Sunday, August 27, 2017


Humility is overrated.  We are told to be humble, to not boast, to not brag, and to maintain perspective.  We chide those who show off and accuse them of all sorts of defects, from a lack of hugs from a parent to inadequate anatomy to severe psychological disorders.  Nietzsche might have something to say of this being “slave morality”, but irrespective of the thoughts of 19th century German philosophers, this propensity to remain humble is typically an appeal to politeness in society and keeping oneself grounded and aware of their limitations.  Screw that.  Disregard your limitations, believe they don’t exist, be the juggernaut, walk through walls and go be unstoppable.

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Gotta admit; I AM getting a little tired of these unrealistic body images Marvel keeps pushing on us

People are already too damn humble.  Too many people bow and scrape and prostrate themselves in front of others in an attempt to win some sort of humility competition, the irony of the situation of course being lost on them.  This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; we keep telling ourselves that we aren’t worthy, and then we perform in a way that isn’t worthy.  Self-reinforcement IS a thing, and it can be positive or negative.  Though society may consider modesty a positive trait and arrogance a negative one, your psychology feels the opposite.  Your ego WANTS to be fed, it WANTS to grow large and uncontrollable, your self-image WANTS to be super inflated and ridiculous, you NEED to be a superhero!

Look; in EVERY activity, some people are going to be the bottom 10%, some are going to be the top 10%, and most are going to be in that middle 80%.  So why can’t YOU be that top 10%?  SOMEONE is going to fall into that category; why not you?  Genetics?  Bullcrap whiny crybaby excuses used by the weak to justify their mediocrity; history is rife with people that overcame awful genetics with an abundance of hardwork.  Lack of proper coaching?  There are many examples of the self-educated absolutely trouncing the classically trained.  The sheer reality is that there HAS to be a top 10% in any distribution, so why not you?

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Probably because you train like this

When you start believing you are the top 10%, you start bypassing a lot of previously self-imposed limitations.  Training plan has too much volume?  Yeah, maybe for someone who is average, but YOU are great.  You soak up volume like a sponge and come back for more.  Too much intensity?  You have a CNS made up of titanium and angel dust.  Rest times too short?  You have the conditioning of an Olympian and the strength of Heracles.  These aren’t limits; they are challenges, and YOU will overcome them, because unlike others, YOU are great.

“You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake”, a Tyler Durden quote utilized as the rallying cry of the lifting forum guru that fails to appreciate the irony of Tyler’s toxic masculinity in a book dedicated to dismantling it.  These people want to convince you that you have to train just like them, because they are TERRIFIED of the prospect of you surpassing them in short order.  The status quo must be maintained, the median must be perpetuated, and excellence is not tolerated.  Now, of course, shame on you for asking for advice on the internet in the first place, but in receiving it be aware that you’re going to receive the party line from the average, not the elite.  In turn, observe what the average have to say about the training OF the elite.  Unsustainable, only viable if you are on drugs, only useful if you have elite genetics, that they “get away” with training that way.  Why not you?  Maybe it’s your turn.

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*Psh* Look at this IDIOT training in the smith machine.  No way that can get you strong.

And here is the thing; you can fake it until you make it.  Yeah, it’s true; by sheer statistical probability, you most likely ARE average.  There is an 80% chance of it (yes yes, I know it doesn’t work exactly like that, just stick with me here).  However, sometimes forgeries are so good they end up fooling the experts.  Sometimes, you pretend you are elite for so long that you accidentally trick yourself into BEING elite.  You hammer your body with volume for so long that eventually it ends up actually adapting to your insanity and growing.  You keep forcing the conditioning and reducing the rest times to the point that you eventually get really solid conditioning.  You keep pretending you are elite and doing the things elite people do to the point that you end up becoming as close to elite as you can possibly be.

Want to know one of the side effects of buying your own hype?  You’re probably going to get injured.  It’s probably going to be really bad.  It could even be career ending.  Want to know another side effect?  If you keep buying that same hype, you will come back stronger than you were before, because you’ll know that you really are indestructible in spirit.  And what is the effect of this?  You will far surpass those who tip toe around effort and never push themselves in fear of consequences.  You will be so experienced in overcoming that it will be habit, and your ego will continue to compel you to seek more and more ridiculous challenges to overcome.

Buy your own hype and turn yourself elite.  Leave humility for those that want to perform humbly.  Have some swagger, be arrogant, be a legend in your own mind, and let that manifest itself in reality.

