Over-stressing Improvement in the gym

December 18, 2008

I was in the gym the other with my buddy who I played baseball with since I was 12 or so. He’s always been bigger and stronger than me as well as being the better baseball players. From some of my recent posts, you know that I definitely want to get stronger, so I’m finding it to be a real advantage to train with him while we’re both home over the holiday break because he is motivating me to try and push myself by lifting heavier weights.

He also has an interest in training so naturally we discuss it quite a bit, especially since he is still training for baseball. Anyways while we are training together, we agreed to follow his team workouts.

One of the things he says his coach stresses is improvement — which makes sense; improve strength, speed, muscle mass, flexibility, etc should result in improved sport performance.

Nothing wrong with that of course, but should improvement be tops above all else. Should improvement trump training quality — in terms of execution?

Personally I’ve learned to be a technique guy. Sure I want my athletes to improve (or else I need to start looking at my programming if they aren’t), but the improvement is achieved by emphasizing quality over quantity. This goes back to the whole exercise needs to improve performance while minimizing injury risk, both short term (in the exercise session) and long term (injuries occuring in sport).

Just my opinion.



4 Responses to “Over-stressing Improvement in the gym”

  1. Have you read Power to the People by Pavel (hang on while I find last name…) Tsatsouline? He advocates low reps exclusively. If you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your opinion. I bought it tonight and I probably wont really dig into it till after the new year.

  2. Chris Brown Says:

    Unfortunately I haven’t read it, sorry. I’m not all that familiar with Pavel’s stuff although I have heard good things about pretty much anything he puts out.

    Once your done NROL, are you going to be looking to gain strength (which lead you toPavel’s book)??

  3. Actually.. NROL has programs for strength, hypertrophy, and fat loss. I could probably use the book forever. I just get bored :). I picked up Pavel’s kettlebell book because it was the only kettlebell book at Barnes and Nobles. That one lead me to his other one. Which will probably be leading me to yet another. I’ll be a certified Pavel Stalker by the time I’m done ;). I’d just love to hear more on the low rep only that he mentions in the book. It’s not something I hear often and I’ve not done any research specifically on number of reps that are ideal. I know that if I can do 20, then I’m not working myself (or my patients) hard enough. Just something I’d like to hear feedback on from people who know what they’re talking about so I can make a more informed opinion of my own.

    I’ll be going back to NROL after I do 12 weeks of Kettlebells.

  4. Chris Brown Says:

    After you mentioned the book, I looked it up on google books — they had the first 30 something pages available to read. Like I said, I haven’t read a lot of his stuff, but reading that first part of the book, it looked really good.

    What also stood out in the part I read was the emphasis on not only low reps, but a limited numebr of sets. I really liked this point, as one of the “cons” of heavy low-rep lifting is that it is more stressful to joints since your bones and supporting structures have to support more weight.

    Did you already have kettlebells, or did you end up getting several to do the KB program??

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