This is part of the made up start up series.
Spinal Tap, the 1984 mocumentary follows a band of bumbling Brits. In one iconic scene, Christopher Guest (lead guitarist) describes his ‘special’ guitars to Rob Reiner (filmmaker). And their amps which “go to 11”.
Befuddled, Reiner asks why not make eleven ten. Guest replies, because eleven is more than ten.
It’s an iconic scene.
Ten is special thanks to our fingers. Ten is easy thanks to repetition.
Other number bases aren’t intuitive. We are used to ten. Binary counting looks like this: 0, 1, 10, 11, 100, 101, 110, 111, 1000 and so on. We aren’t used to binary but it’s great for computers. Zero and one are simply open and closed circuits electricity races through. This is why computers are amazing, lots of microscopic gates and speedy electrons charging through.
Numbers are only tools and we should use the right tool for the job. This gets us to “three sets of ten”.
Three sets of ten was (is?) the default workout. Three sets of ten curls, presses, pushes, pulls. Three sets of ten sit ups, pull ups, or get ups. Why ten? Our fingers!
Here’s the pitch: three sets of eleven.
That’s silly. But hold on. There are many examples of what we call ‘Large N small p‘. It’s the Google search effect. Google holds a Large Number of auctions and earns a small percent of each ad buy. Making a few cents each transaction isn’t a great business unless it’s repeated a lot. Sales calls are “a numbers game”. Large N small p also accounts for unlikely events. If someone is ‘one in a million’ there’s eighty people like them just on planet earth.
Three sets of eleven uses the Large N small p effect to make workouts better. Participants only do one more repetition for 10% greater results.
Of the made up start up series this idea is not the best. How could you even sell this? But it’s in the non-obvious explorations that we find the better ones.