Saturday, August 19, 2017


Once again, the internet has forced my hand into pedantry.  It’s time to explain the difference between assistance work and accessory work, and why you should be doing the former vs the latter.  I’m honestly shocked that I need to do this because really; who wants to do something called “accessory work”?  Accessories are what you wear to put together a smart outfit because you and your girlfriends hit the mall for Orange Julius while complaining about how you’re just too fat.  Assistance, though not the most masculine of terms, at least implies that something is helping in some way, whereas an accessory is just kinda hanging on in the background as part of an entourage.  But let’s get started here.

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Christ, it's not the 90s anymore.  Do people even go to malls?  Is Orange Julius still a thing?

What we’re primarily getting at here is the value of mentality when it comes to selecting exercises in a program.  Typically, you have your core lifts, which are the handful of lifts that you want to get stronger.  For a powerlifter, these are the big 3.  For a strongman, it’s a wider handful, but typically a small grouping of indicator lifts that let the athlete know that they are getting stronger at their sport.  For the weightlifter, it’s the snatch and clean and jerk.  You get where I’m going.  After these core lifts, you have supplemental lifts; those lifts that build the core lifts.  For some trainees, this is just the core lifts again with a different volume pattern.  For others, these are variations of the core lifts built to address specific weak points.  Once you have hit the supplemental lifts, NOW we get into the assistance work.

Assistance work are those lifts that assist the trainee in meeting their goals without directly contributing specifically to the core lifts.  For example, a big and strong back contributes greatly to pressing and squatting, but those aren’t “back exercises”, thus, when we do chins and rows, we do them as assistance for pressing and squatting rather than as supplemental work.  Strong arms help keep the bar stable when benching, but we don’t consider the bench an arm exercise, so when we do curls, we do them as assistance work.  You get the point.  These are the movements in the program that, though not directly building our core lifts, they are essential in assisting the development of the core lift.

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You knew this was coming

So what the hell is an accessory?  An accessory is just a movement that gets tacked onto the program “just because”.  Lateral raises just because.  Calf raises just because.  Farmer’s walks just because.  Etc.  They have no intended effect, they have no purpose, and they are not planned for the sake of making anything else stronger.  People just throw them into the program because they “want to”; because somehow, for some reason, they enjoy these lifts.

No, let’s be real; people do these things for hypertrophy.  Almost 100% of the time, that’s the reason for accessory lifts.  People still think this is something to be ashamed of, and tend to hide this goal with flowerly language, but people like their lateral raises and calf raises and whatever else because they believe it promotes muscular growth and they are of the opinion that their current programming is lacking in the ability to deliver this.  So they just tack on movements to their programming with no consideration to the impact, positive or negative, it has towards achieving their goals.

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I mean, when has meaninglessly tacking things on ever gone wrong before?

But here is the thing; assistance work CAN promote hypertrophy.  In fact, it SHOULD promote hypertrophy.  That’s pretty much the whole point of doing it in the first place.  A bigger muscle has the potential to be a stronger muscle, and as such, when you do assistance work, you are trying to get bigger muscles for your core and supplemental lifts to make stronger.  This is why you can do 200 dips for assistance works and blow up your chest, delts and triceps.  It’s why you can backwards sled drag for assistance work and inflate your quads like balloons.  And that means you CAN do lateral raises for assistance work too.  It’s all viable; you just need to program it intelligently.

And I say that fully aware that I also say “it’s assistance work; it doesn’t matter”.  You don’t need to be losing sleep over rep ranges, true, but you can still be intelligent in your selection of assistance work.  If you have cannonball delts and spaghetti arms, lay off the raises and start hitting the curls and extensions.  If your quads are the side of watermelons and your glutes are so small pants won’t stay on, lay off the leg extensions are start hitting the glute ham raise.  But aside from that, simply focusing on working hard will carry you far with your selections here.

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Clearly needs more hamstring work

Along with that, be real with yourself about your goals.  It does you no good to pay lip service to powerlifting or strongman and then try to find some sort of mental gymnastics necessary to be able to include the shoulder shocker into your assistance work.  Be honest with yourself; if you goal is to have big shoulders, make your core and supplemental work dedicated to big shoulder and do the assistance work to match.  Once you meet that goal, THEN you can resume your powerlifting or strongman.  Don’t be a closet bodybuilder; own it, achieve it, and move on.  Or stay with it for life and do what it takes to keep hitting that goal.  Just set yourself up for success.

Just…please stop calling them accessories.  It hurts my soul.