The Key to Building Multiple Skills: Cycling

Learning new skills and building  new habits is a lot like juggling. The more balls in the air at once the harder it is to succeed. You want to build a new habit, right? Focus on one change and nail it for two weeks. Once you hit it consistently for two weeks, add another habit. If you added 5 habits in one go, chances are by the end of the two weeks you’ll have maintained none.

Training is no different. You want to get a handstand, a muscle up, the side splits and a double bodyweight deadlift. All worthy goals but, working on them all simultaneously is damn near impossible. This is where cycling comes in. With cycling you narrow your focus to one skill and work on it until it is at a competent level. Once you reach that point you then switch it to the back burner and focus on your next skill.

An example of this from the four goals above would be starting with the handstand. Lets say your primary goal is to get a 10 second free standing handstand. You work on it for 3-6 months depending on where you’re at and eventually hit your goal. Once you hit it you can scale back on the frequency (so you go from 6 days a week to 3 days) and switch your focus to the muscle up. Again after assessing where you’re at you narrow your focus and work on the muscle up for another training block until you feel proficient at it.

How to Start With Cycling?

Step 1: What is Your Goal?

The first step is to find out what you’re primary goal is. I had a conversation with a friend recently about his training. He was trying to decide what to focus on. On one hand he wanted to improve his flexibility and deepen his yoga practice as he is planning on going to India later in the year. One the other hand he wanted to get stronger and put on lean muscle with strength training. He also wanted to play soccer 2 days a week.

To hit all of these goals at once is impossible. What generally ends up happening are one of the following.

  1. We get injured due to over training.
  2. We get fed up because we don’t seem to be excelling in any of the activities we are doing.
  3. We get overwhelmed by all the things we have to do and quit.

After some discussion he decided that Yoga was his primary concern and goal. So now he’s focusing on Yoga three to four days a week and nothing else. He feels much better, not as stressed and his practice is improving.

Find out what and why your goal is your goal.

An easy way to do this is ask yourself why? Why do you want to do a handstand/muscleup/lose 20lbs?

Step 2: Apply the AAA framework

This is a system we use at GMB. AAA stands for Assess, Address, Apply.

Assess

Lets say your goal is the 10 second handstand. First we assess where you’re at physically. You may have shoulder restrictions that make it difficult to get your arms over head. You may have a weak core or you may not be strong enough to hold yourself upside down.

Address

The next step is to address what restriction you have. So you may need to work on shoulder mobility for a few weeks before its safe for you to practice a full handstand.

Apply

Once the restrictions have been addressed next step is to apply this to help you move in the direction of reaching your goal.

If you don’t know here you are and need help to map out the path shoot me an email to book a complimentary coaching call.

Step 3: Trust the Process (You Won’t Lose Your Gainz)

Taking 6 months off certain movements is not going to destroy your progress or gains. The most important thing is being okay with letting go of certain movements if they are not the primary focus for your current goals.

As outlined above you can’t do everything at once. A lot of times when you leave a movement for a while and come back, sometimes you can explore it in a different way as a result of the new skills you have acquired.

Every day I see something cool on Instagram that makes me second guess myself. “Maybe I’ll add that into my training, it looks cool!” The issue here of course is that very soon my program will be full of all this random cool stuff but that’s it. The original structure and pathway will be gone and so the chances of me successfully improving on any of the skills diminish.

This is why it’s important to have a strong why behind your goal. This will keep you on track and following the program regardless of how many cool things you see on social media.

Wrap Up

This is the part of training I have struggled with the most and it’s why I worked with a coach when I got to Melbourne last year. I had too many things I wanted to achieve but no roadmap as to how to achieve it. Having someone to help map out your goals and then putting you on the correct path is one of the most beneficial parts of coaching. If you feel like this please contact me with your queries. I’d be happy to help.

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About The Author

Conor

I am a wellness coach from Ireland currently based in Melbourne Australia. I love teaching and learning about physical autonomy and sustainable lifestyle habits.

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