Are We Training Incorrectly?

A while back, on one of Joe Rogan’s podcasts, he had an MMA trainer on the show. I don’t remember the guy’s name, but I remember the trainer commenting that something he does with his guys is that their everyday training is kept around 70 percent. The reason for that is so they can train every day.

He went on to criticize Crossfit for overtraining people by pushing for a maximal effort in each and every workout, which sparked Crossfitters on YouTube to lash out and a whole bunch of things like that.

But the comment itself stuck with me. It stuck with me because I thought about what I already knew about the evolution of man and some stuff I wrote about some time back.

The reason it stuck with me is that I think the guy is right and most of us have been and still are training incorrectly.

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Thursday Thoughts: On Conditioning

I sat down to write and I took a different tact than what I normally do. You see, I normally know pretty much what I’m going to write about. I don’t know precisely what words I’ll use, but I at least know the topic.

Today, though, as I write this, I don’t. Not a clue.

Mostly, my mind is kind of focused on the hurricane still and trying to make sure my family isn’t as screwed as we were this time. I can’t afford to run out of town every time we have a storm, but I can’t afford to just wait patiently for power to be restored. After all, I work on the internet. I need that.

But I’m also thinking more about conditioning. It came in handy the other day, but there was also a pretty good parallel between my training and what was asked of me. Dragging a sled and dragging massive tree limbs aren’t all that far apart on the spectrum of conditioning types.

Part of what got me into thinking about this was reading The Juggernaut Method 2.0 and author Chad Wesley Smith commented that when it comes to being conditioned, it matters what you’re conditioned for. He comments that a marathon runner has the completely wrong conditioning to compete in a strongman competition and vice versa.

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With Renewed Focus

Today, I was back at the training. It was my first real day of lifting since this time last week, and I was eager to get after it today. Especially since I now have a whole new respect for the need to embrace strength and conditioning.

After all, I needed every ounce of it I had yesterday.

There are no real wrong answers to the question, “Why do you train?” However, there are some I consider a bit nobler than others. One example of that is being able to handle anything life throws at you, including a hurricane, being now right up near the top.

The fact that I, a middle-aged fat guy was able to outwork my 17-year-old son despite the relatively limited nature of my conditioning training is particularly telling.

So today, I hit the weights with a renewed focus and a strong desire to make myself even more than I did before.

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Finally Home

I apologize for the lack of a Tactical Tuesday post, but I didn’t have time to figure out a topic. I’ll be back on track next week.

We’re finally home. Safe and sound. We had a bit of a day, but we finally returned home.

I then got to work clearing up the yard debris that I didn’t clean up on Thursday after the hurricane. Yeah, I was a slacker, but I just wasn’t worried about it right then.

It turned out to be a bit bigger job than I thought, and I type this right now feeling kind of exhausted, but you know what? It’s worth it.

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Onward

As noted yesterday, I figured a couple of things out about my training and I needed to start figuring out a few more things.

What follows is my attempt to prioritize my goals and adjust my training accordingly. Warning: This post may include some rambling as this is literally me trying to figure some stuff out, but what the hell, right?

The thing is, by the end, I should have a plan for tomorrow and for moving forward.

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Thursday Thoughts: Why You Should Choose A Martial Art Over ‘Combatives’ Training

A while back, I came across this article on the questions you should ask yourself prior to picking a combatives course. There are some great questions you should ask yourself there if you’re wanting to learn how to fight.

But, in my opinion, you should train with an actual martial art over a simple combatives program, and there’s a reason for that.

You see, with martial arts, you’re undertaking something that will help keep you alive in more than one way. Not only can it make you ready for a street fight, but it’s physical training that benefits your health as well.

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Early Thoughts On Giant Sets For Conditioning

As noted over the weekend, I was going to try and do a little something to not just keep my workouts from running long, but also to provide some conditioning work.

That was to do giant sets for my accessory movements.

So far, as of this writing, I’ve gotten precisely two sessions done with giant sets, so what follows are some very preliminary thoughts on the topic of giant sets and their role in conditioning.

First, let’s talk about what giant sets are for anyone reading who is unfamiliar.

A giant set is basically going between three or more exercises one right after the other as part of one giant…well…set. (just two exercises is called a “superset.”) For example, you can go from chin-ups to Romanian deadlifts to dumbbell rows, for example. You do those, then you get to take a rest.

For the uninitiated, they don’t sound like much. I mean, it’s the same work you were going to do, right?

In practice, though, they will kick. Your. Ass.

There’s really no other way to put it. If you’re deconditioned, they will make you hate life in ways you may well have never experienced. Further, it’s not the kind of conditioning that’s notorious for interfering with your strength/muscular increases. At least, that’s the theory.

The truth is, giant sets are conditioning. They’re conditioning that is slammed into your normal training, though, so it’s easy to forget about them as you look at your program.

What we need to ask ourselves is, are giant sets sufficient?

Looking at it from where I currently stand, I’m going to say “maybe.” Especially in conjunction with the light lifts for time in the new program.

Right now, giant sets provide all the conditioning work I can probably stand. It’s kicking my butt right now and I’m not sure additional conditioning would be beneficial. In fact, more conditioning work might be counterproductive. After all, I’m already going to be doing a version of high-intensity interval training four times per week.

But that’s right now.

Over time, your body adapts to stuff. It adapts to things and becomes more efficient at it, thereby negating the benefits of what you’re doing. That’s why just running two miles a day stops being beneficial after a short time.

I can easily see giant sets hitting that same point.

Yeah, you’re adding weight and all that, and you can reduce your rest time, but at some point, you’re just not getting much more in the way of conditioning. Do giant sets still condition you?

My thinking is that they do, but they will no longer be sufficient to do more than maintain your current level of conditioning.

So what then?

Honestly, I don’t know. I’ll probably add in some jump rope training and maybe some plyometrics into the mix, as well as potentially adding some kettlebell swings into the routine.

But that’s a ways down the road. Several weeks at a minimum.

For now, I think this will do the trick nicely.

When you start trying to get conditioned, you need to start relatively slow. You don’t go from your couch to running a marathon by starting off with five-mile runs. You run a bit, then expand what you’re able to do.

For me, giant sets are just that. They’re conditioning for now. Then, I’ll add more as I need to.

The truth is, I will likely never be satisfied with my conditioning. I will always want more, pretty much because I look at conditioning as I do ammo.

What I mean by that is that no one ever survived a gunfight and said, “I wish I’d carried less ammo.” On the same token, no one ever thinks they have too much conditioning.

My goal is to have sufficient conditioning and strength where I don’t have to wonder if I have enough of either.

No, I won’t get there purely with giant sets, but I do see them as a good start. If not, then I can step back and try something else. That’s the great thing about training. If something doesn’t work, you can adjust fire and do something different.

For me, though, I’m confident that giant sets are a huge leap forward for me and my training.