Fitness tips: Volume over intensity

It’s important to work hard, but a training regimen that’s too intense could lead to injuries or lost playing time.

Volume over intensity

By Deva Carr,
Fitness and Sports Instructor, CFB Halifax

In sport there is a pervasive idea that in order to succeed you must leave everything on the field every time, that the champions win not because of technical skill, but because of all the sweat and blood they poured out. Giving 110 percent effort, though mathematically impossible, is expected from you – if you expect to improve. This mentality inevitably leads to injuries, lost training time and the mental anguish that results from being on the bench for the big game.

During the two weeks leading up to competition, intensity is critical to prepare for the unknown and the unknowable. But during this short window in a training year, it is just as necessary to rest and recover, shorten practices and take days off. These high intensity sessions are the ones that might have reporters and cameras present, further perpetuating the ideal. However, for the other 350 days of the year, practice makes perfect. 

Losing a training day because you are too sore from your last practice should be seen as a training failure. In order to improve consistently you will be better off delivering a playful practice effort. This still means working hard, and as you are able to train more efficiently, you can endure longer sessions. Not because you are stronger, but because you use less of your mental capacity when your skills are ingrained. You won’t tire out on game day if you don’t tire out in practice. Remember – the best athlete is the athlete that trains the most, not the hardest.