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Athlete Training – Shoot for PRs or Steady Progress?

Athletes, by nature, are often very competitive. This means that any time they do an exercise they’ve done previously, they NEED to do it faster, for more reps, or use more weight.

While we certainly want to push to get better, sometimes the need for progress far outweighs the need for a PR (personal record), which may mean using the same weight (or GASP, less weight).

Training is only effective if the body can recover from it. Anything the body can’t recover from can lead to soreness and, if left to go long enough, potential injury. If the goal of athlete training is to get better and potentially reduce the risk of injury, we must ensure athletes recover.

We must play the long game with athletes and focus on steady progress instead of always hitting a PR.

Now, don’t get confused – if the body feels recovered and a PR is there on any given day, we can certainly push for it. But if the body isn’t recovered, if the athlete comes in feeling sore and beat up, then a PR is probably not in the cards.

Even if “heavy squats” are on the schedule for the day – heavy is a marker of how things feel and not just a determination that it has to be 10 pounds more than last time.

Every session, an athlete should look to bump that needle of progress forward – that's how steady progress works. Let’s not worry about redlining that gauge every session, all in the name of getting better.

Sometimes, we might be getting better as athletes. But sometimes we may actually be hurting our chances at progress.

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