Is more always better?

Whether it comes to health, fitness or nutrition, you or someone you know has probably thought that if X amount is good, then more is better. While this may make sense in theory, rarely is this true.

When training for performance, whether that’s speed, strength, or power…lots of emerging research is actually showing that by leaving a few reps in the tank, or not training to failure, that you’ll actually get better results then had you pushed yourself really hard.

So if you’re out on the field sprinting, training to get faster, every rep should be of high quality, and once your times start to drop that should end your speed session. Sure, you can push through and tough it out, but why? It’s not going to make you faster, or build “mental toughness”…you’re just going to add unnecessary training volume that could be better used improving in other areas. 

More isn’t better, better is better.

Go ahead and reread that for a moment and let it sink in. If you want to improve in any area of performance, don’t focus on lifting or running more, focus on doing it better. This means not just showing up and going through the motions during gym sessions. Instead, really pay attention to the details in how you’re moving and how every rep feels. Are you hitting depth in your squats? Are you moving the weight as fast as you can during the concentric (muscle shortening) portions? Are you giving full effort in your jumps/throws/sprints?

For continual performance improvements, first you have to do the work. Then you have to do it really really well. Doing a lot of bad, or mediocre work won’t help you. I continually tell my athletes that we may not do anything fancy, but we’re going to do the ordinary extraordinarily well.

So for your next training session, focus on the quality of your training first, and if you feel your form breaking down go ahead and rack the weights. Do this consistently and see how your strength and power improve over time.