Dec 31, 2012

2012: Lessons in Lifting Part I

Prevail Strength Coach Jacob Goodin

2012 was a huge year for me. The 2nd year of marriage to my beautiful wife, the birth of our baby girl, a sudden move due to mold problems, expanded clientele and the addition of teaching PE and Lab classes at Westmont College have all taught me valuable things about life and lifting. In this post I will share one lesson from my own 2012 lifting experience:

Lesson 1: Mandatory and Optional Days

My work schedule during 2012 was different every day, and because of this I trained at various times and places throughout the week. Variety is good but for me it often leads to missed "big lift" workouts, which is no bueno for my progress in the squat, deadlift, bench, and overhead press.

The remedy is to plan training days that you need to hit, and days that would be nice to hit.

For instance, for a good part of 2012 I was following Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 program with an emphasis on strength because my main goal was to get stronger in the traditional barbell lifts. However, I also wanted to focus some of my energy on deltoid and lat hypertrophy because (like most guys) I want to look like Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.

My primary goal was to get strong, and my secondary goal was to get huge (or at least huger), so I set 4 mandatory training sessions built around barbell lifts, and 4 optional mini-training sessions focussed on chin-ups, rows, DB overhead presses, and lateral shoulder raises. Most weeks I was able to get to the gym and hit my 4 mandatory sessions as scheduled and managed between 1 and 4 optional sessions at whatever time and place worked for me. My mandatory sessions were always at Prevail or Westmont College and accompanied by a full warm-up, good nutrition, and intense focus. Conversely, my optional sessions were performed at home, at the end of a big workout, before a shower, just before bed, between teaching classes--essentially any time I could squeeze them in. This led to more consistent progress in my primary goal (strength) without totally sacrificing my secondary goal (look like wolverine), all-the-while fitting into a crazy work schedule and allowing me to spend more time at home with the family instead of away at the gym.

So prioritize your goals, worry about what is necessary, and be flexible with what isn't. Schedule what is necessary in your training and don't feel guilty about missing the occasional secondary session--especially if it means you can spend more time with a loved one or pursuing passions outside of the gym.

For a hands-on look at how you can set and achieve your fitness or athletic goals, check out Prevail Conditioning's brand new site for information on the best Private, Semi-Private, and Group Training experience in the Santa Barbara area.

Stay tuned for Part II

This post originally published on Jacob Goodin's blog

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