I find that many times, in matters of training, there are many things that we consider good and bad. The good are those things worth pursuing and the bad are those things that we should avoid. However, these good and bad things are simply assumed, and more precisely presumed whenever matters of training are discussed, and it artificially and arbitrarily influences the way that discussion and advice is vectored. I argue that it is the imperative of all trainees to question everything and assumed nothing when it comes to becoming bigger and stronger.
This guy coulda done himself a favor if he bothered to ask his trainer "why?"
One of the most pervasive and destructive assumed evils in training is that of injuries. For some reason, it is always a given that injuries are “bad” things, and therefore all training should be based around remaining injury free. I have even witnessed some trainees argue that being injury free is the MOST important thing about training. This is insanity. The most important thing about training is meeting the goal of your training, and if your goal is to be injury free, I cannot see any reason to even ENGAGE in training. Simply driving to the gym puts you at an INCREDIBLE risk of getting into a car accident, resulting in massive injury and possible fatality. Additionally, the shower is one of the most dangerous places in the home, with an incredibly high risk of slipping and cracking your skull, but not showering after training could result in some sort of bacterial infection, so you’re pretty much screwed there too. I haven’t even begun to address the potential for risks associated with actually performing any manner of training, but needless to say, life is a deathtrap. If injuries are to be avoided, so is training.
WHY are injuries bad? What makes them worth avoiding? Because they make us feel bad? Folks, this is called hedonism: the avoidance of displeasure and pursuit of only pleasure. There is no room for the hedonist in training, as those unwilling to endure misery will not prosper. Or are we claiming that injuries will ruin our ability to train/compete? How then, do we explain the cases of Matt Kroczaleski, Dave Tate, Brandon Lilly, Louie Simmons, Dorian Yates, etc etc, all lifters who excelled to some of the highest echelons of their endeavors while suffering catastrophic injuries along the way? Are we willing to believe that the recreational lifter who works a desk job is somehow going to injure themselves even worse than these individuals while lifting substantially less weight with lower intensities less frequently? Are “career ending injuries” actually career ending?
If this dude can come back from this, I assure you that your tendinitis will be fine
Instead, I offer the reality that we do not consider injuries inherently bad, but simply instead as something that “is”. Injuries are a fact of training as much as they are a fact of simply existing. If we vector our training to avoid injury, we vector our training to avoid training. We should instead train the way that makes us bigger and stronger, and be at peace with the fact that, yes, we will most likely get injured. Once the injury happens, we simply adapt, overcome, and heal, giving us an opportunity to become stronger in many ways. By declaring all injuries universally bad and worth avoiding, all we manage to do is make ourselves weaker overall. Once we allow ourselves to be willing to be injured in the pursuit of greatness, we stand a much better chance of achieving our goals.
In contrast, we are also told many things are good, and find ourselves pursuing them because they are good…but what MAKES them good? Mobility is constantly espoused as a good quality, one we should always be in the pursuit of, to the point that entire books, websites, seminars, and CAREERS have been dedicated to the furthering of mobility…but Jesus, how mobile do you really need to be to lift some weights? How mobile was Paul Anderson? Look at him squat; dude’s hamstrings ran into his calves and he couldn’t get down much further than that. Good enough for a gold medal and some of the strongest feats a human could ever accomplish, but the internet would have you believe he needs to work on his mobility until he can squat ATG. Look, if you want to be a contortionist, mobility probably SHOULD be your primary focus, but if all you wanna do is the big 3 or run with some kegs, you probably don’t need to spend a whole lot of time getting mobile. You can get mobile ENOUGH, but why spend time getting more mobile when your goal is to get big and strong?
When your "ATG" is powerlifting legal, and you're just so goddamn strong it doesn't matter
The supplement industries have been bamboozling us in this same way for decades as well. Pre-workouts increase performance in training. Is that a good thing? Really? Why? Why are we trying for maximal performance in training versus competition? Why not build up our baseline of strength in an unaroused state that can be easily replicated and tracked in order to ensure progress versus constantly training in varied states of arousal via stimulants that make training difficult to evaluate? Is doing 3 more reps as a result of being overstimulated necessarily better than 3 fewer reps when you’re at rock bottom? And this is one of the more easily understood “goods” out there. What about the more obscure stuff that supplement companies promise you under the assumption that those things are good? Increased pumps? Do I want that? Scientifically formulated to increase base levels of testosterone by over 40 points? Is that good? The most high tech arginine delivery mechanism legally available? What the f**k does that even mean?!
The only “good” here is that which helps you accomplish your goals. Escape morality here; you’re allowed moral relativism when it comes to your training. The goal posts ARE allowed to move, good and bad ARE malleable and influenced by external factors, and YOU are the decider of it all. Don’t let alone dictate what is good and bad for you; question everything that is told to you and force THEM to justify it.
What's the worst that could happen?
And be prepared to piss a lot of people off in the process. That’s a lesson Socrates learned.