Hi movement folks,
Today I will talk about a hidden principle in skill acquisition: the contextual interference. This one is particularly close to my heart since I am the one who wants his skills available at all times exactly when needed.
It is a way to add variability and adaptability to your trainings. Instead of doing a full exercise and then moving into another, with this one you add all the scenarios you would normally throw in your training soup in a single superset.
I would say it is suitable for everyone who developed a bit of technical competence in some skills.
If you are that person with critically low quality, go back to basic standard consistency work. Please do it, we don’t want to witness weird spraying of cartilage from your patellas.
So, how does it work?
E.g. pick 5 different skills and you train 2 minutes each one while rotating them for 30 mins in total. Easy right? NO, if you find it easy, you have a problem - you choose exercises which are too easy for you. Just make sure you feel confused, under pressure and frustrated. Those are good markers for this kind of training.
The body does not need to reproduce the same pattern over and over again but it needs to produce correct solutions to constantly changing motor problems. To make this clear, Bernstein has referred to this in the past as “repetition without repetition”. Every movement looks similar to the past one, but it is not the same, the body-mind complex needs to recalculate everything through the new constraint.
Just to clarify this whole process I wrote a training you can use as an homework on jumping and accuracy.
Workout: Precision jumping - contextual interference
(to boost retention of the skill and the vision – rationale please step back and let your gut do the calculations)
Remember to minimize the time to stabilization in each landing.
A1. Precision jumping on a wall / bar
A2. Running precision (alternating legs – because you don’t want to be that other guy)
A3. Drop and hold
A4. One leg precision jump
A5. Plyometric precision jump
Go from A1-A5 x 4-8 reps each x 4-8 total sets / rest 180 sec after A5.
We will go from a minimum volume of 80 reps to a maximum volume of 320 reps.
Just to make sure you avoid injuries - stick to these prescriptions coming fresh from the mighty literature on each sessions: 30-80 reps a beginner / 80-120 reps as an intermediate / 120-300 as an advanced. (yes if you cannot sustain 80 reps I don’t think this training is super beneficial for you yet).
Contextual interference has been shown to boost the skill retention and transferability. So I remind you: if you are learning a new skill and you want to learn it quickly, this method is not probably going to be the best fit.
Until the next time,