Dice Rolled Training Article - Perfectly Timed

Discussion in 'Kettlebell' started by LoneRider, Dec 11, 2018.

  1. LoneRider

    LoneRider More than 300 posts

    Just saw the article titled Simplify your Strength Programming Using Die-Rolled Variability and want to say the timing couldn't be better. I'm heading to visit my family in Florida in a few days and it seems just the right way to still train as without being too beat up to still do my martial arts training at the dojo down the road from my parents' house.

    It was just what the doctor ordered for my leave period strength and conditioning work and in the span of my lunch hour I drew up a kettlebell program complemented by easy roadwork and basic calisthenics at easy volumes as I already do.

    For the exercises, I selected the military press and goblet squat for the grinds (done in a press with one arm, press with the other, then the goblet squats in a slow circuit). Ballistics will be kettlebell snatches @ 24KG. I'll be sure to post an 'end of the cycle' review.

    I only have three kettlebells at my parents' house, a 32KG, a 24KG, and a 16KG. It looks like the probabilities of me getting the middle intensities have therefore doubled (the 2-5 faces of a die are for the 24KG bell with the '1' value being for the 16KG bell). That's not strictly a bad thing. I also considered having even probabilities for all three, i.e. 5 or 6 equals use the 32KG, 3 or 4 the 24KG, and 1 or 2 the 16KG as well. I'm still ruminating as to which would work better, but I've got a few days yet.

    Thank you @Arryn Grogan for the article. It was just what the doctor ordered.
  2. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Dir. of Community Engagement Staff Member Senior Instructor

    Great article, @Arryn Grogan. For you and for our other instructors who've authored articles for our web site, I recommend you include a link to your work here as part of your bio for your instructor page.

    Arryn Grogan likes this.
  3. Bauer

    Bauer Triple-Digit Post Count

    That's a really interesting one. Plus I have learned that "die" is the singular form of "dice".

    The swing volume is significantly lower than with Pavel's waving the volume plan i. e. (720-1800 instead of 2000 per 4-week block): From Simple to Sinister: Waving Volume on S&S | StrongFirst

    I like the idea of combining the die method for the weekly volume with autoregulation (doing the harder day when you feel strongest).
  4. kennycro@@aol.com

    kennycro@@aol.com More than 500 posts

    Rolling The Dice

    The approach make sense for someone going on vacation and doing something easy that require no think.

    However, individual who chooses to consistently train using the dice (yea, I know it die), it's a sub optimal method.

    The rolling the dice, CrossFit Mentality of the WOD, workout is a chaos approach to training. It's a General Physical Preparedness Program; conditioning training. That is find if that's your objective.

    It remind me of the episode of "The Big Bang Theory" show. Sheldon rolling he dice to decide what to order on the menu; allowing his mind to be freed up from trivial decisions.

    Non-Linear/Undulating Periodization Training

    I am a fan of this method, making frequent change to training programs; every 3 to 6 weeks dependent on one's Training Age (number of years you've been training).

    I was utilizing this protocol before it really had a name.

    However, I am not a fan of just showing up for training without a progressive plan.

    Something's Better Than Nothing

    One of the interesting elements of being a novice lifter is that no matter how poor the program is, they will get results. Novice lifers like a dry sponge that soaking up water.

    "Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan"

    The key to maximizing your training come down to a well written and executed plan. No successful business, sport team or athlete just shows up and rolls then dice.

    This is one of the best statement in the article

    Being Intuitive

    In interviewing great Powerlifter over the years in making training load and competition weight choices was their ability to intuitively make great choices and succeed with the load.

    When ask, why how they knew, the replied, "I just knew".

    An interesting book that delves into making decisions on "Intuition and Gut Reaction" is Blink/Malcolm Gladwell.


    I work in Commercial Fitness Equipment Sales. We now sell a lot of Di so people don't have to make decision or think.

    Take Home Message

    1) The Rolling the Dice, CrossFit's WOD is and effective General Physical Preparation Training Method for conditioning.

    2) It an effective method for Novice Liters; since anything and everything pretty much work for them.

    3) It frees your mind so that you don't have to think. Yea, that's sarcasm.

    Kenny Croxdale
    BCman and offwidth like this.
  5. offwidth

    offwidth More than 5000 posts

    Athletes serious about their GPP and 'conditioning ' don't gamble (roll dice)
    Bro Mo likes this.
  6. pet'

    pet' More than 5000 posts


    This approach tends to mimics the "deck of cards" which we can see in jail for instance.
    I globally agree with the sub-optimal method, however, if it works for prisoners in terms of strength, conditioning and also body composition improvement, may be it can be "worth trying", at least for a while.... As Dan John says, everything works...for 6 weeks or so.

    As always, this is a matter of goal and context.

    Kind regards,

  7. kennycro@@aol.com

    kennycro@@aol.com More than 500 posts


    With take me back to, Something better than nothing. That meaning that if that's what it take to motivate some individual to do something, it a good thing.

    Kenny Croxdale
  8. kennycro@@aol.com

    kennycro@@aol.com More than 500 posts

    Training Age

    One of the dominate factors in the length of a Training Program is your Training Age.

    Novice Lifter can make progress on the same Training Program for about 6 - 8 weeks.

