Training at Your Limits

The human body-mind instrument is amazing. It's been created to adapt to whatever (within reason) you task it to do. This adaptation is the basis for all training. We engage in something intentionally stressful to increase our ability to handle that stress. In doing this, our bodies and minds adapt to that stress by building capacity to handle it with greater ease and efficiency the next time around.

In training, it can take some time (especially if you're engaging in something new) to discover your psycho-physiological limits. But once you've discovered them, that's when you can begin to extend them.

If (every time you train) you train at (or very near) your limits, your body and mind will naturally expand to handle those limits more efficiently so that they're not really your true limits anymore. They end up being more like 90 to 95% of your new, expanded limits.

For example...

If, after two weeks of doing push-ups (say, one set of 20 push-ups, followed by a second set of 10 push-ups and an additional set of 5 push-ups), you discover you can actually push-out 24 push-ups during that first set, you've discovered what your current one-set max load is. If you then proceed over the next few days to do one set of 24 reps (your recently discovered one-set max load), followed by a set of 12 reps and a set of 6 reps (notice the 50% rep decrease between sets), your one set maximum load may exceed nearly 30 reps within a week or so. At that point, 30 reps becomes your new limit. When you keep training at your recently discovered limits, those limits (over time) will be extended. This is what the body and mind do naturally in response to intentional stress-training. The current record (Source: Guinness World Records) for the most push-ups performed non-stop was 10,507. It was set by Minoru Yoshida of Japan in October 1980. It's interesting to note that there was a time when Mr. Yoshida didn't even know what a push-up was. But, after years of training at his limits, he was able to belt out his record-setting, one-set max load of 10,507 push-ups.

The key to training effectively is to train near but still within your limits. Try not to push beyond your limits, as that can lead to overtraining, poor form, illness, and injury. Instead, train to discover what your current limits are and then train at them. This is how you extend your limits safely and in a way that's sustainable.

Give it a try, and let me know how it goes.

As the U.S. Navy SEALs are oft to say, "If you don't train at your limits, you'll never extend them."

Peace to you, dear friends, and happy training!



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