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How Do I Know When to Introduce a Movement into a Workout?


How Do I Know When to Introduce a Movement into a Workout?

“How do I know when to introduce a movement into a workout?

                Often, within the gym you can hear people say, well I have this movement so I am going to do it in the workout.  This thought process may not always be the best approach to when you should introduce a movement into your workout.  I can personally snatch 155 pounds, and I can do it for a set of 3 when I am fresh.  But does that then mean I should introduce that movement and that loading into a workout that requires me to make that lift 30-50 times?  The answer would be obvious to most that the loading, although manageable when fresh, would be way too high for me when inside of a workout, coupled with other movements and a high heart rate.  The likelihood of injury would be high, the likelihood of finishing the workout would be extremely low, and my heart and lungs would not get the work needed to improve my overall conditioning.  Not to mention the ill effects this would have on my central nervous system.  This is usually understandable to people when it comes to barbells and loading.

           What gets confusing for people is gymnastics.  I can do pullups so I am going to do them in the workout.   Yet again, this may not be the best answer or the best option.  A good example would be toes to bar for me.  I know that I can do toes to bar inside of a workout with other stresses going on and a high heart rate.  But I also know that after 40-50 toes to bar inside of a workout, I have nothing more in the tank for them.  So, what I typically do is tailor the repetitions to be slightly higher than that rep count. (If the workout requires more than that number).  Around 60 repetitions inside of a workout is what I shoot for, something slightly higher than what I know I am capable of doing with good sets.  This can be a great way to decide what gymnastics movements you should do inside of the workout and for how many reps.  It is rarely going to be a matter of doing the movement once or twice but much larger sets and if the workout total is going to be a number that is beyond you, it is better to modify the number of repetitions or modify the movement itself.  An even better example is a bar muscle up for me.  I can do bar muscle ups in singles, but I can not as of yet string them together even outside of a workout.  So, when this movement comes up in a workout, I have to modify to a level that I can safely move through within a workout, and for me that is jumping muscle ups.  Which I can do while fatigued and with good form.  The same may be true for others who have 1 pullup, 1 toes to bar, 1 Chest to bar, or even a couple of each.

                A great drill for practicing your volume of a gymnastics movement is to do an EMOM or every minute on the minute drill.  Do this workout for no more than 10 minutes and try to work up to 10 reps per minute unbroken for the full 10 minutes.  You can start small with 3-5 reps per minute and build from there.  This is an outstanding way to build your total volume tolerance for a particular movement.   It is also a great way to know what movements and how many you should be doing inside of a class workout.  If you can not handle doing more than 2-3 reps per minute or if you can not string reps together, then it may be a good idea to leave them out of the workout or modify for the time until your skill improves in that particular movement.   This gives you objective data on what you should be doing inside of workouts within class.  We design the workout levels to meet that point of skill vs conditioning.  The further you go and develop your movement skills, the more movement skills you will be able to safely introduce into your workouts.  As a side benefit, you will increase your conditioning greatly by doing so, you will feel more accomplished by doing so and you will reduce the likelihood of injury dramatically. 

                We always take time to work on skills prior to the workout, this is a great time to work on building that skill prior to the workout.  But to get the most out of developing a skill, you will have to put time in outside of class to really get a great deal of improvement.