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Master The Basics And Your Focus

Master The Basics And Your Focus

One of the traps that I often experience new trainees falling for is the lack of focus and attention to specificity. Specificity (meaning you are working towards honing a specific skill) is vital to the success of your strength development. Performance can only come from smart practice which is why I decided to talk about mastering your focus today. Keep on reading if I have your attention and if I don’t then learn to Master Your Focus! 

Don’t Practice The Guitar In Order To Play The Tuba! 

I want you to allow that previous statement to sink in for a second. I mean that statement Don’t Practice The Guitar In Order To Play The Tuba seems like it’s just loaded from one end to the other with common sense, yet when concerning strength and what is done in the weight room so many people try to practice everything except what is needed to get them stronger in a specific area.

In general many folks tend to lack a consistency in their training and as a result end up neglecting key areas in their strength and performance development. It seems this issue is more pervasive these days than most may realize. 

Here’s a solid plan to help you to get specific and to master your focus on strength!

The RKC Book of Strength and Conditioning

Look I understand more than anyone what it’s like to try and feel my way around a weight room. I mean 12 years ago when I was working to assist the strength staff at UGA for the football program I remember sort of having this same feeling the first time I engaged the players on the weight room floor. Boy what an experience that was early on in my career. 

I was a nervous wreck, but I also knew that at the end of the day technique was what was most important, and helping those players to master the basics such as the squat was a very specific movement that suited most all of their athletic needs. Without them developing this as part of their foundation they couldn’t effectively transfer their skills into other areas of their training. 

After all, the only way to improve specific skills is to consistently hone in on how to execute a specific movement and it’s always a good idea to focus on big movements such as the squat to develop a baseline of strength for anyone regardless of their level of athleticism. 

Here’s some serious focus for you to get stronger with bodyweight exercise! 

Pushing the Limits with Al Kavadlo

For me just having enough understanding about strength development to recognize that one element got me a great deal of respect from the young players I was able to work with. Look I’m not trying to pat myself on the back here. I’m just merely trying to make the point that young trainees can often allow themselves to be distracted by what seems to be cool, or by what their best friend is doing in gymnastics class rather than by focusing in on what basics can help them to get to the next level.

Training the basics requires focus and an understanding of what areas of strength will get you the most BANG for your athletic needs. I think the problem for many folks today is that they want to head over to YouTube University to see what the cool exercise of the day is which is generally performed by some professional who has spent years honing his or her skills, yet the young viewer wants to apply the advanced movement to their training arsenal right away. 

Take a minute to check out my colleague and fellow strength coach Zach Even-Esh really summing this problem up nicely when talking about how to increase the 3 basic lifts concerning the bench, squat, and deadlift in the following video. 

As you can see Zach, like me, has evidently figured this out over the years in much of the same way. It’s through experience and learning that specificity is a necessity in the world of strength and performance. The element of specificity is the shining light that should be guiding us in our training journey. This can only be done though if the trainer and trainee slow down long enough to master and apply the basics first. Learn to master your focus if you’re serious about pursuing strength. 

Also remember that you Don’t Practice The Guitar In Order To Play The Tuba! If you want to get better at playing the tuba then play the damn tuba. The same goes for your strength gains my friend. If you want to get strong and hard then you’ve got to deadlift and squat. You can vary how you do it, but you’ve got to do it with regularity, period! 

I hope you enjoyed today’s strength tip of the day. If so then please don’t hesitate to leave your questions and comments in the comment box below. Remember that most anyone can train hard, but only the best train smart my friend. 

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I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. Hey Brandon:

    Solid guidance and I just had this conversation with my Son. Seems he went to the gym today and it was packed with people socializing, hanging out, trying to pick up some hard body girl, doing body weight work of some strange fashion, taking breaks to adjust their iPod … all while occupying a piece of equipment he needed to continue with his work-out. The baseball team was in there as well just eating up space and breathing air.

    His comment was “They had no idea what they were doing, why they were doing it, had horrible form, and it was annoying as hell.” Got it … seems things haven’t changed all that much. My response to him was that he had two more years of college ahead of him and if he checked “those” people out a year from now he would see they had not improved even a little bit.

    Smart exercise is not something that happens as a natural outcome of putting time in. People who do not avail themselves of the many solid instructional programs carried on this site are denying themselves a clear sense of direction and purpose. Those that insist on working out anything less than 100% mentally engaged and focused on the task at hand are cheating themselves. A person puts in the same amount of time whether they do it right or do it wrong. Why do it wrong?

    1. Doc once again you bring up some awesome experience of your own. You are exactly right when explaining the conversation you had with your son. As you know he’s not alone in that boat with experiencing what he did in the weight room with the other people and the baseball team.

      I still witness that very scene today whenever I venture into a health club. Your son is lucky to have your guidance over the years to teach him to focus in on himself when walking in to wrestle with the iron. So many kids today don’t have that and only care about what you just described, or what party they’re going to this weekend rather than lean hard results.

      Thanks again for the endorsement Doc! Keep training smart.

  2. Hey Brandon, I thought I would go back and catch up on some of your other content. This one caught my attention because it’s something I see a lot of. As with the last article of yours that I read, on smartphones, this one pushed my buttons. In fact, they’re totally related. I’m getting to the point where if I didn’t have a phobia about missing some real life emergency, I would just leave my phone at home when working out. Some workouts I like the music too, so I would lose that option, but the distraction of every vibration, ping, ring, or whatever is too much. Then there’s the chatty guy who wants to talk in the middle of my workout. My point is we have enough distractions without the extra stuff. And that’s just the stuff in my head. Trying to get clients to focus is near-impossible. Focus has been my number one focus at the gym lately. I’ve even ended workouts because my head was out of the game. Too much risk. Not worth it. Thanks for another good one.

    1. Hey Adam, sorry for my delayed response here. I’m usually a lot quicker on the draw so once again I’m sorry for that. Regardless you are correct. You are hitting on the same things that I’m getting at. I believe distractions are just so prevalent on so many levels these days that people have lost sight of what a distraction actually is.

      I’ve got to say I really liked your line where you said that lately your focus was your number one focus. That is the key. Please don’t be a stranger. Thanks again for your feedback! Stay strong my friend.

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