I spend a lot of time in physical practice. Whether I’m on my own practice mats, home gym, at a commercial gym, or visiting a dojo, I see a lot of people physically practicing, too. But it seems they’re all practicing the same thing.
Bench Press, biceps curls, triceps press downs, and cable crossovers make up the repertoire of the men’s physical practice in the gym. Squats, deadlifts, and donkey kicks make up the build of the women’s physical practice in the gym. I’m not practicing any of those exercises.
When I go to the dojo, I see the more athletic guys practicing their arm attacks. And I see the lankier, more brainy guys working their complex guard combinations. I don’t fall in either of those camps, either.
When I’m in the gym, I’m working on two classes of things. The first class is what I “have to.” If I’m experiencing pain or limited functioning, I’m working on reducing that pain and restoring that function.
The second class is what I want to. I want to be able to successfully take down people when I grapple…so I practice the takedowns I think will work. I want stronger hands so I train the types of pinch and support lifts that test well for me to practice.
I don’t think practicing takedowns is for everyone. Nor do I think practicing grip strength is for everyone. But what is for everyone is individual practice based on need and want.
And so what I keep workings and what I want is simple…but not easy. I want people to work on two things. First, I want them to work on what they need to work on.
I don’t want them to avoid an exercise or movement if it has hurt them in the past. I want them to break it down, work on the parts, and then put it back together again. The only way to become whole is to reclaim what was lost.
Second, I want people to work on what they’re uniquely interested in. No matter how different their physical interest is, I want them to pursue it. Be the weirdo in the gym…if you’re a weirdo.
Remember, you have to train every single motion…periodically….or you’ll ultimately lose every motion…one by one. This is what you have to do. And when you do that, only then will you be able to do what you want to do. And when you do what you want to do, you’ll become more than you ever were before.