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Other/Mixed all-or-nothing is stupid and I am a stupid, stupid man

Other strength modalities (e.g., Clubs), mixed strength modalities (e.g., combined kettlebell and barbell), other goals (flexibility)

3letterslong

Level 5 Valued Member
Combining martial arts and training has always been a struggle for me.

For the past 2-3 months, my S&C training has been this:

AM - skipping, leopard crawling, hanging

PM - various programs that should theoretically be the best way for me to increase my strength and mass while training martial arts while fixing injuries / imbalances

For the past two weeks, I've been trying to do Tim Anderson's Habitual Strength program in the evenings. Basically, it's some OS resets + an OS version of Dan John's One Lift A Day program (i.e. Monday you do get-ups in 10 minutes, Tuesday as many squats and push-ups as possible in 10 minutes, Wednesday exercise X in 10 minutes, Thursday exercise Y, etc etc.)

And for the past two weeks I kept adding.

On the push-up and squat day, I was like, why don't I add bodyweight rows? And on the upper body pull day I'll add squats and push-ups, so I do two full-body workouts instead of this hitting each movement once a week! And I made some other tweaks to get another day of swings in.

And then I trained martial arts and felt like garbage all week, so then i was pondering a rest day in the middle of the week, and suddenly it's a completely different program that also doesn't feel right.

This week I've been forcing myself to stick to Tim's program (with my hangs and crawls in the morning, which are producing great strength results, but for some reason that's not enough) and his 10 minutes of strength work per day.

You know what's been happening when I just do hangs, crawls and stop adding to Tim's program? I'm getting some amazing workouts and feeling great because I'm not training my entire body in much-longer sessions! Also, I've been eating to lose weight, and I still feel great in a caloric restriction!

My brain hates this. I could fit so many full-body sessions in there! So much progress! But, all that progress is theoretical, I never see it.

I feel like a heroin addict trying to quit cold turkey. My skin is itching and my brain is constantly ruminating on how to tweak this program. No, you effing idiot brain! "Optimal" is the program that will give me the most consistent results over the long term! Stop trying to change this amazing thing you've got going or I'll start watching Kardashians and make you too stupid to ponder anything!
 
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3letterslong

Level 5 Valued Member
Coming up on 20, with a few years off now and then for major injuries and work crises. When I talk about push-ups, squats, rows, crawls and hangs the unmentioned part is I've got a 70lbs weight vest on and I'm already a heavyweight.
 

bluejeff

Level 6 Valued Member
The mental game associated with training too much can be tough for me too. The only way I've found to get over it is to focus on how I feel, not how many reps, or what weight I am using, etc.

The times I have trained such that I adjust sessions based on how I feel, I have (obviously) felt better, had more energy, less body complaints, and gotten stronger. I also was able to train more often, which makes me feel good in its own way.

The only hurdle I haven't "conquered" for myself is the hypertrophy hurdle. I like to train, and hypertrophy means more time out of training for recovery. But I figure that if I manage to keep building strength, there has to be hypertrophy of some kind eventually.
 

watchnerd

Level 7 Valued Member
But I figure that if I manage to keep building strength, there has to be hypertrophy of some kind eventually.

Yeah, but it takes longer to go that route.

I find it easier / faster to have a hypertrophy block, put on the mass, then have a strength block to potentiate that newly added mass.

Then again, I'm the opposite of a hard gainer and can get hypertrophy in some of my muscles (e.g. chest) with as little as 1 direct session / 3-4 sets a week.
 

bluejeff

Level 6 Valued Member
Yeah, but it takes longer to go that route.

I find it easier / faster to have a hypertrophy block, put on the mass, then have a strength block to potentiate that newly added mass.

Then again, I'm the opposite of a hard gainer and can get hypertrophy in some of my muscles (e.g. chest) with as little as 1 direct session / 3-4 sets a week.
You're probably right. For me, though, it's always been hard to put on mass. I just start to look more skinny-fat than gain muscle, or at least that's the trend in the past. I haven't gone on a super intentional hypertrophy block in a long time.

Hopefully I'm not hijacking the thread here, as my thoughts are about the mental processes involved in training.

I was just thinking about this: I have become more "outcome-oriented" in my thinking over the last couple years. When it comes to training, however, I enjoy the process. I like the feeling of training, and I have a desire to acheive...a number of things with training. The mental snag, for me, comes from an internal friction between liking to train because I enjoy it, and wanting certain outcomes out of training. The two do not always coincide or work with each other.

