Written by Nick Faircloth
Published on Thursday, 13 August 2009
Since I began training, I have noticed a few things which set some apart from others, allow some to advance while others stay where they have been month after month. One of these all-important things is goal-setting. Believe it or not, setting a few realistic goals along with a schedule can make a world of difference in the way you train.
After the latest blog and forum posts, I’m sure there are many members of NCParkour who feel intimidated by the emphasis being put on physical conditioning, or who feel that no matter how much they exercise, they aren’t improving technically. This article is mainly for them, but hopefully others can take something away from it.
Now remember, we are doing this conditioning for a reason: to increase our physical parkour ability. So if you want to be better at a given technique, set goals accordingly. You can do all the push ups you want, but if you can’t get to the top of a wall they won’t help a bit. You can do all the squats in the world, but if you have no muscular coordination or balance, you will never get that rail precision. In one of Bao’s previous blog posts, he put it this way: “…the big dyno is a result of pull-ups, a high monkey from tuck planches, far precision through squats, etc.” These are great examples of useful goal-setting.
Say that I am completely new to the discipline. I’m in alright shape, but nothing special. My maximum amount of pulls is 6. A realistic goal, then, is to increase my maximum amount to 10 within a month. Give yourself enough time to do it, but make sure to limit your time. That way, you will force yourself not to procrastinate, and you will actually see results. This can be applied to literally any type of exercise. Once you get in the habit of setting goals for yourself, you can take on multiple goals at a time, and you will see results even faster. The real key here is knowing what you can realistically do, as well as managing your time wisely.
The training logs on the forums are a great tool to keep track of your goals and get feedback. Personally, I keep mine in a folder on my desktop. However you choose to keep track of them, make sure to update them regularly and keep pushing yourself. As an example, here is my list of goals for September:
1 min. 30 second horse stance
1 min. tuck planche
5 muscle ups in a row
dragon flag, 1 rep (similar to a body lever, but a bit easier)
As of right now, my progress is as follows:
1 min. 20 second horse stance
37 sec tuck planche
3 muscle ups in a row
dragon flag: I can go about two thirds of the way down, then I collapse.
As you can see, I am pretty close to having reached my goals, with over three weeks to go. When I realize this (which is literally right now for me haha), I should do one of two things: make my goals more difficult, or make the deadline closer. The rationalization behind this is that if I have three weeks in which to make relatively easy progress, I may end up procrastinating and failing some of them.
In this case, I’m going to increase the difficulty of the goals slightly. I’m going to up the horse stance to 1 minute 45 seconds, because that is the goal I am closest to. I don’t want to focus on one goal to the exclusion of others. In this way, I will continue to challenge myself, and I will see results in my training.
Goals do not have to be related solely to conditioning outside of training. Acceptable goals could also be “that huge rail precision” or “that 12-foot wall that was just built.” It takes literally two seconds to come up with goals (I just made those up) and they can help immensely.
Lastly, “working up” to things is a corollary to goal-setting. If you can’t get a high wall during your training, work on slightly smaller walls until you can. If you can’t get that 7 ½ foot precision, do the 7 foot one till you can. All this part takes is a little common sense and dedication. Safe training 🙂