If you want to do pull ups you must earn them.

I chat with athletes all of the time about this topic.  Pull ups can seem elusive to many, but they don’t need to be.  The pull up doesn’t allow you to hide weaknesses and half-ass technique.  During a push up you can ‘worm’ yourself up, during the squat you can allow your chest to drop and back to round, all while still appearing to be doing ok.  Here are a few common issues we see:

You’re trying to kip.  Enough with the kipping.  Kipping is fun, kipping is great for movement cycling.  Kipping is not the way to build strength.  You have to work the movement strict to build the prerequisite strength in the glenohumeral joint. Track down a coach and put together a game plan.  Attacking the pull up can be fun!  EMOM (every minute on the minute) type workouts can accelerate your progress while not interfering with other training.

You don’t work them enough.  Consistency is key.  If you’re only training pull ups when they’re programmed in a group class then you’re most likely missing out.  Building strength takes some time.  So far, every athlete that has stuck to our pull up program has gone from 0 to 1 to 4 to 10 strict pull ups.  The program is designed for a 3 or 4 day per week commitment and won’t take much more than 15-20 minutes.  That’s not a lot of time relatively speaking, but it’s more than most people devote.  Give it a shot!

You don’t push as hard as you should on strength days.  This is a big one!  If a strength day is programmed, head into class ready to give a true, 100% effort (unless otherwise instructed by a coach).  Building strength in any movement will transfer to others therefore you can’t afford to be taking it easy on strength days.  If the workout calls for hitting sets of 2 then you should be giving absolutely everything you have to hit that second rep.  If you can do more then you’re missing the mark and leaving some progress on the table.

If you need help find a coach and have a chat.  We’re here to help.

“Sulking won’t get you anything.”

A quote from Dr. Bob Rotella

There will be days in training as well as competition, that things don’t go your way.  Learn to move on.  No good comes from dwelling, in any sport, nor in life.  You must adapt and be prepared for the next challenge.  When the day comes that things don’t go your way, and that day will come, be ready to move on.

Play your game.

Let’s use basketball as our example.  The saying “Let shooters shoot.” confuses people.  To the untrained eye when a shooter continues to miss shots and things don’t go their way, there should be an adjustment.  But to the shooter and coach there’s an understanding and a plan that needs to be followed.  Eventually, if the shooter can relax and move on from previous misses, their skill will take over.  The shots will fall.  This would become impossible if the shooter wasn’t allowed to shoot.

The best shooter isn’t worried about their shot while they’re taking it and they certainly aren’t worried about the outcome.  The only concern is that they continue to play their game.  They’ve worked for hours and months and years to develop a shot.  To become frustrated would be futile.  Instead, the best shooters are able to rely on their skill set and to do so without thinking.

This is a large part of the champions mindset.

“Losers assemble in small groups and complain about the coaches and other players, winners assemble as a team and find ways to win.”

A powerful quote from Coach Bill Parcells.  While he was talking about football, I think there’s enough carryover to touch on.

It’s always confusing when a person blames another person for their shortcomings.  In the gym setting it can be common if left unchecked, unfortunately.  It’s just easier for the weak minded to blame others.  It’s difficult to look in and honestly assess yourself.  It’s simpler to point fingers at others rather than truthfully face your own effort.

We’ve all seen the person who tries to divide.  This is another common tactic employed by the miserable.  They say misery loves company, and I happen to agree.  Let’s be honest, it’s easier to blame someone else for your troubles if you have backup.

What to do instead…

If you’re faced with adversity the first thing you need to do is assemble your team.  Put people around you that you value.  Find those who are invested in you, but more importantly those who you’re invested in.  That’s the “always help” mindset.  By valuing and serving others you create a reason for them to become interested in returning the favor.  It’s a win-win and it will develop a deep bond if it’s genuine.  Be genuine!

We don’t need to go into the next step because you and your team will have it under control.

“You have to be able to recognize the need to be done.”

There are times where you just aren’t feeling it.  It happens, you’re human.  This might be more true if your goal is to compete in CrossFit or some other sport.  There will be times that you head into the gym with full intentions of hitting it hard and having the best training session ever.  After a warm up something just feels off.  Your energy is low.  The uncertainty creeps in.

What happens next is important.  There’s a decision to be made.  First we need to answer a question “What choice can I make, right now, that moves me closer to my goal?”

You’ve undoubtedly heard coaches tell you to “Push through!” and in some cases that’s what’s needed.  But every so often the right thing to do is be done.  Be done.  I wrote that twice because it’s important to understand.

From time to time I see an athlete that’s exhausted, either mentally and or physically.  There could be myriad of possibilities why.  Maybe we over-reached a little too much, under-recovered, under-ate, whatever.  Doesn’t matter much at the time, we can figure it out later.  The right thing to do in that case is to be smart, and pull the plug on the session.  We aren’t after beat downs, we’re after successful training sessions.  Live to fight another day.

Be coachable.  Be observant.  Be aware.  And sometimes…be done.

“Am I giving my future self a gift?”

A musician said something that really resonated with me in an interview I recently listened to.  “When I make a choice, I always ask myself,” she said “am I giving my future self a gift, or am I setting my future self up for disappointment?”

It stuck with me.  I often talk to clients about their days being a series of decisions.  Viewing things this way gives a strong insight into how much you truly do control.  Every choice you make throughout a day serves one of two purposes.  It either brings you toward your goal or it moves you further from it.  Period.

If your goal is to lose some weight and you choose to eat well and be mindful of intakes, then you’re moving toward your goal.  Break it down even more.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between become micro-decisions that add up to have a huge influence on your goals.

The next time you’re struggling with a decision try to ask yourself this “Will I be thankful for this in the future?”

Maybe don’t train through, but consider training around, injuries.

From time to time we get banged up.  We’re human.

If you’re training to increase your general fitness with overall health, then you shouldn’t be getting banged up in the gym.  I understand that fluke accidents do occur, but more often an injury comes from something outside of the gym.  Things like rolled ankles, work related injuries, and back strains are fairly common.

The question that then comes up is “How long should I stay away from the gym?”

For arguments sake we’ll assume your injury isn’t very serious and your doctor is ok with you continuing activity.  If you’re ever unsure or are uneasy about an injury, go see your doctor.

More often than not, the answer for recovery is not to halt all activity.  This may seem counterintuitive, but training the uninjured side of the body will have a positive effect on the side that you’re resting.  So, keep showing up to the gym.  Work with a coach and set a plan of attack to train around those setbacks.  It’s much easier to keep your momentum going than it is to stop completely and then restart.

Own your positions.

We want our athletes to really feel each and every position that they’re hitting.  Sometimes this means slowing down.  We call this practicing.  It’s the part of training that allows us to learn and become better.  Then when it’s time to throw down or compete, we can rely on the skill set that we’ve built.  This is an important, but often overlooked component to the development of an athlete.  We’re attempting to lay down a skill set that our athletes can trust when it counts.

There will be plenty of times that life will test us outside of the gym as well.  We want you to be ready.  We want to put you in a position to react without thinking.

The better your training is the better everything else will be.