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. :)


Joy said...

Yay! I'm glad you're updating your blog again. Reading it is always so motivating for me. Blog on! :)


Nikki Shlosser said...

Joy you're so sweet! Thank you so much, made my day. :)