GMB Integral Strength: Week Two Review

Perhaps I was a little critical of GMB’s Integral Strength (IS) program in my week one review

I wouldn’t consider this week’s programming to be supremely difficult, though I’m beginning to see, and better understand, the underlying IS framework.

Week two is a continuation of phase one, the focus of which remains on a short ‘practice circuit’. Over the course of the 3 sessions, the exercises are made progressively more difficult, until you reach a level that is appropriately challenging for your expertise.

For example, the L-sit on day one required a ‘tuck hold‘, meaning knees are held in to the body. Day two progressed to a single leg out, increasing the leverage requirements. Finally, day three’s version asked for both legs extended.

I found this movement particularly humbling. Although I could complete the 20 seconds with one leg extended, I felt my form was inadequate. With the GMB maxim centred on quality, I decided to focus on nailing the tuck hold before moving on.

Can you rate quality?

I understand GMB’s inclusion of a rating system (whereby you gauge how the movement felt in terms of ease and quality), though am unsure how effective this is. In my opinion, this is less of a failing of the system and has more to do with the question, ‘How do you quantify quality?’

GMB offers a novel rating system including descriptors ‘challenging’, ‘solid’ and ‘relaxed’. I understand their approach in putting a unique spin on a method, though feel a more traditional and proven protocol may have been more effective.

In autoregulation for example, a score of 10 would indicate maximum effort with no capacity to do more. A score of 8 is indicative of a movement which is about right in terms of difficulty, or perhaps a little on the challenging side, though with the ability to progress (though form may be compromised).

To progress, or not to progress?

I appreciate the thought of the progressions, coupled with instructions to perform a lower level exercise if difficulty is too high. GMB do really well in offering a graduated scheme to build select movements.

However, stricter guidelines would be helpful here. An individual may be able to complete an exercise, though with sloppy form. Placing more emphasis on self-assessment based on the rating system, could be implemented.

Feedback and form

As the drills became progressively harder, I found myself filming my form and comparing it to the tutorials. This enabled me to check if I was on track, or perhaps needed to tweak an aspect of the exercise. The inverted press was a good example of this. The aim is to create a vertical descent of the torso  (emulating a deconstructed handstand push-up). I noticed I was adopting something in between the ideal and the traditional push-up, and consequently made the appropriate adjustments (hello triceps DOMS!).

In terms of feedback and optimal form, I wonder how responsive the team at GMB would be if I were to send them the aforementioned video asking for a critique? This week, I’ll aim to carry out this little experiment to gauge their responsiveness.

Change in the brain

On a personal note, my mindset shift to quality, is beginning to consolidate. This is a refreshing change from the traditional reps and sets scheme.

I’m excited to see how week three unfolds in terms of structure, intensity and programming in general. From all reports, things step up a notch and a daily undulating periodisation model is adopted.

Stay tuned for week 3!

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