Be A Specialist Generalist

Are you a competitive athlete?

No? Then why do you train like one?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to specialise. It’s great to focus on one aspect of training and put your all into it to improve in that area. But there is a point of diminishing returns.

Example: training like a powerlifter when you’re not a powerlifter. There comes a point in your pursuit of strength when the risk outweighs the reward. It’s different if you’re competing and have something to gain. But if you’re training simply for enjoyment, health, aesthetics, or whatever, do you really need a triple bodyweight squat?

Last week I seen a guy almost buckle under a squat, his upper back started to round and he barely made it. It was not tidy, and it was not training. His training partner followed him and she did fold under hers and was saved by the pins. (Neither squat was anywhere close to triple bw by the way, barely equivalent to bodyweight. Not criticising their strength levels, simply stating.)

I’m all for getting stronger, in fact I swear by it and recommend it to everybody who comes to me. But if you’re training in such a way, and chasing numbers recklessly, leaving yourself beat up and in pain, or at major risk of injury, you are doing it wrong.

This is not necessary, and it is not smart. Do failed lifts happen sometimes in training? Yes. But they should be kept to a minimum.

Train with the attitude of “never miss a rep”. If you’re not 90% sure you’ll make the lift, don’t attempt it.


Training is training


Training is training. It’s not competition. Even competitive athletes should not be training that way. It puts them at risk of missing the very event that they’re training for.

Train smart. Train to get progressively better over time. What’s the rush? And what’s the use of putting your body through the ringer for such a lift unless it’s for competition, when there is actual reward at the end.

Once you build a good level of strength, maintain it, improve your control of the weight. Of course it’s nice to continue getting stronger, but don’t push it at all costs.

You’re strong, but how well conditioned are you? How well do you move? Are you carrying too much body fat? Do you know how to eat well? Can you crawl and roll? Can you stand on one leg? Do you know how to defend yourself? These are all things you can look to improve.

Be a specialist generalist. Get good at everything. That is what fitness is for the everyday person. Unless you’re competing in one particular field then there’s no need to specialise in only one area of training.

Think of an MMA fighter. They are the ultimate example of a specialist generalist. Good at a little bit of everything. Are they better in some areas than others? Of course. That’s natural. But they train every aspect of fighting and for every eventuality in the cage.

So should you train for life. If you need to lift something, you should be able to lift it. If you have to get down on the ground and back up again, you should be able to do that too. What if you have to climb a fence? Or run for the train? Would you be strong enough, supple enough, and conditioned enough to do these things?

You don’t have to train everything at once, but should at all times give some thought to the various elements of fitness.

That’s what life performance training is. Being good at everything. You’ll be better at some than others and you’ll enjoy some more than others, and that’s perfectly ok. But you still train the other aspects because you know they’re useful and you know you’ll be ready for circumstances requiring them if and when they crop up.




Life Performance Training

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