Are You Wasting Time in the Gym?
Written by Bryce Smith
Strength coach and author, Dan John, has helped me to understand that training is like a sandbag with a hole in it. He says that the moment you enter the gym, your sandbag begins losing sand . Thinking about this will help add quality to your training and make your sessions shorter and more concentrated with value.
Do you show up for your sessions and talk with your peers for ten minutes, ride an assault bike slowly for another ten minutes while your pre-workout sets in, foam roll for another ten minutes, do Crossover Symmetry for additional ten minutes, and then, perhaps, take another ten minutes to put on your Oly shoes, wrist wraps,and knees sleeves before you finally begin warming up with a barbell? Before you know it, fifty minutes to an hour has passed and you have done a whole lot of nothing.
Do not get me wrong. I love the Crossover Symmetry work and Mobility WOD, and I am a big fan of many of the modalities recommended for basic maintenance and enhancing movement – but lets be real. All of the fancy shoulder movements, flips, turns, twists, distractions, bandy this, and bandy that all take time. With most of my clients, we start with squatting. Squatting is a way to recruit more musculature than almost any other lift . You also get some mobility, core strengthening, and a whole lot of stabilization. Also, if life gets in the way and you have to end a session early, at least you can say you got something done.
Time is extremely valuable and when wasted, it diminishes intensity during a session. Having higher intensity during a session will have a direct correlation with enhancing your fitness and strength level. Prioritize the big movements first and save the accessory movements for afterward if you have some extra sand left in your bag . As far as mobilizing, save the rolling and twisting for the end of your sessions, or for at home while you are watching television. If time permits, I personally recommend mobilizing and stretching at the end of every sessions while you are hot and sweaty as it can be more effective. After all, metal is bent while hot, not while cold.
There is a famous saying that time is money, but I like to think time is muscle. The more time spent focusing on major lifts and then funneling your workouts down to accessory work at the end will give you more bang for your buck, more muscle for your time, and in the end, help you get in and out of the gym to enjoy the more important things of life. At the end of the day, that’s why we do this stuff, to enhance the quality of our lives. So get out of the gym and enjoy it.
John, Dan. Never Let Go: A Philosophy of Lifting, Living and Learning. Santa Cruz, CA: On Target Publications, 2009. Print.