Are You Pushing Hard Enough?

Are You Pushing Hard Enough?

-Matthew Cavalier


I hope you have all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. It has been another crazy year, and I hope that you were all able to find some peace and joy over the weekend. My wife and I were able to celebrate with our families and were able to enjoy our daughter’s first Thanksgiving. It was a great time. Generally, I would have something specific to talk about or at least have some plan of what I want to talk about. I’ve been distracted the past few days, so I’m just going to freely ramble on about thoughts that have been bouncing around in my brain. One of those thoughts is: am I pushing hard enough? This might sound like a pretty simple yes or no question, but it may not always be that simple. Or at least I like to make it complicated in my own head. So, I’m going to talk about that, and hopefully you’ll start thinking about it yourself in regards to your own training.

Over the last two years, I have been learning a lot about training from people much smarter and more experienced than myself. Taking a scientific approach to what I’m doing, I’ve been trying to meticulously plan out my training program. Worrying about things like RPE, reps in reserve, sets, volume, exercise selection, the list never stops. There are a lot of things that go into training effectively to satisfy whatever goal. Recently, something I had to ask myself was: Am I training hard enough? Is the effort there? Am I overthinking about what I need to do? I mean, I know what my goal is. It is to get ready for a strongman competition next year. I know what I need to do and how to plan my training and all the bells and whistles that go with that. But I had to really ask myself those questions. We all want to utilize the latest and greatest training trends and train like the guys and girls we look up to. Sometimes I think we forget that we really need to focus on just working our ass off. Of course programming matters. To train for anything without a plan is a waste of time, but I think what is paramount is effort and intensity. Whether we’re doing a max effort day with 95% intensity or a repetition day with 55%, we must always train with 100% effort. Everything we do has to have effort. Of course, this doesn’t mean run yourself into the ground and spend more time in recovery than training. There’s a fine line between red lining your needlessly and just going through the motions. Generally, proper training will solve that issue, and a little auto-regulation on your part will help. Sometimes I tend to putter around with different training philosophies and programs so much that I forget that the best way to really make progress is to stick with a plan and train really, really hard. It also doesn’t hurt to have a set goal in mind. Sure, we can train just to stay in shape and exercise. But if you really want to push yourself, like I want to do, it helps to be able to put a date on the calendar. My date hasn’t been set exactly yet, but I intend to be ready to compete at Alabama’s Strongest next summer. I didn’t do as well as I would have liked last year, so my goal is to be prepared.

How do we define that line between training effectively with high effort and training with reckless intensity? The answer to that has to be in recovery and progress. If you’re training so hard that you can’t get out of bed the next morning for the next session, then you’re probably training too hard. We already know that training with too much intensity all of the time will lead to stagnating progress or, worse, an injury. This is where effective programming comes in. Whether you’re a powerlifter who wants to use block or a strongman using the cube method, finding a well written program that addresses your personal goals should take care of it. To keep it brief, a good program will allow for steady progress with recovery time built in and maybe resets if necessary. Discussing the different types of programming is another article in and of itself. Many articles, actually. But the point is that a well constructed program will allow for high effort effective training. Find one that you like, and train your ass off. Or as I like to say sometimes, “QUITE BEING A LITTLE B@TCH!” Move with a purpose. Act like what you do matters. Have the discipline to stay focused on what you’re trying to achieve and go out there and win the damn thing.


If you need help with programming or you’re looking for an awesome place to train, send an email to to schedule your next visit to the Atlas Strength Shop. Be sure to like us on Facebook, here, and follow us on Instagram, here. Check us out on TikTok as well! If you need some high quality energy supplements, check out veteran owned and use promo code ATLASSTRENGTH at checkout to get 20% off of your order.

In April of 2022, the Atlas Strength Shop will be hosting its first annual Louisiana’s Strongest Man/Woman. If you want to be a part of the strongman movement in the state of Louisiana, visit for registration information. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a novice, we want to see you there.


“The purpose to life is finding the largest burden that you bear and bear it.” -Jordan Peterson