Sunday, November 10, 2013

My 10 Points

After my last strongman contest I took some time to re-evaluate where I was and try and answer the simple question "what are your goals?" It's the question Dan John hangs his hat on, and, for me, at least it's been one that is difficult to answer.

So I sat around and thought about what my training should focus on, and I did what I do best...  I made a list.

The goals are simple: look better, feel better, move better, be a better husband/father, and correct some weaknesses along the way, and maybe one day I'll come back to strongman and be better than I was before.

Now, I hate articles with titles like "THE 10 COMMANDMENTS OF BEING AWESOME" and "12 THINGS YOU MUST BE DOING OR ELSE YOU ARE A STUPID". So, let's just leave it as 10 points, that are really only applicable to me, but I thought I might share and give you some ideas and maybe you might find something useful.

This is the list posted on the wall of my garage gym. A reminder of the things I forget. I'll go through the points and give a brief explanation.

I. Upper Body Hypertrophy - I have a relatively weak bench press/overhead press, and I believe that my technique on the issues is maxed out. So, in my estimation, the only thing that is going to improve my pressing is to add some meat above the sternum. Hypertrophy is achieved (primarily) through volume, for those that don't know.

II. Lower Body Strength/Power - I am old. I am getting slower. I need to intermingle some of the quick lifts. And get away from the grinding heavy movements. There is a time to grind, but remember, we're trying to feel better too.

III. Technical Quality / Quality over Quantity - No ugly lifts. The training session is over when the bar slows and form is sacrificed.

IV. Mobility / Stretching  between sets - If I'm going to maximize time and efficiency in the gym I'm going to have to use the time between sets and exercises to get this body loosened up.

V. Address Weaknesses - That's what this whole list is about

VI. Bar Speed is a Priority - Taking a page from Fred Hatfield's compensatory acceleration, move the bar fast. It will help keep the bar moving when the weights get heavier.

VII. Rowing, Pulling, Upper Back - This goes back to point one. But here I am thinking more about shoulder stability and long term health. Yes, more meat up top too. But strong traps, lats, rhomboids and thoracic extensors keep you young, upright and stable. At least 2 repetitions of pulling/rowing movements for every 1 of pressing is the recommendation of many.

VIII. Sometimes Think Single Limb - If you want me to look like I don't have the strength to stand up out of a chair, make me do lunges. I hate them for a multitude of reasons. Also, Pistol squats were once big back in the day, and now split squats with the rear foot on a bench are the measure of strength in many of the training facilities of professional athletes. They have their place and are another tool in the toolbox. And, like much of this list, we are overlapping with point five.

IX. DO NOT MISS REPS - I do not have the neurological recuperative ability to waste on trying to move a bar that is going no where. It fries me and ensures that I my next effort in the gym will be sub-optimal. So, I'm not doing it. This doesn't mean I don't go heavy, but it does mean that I don't have room to be stupid and that I'll have to put some thought into my weight selection when I do.

X. Address The Midsection - I refuse to use the word "core" Do some situps and side bends. Work on your powerbelly. It often gets neglected and it shouldn't.

Big Hairy Daddy Strength and Conditioning (my garage)

So there is my list. Do I always follow it? No. Now, go make your own list and put it somewhere you'll see it every time you go to the gym, especially if you are prone to forget your own great advice like me.