In fitness, concepts can contradict each other
This makes it confusing for both new & experienced people in the fitness world.
On Squat depth:
“Squat all the way down to train the full range of motion”
VS “Squat just halfway so we can isolate your glutes.”
Are you trying to focus on joint health?
Or growing your glutes?
Joint health = squat low
Growing glutes = going all the way down isn't as important.
On low reps, high weight vs high rep, low weight:
“Go heavier with less reps so we can build strength”
VS “Go lighter with more reps so we can increase muscle size”
What matters more to you?
Building strength, or building muscle?
Building strength = heavier weight, lower rep
Building muscle = creating mechanical tension-focused (reps can vary)
On using straps:
“Use straps to lift heavier”
VS “Don’t use straps to build grip strength”
Are you working on grip strength?
Are you deadlifting heavy weight that should be felt in your hamstrings/glutes?
Building grip strength = don't use straps
Focusing on deadlifts = use straps when it gets so heavy that grip is a limiting factor.
These are just some examples where intent can drastically change an exercise or training style. These concepts are all valid, none are necessarily “wrong” or “bad.”
Because of that, how do we figure out which concept to apply?
It depends on intent.
Intent is Everything
When training, intent means everything. It leads to clarity. It makes you feel more aligned to your goals because you can see that what you're doing leads to your goal.
Knowing intent helps answer other common questions:
- Are long or short rest periods better?
- “Is it okay that my form is breaking down?”
- “Wait where am I supposed to feel this exercise?”
- “Do I need to buy a belt?”
On your next session, ask yourself what the purpose of your session or exercises is.
It’ll give you a deeper understanding of your movements, give you more buy-in to your program, and lead you through your training session.