Every day the best golfers in the world practice and try to improve their game. Every day the best powerlifter’s in the world are in the gym honing their technique. The best athletes in the world know that they have weaknesses, yet they still show up every day. They understand that weakness equals opportunity.
If the best athletes in the world have weaknesses, we can safely assume that we too will have weaknesses. We often encounter clients, beginners and experienced alike, who get frustrated with a particular exercise or movement they find challenging; or we face resistance when we program an exercise they don’t like or aren’t particularly good at, yet. They get all worked up and say they’ll never get it right. Imagine a first-time golfer hitting the ball, not getting a hole-in-one and saying, “I’ll never be good at golf”!
We all know we have weaknesses, the question is, what can we do about it?
The term weakness tends to have negative connotations, therefore, at GF Fitness we prefer to call it areas for improvement. When we’re addressing an area for improvement, we call it focus work. Immediately there’s a shift in perspective and attitude. There’s no shame if the exercise or movement isn’t performed flawlessly the first time. At the end of the day our clients understand that they can’t control whether they’ll perform the exercise correctly, all they can control is the effort they put in and their attitude whilst performing it.
Face focus work with optimism
Some people immediately drop their heads as soon as they hear they’re doing an exercise that they’re not yet good at. They assume a posture of defeat before they’ve even begun.
If we’re ever going to acquire a skill, we must first believe that we can achieve it in our mind. We should say to ourselves, “The goal is not to get it right first time, the goal is not to be perfect, the goal is to be better by the end of this workout”. If we can approach focus work with this attitude, it’s not a matter of if we’ll acquire the skill but when!
Do specific drills to target areas for improvement
Football players don’t become better by playing a match every day; they practice most of the time and only play a match once or twice per week. If we want to get better at running or squatting, we shouldn’t run or squat every day, instead we should practice and perform specific drills that target the areas for improvement.
For example, a leg swinging out while we run could be caused by a tight hip flexor – if we were to continue running every day, we’d simply reinforce this technique. What we may need to do is take a break from running, allow the hip flexor to rest and recover, and perform specific hip flexor stretches.
Or, if we want to get better at squatting, we could work on our mobility, foot positioning or breathing.
The best advice we can give is to master the basics. The best athletes in the world are always fine tuning their technique; a golfer refining their swing or a sprinter working on getting out of the blocks quicker.
If you’re not a professional athlete, you should be working on all your areas for improvement
The world record for the deadlift is 501kg; Hafthor Bjornsson, the record holder, is a specialist. He is not fussed about getting better at running or golf, his sole focus is to increase his strength to 10/10. Strength is only one of the ten components of fitness, therefore, by this measure he is strong, but not fit.
As for the general population, we are on the other end of the spectrum; we are not specialists, we are generalists. We want to have a good/great score across all the ten components of fitness. This means we should address all our areas for improvement, from stamina, endurance and speed, to accuracy, balance and coordination. As fitness professionals that primarily work with the general population, this is our goal for our clients.
The art is in addressing areas for improvement with the least possible impact on the areas that are already good/great.
Most of us don’t like to do things we’re not good at, so we revert to the same workouts with the same exercises that yield diminishing returns; eventually we get bored, stray off the path, and find ourselves constantly ‘starting over’.
The ‘recipe’ for success has been outlined above, addressing our areas for improvement is not easy, but it’s effective.
Thank you for reading this post
We truly hope that you found this post valuable. If you have any questions or if you’d like to work with one of our experienced personal trainers, please feel free to contact us