the joy of strength training


July 31st, 2009 at 12:57 pm

How competitive are you?

Photo by latvian

Photo by latvian

I am interested to know whether competition and competitiveness is a part of your training and approach to training.

It seems to differ greatly from person to person. There are many types of competitiveness – against yourself, against friends, against the whole world. And if you do see yourself as ‘competitive’, you may have different reasons for this: you might want to dominate and achieve, or simply exorcise some demons or challenge yourself.

Do you think competitiveness is a good thing? If you are a trainer, do you try to encourage it? Perhaps you think it is unnecessary, maybe even a negative influence?

Share your thoughts below!

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  • 1

    Competition is one of the biggest motivators out there and has caught a lot of bad flak in the last few years for example kids playing football. Being competitive can add weight to the bar or busting out another tabata sprint.

    I always encourage clients to be competitive as I feel it puts them in the ‘zone’.

    Hazard on July 31st, 2009
  • 2

    I think competition is a good thing and I think competetiveness should be engrained in all of us. When i have pt clients i always push them to beat their last score and when i have group sessions i shout and holar at them to get a few more reps out. I have started (where possible) getting members to push each other if they are of similair abilities and to be honest most do anyway.

    Personally I am competitive in everything i do. Not sure if it’s because i want to be better than anyone else but i just like to be good at lots of things and want to be able to do things that others can do. I will try most things i see other people do just so i can see if i can do it. When i have done it I try and get better at it.

    I think competetiveness rubs off very easily as well. My daughter is extremely competetive and like me will try most things she sees other people do. Whether it’s a good or bad thing she used to win most things when she was younger (races etc) but then if she lost she would get extremely upset and sulk. It has taken us a few years to work with her to explain that yes you should be competetive but if you are going to be competetive then you must learn to take loosing, congratulate your opponents and learn from it. try your hardest in everything you do but accept that sometimes it might not be your day.

    Without competition the world would have ground to a halt a long time a go!

    Andy, Crossfit Reading on July 31st, 2009
  • 3

    I’m not competitive at all.

    Doing my best is good enough for me.

    I’ve seen too many athletes ruin their lives by confusing competitive success with personal sucess. There’s always someone better.

    If you can’t be satisfied doing your best and you’ve GOT to win to feel good about yourself you have all ready failed(in my opinion). Sport and training is supposed to be a liberating experience, not another means of reionforcing insecurity and feelings of inadequacy.

    Just my ywo cents … Don’tn get me wrong I love competing ,,, but I’m genuinely satisfied if I do my best (win or lose)

    Cheers 🙂

    Kira on July 31st, 2009
  • 4

    I know some people that are more competitive than myself, but not many.

    Being of better health is just a side benefit of being in shape. I would prefer to challenge myself alongside my betters in the hopes that I can find a way to beat them.

    Which does happen, now and again. That’s important; if I never beat people I might get discouraged.

    Blaine Moore on July 31st, 2009
  • 5

    For me, it all depends.
    If I think there’s a chance I can win, I’m the most competitive person on the planet. On the flip side, if I know there’s no chance, I just focus on my on stuff and don’t get pulled into a competition.
    I’m sure any amateur psychologists out there could write a PhD on me… 🙂
    In other people, though, I find super-competitice people really annoying (I may be a bit of a hypocrite here – psychologists make note again). I have some friends like this, and avoid any activity that could develop into a competition.
    As with all things, though, I think the answer lies in fnding some kind of balance – competitiveness (is that a word?) when appropriate, and just “plaing the game” at other times. I believe that, like stress, we all need a bit of competition in our lives to achieve our potential. But too much can have the opposite effect.
    My tuppence worth.

    Moose on July 31st, 2009
  • 6

    Interesting range of views here!

    I enjoy being competitive but sometimes I wonder whether it has a detrimental effect on form, technique and style? If competition is the primary object (and you are not being judged on style) then the aim is results at all costs. There’s an element of doing ‘what you can get away with’.

    Whereas if the object is purely betterment of yourself, there’s no reason not to execute the move with as good a technique and style as you possibly can. Even though this might result in slower times or lower numbers.

    Then again, I enjoy the adrenalin and thrill of competition and I’m not sure I’m ethical enough to do my own pure thing if everyone else is taking liberties.

    Interesting topical parallel: Rebecca Adlington choosing not to wear a polyurethane suit in her world championship 400m freestyle event earlier this week – and still winning bronze.

    gubernatrix on August 1st, 2009
  • 7

    I think competitiveness is healthy to some degree.

    Although for myself, I just trying being better than I was the week before. That’s good enough for me!

    Niel on August 1st, 2009
  • 8

    I’m not as competitive as I like to think I am.

    lelak on August 1st, 2009
  • 9

    I think aggression is sometimes mistaken for competitiveness. You don’t have to be aggressive to be competitive, but you do have to have a deep desire to triumph. Over whom is up to you!

    gubernatrix on August 3rd, 2009
  • 10

    One of the keys to training is balance… and there are way too many people that lost that set of keys.

    Competition in life can’t be eliminated, no matter how hard we try to ignore it. It’s a great catalyst to push yourself past what you thought was possible. Accepting that there is always going to be competiton is a key to accepting difficulty in life.

    On the other hand, there is a point of dimishing returns with competition. There comes a point in life where you’re going to peak and when that times comes, it’s pointless to keep pushing yourself harder and harder. At that point, you’re just sapping the life out of yourself. I read somewhere about a powerlifting coach who fried his body up so bad that the only thing that he can do anymore for exercise is swim!

    Balance competitiveness in your training. That’s my take on the matter.

    Justin_P on August 3rd, 2009
  • 11

    A guy should be competitive. Competition gives incentives for self improvement. This is not only true for a guy. Without competition world cannot progress too.

    Kaira on August 12th, 2009
  • 12

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