders are not too terribly surprised. Anyone in a position to attempt a legitimate Total should be familiar enough with their capabilities on the lifts to have a fairly good idea of just what might be possible for a one-rep max (1RM). This number is what you warm up intending to do. A formal meet situation will involve three attempts, and this is a good way to determine a true 1RM.
 
The first attempt would be a weight you know you can do for a heavy set of three. The second attempt would be a weight you know without any doubt that you could do for a single, having just done the first attempt. And the third attempt is the weight you want to do, based on your performance on the previous two attempts.
 
If you have made a mistake missing your first attempt, the next two will need to be adjusted, but you should know what you can triple, and this will always be a safe first attempt. And since you know this weight, you know what weights to use to warm up for it: you’ll use the lightest weight that you normally start with for your first warm-up when you train, and 90% of the first attempt for the last warm-up, with either three or four relatively even increments in between these two.
 
For instance, warm-ups for a 315 pound first attempt on the Back Squat would be:
 
135 x 10
185 x 5
225 x 3
275 x 1
295 x 1
 
If you don’t have a damn good idea of what you can do for a heavy triple, you don’t need to be doing a true Total yet. After the Back Squat, follow the same procedure with the Press. Since Press numbers will be much lighter, the warm-ups will be closer together, and you might choose to use fewer intermediate warm-ups. This is fine, since the Back Squat has provided quite a bit of systemic warmup, if not actual fatigue. After a rest and a drink following the Press, the Deadlift warm-up might be abbreviated even further, with a heavier first warmup and only two or three intermediate sets before the first attempt.
 
Done correctly, "The Total" is perhaps our best tool for telling us the things we need to know about a very important aspect of our training. It is my sincerest hope that it also makes a contribution to the training of athletes currently outside our community and functions as a way to introduce them to our methods, and to the good people of the world.
 
Here are some basic precautions that need to be followed for safety:
 
1) Don’t be stupid.
Don’t total if you’re injured to the extent that a total will aggravate the problem. This will cost you in at least training time, and possibly time off of work if you’re ultra-stupid.
 
2) Don’t be greedy.
Learn to recognize the difference between greed and ambition, and be merely ambitious.
 
3) Don’t be pig-headed.
If your first attempt tells you that you need to lower your second, do so, without a misplaced sense of diminished self-worth. It’s a test, and it’s designed to measure what’s there, not create something that’s not. That’s what training is for."
 
-Mark Rippetoe
 
 
 
Here are the guidelines for performing The Total at the Trebel School of Fitness:
 
Life:
1. Back Squat 3x5 or 5-5-5 @31X1 tempo
2. Press 3x5 or 5-5-5 @31X1 tempo
3. Deadlift 3x5 or 5-5-5 @ 31X1 tempo
*Combine loads for your "Total"
 
Fitness:
1. Back Squat 3x1 or 1-1-1 @31X1 tempo
2. Press 3x1 or 1-1-1 @31X1 tempo
3. Deadlift 3x1 or 1-1-1 @ 31X1 tempo
*Combine loads for your "Total"
 
 Performance:
1. Back Squat 1-1-1
2. Press 1-1-1
3. Deadlift 1-1-1
*Combine loads for your "Total"
 
*return barbell to the starting position for all lifts, including warm-up lifts.

Have FUN :)!