There are things like hypertrophy (and strength, for that matter) that I might see better gains on if I trained less frequently. But perhaps like @3letterslong (correct me if I am wrong) I sometimes feel like I am missing out on gains or . . . something when I don't train.

This kind of thing has come up on the forum a number of times and I always like to read peoples' thoughts. I think that these questions/issues always come down to why someone wants to train. For those who just want to stay healthy, they seem to do better because that's an outcome (feel better, have more energy, etc) and they can just follow a template to get where they want to go. Likewise with competitive people (meaning: people who compete). But for those of us who just like to train, or like challenges, or want to accomplish something uncommon, I think the reasons might be deeper.

I have said before that I am attracted to what I think of as "every day" strength, as in: increasing your capability to do something basically whenever asked. I think I like that because it would be a good measure of my everyday health, and becuase I would always know my capabilities. I'd also be able to do what I enjoy more or less whenever I feel like it.
 

3letterslong

Level 5 Valued Member
Hopefully I'm not hijacking the thread here, as my thoughts are about the mental processes involved in training.

Please, hijack away. The starting post was just venting that probably wouldn't help anyone.

I was just thinking about this: I have become more "outcome-oriented" in my thinking over the last couple years. When it comes to training, however, I enjoy the process. I like the feeling of training, and I have a desire to acheive...a number of things with training. The mental snag, for me, comes from an internal friction between liking to train because I enjoy it, and wanting certain outcomes out of training. The two do not always coincide or work with each other.

There are things like hypertrophy (and strength, for that matter) that I might see better gains on if I trained less frequently. But perhaps like @3letterslong (correct me if I am wrong) I sometimes feel like I am missing out on gains or . . . something when I don't train.

My issues are similar but different:

1. I've never found a template I can mindlessly follow WHILE training martial arts. If I stop training martial arts, my S&C training goes really well. Even if I DO find a pretty good program to combine the two, I also have to work in things like neck training, specialized grip training and my own personal rehab / prehab stuff. In fact i frequently find myself in a cycle where my martial arts training is exacerbating my muscle imbalances and what should be productive strength work is spent trying to train all the little muscles that aren't getting stronger from martial arts. And it took me years to figure this out. For the first decade of training, both martial arts and S&C training were spent training my dominant muscles while my body grew entirely out of proportion and i had no idea why I kept hitting performance ceilings and then getting injured.

2. I do enjoy working out, but mainly it's become a necessity for me because it's frequently the only thing offering me stability in my daily life. My job is not a 9 to 5 job and offers nothing but instability to my life, so working out has jumped in to the fill the gap of routine and daily stability that I think most people get from their jobs. When I CAN'T work out daily, getting through my day in a productive fashion takes a lot more willpower and strategizing. I don't think people appreciate how much easier on the mind it is to just do the same thing day in and day out without wasting a lot of brainpower on it.


This kind of thing has come up on the forum a number of times and I always like to read peoples' thoughts. I think that these questions/issues always come down to why someone wants to train. For those who just want to stay healthy, they seem to do better because that's an outcome (feel better, have more energy, etc) and they can just follow a template to get where they want to go. Likewise with competitive people (meaning: people who compete). But for those of us who just like to train, or like challenges, or want to accomplish something uncommon, I think the reasons might be deeper.

I have said before that I am attracted to what I think of as "every day" strength, as in: increasing your capability to do something basically whenever asked. I think I like that because it would be a good measure of my everyday health, and becuase I would always know my capabilities. I'd also be able to do what I enjoy more or less whenever I feel like it.

I've got several training goals, but there is no easy way to get there for me. An unpredictable, high-stress professional life, intense martial arts training (which is what I really love to do) and a body that needs constant rehab/prehab means that I'm constantly in a guessing game on the best way to just do everything I want to do, let alone achieve great physical feats. When i have turned to professionals in the past (trainers, physiotherapists) i've been really let down because I'm not the typical client and they get worse results than i do by experimentation.
 

watchnerd

Level 7 Valued Member
sometimes feel like I am missing out on gains or . . . something when I don't train.

This is one of the reasons I find myself more attracted to weightlifting more than powerlifting.

There is so much mobility work needed, technique work, and (close to competition) conditioning, that I have training to do even on days when I'm not lifting meaningful weights.

I have to work on mobility daily, and have 2 full dedicated mobility days, in addition.

And I need 2 days of technique work with at least the empty bar to stay fresh.

If you put these together, that's 4 forced days of active recovery / semi-rest each week.
 
