Here are 8 easy ways to improve your current training program:
Everyone overlooks warming up. It can be boring, tedious, and quite honestly it’s the easiest thing to skip when in a pinch. This isn’t a great idea though. Try to foam roll, stretch, and go through some type of dynamic warm up before every lifting session. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel and how much better you move by just spending 10-15 minutes warming up before you train.
Add Carries to Your Training
I admit I am late to the party when it comes to carries. For the longest time I thought they were really overrated but carries can do a lot for core development – and your traps will be screaming at you the next day! Carries like a suitcase carry is basically a walking side plank while something like a goblet carry is a walking front plank. There are a decent amount of carries you can add…try some, you’ll be surprised how effective they are. This last fall I added some type of carry to some teams at New Hampshire and was pleased with the results.
Give Single Leg Training a Legit Shot
I hate to admit this too, but I was late on the single leg training bandwagon as well (and I worked for Coach Boyle at MBSC!). After a couple years of consistent single leg training, I’m hooked. When it comes to lower body training, I typically start with a bilateral exercise (front squat, goblet squat) and then all of my assistance work is single leg. However, lately I have been sticking to just single leg movements and I’m loving it. Single leg squats, rear foot elevated split squats, slide board lunges and leg curls, single leg RDL and others are not staples in my program. Plus, sometimes its nice to get a great training session without putting a ton of weight on your back or in your hands. And for most athletes, if you train the single leg exercises heavy like the video below, I don’t know if you have to still perform bilateral lower body movements. Doesn’t mean you can’t, just that you don’t have to.
Add Some Explosive Training
Whether it is some hang cleans, hang snatches, dumbbell snatches, kettlebell swings, or even jump squats, add some explosive training to your program. Most people think that losing strength is the biggest concern when it comes to aging, but losing power is actually a bigger issue. Stay ahead of the game and keep training to maintain or increase power.
Use Push-ups as Your Major Pressing Exercise
Shoulder issues are pretty common these days yet people continue to bench. Talk about trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Try doing some push-ups for your main pressing movement – with a little creativity you can do a lot to make the push up as challenging as a heavy set of benching. Add some chains or weight vests, do eccentric reps, drop sets, max rep sets, the options are endless. Plus, your shoulders will feel better because of it. If you train overhead athletes (baseball, volleyball, swimming) I don’t think benching is necessarily wrong (pitchers probably want to skip benching altogether in my opinion) but I also don’t think you need to bench, making push-ups a great alternative.
Push and Pull Sleds Consistently
There is something about pushing or pulling a heavy ass sled after a training session or on an off day that screams ‘badass’ – and makes your scream for your mom. Get out of your comfort zone and reap the benefits from a conditioning standpoint as well as a mental toughness standpoint.
Listen to Your Body
Some days and weeks you’re just plain tired. Listen to your body and step off the accelerator a little bit. Using some lighter weights and skipping a tough conditioning session may be better for you in the long haul then beating yourself into the ground. I wouldn’t recommend skipping a session altogether though as something is still better than nothing. Get in, move a little bit, and get out, but listen to your body, it knows better than you!
Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New
Don’t be scared of change. If you aren’t seeing the results you are looking for, change something. Try a completely different program. Try exercises that you haven’t been doing for quite some time. Maybe you need to start eating a little better? Who knows, but make some changes, it’ll make a difference. Recently the importance of rolling exercise has been all over the place, so I am performing get-ups every single day for the next 10-12 weeks and see what types of changing I see.