Have a read of this article about an inducted member of the Powerlifting Hall of Fame. His Story is not only inspiring but also entertaining. this article is written by Terry todd and appeared in Sports Illustrated on October 22nd 1984. the article is long and I have just started it here but included a link to read on.
Let's face it. We all go through life selling something at one time or another. Whether it be that time that you were 16 and your trying to sell to your mum that cock and bull story that you haven't been drinking. It could be that time you were trying to "sell" to that girl at university you were after for months that you are actually a nice guy who is funny and caring. It doesn't matter what the situation in life. You will spend a significant amount of time selling yourself.
What does your physique say about you. What is it selling? Are you selling that you are an out of shape, soft lump? Is it selling a completely ripped look showing discipline and hard work? Maybe it is selling that you are one strong hombre and that you don't care what is on the bar, you will move it!
If the later is what you are after than you are in luck as this is the one that anyone can achieve. Sure people can get shredded etc but there does require an element of nature having it's way in regards to your metabolism and other more difficult things to manipulate. It would be my contention that if this is what you are after then pursue this by all means but the quickest way to been shredded and strong is to pursue absolute strength first, then get shredded.
So you want to be one strong mofo! You want to be able to sell (just by people looking at you) that you are one strong mofo...... You could do what they do in Hollywood and just build your arms and shoulders and have as little bodyfat as possible. Whilst you may look decent you will probably still be as weak as a cripple trying to traverse a set of monkey bars! The other way to do it is to start to shift serious weight and as a consequence have a body that embodies that actual event and effort. So how should I do this?
Stick to the compound lifts, keep the reps low, the sets high and keep adding weight to the bar every session you set foot in the gym. Sounds simple right? Unfortunately to pursue this day in day out is hard. If it was easy everyone would be deadlifting 200kg's in their sleep. It takes significant intestinal fortitude and an unnerving will to succeed to lift like this week in week out. To the naysayers who say you need rest scheduled in a you run the risk of overtraining, Go ask the Bulgarians or Romanian lifters if they no what overtraining is and they will look at you like you are a comedian.
Stick to the man makers. What are they you ask? Deadlift, snatch, squat, bench press, chins, rows, military press, barbell curls and dips are all examples of exercises that if adhered to with increasingly heavier weight and increasing intensity and volume will form you into the best salesman in the world. And you know who are the best sales people in the world. The ones that you are in no doubt not only practice what they preach but just by looking at them tell you so!
2 of these guys crush weights, 1 thinks he can? guess who????
If your into lifting heavy and getting strong than the squat is by far the king. I would imagine 99% of the lifting fraternity would never argue with this whilst the 1% would have some crazy idea as to why some other exercise is better. Regardless you will be hard pressed to find anyone who would not agree with the benefits of heavy squatting. Having said that have you ever wondered how it came to prominence?
History is often written by winners. As a result when trying to understand where it originally began is always difficult because often the history of something is written with a ulterior motive and or with a certain bias. Therefore is it any surprise when studying and searching for the history of the squat it is dominated by US early 20th century lifters who were making a dollar from what back then was quite a sub culture rather than a billion dollar industry.From what I can tell it appears the squat originated in Europe and was then brought to the US by Henry Steinborn. there is an actual unique squat form called the Steinborn squat which is both difficult to perform but also a real test of strength. It appears Henry introduced the concept of squatting heavy for real benefits early in the 1900's and then it was adopted heavily by the likes of J.C Hise and Mark Berry. Both men in the 1930's and 40's when they adopted the concept of heavy squatting were able to put on considerable bodyweight in their first full month. Peary Rader the man who started Ironman magazine then spent considerable time promoting the squat as the best way to put on weight, mass and strength.
In an earlier blog I wrote a review of the famous 20 rep squat routine edited by Randall Strossen of Ironmind fame and can vouch for the difficulty that you will face if you approach this lift with all of your will. When your read some of the garbage written by people on those T Nation type blogs they talk a lot about how the 20 rep program is bollocks. What's bollocks is how few of them have actually stuck with the program. Give it a real crack for 6 weeks and if nothing else you will have trained hard for 6 weeks, there is no way around it.
Whatever can be disputed about the history of the squat there is one thing for sure. It is a true man maker and if you aren't adding weight to the bar each time you squat then you are doing yourself a disservice.
Y2K, The Secret, Overtraining, What do all these things have in common? 2 things in fact, there full of bullshit and they are all fad's at one time or another. Y2K in my mind was a nonsense. No one is disagreeing that there were some data issues that needed fixing but please, the mass catastrophe that was been predicted was ludicrous. If you want to see the extent of the issues look here. Hardly anything of the magnitude first predicted.
