A week in exercise

I’ve said before that i think that one of the biggest contributing factors to the problems I see in many of my clients is a lack of strength, and I’m not talking about being a competitor in the World’s Strongest Man. If this is a lack of overall body strength rather than a specific area it is often combined a lack of general fitness and sometimes in both cases with poor ranges of movement in one or more joints. A lack of a reasonable degree of strength and general fitness makes it difficult to maintain good posture and carry out routine jobs, it will mean you tire more quickly and not just whilst doing physical tasks whilst poor range of movement in any joint will result in compensatory movement patterns that will then put strain on other areas. One of the primary goals of any athlete’s strength and conditioning program is injury prevention; a stronger, fitter athlete will be more injury resistant. This applies to everybody. One of the main reasons for getting fit is to make you more injury resistant and make routine tasks easier. I therefore thought it might be interesting to lay out what I do on a weekly basis.

My ideal week looks like this;

Weight training x2 or 3

Conditioning work x2

Mobility work x2

In addition to the above I may attend a submission wrestling class when I get the time, it often clashes with work, and this may take the place of a conditioning session, again depending on work load. I also start each day with something along the lines of what is outlined in the “Getting your 5-a-day”. The weight training and conditioning workouts start with a general warm up that will include some of the same mobility drills I do within the specific mobility session and all the workouts days are likely to include some foam roller work.

The exercises in weight training sessions will take the form of one or two lower body movements, 2 upper body pushing movements and 2 upper body pulling movements. The upper body work will follow a general rule of matching a vertical push with an equivalent pulling movement e.g. overhead press and chins, similarly I’ll match a push with a pull in the horizontal plane e.g. dumbbell row with press ups. If I’m doing 3 weight training sessions in a week then the middle one is combined with one of the interval workouts and no other lower body work is done.

For the conditioning work I will generally do 2 different interval sessions. One composed of 6-10 hill sprints, plus 5-8 warm ups of increasing pace, and another of 4-6 longer intervals of 1-2minutes. Each workout is preceded with a general warm up of mobility work before I jog to the area I do the intervals. Neither of these workouts is done flat out but at a pace I can maintain for all the intervals I plan to do that day and is always stopped if I feel my form is starting to deteriorate, a sure sign of tiredness, hence the range of repetitions that may be done.

The mobility session is made up of the drills I do as a warm up for both the running and weight training workouts and covers the ankles, hips, shoulders and spine plus some work with the foam roller and some stretching. It also includes any remedial work I feel might be beneficial such as a glute activation exercise, clamshells or glute bridge, or scapula press ups. One of the great things about this session is it can be done watching the TV if you want so it’s really easy to fit in.

It may at first seem like a great deal of work but the total time is likely to be between 2-3 hours per week and the benefits are well worth the effort. If you are truly struggling for time I would suggest investing in a pair of plate loading dumbbells for using at home and get a hold of something like FredFornicola’s book on dumbbell training.  Even if you could only manage three 15minute sessions per week you can still get a lot done, check out this piece by Dan John over at Dave Drapers site for some ideas. The bottom line is a lack of time is a very poor excuse when it comes to taking care of your health.