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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:42 am 
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Continuing with stupid questions... I have seen the following progression template quite often:

Microcycles:
1. 8 sets of 3 steps of a given weight
2. 6 sets of 4 reps
3. 5 sets of 5 reps
4. 4 sets of 6 reps
5. 3 sets of 8 reps

How would you classify that? Volume (reps x sets) and intensity (weight lifted) stay the same every workout. Does this actually make sense?

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:50 am 
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99% of that fiber type shit is theoretical and not super determinative. Who here know their fiber type? no one does because no one here has had dozens and dozens of muscle biopsies...so until then, jog on with that crap..there are very very few snowflakes..most of us are made of the same meat.
I have always been wondering about my predominant fiber types: I lift like pussy and I am a shit runner. What the fuck!

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:01 am 
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99% of that fiber type shit is theoretical and not super determinative. Who here know their fiber type? no one does because no one here has had dozens and dozens of muscle biopsies...so until then, jog on with that crap..there are very very few snowflakes..most of us are made of the same meat.
I have always been wondering about my predominant fiber types: I lift like pussy and I am a shit runner. What the fuck!
You have an aversion to hard work. :happiness:

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:45 pm 
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Continuing with stupid questions... I have seen the following progression template quite often:

Microcycles:
1. 8 sets of 3 steps of a given weight
2. 6 sets of 4 reps
3. 5 sets of 5 reps
4. 4 sets of 6 reps
5. 3 sets of 8 reps

How would you classify that? Volume (reps x sets) and intensity (weight lifted) stay the same every workout. Does this actually make sense?
There are a lot of different ways you can measure increasing work capacity/strength, whatever. Total volume is one (Just the ability to do more at X.) Increasing intensity is another. (X is getting bigger.)

In this case, what is increasing? Your ability to do more reps per set. So while total volume and intensity are staying the same, your able to do more with less segments (sets.) If you standardize the rest between sets, you have a real sense of getting stronger.

Another thing.....Volume, intensity, density, etc....they don't all have to increase session by session. They don't even need to all increase over the course of a cycle. So with the above cycle, you might not see an increase in volume, this time, or of intensity. But at the end, you are presumably stronger so you can handle more weight. You repeat the cycle with more weight, volume has risen. You add a few back off sets the next time.......

Improvements happen over time.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:24 pm 
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If you can do 3 sets of 8 after five weeks with a weight you were using for triples, it was likely too light to get much of a training effect out of triples.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:28 pm 
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Continuing with stupid questions... I have seen the following progression template quite often:

Microcycles:
1. 8 sets of 3 steps of a given weight
2. 6 sets of 4 reps
3. 5 sets of 5 reps
4. 4 sets of 6 reps
5. 3 sets of 8 reps

How would you classify that? Volume (reps x sets) and intensity (weight lifted) stay the same every workout. Does this actually make sense?

I use it. It's neither volume nor intensity really as it sits alone out of context. It's a straight up progression to build tolerance to high reps sets...as a precursor to....you guessed it Volume with higher reps sets.

Often people will see a program with 8's and 10's and say..Oh I see you';re doing volume. As you can see form that progression the volume is exactly the same. Reps do not mean volume...total number of working reps in a microcycle is volume. I use that method to get people focused on being able to rep out formerly challenging weights so that they can easily shift form the end of that progression...3 sets of 8 to working at or above that weigth for 4-6 sets of 6 to 7...that is alot ov volume and a lot of stimulus for hypertrophy...again...

Rep range targets the specific adaptation. High sets low reps (high % of 1rm) is working volume to build strength
High numbers of sets with high numbers reps (a lower % of 1rm) is working on build hypertrophy...which can be useful for buildign strength in a subsequent block.

BJ is sort of correct...you wouldn't get much of a training effect out of the triples.(8x3) But every good progression starts BELOW your capacity to able to build towards working above your former capacity. 8x3 translates SE towards being able to do 4x6...which begins to get challenging and IS having a significant training effect.

NewGuy nails it...Time.

