Workout scaling and its effects.

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    Workout scaling and its effects.

    So, I've been thinking about scaling lately. (after recent discussion)

    Darebee workout have a lot of built-in scaling (except when they don't - but classic sets are in the overwhelming minority) but there's little information available to beginners as to how exactly to scale the workouts to achieve their specific goals and what various options available do to their potential gains.

    The idea here is that overall difficulty levels that workouts have (in the workout library browser) are somewhat confusing - For example I can do most lvl 3 WO at lvl2-3 and some lvl 4 WO at lvl1. But the gains from doing lvl4 strength/tone workouts on lvl1 will be different than if I do lvl3 strength/tone workout on lvl3.

    Let's take a look at one specific workout (just for example)

    It's a pretty average workout in terms of customization available. There are 2 options:

    a) Increase volume (amount of sets) - that's the first avenue that a beginner will look at, especially since it's so obviously featured right at the top of the workout card. And I know that Darebee team makes great effort not to call lvl1 "easy" or make some options seem less appealing than others, but for beginners lvl1 is definitely easy. (Especially since few people actually read instruction manual before going into workout section)

    What that option does is shifting the focus from strength gains towards muscular endurance.

    b) Decrease rest times. - Decreasing rest times leads to more strain on cardiovascular endurance and higher strength gains due to faster overload.

    Some workouts also have:

    c) Various EC that increase workout intensity - double reps, keeping balance, increased reps on a specific exercise, et cetera. Generally, increasing reps would move gains more towards endurance as well as some increase in strength.

    Now, the problem is that there's this misconception that working out gives you just one benefit - strength/tone doesn't increase endurance/cardio, etc. Which is not true.

    I realize that workouts have their focus - which they are built around, but I think it would be better to rate each workout not only on it's overall difficulty - but also on how it affects three main stats of fitness - strength, endurance and cardiovascular fitness. Or at least mark various customization options with effects that they have on the gains from the workout.

    I'll tag Damer to see if I got any of this wrong.

    P.S. Maybe it belongs to "feedback/suggestions" section, but come on, no one ever goes there.

    #2
    J3ster ... for many people, your suggestions work. Especially "b)" - decrease rest times. But "a)" - perhaps the easiest - does not work at all for my wife and poses problems for me.
    My wife gets bored. Her body may be able to double the reps and/or the sets. Her head? Not-so-much.
    My own problem is that I lose concentration ... and count. Some (all?) of the newer efforts offer "keep track" options. These help keep me straight.
    But ... yeah. It is good to have more flexibility built in.

    Comment


      #3
      DaithiMeyer, the count - man, when reps go above hundred I get distracted so often, and literally count something like that:"one hundred nineteen, one hundred forty, one hund... Wait, what?"

      I also agree with you on the boredom part - I tried some old NeilaRey.com workouts that have very few reps but tons of sets (lots of them had a system like that - Carol Danvers had 10 sets, Batman had 10, 300 had 10, etc) and it was such a drag in the end.

      But my point here is to let people know what they are doing exactly when increasing sets, adding EC or cutting rest time. Right now a lot of it taps into coolness factor - do the EC, or are you chicken? Lvl 3 is called "freakin' murder" - can your do it?

      Comment


        #4
        J3ster you're not entirely wrong in your assessment which means that you're not completely right either. The basic mechanics of how each workout works are roughly right. We create three levels which are approximately beginner - intermediate - advanced and then allow the play of a few parameters, (EC, rest time, etc) to create a challenge. Now, were we doing this in a class setting in any environment other than Darebee I'd be kicking the ass of anyone who didn't follow perfect form, failed to give me more reps per set as we moved from one set to the next and took a full 2 mins to recover between sets. This is not how Darebee works. Each workout goes through a three-month long phase of testing and refining with various groups, mixed ages, mixed fitness levels. The aim is to make it accessible by making it intuitive and making it enticing and fun. It also has to be relatively fool proof as each person usually does it, on their own, at home. This means that what you suggest, which is prescriptive, highly structured and very methodical and which works for you personally, is unlikely to work for everyone else and we are addressing the fitness needs of people for whom exercise is not yet a habitual activity.

