Friday, June 10, 2016

What lift do you need to work on the most?

You're not average, and you never will be. In 1945 a mid-western newspaper held a contest to find a woman that was the most average. They created an "ideal" woman, Norma, from the average of 9 measurements of women at that time. Then they asked women to submit their measurements in hopes of finding the woman who was most average. No one won.

Coincidentally, at the same time in the late '40s/early '50s, the U.S. Air Force was having an issue with pilots crashing planes. They figured it out that it was that the pilots couldn't reach the controls. So they measured all of the incoming recruits to find the average pilot shape with the hopes of designing a cockpit around them and then selecting based on how well a pilot fit those metric. They found no average pilots, so they decided to make the cockpits adjustable to the pilot.

What's going on? Well, when you have a high-dimensional space, most of the volume is at the edges, not at the center like in a "bell curve". So the more dimensions you try to match someone on, the lower chance you'll ever find anyone that's average everywhere. A better explanation here that deals with that whole Jacobian volume element.

At the bottom of this post is an app that I wrote. It creates a report that shows you how close you are to an average lifter. I made this last winter before the gym opened and have been slow at releasing it because I don't want anyone to take it too seriously. But we were talking about it at the gym last night, and since I have the code written, we might as well get some use out of it.

I took some data from powerlifting meets and Olympic weightlifting meets and some of my own experiences to create a metric on how well you perform in a bunch of lifts. Powerlifters are going to say I discount the squat too much, weightlifters will say I discount the classic lifts too much, but it's an average for the average person, so don't get too distracted by the details.

How this works: go to the bottom of this post, fill out the form (yes, I'm so 1337 that I use Google forms for my web apps), and we'll send you a customized report that shows how you compare on all of your lifts. Give it a try. Come back as you set new PRs and see how you progress. This will stay live until the bots find it. And of course, let me know if it doesn't work.


press 3x5


work up to a heavy single press
12-9-6 at 60%

Endurance Option

accumulate 15 presses at 5RM


for 20 minutes
2 presses every minute at 60% 

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