Putting Quality before Quantity

I’ve yet another pearl of wisdom inspired by the Ido Portal the other week.
I know I’ve been like a broken record with “Ido said this…” and “Ido said that…” like some star struck fan boy.
But when you spend time with someone who has made an art of his work and talks such sense, it’s hard not to be impressed.

But today I want to talk about quality.

In the strength world the deadlift is considered the truest test of strength. This is largely because there is no real way to cheat it. You take a weight that is sat on the floor and you either lock it out or you don’t.
There’s no question on depth like there is in the squat, there’s no question on bouncing the weight like in the bench press. It either goes up or it doesn’t, in this respect it is pure.

This is why all strength sports have rules in place. An Olympic lifter can wobble and step as much as he wants at the top of the lift, but the judge wont accept it until he is rock still and unmoving until all three white lights are on.
A power lifter must get the hip crease level with the knee to have his squat counted (at least that’s the official story….)
A kettlebell sports athlete must wait for the rep to be counted before releasing the bell from its lockout.


These are standards that are in place to ensure a fair competition.

But in the world of the Ido Portal method, they have standards for their bodyweight drills. And as they were explained to me, little lights went on in my head. And one of them was, “I’m actually a little soft with my guys sometimes”

The story starts when Ido and his crew took us through their upper body strength protocols which revolve around the Chin Up and the Dip.
I joined the beginner section so I could learn their progressions and regressions on the basic exercises, while my buddy went into the more advanced section so we could have a complete set of notes between us.

The first thing Odelia did when discussing the Chin Up was ask for a definition of the lift.
Where does it start?
Where does it end?
If neither of these points are met, can we call it a rep?

Odelia Goldschmidt just hanging about

Odelia Goldschmidt just hanging about

Much like the deadlift, it starts on the floor, it ends when the hips and knee are fully extended, anything else, and it’s a no count.

For Ido’s guys the chin starts in a dead hang and ends when the elbow joint is completely closed and the body is touching the bar.
And that’s final!

If you don’t have the strength to touch the bar at the top, then this is isolated and worked on until you can. Much like a power lifter will do lockout work or speed work.

This thought process and discipline is the key to progression and success.
If the rep doesn’t meet the predetermined standards, than it’s a no count. If it’s a no count, you need to work at it until it gets counted.
When enough reps can be strung together, each one identical, each meeting the predetermined standards, only then can you progress by adding weight or complexity.

So to this end, I ask you to reconsider your 50 rep sets of push ups or your 100 burpees or that max effort squat. Ask your self, did every rep look the same? Did every rep start and end in the same place?
Did every rep count or were some of them no counts?

Define everything.
Be disciplined.

It is only then will you see real progress in your performance while reducing the injury risk.


Dave Hedges

Next Workshop:
Building a Better Cyclist – 27th July, 1000 – 1600, details HERE



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