        Do they perform everything perfectly? Do they challenge themselves each time? Is their form perfect? No. Does it matter? No. As long as they are getting fitter (which is the only criterion that matters) then they are getting better. They are getting more confident. And they are improving. As they are improving, they are learning. As they learn they can refine things to suit themselves, not our vision of what they should be. It's a crucial difference that goes to the very heart of what's different here. In another type of forum I'd be telling you to take a hike because it's my way or the highway. But we are really not like that here, in every way. Whatever you want to do (and the "you" here is generic) we'd support you wholeheartedly. And as you get better then we'll help you understand how to get better still. This is what really makes us tick. And it is this very open approach that helps those who come to Darebee find their level and slowly build up, and that goes for both their knowledge and their fitness.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Damer View Post
          J3ster you're not entirely wrong in your assessment which means that you're not completely right either. The basic mechanics of how each workout works are roughly right. We create three levels which are approximately beginner - intermediate - advanced and then allow the play of a few parameters, (EC, rest time, etc) to create a challenge. Now, were we doing this in a class setting in any environment other than Darebee I'd be kicking the ass of anyone who didn't follow perfect form, failed to give me more reps per set as we moved from one set to the next and took a full 2 mins to recover between sets. This is not how Darebee works. Each workout goes through a three-month long phase of testing and refining with various groups, mixed ages, mixed fitness levels. The aim is to make it accessible by making it intuitive and making it enticing and fun. It also has to be relatively fool proof as each person usually does it, on their own, at home. This means that what you suggest, which is prescriptive, highly structured and very methodical and which works for you personally, is unlikely to work for everyone else and we are addressing the fitness needs of people for whom exercise is not yet a habitual activity.

          Do they perform everything perfectly? Do they challenge themselves each time? Is their form perfect? No. Does it matter? No. As long as they are getting fitter (which is the only criterion that matters) then they are getting better. They are getting more confident. And they are improving. As they are improving, they are learning. As they learn they can refine things to suit themselves, not our vision of what they should be. It's a crucial difference that goes to the very heart of what's different here. In another type of forum I'd be telling you to take a hike because it's my way or the highway. But we are really not like that here, in every way. Whatever you want to do (and the "you" here is generic) we'd support you wholeheartedly. And as you get better then we'll help you understand how to get better still. This is what really makes us tick. And it is this very open approach that helps those who come to Darebee find their level and slowly build up, and that goes for both their knowledge and their fitness.

          Comment


            #6
            There are other things you can adjust besides volume and rest times.

            Time under tension.

            Which type of failure you work to.

            Range of movement (hopefully always full, but partial movements have their place).

            Angles that you work the movements.

            One could take a lvl 1 workout and easily make it a level 3 or maybe even a 4, simply by
            ad​​​justing any of the above things. Granted, it would take more effort than what I would want to put forth, nothing here is set in stone.

            I think your trying to go deeper than that, tho. But there is no need. I think there are enough articles here to inform people of how they can do things and how to analyze their results.

            I think the last thing is that, all of this is subjective. The only thing you can truly measure against is yourself.

            Maybe Damer said all this, but his post was so full of love that it got cloudy. Tho, he did say he would yell at us or to GTFO if it were another forum/gym. So I would say it was tough love. But love none the less.

            ​​​​​​

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Damer View Post
              J3ster you're not entirely wrong in your assessment which means that you're not completely right either.


