Archive for the 'Training' Category
In the video below, I discuss the importance of time as it pertains to significant training results. Contrary to what the marketers suggest, there are no quick fixes or shortcuts. Successful training requires a significant investment in time.
There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. – Beverly Sills10 comments
In the video below, I provide an update to last week’s video where I discussed the significance of focusing on the task at hand. In this follow up, I discuss some of differences that exist when psyching yourself up for a strength workout vs. an endurance session.
Motivation is the fuel, necessary to keep the human engine running. – Zig Ziglar7 comments
Following yesterday’s post about Jack Dempsey, I received several questions about other fighters from the past. Many have inquired about the differences between today’s boxers vs. those from previous eras. What is the biggest difference between the two?
In my opinion, the most significant change is the frequency of competition. Fighters from the past spent more time boxing. Boxing was more common so there were naturally more fighters competing and more fighters available for sparring. It was not uncommon for world class fighters to fight more than once a month. There was very little down time. As soon as one fight ended, another was planned.
Perhaps the greatest example of activity comes from the legendary Henry Armstrong. He held world championships in three different weight classes at the same time. In 1937, Henry Armstrong fought 27 times. Yes, that is right. He had 27 professional fights in one year. He fought nine times between July and September alone.
Based on his activity, those who are not familiar with Armstrong may assume he was a safety first fighter. Such an assumption could not be more false however. Henry Armstrong had several nicknames, two of which were Homicide Hank and Perpetual Motion. His pressure was relentless. His stamina was endless. He never stopped throwing punches.
Aspiring fighters can learn plenty from legends like Henry Armstrong. While we’ll certainly never see fighters compete so regularly, we should recognize the significance of his activity. The best way to stay sharp as a fighter is by staying active. The best amateur fighters stay busy throughout the year. They compete regularly both locally and at larger national tournaments. The best professionals also stay busy. Perhaps the best modern example is Bernard Hopkins. At age 48, he won a 12 round title fight earlier this month (March 9th). He was back in the gym just a few days later.
Too many modern athletes live in constant fear of working too hard. They baby their bodies as they’ve been led to believe that anything strenuous must be a sign for overtraining. Such individuals would have never survived in Henry Armstrong’s era.
Armstrong was one of the best conditioned fighters of all time. What’s even more incredible is that he did so long before supplements and performance enhancing drugs became commonplace. He also didn’t have scholarly conditioning specialists overseeing each and every move he made. Armstrong’s approach was quite simplistic. He trained hard, focused much of his attention towards the sport itself, and fought regularly. He steered clear of the complexity that is so common in today’s era.
There is plenty to be learned from his example.
For those interested, more highlight footage can be seen below.
I like this feeling of weariness after training, when I’m walking home exhausted, dragging my feet. I like this a lot. – Fedor Emelianenko7 comments
Below is a new video where I discuss the importance of focusing on the task at hand. As stated within, intense focus is often more important than any other training variable. Without it, it becomes all but impossible to train with the intensity necessary to handle near maximal loads.
Even minor distractions can seriously compromise workout quality. If you wish to maximize performance, train without distractions. Those familiar with the blog may recall hearing similar sentiments discussed in a previous article (here).
A person who aims at nothing is sure to hit it.11 comments
The video below is a 90 minute documentary dedicated to Shaolin Kung Fu. Several training exercises and tremendous physical displays are captured throughout the film. Anyone with interest in physical training and the martial arts will be amazed at the abilities displayed throughout.
As you will see, there is no denying the remarkable skills that these martial artists possess. Their physical abilities are far beyond what most are accustomed to in today’s world. Even the children of Shaolin will often perform physical feats that most grown men could only dream of doing.
Unfortunately, despite the amazing talent and ability, Shaolin Kung Fu remains a topic that is rarely discussed. When discussing training strategies today, the conversation will often shift towards supplements, diet plans, equipment, recent studies, and new certification programs. Such discussions are often led by new school trainers who could not perform a fraction of what you’ll see demonstrated by the Shaolin warriors.
Ironically, many of today’s modern trainers are quick to diss and dismiss the training strategies that were developed by ancient martial artists. Modern trainers constantly seek to reinvent a wheel that they could never roll in the first place. I couldn’t tell you how many newsletters my email address has been added to by trainers who promise each week to deliver the latest and greatest exercise secrets. Whatever they claim is best today will be outdone by what is promised tomorrow. It is a never ending cycle of untested garbage that pollutes email addresses around the world.
Meanwhile, those at the Shaolin Monastery thrive with techniques that were developed centuries ago. They don’t waste time arguing online about optimal training strategies. They already know what works. They don’t need to make up exercises week after week in an attempt to attract more believers. Instead, they can validate their methods at any time with nothing more than a brief display.
