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What Are You Training For?

If you don't know what you're training for, how do you know when you get there?

Once you know your goal you then need to make it clearly measurable. So, how does this translate to your training?

1. Your training is there to help get you to your goals outside of the gym. Get clear goals for why you are training.

2. Once these are clear, then you can work backwards from them to know what you need to achieve in the gym to be able to achieve your non-gym goals.

3. Once you know what you need to achieve in the gym, make these into your gym goals.

For example:

1. Improve scrummaging performance in rugby.

2. Increase lower body strength.

3. Increase box squat to double bodyweight.

Now that you know your gym goals, next you need to test yourself to see how close/far you are from them.

Continuing the example:

1. Bodyweight is 90kg

2. Test box squat: lifted 100kg

3. That is 1.1x bodyweight. Need to get to 2 x bodyweight, which is 180kg.

NOTE: This example is not based upon real numbers for scrummaging performance. The numbers are simply serving as an example.

CAVEAT: If you are a novice in the gym, there is no need to test. You know that you are far away from your gym goals, and you are not physically or mentally prepared to test yourself properly. Only test once you have maximised your 'novice window'. This will be covered in depth in another article, but to summarise: once you are no longer capable of increasing the load in each lift each week, you are at the end of your 'novice window'.

Once you have tested, you can see what areas you need to focus your training on, and develop an appropriate programme that addresses that. You can't focus on everything at once - 'the man that chases two rabbits catches none' comes to mind here. So focus on the one that is the most important, or will affect the others the most. For example, if lower body strength, size and power are all lacking, then forget about the power for now. Start with increasing lower body size through hypertrophy training. This will then provide a base upon which to increase lower body strength. Then this lower body strength can be trained to 'convert' some of it into power. That is a simplistic overview of a complex, integrated system, but encapsulates the main point: Focus on one physical aspect at a time.

Once you know your goals head to the shop: to get a programme to help you reach them.


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