One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in the gym – and one we incorporate here at TFW – is that great training starts and ends with strength. I get it that strength training may not always be glamourous, or as exciting as some of the “new” training that has popped onto the scene since the dawn of the internet, but there’s nothing cool about feeling WEAK, either. Also, there are no awards for creativity when it produces nothing. The real rewards come from producing consistent results. And if the results you seek are fat loss, more muscle, more strength and more confidence, then you need resistance training more than you need burpees, box jumps or another hour of pounding away on the treadmill.
Resistance is essential for progress in and out of the gym. Without it, muscles, tendons, joints and bones become weak and your chances of living a long, vigorous life go down. Way down. Hey, no one ever died from tight hamstrings, but people die every day when they lose muscle. That’s a fact. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had to pick up something heavy and said to myself “man, I sure wish I’d have done a few more burpees”.
“Strong people are more useful, and harder to kill in general.”
Resistance is what we were designed for, and as long as I’m coaching people on fitness, it will be part of the program. When gone through correctly, a good strength session is the silver bullet of fitness. Indeed, nothing is safer, more effective, or beneficial over time. However, a few things need to be in place to ensure that you don’t just GET THROUGH your strength sessions. These 5 tips will help you GET FROM them as well.
1 – BE PREPARED AND SET A GOAL
Every time you lift weights, there is an opportunity for a win; a shot at victory in every set. Think about that and decide what you want to win at before you walk through the front door. Get your mind right and make it happen. It’s a great way to start, or finish, your day.
“One win. Every workout. All year long. Boom.”
2 – GET A PROPER WARMUP
Strength sessions demand a PROPER warmup to get the body moving and help prevent injury. Mobility and muscle activation are the name of the game here, especially around the major engines of your body – the hips and shoulders. Before your strength session, take 5 minutes to master some movement drills, hip drills and shoulder drills. This will wake up those smaller, sleepy muscles. After that, you’re ready to lift. Depending on the day, you might get in a couple warmup sets to “groove the move” and wake up the big, prime movers involved.
“You can never gain momentum if you don’t get moving. If anything is going to hold you back, don’t let it be the start. Love the process and honor the warmup.”
3 – GET FOC– USED, GET TIGHT, GET AGGRESSIVE
There are two major faults that keep people from slam dunking a strength session. One of them is a lack of focus. At TFW we always make the most important thing the most important thing! In strength training, the most important thing is the repetition you are doing or the set of repetitions you are about to do. Whether it’s work or recovery, zero in on the task at hand like your life depended on it.
Count your reps and get aggressive with them.
Don’t just press your dumbbells, PUSH them through the ceiling!
Don’t just stand up from a squat, DRIVE your heels through the floor!
Attack the workout and watch what happens. It’s a game changer – but again, it takes laser like FOCUS. You’ll find that when you’re focused and aggressive, your workout will run much tighter. There won’t be a lot of wasted time chatting with your friends or checking your cell phone. Everything you do will have purpose and you’ll get more done in a shorter amount of time.
“A focused, aggressive workout is a tight workout. Tight workouts are what gets you the most bang for your buck, period.”
4 – OWN YOUR WORKOUT, TRAIN INTUITIVELY
The second major fault that keeps people from slam dunking a strength workout is not taking charge. As a coach, I prescribe movements, sets, reps and motivation. But, I will never be able to FEEL YOUR WORKOUT, so I want you to listen to your body and train intuitively. There will be days when you feel good and will want to push forward – DO IT! Other times you might not feel great and will need to hold back – that’s okay too.
When you learn to listen to your body, you can bend the rules. Do more reps, push more weight, crank out an extra set. Most of all, try to absorb each workout so that some of the things you do consistently eventually become automatic. For example, as soon as you hear/see DEADLIFT 4X6, you’ll know exactly what it is and how you’re going to attack it before it even starts.
“People who train intuitively get better workouts and better results, every time.”
5 – RECOVER WITH PURPOSE
Preparation for your next workout starts when your last workout ends. This means that it is not a good idea to drop your weights and head for the door, then not eat anything for 4 hours, then not get good sleep later that night.
Workouts are not where you make your gains. They tax your nervous system and tear your body down. It is during the recovery phase that your body repairs itself, adapts to training and gets stronger, better, faster, leaner and sexier.
You must assist in that process by getting a proper cool down after your workout.
You must eat to replenish valuable nutrients that you’ve used up during the workout; feeding your muscle cells so they can recover, adapt, grow and get stronger.
You must get good sleep so that post workout fatigue doesn’t ruin your next day, or next workout. It is a good rule of thumb that for every hour you spend working out each week, you’ll need an extra hour of sleep to match it.
“Proper recovery is just as important as the workout itself. Get it and you’re body will thank you later.”
If you currently incorporate strength training into your program, think about these 5 tips. Are you doing them? Could you work on each a little more? Either way, I hope they help make your next workout a slam dunk!
If there is not a strong resistance training component to your program (And I’m not talking about using those 5lb pink dumbbells) I would highly recommend re-thinking your approach and start incorporating something a little heavier – something that might make you nervous – something that will CHALLENGE your body and mind in a different way – something that will change, or maybe even save, your life one day.
Our next 8 Week Challenge begins Jan 28th. And I can tell you(if you don’t already know) that there is a BIG strength training component to our program. Like in a “wow, I can’t believe I just did that!” kinda way.
To let us know you’re interested and want more information click HERE.
Zach Brace – Owner, TFW Central