Now as I state these words, please don’t confuse my message. I am not suggesting that we all take up residence at the Shaolin Monastery. Instead, I simply remind you that our generation is not the first to be educated and informed. There is plenty to learn from those who came before us. Rather than rushing to improve on the past, first take the time to learn it. Whether you have interest in Shaolin Kung Fu or not, there is plenty to learn by observing their practitioners in action. They do not train to sell you on their methodologies. They train to improve with techniques that have stood the test of time. Simple observation of such methods will offer ample knowledge in return.
Studying the film above and others like it will be time well invested.
Wisdom comes by disillusionment. – George Santayana14 comments
Below is a new video tutorial where I demonstrate how a barbell can be used to perform a few standing rollout variations.
All the effort in the world won’t matter if you’re not inspired. – Chuck Palahniuk5 comments
I woke up this morning to an inquiry from someone who began following the site in early December. He came across my blog after watching the compilation video below.
He mentioned how the video had inspired him to increase his weighted dips. It has been six or seven weeks since he began focusing on the exercise. Initially, he experienced solid progress. The weight that he was hitting for five reps had increased gradually from week to week. Unfortunately, he wrote to me in disgust that his early gains had plateaued. It had been two weeks since he was able to add more weight to the dip belt. Clearly frustrated, he asked for modifications that he could make to his program to bring his numbers back up.
His email concluded with the following question:
“What do I need to do to beast it out like you on the regular?”
Unfortunately, I was not able to respond with any earth shattering advice. There isn’t a secret rep range or program to follow that will boost your numbers continuously from week to week. True strength is not developed in weeks. A few weeks is literally a blink of an eye. It takes years to develop truly impressive strength. Many weeks pass where I do not make any gains in any exercise. I also have days where I may not hit as many reps as I did the week before. Yet having a bad day or a period of plateaus does not cause me to panic. I have been around long enough to know that continued gains are hard to come by.
Unfortunately, this seemingly obvious fact is rarely mentioned in today’s industry. It is more common to see short term programs marketed with promises of rapid gains and transformations. How many 30 day miracle programs are available today? Such programs litter the web with enough false promises to make Pinocchio look honest.
Slow and steady isn’t a marketable phrase for an exercise program. People want overnight results. They don’t want a long, arduous journey that is filled with ups and downs. The marketing powers therefore cater their message appropriately to the demand that exists. As a result, the consumer is left frustrated and confused when a week or two passes without noticeable improvements. I receive emails like the one described above on a regular basis.
Therefore, my goal with this informal entry is to provide a much needed reminder that legitimate gains take time. Just because you see a highlight video of me or anyone else does not mean that we don’t have bad days. I’ve had my share of days where I feel everything but beastly. I don’t allow a bad day to throw me off track however. I’m experienced enough to know that bad days come with the territory. It’s part of life.
You can drive yourself crazy trying to figure out what caused a bad day or you can let it go and keep moving forward. I choose the latter. I don’t let bad days or missed reps interfere with my quest to improve. I’ve been training regularly for over 20 years now. That’s over one thousand weeks. If I made gains every week, I’d be wrestling with elephants.
In summary, be realistic with your expectations. I’m all for getting beastly in the gym, but there is no such thing as being too good for a bad day. If I find myself stuck in a rut, I do what I have always done. I work, work, and work some more. I continue to grind until I am back on top. Sure, I may trip or fall at times, but I always get up and keep moving forward.
My approach may sound a bit crude or archaic, but it’s always worked for me. I’m not about to change.
When in doubt, outwork everyone else.20 comments
Based on the popularity of the Eric Thomas (ET) video that I posted last week, I would like to share another. In the clip below, ET delivers yet another highly energetic and passionate speech. If you are a competitive athlete with aspirations of success, prepare to find yourself raring to go as you listen to his words.
Throughout the speech, ET touches upon several concepts related to success. Perhaps most importantly though, he discusses the significance of winning the day (at the 5:30 mark). Far too many people focus on long term goals without enough attention directed towards the present day. Future goals will never become a reality unless you constantly dominate the present.
I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. I don’t know what will happen next week. All that I can control today is the present. I can’t be concerned about tomorrow until I have taken care of today. I do not finish the day’s work when I am tired. I finish the day’s work when I am done. How can I think about long term goals if I cannot conquer the goals I set out for today? Until you are constantly winning the day, you cannot expect to win in the future.
If you want to get something done, start working on it now. Do not let tomorrow become the mystical land that is pictured below.
You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today. – Abraham Lincoln5 comments
In the video below, you will see a man perform 50 consecutive pull-ups followed by 50 consecutive pushups.
