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Competitive athletes periodize their training into blocks. The off-season typically provides an opportunity to shore up weaknesses.

In 2020, COVID has changed training accessibility for many people — not to mention surprise zingers like air quality due to forest fires. How can the off-season tactic be applied in regular life?

Attack a Weak Point

Most of us know our weak points. Typically, it’s what we mumble that we “should” work on, and then promptly ignore… unless maybe it comes back to bite us hard.

If you don’t know what would give you the best bang for your buck, I suggest that you read through my series on aging well, which starts here. Give yourself a benchmark for each of the six things that I propose we should all be able to do– in some form at least — up until the week that we die. Then see what your worst ones are, and what your most limiting factor is. There’s your “should.”

Finding the “Why” for Your “Should”

A big one for me personally is mobility / joint stability. I used to think of that realm as, okay, somewhat necessary to support my life goals and strength training.

Then I spoke with Leanne Kedrosky about how she had achieved her double-bodyweight deadlift –  and made it look perfect! Almost as an afterthought to the training discussion, she tacked on, “…and my joints are healthy.”

Mic drop.

Which is why I am now already taking her second course module, and diving deep into more mobility knowledge. (You’ll start to see more of this incorporated into my own mobility classes. Unwind on-line  run on Monday and Thursday evenings for a half-hour at 6:30 pm PST).

Keep Some Fun in the Work

The feeling of “look what I can do now!” gives a great dopamine hit. Who knows, once you dive more deeply into your previously-snubbed weakness(es), you may be surprised that you end up really enjoying it!

If you need a little more of a boost to stay on track, bring in outside reinforcements.

  • Get a friend on board with regular check-ins, or even better, meet-ups.
  • Find a treat to reward yourself for putting in the work:
    • Rewards usually work better when they’re not results-based, but effort-based.
    • They don’t have to cost money.
    • It’s also best for most people to stay away from rewards that have any calories in them.
    • Maybe it’s as simple as some ego-boosting stickers on the calendar each day that you do what you’re supposed to.
    • The gift of leisure time can be an enormous one! For example, I’ve had one client reward herself with trips to the library without her kid in tow so she could just take the time to browse.
  • Contact me for support, be it classes or one-on-one.

Back to the On Season

I am personally finding that the more I do them, the less onerous these zombie-style front squats are getting. I’m looking forward to discovering how they will affect my back squats when I return to competition prep.

Just respect that with increased mobility, for example, movement patterns may require some slight tweaks or adjustments. If you are returning to an “on” season, don’t rush back to the exact same volume as you had before.

Then, once your foundations are super solid, go for it and dial up the intensity!