Consistency over intensity

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Consistency over intensity

Post by Sangoma » Wed Feb 05, 2020 6:37 am

I was browsing Dave Dealer's forum and came across this post by Dan John. I think it was an article on Dragondoor. Worth reposting.
Found it!

Years ago my friend Dr. Jim Wright said something that got burned into my brain: “consistency and moderation over intensity”. Not nearly as sexy as “Do or Die!” or some other juvenile T-shirt slogan, but you could not think of a better set of directions for durable performance. You are about to meet a man who has done just that. He is a military special operator whose name I shall withhold due to the nature of his duty. Let us call him “Victor”. I met this quiet professional at one of our RKC military courses. He was capable of a strict pullup with 160 pounds of extra weight at a bodyweight of 195 pounds (and one-arm chins, naturally). He could close Iron Mind’s #2.5 Captains of Crush® gripper, 237.5 pounds strong, for three reps without a set. And he had run over ten ultramarathons, from 50 to 100 miles! Any of the above is an accomplishment, but combining either the first or second feat with the third is unheard of. Especially if one considers that this man is not a pampered professional athlete but a warrior with many combat deployments behind his shoulders. I had to know more. Victor graciously described his training (quote):

• Low mileage. I only ran 30 miles per week in preparation for the 100 miler. The most important training event for ultramarathons is the weekly long run. I kept my heart rate low and breathed through my nose during training runs, and I think that this helped to minimize muscle damage. I can run 20 miles on a Sunday, and still perform strength exercises on Monday. The key is having the LOW INTENSITY. I use a heart rate monitor, and I stay at 60-65% of my MHR. This means that I am often walking on the hills. If I ran 20 miles at 70-75% MHR, my recovery time would be much longer. I would do high intensity track or hill intervals on one day during the week, but the interval workout never lasted longer than 30 minutes. I keep the intervals pretty intense though.

• Fueling. I am religious about using proper fueling for all long distance events…

• Prior experience. I did my first 50-mile race 11 years ago, and I have completed over 10 ultramarathons since then. I know how my body will react after long distances, and this experience helps with the mental side of the sport. I have also completed many similar types of endurance events in my military training. Having this experience is very beneficial. I know that I can walk out the door anytime/anywhere and run a marathon pretty easily.

• The hand strength and COC stuff is just fun to do. I train them “Grease the Groove” style. Of course it helps that I have been doing literally 100s of pull-ups per week (on average) for the last 14 years. I also have done a lot of rock climbing in my past, which really helps with grip strength.

• Variety. I have enough variety in my training (yoga, running, biking, kettlebells, clubs, calisthenics) help keep me injury free. I try to get 1-2 days of yoga per week. Sometimes I go to a class, and sometimes on my own. I work the basic poses and focus on releasing some of the tension that comes from lots of running and strength training. The yoga has been great for injury prevention. I also do not lift any other weights besides my single 53lb kettlebell, and my two 25lb clubs. The only 1RM training that I do is with the COC. I used to do presses and deadlifts after reading your Power to the People!, but I felt my ego pushing me harder and faster than my body wanted to go. So I decided to limit myself to one kettlebell and two clubs and just focus on adding repetitions and intensity. Staying injury free has helped me to maintain consistent progress for the last 10 years.

• I rarely train for more than 30 minutes per day. The only exception to this would be a weekly long run (3+ hours) and a weekly trail run (50-min). I have always done lots of trail running and I find that the trails are much easier on the legs. The steep trails keep things fun and help to prevent overuse injuries. I also keep my exercise selection pretty minimal: pushups, pull-ups, swings, TGUs, club mills/swipes, windmill, goblet squat. That is pretty much it.

I attribute most of my success to consistency. I have been training almost daily since I was 14 years old, and I am also fortunate to have a job that requires me to stay in shape. I also don't think that there is any reason why strength and endurance have to be mutually exclusive...

The concept of “easy endurance” perfectly fits with “easy strength”.

