Previously I talked about training SMART not just HARD but I feel I need to clarify…
YOU DO NEED TO TRAIN HARD
Training intensity is incredibly important and making sure that your training is actually challenging is key to your progress.
However just being hard is not enough – it must also get progressively harder over time.
There are many training variables that you can alter to achieve this, but you must look to make your training gradually more challenging over a given period of time (mesocycle) in order to build muscle, increase strength or improve performance.
An issue I see too often is people looking for the PERFECT program, the best exercise, the most faultless form. All of these are respectable and sensible ideas however all of the most amazing programming and science-based training will do zero for you without correct intensity.
You will always find that person in the gym criticizing the ‘bros’ for cheat curls, ‘skipping’ leg day and not training smart enough. They’re the guy that likes to give you ‘advice’ on your form and why you should be doing something differently. Ironically the ‘bros’ being criticized may not be doing things perfectly but they’re still jacked – whilst Mr. ‘Everything needs to be perfect’ hasn’t ever gotten out of the starting blocks and looks like they’ve never set foot in the gym.
As any of our readers know we are huge advocates of a scientific approach to training, you should follow research, innovations and be smart when planning training, but we are also BIG advocates of working hard.
Some practical things you can do to make sure you’re training hard.
Use RPE or RIR to monitor the intensity of your sets.
Train in a periodised fashion working to build on your previous sessions & cycles
Track and record your training data (don’t go by guess work)
Add a small amount of weight or reps as you move through a training cycle
Work with a good coach or a good training partner to get the best out of your sessions
Be honest with yourself about how hard you are working (this can be a tough one)
Training hard is tough, you may not always enjoy it – by the end of a peaking phase workouts may legitimately feel like they might kill you (as you come close to failure/0 RIR/10 RPE). However if you are smart and you manage fatigue well, you will adapt, recover and improve.
Don’t cheat yourself out of strength, muscle or performance gains by taking the easy road. Anyone who has ever done a session with a decent coach (or been in the middle of a set when your gym crush comes in) will likely say they had more in the tank than they thought or didn’t realise they could lift X or do Y.
Train Smart and Train Hard