Training advice from one of the most iconic, talented and hard working athletes in functional training.
Josh Bridges is a Rehband Athlete that has won three out of five Regionals that he’s entered and holds a career highlight of finishing second at the 2011 CrossFit Games®. He is renowned for his charismatic humour, phenomenal fitness, trojan work ethic and exceptional mental toughness. Josh combines talent with intelligent training and recovery work in a way that has seen him operate as an elite level functional training athlete for many years.
At 33, he shows exactly why training for the long term is so important, and it a clear example of how the right equipment, attitude and dedication to fitness can help anybody achieve their full potential.
Josh’s positive and dedicated mentality is a huge part of his success. The way he simplifies what’s ahead of him can be helpful for you to apply to your own workouts:
“It’s just a workout man, go out there and do it. If you have to put the barbell down for second then put it down and pick it right back up again. I think overthinking can get you caught up in some bad scenarios.”
When you train, and need to take a short rest during a WOD, stay where you are. Don’t turn your back towards the object you are working with. When you are ready, attack it once again.
“I never walk away. I’m never going to rest and walk away from what I’m doing. For me it’s a bit of a defeated posture. It feels like that barbell just beat me and I’m never going to let a barbell and weights beat me.”
Make the hard decisions a habit.
“I could do this which is easier or I could choose that way of doing things which is harder. Once you start to always choose the hard decisions over and over then it stops being a decision and starts to become a habit. Doing one more rep, going the extra mile, adding a little more weight will then become a part of you and who you are.”
“Once you start to make the hard decision every time you start to feel comfortable with the uncomfortable and enjoy what you’re doing. You also become a better athlete.”
Break up Reps
Whenever you are faced with a large number of reps to complete, always break the workout down into smaller manageable chunks. Mentally, this will help to make it a much easier task.
“If I’m faced with a set of 30 I’m gonna do 5 then see how I feel, then I’m gonna do 5 more. Then 5 more. Once I hit 15 it might be starting to hurt so I change the goal to 3, then hit 3 more and so on. All of a sudden I’m at 25 and then it’s only one more, and you can always do one more.”
It doesn’t hurt to run a little bit faster
“A buddy of mine once told me that it doesn’t hurt to run just a little faster – and he was right.”
Keep this phrase in your mind when you train. Can you pick up the pace a tiny bit on longer endurance based workouts? Can you go slightly faster on that long set of burpees or box jumps? Think about improving your performance in fractions, and these will all add up into better overall performances.
On longer endurance based WODs, Josh often wears 3mm Rehband Knee Sleeves to help reduce the shock to his joints.
Josh completes one purely aerobic workout a day, but recommends doing at least one a week, preferably two if you can. This WOD should involve only running, rowing or swimming.
Interval Running Workout from Josh Bridges
Here is an example of one of his aerobic workouts. Give it a try.
“With the running you’re typically giving yourself a little more rest so that you can still get that quality technique and concentrate on breathing and form.”
Josh implements some sort of oddly shaped object and / or strongman based exercises such as tire flips, D ball cleans or atlas stones into his training every day. This is a great way for him to develop strength in new ways.
Make sure you mix things up and step away from the barbell from time to time to see how well you can adapt and learn new skills. This will keep your body guessing and help to show hidden weaknesses as well.
Last year Josh Bridges finished in 13th place at The CrossFit Games® and was the oldest athlete in the competition at 33. He sets long term goals and works towards them with intelligence, planning and stoic dedication.
“Learn to recover better, eat better, don’t be close minded to what works and what doesn’t work. I do acupuncture and I dabble with new methods and try them for myself.”
Josh wears Knee Sleeves to support his movements and provide safety for his joints and tendons. Keeping his knees warm whilst he trains, they also give him feedback whilst he performs during training and competition, allowing him to optimise his performance and protect his body during long, tough workouts.
“Not every day is going to feel like you crushed it. That’s part of the process.”
As an elite level functional training athlete, Josh can often complete as many at 6 workouts in a single day. He makes sure that no matter if a WOD goes well or not, he will go back over his performance in order to draw any conclusions he needs to make and learn from each one. Do the same for your own workouts. Take time after you’ve finished and ask yourself the following questions that Josh uses:
“I analyse these things so that I am better prepared for the next time I train that movement or sequence of exercises and I can see how I can improve it.”
Keep your long-term goals in mind, but always focus on the present.
“If you think too much about what you did yesterday or what you have to do tomorrow then you might back off in certain parts of the workout or slow down. In competition, you can’t be like that, so I always try to train with 100% focus on only what is in front of me.”
“I figure out what I’m going to do, how I’m going to attack it and then just go and do it.”
Josh Bridges frequently uses the saying “pay the man” and it epitomises his trojan work ethic and mentally strong outlook. In order to get what you want, you need to put in the work.
Keep this saying in your mind when you train. Every rep, step, jump, workout and moment of pain is taking you closer to your goal. Success is not owned. It’s leased, and the rent is due every day – So make sure you pay the man every day.
“When that 3-2-1 counts down and the workout starts, I know that I’m going to do what I need to do”
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