There is a great emphasis on all seminars and books that teach any type of exercise in doing it RIGHT. This makes perfect sense as doing it wrong can lead to injuries and the end of your training career. However, even with the best of instruction you will probably be far from doing it right until you have hundreds, if not thousands, of repetitions under your belt.
If you have never deadlifted before you can get coached by the best in the business and have a decent deadlift, but never as good as when you actually have experience under your belt. I had been deadlifting for years in good form, yet I quickly jumped at the chance to attend a seminar where I would improve my deadlifting form with Jim Smith and work on more mobility training with Steve Maxwell. At the end of the seminar I had a couple of minor tweaks to improve my already good deadlifting form. The true magic happened when I listened to Steve Maxwell and got the idea to do 50 consecutive deadlifts with my bodyweight on the bar.
It took me four months to achieve this goal. Every Sunday I would deadlift the bar with my bodyweight on it for 50 times. My first workout was 10 sets of five reps and from then on I started to increase the number of reps and decrease the numbers of sets until I finally did ONE set of FIFTY consecutive reps. Now, this equates to roughly 800 repetitions of the deadlift to accomplish this goal. If I do 50 reps once a week and it takes 4 months, assuming 4 weeks per month, then that’s 50 x 16 = 800.
I can tell you that my deadlifting form at the end of the four months was ten times better than it was at the end of the seminar because of the TIME I had spent practicing with it. You see the repeated practice of the movement TEACHES you the movement. This is what people commonly refer to as the “training groove” and you become aware of every minor training detail and you build upon your previous successes.
For those of you that were following my Heavy Metal Strength Meditation series. The same applies, it took me approximately 1,200 tire flips to be able to do 100 consecutive tire flips. What is interesting to me was how I learned to do the tire flip differently depending on my goals. When I wanted to do as many reps as possible I used my body as one unit. When I was training explosively I actually made two movements, 1) a clean and 2) explosive push.
As I trained more with the tire and got more and more comfortable with it I started to see a lot MORE movements and possibilities. As I was thinking of how you could tie in the tire flipping to other disciplines, like MMA, I thought how cool it would be to have a trainer with the thai pads make you go through a couple of combinations and then flip the tire, that would be one rep. The repeated practice and the AWARENESS it creates also gave me a couple of other ideas. I saw in my mind how to tie in other movements to the tire flipping, I quickly jotted down over 22 variations, here are some of them:
1. Flip with Knee
2. Flip with Kick
3. Flip with Push
4. Flip with Palm heel strike
5. Flip with Palm heel burst
6. Flip and Burpee
7. Flip and Jump Burpee
8. Flip and Jump Burpee to top of tire and jump back down
9. Flip and Jump on top of tire and jump w/ 180 turn to other side of tire
10. Rollout Squat and Flip
11. Flip and Sledgehammer swings
12. Flip and Sprint
13. Flip and Judo Rolls
14. One legged Flip
15. Side Flips (like suitcase deadlift with a twist and push)
16. Now take all the exercises with Flip first and switch the order around and you double the list, example Flip and Burpee now becomes Burpee and Flip which even though it looks the same, it performs slightly different.
So I started incorporating a little R&D into my workouts. It is important to be as honest in your failures as you are in your successes. For example I found that one legged tire flips and the 180 turn jumps across the tire were NOT good variations. Flipping the tire and kicking it is good, flipping the tire and performing a knee strike on it is NOT a good idea unless you have knee protection. Burpees are better done after a Flip rather than at the beginning because you tie in the energy of the push into dropping down for the burpee, whereas if you burpee first you have to add a slight hop to get in the right position to flip the tire. Then there are some real gems, rollout squats with a jump before the Flip is an AWESOME exercise and will quickly show you what you are made of.
One of the greatest practices that creates awareness is the FULL Mobility routine. Thanks to the body awareness and full use of your body you create superior proprioceptive intelligence. This allows you to feel what you are doing more accurately and also opens up new possibilities in movement. Besides the recovery aspect of having FULL mobility in each of your joints, the repeated practice of FULL Mobility, which I do on a daily basis, is what gives you the most AWARENESS both in life and in your training pursuits. Every time I do the FULL Mobility series I become acutely aware of the most minute imbalances in any of my joints which helps me to understand how my training is impacting my body. When I am sore or stiff, the FULL Mobility routine restores me to the zero point from which I can tackle on any challenge, physical or mental, from a vantage point instead of starting out two steps back because of soreness, pain, or stiffness.
If you want to improve then focus on ONE movement whose repeated practice will make you better as you unlock its secrets and incorporate FULL Mobility into your training.
If you want to focus on the basics to get in shape then get Extreme Military Fitness where the repeated practice of the basic bodyweight and kettlebell movements will give you greater awareness into those two disciplines along with the strength and conditioning to tackle any challenge.