I was emailing a soldier friend of mine the other day, and we were talking about training. He has had a history of low back injuries and shoulder issues. He was saying that he has started to train for bike racing, but that his strength has taken a hit with all the riding. I told him that was no big deal, that he should train twice a week as heavy as he can, try to maintain, but that riding is his priority, and that is good.
Why is it good? Because I am firmly convinced that periods of hard training where weights are number one should be alternated with periods where weights aren't the priority. Of course you still train, (everybody knows that), but your new activity takes priority. This accomplishes a few things:
1. If you are the type of person that can't take a break from weights because it makes you feel soft and weak, you have permission mentally to kick butt in another activity. You are still training hard, just in something else. It's mental, and it works.
2. I think it increases your longevity in regard to lifting. You can't stay foot down on the accelerator all the time, so backing off may reduce those little injuries that pop up when your brain and body get a little stale. Lets say that you are boxing, for example. You train boxing for 6 weeks and you jump rope and shadow box and hit the mitts and you still get in the weight room a few times a week but the weight training is fast and you are in and out after a half hour. Then after your six weeks is up, you go back to a heavier lifting schedule. This can be done 2-3 times a year. Change the activity- kickboxing, bike riding, a Spartan Race, or maybe you want to break your old mile time or a 40 yard sprint time. Have fun with it.
You can also switch up your training in the weight room if training for another activity isn't your cup of tea. If you are a powerlifter, try some bodybuilding and high reps. And bodybuilders can try some powerlifting or olympic lifting. How about bodyweight training? Dips, Chins, walking lunges, burpees, all done outside in the fresh air.
We all know that everything in this game is mental and if you change it up and then go back, you feel refreshed and motivated.