Thursday, March 31, 2011

Loss of Perspective - Overrated Training and Eating Methods

Ever notice when a good idea becomes popular and the next thing you know it's been mutated and mutilated to death?  Or it becomes the cornerstone of someones training at the expense of meaningful shit.  Here are some examples of this shit.....

1.  "Posterior Chain" Training

This shit was all the rage a few years ago.  Basically it just means training the back, lats, erectors, and hamstrings.  Wow, haven't bodybuilders, powerlifters, and strongmen been doing this shit for fucking decades now?  Oh I know, I'll slap a fancy term on it and make it seem new and exciting.  Even worse was the way the shit was approached.  It was better to do glute ham raises, good mornings, and some face pulls.  This was true "posterior chain training".

What a crock of shit.

Not special

Do you think that romanians as heavy as you can go for a brutal set of 10 or glute ham raises will do more for your "posterior chain"?  I have women that can knock out glute ham raises all day but can't do romanians with 500x10.  One is superior than the other.  You think face pulls will build a thicker stronger back than barbell rows with 400 pounds and t-bar rows with 7 plates?  I don't think so.  Good mornings are almost never done deep enough, with guys barely bending over and too much knee bend.

If you can do stiff legs with 500x10, chins with 100 pounds for 10, and do barbell rows with 400x10 strict you don't have posterior chain weakness issues.  It's that simple.  In other words, just be well rounded with the basics.

2.  HIT

Back many many years ago, HIT (high intensity training) was a legit training method.  I'm talking Mike Mentzer's early shit and how Dorian Yates was training.  Basically, 1-2 top all out ball busting sets on the big lifts, 3 times a week and a focus on getting as strong as possible.

False Advertising.  Mike didn't build his muscles in minutes.

Eventually HIT turned into a program ran by nancy boys who looked like 12 year olds with elevated estrogen levels.  Superslow reps, training once every 10 days, isolation movements all over the place.  I blame Mentzer and his followers for this because Mike lost all perspective on what he did, what worked, and got crazy.  But what do you expect from a guy who ran down the interstate naked with a bag of oranges?  That's actually pretty cool.

3.  Back work for a bigger bench

More shit that shouldn't have made any sense if people didn't follow certain peoples voice without questioning it.  Getting tight on the bench is important, but you could do lat and upperback work until the cows come home and not improve your bench.  Everyone knows that big bencher in the gym that only does bench, shoulder work, and tricep work and never does a damn ounce of back work.

You should be shooting for balance front to back in both development and strength, however concentrating on back work as one of the main aspects of improving your bench is like concentrating on calf work to improve your squat.  Yeah the calves are involved in the squat and do fire and work during it, but if someone told you to do lots of calf work to improve your squat you'd think they had gone coo-coo for coco puffs.  And they would have.

4.  Squat to get bigger arms

This one isn't a lot different than the back work for a bigger bench scenario.  Look, no one preaches about building up your base more than me.  But Olympic lifters squat until the cows come home, and virtually none of those guys upper bodies match their lower body development.  Remember this, your function creates your form.  You squat a lot, you'll have big legs.  You curl a lot, you'll have big biceps.  Duh!

Prolly makes your biceps bigger than squats somehow.

I think a lot of times when guys are trying to redirect young un's to the more important aspects of training they lose the ability to convey it properly.  Squatting and deadlifting should be staples, but so should dips, pressing, chins, rows, and curls.  Again, balance from day 1 should be emphasized.  Squatting will not make your biceps bigger just like rowing will not make your press go up.

5.  Weak point training

I've written enough about this nonsense to fill a book.  Search the blog.

6.  Low Carb Diets

Jesus H Satan this shit has gotten out of hand.  Carbs are a mass building cycles best damn friend.  And bodybuilders were getting ripped for decades eating carbs.  And I don't mean low carb either.  Look at a lot of the 70's and 80's cutting diets by those guys.  It's like high carb day for todays carb cycling junkies.  Now you got Paleo junkies avoiding the simple fact that our ancestors and "cavemen" ate the shit out of potatoes, and that people have been eating bread for thousands and thousands of fucking years.  But hey don't let the facts stand in the way.

