I can certainly appreciate that the words ‘train smarter not harder’ do indeed come across a little gimmicky – but that certainly doesn’t make them any less appropriate.
For those of you who are aware of the iNform way, you would understand the premium we place on quality movement.
Our process always starts with the identification of movement dysfunction and muscular imbalances. We can then prioritize your training to improve upon these identified issues, therefore causing lasting improvements in how well you move. This process essentially acts as the foundation from which you can commence your performance journey – ultimately setting you up for future training success, exponentially increasing your physical capabilities, all while simultaneously reducing your risk of injury.
Pretty cool, right?
There is (or as of now, was) however, a little bit of kicker.
While each and every one of us here are iNform have always had a firm belief that this process worked, and worked well (and had the anecdotal evidence to prove it), we didn’t really have a method of quantifying it.
Well, until now, that is.
Train Smarter Not Harder
So, for those of you in the know, I am currently undertaking a PhD at the University of South Australia, where I am looking at the associations between movement quality and physical performance.
In short, I am testing out the effectiveness of the iNform methodology.
Now don’t get me wrong – I am well aware that this could have been disastrous. Imagine spending three years of my life trying to prove something that iNform have been building for the better part of two decades, and then seeing it fail.
And it all comes crashing down.
Like I said, disastrous.
However, as you might have guessed (given the title of this post and all), this wasn’t the case.
In fact, the key training study that I am going to be talking about genuinely smashed all expectations out of the park.
While I wont give you all the boring details (especially since the study is yet to be published), I will give you a bit of a rundown of what we did, and what the results were – and I can only assume that you will be as impressed as I was…
A Big Tick For Movement Quality
Pretty simply, we recruited a bunch of people into the study who had a fair amount of gym experience (about 6 years on average). We then took them through a battery of tests. These included iNforms MovementSCREEN assessment of movement quality, the FMS (another assessment of movement quality), and a number of strength and power measures.
To be honest, it was pretty comprehensive (and fairly time consuming…).
We then split the participants into two evenly matched groups.
One group underwent a training program built around the results of their individual movement assessment. This training was designed to improve upon any pre-identified movement dysfunctions and muscle imbalances (we can call these guys the iNform group). The second group underwent a training program built around the recommend guidelines for resistance training. This was done with intent to improve strength and physical capabilities (we will cause these guys the strength group).
Both groups underwent two (both 60 minutes long) training sessions per week for a total duration of 8 weeks. They were also fully supervised, with their training regime provided by a trainer in a one-on-one setting. At the end of each training session we also took a measure to determine how challenging the participants perceived the training.
Now it is important to note that the strength group weren’t simply performing some trashy cookie cutter program – it was still tailored to their individual capabilities, and it was built around training guidelines set by The American College of Sports Medicine.
It pretty much perfectly replicated what you would normally see in a normal personal training setting.
Which is why the results were so damn exciting (or at least, we think they are).
After the 8 weeks of training, we took all the participants through the same baseline testing battery. This allowed us to compare any differences between the two groups, and establish what method of training caused greater improvement in movement quality and performance.
Now to be completely honest, I did have a couple of expectations coming into this.
I really thought that the iNform group would see larger improvements in movement quality, while the strength group would see greater improvements in physical performance. Which in my mind, would make sense.
But that isn’t quite what happened.
The strength group saw large improvements in both their MovementSCREEN score of movement quality and their physical performance measures. With this, their FMS score of movement quality remained for the most part the same.
Interestingly, the iNform group saw the same degree of improvement in their strength and power measures. In conjunction with this, they saw greater improvements in their measures of movement quality.
Which in itself is pretty damn cool.
However, things start to get even more interesting when we start to look at how challenging the participants viewed their training…
You see, the iNform group found their training program significantly less difficult than the strength group. In fact, they rated every single session easier than the strength training group did.
Which suggests that they got better movement quality improvements and comparable performance improvements for less effort.
To be completely honest, these results took us somewhat by surprise. Not that we didn’t have faith in our processes, but the degree in which the iNform group improved their performance was pretty high – comparable to what most would consider the gold standard method of training.
Moreover, considering that this came with much less perceived effort, well its pretty outrageous really.
While we cant be sure why this happened, we suspect that it was because the iNform method of training is more ‘targeted’. It revolves around identifying the weakest link in the chain (or in this case, the body), and then training to improve that weakest link.
So although the method of training may be less intense than traditional strength training methods, it really works on what needs to be worked on.
Which obviously leads to improvements in performance and movement quality.
Take Home Message
I guess what we are trying to say is that the iNform way works. We now have evidence to support it, which we will be sharing in its entirety as soon as its published.
But what does this mean for you?
Well in my mind it clearly shows that training with iNform can improve how well you move, while simultaneously increasing your strength and power. Moreover, you will find this method of training less challenging than ‘traditional, training methods.
Train smarter not harder.