Time to Get "Uncomfortable"
Updated: Nov 9
In order to see results in weight training you can't keep doing the same thing with the same weight, you have to switch it up. So basically if the exercise is comfortable, one might say "easy", then it's really not doing much for you if it is intended to be a challenging movement. You need to change it in some way, this could be by slowing it down, or speeding it up, or adding reps or sets, or changing the weight amount or the placement of the load, or adjusting velocity. I want to start by introducing you to a term used in the training world; progressive overload.
Progressive overload is a method of strength training that advocates for the gradual increase of the stress placed upon the musculoskeletal and nervous system. The principle of progressive overload suggests that the continual increase in the total workload during training sessions will stimulate muscle growth and strength gain. This improvement in overall performance will, in turn, allow the athlete to keep increasing the intensity of their training sessions. Wikipedia In layman's terms this is what it means: "Progressive overload is when you gradually increase the weight, frequency, or number of repetitions in your strength training routine. This challenges your body and allows your musculoskeletal system to get stronger. ... With progressive overload, you may notice you feel fitter and stronger." Jane Chertoff Healthline July 30th 2020 We want all our clients to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. To accomplish this we need to push you to be uncomfortable, and you have to get yourself into that state. We can lead that horse to water, but you have to drink it. Myles and I came up with an easy way to get everyone to understand how to accomplish this without making it an actual exercise per se. Almost everyone has done this at some point, it is simply holding your breath. In our family we play a game where we hold our breath everytime we drive across a bridge. It's a competition so we get very uncomfortable in order to beat out the other non-breathers. (We also get a lot of practice now that we live on the west side of the Narrows Bridge.... but I digress) You can recognize this as a form of being physically uncomfortable and having to mentally will yourself not to breathe.
Now, can you take that same feeling and apply it to an exercise? Have you ever done pushups to failure- actual failure- where you cannot push yourself off the ground again? Or done bodyweight squats until you can't hold your tempo and lose your form? In weight lifting there is a term called a 1-rep max. This is the heaviest amount of weight that you can lift to do 1 rep of an exercise. For example, you load the bar, lay down and can do 1, and only 1, bench press. You cannot physically push the bar up a second time, it will just end up sitting on your chest. This is similar to getting yourself to a point where you are uncomfortable, albeit it's only 1 rep, but the physicality of it is the same. You cannot do more. Now don't freak out, we aren't going to make you get super uncomfortable and go to failure all the time, but we do want our clients to physically understand what that level of uncomfortableness feels like. In knowing that, you can push yourself harder during your training sessions when we ask it of you. Plus, you will be quite surprised at how much you can physically endure before you get to that point of failure. As your trainers, we want to be able to make sure we are pushing you and that you are open to, willing and comfortable being pushed. In order to practice progressive overload, you have to get uncomfortable, again, and again, and again...... you see where this is going. So yes, you do need to lift heavier weights than the ones you have been lifting for the past 5 years. And yes, slowing down or speeding up the tempo of a squat or pushup makes it WAY harder; it's supposed to. If you would like us to guide you through an exercise that will help you understand this principle please let us know. We are happy to help you learn your own limits as it can only benefit you in the long run.
It's time to push yourself, we've got your back, now all you have to do is drink the water.