We did an episode on calling your own bullshit, but this one is gonna hit a little different. You may feel called out, and it isn’t because we’re shaming anyone, it’s because we really want everyone to think about it. Are you really working hard in the gym? Are you doing the things that are going to get you to your goals? Well, we’re gonna ask you some questions and let you answer yourself. Push it. Push it good.
HOW DO YOU FEEL DURING A WORKOUT?
The majority of our main topics today are going to be very specific to what your goals are, so, as always, your mileage may vary, but your answers are probably going to be widely different than the people sitting next to you. And when you’re thinking about these things, only consider what YOU are wanting out of your workouts.
- Firstly, most workout sessions should not leave you feeling nauseated or complete exhaustion. That doesn’t mean don’t work hard.
- As you hopefully have picked up on, you should be doing workouts that you will consistently keep showing up for. Something that you enjoy. With some movements mixed in here and there that you hate, but realize will help you get to your goals.
- One of the keys to pushing yourself harder is overcoming the mental game.
- A lot of times, we push ourselves to what we think our limit is or to what we perceive we are capable of and then don’t go above that threshold.
- Pushing yourself requires one to get comfortable with discomfort. Think of it this way, most of us hate Bulgarian split squats. I don’t know about you, but in the past, I would grab lighter weights and just do them as quickly as possible to get them done. That isn’t necessarily yielding any super great results from the movements.
- Sometimes you have to embrace the suck, and the pain cave, slow down your movements and get your reps in, regardless of how much you want to stop. (That’s that discomfort we just mentioned)
- Sometimes it helps me to flip the script. Yes this sucks, but think about the gains you’re going to be building by pushing through the shit. Even if that means my legs are noodles at the end.
- One reminder: if something physically hurts and you know something is not right, do not push through that.
ARE YOU DOING YOUR MOVEMENTS JUST TO GET THEM DONE?
Guilty! I used to do this ALL OF THE TIME. Movement is fantastic, no matter how you slice it. But if your goals are build muscle, this probably isn’t the best way to do this whole lifestyle thing you’ve adopted. We have all been guilty of this, so don’t you dare lie to yourself right now.
- We’re not talking about those days that happen when you just don’t feel like doing the gym that day. This does happen, and that’s ok, but that isn’t what we’re talking about here
- What we ARE talking about is this: blowing through a workout, at weight that is not challenging to you at all, simply to get them done… and I don’t know about you, but when I did this, I would then get pissed because I wasn’t seeing the progress I was expecting. “I’m doing the work, what the fuck?!”
- You probably know by now what challenging weight feels like. If you are easily completing 10-12 reps and you don’t feel any strain at all…. you probably can bump that weight up. If that still isn’t challenging you, go up again. See what we’re getting at here?
- The other thing is this: we can grab those lighter weights and rush through our movements, but how does that form look?
- From experience, when I rush through movements, my form is trash. Which just further compounds seeing less results and could hurt you. Form trumps everything else.
- We’re not talking about getting or going for PRs every single time you hit the gym. We’re talking about going through your movements, with good form. Adding weight when it isn’t challenging you, WITH good form. You should feel like you only have 1 or 2 reps (3-4 on a deload week) left in the tank at the weight you’re currently using, if you are looking for a barometer.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOUR TRAINING GETS STALE?
There are a few different ways you can add variety to your training without blowing up your entire current plan. How so? Tempo, unilateral, banded work… let’s discuss, shall we?
- Tempo training, it’s just what it sounds like — using tempo to manipulate your training.
- Tempo training is all about moving slowly and under control. Instead of somewhat mindlessly moving through your reps, you’ll be breaking each movement down into its fundamentals: an eccentric portion, a concentric portion, and two isometric portions in between (one at the top and one at the bottom of the lift).
- Each portion of the lift is assigned its own number, corresponding to how many seconds that part of the lift will take you.
- You need to go lighter than usual for tempo training because when you slow down the movement, you’re adding more time under tension, it’s a trade-off.
- Unilateral training, you train each side independently.
- Want a strong core? Do some single-limb exercises! Studies have found unilateral exercises activate the muscles of the superficial core more effectively than bilateral exercises.
- Single-leg exercises recruit the deep stabilizers of the hip and core to improve our balance.
- Similarly, when we perform unilateral movements of the upper body, the core must be engaged to prevent the trunk from rotating unnecessarily during push or pull movements.
- Banded movements, it’s a lot of fun because it really makes you nail down certain parts of your technique.
- Got a weak high pull? Do banded barbell high pulls, because you have to overemphasize the pull when it’s banded.
- The added resistance kicks in at the top of your movement, making it increasingly difficult to complete each rep.
- Functionally, adding bands to the barbell can help you push through workout plateaus while safely developing strength.
- Bored with the barbell? Swap it out for DBs or a cable machine.
- You can change any barbell movement out for one of the options we just mentioned. It’s the easiest way to add variety to your workouts when you’re bored and need something new.
- BONUS! You can mix and match some of the methods we just mentioned, like banded tempo work, unilateral tempo work, unilateral banded work…
So to summarize, push yourself when you are trying to tell yourself you can’t, don’t rush through your movements, focus on your form, and if you have gotten bored, mix in some similar movements. But also, don’t just disregard and switch out all your movements because you hate them, especially if you have a coach. They’ve programmed your program for a reason!