Maintenance in Training

Train To Maintain

I’m often asked about what I am training for at the moment. The question is always asked with the assumption that I must be training for something that is new or different. After all, we’ve all been told that we must constantly pursue new goals to improve. There’s nothing flashy or sexy about working hard to maintain what has already been built. The reality though is that much of my training is based on maintaining the physical attributes that I’ve already worked so hard to achieve. I won’t turn my back on what’s already been built simply to pursue new goals or challenges. There must be balance between chasing down new challenges and holding on to the foundation that’s already been established.

Train To Maintain

In the video that follows, I discuss the importance of maintenance in training. If you are familiar with the site, you may recall seeing a similar entry in the past.

Training to maintain something that you’ve already achieved is a topic that will never garner much attention from the fitness industry. The marketing powers that be typically aren’t fans of realistic thinking. It is obviously more lucrative to sell you on the idea of doing something that is new or different.

Realistically though, if you’ve already developed any considerable strength, you can’t forget what got you there in the first place. Rather than constantly trying to reinvent the wheel, much of your time should be spent continuing to use what has already worked.

It is also important to recognize that we all have limits, despite what others would like us to believe. As mentioned within the video, what goes up will eventually come down. With that in mind, it becomes increasingly important to maintain the strength that you worked so hard to develop. And even if you don’t recognize this simple truth now, it will someday become apparent as time continues to pass.

Final Thoughts

When I was younger, I would have brushed off anything even remotely related to maintenance. All that I wanted to do was improve. Now that I’m older and wiser, I realize that I won’t continue to make gains at the rate I did when I first started. I’ll certainly continue to try (improving), but I’m also able to recognize the accomplishment in still being able to do what I did many years before.

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“The years teach much which the days never knew.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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6 comments:

  1. Great post! That is such a tough concept to grasp, but I appreciate the excellent insight! So it’s not always about what you can do better, but what’s working for you. This might help me feel better about those things I haven’t been able to achieve (like 4 pull ups! Nevermind that fancy shit of pulling your chest above the bar! ;)) 🙂

  2. The first rule of strength training is “don’t get weaker.”

    Gains are great of course. But try not to lose the strength you already have first.

    Great reminder, Ross.

  3. That’s all I do these days,I’m 47 years old and do shift work…at my age I can still squat 90kg on a good day and dead lift 120 kg..I just maintain what I can do..

  4. “Don’t try to reinvent the wheel.” Exactly!

    As T.S. Elliot once said:

    “We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time.”

    We already know what to do and it has worked for us in the past. No need for anything new but rather a better understanding of what we already know. (over and over again).

    Tommy

  5. this is a tough one for me… on the one hand, fuck maintenance. on the other hand, you’re totally right, Ross. the biggest challenge for me is finding that balance of training hard enough so that i feel faster/better/stronger/whatever (basically not feeling like i just wasted my time) but not training so hard that i sustain injury. getting hurt sucks the big one, ha. as i get older, i understand that i won’t always make gains despite effort; sometimes it will just be maintaining what i’ve previously worked for. intellectually i know that this is an improvement in the sense that i’m not backsliding as time goes on, but it’s still a bit hard for me to accept. i have so many goals that i still wish to achieve… and being comfortable with where i am now doesn’t feel that great, mentally. anybody else feeling me on this? i normally don’t compare myself to others, but honestly i wouldn’t want to trade places with most other 42 year old women. i’m quite proud of who i am as a physical culturist and i still feel young and spry (when i’m not injured anyway, lol). so when i’m working so hard and not seeing the improvement that i’m dying to achieve? dunno. like i said, this is a tough one for me.

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