In part 1, I discussed what it takes to prime your body for performance, dissected the typical one hour in the gym and gave tips on how to take advantage of each segment. Part 2 will discuss how to attack your workout.
The overarching theme of this concept can be summed up by one word: contrast. In essence, you can’t move at peak speeds unless you know how to take your time at lower speeds. Even further, you can’t ever reach peak speeds until you develop your ability to conserve energy at lower speeds.
No matter who you are or how long you have been training, you have a weakness. I’ll define weakness as the gap between your most efficient movement and your least efficient movement (weakness). If the gap between these two is small, you will be unstoppable. If the gap between these two is large or easily seen, it means you have some work to do. This is a good thing, because it gives your training a focus, and with focus your training can be more purposeful.
With humility, fill in the blanks: My most efficient movement is _______ (movement A). My least efficient movement is _______ (movement Z).
In relation to movement Z, movement A probably doesn’t cost as much energy for you to perform. If you were asked to complete 30 reps of A and 30 reps of Z, I guarantee 30 of Z will take up considerably more energy than 30 of A. Your ability to conserve energy while performing Z is not efficient. It requires extra mental energy to overcome the learning curve, maybe some mental stress as well because you don’t feel confident or maybe fear looking inadequate, and your body cannot yet coordinate your muscles and joints to complete the task like a well versed orchestra. Don’t worry about mobility/strength issues yet, this is only meant to be a catalyst to change your outlook on training.
Now, in regards to movement Z: how many gears/speeds would you say you possess? The movement probably dictates the speed more than your conscious choice to go a specific speed. As far as Z is concerned, you have no peak and you have yet to build a foundation. This means you can’t rely on it to propel you forward in a workout just yet. This specific movement has limited speed and it guzzles up a lot of energy, but with persistence that will not always be the case. To gain faster gears, you must continue to train it and not give up when you feel incompetent or slow.
In regards to movement A: how many gears/speeds would you say you possess? You likely have a lot of experience with this movement. Fast, slow, heavy, light, short workout, long workout; you have more of a conscious choice to go whatever speed is necessary given the situation. You enjoy it, which means less mental stress. Your body has likely adapted to it, which means your ability to perform it well is increased. You likely perform it more frequently than other movements, which means you are constantly practicing at different speeds (developing different gears in the process), allowing your body to adapt to the changing conditions.
The contrast between A and Z is clear and if you’ve read this far you want to decrease the gap between the two. You train A because you care about it, you find joy in doing it, you like how it makes you feel and you’re good at it. You care about Z too or else you wouldn’t have listed it, but you don’t find joy in doing it, you don’t like how it makes you feel and you’re not good at it. These are mental blocks that are keeping you from allowing your body to develop gears for it. Yes, your mind is holding you back. You need to allow your body to feel the movement specifics: the coordination, the stress, the duration, the impact, the recovery it takes to bounce back. You need to eat humble pie and do the lowest version of it alongside your most efficient movements. You need to perform it slow, light, short, shaky and unstable. Allow it to make you feel incompetent, then use that fuel to drive you to practice it more. You just need to move through it, and move through it more often.
Every single movement you do in the gym started out as a Z movement. The ones you like quickly become an A movement because you made that choice; it was an easy choice. Every movement is being developed and most are caught between A and Z. So when you jump into your next WOD:
1) STAY MINDFUL to kick on the necessary gear. You don’t ALWAYS have to go fast, because sometimes you can’t. Take a look at at the WOD and each individual movement and decide what speed is necessary for the day. Should you push the speed on A or conserve A to allow speed development elsewhere? Should you push the limit on Z or eat humble pie and perform it slower than you want? You decide the pace, then after the WOD, recollect on your decision and learn about your efficacy.
2) STAY CONFIDENT in your movement. Really spend time developing your abilities at several speeds. The more time you spend focusing on a movement while performing at your own pace, the more reward you will receive when it comes time to performing it at peak levels.
3) STAY HUMBLE in your training. Some days might be slow, some might be fast, and some will be both because it’s filled with a variety of factors (movement choice, time of day, diet, sleep, stress).
4) BE CONSISTENT and STAY PERSISTENT; eventually you will find yourself moving faster without even feeling like it.