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Getting More Out of Your Exercise

Posted on July 31, 2017 at 9:00 AM

The longer I do the exercise kind of thing the more I realize that is not about training to performance - the numbers of reps, the faster you do work, or the amount of weight but it is about focus, concentration, and not exhausting yourself.


Stefan Molyneux is a Canadian philosopher and cultural commentator I like to follow. He has a saying - Resistance creates strength. What he describes is in context of mental development and success in life in general. In other words The stress of conflict creates character and the ability to adapt to different circumstances. He drew this analogy from physical culture. And he is right - resistance does build strength - but it has to be a conscious effort at resistance.


We exercise to build and strengthen our bodies, yet often we neglect the factors that enable us to succeed. We overtrain, we focus on the numbers, and we waste energy. If I can do 25 repetitions of pushups, can control my body through a range of motion, and feel the muscles being worked, will it do me better to do 50 repetitions where I take a faster pace, use momentum and don't control the muscles being contracted?


I read something Bodybuilder Chris Dickerson wrote many years ago - and that was that he wished every poundage on every barbell and dumbbell would be filed off. It wasn't the weight that was important, but how the weight was used. I didn't understand it at the time, but over the years I have experienced the negative effects of only pushing weight and numbers. The body only builds one dimensionally against gravity, and you beat your joints up by the extra slights, heaves and cheats you use to get those last reps up with a weight. What are you really building when you do that?


Slow it down, concentrate on the muscles you are working, and don't grind your body down. Performance is for the athletic field. Training gets you there. But if the training is always to the max, how will you build recovery? Better to use forcus and deep concentration in your training and save energy for recovery. Most of us are not competition level athletes, and we work out to enhance our day to day lives. If our exercise beats us down, beats our joints up and soaks up our energy output - what does it matter if we do hundreds of reps of an exercise and can push X amount of weight?

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