When it comes to building strength, muscle or developing power or speed we all know the basic training fundamentals, well come to think about it... maybe we don't, lets quickly recap..
Frequency - Make sure that you are training the area you wish to improve frequently.
Variation - Mix up the way in which you target the areas you with to improve.
Consistency - Stick to a plan over a long period of time (16 weeks plus is a good start).
Intensity - Don't always go crazy, but intensity is needed to force adaptation and growth.
Progressive Overload - Over time look to improve the Volume, Load, Speed etc..
Nutrition - Maintain a calorie surplus, time nutrition around training and eat enough quality protein to repair the muscles you damage during training.
This is what any personal trainer 'should' tell you and if they don't well now you know. You're welcome! feel free to send me a few quid. What they should also be telling you is that included within those 6 fundamentals should be 'sleep' and 'mobility' and here's why...
Although obvious, getting enough sleep has profound effects on the bodies ability to develop muscle. The various chemical reactions that take place, the complete state of relaxation and a break from the stresses of everyday life are the obvious takeaways here. The main issue with sleep is that most of us are not aware of how much sleep we are getting or even need but also we often don't get the quality of sleep required to match our training intensity. This inevitably leads to injury, over training or general frustration at a lack of progress.
The top 3 ways to increase the quality of sleep in my opinion are very simple. No phone up to 60 minutes before going to bed, Sleep in a completely dark room and don't eat processed sugars or food high in quick release energy or caffeine before going to bed.
Although these 3 things may seem obvious you will be surprised at just how difficult they are to adhere to even once. The next time you go to bed, ask yourself have you managed to do even one of them? Most of us have a cup of tea or sweet treat before bed, then spend 30 minutes on social media before going to sleep in a room thats dimly lit. Give it a try and I promise that the effects it will have on not only your training but your meed and overall productivity levels will be great.
Two of the biggest crimes in the gym are not preparing for your session properly and not developing your mobility generally. Let me be very clear. Nobody should walk into the gym and immediately start lifting weights. The argument of "you don't see lions warming up before the go sprinting after a deer" is both ridiculous and irrelevant. Yet somehow tends to be the most common. We as 'humans' need to to warm up properly because believe it or not "you don't see lions sitting in an office or eating McDonalds either".
Developing joint mobility and muscular flexibility generally will allow greater range of movement through most exercises. The benefit of this is being able to work a muscle through a greater range of movement. This will increase the workload that is possible in any exercises as well as reducing the potential for injury.
Before you tough a weight each session, there is a really simple check list to go through... It's called RAMP.
Raise your heart rate, and increase your body temperature to increase potential ROM.
Activate the muscle groups you plan to use through easy movements.
Mobilise your joints to create free movement paths (Hips, Knees, shoulders etc)
Potentiate for each exercise using light or bodyweight sets before getting stuck in.
See? Easy! Now that you have the tools to further unlock your potential go and do some mobility and have a good nights sleep.
I understand that I am very much oversimplifying these issues and if you have any questions on these please feel free to get in contact and I would be happy to help out in any way that I can.