Whilst we all love group training, it can sometimes be a struggle to get the time and coaching on the specific skills that we struggle with. At Exe, we are very lucky in that we have the space and timetable that allows for open gym. Open gym is the perfect place to work on your own, individual areas of improvement.
Most people do use open gym for this, but much of the training that goes on is ad-hoc. Cool workouts from the internets, funky drills to get you a new skill, some freaky mobility stuff. What’s missing currently is the personal touch. That’s a cool workout…but it’s going to crush you and keep you from quality training for a week. That’s a great drill…but do you know the purpose, chances are it’s not the same as yours. That’s a nice mobility drill…but do you know you can get the same effect without using 17 bands. You get the picture.
It’s easy to get lost in all the information out there, but it needn’t be that way. You have an amazing group of coaches and other experts at your disposal…use them. Through informal chats up right up to individual programming and one-one coaching…we’re here to help. With help and guidance, you can get amazingly fit in the group classes whilst also overcoming your own personal weaknesses in open gym.
Now, with that said, onto the pull-ups…
Sorry to disappoint a lot of people, but I’m not going to list your name and the date that you will get your first pull-up! What I will do is provide the framework to achieve your first pull-up, or first muscle-up, or handstand or whatever you desire, really.
There are a few things that need addressing before you dive into any additional training…
What’s the goal?
A clearly outlined goal with a target date of achievement, an end point, gives clarity and focus to your training. Training can be hard and often not much fun, so having something to focus on can really push you through such sessions. The date in its own right can also act as a motivator to get in and do the work even when you don’t feel like it, knowing that the deadline is looming and you’ve made a promise to yourself to achieve the mission.
Where is your base point?
Without a base point, it is impossible to determine your training path toward your end goal. An expert assessment by a coach can determine where you are at. An assessment would look at existing injuries, structural balance, relative strength and movement capacity to give a form a clear picture of where your base point. The base point coupled with the end goal, determines the first step, which in turn determines the whole journey.
Why do you want to achieve the goal?
Is it because you have extrinsic motivation such as wanting to impress your friends or because so-and-so can and you want to keep up with them? Or is it more intrinsic, a deeper desire to learn a new skill, develop new strength and build confidence in your movement? Either type of motivation can work, but the intrinsic type generally brings greater dedication and longer lasting results as it’s for you, not for anyone else. Find those things that you want. That drive you. Your commitment and subsequent reward will be that much greater.
How committed are you?
You may have all the motivation to achieve your goal, but can you actually commit the time and energy to achieving it? There’s no shame in saying it’ll be a struggle. With busy work schedules, family commitments, your ongoing training and active social and recreational lives, it’s very hard to give the extra time needed. It doesn’t mean the goal isn’t achievable, it just means a tweak to your target date of achievement and the structure of your training plan.
What does your training entail?
All of the above will determine what your training looks like: the structure of the sessions and how it fits into your current schedule. The individual structure of the sessions will vary from person-to-person. As with the consultation and assessment phase, your coach can work with you on exercise choice, correct execution, and when to fit it in.
All the above is set-up. Prerequisites to achieving your goal. The hard bit comes in the action, the doing, the ‘getting it done’ consistently and progressively. This is where you will need to work on forming the habit for success. Forming a habit around your individual training, in whatever form it takes, will help you stick with the plan and make progress. There are three steps to forming a behaviour. A new habit needs a Cue, a Routine; and a Reward.
The Cue is a reminder to get the training done. This could be as simple as starting your training as soon as you walk through the gym door, as soon as you finish foam rolling, as soon as class finishes etc. It’s a note to self that you have an individual plan to complete.
Next comes the Routine. You follow your training plan so there is no faff or fluff over what to do. No guesswork, just action.
Finally, comes the Reward. You need to celebrate the completion of your training. Give yourself a little reward. Maybe only crack open your post-workout shake once your individual training is completed, or treat yourself to a coffee. The reward reinforces the habit and makes sure it sticks.
Before long you will have developed the behaviour of completing your individual training consistently. By completing your training consistently, you will step closer and closer to your goal.
A call to action
So it’s over to you. What do you want to achieve?
As with anything worth achieving, there will be ups and downs. You’re not in this on your own though. The guidance and support of your peers is always present and, with the constant analysis and feedback from your coach, will help keep you on track. Keep the end goal in mind and chip away at it every day, but try not to get too hung up on it. this will lead to frustration. Get excited about the process knowing that you are getting stronger regardless of you achieving that goal.
Individual development is, obviously by its very nature, a very personal pursuit. Personal in choice, motivation, and action. We all have our own paths to tread. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we have a clear understanding of where we are at, where we want to go, a plan to get there and the behaviour in place to make it happen.
With all that aligned, you are unstoppable. Bring on that pull-up!