How to improve your training intensity & effort

 Intensity and effort is a choice, in my opinion.

Every time you walk through the doors of the gym, you can decide your energy. You can decide how hard you are going to take it. You can decide to shut everything else out of your mind and focus on the task at hand.

When you walk though the doors, how you go about your session and how much effort you put in, is completely on you. No one else. Just you.

Now, before we dig any deeper into this, I will say that effort is a skill. And an ever rising ceiling when it comes to the acquisition of that skill.

I am still nowhere near where I know I can be, in terms of effort and intensity. And I will never reach a ‘peak’. Once I get there, the ceiling will rise again and I will be chasing more. But, that’s the beauty of it all.

Over the years, you will be able to take sets closer to that proximity to failure. Closer to that point where your muscle feels like it’s about to blow up. Closer to that place where your mind is telling you to give up. Closer to that feeling where you don’t know if you will be able to get that final rep out, but, you go for it anyway.

In other words – being uncomfortable. But, we all know, this is where growth lies.

I think we all need to experience this sensation, to be able to transfer it into the weights room.

A great way to feel what true ‘mechanical failure’ feels like, is to get onto a spin bike, crank the dial to about 85/90% resistance. And let rip until you literally cannot move the pedals.

That is true failure.

Now, once you’re done, remember that feeling. Remember the urge you had to give up. Remember the feeling of each muscle fibre giving out. But, more importantly remember every repetition you achieved after those feelings.

Remember the resilience shown to just keep going and not give up.

That is effort.

Once you have done that a few times, noted that sensation and continued to move through the pain, now it’s time to carry that over to the weights room.

Start off with machines as the risk of injury is far less. This could be a leg extension, a pec deck, a chest supported row or a preacher curl machine – whatever it is, the goal is to chase that sensation you felt on the bike, and to not give up.

Ask yourself after the set – “did I have another one?”. The goal is to walk away with the answer being a firm ‘no’.

As discussed, this will not happen overnight. It will take repetition. And in a years time, you will probably reflect and say – “god, that was nowhere near true failure”. And that will happen again a year after that.

But, as I’ve said above, that’s the beauty. There’s always room to progress. There’s always room to train harder. There’s always room to do more.

And that will reflect on your physique. There’s no two ways about it.

So, give the above exercise a go and let me know how you get on!

I get some of my team to do it quite often if I want to teach them how to really train to true failure.

With that said, if you’re looking to learn more about this, get some direction and accountability and really take your physique to the next level, make sure to check out our online coaching page here.

Make sure to share this post with a friend or lifting buddy!