In the mid-nineties a curious book came out in the States, Body, Mind, and Sport by John Douillard. Given its focus on endurance sports, an apparent dislike of hard training and beef, and heavy doses of New Age discussions of Ayurveda, it is not likely that many of our readers have read it. At least one did, though, Victor…

The book was dedicated to improving one’s performance by reducing the effort to 50%, enjoying the process, and not focusing on the result. The author cited a University of Texas in Austin study of goal-oriented and process-oriented people in the workplace. Unexpectedly, it was not the hypercompetitive Types “A” who were doing more for the company, making more money, getting more raises and promotions. It was the folks who were enjoying their job. Ironically, not getting wrapped up in the result may deliver higher gains. I had heard that before. One of the best pistol shooters in the Russian armed forces made a breakthrough in his accuracy when a coach told him, “You know, you have the right to miss.”

One of Douillard’s techniques was practicing a competitive sport without keeping score. “Focusing on the score attaches you to the result. Focusing on the process lets you access your greatest skill and increases your fun.” That rang true. When I was working on my running in preparation for my military service, at least once a week I would leave my watch at home and go as far as I could while staying totally relaxed. I would draw out my breaths as far as possible comfortably, taking a series of partial inhalations, one per step, and then partial exhalations, one per step again. It took several steps, say six, to complete one breathing cycle. Regularly I scanned my body for hidden tension and would release it by “breathing out” through the tight muscles and by shaking them off. I would keep my mouth closed, but not tightly, as relaxed jaws are essential to effortless running. Even after weeks when I did no other kind of running—no hard runs, no hills, no intervals, no running with weight—I could race any distance up to 10K very fast if I chose to. All I had to do was add some “gas” to the relaxation, and I flew.

Nose only breathing was later stressed in my unit. They sometimes had us run with a mouthful of water—a brilliant self-limiting exercise in the best Gray Cook tradition. Some Russian marathoners hold a handkerchief in their teeth for the same purpose of preventing panicky and inefficient mouth breathing.

Not surprisingly, nose only breathing and keeping the heart rate low were key components of the Body, Mind, and Sport program. The inventive author figured out a way to “make it a competitive endeavor. For example… run around the track and the winner be the one who not only finishes first, but has the slowest breath rate and heart rate.” Here is how he scored the winners: “Finish time + heart rate + (breath rate x 3). The lowest score wins. I multiply the breath by 3 to emphasize its importance.”

Victor stresses, “The low HR and nose breathing are essential. After a few months of consistent practice, nose-breathing should be used for the tempo run as well. Nose breathing teaches breath control, and also acts as a “governor” that helps to prevent overtraining.” This is especially important to an athlete for whom running endurance is not the number one priority.
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Re: Consistency over intensity

Post by newguy » Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:35 pm

It's from Easy Strength and it's somewhat bullshit.

First.....notice how the premise of it all is bolstered by an anecdote about a man whose name we shall withhold Let's call him Victor....

I don't know Victor. You don't know Victor. I don't know shit about how he really trains.

Just trust Pavel you say.....

I remember Pavel's article (I think it's actually a chapter in easy strength) where he talks about Shaf's ladders and conveniently leaves out that Shaf had a heavy strength training session every week.

So all we know is what Pavel is telling us or what Victor is telling Pavel.

Fuck that shit.

Now....let's just look at what Victor says. 30 miles a week to prep for a 100 miler. With the long run being an "easy" 20 miler.

How's that sound? Make sense compared to what we know about people who train for 100 milers?

I'm not saying Victor is fake. I am saying that this is not the whole story of his training and it just lines up too perfectly. The military operator. The easy strength slant. None of it validated just talked about at an RKC course.

People love to talk and they love to self paint their training to validate whatever mess they are in and leave out details that contradict the premise.

Now the idea of keeping intensity low is fine.....but there is an ocean difference between a high level performer who achieved that level with genetics and hard work lowering intensity vs. a regular person lowering intensity.

I can do 60 percent effort every day of the week and I won't achieve shit because 60 percent of shitty is shitty.

An elite level athlete....an 80 percent effort kills them.

It was the problem with the maffetone method.

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Re: Consistency over intensity

Post by bertb » Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:01 pm

This could all be BS and I do not remember where I got this but someone who seemed credible said something like: “with decades of compiled sports research all you can research all you can conclude about successful training is that the strongest, fastest, most successful are the strongest, fastest, most successful in practice. Specific patterns of intensity and frequency of training vary wildly and no broad generalizations can be made. “

So finds ways to succeed in practice. Do not worry about ideology beyond its practical application and results. Also there’s plenty of stories of guys destroying themselves to prove they can gut through a challenge on low training. I’ve tried to do it. I made it through the challenge, not very well, not with a competitive time, I just didn’t die.

