Friday, June 26, 2015

THOUGHT SALAD: PART II



-ELITEFTS recently posted a facebook meme that said “unless you’re breaking a PR or world record, stick to quarters and plates.  Chips, dimes and nickels not allowed.”  The outrage from the internet was incredible, with many people asserting it was the stupidest thing they had ever read.  Consequently, none of these people were very strong.  Most simply thought that this meant add 50lbs to your 5 rep work set on Starting Strength everytime you hit 3x5, demonstrating a complete lack of creativity in programming or ability to think outside the box in any capacity.




-ELITEFTS isn’t the first to ever have this idea.  Dan John talked about it too.  It’s pretty “old school”, and honestly not the worst principle in the world.  I’ve been applying it to my squat and reverse hyper, and both are having no issues progressing.  You get to learn how to train through a variety of rep ranges and really “master” a weight.




-Breaking a “teenage record” is an accomplishment based around simply starting your training earlier than everyone else.  It’s not worth getting worked up about.




-Somehow, being in a commercial gym gives people telepathy.  At least, I must assume this is the case, because I constantly read people bemoaning how other people at the gym “think they’re so big/strong/hardcore/elite, etc”.  How the f**k could you possibly know what these people think?  Instead of worrying that the person waiting for you in the rack thinks you’re a wimp, why not just go lift some weights?


 
THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS!


-I have been squatting in a $300 power rack since 2007.  I put bars in it that are worth more than the rack.  I’m sure the more expensive ones are super awesome, but it doesn’t take much to get by.




-That said, if I won the lottery, my gym would be all Ironmind and Rogue.




-I don’t know how to feel when I see people take steroids to be not quite as strong as I’ve manage to become without them.  What’s funny is, when I was younger, I was all gung ho about the idea of taking them, but now that I compete in a sport where they’re not banned, it seems silly to me.  This is a hobby, I’m not going to break the law for it.




-Sometimes, it’s not about how quickly you get strong, but how long you can do it.  It’s easy to get envious over a lot of these young hot rising stars that put up ridiculous numbers at young ages, but a lot of times, 2-3 years down the road, they’ve vanished.  Getting stronger is fun, plugging away at a multiyear plateau isn’t, but those who can do the latter tend to eventually be able to outperform the former.  Or maybe this is just something I tell myself to feel better.




-Derek Poundstone is stronger injured than most men are completely healthy.  This is something all those “injury free” people need to grasp.




-High level weightlifting feels like soccer to me: a whole lot of almost scoring.


However, the flops are far more convincing



-It’s pretty funny that I have my own blog on lifting and yet have zero interest in discussing lifting offline.  Occasionally, with some like minded folks, I might swap a tip or technique, but really, what is there to say?  “Lift the heavy thing a lot”.




-George Leeman just released a program for PROM (Progressive Range of Motion) training for deadlift.  I cannot wait to hear about how I copied him.




-I got 2 100lb plates from Play-it-Again sports for $100.  An absolute steal.  I really thought I’d use Craigslist to buy weight plates from here on out, but few people are interested in just selling a pair of plates.  Most folks are selling 400-500lbs, mainly because they gave up.  Definitely great if you are putting together a new home gym, not so much when you’re already pretty full up in the garage.




-“Why 100lb plates” you ask?  Logistics for the most part.  This will mean I can load more plates for car deadlift and make fewer trips loading up the yoke.  If I could’ve gotten 2 more, it’d make farmer’s walks even easier to deal with, but such is life.




-Trendy lifts that I have seen come and go: overhead squats, snatch grip deadlifts, farmer’s walks, front squats, sumo deadlifts, reverse grip bench press.  Not saying these lifts don’t have merit, but it’s always amusing seeing every new program include them for a few months and then vanish again.




-I planned to make this an article one day, but let me get it out here now: health clubs, fitness centers and fitness rooms are not “gyms”.  The majority of the people bitching about their gym do not actually belong to a gym.  It is unreasonable to be upset at these places for NOT being gyms when they do not advertised themselves as gyms.  If you want a gym, go to one of the few dying gyms that may still be in your area.  Probably the most telltale sign of something being a gym is the fact that it is not making any money.


 
At one point, this gym was producing the best powerlifters in the world...and it had no bathroom


-After spending a month in a new job with very little to do and much internet access, I realize that the people who post the most on forums aren’t the ones with the most knowledge, but instead those who are the most bored at the time.




-“Dangerous form”.  What a stupid idea.  Let’s quit pretending that a hamstring tear is dangerous.  It sucks, don’t get me wrong, but no one is dying from this. 




-Some people find work around exercises for lacking certain equipment, I build work around equipment to be able to do certain exercises.  I can’t tell who is more stupid.




