Adapted from a blog by ERIC CRESSEY, July 1. 2015 “How Much Work Are You Actually Doing?”
Something to think about (both for those who train and for those who don’t have time – read “maybe you do have time”): When you “work”…do you waste time? What’s “work”? Think about Force x Distance. Also consider your load and range of motion….make sure they’re both appreciable. Then take it a step further and work w/out wasting time. Do significant work w/out a lot of standing around.
In the general fitness industry, this is a more common problem than we realize. There are a lot of people struggling to make progress because they think that they train a lot harder than they actually do. No fault of their own, however, as a lot of them have never been taught how much volume and intensity is needed for progress, and even fewer have actually gotten into a training environment that forced them to take on a challenging training program.
So, how do you know if you’re working hard or not? Is it sweat on your shirt, or wobbly legs as you leave the gym? Sure, those are somewhat subjective signs, but they’re a good start.
Speaking more objectively, though, lifters should be able to get in warm-up work and then 20+ sets of mostly compound lifts in 60-75 minutes. And, in most cases (particularly beginner and intermediate lifters), the weight used on these sets should increase from week to week.
If you’re not able to get that much quality work in over the course of that much time, there is a good chance you’re doing too much waiting around between sets, or you’re getting caught up doing some other low-priority training initiative.
From time to time, it’s useful to do a “training audit” to see where you stand on this front. Review your recent programs to see if you’re getting in enough quality work to continue making progress. Even accomplished powerlifters do this and realize that with all the heavy singles and long rest periods, they were actually getting in very little total work in training sessions.
You may also find that you’re doing so much work that you could benefit from a back-off period. That might come in the form of volume, intensity, or frequency reductions. The important thing is that you are cognizant of the hard work it takes to succeed. And, even more importantly, you’ll understand where you are relative to that benchmark.
If you read this article and think it might pertain to your training, take better advantage of your training time…work harder – you’ll see the results. For those of you who don’t have time to “work out”….consider that maybe you do – but you will have to “work”! We’d love to help – it’s our passion!