Training Vs Testing

There seems to be a trend in fitness that has grown over the last several years of beating ourselves into the ground through exercise. Whether we're finding a one rep max every training session or doing burpees until we throw up many of us don't feel like we've had a productive training session unless we put in 100 percent effort every single training session. Not only is this damaging to our bodies over the long term it's also very counter productive. Alas there is a better way. By understanding the difference between training and testing you can take full advantage of your recovery time and possibly add years to your lifting career. How did it get this way? Cameron 95lbs Stone to Shoulder (B&W) I believe that the idea of giving everything we have on every training session is so attractive to a lot of athletes for two main reasons. The first reason is because whether we realize it or not we're impatient. We live in a society of instant gratification and that has made us expect our results immediately. Unfortunately for many of us we have spent a very long time getting out of shape and it's going to take a long time to correct that. Another reason I believe we do this is as a form of self flagellation. We literally punish ourselves for the choices we've made that led us to where we are. If you don't think that sounds right ask yourself if this thought process sounds familiar. "I ordered dessert last night at the restaurant. I'd better work extra hard today in the gym to work it off" So what has doing "More, Faster" done to us? When all we care about are the quantitative figures of weight and speed we tend to forget a lot of things that are very important when it comes to movement such as form recovery and usefulness. This can cause hormonal imbalances that will have a lot of negative consequences such as loss of sleep and storage of fat cells. It can also cause muscular imbalances that will further restrict movement, affect posture and just plain hurt. What can we do about it?

Easy, don't go 100 percent every single time. You can only go to the well so many times before it runs dry and you start to show signs of over training. This does not mean your workouts will necessarily be easy. It just means that you train with sub-maximal loads with intent. If you're going for strength keep your sets under five reps. If you're going for hypertrophy (which if you're reading this blog then you know you should be doing for the purpose of adding to your strength in the long run) then do between 8-10 reps.

Yoke Walk (B&W)This rule doesn't just apply to weight training. Even if you're training for an aerobic even. Such as the Army Physical Fitness Test, specifically the 2 mile run, you don't want to run 2 miles all out every day. The last one I trained for I rarely ran more than a half mile at a time at roughly 85 percent intensity repeatedly with equal work and equal rest. I did one long run a week to get more volume in but it was at a very low intensity. Using this training philosophy I was able to cut my run down from 15:36 to 13:40 In only a few weeks with minimal impact on my strength levels. So how often do I train and test. Deadlifting PSO (B&W) Train 95 percent of the time and test minimally. If you are new to training you can get away with testing a little more often because whether you realize it or not you aren't really putting that much into your training yet. It's not something you're necessarily doing wrong. Your nervous system just hasn't figured out how to fire on all cylinders yet. Usually what I do for my own programming is train for 6 week cycles. I take a de-load week on week 5 and test what ever my training objectives for the cycle were on week 6. Depending on the results of the testing, I course correct and do another. Also when testing your strength you should reach mechanical failure and not actual failure. This means when the form breaks down you're done. Yes you may be able to put on 10 more pounds and cobra another deadlift up but this isn't a competition (unless it is) and if you injure yourself then you're going to have to take weeks, months or even years away from your training. If it is during competition then just be smart about it. I'm not going to tell you not to push yourself if you want to be world class because there isn't a single world class athlete out there that has never had shaky form during a competition. So now hopefully you have a better idea of the difference between training and testing. If you like what you read sign up for our email list to get notified of new blog posts. Also feel free to like our Facebook page here and subscribe to our YouTube channel here. See you next time.