-I miss training at -30 degrees.


 
Although I don't miss dressing up to train


-I have learned SO much about plumbing after getting into strongman.




-There is no supplement or training technique as powerful as time.  The truth is, the way to succeed is to just spend a decade busting your ass and lifting heavy.  The people who tend to refute me on this are those who have just started.




-Could you legitimately imagine the insanity of having an argument with someone on the best way to pick up heavy things for fun?  Somehow, everyday, thousands of people engage in this very activity.




-Being asked if you’re on steroids isn’t brag worthy.  Keep in mind, people think creatine and whey protein are steroids.  Also keep in mind, the standards for physical fitness in society are incredibly low.  Also keep in mind, if you’re telling anyone about this, your self-esteem probably sucks.  Especially if you feign being offended.


 
"And THEN they had to nerve to ask if I did porn!  Just because I have a 12" penis!  The nerve!"


-Inzer has found the most insane business model where they lie to you about shipping times, provide poor customer service, take forever to get you products, sell things they don’t have in stock, and WE keep throwing money at them.  Perhaps we all come from abusive relationships.




-I saw someone use “poser” as an insult in regards to bodybuilders.  I couldn’t fathom the stupidity involved in coming up with that.  You manage to pick the one activity where posing is WHAT THEY DO.




-Jesus Christ I just saw someone refer to farmer’s carries as “fireman carries” on reddit.




-I cannot fathom the idea of not training simply because you are injured.  Who does that?



Probably the same people who "listen to doctors" and "take time to heal" and "don't lift just to stop the voices in their head"


-On the above, it’s very telling when someone will stop training.  Bad night’s sleep?  Didn’t go to the gym.  Went to the gym but the music was too loud?  Cut the workout short.  Some guy couldn’t read my mind and wouldn’t leave the squat rack?  Left the gym, too angry to train.  Etc etc.  It’s all excuses people, don’t delude yourselves.




-I wonder if a chiropractor ever found NOTHING wrong with someone.




-Don’t just let injuries heal: fix them.  The worst thing people do when they get injured is engage in an aggressive campaign of resting.




-Whenever I see someone who is on a working program ask about another program, it blows my mind.  They come up with a million ways to phrase their inquiry, but we all know the truth: they’re asking “will this other program work FASTER?”  You can’t cram for this test, time is the variable.

Monday, June 22, 2015

THOUGHT SALAD PART I


-My overhead press got better when I did less pressing and more bodybuilding shoulder work.  My shoulders also started feeling healthier too.


-Goo Gone takes off tacky way better than baby oil and WD40.  It comes in a spray now too.  Get it.


-If you want to get people to move out of your way at a strongman comp, just yell “I am covered in tacky!”


-My ghetto log did a great job prepping me for a 12” log in a comp.  It was a bitch to clean and absorbed leg drive on the press, so in a comp the real log felt like nothing.


-You don’t get extra points for not using straps in a contest.


-Instead of wearing stringer tank tops and having purple mohawks, maybe people could draw attention to themselves at a competition by actually being big and strong?  Food for thought.


IS ANYONE PAYING ATTENTION TO ME YET?!

-I notice a lot of people foam rolling are hurt.  I wonder which came first.


-I sometimes feel bad for how uncomplicated my training is when I see/hear what other people are doing.  Am I missing out?


-It’s funny how, the more successful you are, the less effect “appeal to authority” has on you.


-I will always cheer louder for the guy zeroing in the open class than the guy winning the novice class.


-Front squats are a great movement for strongman…so I’ve been told…I guess.  I don’t do them.  Should I be squatting to depth too?...shit.

 Image result for squatting on a bosu ball
If this was a front squat, this guy would be DESTROYING competitions

-My squat took off when I stopped treating it like a primary lift and started training it like assistance work.


-I train my deadlifts touch and go and my squats dead stop (off chains).  What is wrong with me?


-I find that a key variable for success is being unaware of what you “can’t” do.


True Story: Once this movie came out, I could no longer play basketball

-Quest protein bars are the only kind I can eat that don’t trigger some sort of allergic reaction.  If you have a similar affliction, give them a try.


-I haven’t performed an overhead press with a barbell since I started training for strongman.


-I slap my forehead every time someone equates more time under tension with lifting slower.  Think outside the box for just a second.


-Speaking of “the box”, box squats seem like they would be great for strongman.  Curious why we don’t see it more often.

 
Oh yeah....that...

-I’m honestly pretty let down by fat gripz.  A sound idea, but they never really worked like I hoped they would.  I find that they rotate around the bar too much to get a solid grip.