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Re: Consistency over intensity

Post by Grandpa's Spells » Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:22 pm

I rarely train for more than 30 minutes per day.
Seems impossible. Each run is at least 20 minutes going that slow. Does yoga 2x per week. Lifts weights when?

He can't be doing all of those things weekly within 30 minutes/day, even allowing the long weekend run.
Nose only breathing was later stressed in my unit.
I find this also very unlikely. There are plenty of accounts of what tier 1 units do for PT and it's not that.

Anonymous unverified claims are silly. Nobody gets passes on this shit any more.
One of the downsides of the Internet is that it allows like-minded people to form communities, and sometimes those communities are stupid.

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Re: Consistency over intensity

Post by Fat Cat » Wed Feb 05, 2020 6:20 pm

Who da fuck is Dave Dealer? Shut yo mouf you talk about the Blonde Bomber.

Anyway, yes consistency beats most anything, but people who train consistently can also maintain a higher average intensity in their training over time. There's nothing crazy in the article, but it still smells like bullshit.
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Re: Consistency over intensity

Post by Kazuya Mishima » Wed Feb 05, 2020 8:30 pm

ERRBODY WAN LOOK LIEK DIS...AINT NOBODY WAN DO WHAT IT TAKE

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Re: Consistency over intensity

Post by Fat Cat » Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:17 pm

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Why yes, Sharon, I have been doing some pushups before bed.
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Re: Consistency over intensity

Post by Kazuya Mishima » Wed Feb 05, 2020 10:12 pm

Dave Draper = Hall of Fame for H1b Chad Supremacy

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Re: Consistency over intensity

Post by Fat Cat » Wed Feb 05, 2020 10:53 pm

Werd. It's even better because he started out as a basement dwelling NEET from New Jersey. He's definitely /ourguy/.
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Re: Consistency over intensity

Post by Hanglow Joe » Thu Feb 06, 2020 12:20 am

Fat Cat wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:17 pm
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Why yes, Sharon, I have been doing some pushups before bed.

Sharon Tate was a quarter on a scale of 1-10, why she married an Austin Powers looking dork like Roman Polanski still blows my mind.

Draper is awesome.

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Re: Consistency over intensity

Post by Sangoma » Thu Feb 06, 2020 12:23 am

You, fuckers, missed the forest behind the trees of your egotistical antagonism!

This essay is the artistic representation of the idea of polarised training, something the athletic world has gravitated towards in the last c couple of decades. This is your 40 day workout, MAffetone, Steve Justa, Shaf's Ladders, Alactic/Aerobic, Megareps and what not. Dan John's park bench metaphor. Polarised training: most training is done at low intensity, and only 20% of time has to be spent at high intensity. There are scores of studies showing its benefits. Non-competitive types will probably benefit from reducing it to 10%. Medium intensity is the evil zone that apparently doesn't get you anywhere.

Yes, average intensity among consistent trainees goes up, but precisely for the reason of consistency. 60% effort starts feeling like 50% or 40%, and you increase whatever has to be increased, so 60% effort is now what used to be 70% or 80%.

Nasal breathing or talk test is just another way to keep intensity in check, and I have seen at least one study showing that nasal breathing correlates with exercise under lactate threshold. wasn't it mentioned here in connection with running some time ago?
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Re: Consistency over intensity

Post by Fat Cat » Thu Feb 06, 2020 12:27 am

I didn't miss a goddamn thing you afro-mongol but intensity varies between individuals.
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Re: Consistency over intensity

Post by Sangoma » Thu Feb 06, 2020 12:49 am

It does in absolute terms, but not in relative, as in RPE scale. What I feel at 90% effort is not different from what you feel at your 90% effort. And, if you want to continue xeno-racist slurs at least start using vocative commas.
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Re: Consistency over intensity

Post by Fat Cat » Thu Feb 06, 2020 1:07 am

You're not the boss of me, commie! RPE is stupid because people's perceived effort varies on an hourly basis.
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Re: Consistency over intensity

