Are You Developing Routine and Rituals in Your Training to Produce Peak Performance?

Training can be boring at times because of the repetition that is sometimes necessary dependent on sport, level of fitness and training objectives.  Overload and adaptation lends itself to routine.  However, there is an important place for routine and ritual in training.  It is astonishing to me the number of clients that get so concerned about doing the same exercise two days in a row.  This is based on a ridiculous belief that your body will adapt after one day of an exercise.  In addition there are so many combinations of reps and sets and rest and weight that you could do the same exercises but never really do the same exercise.   The exercise itself is not as important as the design that supports the exercise. 

 When training our athletes early on I want them to go through a mental checklist or routine prior to executing any particularly difficult exercise.  In competition, preparation instills confidence and confidence produces winning performance.  This applies not only to sport, but to anything in life.  They call it the practice of medicine for a reason.  It is something that is practiced ongoing.  The last thing NASA says before liftoff of a space shuttle is "All systems are go".    A lot can be learned by this systematic check list in both training and competition.  It also reduces the risk for injury and reinforces good movement patterns.  I want the client to focus on the excellence in the movement not the win of a heavy lift.  That will come with excellence in execution.

 With that in mind let's say an athlete is performing a heavy dead lift at Sirens and Titans .  I encourage the athlete develop and execute the same routine prior to every lift.   How they approach the bar, visualizing a successful lift, how they grab the bar.  It may be left hand first, then right hand, foot position, breathing, etc.  It doesn't really matter what is in the routine.  What is important is that a conditioning response system is developed that prepares the mind for success in training.  Do not forget that the idea of training is not just strength, power, endurance, etc.  It is also the time that you learn to take risks without anything at stake.  

 To create an environment that is comfortable so that when game time comes around you know you are prepared and you have already been at this point many times before.  You do not know how many times I have seen great athletes make major changes in things very close, or immediately before competition.  This is a result of lack of confidence and poor preparation.  Including rituals and routines prepare you mentally during training so that game time is relaxed and you play at your best.

 So next time you approach an exercise, develop your own personal routine.  Stick with it, and utilize it to get great gains in training and also on the field.Sometimes routine is not so boring.


Jacques DeVore, CSCS

CEO Sirens and Titans Fitness