January 19, 2011

Easy Strength and Myelin

I recently read The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle.
I highly recommend this book!

This morning I was reflecting a bit on my Easy Strength 40-day gains...specifically, the mental component of the program. After reading The Talent Code, I can't help but wonder how much the mental part contributed to those gains.

By "mental part" I mean the conscious, calculating attention paid to every movement. The "deep practice." Awareness of position, linkage and leakage, sequence, compression... I NEVER completed a set without thinking about it, what I felt went right and what didn't... was I staying tight pulling into the hole? How did the grip feel? Breath pattern, how did that feel? Timing, speed, head and eye position, hip drive, feed-forward tension, gripping of toees, tightness/connection of lats... and that's just a set of deadlifts.

The same level of attention was given to every pull up (since I usually did weighted singles). Also every pushup or set of 5. (I would often shorten my middle, scoot up my toes between reps if I felt there was still some room to.)

The reason there was such a big mental component to this program, I believe - is because it's SHORT enough to allow it. You're only doing two sets of five.

2 sets of 5 deadlifts
2 sets of 5 lever pushups, each side
4-6 pullup singles
1 or 2 sets of swings
5 hanging leg raises

That's it. It's a lot harder to pay such close attention when you're doing a ton of reps, a ton of sets... it's a lot harder to enter that "deep practice" zone, that place where we actively search for mistakes and try to correct them, analyze, adjust - that place where myelin is built.

Anyway, I really don't know, but I just wonder, if there's really something to that. The Easy Strength program, I'm sure, would have yielded awesome results anyway. But I wonder how much my results were augmented as a result of the mindfulness. Obviously mindfulness is already a huge part of the RKC system, but not all training programs in the RKC system allow quite that much room for intra-practice analysis... not all of them are limited to just a couple sets of five. I guess we'll have to see what the book says about it. :)

It's Facebook's Fault

So Facebook made it easy to keep up on what everyone's doing, thinking about, learning... blogging fell away completely! I think it's time to come back, though. Facebook is more conducive to little blurbs, as opposed to my usual lengthy ramblings. The blog's the better place for that.

And, having now completed my first Easy Strength 40-day program, there is a lot to talk about!

Updates will be trickling in. It's overwhelming to think about putting it all in one post.