So, I was watching Inside MMA the other day because that’s what I do on Friday nights by myself, and the legend Royce Gracie, widely considered one of the greatest fighters of all time and responsible for helping make the sport what it is today, had this to say about his training and learning form others:
“I’m very much (about) the basics. I love the basics man. So, the new guys coming up, sometimes they have that basics, and I always like to come back and relearn the basics. I don’t mind listening again and learning again and see(ing) what’s new, and go back to the basics.”
I’ve talked about fundamentals and basics several times but I think it’s that important. When someone of Royce’s caliber and athletic skill level speaks, I listen. Staying with that thought process, I had the chance to briefly watch some of a Z-Health Performance video the other day about athletics, agility, etc. I don’t recall the actual name but I loved it because they were really breaking down agility and movement from the most basic level by looking at joint positions and postures, practicing landing before jumping. These are many similar basic concepts that I was taught at Athletes’ Performance mentorship program but they don’t seem to always be commonplace compared to the availability of info on movement quality as it relates to resistance training. Maybe I need to look harder because these are the things that I value as opposed to over-speed bands, high speed treadmills, and high volumes of poorly performed, generic change of direction drills for athletes.
On a similar note, recently I was listening to an IronRadio podcast featuring Dave Whitley. I have met Dave before and he is not only a nice guy but also a great coach. In this interview he was talking about his master principles when it comes to training. Call me boring, but what he said about practicing the basics and harping on the fundamentals was music to my ears. I thought he gave a fine example of a great way to train for all things when he used the example that a martial artist could go into the gym and throw 500 kicks in a training session and get 30 or so real good ones. Or, that same athlete could go into the gym and throw 30 real good kicks only, then come back the next day and do it again. Another example more specific to weight training that he gave was to focus on each rep being better than the last during a set. Only performing sets with perfect reps, not training to failure. When a coach says to do 50 push ups then the athlete is focused on doing just that, but if instead the athlete is told to do only as many perfect reps as possible, regardless of the number, possibly over several sets, then more progress will be made in the long run. One of my favorite things that he said went something like this:
“People come to me in my business and they don’t feel like they had a good work out if they’re not sore the next day. Your emotions are utterly irrelevant to your progress and my approach to programming. If you want to get sore I can hit you with a stick. It will save us both a lot of time and you will probably make the same amount of progress if that’s what you’re focusing on. You don’t have to get sore. If you are doing practice, you probably won’t get sore because if you are going to stop before you get sloppy, generally you’re going to stop before you get fatigued to the point that it’s going to cause any kind of soreness.”
Finally, I had this thought while driving the other day, yes listening to another IronRadio podcast. It relates to both men and women who are looking to embark on a strength training program but are worried about getting too bulky. Consider this, during a typical day of work, being out and about, people watching etc, how often do you think to yourself, he/she of the same sex is too buff or ripped and you would never want to look like that? My guess is that it doesn’t happen frequently compared to the number of times you take note of an athletic and fit physique. Now, generally speaking those who do stand out as being too bulky probably fall under one of two categories. A. A person who has used some sort of drugs. For me the guy who wears his front delts on his pecs as if he’s always carrying luggage comes to mind. B. The person who has seriously dedicated themself to the sport of powerlifting or physique training. I might not want to look like these athletes but I have respect knowing that for some of them, training and dieting, or eating for that matter, is a full time job. I think a lot of times the average person doesn’t understand the amount of work that goes into looking a certain way. It may not be for everyone but the only way to get that very different look is to fully commit to the task, which again, is certainly not for everyone. It is by no means a 90-day process. Point being, the truly strong and fit walk among us regularly and they don’t always stand out. It is ok to train with heavy objects.
– Mike Baltren