Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Magic Feather or The Power of Placebo

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If you have ever seen the movie Dumbo you will understand the magic  feather reference.  Ironically Dumbo stumbles upon his powers after binge drinking, but I digress.  There is a major market out there that exploits people due to their ignorance.  There is science and thenthere is pseudo science.  I think the big irony here  is the people

ignorant of science often assume pseudo science is science and
scientists dismiss some science, because it sounds like pseudo science.  After all  science is what we know, but in some instances it is what

we think we know.   I have been duped by both sides the intellectual
thinking they know more than they do, and the neophyte thinking they
have stumbled upon something superior to my current state of knowledge.  At times have been both the neophyte and the intellectual so, please forgive me after all,   “to err is human.”

A couple of studies come to mind.  A group of social scientists explained to some hotel housekeepers that they were part of a very active job and that they burned lots of calories in their job, sufficient to meet the Surgeon Generals guidlines.  (1)  Long  story short, the control
group continued to do their job with no change, but those blessed with the idea that they were involved in an exercise program in their daily life improved their blood  pressure, bf% among other health related
benefits.  Experimenters concluded that by priming the group with a sort of positive qualitative feedback they increased the intrinsic value the house keepers placed on their work as exercise.  Another study demonstrates that certain surgical intervention could
just as well be considered pseudoscience.  (2)

The first citation lists a few more studies on the placebo effect if you happen to be interested.

Long story short if you think you have stumbled upon something that may benefit  you towards your goals by all means engage in a series of experiments, research if there is any data to support your predisposition and findings.  Test and retest to establish reliability.  Remember, after all knowledge is what you know, wisdom is  applying that knowledge.


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Lost in Stagnation or As The Spinning Wheel Turns

Progression is an important topic and progression can often be overlooked as such it is important to have a goal and to set a realistic time line for that goal.  However too often we loose sight of our goal and get lost in reps and sets without a light to guide us.  These are two models I have used in the past that are helpful in setting new rep maximums.

This Model Is a version of similar to the Texas progression.

 Weeks Progression Generic Example 5X3 Weeks Goal
W1 Ramp 100X3 105X3 110X3 115X2 115X2  (Rep Maximum(s))
W2 Static 105X3X3X3X3X3X3X3 (Cumulative Volume)
W3 Ramp 105X3 110X3 115X3 ( Personal Best(s))
W4 Static 110X3X3X3X3X3X3 (Personal Best Cumulative Volume)

The second model is similar but a bit better at increasing cumulative volume.

Weeks Progression Generic Example 5X3 Weeks Goal
W1 Ramp 100,105,110,110,115,120,125,130,135,140,145,150X1  (Rep Maximum(s))
W2 Tiered Static




(Cumulative Volume)
W3 Ramp 105,110,110,115,120,125,130,135,140,145,150,155X1  ( Personal Best(s))
W4 Static




(Personal Best Cumulative Volume)