Tag Archives: alternative
There are those among us who have shall we say neurotic tendencies, which if not kept in check can lead to obsessing over weight not he scales, calories, foods, time spent in the gym (or on CV kit), weights lifted week in week out, total overload achieved, your routine along with much more, if such things are stressed over too much it can start to be obsession and this can lead to some sever anxiety when things don’t go according to plan.
While I personally feel tracking is important for continued progress and people who compete in sports it isn’t necessary for everyone, not all personalities will respond well to having to track everything. Luckily there is an alternative methods that you can use to help avoid falling in to this trap or numbers, if you lean towards to light of obsession that is.
The tool that can help you overcome the need for numbers is to use your own instinct and how you feel (internally, good energy etc), how you perform (lifting more, running faster etc) and how you look (what you see in the mirror and in the photos you take).
How many photos will you need? One per week is normally enough to help you see a progression over a period of time and it can give you feedback as to how your body is responding to a dietary change or bout of increased intensity in the gym.
For example you might have started a more ketogenic style diet where you’re brining your carbs down to what is considered low. Seeing how your body reacts through photos is a good way to see if you’re shedding excess fat, and attempting to go for that extra rep in the gym will show you who your performing along with how you feel internally.
If you look good, feel good and are lifting/exercising well then stick with it until you start to see stagnation in any of these areas.
When the time comes and if you are beginning to see a plateau you have several options available to you.
First you could add back some complex carbs and see how your body reacts, perhaps you will get leaner or even more muscular as a result. If thats the case then you can stick with it until such a time as you begin to look a little soft around the edges. Or you can opt for another nutrition or training tweak, but I would advice the carbs first.
The real point of this post is to tell you that you don’t need to track absolutely everything. Athletes and competitive sport men & woman are the exception, they need to know what’s going on, but for the average person it’s far better to worry less and just go by who you look, feel and perform.
Go by feel not by numbers. Your body will tell you what it needs if you will but listen.
Standard gym exercises such as the legendary Squat, Bench, Deadlift and Press are staples for the routines of many great lifters and athletic champions, but sometimes repeatedly doing these can leave you with various aches and pains (not to mention bored).
There are lots of different exercises available that still work the same muscles groups, however they add some much needed variety to your training. I will delve in to some of my personal favourites and why they are excellent alternatives to try.
Bored of Back Squat?…. Forget Frustration with Front Squat.
Front Squats are great for building solid legs, a cast iron core and a solid upper thoracic. Aim for 80-85% of your back squat in this movement.
Flat Bench Faltering?…. Intensify with an Incline (Y).
Swapping flat bench for incline will help fill out those pecs, pull out that posture and create some impressive strength gains too. Aim for 70-80% of Flat Bench.
Deadlifting become Dire?…. Develop with Deficits :).
Deficit deadlifts performed with a snatch width grip will help you develop a solid pull from the floor while filling out your upper back and lats with some solid muscle. It’s also great for grip too. If you hit 70% of your regular overhand deadlift you’ve done well.
Over Head getting Overly Hard?…. Banish Niggles with Behind the Neck.
The Behind the neck press requires a decent amount of mobility but it will not only help improve your regular press once you master the movement, it will also hit your shoulders in ways you can’t imagine and build beastly triceps. Once you get good at the movement and develop strong technique try and aim for 80% of your normal press.
Adding any one of all of these exercises in to your routine will help you break through plateaus and progress. My only advice is start light (50% of 1RM) and cement solid form, if you don’t you run the risk of injury.