“Everyone has talent. What’s rare is the courage to follow it to the dark places where it leads.” – Erica Jong
Danger: insight into the workings of a dangerous mind follow. A recent conversation with Jim Keen, of our ARX sales force, led me to the following analogy of athletic power generation. In essence we were discussing my opinion that there is a real and quantifiable need for more precise training methodologies directed at increasing instantaneous (and repeat) power output. From a 30-kft view, I’m way more in the Cal Dietz camp than I am in Mark Rippetoe’s. In other words, improving strength is a huge part of (and is the most “trainable” aspect of) increasing an athlete’s power production, but it’s by far not the only thing.
So you’re sitting in a skiff, dead in the water. A barge slowly approaches; impact is imminent. You (the CNS) will try to coordinate the application of oar stroke (contribution of muscle contraction) with the impending thump from the approaching barge (connective tissue contribution) to maximize the distance of your glide through the water. You’re a lazy bastard, so want to cover the most distance possible with the least effort. Let’s say that the resultant “jostle” produces waves, an off-kilter skiff… elements of friction that need to be minimized so as to maximize the resultant glide for distance. We can think of that “jostle and friction” (my new garage band name, by the way) as the body’s shutdown feedback loop. That feedback loop that exists to prevent you from friggin’ tearing your limbs from your torso.
Let’s also say that you (remember, you’re the CNS) are in constant communication with the barge’s captain. Let’s further complicate things by saying that the surface area of the oar face is relative the muscle hypertrophy and barge speed (within set a range established relative to limb length and muscle insertion points) is relative to tendon length, thickness, elasticity… overall connective tissue contribution.
Play with that thought experiment a bit. Increase barge speed, maybe. Think what would happen, for instance, if someone dropped you a set of brand new, way larger-faced surface area oars. Fuckin’-A right! you think… until you find your coordination is off, and you can’t get a decent “bite” in the water.
So where would (ARX or otherwise) produced “raw, grind-it-out, single RM strength” be in the above? Tendon thickness, a slightly larger oar face. Strength endurance properties. And, essentially, I just substituted you for Jadeveon Clowney at the helm. You might be a better technician, you might even be quicker and smarter, and better able to coordinate w/the barge. But Jadeveon’s gonna bring pure AMPLITUDE of signal, so even if somewhat disjointed, he’s gonna be able to tap fibers otherwise left to snooze with you at the helm.
Not that I think that Jadeveon is more a specimen than you, brah. This is just for the sake of argument 😉
So, is this analogy perfect? Of course not. But it is, however — much like Grok is to Paleo, and Milo is to S&C programming, and Newton is to all of physics — directionally accurate. If we want to move beyond the basics, and into the “quantum realm”, we have to put away those “simple” ideas in lieu of the next analogy. I don’t want to go too deep down a rabbit hole here, but language, no matter how sophisticated, is never able to capture and convey the entirety of a phenomenon. This is where the use of analogy, parable, symbolism and such by the teacher comes into play. But it also requires the nimble and patient mind of the student to piece it all together.
In health, fitness, and ancestral wellness –