And low carb makes you feel like shit anyway.

7.  Super High Protein Diets

Yeah, if I don't get in 400 grams of protein a day I can't grow.  Who comes up with this shit?  Oh that's right, it started years ago with supplement companies.  You needed to ingest enough powder to give yourself more gas than Exxon.  Got it.  I find it funny that Dave Tate got big as hell eating junk and something like 190 grams of protein a day.  You know why?  Because calories and carbs drive mass gains more than protein.  Anyone who ignores the anecdotal evidence behind this is short changing their potential progress.

Just need to drink 19 of these a day

8.  Super High Volume Training

I threw HIT under the bus, and like wise I'm throwing too much training volume under the bus.  I swear, some people think volume is the answer to every training problem known to man.  "Just do some more volume!"  Great answer asshat.  Way to really diagnose the real problem.  Yeah, sometimes you do need to do more, and sometimes you need to do less.  Too much training volume for too long WILL lead to overuse injuries eventually.  That's a fact.  I also believe it's somewhat of a lazy mans training method.  I will do 8 sets of this shit, rest 5-8 minutes between each one, and do 2 reps.  Wow fat man, don't strain a testicle training so fucking hard.  The high volume training guys are almost always fat guys because going all out requires a certain degree of conditioning.  So it's easier to do a set of 2,3,5 whatever and sit around for the next 5 minutes before you try it again.  High volume training can be hard as shit, especially if you limit your rest between sets. But if they were to do that, all of a sudden those 8 sets of become more like 3.  The guys I know that put high volume training to good use are generally bodybuilders, where they rest very little between sets.  And this works very well.

Maybe my real rant here is actually the time between sets of the high volume crew and not high volume itself.  Hmmmm....

I have a ton more but like Arthur Hoggett told Babe......that'll do.


  1. As much as I hate to agree with you...point #3 about back training for a big bench stands out to me. Not too long ago I read (or reread) a routine from Pat Casey when he was chasing a 500 or 600 lb bench. There was boatloads of pressing, heavy shoulder pressing, DB work, weighted dips, and heavy triceps work. But hardly any back work. And he managed to hit the first 600 bench in a t-shirt (I won't say RAW b/c then we'd have to figure out what RAW means LOL).

    ON THE OTHER HAND, technique does change and improve with time, and I think more people now are paying attention to how the upper back impacts their bench. So to say upper back training has NOTHING to do with your bench may be a little strong.

  2. Hello. Just want to comment about your 'low carb' point and the 'high protein' point: I agree. Slighly higher carb intake will prevent your body from getting the glucose it needs from protein. SO, if you eat more carbs, you won't neccessarily have to eat a shit ton of protein. These two points are directly related. The paleo bunch are most likey getting all their glucose needs from excess protein, rather than letting it build muscle.

  3. Richard - Exactly and great points.

    Proto - Pat Casey was actually the guy I was thinking of and always think of when it comes to what to do for big benching.

    I never said upperback has NOTHING to do with benching, just that people went overboard and ape shit about lat/back work and benching. Your upperback and lats work to stabilize you on the bench. That's about it. You don't need Hulk like back strength to do that, no matter how much you're benching.

    For raw guys esp, you want a big bench go after stronger chest/shoulders/triceps. Not a stronger back.

  4. Paul,

    What's your take on the whole static stretching before training reduces force output thing? I never checked into what caused this conclusion, but it has the feel of some very limited study that got twisted into something evil. I'm all for a good pre-training stetch, so I'd be bummed if there was any truth to it.

    Another aside, I'm really diggin the strong-15. No chicks camped outside my house yet, but I know they're thinking about it. Probably start migrating in around weeks 7-9.

  5. Funny, this is kind of a joke amongst a few of us where I train at for fighting.

    Our head guy is BIG on stretching. So anytime there is ANY issues at all he claims that the problem is because of a lack of stretching.

    I think that static stretching has gotten a bad rap. I do feel that being flexible is a great injury prevention measure. I mean, muscles on do 2 things. Stretch and contract. That's it. So being more flexible will help you in your ROM ability no doubt, and IMO it's better to give up 10 pounds on a lift and not get injured as often, than add 10 pounds and constantly be playing with fire.

