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Why Specificity Is Important In Fitness Programs.

Posted Nov 18 2009 10:00pm

I was in the middle of a set of deadlifts when a gym member walked by and made the following remark:

“That weight looks really heavy — heavier than you should be lifting — what are you lifting it for?”

I’m look at him quizzically thinking, “What?  Was my form bad?”  ( No. . .  Thank you very much! :) )

He continued, “I thought there was more to you than just wanting to be big…. And that’s what you’re doing by lifting that weight, isn’t it?  Otherwise, why else would somebody want to lift such heavy weights?”

“Well. . .  I want to get stronger,” I said.  “And I have a particular strength goal that I’m trying to reach. . . so I’m using a progressive regimen that’ll help me get there.”   It’s that simple – and that specific.
The conversation was probably more intriguing to me because it popped up absolutely out of nowhere, but it left me thinking that it wouldn’t hurt to touch on the importance of this concept.
Many people train.  Few have a clue as to what they’re doing as they embark on their fitness programs.

Oh, sure. . they have an IDEA:

“They wanna sweat.”

“They wanna work hard.”

“They wanna FEEL like they’re doing something.”

“They’re doing the program they saw in that fitness magazine. . . or that they saw that person doing . . . or that they saw that trainer teaching. . .”

And then they go and throw their body around (apparently) for the sake of throwing it around, in search of symptoms of exertion.

While I can appreciate that there may very well be as many reasons to strength train as there are people on this Earth, I’d like to think that most of us aren’t “just doing it for the sake of doing it.”  We’ve got a particular goal in mind, whether it be:

  • training for performance in a particular sport
  • adding 12 lbs of muscle in 12 weeks
  • losing 20 lbs of fat in 12 weeks
  • improving your posture while rehabbing a back injury so that you can work without pain
  • increasing your cardiovascular strength and endurance by 50%
  • improving a deadlift from 225 to 350 lbs

And each of these goals requires a specific plan of attack in order to effectively achieve it.

That’s the whole point.

If we’re going to reach our goal(s), our fitness programs require a plan . . .  we can’t just be flailing around the gym – moving for the sake of moving – without direction in mind.

So, what’s your specific goal?

Why are you doing it?

And what’s your plan of attack?

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