I’ve posted a little bit about the 50 to 1 method. This is a concept that was popularized by Nassim Taleb. He wrote some popular books that are a bit misquoted. He wrote “Black Swan,” “Antifragile.” You see a lot of that type of stuff online, but he introduced this idea of the 50 to 1 principle, which is really a play of the 80/20 rule.
You’ll see pretty commonly called the Pareto Principle, where it’s the 80/20 rule, but he brings up, if you take a logical conclusion of that, and that 20 percent you’re talking about, if you apply the 80/20 rule of that, you’re left with the 64 to 4 rule.
If you believe 20 percent of your efforts, or 80 percent of your results, that will be logically deduced that you have 4 percent of your results, so it’d be 64 percent or 4 percent of your effort will be 54 percent of your results.
If you apply the principle again, you’re left with the 50:1 rule, which I think it’s a little easy to understand. One percent of what you’re actually doing is about half your result. If you really think of it and you get really picky about it, that typically holds through.
If I go to the gym, if not the warm-up that’s making me stronger, if not on my warm-up set, it’s not on this other set stuff, it’s the hardest set and it’s the hardest part of those hardest set that are really driving the result. This is something that’s been brought up by champions of different fields forever. Muhammad Ali used to say that, “I don’t count the reps until they hurt.”
Arnold, I know discussed the way that he built his biceps. If he does a set of 12, it’s that rep number 10, 11, 12, the ones that hurt, the ones that you struggle the most that are responsible for that growth. I take that 50:1 principle to make sure that I have balance between the real hard work that you need to do to get better and all the other stuff that supports it.
When I walk into the gym, my warm-up is designed to help me perform my best. The warm-up is not there as if the harder I warm-up the better it is. It’s the quality of the warm-up. I want to be able to get warmed up and moving for the important work that I’m going to do.
Same thing if I do skill work. That skill should be addressing a specific weakness that I have or a specific problem, but doing skill work on something I’m already good at and that’s not really holding me back is in fact beneficial. I view it as make sure I don’t become a volume warrior, where I’m just doing tons and tons of reps and just beating myself up.
If you want to get stronger, you have to add weight to the bar. Then on the flip side, if you’re coming in and you’re just going right to your heaviest set and then you hit something big and you roll out of there, you’re missing a lot of the other stuff that you could be doing that’s going to support you doing more of that high quality work in the future.
I apply that principle to make sure my training is balanced in that way. Like yes, I’m going to go in. I’m going to add weight, I’m going to do something harder than I’ve ever done. At the same time, I need to make sure that I’m doing all the other stuff that supports that and not making sure there’s a imbalance between the two.
If you have an hour workout, I’m not going to spend 30 minutes of warming up, 5 minutes of really working out, and 25 minutes of stretching and BSing and hanging out with everybody. I want to make sure there’s that balance in there.