Are you ready to learn the 5 effective ways to train insane? With the everpresent reality of how important it is to stay in shape, both in feeling and appearing, there are endless streams of information competing to grab your attention on the latest trend and most exotic one size fits all solution. This isn’t reality. It’s messier, it’s harder, and it’s more rewarding! People always want results, but don’t realize that you get results proportionally to the work you put in, no exceptions.
With that being said, here are five tried and tested methods to get better results in your training life.
5 Effective Ways to Train Insane
1. Direction and Progress:
Maybe training hard isn’t your problem. Perhaps it’s that you push in circles. To avoid this, you need to ask yourself on a semi-regular to regular basis what training means to you and where you want it to take you. Yes the actual workout is an end in and of itself, but it is mostly the means for something you wish to attain. Everyone loves squatting until walking up two flights of stairs needs its own heart wrenching cinematic adaption, but it’s for a purpose.
Before you start the process of training ask yourself what your goals are?
Write them down and write the problems you face, with the intent and with your self. Is it to lose weight, run faster, get stronger, or to hurt less in everyday life? Set goals in timeframes; 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 12 months, whatever you think you can manage. Make it tough but not impossible. Record progress on an exceptionally regular frequency. Keep doing this with all your goals.
How will you achieve your goals?
Next, ask yourself how you are going to achieve these goals. You could “wing it”, but you might find out one day that you are flapping with one wing, effort. The other wing is the purpose. Your repetitions (reps) should have a higher value than the mechanical output they are being put towards. Your 6 AM sprint session should have more than a “just getting my heart rate up” feel to it. It’s a war against yourself. That sprint session is a test of who you are and who you want to be. It’s not just increasing your heart rate, it’s a primer for higher metabolic efficiency and greater neurological output resulting in greater force generation across the broad movement spectrum. Sure it’s something that will increase your caloric expenditure for a few hours post-exercise, but it makes you better globally, across domains.
Whenever you drift from the goals, go back to them. They will redirect you to the right road. Unless of course, like Alice and the Cheshire cat in “Alice and Wonderland” determined; If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.
One of the most overlooked aspects of training and fitness is mobility. It is no coincidence that mobility is so high on this list. When neglected, we pay the price. The constant lust for more size, more power, more aesthetics has pitfalls that have long drops. High volume training has benefits but continuously repeating the same biomechanical ranges of motion, specifically shortened range of motion leads to a tightening of the musculature and sticking of the fascia which results in impaired mobility.
Training for strength and power is the best neuromuscular adaptation you can apply to your force output. To unprepared joints, it is also a sentence to inflammation and discomfort of an unknown time frame. Training to achieve high-level aesthetics is generally an exercise in how to maintain a totally imbalanced and mechanically unstable structure that has some appeal as a novelty but very little function. Mobility is dynamic and active control in the highest range of motion possible. This leads to greater power, greater stability, and greater recruitment of muscular tissue so you might even have better aesthetics. Oh, and almost guaranteed; less pain. Mobility is the key that unlocks most of the physical doors you will encounter in life.
3. Essentrics or Time Under Tension (TUT)
Essentrics is a fancy term for one of the three phases of exercise. You have concentric; contracting of the muscular tissue (think your bicep curling a dumbbell in a bicep curl). Eccentric; elongation of the muscular tissue (imagine controlling the bar down during a bench press). Lastly, there is isometric; contracting the muscle in a static position (think any movement where you contract your musculature while staying still, like the plank).
Everyone tends to focus their efforts on the positive (concentric) portion of the movement. That’s great for power. The negative (eccentric) is what allows for your greatest strength form of strength to develop. This is established by way of time under tension (TUT). The longer you can yield a weight, the more that muscle will develop the strength to yield greater loads. This technique helps muscles grow bigger over time. This is why top bodybuilders use this style of training to pack on size and thickness.
Through proper implementation, connective tissue strengthens safely, as this style of training is best combined with low weight. This technique is what people generally understand as “the pump.” Essentially another of the great benefits of TUT training. Blood, water, and substrates (amino acids, glucose, and fatty acids) rush into the muscle, swelling the muscle and engorging it with these metabolic agents. Lastly, one of the lesser known benefits of TUT is that it increases the affected muscles local exhaustion threshold. It can sustain work longer and in the presence of greater levels of metabolic agents which create the “burn” sensation associated with high volume (namely lactic acid).
4. Isolation vs. Full body
This is an area of contention in the fitness world. Firstly; yes, they both work. Secondly; what are your goals? If you are prepping for a bodybuilding show? Isolation. If you are going for max strength, functionality or athletics? Full body. For the average person? Full body. You get more in return than you invest.
Not everyone has 60 minutes to do JUST their arms. Some people have 180 minutes ONLY all week for their whole body. Another problem is that there is a clear and present danger that training in isolation leads to imbalances throughout your body (not just aesthetically) but biomechanically. That’s a problem if you want to be well postured and free of aches and pain.
Training full body, or with compound movements (multi-joint exercises) allows the development of muscle chains, not just individual muscles. The application of isolation exercises should be in the form of accessory work (work is done in accessory to main lifts, in the MINORITY of time spent) unless going into a specific training phase to address to particular needs of the individuals.
5. Step out of your wheelhouse
This is one of the most underused but most important things anybody who has some sort of physical routine should incorporate. Doing yoga is great. Nothing but yoga; not so great. Lifting weights is a great tool to have in your exercise toolbelt. If it’s the only one, you learn real quick how everything becomes a nail if all you have is a hammer.
Take time to do different activities and escape routine occasionally. Go for a run in nature. Take a dancing class with your significant other. Learn a new skill, like martial arts or surfing/snowboarding. Lay on the beach and absorb sunlight. Why is this important to training insane? If you don’t step away from the process, you never give space to see it from another angle. Not only that but life isn’t all about one thing. Refresh yourself by removing yourself from the grindstone. The new experience and neurological configuration will generally pay dividends in the form of gains in other domains of life too. You will find yourself sharper on the other side of a period of incubation or recreation.
Ultimately to train insane, there is only one ingredient: Go out there and do it. No ifs, and or buts! Sometimes you are the nail, and sometimes you are the hammer. One thing is for sure; the sound of a hammer striking a nail is one sound, hammering. So keep hammering!
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