Whatever your goals are in training, you want to improve and make progress towards them. When you are unsure of what to do in the gym, you get frustrated and progress comes to a halt. Attaining your goals can be easy or hard depending on the knowledge you have. Here are 15 golden nuggets to help your improve your training and crush your goals!
– The key to healthy joints and longevity in life is mobility. Mobility is basically moving all of the joints in your body using full ranges of motion. For example, we would want to make sure that we do movements that gave the knee full flexion. Movements like deep squats and Cossacks are good for the knee. Mobility promotes blood flow to the joints which is what it craves and it helps increase the range of motion in the joint. When a joint becomes stiff it is due to lack of movement and that is why when you sit around for long periods of time you become stiff in your knees, back, hips, and ankles is because there is a lack of blood flow going on while you are sitting doing nothing. Think of your joints like an engine or a machine. Both the engine and machine need oil to properly perform and your joints need blood to properly perform. So do your joints a favor and take 5 to 10 minutes each day working on your mobility.
– To become better as a whole, physical training alone will not cut it. You need to have strong mental fortitude as well. The mind and body will play tricks on you during your competitions and training. Do you have the mental capacity to keep calm and keep driving forward when your body is screaming at you to give up during a training session or competition? There are a ton of books out there on mental training. Just go on Amazon buy one and get reading.
– In order to become a master of technique, you must strive for quality reps every time you train. It takes 3 good reps to correct 1 bad one. By performing multiple bad reps in a row and then you will have a lot of self-correcting to do. If you want to actually make progressions in your training then make sure each rep is solid. Going through the motions and looking like you are having convulsions while training will do nothing for you except give you a good sweat.
– Don’t drink the kool aid and think there is only one way to train and everyone has to do it this way. When it comes to training, most of it is trial and error and finding out what works best for you. Learn training techniques and types from as many different people as you can. Question people as to why they train the way they do or do a movement in a different way than you have seen. Then, go and create your own training philosophy, at the same time always be open to learning something new. If you like it hang on to it, if not discard it.
– Dan John says “it best keep the goal the goal!” This is a simple question you must ask yourself when programming your training. Make sure training reflects what you want to achieve. Would you advise an Olympic lifter to do long distance runs? Then why try to mimic throwing a javelin with a barbell on a bosu ball standing on one foot while doing bicep curls with your favorite Jillian Michaels dumbbell? It doesn’t make any sense and it won’t make you any better at throwing the javelin. Remember this; you train with weights to become stronger and better conditioned for your sport of choice. You become better at your sport by practicing that skill as the same you would in competition.
– Don’t overcomplicate things by doing 30 exercises in one training session or trying the latest workout you saw in the fitness magazine or on the internet. Pick a few exercises for each training session and attack them. Your time is precious. So, when it comes to training don’t waste it on fluff. With the millions of programs out there, it can get quite confusing as well. Here is a suggestion, if you do not understand the program or can’t remember it then chances are you will not get the results you want on that program. Think simple like the classic 5×5 program.
– Maxing out every time you train will just fry your central nervous system and increase your chances of becoming injury prone. Instead make sure when you are lifting you do not go to failure but stay fresh. What that means is when you lift, make sure you are able to perform the lift with control and good technique. If during a set your technique starts to go south, that is the point when you need to stop. The same goes if you are lifting a weight where it looks like your body is performing a weird contortionist act. That is an obvious sign that you are not ready for that weight yet. Always stop one or two reps short of failure. There is a time to go heavy but you don’t want to do it all the time. By lifting at the 80% mark you will actually get stronger because your technique will be solid on every rep and you will build confidence in yourself by never missing a lift.
– Trying to lift like Dmitry Klokov and comparing yourself to him will do nothing but leave you constantly frustrated every time you train. Instead, focus on yourself and getting better in the lifts you train. Who cares if someone can lift more than you right now, you have no idea how long they have been working on that lift or who they had help them with their technique. As long as your numbers and weight keeps going up then you are making progress and it all that matters.
