A Crossfit Coach Says ‘Mci’ Is the Acronym to Remember for Nonstop Progress at the Gym

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Unless you have a natural-born talent for heavy weight-lifting or 5-minute miles, you'll have to begin, well, at the beginning. The CrossFit approach known as 'MCI' (mechanics-consistency-intensity) teaches you measured progress that values longevity over immediate gains. And Maillard Howell, owner of Dean CrossFit and founder of The Beta Way, says that you should be applying it no matter how you move your body.

Below, Howell breaks down each tier so you can commit MCI to memory and watch your body grow stronger and quicker without sacrificing your physical health. Because, hey, don't we all want to be sweating for a long, long time?

Breaking down mechanics-consistency-intensity, piece by piece

1. Mechanics

"Your foundation should be mechanics, that's the first layer of the pyramid," says Howell. "And that's learning the basics of the movement." If ten weighted pull-ups is your eventual goal, then the mechanical part of the processes would involve nailing your pull-up form. You might have to start with a jumping pull-up or enlist the help of a resistance band to give you a boost. Only when you could do a pull-up in your sleep—or, okay—without having to compromise your former should you move on to tier two.

2. Consistency

Alright, so you've got your pull-up—here's where things get tricky. "You've got to be able to make the first rep look like the last rep or the last rep look like the first rep—even under fatigue," says Howell. That means if you're doing three sets of five pull-ups, every single one should look the same. That's no easy feat, but it's crucial before moving on to tier three.

3. Intensity

Howell calls intensity "the icing on the cake." It means that whether you're doing pull-ups, rock climbing, or logrolling, your mechanics and consistency have set you up to move faster and more efficiently. At the gym, this could translate to doing more reps with higher weight or dynamic moves. Best of all though, it means you can enjoy your chosen sport with the peace of mind that you haven't taken any shortcuts.

Stretch after you sweat:

So you're curious about CrossFit? Here are a few workouts from the CrossFit games, and the 10 things nobody tells you about the workout-slash-lifestyle.

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