“Yo, you working out today?” “You going to the gym?” These are typical questions that friends or classmates who “exercise” may typically ask one another. I have grown to hate the term exercising or working out. They imply nothing or no goal. With our athletes or clients, we train. The term implies that you have a goal that you want to accomplish. Maybe its lower body fat, more muscle, getting stronger, or feeling better, using the word “training” is much more inspiring. If we had athletes come in to “exercise” I do not think we would see the results that we see nor have the attitudes we have at the facility. These people had goals to accomplish, not to just show up and do a few sets of bench, then “Oh, there’s a another machine, I’ll go over a do a few sets of these.”
Having a basic fundamental program, whether it be 3, 4, or 6 week training program is essential for progress. If you plan it out ahead of time, you can bet the results of consistency have huge potential to succeed(must take into account what you are doing too). With all of our athletes or clients, we currently implement 4-week phases (programs) that are written out with the order of exercises, sets & reps, conditioning, and stretching all in an organized professional fashion which makes training that much easier. There is not any “workout of the day” or “Hey, I feel like doing this today” plans. These lack consistency, purpose, or goals. Those of us who train understand that every once in a while we “shoot-the-sh*t” so to speak and do whatever we want because maybe we want to test out new exercises, how we order them, or clearly freshen things up. However, this is not what encompasses typical year-long training.
When you train, there is hopefully purpose and consistency to incorporate stretching routines, mobility work, and soft-tissue work everyday to help with moving a little bit better each day. Typically, with those who “exercise” or “lift” they show up to the gym, spin their arms in circles 7 times, do a pec stretch for 5 seconds, touch their toes 3 times, and boom, they are ready to do damage…literally! I never got why running on the treadmill for 5-10 minutes prepares anyone to lift as well? There may be some small benefit, but if you want to look, feel, and move better I would advise a quality dynamic warm-up (specifically with some mobility drills for your t-spine, hips, and ankles) with some activation exercises. Soft-tissue work, mobility work (whatever you may need), and stretching on a consistent basis can dramatically decrease any pain or limitation you have which only further enhances the intensity of the athletes training session allowing him/her to step close to that goal (only once they are pain/injury free). Under no circumstance should you do an exercise that causes pain. Rule #1 as a coach, do no harm. Follow this rule first, then move on.
Have a plan, have progressions or regressions, and train. Simply saying you have to “train” that day may make a profound impact. Try it.