On Performance & Error

I have a few blog posts in the works, but first I wanted to discuss something I’ve noticed over the past year training clients on a regular basis on the ARX: the error of performance.

Early on, clients gain significant strength utilizing the tool. I liken it to switching from using a fork to scrape peanut butter from a jar to using a spoon. I’ve had 80+ year old clients who have been stagnant for years on a leg press add 10% to their weight used and subjectively find the experience easier when they use the ARX every other week. This is very valuable for reversing osteopenia & slowing sarcopenia.

That said, very quickly (read: a few months) the client hits to the top of the adaptation curve and their performance can vary by as much as 10% at the same subjective effort. They’re pushing as hard as they can and they don’t perform as well.

If we’re using old testament HIT logic, then we only train when we can increase our numbers. Biological beings in real life don’t adapt to infinity, so we much accept a more stock market-like approach to improvement: trends over time.

More specifically, the outcome isn’t as valuable as the effort. The clients always say “I pushed as hard as I could have!”, which of course they did. Muscles can’t count, they can’t dial in a quantified output, they don’t super compensate to a specific percentage improvement to a dose of stimuli. To use epidemiological terms, we’re using quantified methods, whereby we take something qualitative and give it a number (adaptations are only numeric because we found a way to make it so). This explains, for example, why different individuals perform differently with similar VO2max measures. We’re a constellation of adaptations that contribute to performance, most of which is not changed from quantification.