Home Blog Strength and Conditioning Programs: How Hard Are You Working?

Strength and Conditioning Programs: How Hard Are You Working?

Written on September 3, 2010 at 6:39 am, by Eric Cressey

Everyone likes to think that they bust their butt all the time in their strength and conditioning programs. The truth is that deep down, we all know that we dog it sometimes. Nobody can give 100% every single day (or 110%…ever; I hate that adage).

Along those same lines, here is a pretty amusing study that shows just how much your mind can get in the way of the efforts you SHOULD be putting out in your workout routine.  Researchers had three groups each perform ten 6s sprints on a cycle with 24s rest between sets.  The first group (control trial, or CL) knew they were doing ten before the session.  The second group (deception trial, DC) was told they were only doing five – but then informed that they had five more to go after the fifth sprint.  The third group (unknown trial, or UN) weren’t told anything; they were just stopped after ten sprints.

When researchers examined the total work performed over the first five sprints, they found that the deception trial group was 6.5% greater than the control and unknown trials.  The others had paced themselves because they knew the ending was further off.  People are going to pace themselves and hold back a bit whenever you give them a reason to do so – so plan accordingly in your exercise prescriptions.

What’s one way to work around this if you aren’t being coached in-person? Make yourself accountable to a program. There is a tendency to want to skip the last set or strength exercise when you design your own programs, but when you’re answering to someone else’s program, you’re more likely to stick to it. Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better is a great resource to check out in this regard.  Just ask James Cipriani, a personal trainer who used the program to kick his own personal gains up a notch:

“I just read your recent blog post in which you mentioned sending Show and Go testimonials.  Well…it would be a travesty if I didn’t give you a shout out.

“I’m a personal trainer myself.  And after over 23 years of training myself and 16 years of training others, to say I grow “bored” with conventional weight training programs would be an understatement.  I first trained to augment sport (football), then I got into powerlifting, and really became addicted to it when I started bodybuilding.  I competed for eight years in the sport and did very well.  But…I outgrew it.  Yes…I was bored.

“I, like many others that I train, look to other sources to not only motivate me in my own training (mentally more than physically), but also to broaden my horizons as a trainer.  That is what led me to purchase your Show & Go program.  I have to say, Eric, it is the most comprehensive, integrated program I have ever used.  From the warm-ups, to the strength exercises, to the stretching, to the cardio enhancement….my strength, flexibility, conditioning, and muscularity all improved ten-fold.  And my bodyfat level went noticeably down without me tweaking my normal diet.  I even had nagging shoulder and low back pain that inhibited me from doing certain movements that are now gone.  I was able to deadlift weight I haven’t been able to use since my powerlifting days.  Plus, a couple of the core movements you include are ones I have never seen or done and I loved them!  I now use many of them with my own clients.

“One last thing to note…I very rarely get through a 16 week program.  I tend to grow bored and need a different style of training.  That never happened.  Not only that…I am starting a second go-round this week of it with a few of my own personal tweaks to it.    Great product, Eric!  Thank you so much!”

James Cipriani – CFT, CSCS, NS
Brookfield, CT

Click here to check out Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better for yourself.

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!


13 Responses to “Strength and Conditioning Programs: How Hard Are You Working?”

  1. Mark Young Says:

    I think Twitter is just another way to reach more people. It also lets those who might not find your content come across it as many of your followers will retweet and suggest that others follow you (#FF – You’ll get this once you sign up).

  2. Chris B Says:

    I tweeted a link to your post from yesterday because I really liked it and if you had already been on Twitter I could have added your Twitter name to it as well. I was actually really surprised to see that you were nowhere to be found out there.

  3. Niel Says:

    I personally don’t use Twitter, don’t see a con to it.

    It’s just another way to reach more people.

  4. JP Says:

    I just joined twitter this week. Mostly to follow guys like you. I’m still feeling a bit sheepish about it. It remains to be seen whether it is more useful than feed burners (I use google reader) and other platforms. I’m finding there is lots of redundancy. But it does seem to be a good way to spread the word or share interesting links.

  5. ronell Says:

    Hey EC,

    PLEASE start tweeting. The fitness world needs you on the wall.

  6. Sam Says:

    I think you’ve done quit well for yourself without Twitter. Then again if you listen to the market “guru’s” they would have us believe we need 6 zillion ways of getting information “out there”. It eventually just gets to the point – where do you draw the line between all this redundancy.

    Seems you cant go wrong either way though.

  7. Kyle Says:

    I’d start following you on twitter for sure…

  8. Jim Lenkowski Says:


    As a guy who doesn’t use Twitter, would your starting to use it result in links to stuff that wouldn’t eventually makes it way to your blog, newsletter, etc.? I till prefer to obtain information via those routes, but I can understand why it might be of some benefit for you to hop into the Twitter fray in the manner that you mentioned.

  9. Anthony Mychal Says:

    I used to be 100% against Twitter, but I signed up after reading a book about it. Not only is it a great tool for yourself (and business), it’s cool to see your followers tweets. Usually someone tweets at least once daily, perhaps more.

    I recommend it.

    Also, congrats on your soon to be wedding!

  10. Amílcar Says:

    Hi Eric,

    For those of us who want to purchase your new product, is there a routine you recommend (as a preparation phase) we follow until you launch it? Can we use Maximum Strength Phase 1 for this purpose or is there something else you recommend?


  11. Josh Says:

    Definitely think you should get a twitter. You won’t reach a TON of people on there, but you’ll still target a few more people which will definitely be worth it. Plus, it’s not a whole lot of work to set an account up.

  12. Fredrik Gyllensten Says:

    I think you should tweet, it’s a great way to post links to interesting stuff etc.. I think Martin Berkhan uses it in a great way; http://twitter.com/Martinberkhan

  13. Eric Cressey Says:

    Thanks, everyone, for the input!

  • Avoid the most common deadlifting mistakes
  • 9 - minute instructional video
  • 3 part follow up series