New Skill = New Challenge

Focused on the horizon of new skill usage.

Over the past few months it’s not a surprise to most that we incorporate a few skill sessions throughout the week. As these are becoming a staple in our weekly programming, it’s important to remember that these are great opportunities to practice, build the necessary fundamentals, or condition certain skills in a controlled setting. But what to do when you’re starting to become proficient with the movement? The next step is to try them out in some workouts!

Today, I wanted to spend some time giving you guys some tips on how to successfully integrate the new skills you’ve been working on into workouts.

Scale. This one shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Although we account for multiple levels of fitness for every workout, sometimes it’s a good idea (especially if you’re starting to throw in your newfound skill into workouts) to cut back on the reps. With this being the case, it’s probably one of the first times you’re trying to test out whatever skill it may be in a more fatigued state compared to our skill sessions. It also adds the effect of other movements contributing to the fatigue, something which you might not have experienced in our regular skill sessions. With that being said, when you start to get a little fatigue going, it becomes important to remember all the foundational work, coaching cues, and skill conditioning you’ve already put in. Although it may be frustrating, most of you work on skills to be able to use them in workouts. This is just the next step down the road of success. It’s going to be a fun new challenge for you and your new skill!

Volume Control. I talked about this with Melia during yesterday’s workout that involved handstand push ups. It’s no surprise that whenever there are handstand push ups in a workout, Melia is always one of the first ones to come up to me after the whiteboard brief to tell me she’s DOING handstand push ups! It’s so great and honestly pretty inspiring to me! Anyway, in this specific example we’ll stick with handstand push ups. Yesterday I had Melia scale the handstand push ups to 9-6-3 instead of the prescribed Adv reps. This gave her a total of 18 handstand push ups over the course of the entire workout. From there I encouraged her to keep track of the total volume of handstand push ups she does in a workout since sometimes we’ll throw out funky rep schemes in order to stay constantly varied, but that still doesn’t change the TOTAL volume. So in order for Melia to sustain a constant progression with her handstand push ups skill, I recommended she always look back, take note of how many handstand push ups she did in the previous workout, then maybe increase the total amount of volume by 3 or 4 reps (or depending on the athlete) and ask the coach how to best incorporate that into the workout of the day.

You can use this method for almost any skill as well. Rope climbs, any sort of muscle up, handstand walk, pull ups, push ups, etc… It doesn’t hurt to keep in mind the overall volume, new skill or old, to give you an idea of how you’re progressing.

Post-exercise Practice. I remember a few years ago when I was learning muscle ups (still am today) that I would try and practice them after any given workout. I wasn’t confident in trying to put them in workouts yet, so I decided to practice them in a more fatigued but still controlled setting as compared to our normal skill sessions before main workouts. A little different then throwing them into workouts because as I mentioned above, you won’t have to worry about other movements effecting the one you’re practicing. Just remember, it won’t be as easy as a “fresh” practice sessions so your foundational work really gets tested once fatigue starts to set in.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that it’s always ideal to have a goal in mind for every workout. If you want to just come in and sweat like I know most of you do, that’s totally fine! Pick a variation of the workout that keeps you moving and keeps that heart rate up leaving you satisfied at the end. If your goal is to finally put your newfound skill to use, then just keep in mind that you may move a little slower than normal. But that’s ok as long as you remember that the purpose is to PRACTICE and IMPROVE your skills. Maybe next time, since we repeat workouts a lot, you can try and move a bit quicker!

Hope this helps, keep practicing those skills everyone! You guys have been crushing it!

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