Don't Over Think It
I believe the number one, limiting factor in most people’s training is OVERTHINKING, paralysis by analysis. Thinking you HAVE to do specific things to make progress, when in reality you are probably doing them to fit in, and in turn, slowing your progress. I want you to ask yourself some questions and be honest with yourself.
Mobility work- This one is really going to rub some people the wrong way, but we are way over doing it on the mobility work. It can have its place in the instance of an injury, but for the average, healthy individual, you can get by with little to none. Ask yourself “When was the last time you truly couldn’t accomplish something because of lack of mobility?” For most of you, you probably cannot even think of a time. Between sports growing up, lifting weights, skateboarding, jiu jitsu, I have never been limited by mobility. In my experience, the actions themselves will teach you/ make you be able to use the proper mechanics and range of motion. This especially applies to lifting weights, most mobility issues will be solved with strength, (MOST, not ALL). I see weak hips cause more issues in a squat than mobility. Someone will have trouble hitting depth or get loose in the bottom and immediately chalk it up to “I need to open up my hips” and then they do no exercises to actually strengthen the hips. Check out Kelsey Lensman’s article for a more in depth look at the hips and ways to strengthen them. Tension is your friend, you need to learn to work with is, not eliminate it.
Next on the docket, is exercise selection. Whether you follow someone else’s program, or follow your own, the questions you need to ask yourself is “Why am I doing this exercise?” and “Is there an easier way to accomplish the same result?” If you can’t determine the purpose of a movement you shouldn’t be doing it, everything should be done with intention and purpose. Instagram and social media is the culprit for creating this problem. People are missing the point of accessory work, instead of focusing on what will have the most carryover, they are trying to replicate what they just saw on instagram. I am a big fan of “The Quad Guy” Julian Smith, the Daily Pump is great, but people tend to forget he is a high level, experienced bodybuilder. He is always coming up with new movements that look good on the instagram, but are they really the most efficient way for a beginner/novice lifter to make progress? Absolutely not. And this is the same for some of the absurd reverse band, three board, blindfolded, one arm bench press crap you see in powerlifting. The basics will get you a LONG way, we just overlook them because they don’t look cool on the instagram. Hit your main lift’s, choose 3-4 exercises with the most carry over to that lift, train them hard and efficiently, and you’ll be good to go.
The final thing I am going to touch on is recovery. There are so many different methods you see now, cupping, scraping, foam rolling, tempering, the list goes on and on. Again, this is something that has a time and place, but it is something I am seeing way too many healthy, beginner to intermediate level lifters getting wrapped up in. Before you resort to these techniques you need to ask yourself “Am I training optimally?” and “Am I eating and sleeping enough” You should train hard, but not to the point you are wrecking yourself everyday. It can be a very hard thing for beginners to grasp, but training is a marathon, not a sprint. All your training compounds, and taking a day off is not going to set you back. Even I used to get caught with this one. Prior to opening Old School Gym New Philadelphia, I rarely ever took days off, but the business side of things has made me have to take some days off, and I am stronger, and feel better than I ever have. As for the second question, are you eating enough REAL food and sleeping enough? People do not listen to their bodies enough when it comes to this one. There is no need to count macros, just listen, eat when you are hungry, your body let’s you know you need to eat. And if you are sore, try to squeeze in some extra food, and not just some processed junk. Also, when you are feeling particularly sore, make it a priority to go to bed sooner that day. I think most people would be shocked with the difference it can make. Get off your phone, shut down Fortnite and get to sleep.
The shortest path from point A to point B is a straight line. Too many people are taking the long scenic route, getting enamoured by all the bells and whistles the “fitness” industry has to offer. Remember. This is focused on people who are healthy, it is obvious that if you have past injuries that you have to take some detours and employ some of the extra mobility work and recovery methods.
A body in motion stays in motion, if you are active everyday, you shouldn’t need excessive mobility work. We all have access to the two most effective recovery methods out there, food and sleep. The human body is designed for work, most people just doubt it’s capabilities.
Get out there and get after it. THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS.