Monday, 6 August 2012

4 Tips to Enhance Your Training

Sled: one of the greatest training tools
This past weekend, a good friend, colleague and training partner of mine got married. Friday night was his bachelor's party and it was no typical bachelor's party. He wanted to do a special manly-man outdoor training session. That sounded like a great idea to me! We loaded up a car with a sled, trap bars and weight plates and drove out to a field. The groom-to-be was so prepared for this special training session that he even brought each of us our own bachelor-party-approved barf bags (something that can be helpful when you are pulling heavy weighted sleds). The training session was a smashing success! That night I reflected on what made it so special and have 4 tips for you to enhance your training.

1. Train outdoors
I'm embarrassed to say that I have not done nearly as much outdoor training as I would have liked to this summer. There is something special and natural about training in the fresh air and sunshine. I know that it is not always safe, practical, weather-permitting or appropriate to do this, but I highly recommend it when it is. Also, even if you have to do most of your training sessions indoors, at least try to do your recreation and leisure activities outdoors.
2. Train with a group
One of the best parts of our training session was being in a group. It is so much fun to train with people. We all cheered each other on and encouraged each other to push hard! The right group of people can really take your training to the next level. If you can find people who are high-energy and who are genuinely committed to helping each other have a productive training session, train with these people as much as possible!
3. Do loaded carries
Today’s training world has Dan John to thank for this gem. No, he didn't invent them - most of these exercises are older than anyone living today, but Coach Dan has been one of the most influential coaches in getting this generation into loaded carries. Fat loss, real functional strength, athletic performance, “core” strength, mental toughness and more is build when you pick up heavy stuff and walk with it, pull it or push it. Here is Strength Coach Brian Mattioli (the groom-to-be) pushing a car up an incline from a dead stop with almost 500lbs of extra weight in the back. (Not bad – especially considering Brian just had back surgery about 3-4 months ago – please don’t tell his surgeon).
4. Periodically challenge yourself
Many people fall on either extreme on the challenge continuum. Either they never push themselves or they take every set of every exercise to a near-death experience. The former never give their body a reason to change and never remotely grasp their potential. The latter end up injured or so fried that they fail to make progress. For most people, most of their training should be planned, structured and incorporate gradual, consistent progression. However it is good to test yourself periodically. Just don’t be stupid and get injured. Friday night I decided to try a farmer’s walk weight that I had never done before. I simply put all the weight we had brought out with us on the bars – which totaled 210lbs per hand (which is more than my current body weight) or 420lbs total – and went for it!
I know that many of us will not be able to train like this all the time. However, incorporate these tips into your training when you can and reap the benefits! 
PS - congratulations to Brian and his new bride Kacia on their wedding this last weekend! May God Bless you both!

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