It’s winter. That means it’s cold and dark outside in the mornings, and after work all you want to do is get home to a hot meal and your warm and cosy bed. With the elements against you, how does one stay motivated to train and stick to the routine?
One way would be to keep your training routine interesting and varied by being creative with your exercise selection. In doing so you’ll be more likely to follow the routine and stay focused during the colder months as your training will be more interesting and appealing.
Many would argue that there are certain exercises or movements within a training routine that would elicit more of a response to the training stimulus than other exercises. For example, an athlete tends to benefit more from squats than leg extension, or pull ups rather than bicep curls – basically choosing multi- joint exercises over single-joint isolation movements. Obviously the choice of the exercise routine is dependent on the goal of the person doing the training, though.
Instead of choosing only a couple of exercises to focus on in an exercise routine, I decided to explore a slightly
more inclusive approach based on the CEO of CrossFit, Gregg Glassman’s recommended approach of fitness…
“…practice and train the major lifts:
deadlift, clean, squat, presses, clean
and jerk, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull ups, dips, rope climb, push ups, sit ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row. Do so hard and fast, five or six days per week. Mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow…”
Whether in the context of CrossFit, either as the sport of fitness or for general physical preparedness, bodybuilding, obstacle course training, or endurance training, there are similarities across variables everyone should focus on.
Referring back to Glassman’s advice, we can definitely agree that a dominant focuses should be on moving a weight or load using the multi-joint movements that predominate power- and weightlifting. These movements should form the core of any strength
or hypertrophy programme as they elicit superior results, with the ability to apply them using a wide variety of combinations of sets, reps and percentages of your 1 rep max.
After the weighted lifts, focus on bodyweight and gymnastics (calisthenics) movements, regardless of your programme or goals, as these also yield great returns and can be programmed in a variety of ways.
Aerobic capacity can be the third variable used in any performance or conditioning programme. Any cardio or mono-structural type of exercise should form part of a well balanced training routine. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) will always deliver amazing results and benefits for any athlete in this regard.
Odd object, or strongman training
is another modality to consider to
keep your training fresh. This is where creativity and thinking “out of the box” comes into play. Usually one has to
step outside of the gym to engage in this form of exercise, as these training methods take the form of tyre flipping, log carrying, the use of sandbags, sledgehammers, and atlas stones, to name a few. These implements require the athlete to move objects differently
to the way normal weight training equipment is utilised, thereby creating a different type of stimulus for the body.
Core and accessory training should also appear on the list of important movements to focus on in any winter training routine. A weak core or band of stabilising muscles is a leading cause of injury, so spending a significant amount of time and energy on targeting any weaknesses in these structures will yield massive returns come spring and summer. This pre-habilitation approach to training is what all great elite athletes implement.
Accordingly, there is great scope to create well-rounded and all-inclusive exercise routines to keep you motivated and engaged throughout winter. So, get reading and get creative. Whether you
do so in the gym or in the warmth and comfort of your home, trying new training methods and ideas will get you through this winter. You’ll also emerge a stronger, more able version of your pre-winter self. But whatever you decide to do, you first needtogetupandgetoutofbed!