The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Answer to Steve Perry's Question

Steve: Here's Scott's answer to your question about the "Why" of a 100-rep Century attempt.

That's an excellent question. The problem is the solution. Progression relates to HOW you feel, in the Circular Strength Training® System.

There is no such thing as maintaining. The body either expands or collapses, progresses or regresses.

So, in CST, we use incremental progressive resistance, as opposed to arbitrary qualitative increases. Baby steps are smaller (and are more intuitively latched in), but accumulate faster than larger (arbitrary) leaps.

As we all know, you cannot progress without stress (and if you don't progress, you regress.) So, surgically controlling precision stress is the hallmark feature of the Circular Strength Training® System (which sets us apart from say, a club swinging program.)

We subjectively monitor three variables in CST Intuitive Training: discomfort, technique and effort. When the discomfort remains under a 4 on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the worst pain imaginable), technique remains above a 7 on a scale of 1-10 (10 being your best form possible), and effort consistently remains below a 6 for two sessions, then you can progress to the next level. Since Steve (Barnes) is doing a density cycle, this would be the next step up in rest compression. As a result, we inextricably bind quantitative progression with qualitative increments.

This is only one example in the system. There is also breath. No reason to go into the science behind it for now, but suffice it to say this: when one can consistently exhale on compression (say moving belly to thighs in a squat) rather than needing to exhale on driving the earth away, then one can progress. This transition from discipline level breath to flow level breath demonstrates an empirical signal that one can progress. Usually only the coach can observe this, unless you videotape your sessions (since flow level also involves a "soft-focus" of only being aware of the performance.)

A very accessible source material for this in stress physiology is "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers" by Dr. Robert Sapolsky.
Best Regards,
Scott Sonnon
Distinguished Master of Sport

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