Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Random or Structured Workouts?

I read a good discussion prompted by the wise, supreme, benevolent dictator and CEO of Pierini Fitness about random workouts producing random results. I didn't chime in at the time. I opted to sit back, read, and absorb what was being said. My initial reaction was to disagree and to be honest, I haven't completely changed my mind about it. If random workouts don't produce good results, then I probably wouldn't have gotten a damn thing done in all of these years. Yet, I have no doubt in my mind that I'm bigger, stronger, and healthier than I was 6 years ago.

Due to my travel schedule, my ability to train certain things changes with the environment that I go to. I was doing a lot of rope climbing work back in March and April when I worked in Maine and New Hampshire. Then, when I went to Reno, I started training a lot with rocks and stones. After that, I moved to Oregon City, OR where I did a pure BW routine in my hotel room. When I was in Portland, Maine I was working 12 hours a day, and I only had two 20-30 minute periods a day to commit to a workout. In Reno, I could easily scratch out 45 minutes to workout since I worked about 9 hours a day. So, even if I wanted to focus on, say, improving my rope climbing, where my feet are planted changes the way that I have to work out. Randomness is a fact of life for me.

If you train one thing constantly, obviously your body adapts to that specific movement, getting stronger at that movement. Let me put this out there: in the bigger picture, does that make you stronger overall? Let's face it: a specific exercise hardly encompasses what strength is all about. Plus, your body isn't designed to specifically move in one way ALL THE TIME. Bucket loaders are made that way.

One thing that was a revelation to me when I started reading about the human body was the notion of tension integrity. All of the joints in the body where movement occurs don't directly interlock. To keep them in place, they're held in place by the pull provided by your muscles. So, if a muscle is stronger on one side of the joint than it is on the other, then imbalances that can cause injury develop.

Switching it up on a regular basis goes a long way towards keeping this issue at bay, or at least this is what my experience has taught me. Keeping yourself strong in all directions, rather than a select few is a key to making for a strong body. I've done a pretty good job so far doing it that way and like it or not, that's the way my training will have to continue. I don't have have much of a choice as I gear up to head to Pennsylvania for work.


Jon C (mtguy) said...

I really liked this one Justin, kind of jits home. I'm on call 24 hours/7 days a week, so depending on my work, my workout scheduel is all over the place. I can't really plan out for a month at a time because I might not be at home. Thanks for all the postings.

Anonymous said...

Justin, great blog! I like your questioning of conventional wisdom when it comes to lifting. I've been doing more BW stuff and am getting stronger quicker than ever. I can still barely do a few pullups though. I was wondering how often you do pullups. I've been doing a routine where I only work each body part once a week, but maybe that's way too long in between my pullups. what do you think?