Syphus Training’s Errors in Trial and Error.

Syphus Training itself derived from trial and error. Through the years we’ve experimented with many different ideas, equipment and technology to find out what would enhance your experience. We now realize that simple is better. And while we certainly wouldn’t call these failures as they’ve lead us to perfect our sport, it’s fun to look back at some of the tests we’ve tried:

Treadmill Runs: In the earliest days, when we were in a traditional gym, we utilized treadmills as an everyday aspect of our workout. Ever notice how MOST day’s workouts are comprised of three circuits? That’s likely because before each circuit we would start off with a “treadmill sprint” usually anywhere from a quarter mile to a mile depending on the day…treadmill work quickly became obsolete after a few months into the idea.

 1400 – 1200 – 1000: Anyone remember the days of Wiping the Slate Clean? It was essentially when we scrapped an old scoring system that had a flaw in it. Sorry, forget all that you knew about scores before. Instead we’d throw out all of your previous scores and start from scratch!

I don’t think this would go over too well today.

Initially our score system when up to 1400, then lowered to 1200, before finally being refined to (near) 1000. Even today, we adjust the scoring system monthly to be based on 1000 and anything “off-the-charts” is only for people finishing a board…but don’t worry, the changes are so minor that you’ll hardly notice.

Tic-Tac and Bag Drag: One fun piece of equipment we would use during workouts we punching bag. Nope, they weren’t hung from the ceiling, instead they were used on the ground and flipped head over heel (like a tire flip) until you reached an end-zone, this was known as Tic-Tac. Even more interesting was Bag Drag which was simply dragging the bag backwards…this ultimately morphed into Diablo.

100 Pound Plates: This never got off the ground, literally. In a few workouts, we would utilize a 100 pound plate for our pushing tasks. However, since there were only four in the gym and they were a pain to lug around, we just doubled up on plates which we still do from time to time.

Alter Syphus Options: Did you know that we used to offer a full schedule of different classes – all with different takes on Syphus? It wasn’t until the opening of Turf Brownstown that we discontinued the alternative options and kept with the tried and true Syphus. Here’s a brief description of each:

CardioCore – Syphus without the plate or crawling and a focus on abdominal exercises deemed not appropriate for Syphus scoring purposes. Outdoor Classes – Similar to your standard boot-camp class but with as Syphus twist. Yes, some classes we took the plates with us and actually threw them. Quick Fix – A half hour Syphus. Endure A half hour of nonstop agility and step work. Cronos Circuit 10 stations of traditional strength mixed with Syphus Tasks; 4 rounds.  Greek Gods/Mission Fitness tests that never changed with the idea of completing them quicker over time. Synergy/Quest – A group workout done with the object of collectively finishing certain goals as a group. Gamut – A blend between group personal training and Syphus to help integrate people into Syphus training movements.

Syphus Fit-Band: In the day and age where fitness wearables were just bursting on the scene, we wanted to keep up with the times. However, when we released a branded version of a fitness tracker akin to the original version of the Fitbit, people got excited thinking that we had finally created a wearable that tracks your scores by wearing it during your Syphus Training workout. Sorry – we haven’t been able to merge with that technology yet, but we’re working on it.

 Heart Rate Based Training: Likely the biggest flop we’ve had! In the beginning of 2011 we started using a heart rate system manufactured by Polar that would display each individual’s heart rate on a screen and provide zones, in which the user’s heart rate “should” be in for maximal benefit. If you’re familiar with Orangtheory, they now use newer versions of this system for their workouts. In fact, Syphus Training was highlighted in the July 2011 Polar Newsletter as first independent program to use this program that was previously only used with professional and collegiate sports teams.

The problem?  We were a guinea pig.

The version we used was essentially in beta testing with no ability for updates. Primarily based on the now outdated formula of 220 – Age to determine target heart rate, it provided no tangible feedback, specifically calories burned, unless you had a compatible watch. Likewise, there seemed to be serious errors in reporting accurate heart rates as some of our fittest individuals were registering heart rates as high as 222 and still working out without breaking much of a sweat.

And, above all, instead of listening to one’s body and letting that steer the way, people were relying largely on the technology to tell them how to proceed through the workout. That is, if they saw their heart rate in the RED (non-fat burning zone) participants would essentially stop working out until their heart rates dropped instead of pushing their aerobic threshold. Simply put, it was more of a distraction that hindered the progress their workout. As a side note: If you’re gauging your workout solely on heart rate, you may be buying into a shtick.

 – Hackett


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