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Short On Time Or Focus, Try This

What can we do to keep our strength and fitness on track when our plate is already piled high?

This is precisely where James is.

I've worked with James a long time, and over this last while he has made astonishing progress in the face of some pretty significant challenges, non of which are appropriate to share on this newsletter.

Those who were on the Force of Nature program last Autumn will possibly be aware of James and some of what he's been dealing with.

However, in our last conversation we struck some gold that I think is worth sharing.

And that is how can we still make forward progress when our plates are piled high and standard "fitness training" is simply inappropriate.

Inappropriate in the amount of time and energy it takes away from other responsibilities.

The fashionable advice over the last while has been the get up at 5am to train while everyone else is still in bed.

Which may be fine, assuming we can still get enough sleep.

Count 8 hours backwards from 0500 and you get 2100

Are you going to go to sleep at 9pm?

Maybe you are, I don't know.

Whatever time you get up at, do ensure you are getting adequate sleep.

A 9pm bedtime may not fit a busy lifestyle, with commutes, household task, social events and attending any classes, which are very often held in the evenings.

Our hero here recently took up BJJ, which is exactly that, a social group class that is held in the evenings.

So what sort of plan did we come down on?

Hyper-focussed skill development.

Consider a skill, say a tennis serve.

How would you look to improve that serve?

With skills, we know fatigue is detrimental to their development and high frequency usually works best.

We know that specialising/focussing on that skill is the way to bring it up, even if that means other skills take a temporary back seat.

Lets take strength and think of it as a skill.

Or even, take a single exercise and think of that as a skill.

Now we can focus in.

Take the Pull Up for example.

The pull up is a difficult exercise for many, but highly valuable.

We can simply hang a doorway pull up bar in door we pass through frequently (mine is in the kitchen doorway)

Then we can set a rep goal for the day, say 10 reps.

And over the course of the day, we accumulate good, high quality reps until we hit 10.

Once 10 is easy, bump it up to 15, to 20, to 30 and so on.

We can break the skill down, if the grip is weak, we do hangs. If the upper back is weak, or the elbows hurting, we do scap pulls, or inverted rows.

If the core wants some work, do hanging leg raises.

If we're on the wrong side of the Power to Weight ratio, we can adjust our diet

Approaching the pull up as a skill, takes away the idea of training to failure, going for the burn, getting a pump blah blah.

Instead we are chasing quality

Developing a skill set.

Identifying the weaknesses within the skill, isolating them for a while then putting it all back together.

In doing this we get serious strength gains while doing relatively easy work.

Yes there will be muscle fatigue and some soreness, but you should never be exhausted.

You should never have to do anything more than 10 minutes in any one session.

And when that skill has reached the standard you want, you may switch to another skill.

If you had worked the pull up, you can stay in the same lane and work Levers for example, or behind the neck pull ups, or whatever.

Or you could swap to some thing else entirely like a pistol squat or a handstand. whatever tickles your fancy.

The shortfall of this is the lack of conditioning / aerobic development.

But in times where we're overloaded with lemons, sometimes we simply have to make lemonade.

If you have questions or comments, please hit the reply button and send them in.

Details for the next round of the Force of Nature program will be released soon.

And don't forget, we're doing YouTube versions of these newsletters too, look me up.

Now, go do something awesome today and I'll chat soon


Dave Hedges

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