TIME...where is a given progression at in time relative to what preceded it and what happens after it? Stop thinking of these things in 3 dimensions. This is not algebra it's calculus.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:32 pm 
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99% of that fiber type shit is theoretical and not super determinative. Who here know their fiber type? no one does because no one here has had dozens and dozens of muscle biopsies...so until then, jog on with that crap..there are very very few snowflakes..most of us are made of the same meat.
I have always been wondering about my predominant fiber types: I lift like pussy and I am a shit runner. What the fuck!

The sad truth is ...everyone is a pussy and training to be a notpussy is completely doable.

There are no hard gainers. Only people starting in a hole or people unwilling to compromise expectations for progress.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:21 pm 
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High sets low reps (high % of 1rm) is working volume to build strength.
I assume "low reps" means in the 3-6 range.
What number does "high sets" mean? 5-ish?

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:00 pm 
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High sets low reps (high % of 1rm) is working volume to build strength.
I assume "low reps" means in the 3-6 range.
What number does "high sets" mean? 5-ish?
In my mind lowish is 1-4. High is 5-10...in some cases more where strempf is not the primary focus.

Low reps high sets is anything that would take you over the fairly typical low to moderate adaptive workload of 10-15 reps with a weight over 80%. I think someone coined a term for it that now escapes me but the minimum amount to make some observable progress.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 2:58 am 
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Work capacity is a trainable quality. This is where the HIT and Heavy Duty and Hardgainers of years past went wrong.

we were joking the other night about "hardgainers"

No one could recall seeing a hard gainer who did the basics with good form.
Or one that ate breakfast, or didn't fritter away their sleep on a regular basis because they were gaming or binge watching some dumbass series on Netflix...

Things are a little more complex for working adults with a family and responsibilities beyond training, of course, and if your goals are soft maybe it doesn't matter that much. But, generally, training should show an upward trend of volume with many peaks and valleys and long plateaus. I don't know why this is even a discussion...


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:08 am 
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Minimum effective dose.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:14 am 
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Quote:
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Work capacity is a trainable quality. This is where the HIT and Heavy Duty and Hardgainers of years past went wrong.

we were joking the other night about "hardgainers"

No one could recall seeing a hard gainer who did the basics with good form.
Or one that ate breakfast, or didn't fritter away their sleep on a regular basis because they were gaming or binge watching some dumbass series on Netflix...

Things are a little more complex for working adults with a family and responsibilities beyond training, of course, and if your goals are soft maybe it doesn't matter that much. But, generally, training should show an upward trend of volume with many peaks and valleys and long plateaus. I don't know why this is even a discussion...

breakfast. Another one of those....no idea why I need t eat when I am not hungry.....but it absolutely works.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:44 am 
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Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
Work capacity is a trainable quality. This is where the HIT and Heavy Duty and Hardgainers of years past went wrong.

we were joking the other night about "hardgainers"

No one could recall seeing a hard gainer who did the basics with good form.
Or one that ate breakfast, or didn't fritter away their sleep on a regular basis because they were gaming or binge watching some dumbass series on Netflix...

Things are a little more complex for working adults with a family and responsibilities beyond training, of course, and if your goals are soft maybe it doesn't matter that much. But, generally, training should show an upward trend of volume with many peaks and valleys and long plateaus. I don't know why this is even a discussion...

breakfast. Another one of those....no idea why I need t eat when I am not hungry.....but it absolutely works.
You are so close to becoming the next Dan John and you don't even know it.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 6:17 am 
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You wound me, Sir.

Most impressive. I'm not sure whether to send you flowers or close my account.

Seriously though. Fucking nutrients...Who knew???

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:57 pm 
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Quote:
Quote:
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Work capacity is a trainable quality. This is where the HIT and Heavy Duty and Hardgainers of years past went wrong.

we were joking the other night about "hardgainers"

No one could recall seeing a hard gainer who did the basics with good form.
Or one that ate breakfast, or didn't fritter away their sleep on a regular basis because they were gaming or binge watching some dumbass series on Netflix...

Things are a little more complex for working adults with a family and responsibilities beyond training, of course, and if your goals are soft maybe it doesn't matter that much. But, generally, training should show an upward trend of volume with many peaks and valleys and long plateaus. I don't know why this is even a discussion...
My guess is, as to why it is a discussion, is because people (raising my hand here), have trouble balancing long term goals and planning with short term needs. Especially people who are not coaches or coached.

