Strength athletes often underestimate or forget to take into account the importance of being ‘fit to train’. Healthy, recovered, injury-free and able to endure the training sessions – all of these things are prerequisites to improvements.
Some warning signs that you may need to improve your training fitness are:
- Your rest periods between sets are getting longer;
- You get tired quickly during the training session or need extra caffeine/stimulants to get you fired up;
- You have been doing heavy, near-max work for a while.
Improve training ‘fitness’ by spending a couple of weeks doing higher reps at 70 per cent of max. So for weightlifters that would be sets of 3-5, and for powerlifters sets of 5-8.
The best time to do this is just before you start a new strength cycle, on return from holiday or if you have been stagnating for a while.
Active rest is also under-utilised by strength athletes. Personally I use walking, circuit training or kettlebells. It makes you a fitter and more mobile human being, and this can help you tolerate more training and therefore get stronger. 10-15 minutes of high intensity circuit training will improve fitness and make you feel energised.
One of my favourites has always been Ross Enamait’s Magic 50. It has some of my favourite exercises in it and it kicks my butt! The Magic 50 is:
5 dumbbell snatches each hand
5 dumbbell swings each hand
10 burpees (with press up of course)
5 rounds for time
I also find that cleaning up my diet helps me to feel fitter and more dynamic. Often when you are going through a heavy phase of training it can be tempting to eat whatever is around; getting the calories in is important to support the training. However, in a ‘fitness’ phase you should be less hungry and tired and therefore this is the ideal time to sharpen up the eating strategy.
So how do you get fit to train?
More from gubernatrix
- Improve weaknesses with unilateral exercises
- How to: one arm dumbbell snatch
- Does lifting more always mean you get stronger?
- Five secrets of more effective training
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