As we continue our discussion on 5 Ways to Optimize Your Life, our goal is to help you optimize your training in the gym, as well as, your life outside. We want to provide an integrated training that encompasses not only the physical but the mental and spiritual. It is, however, the physical that most often brings people to Alliance. Our training system continues to evolve as we gain new knowledge and make new distinctions. Since I am a firm believer in giving you the “WHY” behind our training, I would like to give you an update on our training system today.

Keeping It Simple

Although there are many pieces to each of the components involved in developing a complete and optimized physical training system, my intention here is to keep it simple and go into more detail in each of the components in the future. The three components that make up our physical training system in order of priority are:

  • Movement
  • Strength
  • Conditioning

The Priority of Movement

Movement quality is the number one priority in our training system. Just as the mental work lays the foundation for our training in general, proper movement sets the stage for all our physical work. First, you must move safely, then work on moving better, lastly move faster and stronger. Another way of thinking of this is learning to crawl, then walk, then run. Whether you are learning the squat or a new technique in Jiujitsu, this principle should be applied to any movement practice.

I can’t say that this has always been my priority. Up until the last couple of years, I would have prioritized strength as the number one focus. I have always emphasized form but was willing to sacrifice some of the that in order to get stronger. My realization is that if you sacrifice movement quality for more speed, weight, etc then there is a very good chance you are going down a road that will eventually lead to poor movement quality and injury.

Increasing Strength

Strength has always been a priority in our training. For the longest time, I would say that it was our number one priority. Your muscles move your body and if you have established good quality movement and become stronger then everything else improves with those strength gains. There is not a sport I can think of where increasing strength doesn’t help you perform better. This has not always been an accepted fact. I remember being in high school where the basketball, baseball, and golf coaches didn’t want their athletes lifting weights. Now steroids have become a big issue in baseball which wouldn’t be the case if strength didn’t matter.

Strength not only helps with performance but is critical for fighting the aging process. One of the biggest issues with aging is a loss of muscle and strength. This can be remedied through a good training plan. Some of our older students have made some of their biggest transformations doing just that. Increased strength also provides you with a bigger engine to drive your conditioning to a higher level. This is why I make strength a priority even if your primary goal is conditioning. The stronger you are the harder you can push your conditioning.

Lastly, strength helps protect us against injury. The muscles provide stability to the joints and they also provide armor to our body to protect us during contact sports and life in general.

The Importance of Conditioning

Conditioning is the last component I would like to discuss. Conditioning can mean many different things but in this context, I refer to three types of conditioning:

  • Metabolic
  • Armoring
  • Mental

When most people think of conditioning they are thinking of metabolic conditioning. To keep it simple, I will refer to metabolic conditioning as conditioning that trains both aerobic and anaerobic pathways. I think there is more bang for your buck training anaerobically but there needs to be some aerobic training as well. I mentioned armoring when talking about the benefits of strength but this can also be applied to conditioning.

Some strength and conditioning coaches would say that their job rests solely in getting people stronger and improving their metabolic conditioning and that it is not their job to work on developing mental toughness. I beg to differ and believe that much can be learned about mental toughness and resiliency through hard conditioning sessions.

Stay tuned for more details on “HOW” we incorporate these components.