The Basics of Designing Your Own Training

There are a billion and one different exercises out there*.  Just search through Instagram and you’ll see movements and exercises beyond your wildest dreams.  Some of it of quality and some of epic ridiculousness.  Some requiring various equipment and apparatus, and some none at all.  And finally, some of it is for beginners and some for the more skilled and advanced.  Aside from just doing what they’ve always done, most people and wondering where to even begin?  Or, how does one start filtering all of this potential mumbo jumbo? Continue reading “The Basics of Designing Your Own Training”


Consistency is the name of the game when it comes to training.  Here are 5 different ways to consider it in your situation.

#1 Your Ability to Move:

You know the saying, if you don’t use it, well, eventually you won’t haven’t it anymore. Something like that.  I believe the key to longevity is to maintain the ability to move for years on years. As soon as you stop, the next day, month or year will become harder and in many cases motivation starts to dwindle.  Just don’t stop moving.  Even if it’s minutes a day in the worst case scenario.  If you can squat down or get up off the ground today, you can do it tomorrow and the day after that.  Be consistent for a lifetime.

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Keeping Yourself Honest

Many of us have goals in our training.  It may be an athletic goal, it could be to do that first chin up or often it’s simply to feel good and look better naked.  Step 1 towards these goals in my mind is being consistent.  You have to show up.  Day after day.  Step 2 might be tracking something and keeping yourself honest.  This can vary depending on the goal but here are several ways that I have tried myself.

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Another Case Against Early Specialization

David Sills V is a wide receiver for West Virginia University.  He’s having a solid season so far.  Basically the story goes (you can read about it here) that David was a exceptionally talented quarterback at the age of 10.  He blew people away with his skills in his early teens.  In the end, it didn’t work out for him as quarterback.   The good news is that now according to him, “I’m having so much fun now. The most fun I’ve ever had playing football.”  It’s a story with a happy ending.  It drew me in and I’m interested to see how his football career goes from here.  But, at the same time I can’t help but ask, how the hell did he get here?  Or perhaps more importantly why?

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Enjoying The Journey

I try to read various non-fiction books regularly to be a better human being but probably even more so to be the best coach I can be.  One thing about coaching that I learned early on was to steal – perhaps borrow is the more friendly term – from others.  Give credit when due, but see what the best are doing and whenever it makes sense for you, apply it.

One theme that I keep seeing across the board, whether it’s strength coach Dan John, basketball coach John Wooden, football coach Jim Tressel, writer Dani Shapiro or MMA Fighter Ronda Rousey, is that of The Process.  I feel that theme is an important component of how I want coach people.  Here’s a little of what each person mentioned above had to say:

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4 Quick Fixes

When coaching, sometimes less is more.  Using succinct cues as opposed to too much and potentially confusing language is best.  There are times an exercise or movement looks close to perfect, but not quite.  Here are 4 quick and easy ways that I have found get people moving a little more perfectly every time.

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The #1 Strategy for Working with Young Athletes

Years ago I remember listening to a college strength coach on a podcast (unfortunately I don’t remember who it was) and he offered words of wisdom that I have since lived by when working with my athletes.  Those words were “Slow cook ’em”.  I have applied these words for I don’t know how long, yet I am still sometimes surprised at how well this strategy works.

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Always Be Training

When it comes to fitness, strength and health it’s not always easy to keep things going. It’s pretty simple, but rarely has anyone said that it’s easy.  There are always excuses that you can make.  However, the truth is, short of a few extreme examples, you should always keep “training”.  Let me specify that “training” is relative to each person.  Here are a few examples:

In my almost 14 years of coaching I have worked with several ladies during pregnancy.  Some for several months and others for the duration.  I won’t pretend to know what that feels like but I what I do know is that these ladies kept showing up and getting it done.  Were things modified and changed on the fly some days? Absolutely.  Did they perform at the same level as before? No, but that doesn’t matter.  What matters is that several days a week they made it in to train the best they could.

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Mindset and the 4 Quadrants

Coach Dan John writes often about the 4 quadrants of training.  Above is my interpretation of what those are.  Recently I read the book “Mindset” by Carol Dweck.  In it she describes two approaches to parenting, business, school, relationships and life, really. For our purposes we’ll look at how that applies to training as well.  Dweck argues that your mindset can fall under either that of fixed or growth.  In the fixed mindset things tend to be seen as success or failure, others (or yourself) may be seen as either smart or dumb, and with talent, you either have it or you don’t.  The growth mindset is one of more improvement, exploration and practice.  With the growth mindset, regardless of things like your IQ, current athletic ability, or how others perceive you, it can all be changed.  In this mindset people are less likely to blame others in anger when they fail or something goes wrong and more likely to assess the situation, learn from it and make a change to improve it.

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