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Making the Case for Training Specificity and Repetition in Strength Training.

Making the Case for Training Specificity and Repetition in Strength Training.

It’s already 2019, facebook and instagram scroll rates are through the roof. The average facebook video plays for literally seconds before it is moved past. Youtube videos on average play for about 15 seconds before the watcher moves on. If we don’t like what is on Netflix we can simply move on to the next episode or to the next show. In fact if you have simply opened this post to read it you’re part or a thin minority. My point is that right now we are becoming very conditioned to always require new things to keep us entertained.

Why am I writing all of this? Well at the moment we are at a time where training and Netflix is kind of mashing together metaphorically speaking. Let me explain… I have been in the fitness industry a long time and one thing I have noticed lately is that our shorter attention span has affected our ability to stay focused for longer periods of time. Now there is a high demand for variety in training.

Once upon a time we owned a CrossFit affiliate. The general CrossFit program has an ethos of being “constantly varied” and so the most common things I heard from members when we owned the affiliate was “I love the variety!”. I must admit when I first was exposed to CrossFit I was taken by the same thing, the variety. My attitude was “WOW! it’s different all the time!”. 

It wasn’t long before my adaptations were none noticeable. Why? well this is where a concept known as training adaptation to exercise specificity steps into the conversation. There is a lot to it as it is a broadly talked about and researched topic but one aspect is that repetition if exercises to develop strength is necessary. Especially for long term results. 

If we want to improve at something then a level of repetition is necessary. My time in martial arts taught me some really great lessons. One of them was that mastery takes time and repetition. When we are in school we repeat things so we can learn them. We see this in not only in sport science but in the observed world.

My time training people has shown me the same phenomenon. Especially for people who have been training for a while and are no longer classified as a beginner. You see when someone is a beginner you can give them pretty much anything where the program is pretty much all randomness and variation and you will cause change in their physiology, simply because it’s a new stimulus on the body. Over time however the stimulus wears off and change kind of stops. If it stays random and varied it will not start again. 

Now I get it. Doing the same thing for weeks on end is not very exciting nor is it entertaining so therefore can be pretty up and down in terms of instant gratification. So if your program has training repetition for its strength development component. As un-exciting as it may seem, it will be the best thing for the development of your strength.

I’ll sign off with a quote from person I follow closely who says “do what is necessary and worthwhile, not what is expedient!”.

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