              Originally posted by Damer View Post
              Now, were we doing this in a class setting in any environment other than Darebee I'd be kicking the ass of anyone who didn't follow perfect form, failed to give me more reps per set as we moved from one set to the next and took a full 2 mins to recover between sets.
              I prefer rep decrese in subsequent sets, not increase (aside from warm-up sets, obv) - if you can inrease reps on 3-4-5th sets that means you slacked in the beginning.
              Also - great way to shoot yourself in the leg - you've basically said that Darebee workouts are worse at giving you results than structured training. "Better Is the Enemy of Good Enough"

              Originally posted by Damer View Post
              This means that what you suggest, which is prescriptive, highly structured and very methodical and which works for you personally, is unlikely to work for everyone else and we are addressing the fitness needs of people for whom exercise is not yet a habitual activity.
              But I haven't suggested doing anything to the workouts themselves! I just said that we should explain to people what different customization does to their results.

              Originally posted by Damer View Post
              Do they perform everything perfectly? Do they challenge themselves each time? Is their form perfect? No. Does it matter? No. As long as they are getting fitter (which is the only criterion that matters) then they are getting better. They are getting more confident. And they are improving.
              It matters in regards to how fast they are getting better. Does that make sense?

              Originally posted by Damer View Post
              As they are improving, they are learning. As they learn they can refine things to suit themselves, not our vision of what they should be.
              Good! Great! Why not give them more information to form grounded opinions?

              Originally posted by Damer View Post
              In another type of forum I'd be telling you to take a hike because it's my way or the highway.
              You're quite a hardass, aren't you? Or, wait, it's all hypothetical, right?

              Originally posted by Damer View Post
              And it is this very open approach that helps those who come to Darebee find their level and slowly build up, and that goes for both their knowledge and their fitness.
              I'm not sure I like the word "slowly" there. I've learned more about fitness in these two months than in my entire life before - how's that for slow? Speed is relative.

              Originally posted by aveoturbo View Post
              There are other things you can adjust besides volume and rest times.
              Time under tension.
              Which type of failure you work to.
              Range of movement (hopefully always full, but partial movements have their place).
              Angles that you work the movements.
              One could take a lvl 1 workout and easily make it a level 3 or maybe even a 4, simply by
              ad​​​justing any of the above things. Granted, it would take more effort than what I would want to put forth, nothing here is set in stone.
              Oh, definitely. It's just that none of it is included in the workout description as an available option. There will be some natural variability in time under tension, for example, because a lot of people tend to start fast and end slow - but it's all instinctual rather than cognitive.

              Changing angles is basically changing form / variation, ergo changing workout itself. Which is not the goal here. The point is to add to the workout, not subtract from it.
              ​​​​​​
              Originally posted by aveoturbo View Post
              I think your trying to go deeper than that, tho. But there is no need. I think there are enough articles here to inform people of how they can do things and how to analyze their results.
              If there are articles on various type of failure or how different rep ranges and rest times affect gains from workouts then please, point me to them - that exactly what I would like to see.

              ​​​​​​
              Originally posted by aveoturbo View Post
              I think the last thing is that, all of this is subjective. The only thing you can truly measure against is yourself.
              Err, no. Your rest time is objective. Your weight is objective, Time under tension is objective. Your gains are objective - you can measure your weigth, BMI, body fat percentage, lean muscle mass, performance in exercise, et cetera.
              Nothing of it is subjective. It's unique to you, yes, but not subjective in the slightest.

              I'd like to pick your brain on a different subject though, if you don't mind. You keep mentioning different types of failure and I'm not very clear on that. There are a lot of different definitions of muscle failure floating around.
              IMO, there's a difference between doing an exercise to failure and working a muscle to failure. Former means that you just can't do any more reps of the exercise, while the latter means that you can't use the muscle at all. Like doing a leg day to failure means that you can't walk afterwards. At all. Until you recover. I do first kind of training occasionally, but second one seems just too intense both on mind and body.

              Comment


                #8
                J3ster I've noticed you have a tendency to ask good, useful questions - and then lose all that goodness over the course of a thread as you get increasingly mocking and abrasive with every post. This is, like, the third time now I've started reading a thread kind of on your side and feeling unable to support you anymore by the end.

                What's going on man? This has been called to your attention several times now, and this keeps happening. Is this a deal where you like debates and this all meant in good fun? If so I gotta tell you this isn't the crowd for that sort of thing. It isn't really appreciated round these parts and it makes whatever points you're trying to make less effective. You don't seem like a troll to me and I hate seeing whatever actual good points you make get buried under the nonsense.

