Lately we have been getting really philosophical and talking about mind-set and training the mind for success. Let’s not forget though we are about movement, so with that being said here are some new things, some things I have started doing again and incorporating in the programs of the people I train as well and the why behind having them.
The lunge is the base of athleticism. Most athletic activities are performed in some form of a split stance i.e. a lunge. So making the lunge bulletproof is a good idea. Walking lunges are a great choice. It challenges balance more than the normal static lunge. Depending on the variation you use you can challenge the core a lot. You can really load it to build strength and size. The sandbag loaded version is a favourite lately. The 4 main variations I use are:
· Dumbbell Walking Lunges
· Barbell Walking lunges ( back and front rack position)
· One arm overhead dumbbell walking Lunges
· Sandbag Shoulder loaded lunges
When doing walking lunges I do like to lunge with a wider base this makes more sense to me in terms of developing a strong and stable lunge. So don’t lunge like you’re walking on a tight rope when you do it.
Repeated sprint runs
I really enjoy this one. It’s like a jog only better. You sprint then walk to recover and repeat this process. I’m fortunate enough to do this on a trail run I generally work on 20:40, 30:30 or 15:45 second intervals. You set your timer and you sprint for 20seconds then walk for 40 seconds and repeat this for 15-30 minutes. Interval work has many benefits. It creates a high metabolic load which burns the dreaded fats. It builds work capacity and it trains the stress recovery response. When you sprint you are creating a stressor, then in the rest period you have to recover from it. So you have to bring your heart rate and breathing rate down during the rest period to allow you to recover enough to keep your output high.
For most people this is a good change up from the usual jog and it builds the ability to sprint which is much more practical in my opinion. If you haven’t done sprint work recently ease into it. Start with 70-80% sprint efforts and go for 15 min at first then slowly progress the intensity then the duration.
I use a Gymboss timer to time the intervals, but there are cell phone apps that you can use as well.
I have been toying with this for a while but I have only been consistent recently. Breath work is great and most probably the thing that is missing from 90% of peoples training right now. The breath is the on/off switch. Need to ramp up? Breathe faster. Need to calm down? Slow down your breathing. Breathing work can help you relax after a hard day, to switch off after training, to prepare for training and to recover between sets. The combination of breathing work and intervals are great. Also using your lungs and diaphragm to its fullest capacity is something that is far less common than we think. Brian Mackenzie has done a lot of work in this field of training and has a good starting point for this if you want to try it in your own training.
Hitting the Heavy bag or focus mitts is fun! That is the main reason, but there are others. Throwing a punch, kick, elbow or knee is a very powerful movement. It is the coordination of the limbs to generate a lot of force quickly. It is a fun way to train power and speed of movement. Being able to throw strikes is always a good skill to have. It also teaches you about relaxed power. If you try and muscle a strike it uses a lot of energy which will tire you out and you won’t last a 3 min round on the mitts.
These are some of the things in my training at the moment, which I find has a positive effect. These are things I do over and above the basics. I still do my basic strength, mobility, cardio and power work, but these additions form part of and compliment my programming well. Let us know if you have anything that you really enjoy doing or that you find very effective. If you have any questions about the movements ask in the comments. Keep moving!