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Speech of the Week: Deliberate practice

Updated: Feb 26

The only way to take control of your destiny is to get better at what you do.  This month we’re doing a low-key “Gym Rat” challenge.  The goal is not to do crushing, hard workouts everyday. 

No, instead the goal is do a bit of skill development and sharpening on the “off” days. 

More skill = a more resilient you = more fit you = you handling life’s problems with more capacity and less burn-out.   

Getting to your workout is the first half the battle.  And by all means, capitalize on that half! 

But the next half involves Deliberate Practice

Here are the components:

  1. Making the Time.  I generally don’t recommend adding time before or after your “on-day” sessions.  That’s a good way to burn out.  Instead, prioritize carving out practice time as a shorter “off-day” workouts.  You can also separate simple drills (like stretching or ones that don’t make you sweat) into anytime-throughout-the-day drills.    

  2. Know what needs practice vs what needs effort.  

  3. Sometimes you just don’t have the skill to progress (for example, developing better technique in squats or in Clean and Jerk).  In that case, you need drills that help you practice.

  4. Sometimes you just need to dig in and work harder.  If cardio makes you shrivel up inside and try to find a place to hide, that’s the place that needs improvement.  Work on it until you’ve pushed that hiding point back.  On the other hand, maybe you dig around for an excuse to skip that 3rd set of squats.  That’s where you have an opportunity to deliberately practice pushing back that mental barrier.  (come, on, it’s only going to cost you 2-3 minutes of your time anyways).  

  5. Be mentally engaged and present during your exercise time.  You’re here, so why not turn the switch on?! This includes:

  6.  Declining to “phone it in”

  7. Improving your mind-body connection by on-purpose engaging the target muscles (believe it or not, that’s NOT automatic!)  Learning to recruit your glute muscles at the bottom of a squat instead of just using quads is a great example of this.  

Here’s what we’re working on this month.  

The plan is simple:

Pick from 1 of 4 short workouts and do them on your “off” days. 

Squat Practice

1. Do 5 minutes of cardio or a 1/2 mile run  

2. Knees Over Toes (KOT) basic series.  Do 3 rounds of the following 

             -KOT split squats x 5ea side, 

             -Reverse Nordics x 10, 

             -Hip extensions on a glute-ham machine x 10  

3.  Squat practice light to moderate weights only, strive for best Range of Motion (ROM) on your worst lift: Plate squat, front squat, BB back squat, etc, shoot for about 3 sets of 10 reps after w/u sets.  DO NOT go so hard that you get sore from this.  

4.  5 minutes of recovery breathing

KB Technical Practice

Body-weight Push-Pull and Cor

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

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