    So yeah I think static stretching is a good thing. Do a general warm up, static stretch, then get after it. I am going to be doing a lot more of this for this upcoming cycle as I want to hit some size/strength goals in the next year and get back to fighting more times a week than lifting.

  6. 4. Squat to get bigger arms

    I like what you wrote there Paul. I have long arms to begin with, yet for years I limited my curl work to just a few sets at the end of a workout because some well respected guru said squats were the key.

    Maybe they should have worded that differently because all it did for me was to unbalance my physique.

    I started making curls more a of priority and that helped. I recently started doing more consistent chin work (thanks to you!) and that REALLY helped....

  7. I know it's amazing how doing a bunch of work for a certain bodypart makes that bodypart respond. Talk about a newsflash from the city!

    Remember man if it smells like bullshit....

  8. I think the whole upper back thing for benching was just to keep structural balance. Somebody twisted it and turned it into "train upper back to raise your bench".

  9. Another great post Paul - before Westside, Hammer Strength and Keto diets people got really really large doing the same basic stuff - I've mentioned Ronnie Coleman before - he got to be the biggest and best bodybuilder, possibly ever - in the modern era where all this stuff was and is available, by working his ass off on Squats, Bench, Deads, Rows, Presses and basic accessory stuff - I dont think there was much he did in this prime that Arnie couldnt have done in the 70's at the old Golds gym.
    After these workout Ron went to eat - chicken and potatoes, steak and rice, egg whites and grits - wow, ground-breaking stuff !

    I did some Romanian deads for the first time in months recently and it has taken me days to recover from a reasonably hard couple of sets.

    If it isnt human-nature it's certainly in my nature to complicate shit that has no business being complicated.

    Keep up the good work - constant reminders needed !

  10. Funny you bring up Ronnie because he actually is a great example of a real basic guy. Did a lot of cardio, lifted heavy shit, and still ate carbs year round including baked french fries during his precontest diet.

    Yeah Ronnie is a freak and was on a shitload of gear but who isn't at elite levels? Basic shit works. Overthinking doesn't.

  11. I saw a video recently with Mark Bell, Donnie Thompson, and Kelly Starrett, and Kelly was walking Mark Bell through a stretch for the shoulder capsule. He showed how statically stretching improved his posture and range of motion so that he would be able to bench more by getting his scapula into better position.

  12. I really hate the push towards extremes in dieting- people can't seem to understand that real food will always work, no matter what your goal is. I'm not going to fear potatoes and rice because some goofball says ancient man didn't eat them. I do like the push towards more meat, though. It's funny that the paleo crowd rarely brings up the fact that ancient man DID NOT EXERCISE. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that to fuel training, you might need a few carbohydrates...

  13. Well I think their idea of the "Caveman" is quite different than how it actually really was. I mean he wasn't out doing push ups and chins from the branches and squatting big rocks. Even if he was hunting, hunting isn't something that is going to put you in rock hard condition. I mean I'm from the South. I know. Lots of fat hunters walk for miles and miles all deer season.

    I mean bread is as old as the first writings in ancient history and can probably even be attributed back in before that. So I'm not sure what the knock against bread and potatoes are.

    And yes you're right, hard labor or exercise requires carbohydrates. I don't buy into the notion that fat will be broken down for quality energy even on low carb diets. It's a long process and the body is as efficient as possible in everything it does. Some common sense should tell you that you need carbs in your diet for protein sparing (this helps muscle growth as well) and for energy.

  14. Hey Paul, even with your monstrous forearms you must advocate thick bar training, but would you still recommend a thumbless grip when doing so? After your recommendations I've been experimenting with going thumbless with fatgripz and contrary to what I first thought its actually quite a natural transition

    Also, who do you like for bisping miller tonight?


  15. I don't have access to a thick bar but I do like thickbar training. I used to do a lot of thickbar chins and I did those thumbless.

    I like Miller. I will never pick Bisping because he's a prick.

  16. I'd second that notion.... Besides he seems to have a real inability to finish fights. he's a local guy though to me here in the UK, his hometown is 15 mins drive away max.