Trying to Do it ALL…Safely and WiselyThursday, February 3rd, 2011
I don’t think you know how bad this hurts…
Let’s Talk about Goals
I’m sure during January you were assaulted by people talking about setting goals. I know I was. I may have even hit you with an email about getting your head right.
Today I want to talk about how my goals have changed over the years and then I want to hear about yours.
Like many of you that visit the site, the purpose of my training involves four main goal areas:
1. Build Strong Muscle
2. Burn Fat
3. Stay Healthy
4. Compete at a High Level
I took up serious training in the gym because I wanted to be strong. I wanted to be like my grandfather who everyone has always told me was a very big and strong individual with a real “presence,” although I never got the chance to meet him. I wanted to grow to a very old age and always be in good health and never have to walk around with a cane.
I started out on the right foot, thinking about injury prevention and health just as much as the effort I was putting into getting bigger and stronger.
Then there came a time where Competing at a High Level ruled my training. I constantly trained balls to the walls with very little consideration to my joints, connective tissues, etc. It became more important to me to constantly put up more weight, burn more calories, and stick in extra training time to get ahead of other individuals, especially when I was doing Strongman competitions routinely.
Unfortunately, this savage determination to constantly improve and get stronger began taking a toll on me and I started having more and more injuries. That is when I had to take a step back from Strongman, although I definitely loved the sport and am glad for everything I have experienced with the sport.
These days, my approach to training is much more like what it was when I first started training and I design my workouts to meet all four of the goals mentioned above.
One of the things I am trying to stay much more aware of in my training is Contra-Specific Training, or Antagonistic Balance. Essentially what I do is try to select exercises that will compliment one another by training opposing movement patterns.
For instance, because I have sat at desks and other workstations for my work over the course of the last 10 years or so, I now have a wonderful set of tight hip flexors and questionable posture. I don’t want my training to worsen the situation, so I choose my lifts wisely.
I am including a lot more conditioning in my workouts lately, and have found a pretty damn intense combination that is freaking awesome.
Contra Specific Hybrid Cardio – Sledge Hammer Slams with Kettlebell Snatches
As you will see, this combination hits all four of my goals.
1. Build Strong Muscle – Sledge Hammer Slams with the 20-lb Sledge (20 Reps) followed by Kettlebell Snatches with my 53-lber (20 Reps) – fairly heavy for the combination selected.
2. Burn Fat – The movements are done back to back with very little rest. Right-hand dominant Sledge Hammer Slams onto the tire followed by snatches for a set of 20 with the righthand. After a short rest, the same is done with the left hand.
3. Stay Healthy – Not withstanding the health benefits of the cardiovascular demands of the movement, these two movements are also contra specific (opposite movement patterns). The Snatches involve ankle, knee, and hip extension with shoulder flexion. Sledge Hammer Slams work the antagonistic movements of hip flexion, shoulder extension, etc. They compliment one another very well.
4. Compete at a High Level – This is also naturally a very Grip-dependent combination, plus I wear gloves which make the implement handles seem even thicker than normal. This is a great finisher to an otherwise already solid workout, but if you’re looking for a way to work the grip for endurance, this might be just what the doctor ordered for you.
Incidentally, this combination also helps me accomplish another goal, which is to spend more time outside in the fresh air. I tend to spend a lot of time stuck inside.
Going outside in the dark is NOT something I am working on, but when you are as busy as I am sometimes you don’t get the chance to train until night time when the only light available is from the old and sickly 2001 Explorer in the driveway.
I love this combination and think you should try it out as well.
I will be bringing more combinations like this to you in the future as well as other beneficial resources.
So, speaking of goals what are your top 3 or 4 goals that surround your training? I’d be interested in hearing more from you guys about what makes you train the way you do.
Heck, when it comes right down to it, I haven’t heard from many of you in a long long time and I would like an update.
Drop a comment below and let me know what is motivating you in your training. I know your going to the gym and hitting the weights for some reason other than to pass time.
Now, leave a comment below and update me, or I’ll come after you with this chain-decked anvil, brother!!!!