Carmen Bott's blog posts are always gems and this latest one is no exception. Her 10 tips should be the essentials of anyone's fitness lifestyle and I couldn't agree with them more - although I don't use chalk regularly, if ever.
I've copied & pasted the post below, but you can check out the original here.
Coach Bott’s 10 Performance Training Tips
"1. Your attitude and character will determine everything. Be authentic, and have integrity. Do what you say you are going to do and do it with purpose and conviction. I have trained enough high profile athletes and CEO’s to know they have those traits in common. Expect nothing less than excellence from yourself and enter each training session with a goal to achieve.
2. Your warm-up / movement prep for your strength sessions should take approximately 25 minutes if done thoroughly.
Your warm-up order should be as follows:
a. Raise core body temperature without stressing the joints (ie: 20 pike arches) = 3 min
b. Foam Roller for myofascial release = 6-8 min
c. Follow joint mobility drills for hips, groin and T-spine = 5 min
d. Include static stretched at this point if you have tight spots = 5 min
e. Follow dynamic warm-up with increasing velocity and muscle activation drills = 5 min
3. Always treat each rep as if it were an entity in itself – DO NOT be in a rhythm like a step-aerobics instructor. Instead – use “breath”, “brace” and “drive” as your 3 keys to explosive strength. Initiate reps with purpose and precision. Even if some lifts are grind lifts and some are more plyometric in nature. Always set the body to execute a perfect ’shot’ like a basketball player would at the free throw line. Repping out sloppy lunges are for the weak.
4. Block out distraction and welcome a tranquil mind. Good lifters and those who can execute complex skills are beyond focused; they are also incredibly patient. Do not let your mind wander during a rep – be in the moment and pay attention to your body.
5. Do not train to failure, do plyometrics under fatigue or speed work for high reps. This is the North American flaw I see in S&C coaching. Strength is a skill and needs constant tinkering and refinement, not crappy reps with poor form and severe fatigue. Power and speed require split second deliverance of energy. We can only do this by resting long (10-15x the work length) between sets and doing very little volume – speed work is NOT conditioning work and vice versa and no, you cannot train the two together in their infinite forms.
6. Load and unload the body over 3 week mesocycles. This is basic human physiology and the science behind adaptation. The human organism can handle 3 weeks of abuse and then it needs a week to unload. The Russians have proven this time and time again that this is the best loading/unloading scheme in terms of timing. So, go up for three, down for one.
7. Let pain be your guide. Please do not succumb to the adage – “No pain, no gain’ If it hurts, please do not do it. You are given only one body in this lifetime and we must cherish it.
8. Fuel yourself with nutrient-dense foods. Avoid white food – white rice, white flour, white sugar etc. All of this is garbage and garbage in = garbage out. Aim for protein with every meal, vary your veggies, eat only whole grains (quinoa, spelt, oats, wild rice) and get your liquids from water and herbal teas.
9. Focus on the process. This means to focus on the execution of the task/exercise etc, versus the result of it. It has been proven time and time again that those who focus on the process get better results and achieve their goals more consistently than those who are focused on the outcome or result.
10. Use chalk. Your grip takes approx 8 times to recover from a lift as compared to the rest of your body. You can improve your grip very simply by using chalk to train with. Yes, it is messy and yes it will get on your clothes, but for an extra 20 lbs on that deadlift, or 2 more pull-ups on that set – it is well worth it!