Less is More. More is Better.

More space. More money. More gadgets. More clothes. More….stuff.

Make more. Sell more. Work more. Do…more.

Accumulating and doing more has been the predominate view of our culture for quite some time. We are obsessed with more, but what about quality?

I won’t go into the philosophy side of this today, but instead just want to discuss how we see this go grossly wrong in the gym.

We often talk to people who just want to do more exercises, more sets, more weight, more of everything. The issue with this is take on exercise is that the human body won’t lie to you. You may be able to trick your brain into thinking it is happier by buying bigger and bigger TVs. Your body, however, will not give you better squat technique and less painful knees if you do 1,000s of squats and load up more weight.

Your body will adapt directly to the inputs you give it. So if you give it more reps or weight with bad quality it will get great at poor quality movement. It does this by compensating with joints and muscles not designed for that movement. Eventually something will break. If you are trying to get strong or fit, the intent has to be on sticking to a plan and taking time to recover. This becomes even clearer with the research on the importance of eccentric exercise. Nothing needs more focus and less reps than a 10 second long one legged squat, but one of these is worth 50 poor quality back squats.

The most clear evidence of the “Less is More” principle lies in cardiovascular respiratory focused exercise. Focusing on nasal breathing only takes a lot of disciple and demands that you do less overall work. You have to scale your intensity down (at first) in order to do it. This means you don’t run or move as far or as fast. But you are actually making much larger gains for your overall endurance than if you had simply added miles to your weekly plan.

By doing less with more focus you see much quicker improvement than simply adding more to your workout plan.

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