How to Form Strong Habits In Your Training
Habits drive the most productive areas in our life. Habits also drive the most negative aspects of our life. In regards to strength, forming strong habits in your training program can be the difference between
- Achieving your goals and not
- Hitting PR’s and hitting plateaus
- And ultimately enjoying life more versus running yourself into the ground
How then can you form good habits in your training program and what do those habits look like? Better yet why does it matter?
This is a piggyback off last week’s article Relax and Win. These two together should help you appreciate the need to develop strong, healthy habits, relax more in your training, and ultimately WIN!
First Things First: Focus
No phone, absolutely positively no phone on you when you’re training.
- It’s a distraction
- It’s a hindrance
- And let’s be honest, the social media world can wait
Your training should demand your undivided attention. If it doesn’t then maybe you need to rethink your training philosophy. Unbreakable focus is a common denominator to many strong folks I know.
Often times in life people try to create something out of nothing, or “blaze their own trail.”
Pay attention to those who are doing what you want to do, have achieved what you want to achieve, and follow in their footsteps. I haven’t met many people that have strength I’d like to achieve who aren’t intensely focused during their training sessions.
Take a Breath
If you’re like most people there’s probably the need for a mental divide between what’s going on in your life and what’s about to take place during your training session.
Those who follow me know I have high praise for PRI. I like to start every training session with a few drills designed solely to calm my mind, focus on my exhale and heighten my senses.
My cues last week – BTS – fall directly into this category
Any PRI drill will involve breathing to some degree and for that I’d argue that most drills would accomplish the goal of creating a mental divide between the outside world and your training session.
However, not all are simple to perform. Personally I’ve come to love a drill called the Inchworm. It’s a lot like a downward dog, but then really not so much.
Rather than trying to flatten your back, think of your rib cage going;
- and Back
This will give the appearance of having a “rounded back” but will actually help put your body in a better position to train.
With all the swinging and hinging I do, my hamstrings need to be loose. Additionally my calves often times need to be inhibited – something I see very often with clients of mine.
This comes from a protracted rib rage that throws off your center of gravity and displaces load onto your forefoot and toes. The result is overactive calves, an extended spine, tight hip flexors, and hyperextended knees.
That’s a lot when you realize all that’s happened is your rib cage has been shifted forward.
Why does this happen?
Perhaps this is for another article, but in short people often times get stuck in a state of inhalation – meaning they never really fully exhale – thus their rib cage never drops and they maintain a hyper-inflated state.
If you develop one habit and one habit only it would be this; take a deep exhale (think of a sigh of relief) before you set up for any lift/movement you do.
Sense the ground and get after it!
Get In, Get Out
Once you’ve got your mind right there’s really not a ton left to explain
- You’ve cut out distractions
- You’ve created a mental barrier between the outside world and what’s about to take place in your training session
- And now it’s time to get to work!
Treat your workouts like you’re punching the clock:
- Get in
- Get out
- Refuel and recover
Rinse, wash, repeat.
Too often people want to make a big deal about their training session – which is fine – personally I like my training session to be done as quickly as possible – there’s more to life than the gym!
Some In-Session Habits You Should Strive to Create
In case you haven’t realized it’s kind of a big deal… Sounds self-explanatory but you’d be surprised. This is especially useful if you’re using complex or OTM work (on the minute). Focus on your exhale – you’ll inhale naturally but it’s the exhale that will help you regain control of your breathing and your next set.
This goes hand in hand with breathing. Steady your nerves and allow your technique to take over.
Develop an unyielding will to push yourself past your comfort zone
This is hard and for most people it likely won’t happen on their own, which is why they hire me!
My SFG program seems to do this to me daily, I can’t say I enjoy it at the moment but I’m sure I’ll appreciate it come test day.
While it’s not necessary for most people to challenge their will every training session, testing your limits is always a great thing to do every now and then.
If you want to get strong you must have a will to put in the effort when it matters most.
Know your form
It should go without saying, you should know how to:
- Push things
- Pull things
- Carry heavy sh**
- And familiarize yourself with the ground again
I like heavy getups and crawling personally…
If you haven’t mastered these movements yet, apply the tips I’ve mentioned here today – it’ll make the journey towards mastery that much easier for you.