Most of my strength training is based around gymnastics, but I do love weight training as well. Depending on the day or week, I will lean more towards one or the other. However, as of late I have really been trying to focus on strength based gymnastics skills such as the front lever, quality freestanding handstand push ups, and the straddle planche.
Most people will tell you that mixing up your exercises is the only way to “confuse” your muscles so that you can constantly make gains. While that may be true to an extent, it may not apply directly to skill based training. At least not in the same way. In skill based training progressive overload can either be in the form of adding weight to an existing skill progression, or choosing a more difficult skill progression. An example of this could be moving from handstands on a wall to freestanding handstands.
When I am doing skill work, I use more of a skill progression method, but for general strength exercises like pull ups and dips, I like to simply increase reps or add weight to my body. I try to do both skill work and general strength work all of my training sessions. The template below is what I generally like to use for putting together training sessions. It could include more or less volume, and it can even be entirely different at times, but I almost always come back to this general template. This template does not include other training such as martial arts or parkour, but you can certainly take it and adapt it to other training disciplines.
It is a combination of programming ideas that I have learned over the years from mentors, books and experimentation. This is certainly not the end all beat all, but it has worked fairly well for me. See the template below.
Training Session Template:
I may also do some mobility work afterwards, but most of the time I like to do my mobility work at a different time of day. More often than not I will do a little bit of isolation work too if I’m not too fatigued. Up next I will give you some examples of what this might look like with different training focuses.
Upper Body Sample Session:
Lower Body Sample Session:
This one is a little different for me. I tend to do a little less volume on the main lifts if I am doing a strict leg session. Here is what I typically do.
Full Body Sample Session:
As you can see, there is a good mix of exercises when it comes to the general strength work, but when it comes to skill work I stick with skill progressions until I have the skill and have it clean.
As stated previously, this is not the only template that I use for my training. Mixing things up IS important, but in my opinion, it should be done in a calculated way as opposed to coming to a session with no plan and randomly choosing exercises on the fly. At least not at every training session ;)
At the end of the day what matters most is that you are training, and as long as you are performing the exercises well, do whatever the hell you wanna do :D
Thanks for reading and I’ll talk to ya soon,
I’m not going to tell you that you need to take a bunch of supplements, try a specific training plan, or buy super expensive equipment. I want to explain how simple it can be to be relatively healthy.
Most of you are not looking to be top performing athletes. If you were then this would be a very different post. You likely just want to get or stay healthy enough to continue to enjoy life. I wholeheartedly understand this stance on health, so I am going to go over the 3 main determinants of staying well.
This is not groundbreaking information. To an extent most of you already know what to do. This will honestly just serve as a reminder of how important these things are. So with that, here you go:
Some of us are champs at sleeping. I envy those who can fall asleep, and stay asleep throughout the night. Some of us can thrive on less sleep and have no side effects but for the majority of us, 4-6 hours a night just won’t cut it. The CDC recommends different amounts of sleep for different ages (see HERE), but generally adults should aim for no less than 7 hours per night.
Sleep is a time for your body to repair itself. Your brain in particular clears away damage done from the waking hours of the day, so if you consistently get suboptimal sleep, your brain and body will hate you for it. Your immune system can suffer, leaving you open to all of the nasty things that lurk in the air and on publicly shared surfaces.
If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, try to figure out what is causing it. If you have no clue, perhaps it is time to consult your doctor. He or she might have you do a sleep test to determine what the potential causes are.
I will go over some sleep tips in another post so as to keep this one short and sweet. Onward!
This is the one that everyone seems to struggle with the most. I must say that I have never struggled with my weight, but I have been through struggles related to nutrition. We all like the foods that are going to give us the most pleasure. Our brains and guts crave it. I’m talking primarily about processed and refined foods. Unfortunately processed carbs are too common in our diets these days and these are the foods that end up causing the most damage. We need foods that have high nutrient content, dietary fiber, and are as unrefined as possible. These are foods that we all know we should be eating. Things like vegetables of all colors, certain fruits, meat from healthy animals, and quality sources of fat like extra virgin olive oil are what our bodies function best on. Check out the nutrient content of ½ cup of chopped BROCCOLI.
Everyone has different needs, so one diet is not going to work for everyone. The main thing that everyone can focus on is eating as much unprocessed, nutrient dense food as they can in whatever forms are best for them individually. If you want to find out more about your dietary needs then you can do that research. It is hard to find unbiased information these days, so if someone tries to rope you into specific type of diet that they swear by, be skeptical and do your research before jumping in. Your genetics, environment, food allergies and current gut health will play a major role in what you can and can’t eat, so just be careful. Talk to a functional medicine doctor or a regular MD that you trust before making any major changes to your diet
This one is near and dear to my heart. I work in the health and fitness industry and I have had the pleasure of teaching people of all backgrounds how to move just a little bit better. Human movement is one of the coolest things in existence. We can do so much with our bodies and yet many of us get trapped in our industrial cages. I do not blame anyone who has fallen into the routine of getting up in the morning, going to work, sitting down all day, going home, sitting down at home, going to bed and repeating. It is a slippery slope because prolonged lack of physical activity usually makes it harder to get back on the wagon. Your body will get really good at sitting in an office chair if you let it.
So what should we do? Most of the people that I see just tell me that they “want to be toned.” This is almost always in a gym setting and is followed by a discussion about lifting weights and doing cardio. Weights and cardio work very well. Especially for people who just want to be generally fit and healthy. I want to make it clear that weights and cardio are not bad options. However, there is so much more out there that you will probably be able to stick with longer.
For most relatively healthy people with little or no restrictions, I would recommend two things in particular. First, choose one or more sports or physical disciplines. Traditional sports like football, basketball, soccer, etc, are fantastic and you can usually find clubs and leagues for all ages if you search around. You also have other disciplines like martial arts, rock climbing, gymnastics, and yoga. Choosing one or both of these options will allow you to treat physical activity more like a game and something to train for rather than having to force yourself to go to the gym. What’s more is that you will have other people that you play or train with to hold you accountable so that you are more likely to stick with it long term.
The second option to hire a coach or trainer and to come up with specific and meaningful goals. If you do not have a good “why” behind your training then you are much less likely to continue training. One simple example is to come up with the standard goal of progressively increasing the amount of weight that you can lift, or increasing the distance or speed that you can run. Keeping things varied or periodized can also help to keep training from becoming stale. Also, paying for a coach or trainer can be a good thing because you can constantly remind yourself that you ain’t doing this for free. Seeing it as an investment can really help move things along nicely, especially if you find a really good coach.
Hopefully explaining health in three categories has made it easier to understand than trying to sift through all of noise out there. Health can be a very complicated topic, but if you can break it down into simple pieces then it is so much easier to take action. Do not be afraid to experiment with things. Try new foods, start a pick up game, and make sure you get your beauty rest.
I will be posting more soon, but until then, thank you for reading and be well!