First, let me introduce myself. I am a guest of Nathan's here. My name is Paul Vaillancourt. And I am a strongman competitor. I have dabbled in bodybuilding, but it was not very manly. I also started competing in powerlifting this past winter. My wife and I are both full time personal trainers and we own 2 gyms. We train everybody from your out of shape aunt to elite hockey players.
Enough about me, let's talk about training.
Something that's fresh on my mind right now is training atmosphere. I believe it's incredibly important to have a great training atmosphere to find success in the strength game. That doesn't mean you have to train in a dungeon with dirt and heavy iron and heavy metal music. (although these things do seem to help)
I mean having good training partners, having the right attitude and having at least the basics in terms of equipment.
I am grateful to have a super solid group of training partners. Guys that are ready to work hard week in and week out, no matter what. We all share similar goals, we try and bring the best attitude to the training sessions. These things alone have contributed to great success for all of us. We constantly share constructive criticism, act as a second and third set of eyes for technical errors and it's also nice to have some help unloading after heavy deadlifts.
So this is all fine and dandy, we have great sessions, we train in one of my gyms 3 times a week and at another garage gym on Saturdays to practice strongman events.
But do things ever get stale?
Damn right they do.
So what can you do to mix things up, even if you have a great place to train, and a solid crew of training partners?
- Travel to another gym for a change of scenery. Take the whole crew if you can. Try and find a place that will accommodate your training and maybe open you up to some new ideas at the same time. Whether it's a gym or someones garage, a new environment can breath new life into your lifting.
- Bring in a guest training partner that is stronger than anyone else in your crew. This one is sometimes tough to find, but it helps to be humbled once in a while.
- Be a guest in someone Else's training group. You'll pick-up new ideas and following their routine can help you break free of a plateau. Not to mention the PR's that usually occur as you are trying to impress your hosts.
- Train outdoors. Grab your barbell and head to the park. Kettlebells, sled, sandbag, whatever. Get out there and feel the sun on you while you pound out a training session. (note: unless you have an equipped area, outdoor sessions are best for conditioning type training, or complexes etc. This is what I've found anyways)