Saturday, 2 August 2014

The Tao of Blair (fitness)

I first saw one of these type posts on The Bodyweightfiles and have decided to write my own. I intend this to be a constantly evolving point of view. I might be wrong on some things and later change my mind, but at this point in time these are my thoughts on training:

-Strength first. A high level of general strength will transfer over quickly to other strengths, rep ranges and strength endurance. A one arm push up will help build the muscle required to do 100 push ups, the reverse is not necessarily true. Having a strong squat should allow you to carry a load, or person for a longer distance that doing 50 light weight squats. I’m not saying you need to be a top level strongman, but you should aim to be extremely strong.

-Build your base with reps. While this might seem like a contradiction to my first point, these two should work together. Build a solid foundation of higher reps in simpler movements before moving on. For example sets of 15-20 push ups, then un-even push ups, then archer push ups before finally moving to one arm push ups. These higher reps help condition the muscles, tendons, ligaments etc and build a solid base to work on. From there I see higher rep sets as less valuable. This also hold true for powerlifting, sets of 8-10 can be incredibly helpful. (Note: I'm sure there is a place for high rep work, but I believe its few and far between)

-Progression is key. Have a plan and stick to it. These two go hand in hand. It doesn’t really matter what game you’re in (bodyweight, barbells, kettlebells, sandbags etc) you need to find some kind of way to monitor your progress. ‘Weight moved’ and ‘time’ are straight forward, try to move more weight in the same time, or try to move the same weight faster – simple. The problem is it can be really easy to let this slip away by doing random conditioning workouts. This is fine but have a bench mark (or several) which you come back to regularly. In the same vein, make a plan for where you want to go and how your workouts will get you there. Be it weight moved, or timed workout.

-Set high goals, and then work tirelessly towards them. It may be 1 pull up, or 20, or a one arm pull up. Set a high goal for yourself, and then make a plan to get there. Stick to your plan for at least a month (better 3) before considering a change. Search for different methods but at some point just put your head down and push forward with your own plan. Go for a month, then revisit where you’re at.

-More isn’t better, better is better (See Bodytribe). Strive for better, squat better and deeper before adding weight. Wait until a movement becomes easy before making it harder; don’t just push until you can only just make the higher movement. It is okay for a movement to feel easy after months of grinding add it, enjoy this for a week or two (or a month) before moving on. This is when the connective tissue recovers.

-Train your grip. Hang, lift fat bars, crush stuff, climb things. It’s fun and will help all of your lifts (even squats, just crush the bar as hard as you can).

-Run, a little. Try to go for a run once a week, under an hour, run as far as you can.  If you’re injured and can’t run consider cycling or swimming.

-You don’t need lots of equipment. I enjoy building things, but I could get away with none of it and still have a great training program. If you’re short on cash and or space prioritise a rings or a pull up bar. That is really all you need to get very strong.

-Get mobile. Don’t ignore your mobility or you will pay for it later. This is something I am currently dealing with, and regaining mobility is difficult so stay on top of it.

-Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. If you can’t do exactly what you planned on doing, just get something down, and don’t walk away altogether.  This sounds simple but it is so easy not to go for a run because you only have 20 minutes and you wanted an hour. Put your shoes on and run hard for 20 minutes, keep control of the habit. Or if you run out of time for your workout don’t sweat it, you will see it again next week, if you have time to make it up that’s great otherwise don’t stress (this is assuming you are otherwise very consistent).

-Learn some skills. Parkour, movnat, combative, swimming etc; get good at doing a lot of things.

-Do something every day. Even on a rest day get some movement in. It could be a walk, or easy run, some basic grip training, skipping rope, of some mobility work.

As you can see it’s all pretty basic and that I think is the beauty of it all. If in doubt just try to be better today, than yesterday. This won’t happen every day, but never stop trying.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post! I've following your blog for about 3 weeks now, since our philosophies look the same - I also build my own gear, whenever possible :-)

    Cheers from Brazil!

    Hilton Sousa, primal for 1.5 years now