The Miracle of Daily Personal Records (PR's)

In weightlifting, success is measured by Personal Records (PR’s).  What’s your PR in the snatch or clean and jerk?  In Crossfit, you can set a PR in one of the benchmark workouts like Fran or Diane.  Watching people and how they approach PR’s has taught me a life lesson:  Shoot for many, little PRs.

I used to approach PRs in a very classic fashion.  I’d hit a big lift one day, say jumping my back squat by 10lbs going from 300 to 310.  I’d immediately try to hit 320 or 330 or 350, making an even bigger jump.  My friend and fellow coach, Ryan Guerlein of Body Armor, said that I should try to do the opposite: hit a little PR and you’re done on that lift for the day.  Save the rest of the potential gains for another day.

I reflected and realized that made a ton of sense.  Having spent many months on Starting Strength, a program for novice weightlifting that basically has you add a tiny bit of weight every session, I saw the power of regular increases.  You put on 2 lbs a week for a year and suddenly you’ve gone up a 100 lbs in a year.  That’s the miracle of regular, tiny PRs!

I’ve recently started the Outlaw Way program for crossfit training.  What’s beautiful about the programming is that there’s always times to PR on something pretty much every day.  While the core lifts are impossible to PR on a daily basis, related or auxiliary lifts are.  It’s just a matter of cycling through them and the programming gives me a chance to accomplish something cool almost every single day.

Ultimately, a well-lived life is lived this way as well.  By trying to PR at something every day, we continue on a beautiful path of continual self-improvement.  So, my mission is to go out and PR in something today.  Watch out because yI might just be bragging about how quickly I took the trash out or how good I made a friend feel on the days when I don’t PR in the deadlift.

Michael Girdley