What’s your method of encouragement?
Are you one of those people that tell yourself you’re weak during training to get angry?
Or are you trying to be cheerful by saying “Common just one more!”
And during the set do you say: “Nah, I couldn’t do one more now”
Or do you tell yourself “Let’s do one more”.
I’m not here to say what’s right and wrong. I know it can be quite individual when it comes to the method of getting yourself “amped up”. I would like to share with your what I do. At least what I’m trying very hard to do.
First of all I put myself in a situation where I’m more likely to succeed. For my clients and me I use the first week of the program to establish a good starting point.
So what’s a good starting point?
I look to do the most amount of weight with the minimum repetitions required, with correct tempo and avoid going to failure. I’m very strict with tempo because I know it’ll build strength so it’s smart to stay realistic and honest from the beginning by not going to failure on tempo or form.
Let us draw an example from my own program:
Eccentric chin-ups, 3 sets, 6-8reps, tempo: 4303 (4 sec down, 3 sec at top and 3 sec at bottom before going into a passive hang)
I started with 3x6 reps, correct tempo and without going to absolute failure (but not too far off!). In week 2 I did 2x7reps and 1x6reps, again with all variables correct. Today, week 3, I did 3x7reps and on my very last rep I couldn’t keep the 4 second tempo on the way down, it was probably 3 seconds, but as I get stronger I know I will be able to do it next week and I will keep pushing for another +1 rep that week. Looking back maybe I should’ve kept myself to the +1 rep increase between week 1 and 2, but knowing myself, I’m very strict and stubborn with training and most likely there will be an extra effort put in place to make it better next week.
If I would’ve started the first week with 1-2 extra reps and gone to failure as a result I would’ve loaded the nervous system hugely already on week one and the room for strength gains would be very limited trying to beat that for the 5 weeks (sessions) to come.
First week will always be finding appropriate weights and find the bracket for where you can make most progress during your phase. Once you’ve found that sweet spot it’s much easier to tell yourself you can do this because it’s manageable. My goal is to increase by at least one repetition each week and if I feel there’s room for it I aim for 2 reps. By planning the training this way it makes it easier to talk nice to myself during training, because it’s so little I need to do extra. It’ll still be a huge effort and hard because I’ve put the bar high from the start, but as long as I can get that one extra in I’ve decided to be happy and proud of my efforts because I know it’ll get me stronger longer term. It should always be a long-term commitment.
This is how I plan my progress for this phase:
Week 1 – Set 1: 6r, Set 2: 6r, Set 3: 6r
Week 2 – Set 1: 7r, Set 2: 7r, Set 3: 6r
Week 3 – Set 1: 7r, Set 2: 7r, Set 3: 7r
Week 4 – Set 1: 8r, Set 2: 7r, Set 3: 7r
Week 5 – Set 1: 8r, Set 2: 8r, Set 3: 7r
Week 6 – Set 1: 8r, Set 2: 8r, Set 3: 8r
I find that if I’ve got my training planned well it puts less stress on me mentally. I’m one of those people that very easily shut down mentally if I get myself a too big of a task when it comes to training. I already put very high expectations on myself and setting a goal that might not be reachable is not a great thing for me personally, that might be different for you. Learning this about myself has taught me to find that sweet spot where I can keep progressing without going to failure too early in a program.
If I got clear goals and know the effort I need to put in I will push myself by saying “Lets chase that extra rep then it’ll be the same effort to put in as last week” and that effort you’re already familiar with. This makes you get out of your comfort zone each time and experience the extra effort that needs to be put in but it also makes you feel “safe” because you know you did the rest you need to do last week, therefore you’ll be able to do it again.
I hope this can provide some help on how to set yourself up for the good self-talk you need in order to build strength. It is a constant battle to get that extra rep but when your honest efforts work in a good planned program the self-talk will be much easier!
- Fanny 🙂