My Tool Kit!

The Strength and Conditioning Coach has basically Five Tools:

  1. Nutrition and caloric restriction
  2. Inefficient exercise
  3. Strength training
  4. Hypertrophy and mobility training (the “Fountain of Youth”)
  5. Mental set

 

These are not in any special order, but one tool might be important during the off-season while another might be crucial in the pre-season. And, the sport or the goal will dictate which one is more important. In the off-season for a collision sport athlete, Hypertrophy and mobility training becomes very important, but the Master athlete, this might be the answer to performance issues.

 

In my new book, I go into detail about each tool. My last article in t-nation was basically “Mental set.” From Pain to “Tiny Habits,” the coach needs to have the right approach to assist the client/athlete towards their goals. The one that is confusing for most people is the second tool.

The Second Tool: Inefficient Exercise

On the other side of the fat-loss coin (after Nutrition and caloric restriction) is the concept that everything works and it always has. Whatever you choose to do or have your clients do—whether it is African disco dance or step-marching Spandex or kettlebell swings—it will work. The problem is a little odd: As you become more and more efficient, you get less and less benefit. A modern dance class will just about kill me, because every time the class does “step-ball-change,” I will have done twenty extra moves. Oh, it will be fat loss for me—but the “twinkle toes” to my right had better have a perfect diet, because she is just going through the paces.

 

Fat-loss exercise needs to be as inefficient as possible. That is why I like the kettlebell swing: You expend tons of energy with absolutely no movement! But, and many disagree with me here, as you get better and better at swings, these too can become too efficient. Now, we have tips and tools to get around this, but it is wise to remember that Tim Ferris found seventy-five swings three days a week to be enough to start peeling the fat off of one woman. If your client goes from seventy-five to two thousand swings a workout and stops losing fat, you may need to look for alternatives, additions or another bell.

 

Inefficient exercise is going to look different for everyone—if your client is a horrible dancer, encourage him to dance; if your client is a lousy swimmer, encourage her to swim; if your client never bikes, encourage him to bike.

 

 

 

People must seek ways to waste lots of energy. Leonard Schwartz had it right with his HeavyHands training. Tossing hand weights up and down while walking is a very poor way to walk—but it roasts the fat off!

 

And, I know, you can’t hear me. A reasonable approach to diet and nutrition, something your grandmother would applaud, just isn’t sexy enough for the postmodern reader.

 

 

How do we add this concept to our training? Let’s go from the obvious to some new ideas.

 

First, recently, I invested in Concept II E Rowers for the gym. I have a lot of friends who have noted that there is a great thing you can do with them. Yes, obviously, it is rowing, but for most of us, following the standard rower workouts is just not going to work. I read workouts posted on the internet and struggle to see how I am going to survive 50,000 meters of rowing.

 

The advice I received was simple: focus on 500 meter rows. Yes, you need some level of technique, but these sprints come in around two minutes for most of us. Add one to three of these anywhere you like in your training and you will huff and puff for a bit after the sprint. Obviously, you work like hell and go no place. Why not go longer? Well, the advice I got was simple: as you tack on more and more meters, you get too good!

 

Toss in two-minute bouts on any “cardio” machine. Find some kind of standard and race yourself to improve a little. When you improve a lot, find a new machine.

 

Next, Mark Snow taught me a few years ago that doing corrective work seems to raise the heart rate. Between rest periods, do the moves and stretches that you need to address. For whatever reason, my football coaches found that having us pop up and down off the floor made us very tired. Oddly, it also made us better at football.

 

So, make the ground your friend. Between sets of leg work, try some push ups or ab work. Add Bird Dogs throughout your normal training or whatever floor based movement you feel like doing. Most of us need some level of mobility work, so why not try to get a waist shrinking movement to go with it?

 

Finally, I love doing swings mixed with the fundamental human movements. Don’t worry about how many reps or loads with the following examples until you have done them a few times. Err on less and lighter. For the movement explanations, go here: https://www.youtube.com/user/dj84123/playlists?view=58&flow=grid

 

Group A

  1. 35 Swings
    2. Push Ups
    3. 15 Swings
    4. Windmill Stick Right
    5. 35 Swings
    6. TRX T Pull
    7. 15 Swings
    8. Windmill Stick Left
    9. 35 Swings
    10. Trap Bar DL
    11. 15 Swings
    12. Stoney Stretch Right Knee Down (RKD)
    13. 35 Swings
    14. Goblet Squat
    15. 15 Swings
    16. Stoney Stretch Left Knee Down (LKD)
    17. 35 Swings
    18. Rolling 45s
    19. 15 Swings
    20. “Pump” Downward Dog/Cobra

 

Group B

  1. 35 Swings
    2. One-Arm Press Right Arm
    3. 15 Swings
    4. TRX Long Stretch Right
    5. 35 Swings
    6. One-Arm Press Left Arm
    7. 15 Swings
    8. TRX Long Stretch Left
    9. 35 Swings
    10. TRX Y Pull
    11. 15 Swings
    12. Hip Flexor Stretch (RKD)
    13. 35 Swings
    14. Goblet Squat
    15. 15 Swings
    16. Hip Flexor Stretch (LKD)
    17. 35 Swings
    18. Rolling 45 Ts
    19. 15 Swings
    20. March in Place

That totals 500 swings and two rounds of all the fundamental human movements. All that getting up and down could easily be made to be more efficient.

 

But, then, you would lose the fat loss hit.

 

For fat loss, be as Inefficient as you can be!

 

 

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