In 2006 Rhonda Byrne of Australia wrote a best selling book "The Secret" that was featured on Oprah twice and sold over 4 million copies. It spoke to the power of positive thinking. However as so many half witted individuals usually do they took the contents of this book literally. Therefore you had sub human, gigantic fat mutants with no job and no prospects sitting on some lice infested couch spending there last $20 on this book and then continuing to sit on the couch with the difference been that they started to think positively. The problem with this is they continued to sit there and stuff there faces and not lift a finger to do anything about it. Just another example of been sucked into useless drivel.
To continue in this same vain is the constant contention that when lifting weights you need to be cautious of overtraining. Before we even begin to examine how retarded this notion is why not try this, I dare you. Try for a 2 week period to actually overtrain. Seriously. Go lift as often as you possibly can over the next 2 weeks and see wether you actually overtrain. My contention is that there will be times when you will feel weak, that you will feel sore or lack motivation but proceed to push yourself anyway. I bet that at the end of that 2 week period you will actually be stronger and fitter than when you started. These crappy muscle magazines that continue to sprout this fear mongering of overtraining is just causing those same sub humans as mentioned above to lift light and infrequently and do this with this idea that they want to avoid this deadly scourge of overtraining like it will give them some type of ebola virus or the like were their limbs will fall off and there eye balls will bleed for eternity.
What do you think Olympic weightlifters do. They train for up to 6 hours a day lifting near maximal loads 6 days a week. Now do they appear to be skinny, lacking any mass or strength? Of course not. What do you think strongmen of the turn of the last century did. They lifted every day in front of crowds of people. This was there livelihood. If they didn't lift they didn't get paid. Now go an tell me that Arthur Saxon suffered severely from overtraining and that he became some weak virus ridden corpse. Please! This notion of overtraining most likely has morphed from what is commonly just a lack of motivation. The Bulgarians and Russian lifters don't even know what the word overtraining is.
Do yourself a favour. Lift heavy, lift frequently and lift long and the only thing that will happen is that your body will respond in ways only your imagination can conceive.
Go tell Konstantinovs he should only lift 2 times per week.....
I recently purchased the Outbak Black powerlifting belt and also purchased one for my brother (XXXXL size for the bro, of course, they had to custom make it and it took me almost a month before they arrived, however that is another story).
My first impressions were that they appeared to be made of good quality and that they certainly looked the part, very sturdy construction and strong stitching and studs. I gave it the first run the other night and was impressed. The belt offers excellent stability and has many hole placements which allows for small, tight increments without the lifter been stuck between not tight enough and way too tight. The buckle can be a little troublesome to use the first time around as it works in a reverse fashion which can take a moment to get used to, however it does a fine job once it is locked in. The leather is extremely solid but of good quality. How could I tell? Whilst it had incredible stiffness to begin with, after wearing it for a couple of heavy sets I could really start to feel this belt already moulding to my shape whilst still been able to retain it's stability. I worked in this session specifically squats and deadlifts and the belt handled things extremely well.
A cautionary note for those who have never used a real powerlifting belt vs some "golds gym" type belt. At first it will feel incredibly stiff an when you squat or deadlift for the first time it probably will feel like you have a tractor tyre strapped to your waist. You may have this feeling at first but I would recommend you persevere. the belts will mould and you will find that you become very fond of the stability they can offer in a very short space of time.
In summary the length of time it took me to actually receive the belt was a nuisance but thankfully now that it has finally shown up I am more than pleased with what it offers.
One thing I would recommend to anyone who is serious about lifting and learning what are the tried and tested methods to gaining incredible size and strength is to read the old time strongman books from the early 20th century. One such book is the "The Truth About Weight Lifting" by Alan Calvert. A couple of things about this book. The first is it doesn't seem to matter if it is 1911 or 2010 there are always going to be people who claim to be the strongest or biggest when it comes to strength who can never really deliver. A case in point. Alan Calvert in his book describes a number of the worlds strongest men at the time and their actual measurements. He discusses the likes of Arthur Saxon and Joseph Steinbach and that whilst they may have not had 18 inch plus arms they recorded for the day some of the most impressive lifts you will ever see. Yet he then goes on to explain many of the travelling strongmen of the time would use bogus dumbbells that were supposedly 200 pounds but only weighed 80 pounds. Often these strongmen would use incorrect measurements to try and impress these crowds to part with their cash. A number of chapters are devoted to the styles of pressing and lifting that were core practice for the day. He describes in detail how to do strict millitary press, the famous bent press and the one and two handed dumbbell and barbell overhead lifts. Some of the weights been pressed over head are phenomenal and act as great inspiration for what can be achieved with no drugs, supplements, fancy equipment or the latest in recovery techniques. Good old fashion heavy lifting 3- 4 times a week always looking to increase the weight with each workout. This is the type of tried and true lifting mentioned at the start of this article that forces your body to grow big and strong.