                In anycase:
                The problem you may be running into here is in different priorities. This speed optimization thing you're all about? Not the main priority for the Darebee folks.

                Priority 1 is getting more people into a functional healthy lifestyle. That means getting people to want to exercise. To feel like its "for" them, that it's something they can and should feel comfortable doing no matter who they are, what their age, what their current condition.

                Everything else is secondary. The reason you don't see concrete goals (weight loss, bf% loss, before/after pics) is that while they can be very useful, they also give ways to "fail" (didn't lose enough weight, bodyfat, don't see a huge change, etc.) That's devastating to a lot of people's motivation. They figure "what's the point of all this work?" and give up. That directly opposes priority 1, so it's gotta go.

                As far as clearly defining the gains you'll get from a difficulty 4 workout done at level 1 vs a difficulty 3 workout done on level 3 - the answer is "it depends." One of the big differences you'll see is that a difficulty 4 workout has pull ups in it, and a difficulty 3 doesn't. If a person can't do pull ups telling them to go back and keep doing difficulty 3 "remedial work" until they can is less in keeping with priority 1 than telling them to go for it, but substitute inverted rows or something. They want to improve and push themselves, that's the important thing.

                Darebee folks - feel free to correct me if you feel I'm putting words in your mouth or if I'm misinterpreting something.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Daegan View Post
                  I've noticed you have a tendency to ask good, useful questions
                  Thank you!
                  Originally posted by Daegan View Post
                  and then lose all that goodness over the course of a thread as you get increasingly mocking and abrasive with every post.
                  No "thank you". Sorry? From my point of view I express my belief system about fitness (which has some blind spots that I try to fill in with new knowledge all the time) and with every subsequent post I unfold it with more arguments in favor of it. If you like my initial posts but don't agree with what I write afterwards, maybe you don't agree with me at all? That's perfectly fine. We don't all have to be Yes Men and agree with everything.
                  Originally posted by Daegan View Post
                  Is this a deal where you like debates and this all meant in good fun?
                  Yeah, I kind of like debating. There's nothing wrong with discussions. Thought thrives on conflict. Living in the land of milk and honey is all good and fun, but that level of sterility leads to a single sneeze starting an epidemic. Now you find me "abrasive" Believe me, when I discuss a topic, I am as impartial as humanly possible. I don't care about you, me or anyone else, for that matter. I do not wish to attack or put down anyone or anything.
                  Originally posted by Daegan View Post
                  The problem you may be running into here is in different priorities. This speed optimization thing you're all about? Not the main priority for the Darebee folks.
                  I don't think the topic is about progression speed. It's about giving people knowledge on how the changes that they make to the workout affect their gains.
                  Originally posted by Daegan View Post
                  Everything else is secondary. The reason you don't see concrete goals (weight loss, bf% loss, before/after pics) is that while they can be very useful, they also give ways to "fail"
                  That looks suspiciously like "our way or highway". Besides, there's nothing wrong with failure. As rahul27's avatar says in the words of Samuel Beckett - "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
                  Originally posted by Daegan View Post
                  If a person can't do pull ups telling them to go back and keep doing difficulty 3 "remedial work" until they can is less in keeping with priority 1 than telling them to go for it, but substitute inverted rows or something. They want to improve and push themselves, that's the important thing.
                  I'd say they should work on getting their pull-ups instead of using crutches and patchworking their workout. But again, it's just my opinion - everyone is free to do as they desire. Not to mention that the whole "pull-up" thing is beside the point.

                  Anyway, thank you for having a conversation.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I think what Daegan wanted to say is: It's not what you say, but how you say it. Don't get me wrong, your posts are still rather tame and the mocking you do may seem natural to you, or maybe even necessary to spice a discussion. But the philosophy here is to avoid spice and heat in a discussion, that may take getting used to, but shouldn't get in the way of having meaningful discussions. Maybe even help with getting to a mutual understanding faster.

