It may come as a surprise when we tell you that not all of your workouts need to be extremely difficult in order for them to be effective. This is a common misconception that many athletes have when training, Don’t get us wrong: Your training sessions should most definitely be hard and challenge your physical limits, but not every workout needs to be this way. As human beings, we tend to think that if our body isn’t sore and we’re not dripping in sweat, then it wasn’t a great workout. WRONG.
In a recent article on Stack.com titled Why a Hard Workout Isn’t Always a Good Workout, they suggest asking yourself the following question: “What am I trying to accomplish with this workout?” They mention a great example of a tough yet non-effective workout.
“The reality is that it’s easy to program a hard workout. Programming an effective workout, however, is much more difficult. For example, many athletes turn their speed and agility workouts into conditioning workouts by keeping their rest intervals too short. Say the workout calls for 12 40-yard sprints. Performing those sprints with 20 seconds of rest between each rep as opposed to two minutes of rest between each rep is going to make the workout a lot more tiring, no doubt. But it will also result in the athlete training the wrong energy system. That workout will not make them faster. The only sprint that was effective for speed training would have been the first one, before they were fatigued.”
In the instance mentioned above, the athlete was too fatigued for the remainder of his/her sprints for them to be effective, therefore most likely not seeing progression with his/her training. As stated in the article, “fatigue has a residual effect. If an athlete does not give their body ample time to recover, that fatigue never goes away. It continues to build and build until the athlete’s body starts to break down.”
Here at SportsLab NYC, we create smart & effective training programs for all athletes, no matter their goals. We specialize in something called periodization, which, simply put, is the systematic planning of athletic or physical training. If you want to get into the nitty gritty, the National Strength and Conditioning Association breaks it down as such:
“Periodization is a method for employing sequential or phasic alterations in the workload, training focus, and training tasks contained within the microcycle, mesocycle, and annual training plan. The approach depends on the goals established for the specified training period. A periodized training plan that is properly designed provides a framework for appropriately sequencing training so that training tasks, content, and workloads are varied at a multitude of levels in a logical, phasic pattern in order to ensure the development of specific physiological and performance outcomes at predetermined time points.”
The article, Why a Hard Workout Isn’t Always a Good Workout, provides several great examples of key factors to access when training that we suggest you check out. All in all, the human body needs time to recover, destress, rest and adapt to new training routines. Work with your trainer or seek more information from a professional before jumping into too many intense workout to avoid over training and exhaustion.