Having been in the game for a few years now I feel like I’ve got a pretty good grasp on some of the major things that are gonna keep you gaining or the regular or put the kibosh on that gain train. Let’s talk about the first one:
Grinding too often
Grinding leads to Fatigue, Fatigue leads to Weakness, and Weakness leads to the Dark side of the force. Grinding reps is a skill and absolutely necessary to our sport. However, do it too often and you’ll accumulate a fatigue debt that may or may not be difficult to pay back.
When I think back to what’s sabotaged my progress the most over the past several years I believe it would be letting myself get into that grindy territory and not backing down almost immediately. When you start grinding, as I said, you accumulate fatigue. Okay, so you just take a deload week, right? Sure, that can help, but don’t expect to be able to just jump right back to where you were before the deload. That almost never happens in my experience.
The best way to prevent being over-fatigued is to never get there in the first place. But my next recommendation would be that when you start grinding, drop the weight to a place where the reps are smooth again and begin to work back up. Now is the time to take stock. Why did you start grinding? Did you progress too soon? Consider working back up slower. Might it be a plateau? Perhaps add another set at the lower intensity.
This is the big obvious one. Injuries will be the biggest thing that will set you back apart from fatigue. But, I would argue that the above grinding is sometimes a cause of injuries.
Of course, we’d love to say, well just don’t get injured but of course it doesn’t work like that. Injuries come when they come. Sometimes we have no idea why but often they arise due to poor form or ignoring bodily cues. Grinding can often lead to poor form as we tend to sacrifice good positions in order to finish the lift. Therefore in certain cases one can make the case that less grinding = less injuries. Sometimes.
Really, the best you can say as far as injuries is just to be cognizant of what you’re feeling and how you’re performing. Take stock every so often and make good decisions based on what your body is telling you.