Training Thoughts: Needs vs Wants.

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Was reading up on a book and it brought about a reflection on the concept of your needs vs your wants. Prompted me to think about it in the lines of training. When we think of putting our training programs together or how we intend to achieve what we intend to achieve, the concept of "need vs want" brings me to think of training with a clearer focus.

When we train, there are so many things we can do. We can use Olympic lifts, powerlifting movements, gymnastic or bodyweight movements, rehab/prehab movements. So much research is out there to justify so many things and it makes you think "Maybe I should include this in my training. It will help me be better at ________". So to give you a clearer focus in your training, it's better to break it down to a "need vs want" notion.

WANT: Things You Wish You Were Doing.

When thinking of your own program or gathering ideas for your own program, you look at what others have done to achieve similar goals to your own. For example, your goal is to increase maximum strength in the deadlift. So you google "deadlift program" or you hop onto elitefts.com and look for one of the programs to increase your deadlift numbers. The reality is you will have 10'000 ideas or exercises which appear in front of you which you think you can use for your specific goal of pulling more weight off the ground. However, fitting these 10'000 exercises or ideas into an hour's session is definitely not possible. But you want to do hyper-extensions to strengthen the lower back, you want to do pull-throughs to increase the speed of the hips coming through, you want to add in Kelley Starrett's mobility drills to give you a better start position which would definitely increase your strength in the deadlift tremendously. So many things you want to do in your program. If you put all of them in, you will probably have to train 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So basically, a "want" in training is what you wish you were doing in your program or the things you think would benefit you because you read it somewhere or heard it from someone that it would do you real good. But is it really necessary?

NEED: Things You Should Be Doing. 

This then brings me to the point of the "need" in training. As mentioned, so many things have been said to be beneficial in training for specific goals or increasing certain components of fitness but if we included all of them in our training, we would continuously be training. So this leads us to prioritize. This also allows to simplify things than complicate it with the various fads in the industry. Understanding the basics of program design and specificity to the activities you engage is is all you need to help with making sure that you have a sound program that allows you to progress in attaining your training goals. Doing too much because you heard that a certain exercise may be useful in preventing injury or might enhance your performance could be detrimental as you are wasting time doing something you may not need to be doing.

Hence, knowing what you need to do allows you to clarify your program and have better focus in your training. Only with that can you progress and achieve your goals. For example, if your goal is to run faster, you want to make sure your legs are stronger and able to put out more force and power. So your program requires a focus on lower body exercises. Then it's about weighing out which exercise gives you the most bang for your buck. Is it better to do a squat where you can build tremendous amounts of muscle or the lunge which would be more specific to running mechanics.

So by understanding what you need to be doing, you can focus better in your training and do the things that would benefit you the most and weed out the unnecessary things that waste your time. Also, by knowing what you need to do, you are able to keep your training simple and effective to allow to attain your goals.

Keep Training and Stay Strong,

The Training Geek.