How Hard Should I Go?

27.01.22 09:57 PM Comment(s) By abspweb

Today we’re looking at how to make the decision of when to push or when to fall back in-season when it comes to your strength and conditioning program.

Understanding when to push yourself in the gym should be a point of emphasis if athletic performance is the key quality that you are training for. 

This decision in the workout process could be the major difference between getting stronger in season or an early season sickness or injury. Many of the young athletes I work with today play their respective sports competitively year round, so I would call their “in-season” the competitive time period during which they have the most at stake (like scholarships, exposure to schools, etc). Due to the stress of this time period, managing the spikes of fatigue built through practice and games might be the most important concept to grasp when looking at the long-term performance for a year. This task takes a great deal of focus to understand; you have to learn your body and how it functions in distinct scenarios.


Asking a simple question about how you feel each training day can allow you to reassess daily to make the best decision as to how to proceed. Using this simple stoplight analogy could allow you to rethink how you view training from a long term perspective in the day by day.

Green, or go, would feel like a good night’s sleep followed by adequate food and hydration. Energy levels are well above 80% and you have a bounce in your step. In this case, following your S&C program as written, you should proceed to do complete the whole workout. In the example below, the first day of our program looks like a lower body power movement paired with an upper back movement followed by a single leg and upper body superset. Lastly, add in a walk variation in addition to a crowd favorite movement (pick anything that you’d like to do) superset. If energy drops drastically at any point during this workout wrap up the session and call it a night.

Yellow, or proceed with caution, would be an energy level below 80% where you may not have had highly restful sleep or may have not fueled properly, however, you look forward to completing the training session. With this scenario, stick to high intensity work and minimize the amount of work done. Instead of hitting all 3 supersets as shown above in green, you will work through the first superset of a lower body power movement pairing with your upper back movement. This will save the volume of the session while also avoiding draining your energy reserves.

Red would be when you are in a situation with high stresses and are having a hard time overcoming inadequate sleep and nutrition. If this occurs change plan A and move to plan B, C or D, which can be a mobility circuit, arms for the jocks or a complete off day! I prefer that this session is away from the gym as outside influences could be too strong to resist in the gym—such as ego lifting and lack of focus. The goal is no more than a 30 minute workout that gives you a light sweat and doesn’t tap the energy reserves—there should be no strain from the session. HERE I included an example of the Green-Yellow-Red chart as well as the mobility workout I prescribe to the athletes that I work with. If you received any benefit or have any critiques from this information please let us know on our IG account abspsouthshore or become a client on our Thyrv platform. 

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