What’s the difference between training and testing?

What’s the difference between training and testing?

The difference between testing and training in regards to physical expression (strength in this case) is about the outcome of the demand. Cardio/conditioning is a very hot topic for another time! Was the capacity reached, relative to what we know the capacity is? For example a person has never tried push-ups before, performs 5 push-ups. Have they tested or trained? Firstly let’s look at the fact that they’ve got no reference point. Nothing to say they’ve improved upon and nothing to say they’ve regressed either. For this case, they have tested. For this person (being a complete beginner to exercise) there will be a lot of testing. They will likely be in the phase of their journey that everytime they walk in the gym they will have improved. Showcasing either more reps, load, or time under tension. This category of people can ‘test’ in their training frequently, and should do so to continue to overload and therefore progress (based upon a handful of other factors but let’s keep it simple for now). They can test the same movement(s) up to several times a week, potentially for months to years. Albeit not always seeing linear progression but in the long haul it may look like that.


However as they become more experienced and their ability to express increases over time, as does their ability to create stress and damage. As their connection from the brain to the muscles becomes much more efficient, it becomes more taxing and ‘draining’ on their brain to actually test its capacity. It also becomes more ‘damaging’ on the muscle (and surrounding structures, tendons and ligaments) that in turn means a longer recovery period. So you can see that this type of person, based on where they currently sit, cannot express ‘testing’ during training as much as when they first started. Their training must now consist of (slightly) more complexity, intensity is less frequent and the consistency of similar contractions (repeating the same movements) are also less frequent. (Again unlike at the start where they can repeat the same thing at a testing capacity, several times per week).


Can the experienced athlete test all of the time?


This person certainly can still push themselves, detailed context is needed to truly understand this, but it needs to be in a more controlled manner. Haphazard attempts to make improvements through vigorous, frequent testing will end in tiring the brain too often for it to recover and likely the same will happen with the muscles. With impaired cognition and fatigued physical structures, we can see this is a sure way to make no progress and even regress with some speed.


Taking all this into consideration, think about where you sit in your journey of a particular movement. How much experience do you have with it, how did it start and how has it evolved? Is it still progressing or are you unsure of what to do? If you’re interested in a gym that will assess you as an individual and guide you towards your goals, and live close to the bishops stortford area, then Lift Off CrossFit is the gym for you. Let us take care of the thinking process and you just take care of the effort side.

Coach Mike