Cillein Groom: Important but overlooked aspects of Strength training

As some people know as well as Strongman and Coaching I work in the Health Plus Store in Galway. I meet and talk to a lot of different people and I am noticing a lot of people neglect seriously important aspects of strength training. 

Cruising through your accessory work: It’s easy to get into the habit of switching off after you have done your compound movements especially when you go heavy and to go easy on the accessory work. However you are missing out on serious strength gains by doing this. I myself was guilty of this in my early days of Strongman. However I have taken the approach of trying to go heavier with each set of accessories when I can. I like doing this as it teaches the muscle to go heavier when fatigued. This doesn't mean you should sacrifice your form to do heavier weights or risk injury. 

Foam Rolling and mobility training: At least once a week I have a customer coming in looking for knee wraps. And when I ask why they want them, they tell me they have pains in their knees and their knee sleeves are no longer helping with the pain. When I ask if they do any foam rolling the answer is always ‘No’. It really blows my mind how many people think they can lift heavy weights and not do any form of Myofascial release (aka foam rolling). The correct way to implement this into your training is to do some foam rolling prior to lifting. This will take the tension out of the muscles without taking the power out of the muscle fibers which will allow better and easier range of motion(ROM). When you are at home watching tv take out the foam roller and a tennis ball or sliothar and work on your tight spots. Avoid deep stretching before lifting as it will only tear the muscles, loosen and elongate them which will leave you weaker while lifting.

Not doing enough volume work or conditioning: When people sign up with GSP Systems they are surprised at how much volume and conditioning they have to do. Unfortunately a lot of people still have that ‘ fat and lazy strength athlete’ mindset. This does link in with what I said above about cruising through your accessories, but unfortunately a lot of people just do their compound lift, do a few accessories and avoid conditioning at all costs. If you are one of these people, ask yourself what are you trying to achieve? If you are genuinely serious about competing at a serious level you need to up the work effort. Most competitions are run now at a high pace and give you little time to recover so you need to build your endurance if you want to stand a chance. And as well,conditioning is important for your health, especially when you consider the strain that lifting heavy weights puts on the heart.

Not training your core: Some people are under the assumption that training deadlifts and squats are enough to keep your core strong and they are wrong. Your core is probably the most important part of your body to train. You could have big strong legs or upper body, but if your core is weak you will suffer. Not only is it to help your strength but also for your safety as a strong core will maintain safe posture while lifting heavy weights.

Deload week: one of the most overlooked and underappreciated aspects of strength training. Taking deload weeks are vital for recovery, growing stronger and avoiding injury. With my clients they are confused at first why they are needed, but after a few goes they understand the importance of them. Deload weeks don’t mean sit around all day and do nothing, it’s about active recovery. During this week your body soaks up the damage it has received and grows stronger. They are also vital for your Central Nervous System to avoid it flattening.

I think a lot of people get caught up on the heavy lifting and end up avoiding the small and tedious parts. Even if you aren’t looking to become a professional strength athlete you still need to do these things to avoid injury. I worked in healthcare for 4 years and I have seen the results of people neglecting the small things and I can tell you they pay a big price for it. This comes back to my previous article about ‘Discipline over motivation’, discipline isn't something that should be feared or viewed negatively, it will make your life better and create better opportunities in your life.

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