Sunday, June 26, 2011

REAL dogmatism

I wanted to address the issue of dogmatism for a minute.

I've read some people say/write that I only believe that there is only one way to get strong.  I'm not sure where I wrote that.  Oh, maybe that's because I haven't.  Not only that, I've never believed that or endorsed that mode of thinking.  Isn't it funny how someones perception of a situation comes about when no evidence to support it actually exists?

All I've EVER written was, I have found some things that work for me, and that is an ever evolving process.  I have tried about every method under the sun in over 2 decades of doing this.  I have simply settled on philosophies that I feel work for me.  My injuries the past couple of years are also going to help further evolve how I approach training after this meet.

I am not dogmatic in any way, shape, or form when it comes to training.  If anyone ever took any time to read through questions about whether I think something will work, I always tell someone to try it and find out.  That's because the things that work for me really well, may not work for you as well, or they may work even better. Application is a big part of why and how things work, outside of your belief in that method.  It's no secret that I don't care for the WSB style of training for me.  However I know plenty of strong guys who make it work for them.  I don't care for high volume training.  But I know lots of strong guys that make that work for them.

I talk to guys fairly often that believe their way of training is superior.  PERIOD.  Not that it's superior for them, but superior compared to every training methodology out there.  And that if it didn't work for you, well you didn't do it right.  It can't be the fault of the program or method.  No fucking way.

There are many facets of why some training programs work and some don't, for individuals.

  • Belief factor - This is the main ingredient.  If you think you have discovered the holy grail of lifting programs and that this one is going to turn you into a bastard concoction of Kaz/Coan/Arnold then you will make progress.  This often breeds dogmatism from that users point of view because of the progress they make.  I mean they made progress right?  Has to be the greatest program ever, right?
  • Recovery ability - This is an individual thing and one persons ability to recover is obviously going to be very different than everyone else's.  This is one reason why some guys can train 5 days a week and progress and other guys only 3.  Some older guys even find that 2 work just as well.  Volume and frequency along with intensity (%) and perceived intensity play a part as well.  There are a lot of factors that go into this.  Each guy has to find where his threshold is.  In other words, doing enough work to stimulate gains in strength/size and also have enough time between for those gains to cement themselves.
  • Lifestyle - This is about diet, drugs, sleep, and all sorts of shit like that.  
One of the things that has obviously plagued me for the past couple of years has been injuries.  However I've gone for long stretches in the past without ever getting injured, all the while pushing as hard as I can.  One of the things I found during those times is that I did more movement likeness variation.  In other words, I didn't just push squats every workout.  One week I would push fronts, then the next week regular squats.  With pressing it was similar.  Two or three movements that I rotated through at the same time, to keep overuse and injuries from happening.  This is going to get incorporated into my training cycle after this meet.  

But even aside from that, any guy that pushes his training hard is going to eventually get injured.  This is a fact of training life.  High volume, low volume, WSB or 5/3/1 or anything.  Eventually you're going to push the envelope and at some point the envelope tears.  Sometimes you know why, other times you don't.  Either way, there isn't a foolproof way around this.  In the quest to get as big and as strong as possible at some point you're going to have to tread the dangerous waters.  Sometimes you escape unscathed, other times you're not as fortunate.  If a certain way of training got you that far, then changing around everything you did to get there because of an injury seems fairly stupid.  You dance with the girl that brought you.  If you don't get laid, it doesn't mean your process for making the date happen sucks.  It just means you fucked up on prom night to close the deal.  Refine something minor and get back to it.  Which is what I plan on doing.

Am I dogmatic about certain beliefs?  Of course.  Who isn't?  What are they?

1.  Consistency is the master ruler.  If you aren't consistent in your training, diet, recovery, etc no matter what, progress is going to be limited in comparison to what it could be.
2.  Injury is the #1 enemy of consistency.  
3.  Overload still rules.  It's always going to be about more weight on the bar or more reps with that weight.  In the end, that is how 99% of progress can be defined.

That's about it.  Wow, what a list!  All of those can be applied to every training ideology/methodology.  


  1. I have to tell you Paul I draw immeasurable motivation from your blog. I'm nowhere near as strong as you or other guys that post comments but your advice has helped immensely. Really has put things in perspective, especially regarding assistance exercises. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on training and your life in general.

  2. so true. if there was a cookie cutter method then every man walking around would be an enormous BEAST. personally i prefer it to not be "perfect", at least this way i feel like ive worked to acheive something.

    great post.


  3. Hey Paul,
    I think you're referring to shaf's comment on igx.
    I have to say that you have been pretty dang honest in your approach, and I dont think anyone else feels the same way about his comment
    Keep up the good work buddy.

  4. Well there have been others make similar comments and it's entirely unfounded.

    Second, I just thought it would be a decent subject to touch on. So it wasn't really directed at Shaf, but I thought the comment would make for a decent write up.

  5. Word! Excellent post, PC. Young guys are always looking for the holy grail of routines and are convinced that their way iz THE way. I usually just say "lift the fuckin' weight" when they try to get all cerebral. Man, I sound like an old fart. lol

    Everything Strength

  6. Good post my man, I totally agree with you, the last 3 points you made ring particularly true.

    I personally find that a lot of peoples comments, snide remarks, etc, are borne from pure jealousy.

  7. Lick balls for taking my name in vain, Paul.

    Boomer PMed me via IGx and wanted some naked pictures of you, by the way.

    It's a process you go through, when you're young, it's all about programs and sets and exercises and reps, when you've gotten so much time under the bar (as Paul has) you understand, sometimes instinctively, what makes training work for you.

    And that's what you gravitate towards, although sometimes what you need is 180 degrees from what you want.

  8. Suck my ballz shaf!

    And if you send out my naked pics I get a cut of the money you are most obviously charging.

    100% right on the last part, which is why some of the changes I will be making after this meet are counter to some of the things I have been doing in the past, but need to be doing now.

    You need to pop in more and give a difference of opinion. I always like hearing a counter point.

    And thanks for the props both here and at igx. I really do appreciate it.

  9. It's not so much a counter point, it's just coming at the same thing from a different angle. The destination is the same. The path isn't all that much different either.

  10. And sometimes someone adding a different view point on those things can be helpful..........

  11. I'm not above sending nekkid pics of me out for $$$. Just saying.

    ~ Barney

  12. The shittier the lifter, the more dogmatic he seems to be in his approach to lifting.

    In their own minds they are probably hardcore and tremendously strong. These are the guys who diss on "recreational" lifters and "pussies", yet only hit rec-lifter numbers (or not even that) in competition.

    I guess if it works for them... but, then again, it obviously doesn't.

  13. I've known some pretty dogmatic strong guys too.