Get With The System

GET WITH THE SYSTEM

Have you ever looked at a programme and thought “I need to change this a bit and it’ll be perfect…”.


You then start chopping, changing and mixing things around trying to find the “balance” – x2 squatting, but you want x3, so you drop quad volume as if that will magically establish equilibrium. “Not all sets are equal though, are back downs at 80% relative intensity for 5 reps 0.8 sets of fatigue vs the top set?”


It’s endless.


So you build your Frankenstein Arnold Inspired Off-Season BeefBoyBuilder 5000 programme. You run it for two weeks and then start to question every decision you’ve made, and you start pulling it apart and rebuilding it again. 
Spinning your wheels for months on end has never been more creative.


This is where a system can help, and a single system at that. Systems like A.B.S have evolved as new information presents itself, integrating fresh perspectives where relevant and throwing away the useless stuff.

Everyone knows what to do – you need to do enough volume of a given exercise that is specific enough to the quality you are trying to improve on a given lift. You need to start at a good place, progress at a smart pace and test when you are ready. You need to then repeat that waving up and down over time. But nobody knows actually how to go about it…


What makes a system better than a programme to achieve all of that though?

47kg vs 147kg


As athletes, we’re mostly the same in A.B.S – 47kg girls will run the same programme the 120kg+ boys will run. But the small changes are what make the difference, and that’s where you begin to see what a system actually is. Systems spit out programmes, and systems dictate the changes that will be made for each individual person, as the system is the collective intelligence of the coaching staff that work together to produce it.

In ABS there are multiple coaches making stylistic choices with the base-programme that are influenced by the collective history and experience of all the other coaches. It’s ultimately a gut-feel approach, combining knowledge (what the science says), history (what the application says) and style (what the coach likes). All coaching ultimately is a gut-feel, no matter how much bullshit you can surround your methodology with.

In ABS there are multiple coaches making stylistic choices with the base-programme that are influenced by the collective history and experience of all the other coaches.


So ultimately, what is a system? It’s an approach to planning training that incorporates the skills and knowledge of the people implementing it, that has been honed over the course of their coaching and education. The system is the people. The people can be everyone from the coaches to the top athletes in the gym all the way down to your training partners who are running the same stuff as you.


If you were going to trust your time and energy to a group of people, they better have decades of experience, and have developed some of the biggest names in Irish Powerlifting year on year.

Coach James O’Brien

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