GMB Integral Strength: Week Four Review

Week four was a carbon copy of week three. Training totaled four sessions, split between a strength-power and strength-endurance focus.

I gathered a few insights this week, including…

  • Treat movement training as ‘practice’ rather than fitness.
    • Training for fitness is not bad, though training and fitness need to be differentiated from one another. The objectives of the two differ greatly and a  mindset shift is required.
    • Fitness training (should be) is centred on developing an attribute like strength, or greater aerobic capacity.
    • Movement training requires introspection. What’s your body telling you? Are you tending to favour one side when you perform the inverted press? Are you performing it with optimal form? How challenging is it?
    • A skill development mindset is useful for movement training. As you work your way up the hierarchy of more complex movements, view it like a musician first learning the basics before moving on to more challenging iterations.
  • Progress can be achieved in different ways.
    • Bodybuilding and Powerlifting utilise progressive overload, where a gradually increasing workload forces the body to adapt and become bigger and/or stronger.
    • This is only one approach. Adopting this mindset for all endeavours is one dimensional and will quickly lead to frustration as ‘traditional’ progress stalls.
    • As GMB reiterates, consider the ease and quality of the movement you’re performing. With practice, the exercise will require less effort and feel smoother. This is an indication to progress. Not necessarily by adding load, but by changing the demands of the exercise to make it more demanding.

Program Feedback

I’ll also throw in my two cents for improving the Integral Strength (IS) program. I believe IS could benefit from increasing the frequency of movements.

In order to achieve this, the total number of exercises is roughly halved. The rate at which  the remaining movements can be trained now doubles. Initially, training the same muscle groups on consecutive days might result in a spike in soreness and a small dip in performance. Though, I believe progression through the movements will be achieved at a greater rate.

A sample of the exercises I would include are as follows:

  • Broad jumps
  • Shrimp squats
  • Chin-ups
  • L-sits
  • Inverted press

This program, achieves balance without seriously neglecting an area.

My suspicion is, the guys at GMB know full well that training less movements (less ‘goals’) will lead to improved progression on the remaining movements. Though, the inclusion is more so for the sake of variety, avoiding backlash from the public as to why the program is so ‘simple’ and limited. In this case, less would be more, though we’re stuck in an age where more is more!

Summary

I voiced my concerns last week regarding the push to pull imbalance and the potential for this to cause shoulder issues. This has not been an issue. I speculate that the low overall volume might have something to do with it.

Week five, crossing the half way mark, promises to throw up some changes (and challenges), namely in the form of increased volume. Stay tuned!

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