Home / Coaches Blog / Practice matters: The importance of putting in individual work

It’s a new day and time for a new Wendler Cycle! We love Wendler. We know you know that. And there’s a lot of reasons why that I won’t go into right now. But ask me! I would love to talk your face off about the benefits (as would Tricia).

We’re going to spice things up a bit this time and add in additional components: super sets and accessory work. And your official Birdtown Challenge for the next month is to do that, all of it: the wendler lifts, super sets and assigned accessory work AND all in the assigned week. It’s not flashy. And it may not be the most fun. But gosh darn it it’s good for you. And for a little more on that. . . I give you:
“Practice matters: The importance of putting in individual work” by Carl Smith.

Pullup negatives are boring. And they hurt, no sense in sugar-coating it. Hollow and superman holds even more so. But for the first few months of 2014, any extra time I had after class was spent doing strict pullups, and rocking around on the floor trying to hold hollow position. After that I would end up flailing around on the rings with dreams of muscle ups before giving up and heading home.

Rinse. Wash. Repeat. At least three days a week of working on slow strict pulls and strict dips. It was pretty dull, and it certainly didn’t look impressive. Progress was agonizingly slow as well with trying to increase pullup volume and it felt like I was running in to a brick wall every time I missed on the rings.

It would take four months of work to finally make it happen. April 25th was the big day I finally pulled my way up to the top of the rings. It was absolutely worth all the time I spent pulling, working on position, and moving through the slow negatives.

I would still be without any muscle ups if I didn’t take the extra time to work on them. It meant staying a little after class or coming in early to put in that extra practice time. If you want to hone in on your weaknesses and really improve in specific areas, you need to take the extra time to practice.

Professional athletes spend hours hitting a ball off of a tee, throwing short screen passes, or shooting free throws over and over and over again. Learning new skills and taking a little extra time to specifically practice your weaknesses is what generates progress. We don’t have time in the class hour alone to focus on any given movement multiple times per week. So take some extra time before or after a class to dial in on whatever it is you want to work on.

Practice the burgener warmup with a PVC pipe as a cool down, or work some strict bodyweight movements to build strength and coordination.   Ultimately you have the final say as to how far you want to go with your fitness. Everyone wants to be fit and look like a games athlete, but very few are willing to put in the additional work to improve specific skill sets and focus on the little details that improve performance, prevent injury (healthy shoulders/pull aparts/etc.), and maximize their human potential.

Improving on your weaknesses is often very dull and frustrating. No one enjoys working on boring drills repeatedly for weeks or months on end. But that’s the way to reach your goals. There are no shortcuts, and no magic pills. Put in the extra work, trust the process, and the results will speak for themselves.

Take Carl’s points and back move those thoughts to our regular programming. This month’s challenge: Wendler + supersets paired with assigned core and upper body accessory work. Commit to the work for a month. Do your squats. Stay after and get weird with the pike ups, straddle ups and dragon walks. It’s time consuming. It’s hard. It’s worth it.

May the squats be with you,

<3 Coach Jillian

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