-The notion of “beginner, intermediate, and advanced” is FAR more destructive than it is beneficial.


-Once a trainee cites another author in a discussion on training, I realize that they have no faith or pride in their own results.  Consequently, I stop listening to them.


-It’s amazing how, when I was young and “didn’t know anything”, I made significant changes to size and strength.  Meanwhile, I spun my wheels for years training “the right way”.  Enthusiasm and intensity go far…but so does being 17 I guess.


-It’s weird how the only people concerned about “recovery” are the people who have read that it’s super important.


-It’s funny how people see the presence of so many conflicting opinions on training as LIMITING.  This is liberating.  It means there are tons of ways to succeed.


QUIT LIMITING ME!

-Training by myself in my garage has been a boon mainly because my sense of normalcy is totally shot.  I have no idea what good numbers are to lift, nor do I really know what movements are supposed to look like or how most other people train.  Considering the majority of the people in gyms are actively failing at meeting their goals, this is a good thing.


-Whenever someone asks how much weight you get out of a belt/sleeves, I look at them like they’re from another planet.  I can’t even understand what that question is trying to ask.


-I got into a discussion online wherein someone asserted that we should always presume a person desires to keep their health intact while training and I asserted that we should never assume health is a goal unless overtly stated.  I have to laugh at how crazy we each thought the other person was.


-One of the most damaging things I ever did in my training was worry about if my assistance lifts were increasing.  So much time and energy wasted, didn’t have my eyes on the prize.  However, part of the issue here was that I wasn’t competing, so really, what WAS the prize?


-I genuinely miss the days where I thought I could eat myself bigger.  Seeing the scale number go up was awesome.  However, I realized that all I was doing was just making myself fatter.  It’s not even the junkfood I miss, it’s more just the IDEA that I could do something to make myself even stronger aside from just all the heavy lifting I do.  “I just gotta finish this gallon of milk and then I’m sure to have another deadlift PR.”  Eating reasonably is so boring.

Image result for ridiculous nachos
Pictured: Anabolism

-It’s funny how the internet has made me so vocally anti-abbreviated training when it’s something I used to promote so heavily.  The pendulum swung too far.

-Oh my god I can’t stand how many people are putting “farmer’s walks” into their routines now.  Was there a Men’s Health article about them recently or something?  I already wrote about how people are ruining this exercise, but it’s still ridiculous.


-I want to create a method that is so complicated that even I don’t understand how it works.  Then I can constantly berate everyone who claims to be using it that they’re not using the REAL method.


-Everyone thinks it’s pithy to comment on the fact that weightlifting should be called powerlifting because it’s all about power.  They fail to take this to its logical conclusion, realizing that ALL the strength sports got it wrong.  Weightlifting should be called powerlifting, because it’s all about power.  Strongman should be called weightlifting, because you lift a variety of weights in it.  Powerlifting should be called strongman, because it’s a sport that’s all about strength.


-T-nation had a thread once called “Squat Rack Curls”.  In it, successful lifters mocked unsuccessful lifters for doing stupid things in the weightroom.  Elitism?  Sure.  However, as the thread went through multiple iterations, it ended up becoming unsuccessful lifters mocking successful lifters for doing effective (though unconventional) things in the weightroom.  Oddly enough, I feel like this is an accurate reflection for what has happened in lifting in general.


-If you are an atheist who buys testosterone boosters at GNC, I question the strength of your convictions.

Image result for george michael faith
"Trust?  No....CONVICTION!?...No....gotta have something....?"

-It’s weird how heated the debate on deloading can get. 


-I stopped going to elitefts once they changed their website layout.  It’s weird, because I used to start everyday at that site.  I must be getting old.


-Terms we need to retire: bulk, cut, skinnyfat, buttwink, gains, optimal, endomorph, ectomorph, powerbuilding, non-competitive bodybuilder, IIFYM, GOMAD, mobility.


-A co-worker of mine asked me what my diet was like.  I told him I don’t do anything special, and eat fairly normal.  He then asked if I ate bread and I looked at him like he was from another planet.  It made me realize that maybe my idea of “normal” is probably radically warped.


Image result for Huge steak
"Yeah, you know, just like 72oz of steak and some veggies, normal stuff"

-Fitness products I regret buying: an agility ladder, a foam roller, animal pak vitamins, jump ropes.


-I can’t help but notice that it’s usually people that sell equipment who tell me “buy nice, don’t buy twice”.  I subscribed to the philosophy of “buy twice as much stuff with the money you would’ve spent on the nice stuff”.


