One of the most overlooked elements of training is learning and practicing new skills or movements.
Most people make the mistake of thinking that the only way to get a good workout is to be left in a big sweaty heap on the floor, so we often neglect learning new and complicated movements for fear of wasting time in the gym.
As children, lots of movements are new, we’re always learning and practicing new skills, but as adults, though we are constantly learning new information, we shy away from developing our physical knowledge.
Skill development is one of three aspects of my own training, along with strength and endurance.
Learning new movements helps stimulate our brain in different ways, laying new neural pathways and challenging the mind and body during their acquisition.
Learning new skills and movements also allows you to expand how you train, which keeps things interesting and also means you can broaden, or narrow your goals based on what you can do.
Skill training can be broken down into three phases.
- Acquisition – break the skill down into it’s components and begin with the simplest component. Devote at least one session a week, or the first 10 minutes of each session you do to practicing those components, until you can successfully do the movement.
- Volume – once you learn the skill, as the saying goes, “you have to use it or you’ll lose it.” Make a point of performing the skill over and over until it get’s easier.
- Intensity – once you’re able to perform the skill for multiple reps you can begin to add intensity. That can mean performing the skill under fatigue, or with load, or use it to learn a new more advanced skill.
There’s oodles of resources available to find new movements and instructions on how to do them, however finding a good coach or trainer that can teach you in person is always the best way to learn new movements.