Quality Vs. Quantity

Geast Post Written By: Todd Fano

 We live in a society of excess. If one is good, two must be better and three must be the ultimate! This belief is rampant in the world of exercise. Just go to any gym, boot camp or practice field and you’re bound to hear the battle cry of “just one more”!  While I’m all for people pushing their limits, it has to be done in a logical and thoughtful manner.  99% of the time the person being told to do “just one more”, really can’t.  In fact, they probably couldn’t do the previous 20 reps!  We seem to have an attitude that all exercising must be painful to be worthwhile.

 As I mentioned before I’m all for people pushing themselves, but it has to be done intelligently.  Making someone who has just got off the couch for the first time in 20 years do a workout that consists of 100 push-ups and 100 squats with weight isn’t going to accomplish much except for crippling that person for the next several days. You have to remember this person doesn’t have the strength, coordination, or gas tank to finish such a workout.  In fact, a lot of damage could be done to this person. At the worst, they could injure themselves (especially if relatively heavy weights are used).   At the least they’ll begin to imprint poor movement patterns into their body.

 How do you avoid these problem? I t’s easy, focus on quality over quantity.  If you can’t do 5 perfect reps of any exercise, attempting to do 100 is pretty foolish.  This includes body weight exercises too. Some trainers and coaches justify their high rep programs by saying they’re getting their clients/ athletes used to the exercises.  Wrong!  All they’re getting their people used to is using sloppy technique.  This is just an inefficient use of training time.  If you’re going to do it, do it right and build from that foundation.

Here are some tips and pointers for ensuring you’re getting quality over quantity in your training.

  • Check your ego. Just because the guy next to you is using 200 lbs. for squats doesn’t mean you have to. Your time will come.

  • Take your time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Just focus on consistent quality training and good things will happen.

  • Video tape or have someone watch your form...and be critical.  If your squat isn’t hitting parallel or your chest doesn’t touch the floor on a push-up, work on fixing that before adding more reps.

  • Choose a small number of exercises to master.  I would suggest that most beginners just stick to the 3 main body weight exercises: Squat, Push- up and a pull-up or variation. Mastering these 3 simple movements will take you further than any machine based program.

  • Last but not least, learn to “grease the groove”.  This a very effective yet simple plan for improving your technique.  You simply take 1 exercise that is troubling you and perform perfect reps of it throughout the day or as often as possible.  An example could be push-ups.  Just do as many perfect reps as possible during commercial breaks.  Remember that number and try to improve on it.  The key here is to never do things to absolute failure.  Once your form breaks stop the set.  This will ‘teach” the body how to perform perfect reps!

So, the next time you’re in the gym try to utilize some of these techniques and tips to improve the quality of your training.

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