How to Improve – Performance Tips from Andy Ewington
“No matter how advanced you are as an athlete or a mover, the best way to keep improving is to master the basics” – Carl Paoli, Freestyle Movement Specialist. Owner of www.gymnasticswod.com
Yeah, even you old school members that have been grinding through RX for a while now. Are you starting to plateau? Is it because you’re not strong enough, fit enough, or because you can’t move well enough? For new members, you want to lay a good foundation so you don’t have to take steps backwards to fix major issues.
How long do you scale for? As long as it takes to be capable of the next movement! Sounds very obvious, but is rarely adhered to. When a coach scales movements for you, challenge them to give you a target to move on. Too often people are over eager to do the full movement without being able to perform the step before it. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense, the scaled version seems more difficult! It’s more difficult because it is preparing the correct muscles for the full movement. If these muscles are weak, then yes it is going to be hard. If you stick with it, when you move on to the next step you will have an easier time and less chance of injury.
It is going to take more than one session to progress. Stick with it until you reach the required movement standard which means your body is well prepared to perform the next step. You will most likely be over prepared, but what is the problem with that? Be patient, progression is not a race; it is something you earn.
Injuries are not always related to a one off traumatic event, they are more commonly a result of repetitive poor movement and/or exceeding your body’s level of preparedness. Performing any movement under load without the requisite strength, mobility or stability is going to result in an injury sooner or later. Almost all recurring injuries or problems are preventable.
Taking a planned break/reset.
Deloading is an important part of all training cycles. This is also a great way to help prevent injuries. We have all had those days/weeks where we have come in to the gym and everything feels extremely heavy. Your lifts are down, you feel beat up. It’s not unusual at all, and happens frequently when deload weeks are not planned. It’s simple to perform and you don’t have to avoid the gym. All you need to do is lift less weight for a week, and not push intensely in the WODs. You focus solely on quality of movement, you scale back movements that you usually RX, you drop your weights to 50-60% of normal but perform the same amount of reps. It’s a great time to also focus on getting your muscle tissue back to normal.
When you have been training a while, you start to figure out when this is before the bad weeks. You know that after 4-6 weeks of heavy training you need a deload. So even if you are feeling alright you just take it easy, give everything a chance to recover. Spend a bit of time making sure everything is working correctly and is not becoming dysfunctional. If you’re new to training you probably won’t need to deload for the same reason, but it is good to take a week every so often just to go back and focus on movement.
Nobody wants to be injured. If you want to keep progressing and keep training, then try the two methods above. Being prepared for movement is the key.
By Andy Ewington