Good coaches...strength, track, powerlifting, whatever, are well versed in taking an athlete through a long process of progression. Years not weeks. (Well not fitness coaches. Those guys seem to think in 6 week blocks.) They take people through definite stages....beginner, intermediate, advanced.....they understand that to get from level X to level Z you need to do this....and that the progress is not going to be linear.

Regular people, like me, have trouble establishing long term goals and sketching out multi year plans to meet them. Let alone sticking with anything more than six weeks.

We get bored...we're stupid....we follow whatever we hear even if it has no bearing to what we did the last six weeks......I am going to build my deadlift this month! Hey, I think this month I am going to work on kayaking....progress in something takes effort over years...not weeks.

I was actually just thinking of these two things. A multi-year plan for running.......as well as the difference between me, a guy who just goes out and runs, vs. my coworker who is part of a running club. She has running friends, they train together, they have "coaches" who plan out their schedules leading up to big races.......everything she does is meshed in with her running club. She is much more likely to keep running vs. me. There is no one I let down if I don't go out for my long run...no one is messaging me if I don't show up Tuesday for a tempo run.

Here is the multi-year running plan I came up with for myself: Basic goal, to be able to run 5/10k distances FAST.

Year one (this year) - 1 weekend long run (cap at 10) 1 short, harder run (3-5 miles) each week. Slowly integrate a third "slow run."
Run the April 5K....find good target fall 10K.
Year two - 1 weekend long, 2 short, "harder" runs each week. (3-5). Slowly integrate a 4th "slow" run over the course of the year. (on weekend.) (4 runs per week.)
Run the April 5K and the fall 10K
Year three - 1 weekend long, 1 weekend slow. 1 week day medium. 1 weekday speed session. (4 runs per week.)
Follow an intermediate level plan for the 5K and 10K.

A "long run" can be substituted with a fun run. Fun run is just to cover distance well and enjoy self, up to half marathon distance. Speed/time goals are for the April 5K and the the fall 10K.
--
Over the course of three years that would take me from 2-3 days a week to 4 days a week. It might be a shitty plan. But it is thinking about progression over the course of years as opposed to weeks.

Now contrast that with what I will actually do......next month I'll think "I need to ramp this up!" and start trying to run every day and add hills and sprints. My knees will start hurting and I'll think...."This suck! I should go back to kettlebells." Then after a couple of weeks...."why did I give up running! I was feeling great!" And my first run back I'll try to go 7 miles even though the most I'd gone while I was training was 6 because I decide I want to run the local marathon in 8 weeks......

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 12:34 am 
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Things are a little more complex for working adults with a family and responsibilities beyond training, of course, and if your goals are soft maybe it doesn't matter that much. But, generally, training should show an upward trend of volume with many peaks and valleys and long plateaus. I don't know why this is even a discussion...
My guess is, as to why it is a discussion, is because people (raising my hand here), have trouble balancing long term goals and planning with short term needs. Especially people who are not coaches or coached.
I meant I don't know why a discussion about the relative importance of volume (as this is at least the second thread where it's being questioned) is even needed. I think the topic of how to train yourself is always worthwhile and complex.
Quote:
Good coaches...strength, track, powerlifting, whatever, are well versed in taking an athlete through a long process of progression. Years not weeks. (Well not fitness coaches. Those guys seem to think in 6 week blocks.) They take people through definite stages....beginner, intermediate, advanced.....they understand that to get from level X to level Z you need to do this....and that the progress is not going to be linear.

Regular people, like me, have trouble establishing long term goals and sketching out multi year plans to meet them. Let alone sticking with anything more than six weeks.

We get bored...we're stupid....we follow whatever we hear even if it has no bearing to what we did the last six weeks......I am going to build my deadlift this month! Hey, I think this month I am going to work on kayaking....progress in something takes effort over years...not weeks.
It's not a bad thing to plan for six weeks, execute, reflect, plan, execute, reflect, plan, etc. (plan -> do -> study -> act, a kind of OODA loop). You just have to keep the goal the goal and keep doing it. Over time, it will work.
Quote:
Here is the multi-year running plan I came up with for myself: Basic goal, to be able to run 5/10k distances FAST.

