If you have the time, I highly recommend this video. It is about the test for 8th dan (eighth degree black belt) in Kendo. I have met prefectural champions, national-level competitors, and high-ranking practitioners of Kendo - have the chance to speak with them was always educational and fun. Of all the martial arts in Japan, Kendo and Kyuudo, are among the very few that have managed to maintain their traditional roots with regard to commitment to propriety, respect, and discipline.
Let me be honest and say that, in my first year at college, I didn't learn a whole lot in the classroom. I was too busy with athletics and doing things I shouldn't have been doing to get overly concerned about something like book-learnin'. There were a few moments and lessons, however, that still stand out and I distinctly remember the grad assistant who led our discussion group for Intro to Microecon talking to us about the law of diminishing returns and marginal utility as applied to beer and (chewing) "gums".
Simply put, the law of diminishing returns is this: the more you "consume" the less and less benefit you derive until, eventually, it begins to affect you adversely. For example, if you decide to start lifting weights, initial benefits from a thrice weekly program reap you great rewards of improved appearance, increased vigor, and reduced stress. Excited by this, you start training four times a week, but the benefits do not rise in direct proportion to the added time. You bump up the training frequency and volume until you are training daily (and sometimes twice a day)... training starts to become an addiction; a chore. What were simply occasional minor aches and pains when you were training intelligently, begin to become chronic conditions. While you used to look energized, you now look haggard. What was once a pleasurable and beneficial activity has become a source of pain and stress.
You can get too much of a good thing. Macros, micros, diets, supplements, exercises, routines, exercises, intensity, volume, density, sitting, squatting, standing, walking, running, you name it - you can have too much of it. Yes, there are keystone exercises and we have talked about them a lot here, but change is good, and change is inevitable. It seems to be a paradox to say that you need consistency AND change to improve, but that's exactly right! Planned, purposeful change will introduce chaos to the system and, as it seeks a new homeostasis, it will adapt, grow, and find increased stability.
I believe that the single-most important ingredient to success in any field is time on task. "Outliers", et. al talk about the magic 10,000 hours. The Talent Code calls this "deep practice". Yes, time on task should be focused, but it doesn't always have to be so - sometimes simply putting in your time is enough.
I think I've mentioned this before but, if you are trying to lose weight, for example, one reason to do an hour or more a day of walking is to keep yourself away from the tube and mindless snacking. The time on task walking equals time OFF task eating, and that is time well spent. In addition, walking is readily accessible, and less likely to severely impact recovery - you can do it more often than, say, burpees...
After seeing, literally, hundreds of people struggling (sometimes unknowingly) with squat form, I decided to create the Squat Rx instructional videos on squat form and training. This blog is meant to be a platform for those videos, and a place of discussion about strength and conditioning issues for coaches, trainers, teachers, athletes, students, and enthusiasts. Posts and articles are meant to provoke thought, inspiration, and reflection.
My athletic background is in gymnastics, Tae Kwon Do, competitive swimming, powerlifting, and kettlebells. I have coached swimming at the age-group, high school, D3, and masters levels, served as a S&C coach at the high school level, and conducted kettlebell workshops and classes for CrossFit, high school students, and personal trainers.
Please leave a comment or a question. Good Squatting!