Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Difficult not Brutal

Ok, so maybe prowlers are brutal - but we don't do them very often.
Maybe it's a coincidence or maybe it's confirmation bias, but in the past couple of weeks I have listened to a couple of podcasts and had a couple of other conversations about the difference between difficult and brutal workouts.

One context where I heard the difficult versus brutal comparison was in training for martial arts. Some places you go you have to fight every day and get beat up, and others take it too safe and you just do the movements without a real opponent. Neither of those approaches work. You need just enough difficulty (and in the context of martial arts, a live opponent) to challenge you, but you can't get beat up all the time. I thought that provided some insight into training effectiveness.

From what I've seen in the fitness industry, you either get beat up all the time with a brutal workout or you just do the "safe" machines that take you through the movements but don't actually challenge you and make you stronger. What you need is a live opponent (a kettlebell?) that you have to struggle with, but you have to be careful not to go over the top with intensity every day.

Most what you read on social media and advertisements for gyms is how brutal and intense their workouts are. No one can continually do brutal workouts; the constant wear on your body will lead you to injury and the constant wear on your brain will lead you to burnout. Your movements and reps may be constantly varied, but if you're always doing a 7 to 15 minute all-out workout every day, the effect is the same. It may be fun getting that adrenaline rush every workout, but it's not sustainable to have a workout like that every day. We aim to provide workouts that challenge your strength and technique, but that are not needlessly (and ceaselessly) brutal.


row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips


deadlift 5-3-3-3x3


5 heavy swings between strength sets

Group Workout

10-8-6-4-2 power clean, increase weight each round
1 farmers walk to red door between rounds


50-40-30-20-10 kettlebell swing ladder, increase weight each round


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