This is PART 2 of last week's blog, READ PART 1 HERE.
3. Quality Training Partners
"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together" - African Proverb
Lifting and strength sports are as much team-based as they are individual. While training partners can't help you on the platform or in competition , they can be a great asset to your training. The perfect training partners will
Offer additional external motivation
Admit it, no matter how much internal motivation you have, there are some days where getting up to train is difficult. When you're sore and tired, it feels good to have a training partner pick you up and motivate you (granted they are also probably sore and tired)
I've written more in-depth about this topic in my article Surprising Reasons You're Not Reaching Your Fitness Goals. Specifically, how you can use partner training and other environmental cues to get out of your comfort zone and sustain a healthy exercise habit.
Be able to check and critique your form
Even if your training partners are less experienced than you, training together will benefit everyone. You can hone your teaching and instructional skills while they can learn via observation)
Keep you on track
Taking too long of a rest? Skipping out on your range of motion on certain exercises? A good training partner will probably let you know
Have similar goals and aspirations as you
Work together, succeed together.
4. Training Tracker/software
This may seem obvious, but are you really tracking the right variables? While a good ol' notebook works for many athletes, utilizing a tracker or some sort of software to analyze your poundages and training data will take your training to the next level (well only if you know what to do with the data!)
Since most programs are prescribed on the microcyclic level (week to week), tracking variables such as: Average Weekly Volume, Average Weekly Intensity, Peak Volume, Peak Intensity, will give you a better overview on your overall training stress and how progress in the upcoming microcycles. How do you know if you're progressively overloading or if you're peaking for your competition correctly if you don't track these variables?
Graphs and Charts
Written numbers give you a general idea of your training volume, intensity and stress, however, graphs and charts are often a better way to beautifully present and analyze your training data. Many of us are visual learners, and unless you're a tech-savy individual or Excel worksheet genius, creating your own graphs and pie charts may be too time-consuming or out of your scope of practice. Luckily, there are websites/softwares such as MyStrengthBook that do all the work for you. If you're even semi-serious about tracking your training, I recommend you check it out.
5. Mobility Tools
Dedicated training requires dedicated recovery. The bigger and stronger you get, the more you have to pay attention to recovery modules like sleep and mobility.
Not All Strength Sports Require The Same Degree Of Mobility
While I don't believe that strength athletes should aim to be as mobile as a yogi or gymnast, I believe they should be able to maintain or reach a certain level of flexibility (and stability) in order to effectively and safely perform their sport-specific movements. The degree of flexibility and mobility required by a Powerlifter differs to that of a Strongman or Olympic Weightlifter.
Tools For A Healthy Body
Foam rollers, lacrosse balls, thera canes, resistance bands. All of these devices and toys have been popularized over the year in the fitness industry to fix all your mobility issues, aches and nagging pains. From anecdotal evidence and personal experience, these tools have helped my clients and I manage pain and increase muscle range of motion among other benefits. However, the underlying mechanisms are still being discovered. The science behind foam rolling, the human fascia and manual therapy are still being researched and developed. For example, foam rolling is technically NOT considered myofascial release, but there are still benefits to foam rolling. I urge you not to neglect flexibility and mobility work, but I'm also not a proponent of spending too much time rolling or stretching, which can take away from your sport-specific training.
Use all these tools effectively and soon you'll be getting bigger, faster, stronger all while reducing your chance of injury. Please like and share if you found this article useful, check out my Facebook page and Instagram below!