Workout of the Day

Rules vs. Standards Showdown


If you’ve spent any time hanging around this blog or at No Boundaries, you’ve likely heard some talk of standards: creating them, elevating them, holding them. This may seem, to an outside observer, like whole lot of rules and regulations for something as simple as fitness. But standards are not the same as rules.

Rules and laws are set and upheld by an authority, be it a government organization, a teacher, or a referee. Rules tend to be created in a punishment-based environment and out of necessity. They exist not because they are inspiring directives to greatness or something that we all ought to aspire to, but to set a bare minimum that we all should all hover above to keep things from getting unsafe, unfair, or out-of-hand. Think of the rules set in the game of soccer, rules in a classroom, or laws set in our nation: you’re not permitted to tackle and intentionally harm a fellow player, you’re not allowed to steal the hard work of a fellow classmate by copying their answers on a test, you’re not allowed to murder someone. Well duh. Are these rules really making us any better, compelling us towards our best self, or are they just keeping us a step above common savagery?

Standards, on the other hand, are a bit more democratic. Standards may be set, proclaimed, or encouraged by a coach or teacher, but they are ultimately shaped (raised or lowered) and upheld by each individual person. You yourself can raise the standard, and you can lower the standard.

Standards exist not to punish wrongdoing or prevent all hell from breaking loose, but to elevate how we live and what we put into (and derive from) this life. They are created and elevated out of an impetus for improvement, not to punish or shake fingers or give a slap on the wrist.

Consider standards of range of motion in the gym. We may proclaim a “rule” of reaching parallel in your squat or reaching full extension of the elbows when pressing overhead, but the standard is to complete the greatest range of motion that you are physiologically capable of, and to continue to put in the work to increase this range of motion to allow you to confer the most benefit. It isn’t about preventing chaos or keeping us from wrongdoing, it’s a simple matter of each of us putting our best self into the effort and getting the most of it.

So what’s this all mean? Well, we all do our part to hold the standard, and that means it’s your job (your opportunity) as much as it is ours. We’re not going to slap you on the wrist or write you up or put you in time-out if you half-ass your effort on your squat depth, but you’re going to get a lot of “c’mon man, really?” from your fellow standard-holders. Because if you’re putting your time and energy into doing this whole thing, you might as well do it right -- right?

- PS


  • DB bench press - 5,5,5,5

  • 2 rounds for reps

  • Spend 45 seconds at each station, followed by 15 seconds of rest/transition

    • Max cal bike

    • Max KB push press (70/52)

    • Max pull-ups

    • Max wallballs (20/14)

    • Max overhead medball walking lunge (20/14)

    • Rest 1 min