Keep Your Friends Close, Keep Your Enemies Closer.

The title is a very common phrase heard in many cultures and countries. But how does this relate to training and in this case, strength and conditioning? Upon interacting with several sports and organizations involved in strength & conditioning plus the experience in training others and knowledge (which I hope I have gained) over the years (or what little years I have), I have concluded with a principle that is highly adopted by many of the best athletes and coaches which relates to the title of this post. Now let me explain how you can make this statement the basis of your training and how you can link it to programming.

Keep Your Friends Close.

Basically in the context of strength and conditioning, I would recommend you to do the stuff that have worked for you. If squats have made your sprint times go up, keep squatting. If snatches have increased your vertical jump, keep snatching. If kettlebell jerks have increased your work capacity, keep jerking. What I am saying is that if it works for you, you do not need to change it too much. Only when you start flattening out or your progress goes nowhere or even drops, then you need to put some thought into changing your program. This then leads to the next point.

Keep Your Enemies Closer.

Enemies here refer to your weak links in your program, your movements, your training etc. Things that you do not normally do when you should be doing them, or the things that you hate doing. These are probably things that have been proved by others to help with improving a certain movement or increase a certain fitness component. An example of this can simply be any movement or exercise which you totally suck at. In "Crossfit" terms, it should be your GOAT (which I dun really have an idea of what it stands for) but I think they are somehow right about something. Working on these weak links or movements that you suck at is only going to make your weaknesses become strong points.

So if you do both, doesn't that mean you need to be in the gym for hours? NO. This is where proper programming comes into play. There should be a balance in working on your strengths and your weaknesses. As much as you work on what you are good at, you need to be doing as much in what you are terrible at. With that, you can still fit it into your overall program, you can still fit it into your session. For me, I see movements I like such as the snatch, the deadlift as my friends. I really enjoy doing them and I am happy doing them (despite being terrible at them and failing the lifts most of the time). But as much as I enjoy doing these movements, I know I need to focus on my weaknesses such as front squats, cleans. Basically that rack position. So as much time I am spending on snatching, I would be working on ways to improve my clean.

Games2012_NealMaddox_365CleanThis is how my rack position looks like when maxing out. Just not as heavy as that. Picture from The Crossfit Games site.

So remember, as dark as the phrase might seem, it is very relevant to strength and conditioning. Perhaps you could try listing your "friends" and "enemies" so that it can give you a clearer picture on what you need to focus on for your training and programming.


Stay Strong and Keep Training Hard,

The Training Geek.