A few months ago I was approached by a student (yes I am just writing about this now, I’m a bit behind on writing hah) regarding what “extra” work they could do to fix a few of their weaknesses. When I get questions similar to this, I always start with, what they’re doing now, with their training time. Before adding more time to your schedule, is there a way to increase efficiency with the training schedule you have now?
One of the things I have noticed over the years is that there are huge gaps in training sessions, where people could be fitting work in, but they aren’t. These gaps are wasted minutes. Minutes you can’t get back. Minutes that could be put to good use. If I am going to train five hours this week, how do I make sure every minute of that is utilized with purpose.
I’m not talking about taking away rest periods, going faster, moving more weight, supersetting, etc… I’m talking more about making sure you take advantage of every opportunity in a training sessions to grow. Let’s take a look at a few examples.
- Grip strength is a crucial part of so many areas of training. Whether with gymnastics, barbell work, martial arts, etc.. Say you’re doing deadlifts for a strength set. Often times lifters will utilize a mix grip or straps to hit their heavier weights. I certainly have no issue with this, I utilize them myself. However, a lot of people that utilize the mix grip have a tendency to jump straight to that even during warm up. Instead, if you pull all of your warm up sets double overhand until grip actually becomes an issue, you can utilize those sets to help develop that grip strength.
- Holding mitts or pads for a buddy is one of the places I see HUGE loss of training opportunities. Yes, the primary focus in that moment is the striker, but as the mitt holder, you can still work on breathing, footwork, the endurance it takes to keep hands up. Why spend half of the class training improper movement, when you can instead continue to solidify good positions and movement?
- The ability to breathe properly and maintain a good brace is imperative to maintaining health while training. Again, no matter the modality, these are important. In between sets of lifting, striking, grappling, etc.. are perfect for getting extra practice on these areas. Instead of just sitting down or cruising Facebook, spend 1-2 minutes working on drills that will increase your ability to breathe and brace properly. The carry over to other areas of life are infinite.
- Sparring is another area we often see a lot of “wasted” time. All too often, the fighter identifies “winning” as hitting the other person more than they hit you. Sure that is the overall goal of a sanctioned fight, but when you’re training that may not be the best approach. For instance, if you’ve been drilling footwork and taking angles. Redefine “winning” as your ability to take angles on your opponents. By the end of the session, were you able to apply the thing you’ve been drilling? If not, who cares how many times you hit the other person? Maybe they are just not as seasoned as you. Did you grow as a fighter by hitting a less experienced fighter a bunch? Every sparring or rolling session you walk into, have a legitimate goal in mind that will progress your ability.
- If you find yourself on the phone or computer a lot for work, how can you double down on that time to improve training? When writing, answering e-mails, talking on the phone etc.. I often times stand on a rumble roller, roll out quads, sit in a squat, hold a stretch… I mobilize. Sitting at a desk has been proven to just wreck you. Instead of picking up a deficit, why not use that time to improve a position, relieve pain, or fix a movement? I have a series of what I call “lazy stretches” that allow me to continue my work while fixing my body. I’m actually rolling out my quads while writing this article (see image). Now that’s #multitasking
These are just a few examples, but you can find these training gaps everywhere if you really look. I respect people that put in hours and hours of training (God knows I do) but if you train 20 hours this week and only take advantage of 70% of that potential, then it’s wasted time. Wasted time that could’ve been used elsewhere.
This may not matter to some. You might have plenty of time to burn, and that’s cool. But what I’ve discovered is running a business, teaching, navigating the publishing process, attempting to continue to supply good content, traveling to teach seminars, answering phone calls and e-mails, training to improve myself in an effort to improve my students, making sure I get to spend time with my amazing wife and two kids… well it takes time. A lot of time. To me, time is precious. Why not make every moment worth it. I even take my naps very serious and make sure I fit them where I can and I make the most of them.
Time is a precious and limited resource. I challenge you to find your training gaps and try to fill them. #efficiencymatters
Be good, train hard, stay safe!