The Driving Analogy
By Mike Tuchscherer
I’m going to use a little different analogy to describe what RTS does for you.
Think of your strength like a place. It doesn’t matter which place – you are where you are right now. That might be 700 Totalville. It might be 2000 Totalville. Then your goals are another place somewhere else. Perhaps that’s Word’sStrongestMan City. Or even WorldRecordstown. So how do you get to your goals? You use a car (training).
Once you decide to use a car (decide to train), you realize there are some decisions to make. Which direction do you go (Intensity)? If you want to go north, then it doesn’t make sense to drive east (if you want strength, it doesn’t make sense to train for size, etc).
How fast should you go (volume)? Then when considering your direction and speed, you formulate a trip itinerary (periodization plan). You might decide that the best way to go is to drive east for a while (add some size), then turn north (focus on strength). You may decide to go faster on the eastbound road and then back off the speed once you turn north. It’s really up to you and how you plan your trip.
Then you have to consider your car. For most of us, the place we’re trying to get to (our goals) are at the outer limits of where we can go. It’s going to be a tough journey. It’s possible that the car can break down on the way. For example, if you go very fast (lots of volume) for a long time, you might overheat the engine and break down. RTS mitigates this in a couple of ways. First, using Fatigue Percents is like working with the terrain that you’re traveling on. On a big uphill, you don’t push the engine so hard. On a big downhill, you use gravity to help you gain some speed. Remember, speed is like your volume and fatigue percents are a strategy that lets you adjust your volume based on the circumstances around you. This helps you travel as fast as your engine can handle. Second, it’s a good idea to install a temperature gauge (TRAC) to give you more specific insight on how your engine temperature is doing. Sometimes being mindful of the terrain you’re driving on isn’t enough and having a temp gauge can let you know what you should do. Our temp gauge gives you more than just a temperature readout, too. It recommends corrective action to get your temp back under control without making you stop unless absolutely necessary.
Then there is your direction, too. You might decide to use a compass to determine which direction you want to go (use percentages to determine your intensity). But remember that this is a very long and difficult journey. The further north you get, the bigger the disparity between magnetic and true north. Plus there are issues with the magnetic field the car itself generates. A compass can get you where you want to go, especially if you don’t want to go very far. But if you’re really pushing the limit of how far you can go, then it would be better to use a GPS to determine your direction (rep and RPE pairings). This will eliminate the error that the compass can bring and it will make sure that you don’t get off track once you get further north (get closer to your goal). It will also make sure that you don’t get error readings from the car’s magnetic field (day to day fluctuations in ability). The result is that you get a better overall direction for your car so you’re actually moving closer to your destination instead of off in some other direction.
As you can see, reaching the outer limit of how far you can go is a tough trip to make. You can just go as fast as you can, but you’ll end up broken down somewhere down the road. But if you equip your car with some good tools such as a temp gauge and a GPS (use TRAC and RPE’s) as well as use a good driving strategy (fatigue percents and periodization), you’ll be able to get much further than you otherwise could have.
There’s more that can be done with this analogy, too. Where does nutrition fit in? What about supplements?
|About the Author
Mike Tuchscherer is the owner and head coach at RTS. He has been powerlifting since 2001 and since has traveled all over the world for competitions. In 2009, he was the first man from USA powerlifting to win a gold medal at the World Games – the highest possible achievement in powerlifting. He has coached over a dozen competitors at the world championships, a score of national champions, and multiple world record holders.