Ten Ways to Make Progress in the Gym
1. Find a gym that has strong people. If you are costantly surrounded by weak individuals, chances are you will follow suit. It comes down to perspective. Someone who is told day in and day out that a 24kg kettlebell swing is an impressive expression of power should remember this, power is defined as work divided by time. Now tell me which is more impressive, a 24kg kettlebell swing or a 100kg power clean?
2. Do not avoid things that you suck at. There is only one way to get better at squatting….squat. Don’t be one of those guys (or girls) who complains that their conditioning sucks but never drags a sled or complains that their deadlift is weak but never deadlifts.
3. Training is a cause and effect relationship. The training is the cause and the increases in strength, power, endurance, flexibility, etc are the effect. The effect typically does not happen without adequate recovery. This includes sufficient amounts of sleep, enough raw materials (aka calories) to support your training, and listening to your body throughout the training process. Be sure to respect both sides of this relationship.
4. Playing basketball, playing soccer, jogging, climbing up and down a ladder and similar activies do not count as lower body training. If you elminate squatting, deadlifting, and lunging variations in the gym because the aformentioned activities are a strength stimulus for you, than you are the bottom of the food chain and are putting yourself at greater risk of orthopedic injuries.
5. I would recommend not training to failure, for a couple of reasons, but the most important being the last handful of reps of a set to failure will look atrocious and this is not a good thing. Remember, quality over quantity.
6. Be consistent. Train hard and smart for a long time.
7. Don’t skimp on the warm up. It is the preparation for the training session ahead. In addition, be sure the warm up actually…you know….gets you warm.
8. Don’t major in the minors. If you cannot complete 10 perfect pull ups, you have bigger concerns than which bicep curl variation will build the biggest peak.
9. Being an all or nothing type coach is short sighted and a disservice to athletes and clients you are working with. What I mean is, don’t be a coach who uses only one tool or one exercise. The most popular version of these culprits I can think of are the kettlebell only coaches. Sorry to break it to you, but kettlebells are a tool. Notice I said A TOOL not THE ONLY TOOL.
10. Trying to cram as many exercises as possible into a training session illustrates the fact that you are writing workouts not programs. Most of the time, four exercises done well are better than 10 exercises done half assed with terrible form. It is our job as coaches and trainers to make our trainees understand that training is a process.