Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The mental part of training

Barbells vs Kettlebells - the mental component is different
I'm sure brain doctor Amy will have more to say about this, but I was thinking about the different ways that we use our head when training. Yesterday in the gym we had a lot going on: the rowing program, some folks doing a strength program, Amy's kettlebell program, and our regular S&C class. Looking at how people approached the different workouts made me think about the mental aspect of training.

During the speed & intensity drills yesterday in rowing, Michael said that he's morbidly attracted to this kind of pain, particularly because he's a cyclist and that kind of long grind is what he's used to. When I would run or ride long distance (or now when I'm rowing), I have to basically turn my brain off and just focus on getting through the workout. It's the learning how to embrace the suck and just get the work done.

If you spend any time reading the kettlebell literature, you'll quickly find articles about how the precision of kettlebell movements forces you to mentally focus on your body position and movements. To really survive a serious kettlebell workout you need to have such good control over your body that the mind-body connection needs a strong focus with no distractions. This is different from the endurance focus on finishing to a focus on perfection.

A third mental component is working through the fear needed to move a heavy weight when you might fail. When we're on a strength program and you are going for a new squat PR, you need to believe that you can do it because there's no way out, the bar is on your shoulders holding you down. I believe this is the hardest mental component to train.

We want to help you train all three ways: low risk, low stimulus work where we're grinding out another long row, sustained focus trying to get 100 perfect reps with the kettlebell, and sharp, intense focus to get that heavy squat or deadlift.

In yesterday's post I tried to convince you that we use the gym to get physically fit for our life, but it's not only about getting physically stronger. There is also the mental training. Getting work done when you need to translates to your time outside of the gym.
Complex for time
5 rounds of:
5 Power Clean 
5 Press 
5 Squat 
5 Good Morning 
5 BtN Press 
5 Front Squat