First implemented by the great British cycling team in the London 2012 Olympics. The Idea comes from breaking down everything you do it sections and increase a single section by 1% each week or, even better, each day. Pointless I hear you cry? well let me explain…
1% might not seem that much over the sort term but if you think about it over a long period of time and add all the 1% up you end up having a dramatic increase in your performance.
The British cycling coach In the training and competition got his athletes to sleep in the same position with the same pillow when traveling, He also got them to go to bed at the same time each night. Things like these may not seem like much. Does it really matter that I get to sleep at 8 or 9 as many nights as I can? Will that really change anything? The answer is more complicated than just a yes or no answer but the short answer is most of the time. Let me explain…
It’s similar to compound interest. What you invest (the 1%) might not seem like a big thing to you in the near future but as time goes by your performance will greatly increase.
A sporting example would be comparing what you do to your competitors. Your competitors do the same as you, the same amount of training but your concentrating on marginal gains. You improve your game by going to bed at the same time, removing one or two pices of clothing to become lighter to be able to go faster in your chosen sport etc. Your competitor doesn’t. Now your competition is coming up. You both have trained and eaten the same amount. You gain an advantage as you have been able to move that bit quicker in training (even if it only my milliseconds), Your body better understands that’s it’s time to work rather than thinking it’s time to sleep.
You see all those things don’t mean much on their own but if you add them together it can be the difference between you losing and winning.
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Using this theory how can we use it in our lives?
What can we do to ‘mirror’ the british cycling team who seem to keeping winning gold at the Olympics.
How can marginal gains help a weight lifter or weightlifting?
Learning the correct form to start. Incorrect form can lead to injury, a lighter (or heavier) weight than you can actually lift. Concentrating on this before every lift can implant it into your brain so as time goes by you think about it less and less, keeping your form, allowing you to focus on lifting the actual weight.
You could introduce things like holding your hands on different parts of the bar. For example bench press. The further out your hands go, from the centre of the bar, the harder it is to lift but the shorter distance you have to lift.
Performance in competition
If your a footballer to a swimmer there is always something you can do. Football might be something as simple as using less tape for your socks, getting a haircut so you carry less weight. All on their own seem like nothing but as you slowly add it up it can come to the difference between you and your opponent.
Leading up to a competition. This could be as simple as having the same breakfast as you normally have or if your used to eatting something else before a competitive game or competition. Rather than changing your bedsheets the day before a competition do it after, as a reward.
We see this with our bodies without truly seeing it. Have you ever gone to bed late and still got up at the same time? Or you can’t seem to get to bed early. This is your body is in a routine.
This can be interpreted to create happy, healthy habits. January is coming up and you get a lot of people who create new years resolutions. They try to change their lives from 0 to 100 (or 50 to 100 quickly) This is alright but most of the time people fail within the first month.
Why is this and how can we stop people from quitting?
Thinking about this from a 2 floor house. You’re not going to be able to jump from where you are to the top floor (going from 0 to 100) if you do make it, its going to become more and more difficult to go backward and forward (from floor to floor). But if you build a stairs (take the 1%) it will be harder to fall and easier to make it.
I probably took that a little far but you get the basic Idea. If your fitness goals are to get fit. Rather than going from working out once or maybe twice a week to doing it 5 times a week, full force every time you go. Build it up. Go 3 times a week for a month than add another session so you go 4 times a week. Your fitness is a journey not a race.
“Fitness is a journey not a race!”
Same would be for any goal you have. Don’t tire yourself out or burn out your motivation before you even probably begin!