We’ve all experienced a training sessions that did NOT go as planned. Even though we’ve thought about the workout all day, visualized and strategized, sometimes we just have a bad workout and leave the box pissed off. I see it all the time.
First of all, not all is lost. Having a productive training session doesn’t necessarily mean that you had a PR. You can NOT PR and still have a very productive workout. Improvements can be seen in mechanics, consistency and intensity. It is most important to learn the mechanics first. You can always go back to the basics, practice the mechanics and make some progress that day. If you are having a hard time with a lift, ask a coach to watch or film you and correct what you are doing wrong.
After you have corrected your mechanics, work on consistency. Motor unit patterns are developed after doing the movement correctly over and over and over. The Burgener warm-up is an opportunity for you to practice the correct patterns a million times with little weight, leading to low volume and minimal fatigue. Take advantage of that. Take the Burgener warm-up seriously.
Last, you can work on intensity. Increase weight or speed if your mechanics and consistency are solid that day. This is the most obvious form of progress.
Ultimately, if you have improved mechanics, consistency and/or intensity in a session, you have made progress. You don’t always have to lift heavy weight.
We can’t ignore the fact that there are just completely crappy days in the gym. If that is the case, do some homework. Review how to properly perform a movement. Watch some videos. Ask the coaches. Also, make sure your sleep, recovery and stress is in check. Sometimes, a bad training day is, in fact, more valuable than a good one.
“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” -George Bernard Shaw
Morjaria, Chet. “How to Deal with a Bad Training Session.” http://breakingmuscle.com/strength-conditioning/how-to-deal-with-a-bad-training-session