Simplify Your Training

A common issue I see with young athlete's is the absolute desire to feel sore after every workout, and to spend a copious amount of time in the gym. But for what reason; is soreness truly a good indicator that you're becoming a better athlete? And do athletes really need to spend 2 hours a day in the gym training? 

To answer the first question; anybody can make you sore.  If I wanted to I could put our athletes through a workout that won't allow them to walk for two days afterwards.  But am I making them a better athlete? You see that's the real challenge, improving performance.  Yeah you'll feel sore after workouts, but that's not the goal.  The goal is to know that each time you step into the gym what you're doing is going to help you in your sport. That you're learning to move better, you're building strength, and becoming more powerful. 

This is where simplicity comes in. To answer the second question just remember this old over-used phrase... "Less is more".  

First off you're an athlete, most your time needs to be spent either in practice or in recovery.  Practice is where you become better at your sport, and recovery is where the magic happens. Training is supplemental. Make no mistake training is completely and utterly needed, but it's not the end all be all. If you're in the gym longer then an hour you're either doing too much or you're slapping and tickling too much. For those of you doing the latter all I can say is FOCUS.  

If you're doing too much you need to simplify you're training.  The beauty of simplicity is that it forces you to choose the exercises that truly work, and get rid of the excess. 20% of the exercises you do, do 80% of the work towards making you a better athlete. 

At HPI we call these 20% our staples.  We have our exercises we like that go a long way in making our athletes better and safer, and we'll use them or their variations for our athletes.

I leave you with these two thoughts. Chase performance not soreness, and keep it simple, seriously. 

-Dave

Exercises You Should Be Doing - Farmer Walks

Farmer walks, are a staple of Strongman Competitions, and have become ever more popular for other athletes.  The unique demands they provide for the body go a long way in helping train the strength of a body's "linkage".  Teaching the body to work as one unit.

For the above reasons, Farmer Walks are great for simply building athleticism and strength. They're truly a great "big-bang-for-your-buck" exercise, efficient, and they don't require too much equipment.

The premise of a farmer walk is simple. Pick up a heavy weight, and carry it quickly over a distance. However, there are a couple things to be careful about.

1. Consider the Distance When Selecting Weight - If you're going to walk 100 yards you don't want to use a weight that will cause you're grip to start slipping at 20. As the distance gets greater the weight will need to be lighter or you could run in to issues.  I find that usually a good distance for getting a good effect is between 20 and 40 yards for most people

2. Pick Up the Weight, Before Walking with It- A common mistake a lot of athletes make is that they want to pick up the weight as they begin walking.  However, you need to give yourself a solid base to start from. Make sure you pick up the weight, and are standing tall.  That means... Don't let your shoulders get pulled forward, and don't let your core go soft.  KEEP EVERYTHING TIGHT. If the weight starts pulling you out of position before you even start walking, there's no question that you are using too much.

These are probably two of the greatest mistakes people make.  There are lots of small mistakes but those are typically corrected when we give an athlete an appropriate weight, and make sure that they keep everything tight.

For most of our readers you are not a Strongman Competitor, and it is important to make sure that you perform these exercises well. Any exercise performed poorly can be dangerous, but when performed well the reward is immense.

As I mentioned earlier, the benefits of Farmer Walks, and their variations are huge.  The act of building core strength while moving will help an athlete improve not just their strength, but even their power output, and also help with moving better.  Basically, the unique core strengthening effect of loaded carries will help athletes have stronger, safer, and quicker lateral movement.  Meaning everything from cuts on the football field, to breaking ankles on the basketball court.

If you're not doing Farmer Walks yet, you ought to be.

- Dave