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> Improving Physical Performance, What Works for Me
Ben Higgins
post Jul 25 2015, 03:56 PM
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I get a lot of comments on my speed picking video talking about various ways of improving speed & stamina - or what I'm going to refer as to physical performance. One thing I see is that there is a lot of people who still swear by the method of cycling licks slowly over the metronome and then only increasing when they feel they have mastered the speed they are at.



The metronome incremental speed increase may indeed work and, who knows, may actually be the most efficient way of doing it. We'll never know because there's no data and probably never could be. All we have is individual people's personal testimonials.

And here's another one - mine!

I'm looking at doing my first half marathon later this year so I've been upping my running training recently after some time off due to injury. Increasing mileage kind of requires a similar approach to someone getting into running for the first time. You'll be mixing up running and walking. The walking breaks serve as a breather and for you to stop your muscles working at a higher rate, thus stopping too much of a lactic acid build up. Better to take the break before you get burned out, rather than wait until you've pushed yourself to empty and then hope you get some steam back during the walk.

Some people offer technical guidelines to follow involving time / distance etc but in truth, the most useful thing you can do is learn to listen to your body. You can feel when your muscles are getting tight and tired. You can feel when you can't breathe, right? So the answer is to push yourself comfortably and back off before you use up all your reserves, giving you an opportunity to push again after a short break.

Sound like guitar playing?

Remember what I said about using speed bursts to build stamina and quicker reflexes? If you tried to pick constantly at 180bpm you'll burn out but how about a cluster of notes at 180bpm followed by a break for a count of 4, then another cluster? Or you could dispense with exact times and just push for a speed burst when you feel sufficiently rested enough. Listen to how you feel.

Establish that connection between your body and your decisions and I believe it will allow you to train safer, for longer and, not only that, you'll trust yourself more too.

This is just a testimonial, there's no proof, only what you see!

If you wondered why I'm not keen on the metronome thing it's because focusing on numbers provides a mental obstacle to overcome. Let's say you're at 70bpm and have been for 2 weeks. After a while, all you can think is "When will I get to 75? Or "Can I?". And let's also say that you start your warm up at 60bpm and go up in 5bpm increments until you reach your previous 'best'. Well, what if you're slightly shaky that day and start to feel 'off' at a lower tempo than the tempo your previously managed? To me, that is a confidence sapper right there and you do not need that.

Lose the numbers and instead let your physicality do the talking. You'll not know how fast or how long you did something previously so you won't have a target to beat. This takes off a lot of the pressure and allows you to focus on pushing yourself in the manner described above. Safely and naturally, all while listening to your body's feedback and practising according to how much energy you've got that day, how tired etc, not by what the numbers on the metronome say.


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bleez
post Jul 25 2015, 06:21 PM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Jul 25 2015, 03:56 PM) *
If you wondered why I'm not keen on the metronome thing it's because focusing on numbers provides a mental obstacle to overcome. Let's say you're at 70bpm and have been for 2 weeks. After a while, all you can think is "When will I get to 75? Or "Can I?". And let's also say that you start your warm up at 60bpm and go up in 5bpm increments until you reach your previous 'best'. Well, what if you're slightly shaky that day and start to feel 'off' at a lower tempo than the tempo your previously managed? To me, that is a confidence sapper right there and you do not need that.

Okay, so that's my approach ^^^ I do all of that exactly, including the losing confidence part when I dont quite play as well as my best and when Ive been stuck at a certain tempo for way longer than I 'feel' I should be ( based on no science whatsoever!! )

so with your approach do you still use a metronome? for example - If I have a lick I can play at say 75bpm and the target is 90, is it a case of playing it a 75 for a short burst then dropping the tempo and then playing again at 75?


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Ben Higgins
post Jul 26 2015, 10:39 AM
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QUOTE (bleez @ Jul 25 2015, 05:21 PM) *
Okay, so that's my approach ^^^ I do all of that exactly, including the losing confidence part when I dont quite play as well as my best and when Ive been stuck at a certain tempo for way longer than I 'feel' I should be ( based on no science whatsoever!! )

so with your approach do you still use a metronome? for example - If I have a lick I can play at say 75bpm and the target is 90, is it a case of playing it a 75 for a short burst then dropping the tempo and then playing again at 75?


