Training that utilizes a mind-body connection can grant you the freedom of possibility needed to leap gracefully over physical and mental challenges. Accessing this mind-body connection inside each of us, is a unique and authentic experience that can provide insight, especially when overcoming obstacles. I recently went through a mind-body shift that helped me to recognize how my physical body's performance and exercise output, was directed by my perspective on the requirements needed for my TACFIT Team Leader physical test. This powerful shift was developed through a combination of willpower, action in training, support from my coaches, and encouragement from my teammates and community.
Facing 50 pull-ups, 50 revolving box jumps, 100 35 lbs. clubbell clockwork squats, and 25 consecutive single-arm 35 lbs. kettlebell push presses sounded ridiculous to me at first. Challenge: yes. Fun: yes. Achievable: maybe?
Addressing Challenges Head On
Going into this test, I knew I’d have to address several muscular imbalances and cumulative injuries that I had developed over the years. I have had a lododic tendency (arching of the lower back) that has expressed itself in jump squats. I have experienced muscular imbalance in my lunge lift. This was expressed in tightness in my right glute; weakness in my left glute; tightness in my left psoas; and weakness in my right psoas. I also had a micro-tear in the supraspinatus of my right shoulder, with capsular thickening. Further, several of the things I’d be tested on weren’t currently in my programming. I had never attempted to swing more than 25 lbs. laterally, and overhead load was something I had not been training. Maintaining my mind-body integrity was fundamental in overcoming these challenges in a safe manner.
I needed to correct all of these issues, and master some new techniques if I wanted to do well on my TACFIT Team Leader exam. This would have been less of a challenge if it were my only area of focus. During this time, however, I was also preparing for a dance battle, and I was directing my first dance piece for Ladies Adios. As life would have it, I also broke up with my fiancé & boyfriend of 3.5 years.
Some of you are probably wondering: what was I thinking, trying to accomplish all of these goals, all at once? Mastering movements I’d never trained before; beginning a creative project that drained me of energy and sleep (you creatives know what I’m talking about); and dealing with all of those muscle imbalances... Well my people, I live an evolved life of calculated risk taking and uncertainty. This is what keeps me motivated, driven, and excited!
Setting Realistic Goals and Creating a Plan
Although my mastery benchmarks were far from my current strength training abilities, I prevailed with programing and mapping. Initially, my program requirements from my coach were 2 weekly, two-a-day workouts, for 3 months. These workouts cycled through 5-6 exercise protocols. I performed with the best technique I possibly could.
The purpose of this programing was to train at a high capacity in preparation not only for my TACFIT Team Leader test, but also to be prepared for two full 9-hour days in workshops and seminars. I utilized my coach for the program, three interactive video coaching calls, and periodic coaching check-ins. I sent my coach videos of my progress, and I requested videos for clarity on movement refinement. One simply cannot underestimate the value of a good coach.
In the process, I trained alone. This kept me introverted in my newfound developments, without any overloading on external influences.
There were 3 things that kept me driven to stay active and on target:
(1) my desire to achieve the benchmark requirements,
(2) my never-ending quest for feeling and being better,
(3) my integrity. This means following through, and doing the training that I committed to.
Looking Forward to the Future
I haven’t hit all of my goals yet, but I am getting closer. In three months, I was able to perform 20 pull-ups. I can now do 100 clockwork clubbell swings with 35 lbs. I stay springy and maintain proper movement patterns in revolving box jumps.
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Today's focus on jump squats with spring and stabilization. To perform correctly, you must propel body into space while also engaging at peak moments. Here, stabilizing and coiling feet and hips into loaded squat, then Launching up and off feet into space. THEN reloading hips at top, slightly thrusting hips forward to engage glutes, core, and ensure pelvis is in neutral. As you can see I need work. My power leakage happens up top when my lumbar spine goes into extension and I loose force production in low abs and butt. Also, absorbing back down as I recoil to connect to ground. I stop when I'm trying too damn hard to get it right and it's not happening. #lordosisproblems #jumpsquats #athletictraining #TACFIT #tacticalathlete
I am still working on building my structure to fulfill the test requirements, and I am confident that I can do this because of my ability to follow through.
Believe me when I say this: you will excel beyond your current potential if you balance your mental and physical capabilities. For me, this is about receiving programing from master coaches who stand for me. Also, my achievements are about the actual time spent in training, utilizing the integrity of the program designed for my body. This knowledge that I've gained, is knowledge that I can now share with my clients.
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Pull Up work! Let's activate this one from the floor! For anyone trying to master the pull-up from a dead hang. Try the praying mantis for optimal serratus anterior, lat, and core strength. *Not filmed option to keep legs fully extended as you draw elbows down and in toward center. #pullupprep #pullups #activationdrill #corestrength #groundup #prayingmantis
A very special thank you goes out to my Coach and guide Emily Fisher, TACFIT Team Leader, Co-creator of Clubbell Athletics, and CST Coach; Scott Sonnon, TACFIT/RMAX International founding Director; Alberto Gallazzi, EU International and TACFIT Military Division Chief; my TACFIT/RMAX International Team Leader and Coach community around the world; and to the Pongo Power Personal Trainer community and Coaching Staff.