Who’s the Boss?

I love to program training, from the exercises, to the individual session, to the month long cycle, I just love the process of planning.

Since the 90’s I’ve always planned training to the precise detail or what I thought was detailed enough. This is going to get done now, that later and the other stuff then – well, obviously the details were somewhat more specific but, a periodised program was designed and followed. The numbers were written down and achieved as planned.

In the early stages of a trainees ‘exercise lifetime’, progression can pretty much be set in stone. Progress will be swift in most cases especially in younger trainees. You can pretty much say that within X amount of months you’ll achieve Y weight on the squat etc.

However, once we get a number of years training under our belts (proverbial belt, I don’t wear training belts) things get a bit more interesting [read frustrating and unpredictable]. We all start to wear out somewhat after years of training stress and often times after unnecessarily prolonged stressful training, chasing pain for numbers for results and not taking enough down time for example.

We pick up little injuries from our endeavours, we forget the essential mobility ‘stuff’, we only do what we want to do and not what we need to do at times and generally can become side-tracked with our goals without paying attention to the ‘stuff I’ll do later’. Of course, this shouldn’t be read as a blanket statement as many trainees do indeed pay attention to their goals along with listening to their bodies and providing what the body needs.

This particular aspect of training is my topic of todays post.

While the goal of training should be kept the goal, we really should listen to our body and more importantly learn how to listen to our body.

Listening to our body can be as simple as paying attention to how your energy feels on any given day in relation to the average. If you wake up and feel crappy, stiff and grumpy maybe that day isn’t the day you should be aiming to set a new Bench PR (but my program says so… argh!!!!)

Listening to your body can also be taking note of little niggles and working on them with the usual stretches, foam rolling, prodding yourself painfully with a lacrosse ball! This particular method has been increasingly popular in the recent years and for some people proves very beneficial when recommended professionally for justified reasons by a well skilled and qualified therapist / practitioner 😉

YOU, may not need this torture type of intervention to respond to your bodies off feeling, there are other ways to Ctrl Alt Del your bodies error messages or reset its systems.

You can be proactive and use your body in the way it’s made for in order to assess yourself, reset systems, work out little niggles and all in one go.

No, I’m not about to sell a new wonder drug to fix what ails ya. snake-oil

Warming up is a curious aspect to most gym rats routine that can be summed up as quickly as putting on your gloves, doing a couple of neck  rolls and throwing a pair of plates on the bar before just getting into the plan of day.

Warming up is of course a process of athletically preparing the body with movements for the ensuing training session and I’ve always used it as a way of assessing how the body feels on any given day. Until recently that measuring system gave some minor redirection to the program plan in terms of sets and reps and intensity or how much time I should probe my back, traps and hips with my lacrosse ball!

My typical warm up until 2014 would have included dynamic stretches, core activation exercises and movements to prep the body for the particular session. This was followed by any specific foam rolling or lacrosse ball abuse I felt I needed to continue my session.

So, what’s changed? I have become a baby again, that’s what’s changed. Now, that doesn’t mean I’ve become a wimp, taken up prancersise and Zumba with a shake weight, It means I’ve reacquainted myself and my body with how we were meant to move to allow my body to undo the stresses that cause the imbalances that lead to the tight spots.

I roll on the floor from belly to back like a baby would to tactfully massage my hips and ready my core. I get my body in touch with my nervous system by controlling my head and spine with a simple series of nods up an down, over each shoulder, much like a baby does. I rock back and forth on my hands and knees like a baby does to prep my hips and deep core for my bipedal activities. I crawl to initiate the nervous system further, putting my body to use in a hard-wired, human locomotion that further readies my body for the training and the whole time I am mobilising my body, I am firing up the core, I am ‘loosening up’ and I am getting my body reset to a point, in a natural system we all went through in the early days of our physical development.

During this process lasting anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes I get undivided attention from my body. It lets me know what’s tight and what I need to spend more time on from nods, rolls, rocks or crawls and sometimes it lets me know how much is enough.

Who’s the boss, the program or you?

My session today called for some simple goblet squats (just testing a shoulder problem) and Turkish Get Ups up to a moderately hard effort, probably the 40kg kettlebell.

However, as I rolled, nodded, rocked and crawled I became increasingly aware that my hips were not just up for either squatting, doing Get Ups or anything else with external loading, so I crawled, and crawled some more.

It felt clunky in my hips initially but as I progressed through 10 sets of 30 seconds of crawling and 30 seconds of rest I became increasingly more comfortable, more mobile, more happy and by the end I was not just warm and sweaty, but intrinsically satisfied that I had done enough for the day. I was thinking of starting the squats and Turkish Get Ups but inside, I kind of new it may not be the best day to do them… Tomorrow is another new day, and maybe the day for a 40 or 48kg Turkish Get Up and good, better or the best Goblet Squats – I’ll let my body decide.

To learn more about this restorative training system, please, please, please visit Original Strength at http://originalstrength.net/

crawl to tiger

Listen to your body, its the boss, just learn to listen.

If you’re local to me, please find the time to come try out some of these movements.

Peace y’all,


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