I enjoyed this video for several reasons. First, it is obviously impressive to see anyone perform 50 pull-ups without swinging or kipping. The strength and endurance required to perform so many consecutive reps is no small feat. Most grown men would struggle to perform a fraction of the work.
Perhaps more importantly though, I viewed the video as a testament to consistency, hard work, and belief in oneself. It is one thing to set challenging goals, but entirely different to consistently work towards achieving them. A more common scenario is to set a goal, work towards it briefly, and then move on to something else when progress has slowed. Few people have the resiliency to see challenging goals out to fruition.
Many talk about what they would like to accomplish, yet few achieve what they set out to do. Achieving a challenging goal requires a consistent and diligent approach. You cannot become sidetracked by short term plateaus or setbacks. Such potholes are part of any challenging journey. A smooth ride will not bring you to the top of a treacherous mountain. Expect and prepare for arduous obstacles ahead.
Whether you are an athlete or trainer, you have likely spent time searching externally for new workouts, equipment, and routines. This outward search is commendable as I respect those who seek to improve. Unfortunately, many make the mistake of limiting their search to external sources. Often times, the greatest resources can be found within. A prime example is the relentless resolve to see challenging goals out to completion. Internal fortitude cannot be purchased online. It must come from within.
In the video above, we see a man who challenged himself to perform 50 pull-ups. He described this feat as his first and oldest physical goal (see here). Achieving that goal did not happen overnight or by accident. He did not find a routine online with step by step instructions. Many likely doubted that it was even possible. As a result, this man took it upon himself to not only perform the work, but to also figure out how to complete the goal.
When you perform something that has rarely been done, there isn’t a blueprint to follow. In many cases, all that you will find are people who doubt your ability to achieve the goal. You are left to fend for yourself. Fortunately, as evident above, there are people who do not place limitations on their ability. They don’t just set challenging goals. They are consistent and patient enough to see them through.
If you wish to accomplish something special, start working towards your goals now. Don’t wait for someday, as someday is not visible on the calendar. Make the most of today, and don’t become sidetracked if you struggle tomorrow. Life is often a battle of endurance. You cannot give up when the going gets tough. Embrace the struggle and use it to fuel the journey that lies ahead.
Some of the world’s greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible. – Doug Larson14 comments
In the video below, you’ll see Eric Thomas speaking to a group of mixed martial artists (including Anthony Pettis). His message is powerful and particularly relevant to competitive fighters. If you want to succeed as a fighter, there is a price to pay. Your life needs to revolve around the sport. It must consume you. Stepping into the ring or cage is not a game. It’s a fight. Your opponent is coming with hopes of knocking you unconscious. Nothing would please him more than to see you hit the canvas.
Your opponent doesn’t care about your social life. He doesn’t care if you are able to go out and enjoy yourself. He doesn’t care if you are tired. He doesn’t care if you are sore. He doesn’t are about you. He wants to knock you out. And as I state these facts, please don’t misinterpret my message. I’m not trying to discourage you. Your level of dedication is a personal choice. What you prioritize in life is entirely up to you.
I’m not here to tell you how to live your life. All that I’m doing is reminding you that there are fighters whose lives do revolve around the sport. They are 110 percent committed. Whether you choose to take on such commitment is up to you. It’s not for me to decide. You just need to recognize that such commitment does exist in certain individuals. Whether it is for you or not doesn’t change the reality of its existence.
If you wish to compete at the highest level, it is only a matter of time before you find yourself up against someone who is fully committed. They have given everything they have to become their absolute best. There isn’t anything they wouldn’t sacrifice to improve.
And as you’ve probably guessed, such sacrifice and dedication isn’t limited to competitive fighters. The 110 percent mentality can be seen in any profession. Different people have different interpretations of what constitutes hard work. Different people also have different priorities in life. Not everyone cares about becoming the absolute best. Maybe I’m just crazy, because I’ve always wanted to be the best at whatever I do. Maybe I do sacrifice too much at times. It isn’t always healthy and it isn’t always fun. Once again though, it is an individual choice. We all live the lives that we want to live.
Just be aware that making it to the top of anything is a challenging journey. Worthwhile rewards don’t come without sacrifice. How much you are willing to give dictates how much you will receive. For me, I have an all or nothing mentality. If I’m passionate about something, there isn’t anything I won’t endure to accomplish my goals.
In summary, decide what you want and how bad you want it. Be aware that life isn’t easy. Success doesn’t fall out of the sky. It is earned through ridiculously hard work. There is a price to pay and that price is often more than what many are willing to commit.
The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand. – Vince Lombardi5 comments