Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 23
Written on November 4, 2012 at 8:10 pm, by Eric Cressey
Here’s this week’s collection of strategies to improve your nutrition and strength and conditioning programs, compliments of Cressey Performance coach Greg Robins.
1. Teach/learn inverted exercises from finish to start.
2. If you’re a student-athlete, make sure that Tupperware is your best friend.
The summer is a tremendous time for college athletes to make outstanding progress. Athletes can train almost every day, get plenty of rest, and enjoy Mom’s home cooking. At the very least, they are tapping into a well-stocked fridge and pantry. August comes, everyone heads back to school, and it’s not too long until we get e-mails from many of these athletes. Each one is the same, and each one has a fairly simple solution.
Generally the problem is that they either can’t eat enough, the food they want is only available sometimes (ex. greek yogurt at breakfast, but not lunch or dinner), or the quality is inconsistent.
When I was in college, I actually made some of the best physique gains of my life. In fact, my freshman year was when my fitness kick truly began. I treated the cafeteria like a grocery store. In addition to eating what I wanted at each meal, I would bring empty Tupperware and plastic bags in my backpack. This way, I could take back veggies, yogurt, nuts, and other tasty amenities to my dorm room.
Once they were in my fridge, I had healthy snacks. Plus, if I showed up for dinner one night and everything on the menu was terrible, I could do some damage control and return back to my room afterwards to get some quality protein in.
3. Stop considering a week to be seven days long.
When people write programs, they always base it off a 7-day week. I get it, the rest of the world works off a Mon – Sun format, so your training should, too. Doing so leads to a few different ways to split up a training program, and for the most part, the common choices are 3–5 days of training with 2–4 days of rest or supplemental activity.
Don’t get me wrong; this is 100% fine, and it certainly works. However, your body doesn’t know what a week is; it has no idea a week is seven days long. Therefore, you should consider writing strength and conditioning programs in any format you choose that would be optimal for the results you are looking to achieve.
Essentially viewing a “training week” as however long you want gives you the opportunity to meet more demands while still allowing for optimal recovery. Or, it can be used to hit certain lifts,or body parts more often while still allowing other lifts or body parts that may require more time between training sessions to get rest. Here’s an example:
Traditional 4-Day Training Split w/Movement Training
Monday: Lower Body
Tuesday: Upper Body
Wednesday: Movement Training
Thursday: Lower Body
Friday: Upper Body
Saturday: Movement Training
“Spreading Things Out” Split
Day 1: Lower Body – Squat
Day 2: Upper Body 1
Day 3: Movement
Day 4: Off
Day 5: Lower Body – Accessory Work
Day 6: Upper Body 2
Day 7: Movement
Day 8: Lower/Full Body – Deadlift
Day 9: Off
By spreading my “training week” out, I have allowed two things to happen. One, I get an extra day of training to address weaknesses, or to just spread out some of the exercises from the previous model into a fifth day. Additionally, I will have more total days off in the course of a year, as the first model gives you one day off every 7 days, and the second model gives you 2 days off for every 9. Lastly, I have more days off before hitting certain lifts again, which can allow for better recovery between sessions.
Like I said, 7-day models work just fine. I just want to challenge you to think outside of the 7-day mindset, as doing so leaves some potential to do some different things with your training.
Note: Kudos to Chad Wesley Smith for introducing this concept to me. Chad utilizes a 9-Day training week with many of his athletes, and in his Juggernuat Method.
4. Spice up your heavy single arm rowing with this variation.
5. Do more “bottoms-up” kettlebell exercises.
I have often touted the versatility of the kettlebell, which are unique in large part due to their shape. In a very early installment of this series, I showed you how to hold the bell correctly. This time around, I challenge you to try a few traditional kettlebell exercises upside down!
No, not you, the kettlebell!
Turning the bell upside-down provides an awkward task to stabilize the bell in that position. Doing so can make traditional carries and presses more challenging, and also more productive, depending on the desired training effect.
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