Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Inch by Inch

In one of my many conversations with the now retired legendary NFL strength coach Kim Wood, we discussed training individuals who are currently “in season” for their athletic endeavor. The gist of the discussion was on the idea of how to implement a strength program while someone is involved in their chosen sport or activity and how to apply a smart and effective program to compliment their focus of that activity or sport. The depth of the discussion goes beyond what can be written here since it isn't a cut and dry answer because as with everything, it's individually based but the conversation did however gravitate to an area of thinking that I've subscribed to for many, many years and feel can be beneficial to many individuals – especially those who are in season.We discussed how too many people get focused on numbers and just "lift weights" and make that their sole source of progression, and although they may use good form, they may not be focusing as well as they could on each and every repetition. I have always subscribed to the idea that the quality of the work far exceeds the amount being used and quality should be prioritized above quantity. Focusing on “quality of work” takes the stress of the exercise and places it on the muscles - where it belongs.I have no ego - I have no one to impress - I have no one who cares how much I can "lift" – my priority is to train safely and have exercise be more beneficial to my life. To enforce this approach, I have gotten to a point where I stopped counting my repetitions and focus totally on the quality of my work - feeling the muscles being used - INCH BY INCH. I have coached some of my clients on this as well – and those who can “dial in” to what I’m suggesting have commented on how much more intense their sessions are and how full their muscles feel. They also noted how much more sore they feel and how “deep” they noticed the muscles are being worked. Keep in mind they were not sloppy before – they are just very focused and even more deliberate now.For those of you who want to give it a try, reduce your poundage’s by about 20% or if you are accustom to performing higher repetitions (15 or more), anticipate a 20-25% reduction if you go very controlled. Do not count reps, do not count time – just connect your “mind to muscle” and FEEL every fiber working inch by inch and hold the contracted position for a 1001 count. I can almost guarantee this will be a new experience for you and one you will find to be very beneficial. - Fred Fornicola