Training Efficiency
More is Not Always Better
by James Bullock

Training Efficency

One of the best things I ever did in my own training was to increase my training efficiency by limiting my exercise selections per training session.

I am a movement pattern guy instead of a body part guy, meaning I would say “horizontal press day” instead of “chest day”. Using different terminology changed the way I viewed each of my training sessions.

Instead of planning my workouts around X amount of exercises for chest, for example, I would pick one primary horizontal pressing movement and one or two supplemental movements if the day was specifically geared for horizontal movement patterns. I put all of my energy and focus into the primary exercise, and if I happened to have anything left after I hit a PR for that movement, then I would move on to the other lifts.

To continue just for the sake of completing a certain number of lifts is NOT training efficiency.

There are many, many days that I only do the primary exercise and am done after that. This is due to the fact that it can take up to 2 hours for me to get to a PR depending on the volume or the amount of weight I am working up to, which is never light. If I happen to feel fantastic and strong as hell, then it will be a long session on the primary movement.

The most movements or lifts I will do in any session is 4, and I only suggest that if you are lifting 3 days a week, every other day. In this case I would do 4 primary movements and rotate the rep ranges and order of the exercises each week. That is what I have all of my warrior athletes do, and the results are amazing to say the least. It allows them to be able to lift often and heavy while still being able to do all of their MMA training.

So, contrary to popular belief, you do not have to hit a muscle from every conceivable angle to get it to grow or to make it stronger. The key is training efficiency. The body needs time to adapt to a movement pattern or lift to elicit a specific response. One of the most basic principles of sports science is the SAID principle (Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands). In other words, whatever you do the body will adapt to it, but you MUST give it a chance to at least cause adaptation in the body.

Changing your training program completely every single week is not enough time to see any kind of consistent results. Changing rep ranges, set protocols, and other minor changes each session or each week is one thing, but to completely change things from week to week is a fantastic recipe for EPIC FAILURE. This is why most people fail at dieting as well, lack of consistency.

Instant gratification is a disease and an illusion that we are the cause of as a society. So that means that we, as individuals, are the cure of it as well. If you are trying a training program or a nutrition program, then for the love of everything that is HOLY…. give it an EFFING chance to work.

Expecting results and getting results are two very different things. The first one is easy. The second one requires time, patience, and consistency.

Strength & Honor

James Bullock


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About the Author

James Bullock is the head coach for Irondom Performance Systems and Combative Sciences. He's written programs for athletes and non-athletes alike, including numerous world record holders in various sports. Combative Sciences was found in 1999 and is the culmination of decades of martial arts training. 

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