In many strength-training circles, there is quite a bit of prejudice for any sort of vanity training; any sort of training chiefly aimed at making you look better.
Almost whenever you bring up the idea of aesthetics, you get chuckles and guys scoffing at you. This is generally because too many have decided to fight the “ABC” crowd with a defiant stance at the opposite end of the spectrum.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, “ABC” stands for “Always Bench and Curl.”
We’ve all seen those guys in the gym, right? Every time they come in, it’s benching and curling. Curling and benching. That’s all they ever do.
This has led some guys – especially those concerned mainly about training for performance – to be very anti-vanity/anti-aesthetic (especially biceps/curls) training. If it’s not there to improve your performance, then it’s worthless.
I just don’t understand this. In fact, I think it’s counter-productive.
Now, I’m not saying that your workouts should (necessarily) center around bodybuilding only, and your only goals should be how you look in the mirror. After all, none of us here are sliding on posing trunks and hopping on stage under the lights anytime soon.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t throw in a few sets of curls (or whatever else vanity work) at the end of a workout now and then to help round out or improve your physique.
There’s nothing wrong with feeling good about how you look with your shirt off or being confident in your physique. And doing a little extra vanity work can improve that.
In fact, it can even help you out in the cage. Don’t believe me?
There’s a strength coach in Arizona by the name of Jay Schroeder. Jay doesn’t have a huge following, but he’s most well-known for taking former NFL defensive back Adam Archuleta and turning him into a first round draft pick with his performance at the combine. Jay has gone on record as saying that most of the programs contain at least some small amount of vanity work.
This is because vanity work can help an athlete look better. And more often than not, when they look better, they feel better. And when they feel better, they perform better.
So while the workouts don’t center around vanity work, there is indeed a place for a little bit of it.
You can – and probably should – look at your workouts the same way.
Center your workouts on improving performance and GPP (general physical preparedness) qualities like strength, explosiveness, aerobic capability, and so on. But don’t be afraid to throw some extra stuff in there just to help you look good.
Because if looking good can help you feel good, then you’ll probably perform better on the mat and in cage as well.
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Before you go to the gym again, you owe it to yourself to find out what kind of MMA workout pro fighters, boxers, recreational MMAists, or just the “regular guy” who wants to be in shape like his favorite fighter *should* be doing. (HINT – it’s not the crap you see in the magazines.)
To discover the truth, hit up Wiggy at www.workingclassfitness.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/matt.wiggy.wiggins, and follow him on Twitter @WiggyWCF.
(Physical exercise can sometimes lead to injury. WorkingClassFitness.com and MMAWeekly.com are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or fitness advice. Please consult a physician before starting any exercise program, and never substitute the information on this site for any professional medical advice or treatment you may receive or the assistance of a fitness professional.)