You can still use a metronome for this approach, yes. You can just gauge yourself how tired your forearm is getting and let off the throttle to give it a break before it gets too tired.

That way you don't get too obsessed by being able to stick at a personal best bpm because you're just spending a short, manageable amount of time on the different speeds.


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bleez
post Jul 26 2015, 08:34 PM
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Im gonna give that a try duder. Usually I just work up to my top speed and stay there until it gets really dodgy.

good luck with the running smile.gif Id be interested to hear how you progress with your training.
Ive always been tempted to venture into the marathon areas myself. I quite enjoy 'long' distance runs. That said, the longest time Ive ran for is only about an hour. I dont know the distance as it was cross country around a big hill, not exactly Paula Radcliffe material but I enjoyed the brutality of it cool.gif

This post has been edited by bleez: Jul 26 2015, 08:34 PM


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Ben Higgins
post Jul 27 2015, 06:47 PM
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QUOTE (bleez @ Jul 26 2015, 07:34 PM) *
Im gonna give that a try duder. Usually I just work up to my top speed and stay there until it gets really dodgy.

good luck with the running smile.gif Id be interested to hear how you progress with your training.
Ive always been tempted to venture into the marathon areas myself. I quite enjoy 'long' distance runs. That said, the longest time Ive ran for is only about an hour. I dont know the distance as it was cross country around a big hill, not exactly Paula Radcliffe material but I enjoyed the brutality of it cool.gif


Yes, go for it smile.gif

Thanks.. I've got my eye set on further distances. Tbh, I don't want to to jinx it by saying it out loud but I'd love to eventually venture into ultra run territory. It just massively appeals to me, the extremity of it.

I haven't run longer than an hour myself either... I do about 6ish miles maybe in that time. I'm not fast. We're at a similar level so maybe we'll find ourselves on some silly run together in the future!?! rolleyes.gif


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bleez
post Jul 27 2015, 07:23 PM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Jul 27 2015, 06:47 PM) *
Thanks.. I've got my eye set on further distances. Tbh, I don't want to to jinx it by saying it out loud but I'd love to eventually venture into ultra run territory. It just massively appeals to me, the extremity of it.

I haven't run longer than an hour myself either... I do about 6ish miles maybe in that time. I'm not fast. We're at a similar level so maybe we'll find ourselves on some silly run together in the future!?! rolleyes.gif


LOL! Ultras are exactly what interests me about running biggrin.gif . At the moment I have the unwarranted confidence of the untested but I totally see myself hitting the wilderness trails of an ultra for 70+ miles, I can already run an hour so I just need to do that another 24 times in a row, Im sure it will be fine! rolleyes.gif

If by some bizarre coincidence we happened to be in the same run I could shadow you for hours asking you questions about how to play fast and how long it will take for me to shred....... wouldn't that be fun for ya biggrin.gif
There used be an ultra up here called the 'great glen death march' I wanted to sign up for that one based on the name alone. Probably just as well I decided to wait a bit.


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You say 'minor pentatonic ' like it's a bad thing
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Ben Higgins
post Jul 28 2015, 08:00 PM
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QUOTE (bleez @ Jul 27 2015, 06:23 PM) *
If by some bizarre coincidence we happened to be in the same run I could shadow you for hours asking you questions about how to play fast and how long it will take for me to shred....... wouldn't that be fun for ya biggrin.gif
There used be an ultra up here called the 'great glen death march' I wanted to sign up for that one based on the name alone. Probably just as well I decided to wait a bit.


Haha.. yes, I'm sure I would love to use up my valuable oxygen talking about guitar playing!! laugh.gif

I was on a loaded march during army training and the dude next to me started asking me about my guitar teaching job. I said "Tbh, mate, I really don't wanna f***** talk right now!" rolleyes.gif

This post has been edited by Ben Higgins: Jul 29 2015, 09:19 AM


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