– Push, pull, squat, hinge these are your basic movements and what you should be working on when you train. We can also add rotation, abdominal movements, run, crawl, jump, and climb, but when it comes to lifting weight all you need is the basic movements of push, pull, squat, and hinge. When it comes to pushing think vertical and horizontal movements the same goes with pulling movements. Squat is obviously squatting and the hinge is your deadlift motions, cleans would also be qualified as a hinge motion which is good for building power. Make sure throughout your week of training all four of these movements are covered and in return it will make you a much better well rounded athlete.
– Time under tension has some tremendous benefits to your training. It will not only make you stronger but it will also increase your muscular endurance. Try doing push ups straight for 3 minutes without ever losing form. Don’t worry about how many reps you get. Just see if you can last the whole 3 minutes without stopping. You can vary the length of time as well as the exercise. Keep the weight light to start out and then as it gets easier and you are able to do more reps, go ahead and add more weight.
– Bodyweight exercises teaches one how to control their own bodyweight which is highly valuable when it comes to training. If you cannot do a push up on the floor with complete control throughout the movement then you really should not be loading your body with weights. Push ups, pull ups, dips, single leg squats, bridges, and leg raises are all great movements that should be included in your training. Learn some of the advance bodyweight movements as well such as free-standing handstand push ups, front levers, and strict muscle ups. Simply adding weights to get strong is the easy way, but how does one get strong without any equipment? Your answer: look at gymnasts. They have incredible physiques along with tremendous strength and power.
– Keeping your ego in check will increase the quality of your training. Make sure you always control the weight throughout the whole movement. If you are bouncing the bar off your chest in the bench press, that weight is too heavy for you. You will either crack your sternum or teach yourself incorrect form. Continuing with this approach will lead to further risk of injuries.
– Ever wonder why you are not getting results in your training? You must first ask yourself how long have you been sticking to your current program? If the answer is less than 12 weeks then that is the reason why. Training like anything else takes time and to get better at something you have to do it with repetitions on a consistent basis. Jumping from one program to another will ensure that you never get good at anything. In school you did not study math for a couple weeks then do reading for another couple weeks, and from there jump into science and then go back to math. Instead, you did them all in small amounts on a weekly basis for 9 months. Training is the same way. Consistency is the basis of making long-term gains. However, if you are not seeing results in your training after you have been consistently training for 12 weeks, then go ahead and make some changes. Just remember there will always be ups and downs in your training, but if you stay consistent with your training, the results you seek will come.
– This is probably one of the most overlooked things when it comes to training. If you want to be able lift more and perform better on the field, then you need to learn how to master your breathing. Take about 5 to 10 minutes each day and focus on your breathing. Finding an area in nature or a place with no distractions is best. Now breathe into your belly for a count of 5, hold for a count of 5, then exhale for a count of 5, hold for a count of 5. Repeat that process for 5 to 10 minutes. This will be a challenge to empty your head and just sit there in silence and do nothing but focusing on breathing. However, it will help with mental clarity when it comes time to focus. Additionally, it will help you stay focused and relaxed in training. The more oxygen we can intake, the better our performance. Hence why breathing is so important. Just like anything there are a ton of books about breathing out there just do a search on Amazon and get reading.
– This goes without saying but if you are not having fun in your training then you need to take a break from what you are doing or try something else. If you are constantly dreading your training sessions then something is wrong. Maybe you are going too heavy, missing lifts, or just don’t like the exercises you’re performing. Remember, not every training session should be balls to walls. Take a step back work on your technique or do lighter weights with pauses in between the reps. Go do some yoga, go for a bike ride or swim, play a game with friends, or just rest. Then come back fresh and excited to train. Not every training session will be easy and you will have sessions that will push your limits, but that is why you train to get out of your comfort zone and push yourself beyond your limits. Training makes you feel good and able to live a long healthy life. So make it fun!
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