If you love something, set it free


I’ve been looking for some new exercise routines, and came across two very interesting techniques: the 5×5 “strong lift“, and “Muscle Activation Technique” (MAT). These two both compete in a sea of different ideas for exercising … it’s a very competitive space.

But their web and information strategies are very different MAT is losing a huge potential market by holding on tight to its IP. Strong Lift is killing in the market by giving away the message for free.

Strong Lift 5×5 offers a fairly conventional strength training routine. They vary the workouts somewhat from the standard (5 sets of 5 reps each, rather than a few sets of 8, 10, or 12), and they have a way of increasing the weight systematically, and they start at a very low weight for several weeks. But Strong Lift isn’t very new. It should be boring.

MAT, by contrast, is a radical technique that offers non-linear improvements over time. The author discovered new science that can dramatically improve strength and range of motion with very little time and effort invested. It should be exciting.

But these two methods are marketed in very different ways. MAT is limiting its potential very substantially by using a conventional marketing model:

  • Little or no free information
  • Short videos that are promotional but have little value
  • You can’t get started with MAT without spending $80
  • MAT is focused on training teachers, not you and me … so they sell training courses for $400+

By contrast, the Strong Lifts 5×5 website gives a lot away for free:

  • Free eBook that gives away the technique, tells you how to do it
  • Blog with tons of free information
  • Daily email list with suggestions on how to get started

Which one is winning? I think MAT has the potential to revolutionize physical fitness. Strong Lifts is just another exercise regimen. But by giving away so much free content, Strong Lifts claims to be the #1 strength training website in the world, with readers from 180 countries.

Here’s a graph showing relative traffic on these sites.

Last month, stronglifts had 85,000 visitors, while MAT had 215.

Something tells me that MAT has a lot to learn about letting go of their idea … if you love something, set it free.

– Alan

PS: I’m such a fan of MAT that I’d love it if you all emailed them and told them what they’re missing! Here’s their email. And contact form.

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