Plan? Forget the Plan

As multidisciplinary trainees we are trying to cover a lot of ground as efficiently as possible. We want to be as proficient as possible in everything from verbal skills to driving to expedient medical skills, and everything in between. To accomplish this we have to plan our work and then work our plan. Organizing everything into bite sized chunks, setting, and reaching goals is an absolute necessity. If we don’t approach this endeavor in such a manner, we can quickly spin in circles or spend most of our time on things we enjoy rather than things we need to develop. A plan keeps us on task.

 

However, there are times where it is beneficial to scrap the plan. Have you ever had a moment during a practice session where things really started clicking? A moment when you had a breakthrough? Has that moment happened at the last few minutes of a scheduled training session? If we stick with the plan we have to end the practice session right when we are hitting that Flow state and that seems counter productive. Unless we are on a time crunch, I would recommend forgetting the plan and flow with the go. Even with a time limit on the session unless there is something pressing I would stay with the flow. The purpose of our training plan was to bring us to this point where we begin to do things we previously couldn’t do… why would we want to stop? 

 

One of the moments that helped me realize it’s okay to stray from the plan happened during a squat session. My planned session was 10 sets of 2 reps using 75% of my 1 rep max. After the third set my training partners noted that my squat speed was really fast, and the weight appeared light. I agreed, and we decided to add weight to the bar. Before the session was over I was working multiple sets of 2 with heavier weight than my previously projected 1 rep max. I experienced a breakthrough in technique, and strength. For whatever reason everything was working together, and all systems were go. I said to my training partners, and coach that we were deviating from the plan. I was concerned this might derail my training plan. My coach told me that the purpose of the plan was to get me to this point so now is not the time to stop, let’s keep going, and ride this wave for all it’s worth. We can always re-write the plan based on this breakthrough. That’s when something my coaches have always said finally sunk in; the plan is just a template. Keep it fluid, learn to adjust on the fly, and when those breakthrough moments happen ride that wave. We’ve all experienced this in different ways during our training evolution like that dry fire session when everything was going smooth, we forgot how many reps we had done or how many were left to do. We lost track of time, and just worked. When those moments happen it’s time to forget the plan. We can re-write it later. For now, it’s time to flow with the go. 

The Way is in Training, If We Train Intelligently

On 05/14/17 Dr Fred Hatfield aka Dr Squat passed away. Over the years a number of my friends and I have attended seminars given by Dr Squat, eventually becoming certified by his organization; ISSA. We always left those events with notebooks filled with notes, ideas, and programs inspired by Dr Squat’s words. The man knew strength and conditioning. Dr Squat was well versed in theory and application. Here is the lift he is probably most famous for, 1,008 pound squat in competition.

Dr Squat’s world record squats are all the more impressive when you consider that at the age of 45 he would squat 1,014 pounds at a bodyweight of 255 pounds.

Ponder that for a moment. 255 pounds. Squatting 1,014 pounds.

The man knew what it took to train himself as well as others to a very high level. One of the constant themes everyone came away with after attending a seminar or training event with Dr Squat was this; train hard but train intelligently, and be willing to instantly adjust your training program based on performance. We also learned that keeping a training log so we can map our progress as well as how various factors influence our progress is extremely important. I learned to log everything; every supplement, meal, fluid, training session, pre-hab/rehab session, everything impacts our performance in some way therefore, everything has to be tracked so we know what works and what does not. In the beginning it seems like an intensive effort yet after over two decades of tracking my training, it’s an invaluable practice. Having tracked all this data for so long, I can more easily program my training to reach my objectives. This is a direct result of Dr Squat’s influence.

How does this apply to what we do? Train hard yet intelligently. Do not reject anything without testing it for yourself. Apply the same intensity to developing our mental game as we do to developing our physical game. Leave no stone unturned, and the way to know what is working, and what is not is to track everything; dry fire, BJJ, Boxing, strength work, conditioning work, recovery strategies, what and how much we eat, how much water we drink, massage therapy, Chiropractic treatments, anything and everything we do to improve performance must be tracked and analyzed. You might not be interested in squatting 1,000+ pounds however, a sub two second Bill Drill, or losing 50 pounds, or running a 1/2 marathon might be of interest. Regardless of your starting point training hard, yet intelligently is going to be the fastest route we can take.

Keeping the chassis aligned

In August 27th and 28th I had the amazing opportunity to teach my MDOC course for the folks at SBG Athens, GA. (For a review of that course, click here!) During this course I was in a lot of pain due to some old injuries. Fortunately for me, as well as the folks that call SBG Athens home, Steve Fogle is on staff and has studied Donnie Thompson’s body tempering methods.

Using something called an X-Wife, a heavy kettlebell, a bow-tie, Voodoo Floss, and a chinning bar Steve was able to work wonders on my shoulder in less than thirty minutes. At first I thought there is no way this guy can be serious. This hurts, in a good way, but this seems like something someone would do as a prank. I assure you, it was not a prank and the temporary discomfort was more than worth it for the improved range of motion and strength. For the first time in months my shoulder felt good and I was able to lift my arm over my head without pain. I would highly recommend you find someone well versed in Body Tempering.

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What should you do if you can’t find someone skilled in Body Tempering? Order some Voodoo Floss, (I do not benefit from your purchase of this product), watch their instructional videos found on the Voodoo Floss link above and get to work. Also search for a massage therapist that specializes in Myofascial Release. I’ve benefitted greatly from Myofascial Release work. I also see a Chiropractic Doctor in my area who has done wonders for my chassis. It helps that Dr Sikorsky is also an Ironman competitor, as well as a student of Mixed Martial Arts and Brazilian JiuJitsu so he understands the stress we place on our bodies. Dr Sikorsky also knows I’m not taking six weeks off from practice so telling me to rest is a waste of breath, fix me so I can keep training and show me how to work around the injury. As an athlete himself, he understands this drive.

 

Injuries, adhesions, broken or out of joint bones, and assorted injuries are just part of this lifestyle. Do not allow these things to take you away from doing what you love. Keep the chassis aligned and tuned so we can keep training as long as we breathe.