-I made everyone jealous of me at my last contest by having a little pop-up tent.  Canopies are cool, but they’re bulky and have a huge footprint, whereas the tent was big enough to fit 2 adults and chairs in while providing shade and covering the ground but still space economic.  It only cost like $40 at Costco too.  Get one.


-I was joking with a buddy of mine at my last contest about how vendors take themselves too seriously.  So many t-shirts saying crap like “Pain is weakness leaving the body” with pictures of Vikings and cliché’ garbage.  If someone was selling shirts that said “Bill’s House of Waffles” with a little smiley pancake on them, I’d buy it in a second.


-MAS wrestling is poking its head into strongman. Most folks don’t like it.  Promoters are fond of saying “real men don’t cherry pick contests, and do the events they are given”.  Bullshit, real men are too busy raising a family as a single parent while balancing 2 jobs to go hang out for 9 hours on a Saturday and lift heavy things.  Let’s not get confused here people: this is a game, playing it doesn’t make you a man.


-On the above, let us also remember that just because something is tough doesn’t mean it’s worth doing.  I won’t do MAS wrestling as an event at a strongman competition for the same reason I won’t drive a nail into my foot as an event at a strongman competition.  Both require an incredible degree of fortitude, and both are a really bad idea.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

GENIUS OR CRAZY


When I was new to training, I had been pretty notorious for saying that good strength authors are “90%, 10% crazy”.  You’d read guys like Pavel, Dave Tate, Dan John, etc and notice that the majority of their stuff made total sense, but everyone once in a while they’d try to sneak in something squirrely.  It just meant that you had to know how to separate the wheat from the chaff.  It’s only now I realize how completely arrogant a thought that is, and how damaging it is to one’s growth as a lifter.  If I were to say it again, I’d state that good training authors are 90% placating their audience and 10% genius.    

 Image result for crazy guy with sandwich board
Maybe this guy is still crazy

This is no attack on the author, it’s an attack on the reader.  These authors understand that their livelihood depends on their ability to have mass appeal, and in turn, they have to say the things that people will agree with.  As such, these authors always expound the ideas that we all “know are right”.  It’s the same thing over and over again: basics and fundamentals and hard work and so on.  However, it’s that 10% that makes the difference.  This is the 1 or 2 things that this person does differently than everyone else that have in turn MADE THEM different from everyone else. 


We desperately NEED to be right.  It’s encoded in our DNA.  Being wrong is morally offensive.  It is because of this that we call the authors who write the things we agree with “GENIUS!”  In turn, those who write things we disagree with we hurl all manner of vitriol, poison and evil at: irrespective of their results!  Their promotion of ideas that do not coincide with our established norms cause so much cognitive dissonance that we create elaborate and ridiculous excuses to justify their success.  Genetics, drugs, luck, future injuries GUARANTEED, the list goes on and on.  We simply cannot abide by their insane ideas, and instead must cast out these pariahs so that we have enough space to bask in the wisdom that is the holy 5x5.

 Image result for eugen sandow
Time traveled INTO the future, took steroids, came back

It’s of minimal accomplishment to get the basics right in this sport.  Work hard, lift heavy, eat good: as we’ve seen, hundreds of authors can spin these principles into thousands of books.  However, the real gold is in those little nuggets that DON’T coincide with what everyone else is saying.  It’s the things that ARE disagreeable, issues that ARE contentious and heated, opinions that make you lose friends and alienate people that hold the secret.  These are the things that you can’t just parrot from other sources and have everyone agree on, but instead can only be discovered personally through experience and toil.  It’s WHY they are different from what everyone else believes: they’re unique ideas only gained BY the elite.


Comical to observe is the sliding scale that coincides with how much “crazy” someone preaches.  Mark Rippetoe has never seen a “7” as the first number on his deadlift, and yet he is touted like some sort of lifting Messiah because his work is incredibly focused on the basics that everyone agrees with.  George Leeman deadlifted over 900lbs in his early 20s, and people will constantly point out that Eddie Hall pulls more, therefore George must not know crap.  Why is this?  Because George talks about evil ideas like high reps for strength, touch and go deadlifting with straps, non-full ROM movements, and pretty much trains completely “wrong”.  George could deadlift 1100lbs tomorrow, and people would still say he is successful DESPITE his methods.


Image result for George Leeman trolling
I get unreasonably excited with how unreasonably upset he makes everyone

Consider this my call to arms: do something crazy.  Find that something you heard an author say one time that couldn’t POSSIBLY be right and give it an honest try.  Go pull touch and go, skip your mobility work, do anything that Elliot Hulse is talking about these days, just throw reason to the wind and try something that is wrong.  You’re not going to get better than everyone else by doing the same thing they’re all doing.  If you want to succeed, you’re going to have to get a little crazy.