In "The World Cup body" the other day, I mentioned the seductive nature of a certain type of training.
It turns out that's the type that most of us are involved in.
Whether you've been injured and are rehabbing yourself or whether you are practising to upgrade your sports performance you will in some way shape or form be introduced to the notions of
Frequency - how often you do an activity
Intensity - how challenging you're making it for yourself
The general consensus is that when wanting to improve, more is better (up to the point where fatigue begins to affect performance) and that intensity should be close to the level that you would like to perform at (this is also limited by fatigue).
There's no doubt these notions hold weight. They have been rigorously tested over and over and over again and although our understanding of them becomes a little more refined over time, they fundamentally hold.
I have zero beef with them. If they are used to improve muscular strength and endurance, we're completely beefless.
I have a 36oz sirloin steak of beef with what they are used for though.
Speed, agility and movement pattern proficiency are not primarily functions of these principles.
If speed and agility were primary functions of these principles, the more fast movements you performed over a prolonged period of time, the faster and more agile you'd become.
Anybody who has done this will know that this is seldom the case. Even most of the best sprinters plateau and sometimes go backwards with cleverly designed speed training programmes where frequency and intensity are rigorously manipulated.
With regards to movement proficiency, given the frequency and intensity principles, we should all be moving perfectly.
We are moving all of the time, so over time, we should just get better at doing so, shouldn't we?
Frequency and intensity just don't do the job on these fronts. And yet they are seductive beasts.
They're tidy, they're simple to action and they hold deep cultural logic. Does the following sound familiar?
"The more you do and the harder you work, the better you'll become."
This thinking is why it feels so good to get through all those sets and reps even if our performance has nothing to show for it afterwards - because we did what we regard to be the right thing.
In my experience at Float Sting, I've found the opposite principles to be more useful most of the time with the great majority of people that I work with.
Gains in speed, agility and movement proficiency can be close to immediate and the less done to reinforce them at any one time, the better. Rather than repeating new habits over time to get better, we continuously upgrade the habit instead.
Also, the lower the intensity at which I do my Athletic Upgrades, the more they'll get out of the work.
If you're seduced with the frequency and intensity principles, maybe the airing of my beef is falling on deaf ears. But if something deep inside you is frustrated by plateau or backwards sliding, maybe you're hearing and feeling what I'm saying.
Frequency and intensity: great for certain things. Don't let them seduce you into applying them to qualities they don't enhance.
Arton "Seductively beefy" Baleci
P.S. just three days to Harley Street opening. Maybe I'll see you there sometime.