Vital Variables

Dustin Myers


The importance of varying your training

Do you ever find yourself getting bored with training? How many times have you sleep walked through a workout that seemed repetitive?

Its basic human nature to grow accustomed to and become bored with what is familiar to us. Although having a consistent plan to follow is key, sometimes the monotony of a 6 week schedule or a single training modality can take the fun and excitement out of your workouts. Not only is it important to change the X’s and O’s of your training – For example: alternating styles of squat each week or changing the rep scheme - but I also highly encourage you to implement different types of training into your routine.

During a recent 24 hour period I kept track of my activities - I lifted weights at both The Old School Gym and the Ohio Regional Training Center, broke out the harness for some truck pulls, went outdoor rock climbing, ran sprints at the local track, hit the heavy bag, and even did some basic aerobic work on a long jog around my neighborhood.  Whew! Take all of those sessions and also consider other strongman workouts, calisthenics and yoga that I regularly perform, and you have quite a variety of training styles. Doing so many different types of workouts benefits me in several ways. For starters, I am always excited to train because it feels like something new rather than a stale routine. It may only have been two days since I lifted heavy, but because I’ve done so much activity in between, I am actually excited to lift again. Rather than laying around complaining about how sore my legs are, the yoga and running will help revitalize me for my next lift. Another thing to consider is the importance of being a well- rounded athlete, not just a weight lifter.

In recent years a lot has been made about the over specialization of youth athletes and the impact it has on performance and injury. Studies have essentially shown that if an athlete devotes all of their time and training year round at a young age to a single sport, they will become “overspecialized” in that sport and develop movement and muscle imbalances/firing patterns that can lead to injury. By only lifting weights you may become elite at picking something off of the floor in a square stance, but what happens when you have to suddenly twist and bend down at a weird angle to catch your falling iPhone? Don’t be that guy that throws his back out picking up his phone. When I was in a bodybuilding phase in my early 20’s I was very strong…that is until I had to jog up several flights of steps. No one wants to be the big strong guy with no endurance, so if you are not doing at the minimum some form of regular conditioning you are doing yourself a disservice.

Now, I know what you are thinking…“Coach Myers, it’s easy for you to workout all day, you own a gym”. Fair point. I’m not expecting you to mimic my recent 48 hour multi-style training marathon, but each week try to pick at least 3 separate styles of training to incorporate. Weight lifting may always be your base, but maybe you can add a day of nothing but body weight calisthenics and go for a bike ride. Register for a yoga class.  Think outside of the box and find some new styles of training to freshen up your routine.  I’m willing to bet that in addition to becoming more well-rounded, you will also appreciate those same old monotonous weight lifting sessions a little bit more.

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