Learn from your trainingSep 26, 2022
Most of the lessons I’ve learned have been ones I’ve experienced, not been taught. The same can be said for building my training knowledge. Almost every exercise I have prescribed, every strength cycle I have written for clients, every workout I have created, I have done. Why? I wanted to learn what it was like. I wanted to see if my estimation matched my reality. And most of all, I wanted to make adjustments from it.
This blog was sparked by a training session I had last week. These days, I typically do about 30 minutes of endurance work (Peloton Powerzone) followed by some strength training. On Friday, I had thrown in a longer workout that was about 45 minutes long and noticed a significant drop around the 30 minute mark. Why? Because that is the timeframe my body is most used to and has adapted for. AKA, we get what we train for.
Now, here’s the lesson. I could take this observation and do absolutely nothing with it, chalk it up as another training day, and simply move on, but that’s not what I’m about. Here’s how I would use this data to train myself or another client:
- Recognize the performance cliff - around the 30 minute mark for me
- Create a plan to address it - How do I elongate the time frame before the cliff appears - Some ideas here might be:
- Threshold work - continuously pushing towards the upper end of my performance range
- Intervals where I build training that extends beyond 30 minutes of total work
- Lower intensity for longer total time
- Simply varying the time demand more often
- Structuring the work to taper as I approach the 30 minute window
- Re-test - Does the same cliff occur. If so, maybe it’s psychological. Maybe that is simply where I have conditioned myself to “shut-off”
The point here is you have to create your theory. “If I train at 35 minute bouts for 4 weeks, then my performance will improve at the specific time frame”. Re-test, and see if you were right.
Let’s extrapolate this concept out further to a client who does a higher intensity style of training like CrossFit. One of my favorite workouts back in the day was “Diane” 21-15-9 Deadlifts and Handstand pushups - in this case let’s specifically break down the needs of the deadlifts.
When I was training early on, I noticed that it was difficult for me to get through the set of 21 unbroken, even though my deadlift was the strongest it had been at that time… Why? Because I had the raw strength but I didn't have the barbell endurance. So what did I do? You guessed it… I started adding specific barbell endurance to my programming to be able to perform the workout unbroken… and guess what? It worked. The theory: “If I improve my barbell endurance intentionally, I will be able to perform “Diane” unbroken”. Simple, effective.
Sometimes we just need to look at the obvious. What is missing? What needs to be added? Did it work?
This week I want you to find a lesson in each of your training sessions. Then I want you to think of a client you can apply that lesson to. 4-5 days per week, 52 weeks per year… that’s a lot of opportunities to learn.
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