MTI Collective 4.4.24: Strength and Conditioning Lessons Learned


“What are your biggest lessons learned in Strength and Conditioning training over your lifetime? How have you implemented those lessons? ”

Stretching. Putting more of an emphasis on stretching. It want until my third Ironman did I start stretching and it expedited my recovery considerably. Doesn’t have to be elaborate or complex, but my body operates more efficiently and I’m back at it quicker. 
Begin again.  Training is difficult to sustain for non-professional athletes.  Our jobs require physical strength but they also require time as does family and life. Each time I have a gap in training, I remember the need to begin again.  Beginning again means not letting the gap extend but also learning something new as a beginner.  At age 65 as a trail runner, i am planning another marathon.  My training is different than it was even 15 years ago.  That’s okay as long as I begin again.
My image as a Warrior drives my focus on strength, agility and martial capability:  former 1/75 Rangers (old scroll), RS Class 5-78; I am 65 years old right now and am training for the Summer Fan Dance in South Wales, UK this year.
You cannot achieve your goals without consistent hard work. Your feelings don’t matter. Just do the work. Prioritize the time. Get it done first thing in the morning and then get on with your day.
show up, move more, sleep, eat sufficient protein, get some sunlight, pick up something heavy. if you cover that you out perform 80% of people.

to win- make a plan, stick to it for 4 weeks, re-eval. stick to it. too many people bounce around or don't follow through. this will take you to 95% 

that last 5%, that's between you and whatever Deity you worship.
Rest days are as important as hard training days.
For me, there are two major lessons: first, keep moving. Movement is not only necessary for "gains" - but also for recovery and health and energy and attitude. No matter how small or weak or pathetic, movement will bring one back. Second, my understanding of physical training is bigger than what I think I understand. Rob says it best: "Everything works, but nothing works forever." This is so true. There are seasons for every kind of movement - from lifting to running to BJJ to dance to stretching to climbing...etc. There is wisdom in all of it and I should constantly open myself to "bigness" that strength and conditioning really is.
Marathon not a sprint. Be patient with improvement. Be adaptive. Plateaus will happen. Change to improve.
After 35 years of training and achieving Tier 1 fitness levels...

You need patience and progressive overload with your body; it will deliver what you want over time. Too far and too fast (i.e., no patience and no sensible progression) with weight, volume, pace, whatever = likely injury and regression.

Everyone will progress at their own rate of change according to their physiology; understand and embrace your unique strengths and weaknesses and optimize them. up, show up, show up. Even if you have a crap workout, the act of showing up and working through it is a powerful force that propels you mentally and physically forward.

Workouts need to become like eating and sleeping, a mandatory part of the daily schedule. Western lifestyle lays out many traps and distractions, it's too easy to find an excuse not to workout.


Patience: studied Buddhism and stoicism and constantly work on mental frame to accept that some things I can change and other I can't. I can't change my physiology or my decline as I embrace and be optimistic about what I can do!

Progression: follow MTI programming...sensible progressive training in my opinion. Even though I'm 50, I follow the programming for 40-45 year olds. Helps push me a bit harder. 

Consistency: set my schedule so i have dedicated workout time. Given the work I do, I go to bed at 10 and get up at 4 so I can get my daily workout in. I don't have to find time, I've MADE time.

Probably all boring, no trainer stuff! But I don't think it's really too complicated.
Everyone wants to be strong and fast but not everyone wants to put in the work.  It takes time and consistent effort to achieve results and you have to be dedicated to the task.  Maybe you're too sore, too tired, maybe it's raining or snowing or windy as hell but no one is going to make you a better athlete except you.  So get off your lazy ass, deal with the temporary discomfort, and give it hell.  Everyone is going to tell you what you need to do, even that old guy that walks around naked in the locker room, but only YOU can find what works best for you.  Educate yourself, have a solid plan, and trust it'll work out.

Everyone parent wants to be a great parent but not each of them wants to put in the work.  It takes patience, understanding, forgiveness, and constant managing of expectations on both sides.  Maybe you had a bad day at work, the house is a mess, the kids have been bickering all day but no one is going to give your kids the love and caring and lessons they need to face life except you.  So check your attitude, take a deep breath, and do what's right regardless of  how difficult it is, how scared you might be, or if anyone acknowledges your efforts.  Everyone is going to tell you how to parent but you need to filter out the bullshit.  No one is THE authority on the subject but if you are consistent in your principles and morals, and show your kids you love them and you give a damn about their happiness and success it'll work out.
Free weight form over weight and reps. Implemented by ensuring I have proper form when lifting, over lifting a weight I cannot lift without improper form. 
That consistency is better than intensity. In my opinion it is much better to do 20 push ups everyday than to do 100 push ups once a month. I used to focus on progress using very short term metrics, if my workouts didn't go longer/involve more weight than previous ones, I was falling behind. That type of thinking led me to pushing myself too hard for too long, not leaving time for rest and recovery, which ultimately meant that I would inevitable become injured in some way. Since having shifted my focus to working out not for tomorrow or next week, but working out for 10 years from now, I have been able to be more consistent with my workouts, avoid injuries and over-training.
1. Mobility is absolutely crucial. As a young guy, I took my mobility for granted, even though it was already diminished. As I've gotten older, I've realized that the overwhelming majority of my injuries stem from a lack of mobility.

2. Sleep. Similar to #1, it was way easier to bounce back from my workouts when I was 20. Prioritizing sleep helps the body function and recover so much better.

3. Kill your ego. If you're putting in work, nobody worth worrying about is going to give you a hard time because you can't run a mile in a certain time, or lift a certain amount of weight. Don't beat yourself up because you can't meet someone else's arbitrary standard. Yes, always seek to improve, but stick to what is an appropriate level of challenge for you.
Always observing your supervisor - you can learn as much about what you don't want to do when you get the chance to be in charge as you can what you might want to do. 

It isn't about you, it is about the person you are serving (client/athlete/team).

The basics done correctly is the best work.

The little details matter.

Know your athletes on a personal level.

Eccentric work is as important if not possibly more important than concentric work - develop good brakes for your sports car.
Balance is key. It’s easy to get too tunnel visioned about strength versus endurance. In recent years I’ve come to see how they complement one another. Whenever my aerobic fitness improved I notice I need less rest between sets while strength training.
1) Consistency; ensure 2-5 times a week. Don’t switch programming after staying up at 2am! If you keep turning up with the right attitude you’ll get where you want to be. 

2) Evolution not Revolution; marginal gains theory rings true. Don’t keep looking for the next big thing. Fitness trends tend to be things already existing that have been rebranded. Adaptations to training should be done marginally to assess whether they work or not rather that wholesale change. 

3) Have a Goal; this allows you to measure progress whether from being healthier, rep maxes or events. Divide these into cycles and this helps you keep practice and relates to the previous two.
Don’t underestimate sleep. Get more sleep.
The main lesson which comes to mind is; You get what you put into it. If you skip days or leave certain exercises out, you will not achieve the best results. I can’t think of a better use of an hour a day. I will be 58 in a couple of weeks and have followed and completed numerous training plans, and have learned from all of them. The most challenging times are when life throws obstacles in your way. Such as injuries, work travels, time with the family. In my younger days, I would turn obstacles into excuses why I couldn’t train. I now embrace the challenge of finding ways to stay on a plan regardless of time or lack of equipment. Like in life, if you want something bad enough you find the solution.
Be patient but diligent. 

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