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  • Writer's pictureDave Erickson

Deep Athletics’ Origin Story

Updated: Apr 26, 2023

Like a lot of things, Deep started out as only the vaguest of ideas. Co-founder Aaron still held a few national weight-class records, but he had mostly retired from competitive Olympic lifting and was doing a lot of coaching; training both high-level athletes and everyday worker-outers. He found himself doing the same basic work over and over again in order to build his athlete’s programs. Aaron didn’t think about it like this at the time, but what he was actually doing was refining what we like to call his internal programming algorithm. Through this process he also found himself occasionally making a few simple mistakes. Things like forgetting athlete X has access to wall balls, or athlete Y has a nagging shoulder injury, or just forgetting to program less common movement patterns as often as he intended. It didn’t happen often, but just enough that Aaron started to wonder if there was a way to improve this process, to avoid these sorts of mistakes.

Meanwhile, amongst the crowd of folks Aaron was coaching was Dave. Decidedly an everyday worker-outer, Dave didn’t pick up a barbell until he was 35 and had already blown out (and repaired) both ACLs. So, as an athlete, he wasn’t likely to end up on the top steps of many podiums, but he kept showing up, making slow but steady progress and getting stronger and more fit. And yes, still skiing (see: blown ACLs) and mountain biking along the way. What he was pretty good at though, was computer modeling and building algorithms, a result of having spent 10+ years as a legit rocket scientist. Turns out this translated really well into what was to come next.

One day, Dave and Aaron were chatting and Aaron asked if it would be possible to write something on the computer that could do the sort of fitness programming he was doing. Keeping the basic content and structure but avoiding any mistakes. At this point Dave was already working on doing less rocket science and this sounded pretty interesting. He was fairly certain Aaron had no idea what he was really asking, but it seemed worth exploring anyway. Several years and many, many, many conversations later – a lot of which involved Aaron explaining how he would program something, and Dave saying “yeah, that’s great, but I can’t code that” – Deep Athletics ultimately emerged from those back-and-forth back-of-the-gym conversations.

Over the years, the concept morphed from a tool to help Aaron program for his athletes into an app that makes personalized, top-tier fitness programming available to almost anyone. If you have a smartphone, Deep can provide truly personalized fitness programming far simpler and for far less money than it costs to hire a coach to write equivalent programming for you.

All of the strength and conditioning fundamentals that Aaron employed when he was writing his athlete’s programs by hand are still there. But now, in implementing Deep, there are no filler exercises. Every single movement, every exercise, every rep has to make sense within the framework that Deep is built on. Aaron is the first to admit that as the development of Deep progressed, this level of specificity was something he was entirely unprepared for and caused a paradigm shift in his thinking – we like to call it “showing your work”. This is similar to what your math teacher required in high school.

While we will always continue to develop and refine Deep, you can reap its benefits right now. Download the app and set up your athlete profile. In less than 30 seconds, you’ll have effective, intelligently-designed workouts that are built for you and your long-term success. Your first 2 weeks are free, and in those 2 weeks you’ll start to feel the difference. In 4 weeks, you’ll start to see it.

In a series of follow-on articles, we’ll take a deeper (heh) dive into how we actually built Deep. Until then, get out there and get after it!

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