Hard work

“Hard work beats talent.”

Hard work is essential. While this is true, I think this quote is misleading and only valid when talent coasts and doesn’t apply themselves. Many people got on board with this quote when Tim Tebow was playing in the NFL. Not that he coined the phrase, I don’t think, but he seemed to make it popular. It’s a meme that many people ignorant of strength training, in particular, feel that if you do the most work, you have the best likelihood of success. I’m afraid I have to disagree with this, and I will tell you why.

Hard work at the appropriate time

One should strive to work optimally and with maximum effort in everything we do. But not everything we do should we have to do until it’s hard. Yes, you have to work hard, but some of us teeter on the verge of overtraining and injury already. Another couple of sets or adding another day in the gym could be the end of an athlete or a career. Or six months to a year or more rehabbing an injury/surgery.

“Train hard, but not as hard as possible.”

The above quote is from the great strength coach Buddy Morris, and I include it in my strength training manual 10/20/Life. Buddy is with the Arizona Cardinals as their head strength coach. I met Buddy at Elitefts about ten years ago and heard him speak about training athletes for a few hours, and much of what he said has stayed with me. Do enough to be great, and that’s it. If what you are doing right now is working, whether you feel you are training hard or not, you might want to keep on the path.

A word about  overtraining

In general, the vast majority of people I see with their backs and injury is due to too much load, insufficient rest, and heavy training without proper progressions. In short, they overtrain. I’ve been fortunate to help people get out of severe back pain and get back under the bar. The caveat is that when they return to lifting, they cannot return to their former program, which broke them. In addition, their former program didn’t account for the accumulated damage to their spine. Pushing too hard and doing an extra set here and there moved them over the tipping point until they could no longer train due to pain. As many of you have read in Gift of Injury, I did the same thing! It’s widespread.

My mission now that I’m retired from powerlifting competition is to help as many people as possible train smart and recover from injury. If you want my help with programming, coaching in-person/virtual, or a virtual consultation if you’re stuck, you can contact me here to book a consult. 

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Brian Carroll

Brian is a world-class powerlifter with over two decades of elite and pro-level powerlifting under his belt. Coming back from a devastating back injury in 2012 that broke multiple bones and that most experts said he would never recover from, he has returned to the pinnacle of world-class lifting (while 100% pain and symptom-free) and is now dedicated to helping others avoid the same mistakes that he made in the past through private and group coaching in Jacksonville, FL. Brian’s impressive recovery has given him the opportunity to teach and deliver talks to physical therapists, chiropractors, medical doctors, professional strength & conditioning coaches and experts from all facets of sport, on how to avoid injury, while building anti-fragile strength and resilience in athletes.
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