Friday, December 28, 2012


A father comes home from work to find his son upstairs sulking in his room.  The father asks his son what's wrong.

"I got in trouble in school today dad, over something I didn't do!"

"What didn't you do?" the father asks.

"My homework"

An old joke, but one I am using to illustrate my point.  There is a culture in lifting that is built around an odd ideal.  Normally, when you think about lifting, you think about the results.  Someone getting bigger, stronger, faster, leaner, whathaveyou, it's an instance about what someone did.  But there are individuals that take an opposite approach, those who instead take pride in what they didn't do.

When these guys hit their 315lb deadlift, they make sure you know that it was done without a belt, straps, chalk, the right shoes, deodorant, and they only slept 3 hours because they work 2 jobs to support their drug habit (oh, but they're also drug free for life).  The hidden implication here is that the only reason the weight isn't higher is because they're not "cheating" by using all this other junk.  They train RAW (raw is of course always in all caps, because).

Why do these folks pride themselves so much on what they aren't doing?  Because they excel at not performing.  These people have both lackluster physiques and strength, and they need to tell people about their lifts because it isn't obvious in any way that they train.  Their training isn't producing results, so they need to reinvent what constitutes a result in order for them to be succeeding.

This is the same insane mentality behind the "perfect form" guys who never go above 225 on any lift and talk down about Johnnie Jackson's form when he lifts, or the bosu ball generation that can't ever get any sort of weight on the bar because they're too busy trying to balance on one foot.  It's simply a creative way to be lazy and justify weakness and frailty.

Not shown: Muscle, strength, power, competence, self respect

What would be the terrible ramifications of these people using some sort of assistance gear?  It might mean that they actually have to lift something heavy and exert themselves.  They may have to strain and push themselves beyond their limits.  If you're telling people that you didn't use straps and a belt on a deadlift, and that in turn means you could have lifting heavier if you used them, then you're an idiot if you aren't using straps and a belt.  These are simply tools, and if used properly, they can allow you to get bigger and stronger, even without their presence.  Do what it takes in training to meet your goals outside of it.  

Start worrying about doing something before you start worrying about what you aren't doing.  Here is a classic photo making the rounds these days

What makes this photo impressive?  Is it really the lack of belt, wraps and spotters?  I don't know, lets try an experiment.

Also no belt, wraps or spotters.  Seems lacking, no?  

It's not the "nothing" that makes this stuff impressive.  It's the big f-ing weight on his back. 

Work on making yourself a badass in any capacity before you start worrying about the stuff you aren't doing.  An 800lb deadlift is impressive.  That deadlift is impressive with an 8" wide, 20mm thick belt, wraps, and a suit.  A man with that sort of pull is impressive, regardless of what he does to do it.  


  1. Great stuff! I can't wait to see the rationalizations of the butt-hurt, keyboard warrior brigade.

    1. Thanks man. I appreciate the comment and knowing you are reading.