Monday Workout ~ 4 Cycles of Training
As it so happens, I train a number of beginners and people that haven’t worked out in years.
Often times, when first starting to train with me, they think one of two things:
1 – The workout is too hard.
2 – The workout is too easy.
Very rarely have I gotten that the workout is “too easy” but at times I have.
You might be asking yourself why?
You see, when you’re a beginner or just starting to workout after a delayed time, I believe obtaining correct movement patterns is of the utmost importance. It’s more important than fat loss and it’s more important than muscle gain.
Now this isn’t to say that those other things aren’t important – because they are – but if you can’t walk correctly, I’m not going to have you sprint. The same is true of someone trying to squat. If you can’t go 1/2 way down without falling over, I’m not going to put 100 pounds on your back.
Most people that train miss essential components of workouts, such as foam rolling, stretching, and activation exercises that should come BEFORE training for your goal (in the same session). As time goes on, you will need to do less of these things, but they should still be there.
For example, one of the first exercises I have someone perform is just an air squat with their hands over head. By just doing this one exercise, I can see a number of things. Here’s 3 of the 5 things I’m looking for:
1 – Do their knees cave in? If so, this could be a number of issues ranging from a weak VMO to poor glute medius activation.
2 – Can their hands stay overhead? If not, that typically means that they have poor thoracic extensibility. This could be from tight pecs (especially pec minor), tight lats, poor rhomboid and mid-trap activation.
3 – Can they sit back and how low can they go before falling over? Women tend to have stability issues, meaning they can go low, but the form is of poor quality. Men on the other hand tend to have extensibility issues meaning that they can’t get to parallel, no matter below parallel before “falling over.” This could be a number of things, from tight muscles such as tight calves, hip flexors and hamstrings to poor deep core activation.
With all of that said, I would include ways to correct these imbalances in their initial routines, making their workouts seem “too easy”. The foam rolling is painful at the beginning for some people and the activation exercises seem “weak” or they don’t seem to do much.
I beg to differ. If you can squat, then you have a wide array of exercises to choose from. If you can’t squat properly though, then you are severly limited as to what you can do. And if you do squat with poor form, it won’t be long until you get hurt or hit a plateau with your strength.
You see, strength is the foundation upon which ALL other aspects of fitness are based upon. There are obviously outliers with whom this isn’t the case, but in general, the stronger you are, the better your capacity to improve on all of the other forms of training.
With that said, over the next couple of weeks, I will be discussing the 4 cycles of training that I include in my routines and how you should have one focus during different times of the year, no matter what your “fitness goal” is.
The 4 cycles of training include:
1 – Training for Strength (also known as Intensification Phase)
2 – Training Volume (also known as Accumulation Phase)
3 – Training Density (decreasing rest periods)
4 – Training for correct form (Correcting Movement patterns)
By including these 4 areas of training into your program, you will get stronger, stay healthy from a musculo-skeletal point of view, move better, improve your health from a cardiovascular stand point and be able to achieve far reaching goals from weight loss to muscle gain (given proper nutrition).
In fact, today’s post was talking about the importance of Training for Correct form. In the next couple of weeks, I will discuss in more detail and videos what I’m talking about. If you have any questions before then, feel free to leave a comment below.