                    And as you commented to Damers Post:
                    Also - great way to shoot yourself in the leg - you've basically said that Darebee workouts are worse at giving you results than structured training. "Better Is the Enemy of Good Enough"
                    I think that's totally natural and to be expected. If I would hire a personal trainer, tell him exactly what I want and my medical conditions and let him oversee all my training efforts, I naturally would expect him to beat Darebee, because he can cater to me individually on a completely different level than the much broader approach Darebee has to use, to not speak about that even if Darebee would have the perfect workout for me in every stage, I'm probably unable to tell or find this optimum. But how much money, time and effort would I have to invest to get to the "endresult" faster by how many days or weeks? And do my goals even deserve such an investment? One can always be fitter, stronger or faster, but do I have to want that? What if my goal is to see how far I can go by casually training, without worrying over specific results?
                    You seem to want to get fitter, stronger, better and you have understood that the more optimal you train the better you will be able to get, so I think you deserve to ask these questions and get them answered. Many of us, me included, also find those answers really interesting, even if we may never use them to the same extent, because we don't want to optimise our training that much. But that's not the only side there is to Darebee, there is also the social and the broad aspect of doing anything at all fitness-wise and to encourage people to try it. And sometimes those different approaches to training clash. If they do, Darebee leans more to the later side.

                    At least that's how I see the Darebee philosophy

                    Edit: On the real topic of scaling: I think there is no generic answer to that, as it strongly depends on the goals and type of the workout in question. If you think Level 3 plus Extracredit are no longer enough you are probably better of looking for a different workout with the same goals but harder, or just creating your own, maybe using the old one as a blueprint.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by J3ster View Post
                      Thank you!

                      No "thank you". Sorry? From my point of view I express my belief system about fitness (which has some blind spots that I try to fill in with new knowledge all the time) and with every subsequent post I unfold it with more arguments in favor of it. If you like my initial posts but don't agree with what I write afterwards, maybe you don't agree with me at all?
                      Better to say I don't agree with your tone or how you say things. I applaud the study and the questions are good.

                      Now you find me "abrasive" Believe me, when I discuss a topic, I am as impartial as humanly possible. I don't care about you, me or anyone else, for that matter. I do not wish to attack or put down anyone or anything.
                      I'm not personally offended or anything. I'm mostly suggesting that you should consider that you may be coming across as meaner than you realize. I'm concerned you're doing yourself a disservice, ultimately hurting the discussions you're aiming for.


                      Besides, there's nothing wrong with failure. As rahul27's avatar says in the words of Samuel Beckett - "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."

                      Anyway, thank you for having a conversation.
                      Here I definitely agree with you. Failure is inevitable and nobody ever got great at anything without messing 10x more than they succeeded.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Types of failure:

                        Technical: means you stop when your form breaks down.

                        Tempo: means you stop when your pace slows down.

                        Muscle: means you stop when your body won't allow you to do any more.

                        As for whatever else you said, I will have to wait to get to a PC to reply to.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Ok, J3ster I think you totally misinterpret my tone and attitude and completely misunderstand my point of view. So let's take things from the beginning. Step one. Tone is important. Act like you're looking for a fight and sound disrespectful and you're going to find yourself out in the cold. So, can I ask you, publicly now, to totally think before you reply to anything, how you're going to reply. This is actually important. Everyone here, including myself, takes a very carefully studied approach to commenting. It is not about making myself look good. If that's what I wanted to do I could have deconstructed your suggestions and made you look like an idiot because you're trying to apply one dynamic to another without thinking about it too much, convinced that you're right, using your own personal, narrow frame of reference. When you comment, do hark back to my original admonition to you think A. Will this add value to the conversation? B. Will it offend others if I phrase it this way? C. If beginners see it who haven't got my point of reference, will they understand what I am on about?

                          Consider these things really carefully. And then, maybe, we can have a real discussion. Right now this thread is locked down.

                          Comment

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