It’s Not Hard, It’s Tiring

Earlier this semester I was coaching a team and I put them through a circuit that included body weight exercises, med ball work and some kickboxing.  It was tough, but there are much more difficult things in training and in life.

One of the coaches for the team is a big advocate of lifting, staying in shape, and training hard.  I respect her for that because she leads by example, when so many coaches today let themselves go.  What a shame. 

At one point during the team’s lift, she told me that ropes are a “hard” workout.  I said, “It’s not hard, it’s tiring.”  She smiled and said, “Wow, that’s great.  You’re right.” 

Most people don’t consider “hard” in relation to what they are actually doing.  Everyone will tell you that their sport is harder than yours, or that their workout was harder then yours.  It’s all relative, and general comparisons of training styles and sport participation isn’t valid.

If you take elite individuals from 2 different sports, chances are they can’t keep up.  If you take an elite lacrosse player and ask them to swim, do you think they’ll glide through the water at record pace?  Would a football lineman make a great soccer player?  Do you think someone who runs marathons would last in a volleyball match?  No.  No.  No.

Even at the top of their game, elite athletes who are in great shape can’t keep up with the demands of other sports.  Why?  Because their body has adapted to meet the demands of the sport or activity they train for.    

It’s the SAID Principle:  Specific Adaptations of Imposed Demands.  It’s about neuromuscular efficiency.  Train in the energy system for your sport, practice the sport skill, continue to train and practice, and refine your skills to become most efficient. 

It doesn’t always have to be hard.  Everything should have a purpose in training.  You don’t need to be puking mid-workout.  If someone is training you and it’s their goal to make you puke or pass out, get rid of them and find a real coach.  The old “No pain, no gain” saying is impractical.  You really should be the last man standing…in such great shape from training that your body can handle being pushed to its limits. 

Sure you can swing ropes, and tire yourself out, but it’s not making you better at anything other then swinging ropes.  If you want to get better at your sport then train to get stronger, more explosive, perfect skill work and play your sport for conditioning. 


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