Key Elements of Effective Strength Training at Hardbody Athlete: Intent and Execution

Small-Group Personal Training for Ambitious Athletes and Adults

At Hardbody Athlete, we believe that the level of success an athlete can achieve with their strength training program depends on a few critical factors. First, a training program must be appropriately structured, with exercises organized correctly and set and rep schemes relevant to the strengths being trained. Additionally, exercise selection must be relevant to the athlete, ensuring that the exercises build the strengths and skills necessary for the athlete to succeed in their sport.

However, one aspect of training that can be easily overlooked is intent and execution. No matter how well-designed a training plan is, a lack of intent and poor execution of the movements and plan can render even the best-designed training program ineffective. Too often, athletes are quick to change training methods or add new movements instead of evaluating the level of effort displayed in their current plan.

Training with Intent

When we speak about intent in relation to barbell training, we refer to the mental effort an athlete puts into their workout. The Hardbody Method uses three training methods to bring about significant training effects and outcomes: the max effort, dynamic effort, and repeated effort methods. Each of these methods requires specific intent and output from the athlete for optimal gains in strength and performance.

Max Effort Training

During a max effort workout, an athlete must have the proper mental focus and attitude to achieve optimal gains in absolute strength. Since the goal of max effort training is to lift 1-3 reps at 90%+ of their maximum capacity, an athlete cannot just go through the motions and expect successful max effort training days.

Dynamic Effort Training

Dynamic effort training may require the most significant amount of intent and mental focus. This method involves specific velocity goals, requiring athletes to focus and be explosive. The elevated training volume also increases overall fatigue as the workout progresses. Training with lackluster intent can reduce barbell velocity and render the training less effective, turning dynamic effort training into repeated effort using a cluster set format. Proper focus and intent are essential for improving the rate of force development.

Repeated Effort Training

Repeated effort training requires athletes to remain focused and train with the correct intent, particularly during the accessory exercise portion of the training day. At Hardbody, we achieve this by using the heaviest accessory training weights that still allow for completing all prescribed sets and reps with proper form. Fatigue ultimately determines the accessory exercise working weights.

The Importance of Proper Execution

Proper execution during training is as important as intent. While intent focuses on the aggressive side of the mentality game, execution deals with the level of control and competency an athlete displays while training. It is crucial for athletes to develop the skills necessary to complete all common training movements to standard regularly. Additionally, athletes should maintain form and proper execution while experiencing different fatigue and stress levels.

Mastering Movement Execution

Many exercises selected in the Hardbody Method require a high degree of execution to be effective. Movements such as box squats, rolling dumbbell tricep extensions, rack pulls, JM presses, and inverse curls all have nuances in their execution. Mental laziness and going through the motions can limit the effectiveness of these movements. To make training safer and more effective, athletes must master movement execution.

The Mind Controls the Machine

An athlete’s mental strength and discipline determine their success in both training and sports competitions. In the gym, it is essential to remain mindful of physical output and disciplined execution during each exercise. By doing so, athletes can improve the effectiveness of their training.

Regardless of external circumstances, training time should be used optimally. Fatigue or a bad day should not negatively affect workouts. Time is a precious resource, and every minute spent training must be spent productively.

The mind is an athlete’s most powerful tool. With the correct mindset, an athlete can execute all movements with optimal intent and execution, reaping the full benefits of each exercise and workout. If training or sports performance declines, evaluating one’s mental state and focus is crucial. Are you performing each rep with proper intent and form, or are you just getting through the sets? Are you committed to the process, or are you merely going through the motions?

Optimal training intent and movement execution begin in the mind. Control the mind, control the machine.


Success in strength training hinges on both intent and execution. By training with the proper mental focus and attitude and executing movements with precision, athletes can maximize the effectiveness of their training programs. At Hardbody Athlete, our small-group personal training programs are designed for ambitious athletes and adults who are committed to reaching their full potential. Join us and experience the transformative power of intent and execution in your training.