We are all all guilty of this in some aspect of our lives — trying to do a million things.
Especially in the gym (This one speaks to me a lot). We all want to see progress and it is ingrained our brains that we need to work hard and do more more more!! Sometimes working hard is more effective by doing less.
Instead of doing 5 sets of 12 rows, do 3 sets of 12 but make them the absolute BEST rows you have ever done in your life!!! Really, why would you do any less?
When you set out to do 4×12 rows for instance, is every SINGLE row in that set performed the absolute BEST it can be?? I can almost guarantee you it’s not. It probably goes something like : 1,2,3 ok those are easy.. didn’t feel anything.. 4,5,6.. ok getting harder.. 7,8,9 OK really hard now so I’ll do 3 more.
Now how much did you really get out of that set?? 3 hard rows where you actually had to work and 9 easy ones??
The exercise should start before you even touch the weight. THINK about the muscle you are about to work, once you have the weight, your target muscle should already be contracting before the movement even starts (this alone can be challenging). Next step is to execute the movement. If your execution isn’t on point how do you expect to be able to effectively progressively overload that movement? If every rep you do is different, there is no way to control that variable, therefore who knows if you are actually improving or not.
If progress is your goal, you absolutely need to be focused on exercise execution. Learning the right way to move for YOUR body is crucial.
Another way to look at it is focus for 3-5 main exercises per session instead of trying to cram in 10+ different exercises. Really focus on making those 3-5 exercises the absolute BEST they can be, work on engagement throughout the entire movement and proper form for YOUR body!
Two tips you can apply to almost every exercise .. ONE: stabilization!!! Your body needs to be set in place if you want to be able to exert any force, ie) you can’t lift weights very well on a skating rink!! So drive your feet into the floor and stabilize your core! TIP TWO: initiation!!! Initiate the movement with the muscle you are trying to work. If you are trying to use your chest but your shoulder is the first thing to contract, that is the first muscle that is going to do the most work. In a chest press or fly for instance your pec needs to be the first thing that is turned on to begin the movement.
This takes practice but makes a world of difference! Put your ego aside and do things RIGHT.