All I want is your extra time and your...
The things people do in a gym is shocking! Seriously, go to any big commercial gym and just watch. Better yet, watch what some people have posted on YouTube of the "exercise" they do in the gym. You'd think some people are under some kind of spiritual demon control to actually flail, kick, and move in the way they are.
At Fit, often times we intentionally leave a few minutes at the end of a workout for additional work. Sometimes, we will post a “finisher” which is optional but gives you something specific to work on. It’s usually something that needs minimal coaching and teaching and is safe to do on your own. Do three quarter-mile runs with a one-minute rest between each one. Or do 100 kettle-bell swings for time, and every time you have to rest, run 200 meters (how could you forget that one!). Other times, we leave it up to you to work on whatever it is you want -- whether it's on a foam roller, lacrosse ball, or a specific skill you're trying to master (like pull ups, or ring dips).
Let me dig a bit deeper into what you could, or rather, should prioritize if you have extra time after a workout. Here's how I recommend tackling a “finisher”:
First, ask yourself if you accomplished everything you wanted to during the workout. In other words, did the workout kick your butt, and are you satisfied with the stimulus? If so, and you have nothing left to give, then when you're done lying on the floor in bacon-sizzle fashion, just make sure you get up, get your bearings and recover. Once you are able to move again, compression on soft tissue is the best, such as using a foam roller or a soft ball or lacrosse ball. It doesn’t have to be painful, but it should be enough of the right pressure to aid in recovery and loosen up any soft tissue that may feel tight. (Remember, it takes two minutes or more of this soft tissue work in one single location to make any change.)
If you have a little more energy and feel like you need to keep going, try one of these:
- Make your work something that you couldn’t maintain for anything more than one minute (think Assault bike intervals, hill running intervals, or KB Swings).
- Make your movement multi-joint, (not single joint) compound, and big -- something where you could handle heavy loads (think squats, box jumps, pull ups, and deadlifts….not sit ups, hammer curls, and tri-rope pull down) Those have a time and a place, but not if you are looking to get a lot done in a short amount of time.
- Use as little recovery as possible between sets. This will help increase intensity and allow you to accomplish more in less time.
- Get yourself to a place of discomfort. If you want to work, then work. Don’t waste your time in the black hole where you're kind of working, but not really. Working means that what you're doing isn't sustainable for more than one minute.
- If you don’t feel like doing some actual work that's going to be a bit painful, then the best thing to do is work on some skills. Work on your pull up, or lower some rings and spend time on ring dip skills, get out a PVC pipe and dig into your front squat or deadlift. Why work on this stuff when I can be doing sit ups and reverse crunches? I’ll tell you why -- because the extra time you spend on skills will make all the difference in the world when it comes to being more fit.
I hope this give you some guidance as to how you can prioritize your time at the end of a workout (if you have any). Please email me or ask a coach if you need any help figuring out what you should be doing after your workouts.