Saturday, August 1, 2015


I am constantly bombarded with super helpful people that are more than willing to tell me what “the point” is of something.  “The whole point of squats is to go below parallel to hit your hamstrings”, “the whole point of farmer’s walks is to train your grip”, etc etc, you all know the story.  We must realize that what we are observing here is a question of philosophy, not physiology, and that one’s philosophy can in turn LIMIT one’s ability to achieve their goals.

Philosophers were still going to make horrible rulers Plato, get over it
We must not confuse “A” point with “THE” point when it comes to training and exercise.  The entire notion that anything can have “the” point is an existential argument that presupposes some sort of objective ideal form, shared and common among all people.  This simply is not the case with reality.  As painful as it is for us to understand it, there is a world that exists independent of our interpretation of it, and in turn, there are people that think, act, and believe differently than we do.  In acknowledging this, we must understand that there cannot ever be “THE” point, but simply “A” point.
Stoner philosophy aside, the meat and potatoes of this argument is that a training movement can never have only 1 point.  Squats CAN train the hamstrings by going below parallel, but they can also train the quads by going ABOVE parallel.  Also, squats can train the ability to recover from a snatch or a clean.  OR, squats can help develop leg drive on an overhead press.  OR, squats can help condition one for heavy weights while doing a yoke walk.  OR, squats can be used as a conditioning tool during a WOD.  OR, squats can be used to train one to endure misery through long, brutal drop sets.  Squats, in turn, can have many many points, and despite one’s acceptance of the LEGITIMACY of these points, these points still remain.

Image result for squats on a bosu ball
*SIGH*...Why must you mock me?
When we refuse to acknowledge the existence of these other points, all we serve to do is limit our ability to progress.  So often, I have witnessed a trainee who REFUSED to ever squat to anything below “ATG” because, in their mind, that was “THE” point of squats.  In turn, I also witnessed a trainee who never could squat more than 225lbs, because they could never get a bigger load on their backs to train how to better brace for heavier weights because their enforced depth limited their capacity.  Other times, we witness trainees who desire the conditioning benefits of crossfit yet refuse to use a kip in their pull-ups because “that’s not THE point of pull-ups”, and it is THESE trainees who in turn get little out of the WOD.
Other trainees end up stumped when it comes to assistance work, for they only know of the one way to perform a movement.  A few years back, I released a blog post demonizing the use of full ROM in training that received a massive amount of flak from many trainees who could not grasp the benefit of stopping reps short in order to train different parts of a ROM.  Then, the “Spoto Press” came about, and everything changed.  One observes the paradigm shift here, where a movement must be renamed/rebranded such that this movement’s “THE” point still remains intact. 

Image result for Eric Spoto press
If you don't touch your chest in training, you'll NEVER bench 720lbs...unless that's exactly what you did
That’s just madness.  We don’t need to rename a movement everytime there is a slight change in the angle or a shift in emphasis.  Why not simply be a rational human being and understand that the movement works for YOU, not that you work for the movement.  The only loyalty we owe to form and technique is based on its ability to obtain our goals, and a movement that fails to meet our goals does not deserve our consideration.
Never get trapped in believing there is ever any point to any of this aside from meeting your goals.  At the end of the day, it’s just lifting heavy weight.


  1. Solid post. You've been lifting a while...ever just felt lost in training? I've been stuck on this plateau for a while and am finally getting weary of it, just not feeling like I can break through and stay engaged mentally. Ever experienced anything similar?

    1. Absolutely! This is where competition is invaluable. I used to lift to help with my fighting, and then I gave up fighting since it was becoming too time consuming and kept up lifting...and it was terrible! I was just spinning my wheels for years, hitting the same lifts over and over again. Once I started powerlifting it all changed, as now I had a focus and a drive to get better. Strongman has lit the fire even more.

      No joke, find a contest today and sign up for it. If you're not ready, even better. Your training will suddenly become laser focused and the intensity will be huge, because now you have something on the line.

  2. Got one on August 16th. Both training partners dropped out a few weeks ago, I was feeling fine until last week then it just feels like I have no fire.

    1. Might consider trying a different lifting discipline. Maybe try a bodybuilding show, or a weightlifting meet or something. I did DoggCrapp for a two month spell once just to do something totally different and it was a great break in the monotony.

  3. Good idea, no contests lined up after this so I'll have a while to do something like that. I think part of it was frustration running into the same problems I always run into, so at least I know what I need to fix in my "off-season."