Workout Harder or Smarter?


People train for many different reasons, and these reasons point out the difference between a “fitness enthusiast” and an “athlete”. If you train steadily, with diligence, in order to reach goals (not just to vent stress) you must be considered an athlete.

One could disagree with my definition, related to training for achieving results, but surely there is something that every athlete (especially professionals) shares between them: the way they perform in order to reach the training goals.It’s all about training and mental approach. If you’re a champion, you are because you have the mentality and the training of a champion.

There is an anecdote about Tim Grover, one of the greatest NBA coaches; at the end of every match he used to ask Michael Jordan: “5, 6 or 7?” That was the hour they would meet in the gym for training the following day.He also said that without the right motivation and the right training he could probably never became the best.

Hard to believe? Not in my opinion.

Follow this link and read the article about how “smart training” improved performances of Olympic sprinters in the last hundred years.

Is training “harder” really more effective than training “smarter”? No.

“Never train minimally, never train maximally, train optimally” – Dr. Mel Siff 

Every year, Strength & conditioning coaches study new ways of training – focusing always more on intensity and efficiency, instead of what we used to call “working hard”. Since the first linear encoder or heart rate monitor was created, coaches applied those measurements to training sessions, improving an athlete’s performance by setting schedules on the athlete’s individuality, not the opposite. Tailor-made training schedules, perfectly suitable for you, reflecting your needs exactly (in terms of performance) to achieve the target you have set.  Today, the breakthrough frontier of coaching is represented by strength trackers: those sensors track everything concerning your workouts, giving you the chance to have customized training schedules, enabling you to improve your weaknesses and train optimally.

Strength trackers respond to every athlete’s needs:

1. Affordable price
2. Precision in measurements
3. Ease in comprehension and using

Once, strength trackers were too expensive to be available to everyone and only high budgeted sport clubs or professional athletes could train enjoying those measurements, but not today.
Now you can have your wearable device connected with your phone, as comfortable and light as a watch with a perfect capability in tracking and giving you the proper results.

Let’s take out an example for those who want to deepen this aspect:

You set your training target on hypertrophy and your schedule says to perform 4 sets of 8 reps, lifting a weight which is around 70% of your 1RM. Here comes the first issue. How can you be sure that you’re lifting the correct combination of rep-load in order to achieve your training goal? And on which objective value can you rely while you’re planning your workouts? In fact, we simplified that range to 70% (which use to run from 65% to 80%). However, the fact is that every athlete is different, and this percentage could be too heavy for someone or too light for someone else.

Also you should know the 1RM of every exercise you perform, and the 1RM is a stable value only in the long period. Stress is a quick example of a mental and physical condition that can affect your performance. You can risk to base your workout on incorrect values, and you wouldn’t know whether you’re training right.
So you’re facing a wide range of loads linked to an uncertain max-weight. How can your workout be effective with all those missing elements?

You could have better results focusing on the speed when you lift, without bothering about a pre-defined number of reps or sets: just train till you’re still improving the quality in which you’re interested.

Following this link you could read more about the application of VBT to training sessions; this article underlines how easy it is to focus on speed as a key parameter of your workout.
Load and Velocity is linked by a direct-linear relation, which allows you to manage with weights and reps just by analyzing and comparing speeds.

Strength trackers (with live feedback) gives you this information, teaching you how to adjust your performance directly while you’re working out. The smartness stays in trusting in technology!
Knowing and interpreting how your body is feeling is obviously important, but it is something that you learn day by day while training and even with a lot of experience, it can never give you the objective and precise measurements that technology can easily provide.

Choosing smart strategies to train does not exclude hard core training, but it ensures lifting without risking over-training or injuries and stimulating your body in the most optimal and efficient way.


by alberto.finadri

Sales Consultant and Marketing specialist. I do Crossfit since 2012 but i've played soccer and I skied in competitive categories.