Friday, August 1, 2014

Is This A Good Workout?

First of all, I have to apologize for being so lax in posting here lately.  I started my master's degree in April, and it's been kicking my butt, so time has been at a premium.  However, I managed to finish this week's work early, so I have a little time to do some blogging.

I get a fair amount of email that basically looks like this:

"Here's the workout I did today.  Is it good?"

Here's what my answer just about always is:

"Well, is it making you better at what you're trying to get better at?"

Chances are, if the answer is yes, then yes, it's good.

If it's not, or if it hurts when you do it, or if it's done with poor form, then no, no it's not.

Sooo, this is a good workout, amirite?
It's also important to note that what had been working for you for a while may not be working for you now.  Case in point:  My goals, as a powerlifter, are to get stronger in the Big Three Lifts (deadlift, squat, bench press).  Today, I realized that my deadlift and squat numbers had been at a plateau for a while.  So it's probably time to re-evaluate my routine and change something-- I'll probably consult with a powerlifting coach to get some fresh ideas.

Another thing you may want to think about:  Is your lifestyle is supporting your goals?  For instance, if you want to get stronger and you're not sleeping and eating properly (I will be the first to admit that I do not sleep well or enough, and I'm sure this affects my numbers), your ability to reach your goals.  If you're trying to lose weight, so you've jumped on a training plan but have not taken sleep, stress, and diet into account, you're probably not going to be satisfied with your results.

I know this was a relatively vague answer, and it should be.  Things that seem to work for everyone else never really seem to work for me.  I used a sure-fire deadlift plan from a champion deadlifter for a while, and I actually lost a lot of strength in the deadlift as a result.  It wasn't a bad plan.  Obviously not-- it helped make this guy a champion.  But for me, it didn't work.  That's not to say you should never try other people's plans.  They clearly work for at least some of the population, and may well work for you.  Scientific knowledge of strength training is constantly evolving, and there is no universal "right answer." The bottom line is (and this applies to nutrition, as well), if it makes you better, do it.  If it doesn't, then move on.  Find someone smart to help you fine-tune things if you can.

Hopefully this is helpful, and hopefully I'll get another post in soon.  In the meantime, go get better at stuff.  Let me know how it goes.

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