One of the most important principles in training is something called the ‘Pregnancy Principle‘. Let’s go into both the meaning of this principle as well as how to apply it towards your training.
The Pregnancy Principle is a principle we use to develop high quality, lower the ego and steer clear of injuries. This principle is based on the fact that you can only be two things: either you are pregnant or you are not pregnant. It is impossible to be 33% pregnant, almost pregnant, about pregnant, half pregnant. You are either pregnant or you are not. It is a binary code, a 1 or a 0.
Now that this biology lesson is out of the way, how can we apply this to our training?
For every movement, we must apply a specific set of rules to call that movement what it is. Let’s take a chin-up for example; A chin-up with a 31X1 tempo, this should have the following;
- start in a passive hang for 1 second
- Pull as fast as possible up to the top
- touch the chest to the bar at the top and hold for one second
- controlled lower of 3seconds
- end in the passive hang for one second
This is the definition of a chin-up with the tempo we just described. If ANY of these measurements are not met, then the rep is a NO REP. Not a 1.5rep or an almost 3reps, its either a rep or it isn’t. There is no in-between.
You don’t pause in the passive hang for one second – NO REP
You don’t touch the chest to the bar at the top – NO REP
You lower for 2seconds instead of the prescribed 3 – NO REP
You come out of the chin-up before the passive hang – NO REP
Now this may seem excessive, but believe me it is not. We can often get caught up in getting that ‘next rep’ or ‘using more weight’ that we begin to decrease in quality. This small decrease in quality can begin sneaking into other areas of our practice, like a snowball rolling down a hill. Very soon, our practice can de-volve into a crap storm.
Having high standards and sticking to them can not only aid in decreasing the risk of injury, putting our egos in check, and developing high quality across all fields of the practice, but it can also develop us into better observers of our own practice.
So when you are ever in doubt and have the question ‘does that rep count?’, you can rest assured that you now KNOW the answer…No, it does not.