I remember about 6 years ago or so my body was aching constantly. I would walk down the stairs in the morning and my knees would hurt, my feet hurt. My mind was asking WTF is going on here!?!
I was sore after training sessions for longer than normal and I felt that my body was sending me signals to STOP lifting weights. That alone was freaking me out as training is how I identify with myself and unleash my emotions.
Luckily, I came across some inspiring videos of a few guys working bodyweight training and they were pure savages. It gave me faith that I COULD still get big and strong from Bodyweight training alone.
I mapped out a plan on Bodyweight training using The Westside Conjugate Method. That was about 6 years ago and I'm going back to my roots, at least what I might call my roots, version 2.0. My original roots come from bodybuilding.
For those of you experienced in getting under the bar, don't fret. I remember Elliott Hulse telling me that a year or so ago he ONLY did Yoga for 6 months and it was the best thing for his body. He told me he felt great not lifting heavy and destroying his body.
You see, people like Elliott, you and I....
We're addicted to the iron, so even when it hurts, we STILL want it.
I am 40 now. The 16 year old in my brain CAN get me in trouble if I don't use my brain properly. And, training since 1989 has accumulated wear and tear mileage on my body no matter how smart I train, no matter how much soft tissue work is done or how much mobility / recovery work is implemented.
The training miles add up.
Right now, My body is telling me to STOP more of the free weights and get back to more Spartan like training.
More calisthenics and bodyweight work.
I see this as "Being useful" as Chris McDougal said, who is the author of Natural Born Heroes, an amazing book that you will not be able to put down!
Years ago I would have been emotionally bothered by not benching and not throwing around the heavy iron. But now, I am smarter (at least I like to think so!).
I STILL believe your younger years need some heavy iron therapy. When you see a pro athlete doing all plyo and jump training you are looking at a VERY small population that is ready for this style of training.
I see youth and high school athletes and they are NOT genetic freaks who can do without heavy squats, benching, pressing, deadlifting, etc. Our college athletes for the most part are high level and if they are lifting heavy AND fast, then we are more flexible with allowing down time with the big lifts when needed.
But right now, my body says NO heavy lifts, especially for the upper body. My body is calling for Push Ups, Ring Training, Sprints, Carries, Sleds and band work.....
Be Useful. Be Agile, Mobile and Hostile. There will be daily mobility and soft tissue work as well. My go to resources tend to be Mobility WOD / Kelly Starrett, Donnie Thompson, Mike Robertson and a few others I follow on Instagram.
To see the explosion in mobility and all these tools to perform soft tissue work shows that the performance community is not only getting smarter, they are in NEED of the soft tissue work because training is beating people up.
Yesterday I spoke with someone who was having lower back pain, feeling run down and basically unable to train in his sport of focus (MMA) for about 3 weeks now.
He told me the signs that we MUST listen to:
- I deadlifted and my back was killing me for days.
- I got sick and felt like s--t, I didn't want to get out of bed.
- I just feel wrecked and don't know what to do.
I remember feeling like this and every now and again, that feeling comes back, ESPECIALLY when I don't listen to my body
So here's the training I had this fighter do yesterday:
- short warm up
- hip mobility
Then a light circuit:
B) medicine ball cross over push ups
C) alternate superman drill
After the training was more hip mobility and soft tissue work on all areas of the body. I created a short training session and sent him home earlier than everyone else. In these types of situations, my motto is "You're done before you're done." I want to send that athlete home with energy in the tan both physically and emotionally.
I told him we'll revisit the barbell when your body tells you it's time. NO rush.
On an added note: This athlete is at a high level.
He weighs 145 lbs and has deadlifted 385 lbs for 2 reps, with perfect positioning / flat back.
He has power cleaned 225.
He IS STRONG. Having him squat and deadlift more and more will only take away from his ultimate goal which is becoming a better MMA fighter. Performance training must always boost the sport, NOT take away from the sport.
You must learn to listen to your body vs fighting what your body says it needs.
And YES, there ARE times to push through and over reach but still, you MUST be dialed in beyond the gym / weight room.
I'm getting back to more bodyweight training, more kettlebells and some sandbag work. It feels great. As a father and business owner, I don't have the luxury of destroying myself to oblivion. I need to feel great or it interferes with my coaching. THAT is unacceptable.
When you run a 5K, swim, wrestle, play Football, etc.....
No one asks you how much you squat, bench and deadlift to determine if you can win or not.
Don't just train hard.
Looking forward to your comments below.