Do you know the difference between training and testing?

 In Blog

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By Michael Price

Let’s talk a little about the sometimes blurred lines between training and testing.

Our programme at CFSL / CFD is built heavily off of progression, testing, improvement and of course, CrossFit. Our focus is improving performance not only in the gym but in our lives.We put a lot of time and effort in to making sure that the athletes in our box see marked improvement, continually learn new skills, and get stronger and faster. We try to empower them with the knowledge and tools they need to reach optimal health the longer they train with us. A program like ours exists in two phases:  the training phase, and the testing phase. What is the difference between the two? Let me explain…

Before we do, we must establish the fact that in order to improve there must be a difference between what we call “testing” and “training”. Testing is infrequent and is used as a means to assess progress or prowess of a task. Training is much more frequent and is the act of improving upon skills and abilities in order to maximise performance in a “test”. Let’s use rugby or hockey as an example. Training in rugby or hockey encompasses conditioning, drills, repeating plays, coaching, and reproducing competition-like scenarios. During training the focus is on improving skill and ability. Testing is quite simply game day. Testing is competition against another team. It is a test of the team’s preparedness in their sport.

Our programme in much the same way encompasses both situations. The VAST majority of days at the box are training days.

Training sessions are days to work skills, practice lifts, get stronger, work on our mobility and perform workouts that build and broaden your work capacity under the guidance of your coach. These are the days to  work close to, but not at max effort, to look to scale down and work on moving quickly and in unbroken sets, to try new things, get out of your comfort zone and risk failing or falling short, when timecaps show you something went wrong, perform drills and break movements down into parts to work each phase. This is when we build strength, stamina, speed and skill. This is where we get broken down and rebuilt.

For training to be effective it must be focused and progressive. It must have intention, it must be thought out, it must have purpose and not just be a constantly varied piece! We take care of that for you at CFSL / CFD. Over time we have seen that simply throwing workouts together with little thought may have short term gains to a new athlete but it will not sustain improvement. We know that “great workouts” aren’t constant 20-30 minute met-cons, or ridiculously heavy couplets, or 20 movement chipper AMRAPs. Training days focus on the things that lead to great results on reaching our personal goals and  our “test days”. We program tempo lifts, skills, short bursts, rest intervals, longer days, sprints, and technique progressions, all in an effort to maintain progression and momentum in our fitness and health and make the “test” days that much better.

Come to the gym ready to train most days. You might not feel your best every day, but your best should not be decided by your physical state, but your mental approach. Sometimes you may not see improvements for weeks, but that is OK! There are many factors at play here so it is best to keep motivated until it becomes clear why you have plateaued. This is where you learn most about yourself and help identify things that stop you feeling like the bomb.

Testing is our game day. These are our quarterly benchmarks, max lift days, CrossFit benchmarks, and time-trial days. This is when it counts. The Open workouts and in-house competitions could also be counted as testing. On testing days we see if our training has paid off. We get to evaluate if you are getting better. If we don’t see improvement or PRs this is the time we ask why. Tests reveal what we need to work on and allow us to see what worked and what didn’t. Testing days are the days to bring your best game and see what you can do.

Make sure the focus is always there, the work is being done, and the results are being earned. Work on weaknesses, hit the workouts hard, perfect your skills, focus on progressing toward your goals and then on testing days, BRING IT!

And last but not least have FUN!!

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