    Advance Lifters adapt quickly. They need to change their Training Program about every 3 - 4 weeks.

    Larry Scott

    Larry was the first Mr Olympia. Larry was genetically gifted. He would often change his exercise every 1 - 2 weeks due how quickly he adapted.

    A Good General Common Sense Rule

    When your Training Program stalls or you start going backward; something need to change.

    Kenny Croxdale
    pet' likes this.
  9. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Dir. of Community Engagement Staff Member Senior Instructor

    @kennycro@@aol.com, et al, I strongly disagree. It is not chaos, it is not random except in one regard, and we know from PlanStrong and other sources that a certain kind of variety of loading pattern while continuing on the same lifts is not only OK, it's one of the keys to success of many lifting programs.

    If you mistake Arryn's program for a CrossFit approach, you haven't understood what he's suggesting.

    RichJ, Arryn Grogan, malleus and 4 others like this.
  10. Pavel Macek

    Pavel Macek More than 2500 posts Master Instructor

    When I read about the die-rolled variability for the first time in Enter the Kettlebell, I didn't like (well, understand) it very much. Today it is one of my most favorite StrongFirst programming tools. Great article, Arryn!
    Arryn Grogan, malleus, Bauer and 2 others like this.
  11. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Dir. of Community Engagement Staff Member Senior Instructor

    I agree, @Pavel Macek. It can be tough to explain things like this, and I think @Arryn Grogan has hit the right balance between keeping it simple and giving sufficient details for someone to be able to implement this for themselves.

  12. NoahMarek

    NoahMarek More than 500 posts

    Another perspective, how many people on this forum are truly trying to train “optimally”? I think a lot of people here enjoy a simple, straightforward, and sustainable form of training and this is a great example of one programming approach for that.
    SamTX, kiwipete, Arryn Grogan and 5 others like this.
  13. pet'

    pet' More than 5000 posts


    I totally second @NoahMarek
    I often switch between very "standard" cycles (daily routine or day A/B) and completely randomized cycles (I do something completely different everyday, based only on my feelings). Both approaches seem to work.

    Freedom of mind...freedom of body

    Kind regards,

    kiwipete and NoahMarek like this.
  14. miked

    miked Double-Digit Post Count

    I struggled a long time trying to figure out why things like Arryn's plan or even the Plan Strong stuff appealed to me but stuff like pull-the-workout-out-of-the-hopper like CrossFit does bothered me. I figured it out earlier this year (or at least, I figured out how to say it, I kind of always knew it) - the randomness informs the variability of the program but that's mediated by a set of underlying functions that define the program.

    That is, if it were truly random, you'd have no idea what you were doing tomorrow and it could be anything - rep schemes, exercises, etc could all change. But if you go in with a plan and then use the randomization to create variability you win. Tjerr has a thread earlier this fall about his "Unity" program. Here the randomization was the permutations of the patterns of volume that show up each week in the series and each day within a week. That's a great way to approach it - you'll never "randomly" be assigned a 100 reps of pull-up, the actual rep schemes are encoded in the program and the random permutation just adds variability to the order in which you see them.

    I call this the Monte Carlo approach which comes from the Monte Carlo methods for solving hard math problems. I do that for a living, and when I realized that's what I also do for my programming, it all came together. Here's a post I wrote about that earlier this year: Monte Carlo Muscle
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018
    SamTX, Kalle Videnoja, Oscar and 4 others like this.
  15. Sean M

    Sean M Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Indeed. My first thought after reading this article: “He has taught a man how to fish”. It’s not totally random, it’s variable (big difference) - within a set structure and toward a specific goal.
  16. Papa Georgio

    Papa Georgio Triple-Digit Post Count

    I like the article.

    To Kenny's point, if you continue to change variables with no clear progression, then it's just a general activity for fatiguing yourself.

    I think the intent was to apply this to a progression, such that if you plotted out the points, the trend line would have a positive slope. Not speaking for Arryn, Steve, & Pavel, but I think that's how they apply it.

    I like this as a way of continuing a program long past you've plateaued with a linear progression.
    Bauer likes this.
  17. offwidth

    offwidth More than 5000 posts

    Yes. A big difference!
    I'm all for variability.
    Shahaf Levin and Sean M like this.
  18. Bro Mo

    Bro Mo More than 500 posts

    What a waste of time if you're not. I wasted many years, personally. The primary reason for not training optimally was due to not knowing or being honest about what I was training for. Once you really know why you're training, I say train optimally just to not waste time.
    North Coast Miller likes this.
  19. Papa Georgio

    Papa Georgio Triple-Digit Post Count

    Also, thanks for this. I don't watch TV, so I've never seen this. I would like to try this as well. I don't need to be eating fried chicken and pizza all the time.
    Arryn Grogan likes this.
  20. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Dir. of Community Engagement Staff Member Senior Instructor

    We don't want to lose sight of the forest for the trees. There is a _big_ distance between wasting time and training optimally for a specific goal or set of goals. I think the point being made by other forum members is that most of us live in that in-between place where we want our training to help our health as much or more than we are in hot pursuit of any particular goal.
    This is one formula for a healthy, strong life. I do the same, and often a mix, e.g., I'm training the presses from the ROP now, but going by feel for everything else.

    BCman, Oscar, NoahMarek and 3 others like this.

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