Year one (this year) - 1 weekend long run (cap at 10) 1 short, harder run (3-5 miles) each week. Slowly integrate a third "slow run."
Run the April 5K....find good target fall 10K.
Year two - 1 weekend long, 2 short, "harder" runs each week. (3-5). Slowly integrate a 4th "slow" run over the course of the year. (on weekend.) (4 runs per week.)
Run the April 5K and the fall 10K
Year three - 1 weekend long, 1 weekend slow. 1 week day medium. 1 weekday speed session. (4 runs per week.)
Follow an intermediate level plan for the 5K and 10K.

A "long run" can be substituted with a fun run. Fun run is just to cover distance well and enjoy self, up to half marathon distance. Speed/time goals are for the April 5K and the the fall 10K.
--
Over the course of three years that would take me from 2-3 days a week to 4 days a week. It might be a shitty plan. But it is thinking about progression over the course of years as opposed to weeks.
If this works for you, great, but it would be almost too long term for me to be useful.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 12:34 am 
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double post


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 12:50 am 
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Things are a little more complex for working adults with a family and responsibilities beyond training, of course, and if your goals are soft maybe it doesn't matter that much. But, generally, training should show an upward trend of volume with many peaks and valleys and long plateaus. I don't know why this is even a discussion...
My guess is, as to why it is a discussion, is because people (raising my hand here), have trouble balancing long term goals and planning with short term needs. Especially people who are not coaches or coached.
I meant I don't know why a discussion about the relative importance of volume (as this is at least the second thread where it's being questioned) is even needed. I think the topic of how to train yourself is always worthwhile and complex.
Quote:
Good coaches...strength, track, powerlifting, whatever, are well versed in taking an athlete through a long process of progression. Years not weeks. (Well not fitness coaches. Those guys seem to think in 6 week blocks.) They take people through definite stages....beginner, intermediate, advanced.....they understand that to get from level X to level Z you need to do this....and that the progress is not going to be linear.

Regular people, like me, have trouble establishing long term goals and sketching out multi year plans to meet them. Let alone sticking with anything more than six weeks.

We get bored...we're stupid....we follow whatever we hear even if it has no bearing to what we did the last six weeks......I am going to build my deadlift this month! Hey, I think this month I am going to work on kayaking....progress in something takes effort over years...not weeks.
It's not a bad thing to plan for six weeks, execute, reflect, plan, execute, reflect, plan, etc. (plan -> do -> study -> act, a kind of OODA loop). You just have to keep the goal the goal and keep doing it. Over time, it will work.
Quote:
Here is the multi-year running plan I came up with for myself: Basic goal, to be able to run 5/10k distances FAST.

Year one (this year) - 1 weekend long run (cap at 10) 1 short, harder run (3-5 miles) each week. Slowly integrate a third "slow run."
Run the April 5K....find good target fall 10K.
Year two - 1 weekend long, 2 short, "harder" runs each week. (3-5). Slowly integrate a 4th "slow" run over the course of the year. (on weekend.) (4 runs per week.)
Run the April 5K and the fall 10K
Year three - 1 weekend long, 1 weekend slow. 1 week day medium. 1 weekday speed session. (4 runs per week.)
Follow an intermediate level plan for the 5K and 10K.

