Workout of the Day

Mechanics, Consistency, Intensity

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Mechanics, consistency, intensity.

These are three words to live by in your physical pursuits. And more important than the words themselves is the order they’re in -- this is our order of operations in training. It is our key to success, to safety, and to continued progress.

Consistency without mechanics? You’re just practicing poor movement. Intensity without consistency? Inefficient, sub-optimal, and a dead end. Intensity without mechanics? You’re on the highway to the danger zone.

Let’s look at what each of these steps involves.

Mechanics is your home base. It is the ability to safely and effectively perform basic functional movement patterns (squat, press, pull, hinge, carry, throw, jump, run, etc), as well as the ability to safely and effectively perform specific exercises. Note that everyone’s mechanics may differ slightly, in that each of our bodies has countless differences determining the “best” way for us to move, but we have a number of basic archetypes that we look for in safe and effective movement.

Consistency is the ability to maintain mechanical integrity (each rep and set should look roughly the same), but more particularly to maintain this mechanical integrity in a variety of contexts. I want you to be able to execute a safe and effective pushing movement (such as a push-up) when you’re focused and fresh, but I also want to see you demonstrate consistency in your mechanics under some fatigue or with speed or under increased relative load. Our consistency here has different tiers that act as rites of passage to particular “types” of intensity.

Finally, we arrive at intensity. Intensity is our holy grail of progress. However, intensity also brings with it a steep risk : reward relationship. This is exactly why mechanics and consistency come first. Intensity is generally defined based on either relative load (% of your 1rm), VO2 max, or work accomplished over time. The catch is that intensity, in the big picture, is largely dependent on mechanics and consistency. With consistent, safe, and effective mechanics, I can complete more work in less time (thus increasing my intensity). But perhaps more importantly, with consistent, safe, and effective mechanics, I can maintain intensity over a longer period of time. I can bring intensity today and tomorrow and next week and next year. Without our mechanics and consistency, our longer-term intensity is stopped in its tracks by injury and plateau.

Moving fast and heavy may seem like the best way to get fit, but let’s make sure we cover the first two steps first.

- Preston Sprimont


3/7/17

  • Log press - 3rm

  • 20 min AMRAP

    • 10 strict chin-ups

    • 10 squat cleans (95/65)

    • 10 push press (95/65)