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Tom’s Corner: Progressive Training

Written by Tom Marchand

I just know some of you aren’t going to like this article. It’s about how to make your workouts more productive. It’s about fitting the greatest amount of productive training in the least amount of time. Unfortunately, it’s also about working harder.

All types of physical training work the same way: you ask your body to do something that it hasn’t done before, and it will respond by improving.

Now this is a bit of an oversimplification (okay, it’s an extreme simplification!), but you get my point. When you’ve been doing curls with the 5 pound dumbbells for the past 8 months, it’s time to try the 8’s. Running at exactly the same speed for the same distance each and every workout will not make you any faster.

Whether you’re doing cardio or strength training, there has to be a noticeable difference between what you’ve done in the past and what you’re doing now to produce a training effect. There are many ways to accomplish this.

In a cardio workout, you may vary the length of the workout (the least efficient and effective way), vary the speed, do intervals, and/or increase the intensity of effort. When strength training, you can increase the weight (always being careful to use proper technique), increase the reps, the sets, the number of exercises for each body part or even tinker with the rest time between sets (shorter rests=greater effect on your cardiovascular system).

As you can see, there are many ways to make your workouts more effective. Just remember that it’s not how long you train, it’s the intensity of your effort that determines how productive your workouts are. Train smarter, not longer!

-Tom Marchand