Post by Sangoma » Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:11 am

Session-RPE Method for Training Load Monitoring: Validity, Ecological Usefulness, and Influencing Factors
Conclusion: These studies confirmed the validity and good reliability and internal consistency of session-RPE method in several sports and physical activities with men and women of different age categories (children, adolescents, and adults) among various expertise levels. This method could be used as “standing alone” method for training load (TL) monitoring purposes though some recommend to combine it with other physiological parameters as heart rate.
This variability and dependence of RPE on the multitude of factors is precisely what makes it valuable. Should you lift the same weights if you barely had any sleep last night? Does your 70% 1RM the same when you are cutting weight? Just couple of examples.
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Re: Consistency over intensity

Post by Fat Cat » Thu Feb 06, 2020 7:19 am

Sangoma wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:11 am
Session-RPE Method for Training Load Monitoring: Validity, Ecological Usefulness, and Influencing Factors
Conclusion: These studies confirmed the validity and good reliability and internal consistency of session-RPE method in several sports and physical activities with men and women of different age categories (children, adolescents, and adults) among various expertise levels. This method could be used as “standing alone” method for training load (TL) monitoring purposes though some recommend to combine it with other physiological parameters as heart rate.
This variability and dependence of RPE on the multitude of factors is precisely what makes it valuable. Should you lift the same weights if you barely had any sleep last night? Does your 70% 1RM the same when you are cutting weight? Just couple of examples.
Have you used the RPE method successfully? It doesn't sound like it from your questions about lifting after a bad night's sleep. RPE isn't predictive, even according to your link, its an evaluation after the fact. Variability is the real key, not RPE. From the section on ecological validity:
Gay Article wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:11 am
The session-RPE method might be used for monitoring one session, weekly blocks (mesocycle) and year-to-year periods (macrocycle) as well. Actually, it is widely recognized that the key of success for most athletes is the carefully periodization of different cycles throughout the training plan.
Also, its very difficult to impossible for an amateur or weekend athlete to use the method without a coach.
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Re: Consistency over intensity

Post by SubClaw » Thu Feb 06, 2020 12:52 pm

Fat Cat wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 12:27 am
I didn't miss a goddamn thing you afro-mongol but intensity varies between individuals.
Just laughed coffee through my nose. :prayer:
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Re: Consistency over intensity

Post by nafod » Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:13 pm

Sangoma wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 12:23 am
This essay is the artistic representation of the idea of polarised training
Was that sentence purposely meant to hypnotize me?
Don’t believe everything you think.

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Re: Consistency over intensity

Post by Kazuya Mishima » Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:44 pm

You could fit that last exchange into the meme where the father and son from American Chopper are arguing.

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Re: Consistency over intensity

Post by powerlifter54 » Thu Feb 06, 2020 4:12 pm

Not buying the DJ story. But have been using RPE/baseline sets to regulate my training. The difference is when I was competing each week I knew I needed to go up in intensity and at least try to keep the volume at or close to my baseline.

Now I gauge it by medium heavy warmups and the last week’s results and Activities and put the value on consistent training over targeted or planned jumps. At the end of my competition days I didn’t even plan weights week by wee, let alone start with a certain goal weight, like when i started. I knew about where I wanted to be each week to start, and adapted it as the training cycle unfurled. I knew what I doubled off the 2 board in the bench, 25lbs heavier than my best double in the squat, and my Squat that day -100 was all doable. So I pushed to make those lifts and often never missed a rep in training. Because missing reps isn’t what makes you strong, making them then doing it again does.
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Re: Consistency over intensity

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Thu Feb 06, 2020 4:53 pm

Discarding RPE is setting aside probably the one tool that separates people who exercise and people who train with a purpose. The "thing" of RPE, however you couch it, whether in a number scale or other methodology, is that you systematically learn how your body reacts to a given stimulus.... and then adjust. This self reflective mode is poor in the untrained and very accurate in the highly trained.

Most people aren't good enough students of their own bodies to really "get it" right off the bat but it can be learned and it can be taught. I spent the last 5-6 years teaching strength athletes how to train themselves. An understanding of RPE is central to that. It works and all high level athletes train partially on feel at some point.
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Re: Consistency over intensity

Post by Fat Cat » Thu Feb 06, 2020 5:47 pm

Blaidd Drwg wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 4:53 pm
Discarding RPE is setting aside probably the one tool that separates people who exercise and people who train with a purpose. The "thing" of RPE, however you couch it, whether in a number scale or other methodology, is that you systematically learn how your body reacts to a given stimulus.... and then adjust. This self reflective mode is poor in the untrained and very accurate in the highly trained.

