For years now I have had the same debate with clients, athletes and friends alike, discussing the difference a couple of cm, seconds, or reps can make to your training. It appears time and time again people miss the importance of what is almost always the difference between Success, and achieving your goals, or failure, and stopping just shy of the mark, in short winning and losing.
Crossing the line is the difference between just doing enough and making sure you work so damn hard that there can be no other outcome. Just doing enough was something I suffered with right through my adolescence, just ask my parents, I went through the whole of school, college, and university with this attitude and while my achievements what got me to where I am now, I could have been here a whole lot sooner, by pushing just that little bit harder. It took a massive shift change in my belief system to get to where I am now, and I had to start somewhere, the gym was as good a place as any, and I still make progress today to ensure my life is impacted positively. Crossing the line taught me that if I want it bad enough it IS possible; that I CAN achieve what I want; I just have to push hard enough for long enough to get it.
You may be correct in your understanding that physiologically one more rep, another measly second, or just a few more centimeters is not directly going to make wholesale changes to your physique, strength or conditioning. How can it, it is nothing compared to the perceived brutality of the session you are suffering through or the seemingly life changing alterations you are making to your life right now. No, you are correct, it will not make one iota of a difference’ not in the immediate aftermath anyhow. What it will do however is have a profound effect on your discipline, belief and sheer bloody mindedness to get the job done! Not just in the gym, or on the sports field but in every aspect of your life, it will instill something in you that will leave no other option to you other than to succeed. It will give you the confidence to know you have it in you, that you can give just that little bit more, and enable you to DEMAND success.
Crossing the line will ensure you go the distance, strive to the end for what you believe, and claim the victories you demand. For the most part winning and losing is done between your ears and the brain makes plain and simple connections. By doing something half heartedly, or failing to give your all because well, you THINK you have done enough, then that connection will be made and played out time and again in other aspects of your life, the brain does not differentiate. However, if you give your all to what you are doing at any given moment in time, meaning finishing what you start and crossing lines set out for you, your brain will make these connections and make it easier for you to succeed in other areas of your life.
How you train will tell a story about your whole life I watch people come and go all the time and I guarantee the ones who push to the end and give there all in the gym, and on the training pitch, are by far the more successful in achieving the health and performance goals. By changing your attitude in the gym, on the training pitch and ultimately on the field of play you will generate a feeling of success, a feeling that might just encourage you to give a little more to your family, partner, or anyone else fortunate enough to enter your life, everyone wins. So while just doing enough or stopping a little short in your session may seem preferable at the time it may profoundly impact your ability to succeed long term.
Start crossing that line, and ensure you have the discipline to complete any task that is set out before you, no matter how daunting. If your set says 30s DO 30s, If you can do and are asked to complete 6 reps, DO SO, If you are asked to push / pull / sprint for 30ms for your sake cross that damn line with all the intensity and purpose you can muster. If the game is tight and only seconds remain, just pushing that bit further, harder and for longer may just see you get the victory you deserve. Then, and only then can you be happy to rest, knowing you have given your all, that you have the ability to defeat what stands before you, and your goals will be achieved!