The overall premise of the book is Alan's dismay at the way the European lifters in particular the Germans are by far superior to the majority of American lifters at the time. He discusses in detail the number of weight lifting clubs and competitions that are held in Europe compared to the US. One that was interesting was that many of the lifting competitions been run in the US at the time were with light weight and looking for how many reps could be completed with say 100 pounds in the two handed press. (sounds a bit like the cross-fit of the early 20th century). Compared to the Europeans who focused on the maximum weight been lifted Alan believes this is one of the reasons the US lifters were so far behind the Europeans.To think that in 1911 Carl Swadoba could clean and jerk 400 pounds (181kgs) without any drugs, special supplements or testosterone boosters just goes to show that too many modern day trainers look for some magic pill that will help them achieve phenomenal strength. Reading these old time strength books helps to reaffirm the right thinking when it comes to lifting. Sheer hard work, always challenging yourself to lift more and having the frequency and intensity to continue this year after year will deliver results that are really only limited by your own self limiting beliefs. If you believe you can do it, you will.
I recently purchased the beginners pack of Powerbands from Australiankettlebells.com.au and they are an excellent addition and one that has really made a difference in my training. The beginners pack consist of 3 pairs of bands, Yellow, Orange and Red with the Yellow bands adding in my estimation in the vicinity of 5 - 15kg with the Orange adding around the 20 - 30kg amount and the Red up to the 50kg mark.These bands are great because the only thing that limits how you use these is your imagination. Provided you take the time to think of how these can be used and how you will attach them you can start to add these to almost any exercise. Whilst the big 3 - Squat, Deadlift and Bench Press are clear standouts for how they can be applied there is just a limitless amount of exercises that can be made even more taxing and fun with bands.
One of the "novel" ways I have applied these are dip. Attach the band to a heavy dumbbell at your feet and then to your belt or for added resistance over your neck and you can really feel the tension build as you close in on lockout. The other exercise I have been using to address a weakness is in the military press or the push press. Attaching the bands to the rack and then over the bar ends. Again as you push the weight over head the added resistance really forces you to strengthen your lockout abilities.
I spent a long time looking for bands online and believe that these were more than reasonably priced and they arrived on my doorstep in 2 days. I certainly rcommend these bands to anyone who is looking to increase the intensity of their workouts. Be sure to use these on your lighter or speed days and I assure you that in a few short workouts you will start to feel the difference.
Sometimes the allure of a supplement is just too strong. How many of us have actually read the advertisements and had a nagging feeling that it can't be so, yet we delve into our pocket's for our wallets anyway? Such is the case with SAN's FIERCE.
Now before I tell you it is a waste of money it would be jumping the gun slightly but only by a fraction. The big caveat to the review of this product is that I train every morning at 6am. Now for me this works well but for others there is no way you want to be facing a 200kg deadlift or squat at that time of the morning. I have been doing this for over 15 years and it suits me. As a result taking a supplement that pep's you up in some way is in fact beneficial to an extent. However to believe that you get this massive vasodilation is crap. Well at least for me anyway. The one benefit I got from this product was it did seem to wake me up and focus my mind a little more through the early morning sleep haze. I do attribute this to this product as I have read other anecdotal case studies of people getting this effect from a Nitric Oxide booster. Did I however feel "long lasting muscle pumps" or "raging intensity" or "non stop endurance"? Frankly no. Besides waking me up somewhat and giving me a reason to drink 250ml's of water with some orange flavoured goo in it I must admit this is about the extent of the effects I got from this product.
Now would I write off all NO booster's. Probably not. There actually is some evidence for these products but like most supplements it is often by drawing some theoretical effects and dumping it into a container and selling the effects from some rat study or the like. I have provided a link to a nice summary I have found online about these products. http://www.naturalhealthresearch.org/nhri/?p=1669
For some time now mates of mine have been coming over to my place on Saturday mornings for our regular strongman workouts. These mates come from all walks of life from Policeman through to lawyers but the one thing we have in common is we have a passion for working out and in particular working out using strongman type exercises. We don't have a massive amount of space but we are capable of doing lots of various exercises because we use our imagination. You have no doubt I'm sure read various articles about building your own workout gear. We have done just that as well as utilising existing equipment to really develop a wide array of training gear. We have built our own farmers walks as well as a sled that we use for pulling or sprints that can be easily loaded with weight by just chucking a kettlebell in it. A Typical workout looks something like this:
Into all things Strength and Conditioning. A bachelors degree in Leisure Studies and an M.B.A. Certified Elite Trainer with the ISSA - PT, Specialist in Strength and Conditioning & Sports Nutrition. Gym owner 12RND Fitness, Published author on Powerlifter Today and The Iron Exec. I compete in IPF sanctioned powerlifting competitions and am a former professional Rugby player.