by Mike Tuchscherer, 27 December 2017
Doing a lot of training volume doesn’t matter much if you can’t recover from it. It’s not about workload, but rather the workload that you can recover from. Now from there, we can spout generalities usually in one of two varieties. We can say, “Most people aren’t working hard enough, so most likely you shouldn’t worry about it and just work harder.” Or we can say, “Recovery is the critical factor. Better to under-train than over-train. So keep training on the conservative side.”
Both miss the point. There’s individual variance in your ability to tolerate and recover from training. If you recover quickly, but train conservatively, then you’ll see little result. You detrain too much between training bouts. If you recover slowly (or in many cases just averagely) and continually train harder and harder, then you’re probably getting ready for an injury.
Urges to “train hard” or “recover hard” are misguided. It’s far better to “Train appropriately”, but that is not nearly as catchy and doesn’t contribute to our sense of superiority.
Training appropriately means that you strike a balance between fatigue and recovery. You push some, but then you throttle back some too. There’s a balance to strike that isn’t totally obvious. But unlike the old days where you’d first have to understand this relationship, then trial-and-error your way into feeling it out, we can cut through a lot of that now. Various HRV apps can tell you about your recovery status. Wellness questionnaires or other apps like TRAC (which is available for everyone via the RTS site btw) can help you see how your recovery balance shifts with training and life stressors.
But before any of that is useful to you, you’ve got to understand that you can’t be in either extreme if you want to see how strong you can get. “Hardcore” types get hurt and make dumb choices sooner or later. “Hardgainer” types tend to overemphasize recovery and basically aren’t training hard enough. You need to both train hard and recover from that training to get where you want to go. It’s about training throughput.
If you enjoyed this article, please share it. Join the conversation on our RTS Facebook page.
If you want more stuff like this, plus exclusive content not posted elsewhere, please sign up for our Email Newsletter.
About the Author:
|About the Author
Mike Tuchscherer is the owner and head coach at RTS. He has been powerlifting since 2001 and since has traveled all over the world for competitions. In 2009, he was the first man from USA powerlifting to win a gold medal at the World Games – the highest possible achievement in powerlifting. He has coached over a dozen competitors at the world championships, a score of national champions, and multiple world record holders.