Strength and Conditioning Programs: How Hard Are You Working?

About the Author: 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.

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