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Walker

Level 2 Valued Member
During the last summer I only did crawling, hanging and single leg DLs almost everyday in one session or micro workouts through the day. I felt great. But after a few month, my mind made me think I need more variation and more strength focused aspects in training and mixed things up again. Then, a few month later I regret this decision and crawled again as main exercise. By trying to make my training more perfect, I hindered myself progressing. Sometimes it’s better to keep something going on if it’s obviously good for body and mind and not to overthink or get lost in doubts.
 

Halfakneecap

Level 5 Valued Member
I have definitely found less is more with strength and conditioning. I don’t have the long base you have, but for me, short blocks of focussing on 1 main movement, with maintenance assistance for other movements, has given me solid results. I may be biased, but look at anything from @Geoff Neupert . Simple, and very effective minimalist type training. Basically you just hurry up and wait, and watch the numbers creep up every week. A lot of his stuff is 4-8 week blocks, then switch movements. I didn’t swing a bell for months, but I did lots of clean and press. When I went back to swings, I had to go straight to my 36kg as my 32 was too light
 

Boris Bachmann

Level 7 Valued Member
Yeeeeeaah, it's hard to be patient.

My plan is usually to go hard until I start to get weaker, then I push harder until I get broken, then I rest and repeat. (I'm exaggerating. Kind of. Just a little.)

Pick a program and do it. If you tweak it, you're not doing the program. Trust me, I get your issue and it's easy for me to say this while I don't follow my advice...
 

watchnerd

Level 7 Valued Member
Here's another point on doing 'something' daily vs 'training hard' daily:

If I do something neurologically demanding (but not hard) daily, it seems to keep my CNS in a higher state of readiness in my target muscles.

If I'm keeping up on my skill and mobility work, I feel my legs, core, and back 'turn on' even when I'm doing something as mundane as picking up something off the floor.

This puts me in a more prepared state to engage in heavier training when the time comes, and I need a little less priming, activation, and warm up on training days.

If I take a break from this, within a few weeks my muscles get lazy again.

I heard the guys on Sika Strength talk about why Olympic weightlifters squat so often, even when not in a strength block or trying to actively increase their 1 RM. Eowin said they're trying to keep their body in a high state of readiness and squats are (comparatively) less taxing than the full competition lifts.

He figured 3/4 days a week of squatting was sufficient to stay primed.
 

3letterslong

Level 5 Valued Member
Here's another point on doing 'something' daily vs 'training hard' daily:

If I do something neurologically demanding (but not hard) daily, it seems to keep my CNS in a higher state of readiness in my target muscles.

If I'm keeping up on my skill and mobility work, I feel my legs, core, and back 'turn on' even when I'm doing something as mundane as picking up something off the floor.

This puts me in a more prepared state to engage in heavier training when the time comes, and I need a little less priming, activation, and warm up on training days.

If I take a break from this, within a few weeks my muscles get lazy again.

I heard the guys on Sika Strength talk about why Olympic weightlifters squat so often, even when not in a strength block or trying to actively increase their 1 RM. Eowin said they're trying to keep their body in a high state of readiness and squats are (comparatively) less taxing than the full competition lifts.

He figured 3/4 days a week of squatting was sufficient to stay primed.
Do you find sleeping difficult when your nervous system is primed all the time like this?
 

Boris Bachmann

Level 7 Valued Member
Do you find sleeping difficult when your nervous system is primed all the time like this?
I'm not sure "primed all the time" is really what he meant. More like "keeping your hand in" on the movement and you don't have to be all cranked up to do this - just some light sets may be all you need.

I subscribe to the "something is infinitely better than nothing" philosophy when it comes to working out, BUT lately I've been reassessing this. I have a tendency to make the easy stuff too hard, and because that messes with recovery, the hard stuff might not be hard enough. I'm considering just adding more days off though I am loathe to do so.
 

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
It is possible to do more. In any sport or endeavour, we typically start doing less and have to increase how much we do if we want to get better.

But we can't just jump into the deep end of the pool. We have to build up our training capacity.

We also have to be able to recover well enough. Sleep, eat, etc.

In the end, there will or course be limits. But for most, I believe they will be limits of preference or priorisation, not true training capacity limits per se.
 

watchnerd

Level 7 Valued Member
Do you find sleeping difficult when your nervous system is primed all the time like this?

No -- a wired cortisol heavy state is something I try to avoid.

It's like @Boris Bachmann was inferring; it would be analogous to going out and throwing a football around or shooting hoops in a relaxed manner that still keeps the skills in play a little bit without the cost of full practice.
 
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