The common saying is “train smarter not harder” which can mean different things depending on who you ask. I have quite often thought to myself that if you train smarter won’t this allow you to train harder??
Who are the people using this phrase?
Generally people with injuries or who have been injured in the past, the over 35 age bracket (I’m in this population), people with ridiculous genetics who just look at a dumbbell and they grow, the non-committed and even some trainers and coaches get on the bandwagon too.
So I semi-agree with the saying “train smarter not harder”, here’s what I do agree with:
- Pushing yourself within reason. If you are suffering niggling injuries, or feeling under the weather you should be making a common sense judgement on the benefit of training vs missing a few sessions to get better. A lot of injuries are the result of fatigue, this is also a time that you should be identifying if it is more beneficial to have a recovery day vs training while physically or mentally fatigued.
- Ego Lifts. Many injuries have come from people going for those big ego lifts that aren’t really serving a purpose nor are they really that beneficial. We’ve all seen someone load up a bench press with crazy weight that will not be moved without huge risk of injury or that guy that get two buddies to place huge dumbbells in each hand before attempting a two inch incline press all the while teetering on the edge of a major muscle tear or worse. There’s a time and place for the big lifts. Before attempting something like this just ask yourself what am I trying to achieve and how will it benefit my training and physical performance. Is it worth the risk of being out of action for months and months.
- Proper warm-ups. Another common practice for many arvo and weekend warriors is the one set warm up and then straight into the heavy stuff. Not only is proper warm-up and activation a smart move towards injury prevention but it will also increase strength and performance in your lifts in a dramatic way. People are far too often focused only on a short warm-up of the target muscle, but, should really be doing a whole body warm-up and activation.
- Changing things up. There’s a lot of people training very hard out there but changes are very slow if existent at all. This is due to the fact that they have been doing the same routine for years. If they just broadened their horizons and implemented periodization into their training life they will find some new results coming their way and they are now taking a much smarter approach to their training.
“training smarter NOT harder” can often be mistaken for an option or excuse to pump the breaks on your training where as “training smarted AND harder” is the approach you take which allows you to continue training like a beast while being smart about it at the same time.
If you start implementing a smarter approach to your training such as the points mentioned above you I can almost guarantee that you’ll be able to train even harder for longer. It’s all about the approach taken to training.
You can train smarted and harder.