For all part of this series of posts, click here.
This is the ninth and last in the Make Stuff Up series of posts. So far I've received both criticism and accolades for the series. Some readers have applauded the broadness of topics. Critics have found my viewpoints and tone to be too pointed or harsh. I have really appreciated both forms of feedback - positive and negative alike. All forms of feedback keep me sharp and leave me wanting for more education and understanding in this fitness arena.
Let me rehash the seven bullet points I chiseled out:
- Movement Patterns Are you ignoring certain movements? Recall the seven primary patterns are: Pushing, Pulling, Squatting, Lunging, and Trunk Flexion/Extension/Rotation. It seems as though the most often neglected are Pulling, Trunk Extension, and Trunk Rotation.
- Balance of Strength, Power, and Stamina This balance of Strength/Power/Stamina must be done in ALL movement patterns. Each movement pattern has exercises that increase S/P/S. Add in medicine ball throws and plyometrics to a program that lacks power-building. Decrease loads and weights and opt for the highest of repetition counts to build stamina. And lastly (and arguably most important), add weight and decrease rep numbers to get stronger. Strength work can be added to ALL movements and muscles.
- Work in Different Metabolic Pathways For some reason, popular culture has placed a tremendous amount of importance on aerobic conditioning. This unfortunately causes a neglect of anaerobics. How often do you do a workout for only five minutes? If your reply is "How can you get a good workout in five minutes?" then you haven't learned the importance of anaerobic training at peak intensity. At least interval training is gaining popularity. The trick to effective interval training is reaching into uncomfortable intensity levels during the work intervals, and actually rest in the recovery periods. The work must be done at a pace or intensity that far exceeds what you would be able to maintain for much longer. And the rest periods must be long enough to allow you to regain some of the intensity in subsequent rounds.
- Training for Sport or Event A GPP program is a great supplement to a SST program. And vise-versa. The more narrow your goal, the more narrow your training program. Also, the more narrow your training, the more narrow your adaptations. I like wide adaptations, but I also like preparing for a specific race or event or competition. There is a balance.
- "It sucks; it must be good" Thinking The goal of fitness training should be to increase physical adaptations to become better at physical tasks. Just because a workout or movement "sucks" does not mean that it is causing those adaptations. Ask yourself, "How is this helping me reach my goal?"
- Avoiding Weaknesses It's a human tendency to avoid those things at which we aren't accustomed to or good at. It's a sign of tenacity and perseverance to attack those things straight on. We probably see the greatest increases in abilities by practicing those things at which we'd rather not do. In this case the weakness might be a certain movement, a specific metabolic pathway, a workout format, a rep scheme, or a piece of fitness equipment.
- Over-Reliance on a Single Piece of Equipment There is no magical piece of fitness equipment or gear that will put you on the cover of a magazine. Some pieces have wide application. Others are just really good at one thing. Others are gimmicks. The trick is to spend your time and your money wisely. And try your body on all sorts of gear.
I decided to write the MSU series after I found myself falling into some of the above traps. As I became more and more experienced in the world of functional fitness, I began discovering certain pitfalls. Some are caused by financial greed, personal ego, ignorance, complacency, or "camp-building." Camp-building is dangerous because it involves people trying to win-over followers at any cost.
I sometimes know what is best for me. I likely have no idea what is best for you. What is important is that you learn what each of the above pitfalls is, and how to avoid them. Understand the limits of your program, equipment, and scheduling. Repeatedly ask yourself why you are doing something, and what you are trying to accomplish. My experience tells me that those who Make Stuff Up on-the-go or day-to-day do not have long term fitness plans or goals, and if they do, it takes forever to reach them.
As with ANY fitness plan, someone has to Make Stuff Up. ALL workouts are designed by someone, somewhere. Just make sure that person who's Making YOUR Stuff Up is keeping YOUR goals in mind...