A "long run" can be substituted with a fun run. Fun run is just to cover distance well and enjoy self, up to half marathon distance. Speed/time goals are for the April 5K and the the fall 10K.
--
Over the course of three years that would take me from 2-3 days a week to 4 days a week. It might be a shitty plan. But it is thinking about progression over the course of years as opposed to weeks.
If this works for you, great, but it would be almost too long term for me to be useful.
Well.....it is more of a thought experiment than anything else.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 10:06 pm 
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If you want to be competent. Good, or incredible at something you have to put in the work. Talent and genetics matters but you got what you got. The only thing you control is the work you put in. Yes life interferes, but all of us with high end training results have lots of other things in our lives besides training. But we make it happen. Maybe a bit less Halo or hanging at happy hour or a week in a shitty place with a Bunch of idiots. Although I have done 2 of the 3 plenty. Actually though a lot more showing up and getting work in when I didn't feel like it, eating when I didn't feel like it, and going home to bed when I didn't feel like it more often than not. I am no saint in any respect, but you live your life and you show up. You waste more time than you know. Stop wasting it. Train. Eat. Sleep. It works as good as anything. And guess what, the other things in your life will get better as you do it. Weird.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 11:26 pm 
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If you want to be competent. Good, or incredible at something you have to put in the work. Talent and genetics matters but you got what you got. The only thing you control is the work you put in. Yes life interferes, but all of us with high end training results have lots of other things in our lives besides training. But we make it happen. Maybe a bit less Halo or hanging at happy hour or a week in a shitty place with a Bunch of idiots. Although I have done 2 of the 3 plenty. Actually though a lot more showing up and getting work in when I didn't feel like it, eating when I didn't feel like it, and going home to bed when I didn't feel like it more often than not. I am no saint in any respect, but you live your life and you show up. You waste more time than you know. Stop wasting it. Train. Eat. Sleep. It works as good as anything. And guess what, the other things in your life will get better as you do it. Weird.
100% agree with this. I work 12 hour days, 5 days/week at a fairly physical job that can heap on a good bit of stress to boot. Recently got back into lifting again, and felt myself slowly circling the drain trying to keep up with all the stuff I wanted to do. Sleep was getting pushed out.

The wife and I have been trying to minimize our lives to prepare for our next phase. So on top of getting rid of all the useless clutter around the house we've been cutting out many of the useless time sucks that would ad up to hours a week. Now we spend Sundays getting meals cooked so the food is a no brainer. We wind down by listening to podcasts or reading instead of watching TV most nights.

We joined a PL gym between my house and my work, so it's never a question of whether I'm going to turn the bike into the parking lot or not. If we paid for it, we're for damn sure going to use it. I've got a program to follow for at least the next 16 weeks, so that's on as much auto pilot as possible. Just slowly reducing anything that that could get in the way.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 11:37 pm 
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I am no saint in any respect, but you live your life and you show up. You waste more time than you know. Stop wasting it. Train. Eat. Sleep. It works as good as anything. And guess what, the other things in your life will get better as you do it. Weird.
There's a constant back and forth I see between needing to allocate resources narrowly and the very real phenomena that bodies in motion tend to stay in motion.....When you have momentum in one thing it can extend to others

Those who realize the results of their efforts (however narrow or broad, from finish a marathon to being national level competitor in your chosen sport) I *think* share a common trait (innate or learned). This trait is that they recognize there's a time and place for both (know when to hold them, know when to fold em, consolidate and hunker down or go big advance on all fronts).

Knowing which is which results in exactly what Jack is on about with the last bit of the paragraph above. Your life does just get better. Do this right and 2+2=5

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:46 pm 
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Dr. Squat said this on his forum many years ago - I had the foresight to copy it down:
Quote:
Look, 'routines' are just that! I have written much on the subject. I have probably given the subject more careful thought than most. Here is yet another thought that I should've written at some time... maybe I did... can't remember.

In order to achieve ANYTHING in life to the pinnacle of your capabilities, you must 'marry' the thing! Become a 'priest' to it. Live, eat, sleep and breathe it! You MUST NOT succumb to whoredom and meander from one routine to another in the false hope that one of them is gonna 'work'. It will not! You may get a quick fix from it, but it'll only be because you re-injected some adaptive stress into your routine.

Do this instead. THINK IT OUT!

Now, most lifters cannot do this because they are not educated in the discipline, and because they have never been taught to REALLY think things through! So, the alternative is to find yourself a bonafide guru who HAS, and hang your hat on what that person has to say! So, find one! ONE!


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:20 pm 
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Quote:
people (raising my hand here), have trouble balancing long term goals and planning with short term needs. Especially people who are not coaches or coached.

Good coaches, strength, track, powerlifting, whatever, are well versed in taking an athlete through a long process of progression. Years not weeks. (Well not fitness coaches. Those guys seem to think in 6 week blocks.) They take people through definite stages – beginner, intermediate, advanced – they understand that to get from level X to level Z you need to do this – and that the progress is not going to be linear.

