To all my physical fitness friends out there that have any practice, of any kind, for whatever purpose, this one’s for you.
First of all, let me start with acknowledging that putting practice towards anything day-in and day-out is difficult. On the days where you’re too busy, too tired, or just flat out don’t want to train…but you go anyway…that’s where the magic is.
It doesn’t look fancy and it won’t win you any accolades with your peers. It won’t put a trophy on your mantle or get your name in the local newspaper. And it definitely won’t get you those all-important Likes on social media.
The truth is that the day-to-day work is fucking boring.
My favorite example of this idea is running. Now don’t get me wrong, while I hate the act of running more than most, I have nothing but absolute and utter respect for the runners that are devoted to their sport. There’s nothing pleasant about getting up early, when it’s cold and windy, and all the conditions are not in your favor, but choosing to go out for your run anyway.
It’s not fancy and it doesn’t look glamorous, and some days it might be down right UGLY…but that runner that puts in the day-to-day grind is who I admire most.
Why? Because I totally get the monotony of repetition on the quest for mastery.
As it pertains to Handstand, my warm-up routine and day-to-day reps are not fancy and certainly wouldn’t get any ooh’s and ah’s from on-lookers. For those of you reading this wondering what a boring Handstand routine looks like, here it is:
– Wrist and Shoulder warm-up (both passive and active stretching & mobility drills)
– Hollow holds…the Handstander’s equivalent to running in the rain…sigh.
– Air Squats – 2 sets of 10 reps done slowly
– 3 or 4 timed holds for endurance. Hold as long as you can.
– 2 or 3 sets of 5-7 reps of the following entries: Scissor, Tuck, Straddle. Hold each for 3-5 seconds.
– 2 more timed holds
– X amount of leg variations – Handstand to Baby Straddle, Handstand to Full Straddle, Handstand to Tuck, Straddle to Tuck.
– Cool down, seated straddle, lots of forward folds.
– Go home.
SPOILER ALERT: Repetition is the mother of mastery. Everything you can currently do, you were once unable to do until you repeated it enough times.
While yes, I often dedicate days to pure skill training like OAHS or Press, the “average” or “maintenance” routine to keep my skills moving forward is what you see above.
Myelinating Your Circuits This is one of my favorite topics and it goes super deep into the neurophysiology of skill acquisition, so I’ll give it to you in the best way I can understand it:
1. Every movement you do in your body is simply an electrical signal that travels through a chain of nerve fibers.
2. Myelin is the insulation that wraps the nerve fibers and increases your strength, speed, and accuracy of the electrical signal associated with the movement.
3. The more you fire a specific movement circuit, the more myelin optimizes your circuit, and the stronger, faster, and more fluent your movements become.
So each time you repeat a movement, your old pal Myelin is right there making sure it fires better and better.
So are the boring or mundane routines still serving you?….Abso-fucking-lutely.
With each rep you are gaining incremental steps towards mastering your craft. So on the days where you have every reason not to train, suck it up and put in the work. Your nervous system will reward you later with the gift of proficiency of your skill.
You got this.