Workout of the Day

Your Last PR

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Imagine hitting the last PR of your lifetime -- your final peak before long-lasting descent. Imagine looking back, perhaps 6 months or a year later, and thinking “that was it -- I didn’t know it at the time -- but now it’s all downhill.”

It’s a depressing thought, for sure. To think that, at a certain point in your life, you can work just as hard and no longer see continued results is a discouraging and soul-crushing view. It’s something that most professional athletes go through, and something that everyday Joe and Janes are not immune from, either. But here’s the thing: it isn’t true. It’s all a mindset.

Yes, you will of course have a definitive “peak” for a particular performance metric. There’s a reason that, for example, there aren’t any 50 year olds setting gymnastics records at the Olympics or 65 year old strongman competitors vying for the “World’s Strongest Man” title. Physiology has its limits, and it’s almost a guarantee that the fastest or strongest 25 year old will be faster or stronger than the fastest or strongest 55 year old. (Sidenote: we are seeing these age-bound limits continually expand, and our physiological limits are beyond what was commonly believed in the past).

But these limits of physiology are finite and specific. These limits do not verify the existence of “the last PR,” they only narrow down in what realm it may exist. Because a PR is not always weight on the bar or time on the clock. These are our most common metrics, as they are measurable and repeatable, but they are only the tip of the performance iceberg. Your “last PR” doesn’t need to be your true last PR; it may just be the last PR of its kind. You may never snatch a heavier weight than you did at the age of 35, but a refocusing and reprioritizing opens up a world of new PRs: better movement quality, better speed, greater range of motion, greater consistency, better health, more efficiency, more enjoyment. Aging happens, injuries happen, and you can’t continue to train the same way for your whole lifetime and expect the same results. There will be a time where your approach will need to change and you will need to allocate more attention to quality than quantity. This is the lifecycle of an athlete, and it should be viewed as another step along the way, not the end.

What’s somewhat ironic about this whole situation is that athletes who do take on this refocusing and redirecting of energy towards quality over quantity often stumble into an accidental renaissance of performance. Taking oneself “out of the game” and stepping away from the purely quantity-focused (and often ego-driven) approach to training, and instead focusing on moving well and moving with joy and freedom lends the body a second wind, and often with this, a resurgence of quantity-based PRs as well. On top of this, many aging athletes or those coming back from major injury find that as they take themselves out of the unrelenting attachment to “the numbers,” they find more enjoyment and fulfillment in movement and in their sport as well.

Your “last PR” is probably a lot further away than you think, and with an adaptable mindset and change to your training approach, you can be setting PRs for yourself for the rest of your life. This is about remembering why you’re here: to get better as a human.

- PS


6/1/17

  • In 8 mins, complete 50 HSPU in the fewest number of sets possible. If you don’t finish all 50, record number of completed reps.

  • 20 min AMRAP

    • 400m run

    • 8 strict chin-ups

    • 12 jumping squats