I’ve read about this technique before regarding productivity but didn’t honestly think much of it. I’ve been revisiting a lot of topics lately to see if I would have a different outlook on them on the second, or the third, or the fourth time around. Somehow this carries to training too.
I’ve been embracing the pomodoro technique of blocking a certain time to only work on a specific task until the timer is up. In fact, I am using it this morning for writing. All it requires is that you set up a timer, which is optional as you can just decide on a time that you will spend on a task.
So the timer is optional unless you just find it exhilarating when the time is up and an alarm of your choice will ring as loud as ever.
For this morning’s writing task I chose 90 minutes and I will write until the timer is up. It also works nicely if I am studying something. Block a time, study, and study only. Finish once the time is up.
I have a tendency to aimlessly read somewhat unrelated forums, articles and whatnot at the same time without getting anything out of none of them. What I do now is block time for professional development only, and for the next whatever time I’ve chosen I will only read topic related to that. Same goes with personal development and other tasks such as shredding (read: desperate trying to move between chords) my guitar.
How will you implement this technique with your training? Well, I am glad you asked.
Instead of building anxiety over the complicated training program you have in front of you and feeling overwhelmed that you can’t get everything done, set up a timer for the amount of time that you’ve got and just get as much work done in that time as possible. Choose one movement from each category, one rep range and repeat as many rounds as possible in the timeframe you’ve chosen.
Depending on your temperature, either perform a five minute movement prep or jump straight into the exercises with a lighter weight and use them as a wam up.
Push – e.g. push up, overhead press, dumbbell bench
Lower body – e.g. goblet squat, deadlift, kettlebell swing
Pull – e.g.pull up, TRX row, band pullapart
Core – e.g. ab wheel, halo, plank
Carry – e.g. farmer, suitcase, rack
Rep range – 6, 8,10, 12 or time based 20s, 30s, 40s.
Whatever exercises you choose, we don’t want grinding reps here.
It’s called density training and is nothing new. It removes the “I don’t have time to do all I was meant to do” mentality and replaces it with “I will dominate the shit out the next 20 minutes”.
Do the most with what you’ve got
The second option is to follow your training plan you have in front of you but limit the time that you have. Do whatever you have time for and continue with the remainder on another day.
The goal here is not to sacrifice quality for quantity but keep each rep as close to perfect as you can. If you have time left but the form is horrendous it’s time to stop. Next time choose lighter weights or less demanding movements or have more rest in between that allows you to keep going the full time you’ve chosen.
You want to move gracefully instead of looking like a you’ve just sucked dozen or so energy drinks through a straw. Think of a movement quality that is more suited for a gym than a circus.
Stay smart and stay safe but train hard. You’ve committed for a time, that means no phone or other distractions. Do the work and Instagram it later. Or whatever the kids are using these days.
While you’re at it, you might also like:
How Your Training Should Look Like
The “Easy” Approach to Training When Life Happens