Most people aren't good enough students of their own bodies to really "get it" right off the bat but it can be learned and it can be taught. I spent the last 5-6 years teaching strength athletes how to train themselves. An understanding of RPE is central to that. It works and all high level athletes train partially on feel at some point.
Well I'm anything but a "highly trained athlete" but the first paragraph is what I am saying. It's not predictive, it's a management tool for evaluating how your body reacts to stimulus and then using that knowledge to plan future training. That said, it's just a form of conscious, or should I say conscientious, auto-regulation and it can be done without resort to fuzzy numbering systems. Also, the mere fact that you have to spend time teaching it to already high level athletes shows that it takes coaching, which most people don't have.

But alright, the point of a discussion forum is to learn, so...what/how do you teach your guys to use it? A guy comes to you, he's reasonably strong but wants to break into elite: how do you take them there? I'm sure there are plenty of people reading this board who would be interested.
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Re: Consistency over intensity

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Thu Feb 06, 2020 8:23 pm

I'm saying you will need to understand the principle in order to keep advancing on your own...which at some point is where every athlete lands. Whether they are elite or they are just focused. We all know how to gauge effort. What RPE does is give you an arbitrary scale to begin observing your observations. I hit what I think is an RPE of 8.5....I got 3 reps with a set that I might only ever expect to get 5...I repeat this effort again...is it harder? Is it easier (sometimes it is) I proceed until I get to a point where the perceived effort takes a sharp uptick..this is a place to stop and make decisions...Drop weight and add volume. terminate the session etc. This is all super basic stuff but it's made observable by assigning numbers to it and watching those numbers trend over time.
It's not predictive, it's a management tool for evaluating how your body reacts to stimulus and then using that knowledge to plan future training. That said, it's just a form of conscious, or should I say conscientious, auto-regulation and it can be done without resort to fuzzy numbering systems. Also, the mere fact that you have to spend time teaching it to already high level athletes shows that it takes coaching, which most people don't have.
Numbered RPE is widely used on endurance athletics, in pain management in a whole host of cardiac rehab routines. It is absolutely predicative within a given session. meaning...one can use the RPE of a given set to accurately predict the outcome of the next set. One way we do this is Reps in Reserve, (RIR) which is for many people exactly how RPE works.

RPE of 8 means I have 2 reps in reserve,
RPE of 9 I have 1.
RPE 10...I got nothing after that.

RIR would rate a set in terms of it's relative "intensity" (not a percentage of 1RM but a relative predictor of how hard you're working and how much harder you may be able to work)

As far as how I teach it, it's not particularly hard. Anyone who's tinkered with Mike T's book can figure it out. The context for me was just as often not elite athletes but hard charging amateurs and CF folk.
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Re: Consistency over intensity

Post by SubClaw » Thu Feb 06, 2020 9:06 pm

What's the difference between RPE and RIR? I mean, they look like exactly the same thing, reversing the math.
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Re: Consistency over intensity

Post by Sangoma » Thu Feb 06, 2020 11:24 pm

The book was dedicated to improving one’s performance by reducing the effort to 50%, enjoying the process, and not focusing on the result. The author cited a University of Texas in Austin study of goal-oriented and process-oriented people in the workplace. Unexpectedly, it was not the hypercompetitive Types “A” who were doing more for the company, making more money, getting more raises and promotions. It was the folks who were enjoying their job. Ironically, not getting wrapped up in the result may deliver higher gains.
I am not an authority in BJJ in any sense, but my observations confirm, at least in part, the stuff in bold. There are quite a few guys at my BJJ School who are physically strong and use their strength to get a submission. So they win every time. After a while they start lagging behind weaker guys - first not being able to submit weaker guys and then being submitted by them. The reason is, they want to win every bout and use the strength to compensate for lack of technique. When you stop caring about being submitted and focus on good posture and position you start progressing. The point of this diatribe is - when you stop caring too much about the end result and focus on the process you progress.
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