Regular people, like me, have trouble establishing long term goals and sketching out multi year plans to meet them. Let alone sticking with anything more than six weeks. We get bored – we're stupid...
I think it's a little more complex than that. I mean, not that we're not bored and stupid; of course we are. But I bolded a few phrases above, because I think they point out something. Most of us have no idea what "advanced" entails, to the extent that we don't even know what we don't know.

Those of us involved in martial arts have an advantage in this regard. Traditional martial arts like karate or judo have belt levels. You can take karate or judo for ~6 months or whatever, get your yellow belt, and you know where you are on the spectrum. There are green and blue belts ahead of you, somewhere beyond them are black belts, and there are more senior black belts, third degrees and up. You don't really "know" precisely what the brown belts or the senior black belts are doing, but you can tell they're playing a completely different game from you. And they're giving you a playbook for getting there; plus from conversations with other students you can get a sense of timeline. The playbook has "chapters" for where you are now; and you know that there are other "chapters" you haven't gotten to yet, that you'll get to next year or the year after.

This is one reason I'm so comfortable with my judo instructor. I can tell that he knows what I should be working on now – and what I should not be working on (yet). I asked him something at class the other day, about grappling, saying "I don't know what to do next when I get blah-blah-blah." And he paused a second, then said "Well for right now what you should be working on is x, y and z. Later we can add blah-blah-blah. But for right now, get good at x, y and z, especially x." He's "chunking" for me. He's decided on a challenging-but-achievable "chunk" for me to master first (or he's agreed with a handed-down syllabus, whatever); and then LATER he will teach me other things.

The advantage to traditional martial arts is that the student knows there is stuff he hasn't even seen yet, that he will learn at some point in the future. Not saying that TMA are the be-all and end-all; just saying that in regard to training with a "long attention span" (over years), this is an advantage. You always know there is a "next chapter" or "next unit" or "next belt" with fairly specific requirements and fairly specific content. I might choose not to stick around or train hard enough for "the next level"; but it least I know it's there.

Most other things are less structured. If I decided to take up jogging, or Tai Bo, or step aerobics or Zumba, or Nautilus at the gym, or mountain biking or hiking or racquetball; I could do any of those for six months, achieve a nice basic level of accomplishment – and then what do I do? How do I even know if there is a "next level" to go for? If I do Crossfit, I could go for 6-9 mos, get visible abs and a tribal tattoo, get my Fran time down to x mins and fuck AllisonNYC; but then what? What does "advanced" even mean?

There's a point I'm trying to get to, but I'm not sure how to hit it. Let me try with two stories.
  • 1.
    I was a huge fan of the Maryland Terrapins basketball team during the years Gary Williams was head coach, 1989 to 2011. In the 90s he had a couple players who became NBA lottery picks, Joe Smith (1995) and Steve Francis (1999). If we think about an individual basketball player having developmental goals, obviously getting picked in the NBA lottery is a milestone. But 99%+ of players, even D1 players, have no chance of an NBA career. How do they know there is a "next level" for them to develop to? Gary had a bunch of teams that seemed to get to a certain level and peak: thru 2000 he had never advanced beyond the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. But then for one short period he had a particular group of guys who stayed together for a few seasons and really jelled as a team. They weren't super "talented", from the standard measuring sticks we use for college hoops teams: zero McDonalds All-Americans, only one NBA lottery pick (Chris Wilcox 2002), and one other guy who played for a long time in the NBA (Stevie Blake, 2003-1016). But they went to two Final Fours and won the 2002 national championship. They were able to do this because they were reall damn good at playing basketball.

    That looks like just about the stupidest thing ever posted on this board. Really, the players on the national champion were really good at basketball? You don't say. But what I mean is, they were noticeably more skilled than Gary's other teams, at both the individual level (dribble-pass-shoot) and at the team level (team defense, team offense). Some of that is luck, in the sense of a group of players who fit together extraordinarily well. Gary coached for 33 years and never had another team quite like that one. But I want to flip it around and look at it from the player side. In the 1999-2000 season, none of the primary core of players who would win the championship 2+ years later (mostly Juan Dixon, Lonny Baxer, Stevie Blake) could have seen how good it was possible for them to get. They were not heralded as recruits, and didn't possess ideal size (except Blake) or speed (except Dixon). They were hungry, no doubt. Very focused motherfuckers. But they couldn't have seen exactly how their talents could meld together into the unit they became. That took vision and perspective. Gary molded those guys (and the rest of them) into a team playing a certain system to a certain level. Obviously the players are the ones who did the actual work: but they couldn't have known how to get "there", or where "there" was, without the coach.
  • 2.
    I started playing Bridge in high school, hanging out with all the other nerds. We were mostly self-taught, except I looked at a couple books. I picked it up again in college, when I walked past a group playing it in the rec lounge. So I've played socially over the years, every once in a while. Sometimes online.

