Saturday, February 16, 2019

Strength Or Kumbaya?

What make you think that the "old ways" are the bad ways? What makes you think that what the pioneers of strength training were wrong in what they were doing in the 60's, 70's 80's? That if you took the baddest NFL player, a death machine, and trained him like the old guys did with cleans and snatches and front squats and back squats and presses and all of that they wouldn't be better than someone who uses bands as resistance and stands on a ball for gods sake and doesn't get his muscles, tendons and ligaments so strong that they can withstand all the forces that they have to face on the field?

What makes people think that freaking yoga benefits an athlete that is loading his spine with 500 plus pounds over and over again? Its better to stretch in ungodly, unnatural positions over and over and then expect the athlete to be able to be tight like a spring on the field when he explodes to knock the snot out of someone or overstretch their shoulders over and over and then wonder why he tears his shoulder up when he puts his arm down on the field to balance himself?

The problem is that you have people making decisions on what the athlete really needs and they have never really lifted heavy and seen the benefits or played a sport where your life is in danger if you are the weak, hyper flexible one.

I have had an (cough) administrator (defined as someone who meddles into strength coach business and has endless meetings about a "value system" or some horseshit to justify their jobs) ask one of my assistants , " What's with all those heavy weights? What's with all that squatting?"

 Okay, dummy, put a football lineman in the game and have him go against a bad ass who is benching 405, squatting 600 and cleaning 350 and all your guy has done is stretched and breathed and practiced mindfulness and some positive thinking? Talent being equal, your flexible, mindful kid will find his dick in the dirt over and over.  I'll tell you one of my favorite stories on how being strong and lifting heavy matters. I had a collegiate linebacker go home for the summer one year. He left about 225 or so. He needed to get bigger and stronger. I expected him to and told him so. Then he comes back to camp and I swear, he weighed like 203. He was small and his maxes went down. But I'm quick coach! My trainer told me that I needed to be more flexible and I really worked on it! I feel great! And I'm like, okay, we shall see. And then we get in the first game and the other team has a freshman running back weighing around 225 and a total killer. He came through the hole one time and this linebacker kid stepped up and BAM! 

The linebacker who was flexible as hell (but weak as a kitten left on the side of the road for weeks) helmet came flying off (I swear it went ten yards in the air) and there were freaking cleat marks on his chest as he got stepped on and thoroughly destroyed.

You see, one of the problems is that people get done with all the fad workouts and say, well, I feel great, and I'm sure that they do.  Because when you get done with 5x5 at 500 in the squat or dead lift, you don't feel great, you feel like shit. But if you are that strong, you know that feeling like shit means that you will kick ass on the field. You walk out after the workout, shaking, numb as hell, hand shaking as you raise the protein shake to your mouth. Oh, that's not healthy. Yeah, it is. We were meant to challenge our bodies with Herculean tasks that test every bit of our mettle.   But those strenuous bouts will all be worth it on Saturday. And you know this. When you are done playing sports, and you want to find yourself , be as flexible as you want to be. Breath deeply and eat tofu and cry at a dead deer on the side of the road. Hold hands and sing Kumbaya while sipping on a pumpkin spice latte.  But if you are playing sports and want to be great, burn your stretching and breathing mat and chant to the Almighty Gods Of Squat and Meat, because you are gonna need strength to be great and injury free and to dominate.

And it's the same with every sport. Talent being equal, the stronger athlete will always win. It doesn't matter if the other guy practiced deceleration (cleans teach that the best), or stood on a ball and hailed Satan or  rubbed his belly and chewed gum while chanting some yogi chant, if their opponent is strong as hell, they will be laughing at you all the way to the winners podium.

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a's for life. Whether its training or your family or your doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.