Apr 19, 2021
Matt talks to Niki about a refinement of MED principles and
how PRs play into the ultimate goal of improving people's quality
of life and reaching & surpassing their goals.
At Barbell Logic, we're really oriented toward the vast majority of
people who want to improve their quality of life, and strength and
the process of getting stronger can help them. This doesn't mean
these people can't get seriously strong, but it means we're not
focused on world records or mimicking methods of the world's
Because quality of life and reaching clients' goals are really our
purpose, PRs have to connect to this purpose. It can't just be
about 1RMs and the typical PRs. We need to tie together
consistency, form, quality of life, and PRs.
First, programming consistent progress & PRs matters for
EVERYBODY. People who train consistently and don't have monkey
wrenches of injury or exorbitant life stress should be progressing
consistently, and they can progress every single workout.
Part of this came from seeing different set & rep schemes
graphed on the new BLOC App, which some BLOC clients are using and
to which more will be transferred soon. Matt realized that clients
who weren't facing extreme life stress & injury were making
volume PRs EVERY SINGLE WORKOUT.
PRs are an objective way to demonstrate progress. Even people who
don't agree with Barbell Logic's philosophy or programming agree
that stress needs to increase over time to continue to progress.
PRs demonstrate objective, quantifiable demonstrations of progress,
and expanding PRs beyond the 1RM helps show that it's not just
improvement every couple or few months (especially for more
advanced lifters) but that you're doing more consistently. It shows
that stress has gone up and that you can handle more stress and
that you're stronger.
It's both about objectivity and a changed mindset. It's about not
only seeing the progress, but about looking for it beyond the
typical PRs that most people track (1RMs, 3RMs, 5RMs).
So, what PRs can we track (remembering that it's about quality of
life and reaching goals)?
- weight on the bar
- different equipment (straps, no straps, belt, no belt,
different types of bars)
- consistency PRs (if you struggle with this)
- frequency PRs (squat slots in a week or month)
- post-X PRs (post weight loss PRs, post-40 PRs, post-injury
The little wins matter--find those little wins and point them
out and celebrate them. Sometimes the everyday grind can obfuscate
how far we've come and how much better we are than we were before.
By expanding what a PR is, we can help maintain and even increase
motivation and see and celebrate our progress toward improved
quality of life.
Another thing to mention, of course, is that some people can push
this gamification too far and can get neurotic and unhealthy in a
different direction. If this is you, you might need to modify
PRs--maybe consistency PRs or other measures that don't drive a
The final point is that, of course, life happens. You'll get
injured or sick, life stress happens, and during this time you may
have to redefine what PRs are. Focusing on consistency may matter.
Focusing on time spent with family may be something you track.
Broaden the definition of PRs to ensure PRs demonstrate the
clients' moving toward their goals. What we measure matters.
Measuring and stressing the 1RM might not matter that much for all
clients, but we can identify and measure PRs that DO matter for
clients, and we can ultimately help drive progress for the things
that these clients value.
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