    One year the ACBL hosted a tournament in DC, at the Sheraton. I went down there and entered the lowest-rated amateur "open" part of it, the part for walk-ups to pay a few bucks and play a few hands, and get a rating. Obviously I got destroyed. Annihilated. So what's interesting here is, I had played this game randomly and socially for years, and I had (still have) absolutely no idea how good it was possible to get. There are people who consistently compete for world championships in that game, and I have absolutely no idea how they do it. I'm aware that it's a game of skill, and I have some rudiments of that skill. But I have no idea where "the next level" is or what it could possibly consist of. Card counting and strategy, and – what? I love the game, but it's a complete mystery to me. At least Chess mastery I can understand: superior calculating ability, a lot of book knowledge of openings, and good solid intuition for promising lines. I don't have it, but I can imagine what it (probably) consists of. But Bridge? How the fuck do the great players do what they do?
So, the point I'm groping for is not that we are too stupid to execute the things it takes to get from level a to level c. We are completely ignorant that level c even exists. I mean, we know about Michael Jordan and Lebron James or Tom Brady or Andy Bolton or Cristiano Ronaldo or Fedor Emelianenko or Lance Armstrong. Or Omar Shariff or Gary Kasparov. But those guys are so far at the other end of the spectrum that they kind of don't count. They are level Z. Genetics and chemistry and top-level coaching etc etc etc for the sports guys; genius for Omar and Kasparov, I guess – who even knows. So those guys are level Z.

But a dedicated amateur can maybe get to level m, or at least level j. Sometimes the reason we stop at level b is not just that we are too lazy or too short-sighted to do what needs to be done. It's that we have no idea that levels j and m and q and v even exist. We have no idea what the secret depths are, what skills contribute to it. We get to level B and we think, "Ok I've learned that thing. Do I want to keep doing it, or find a different challenge to master?" We think we've got it!

Sometimes it takes a coach to know there even *IS* an "advanced level", or what's possible.


Does that make any sense at all?

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:26 pm 
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That was an outstandingly insightful read. I grok your meaning entirely.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:59 am 
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Quote:

So, the point I'm groping for is not that we are too stupid to execute the things it takes to get from level a to level c. We are completely ignorant that level c even exists. I mean, we know about Michael Jordan and Lebron James or Tom Brady or Andy Bolton or Cristiano Ronaldo or Fedor Emelianenko or Lance Armstrong. Or Omar Shariff or Gary Kasparov. But those guys are so far at the other end of the spectrum that they kind of don't count. They are level Z. Genetics and chemistry and top-level coaching etc etc etc for the sports guys; genius for Omar and Kasparov, I guess – who even knows. So those guys are level Z.
Seeing what real Z level genetics up close and personal is a humbling experience. In our group of racers back in my home town, we always had some of the fastest guys in the region come out of our "group" because we all rode together and we all knew what we were doing. The older guys mentored the younger guys coming up and we just had some of the fastest training rides around. You got fast or you quit hanging out. That group is where I built my speed.

A kid maybe 14 years old or so shows up and gets his ass handed to him for a few months, then he got to where he could keep up. Within a couple years he was pulling us like a freight train. By the time he's a senior in HS he's winning regional races and placing high in National level races. Gets picked to go to Belgium on the US junior team for a season. When he came back he could ride me off his wheel going down hill with a tail wind. Simply unbelievable effortless speed.

By this time I'd been riding competitively racing for 15 years. He had about 5 years in his legs. But coaches who know their shit spotted that talent within a couple years of him throwing a leg over a bike and knew what to do to get him to level Z.

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