Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Being your own coach: micro managing to failure

After a while of strength training, I would feel stronger, but I would still bench press like a little girl. I was watching Elliot Hulse on Youtube and realized my head was not in the workout I was doing, but already thinking about what I should change, adjust, important exercises I was missing and so on. Elliot also said something else that stuck into my head. There are a lot of great programs out there, so I should just pick one proven to work and stick to it. I had to think about my priorities:
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Focus on strength and power
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Not to time consuming, I need time to dance!
<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Not too tiring, I need to be able to dance right after workout.

From there I switched to a 5/3/1 program (explained in detail here). Basically, this program focuses on 4 lifts: Squat, Deadlift, Bench press and Overhead press. In 5/3/1, we workout with ridiculously sub maximal weight most of the time and lift 90% of 90% 1RM once every 4 weeks for 1 rep. I finish every workout fresher than when I started it! Also, You can pick freely all accessory exercises which accommodate my burning desire for customization and in the end, as the author put it, there are just accessory then don’t matter as much as the main lifts. Plus, beside the fact that I need to go at the gym 4 times/week, my training session can be super short between 25 and 45 min.

The math can be quite intimidating at first glance, but all I did was to automate a calculation sheet on Google drive and I add weight every 4 weeks, that’s it! I always carry my phone to the gym anyway and I was already keeping track of my training session on a calculation sheet. I got myself a program I’m not allowed to customize in the essence and that works itself up.

It got me thinking. What if I was doing exactly the same thing with my dance training. What if I keep changing my focus, so it limits my ability to improve over the time through deep practice? I usually start every session with aerial/dip/lift training, for this is exhausting. I will stop before my partner or I is tired, so we can keep practicing after that, avoid injury and keep the best form possible. Then, I will choose a random theme (such as rhythms, moves, lines, jams, etc.) and work on it for the entire session, but if I can’t work on it because of my partner’s limitations. In that case, I will select some drills to work on the specific difficulty we encountered and get back to whatever we were doing if possible.

Because you can’t quantify dancing, we need to rely on subjective results such as videos, feeling and memory. What if I avoid what I should be working on, because it’s easier this way? I definitely do that with solo dancing! Everybody has a tendency to surf over difficulties especially when nobody is pointing them out. Automating my practices and tracking actual results, that’s what I still need to improve.

If you are interested to follow my day to day workouts and dance practices, I suggest you take a look at my Google+ Page where I post personal videos almost everyday.

Keep on working!