Monday, January 2, 2012

Batman can't be Superman

One of the things I hear/read from guys that don't lift weights, concerning athletes today, is that they are somehow bigger and stronger because of advances in weight training.

I generally have to explain to these turds that there really have been no advances in weight training since the barbell was invented.  They generally argue with me that "of course we've made advances" then tell me about all these fancy machines and training ideas that guys use.  That they saw some training footage of some freak athlete where he was doing some shit with electrodes strapped to his testicles and big rubber bands around his ankles while being chased by a mountain goat.

This is FML dumb...

Somehow, this is the reason that we have these freak athletes today.  This is what training has "evolved" into.


In 2001 Adam Archuleta was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the first round of the NFL Draft.  Adam had been trained by an asshat named Jay Schroeder, who had some very "interesting" training methods.  He did shit like drop Archuleta from 6 or 7 feet in the air, made him catch weights, do reps with super light weights as fast as possible, and all sorts of bananas dumb shit.  

The result?  

Archuleta bench pressed 225 31 times at the NFL combine.  He ran a 4.42 and jumped 39 inches.  The bench press was an all time combine best for a safety.  And he only weighed 211 pounds.  

So the Rams took him in the first round, and he signed a 5-year contract worth 7 million, with 3 million up front.  


Oh wait............

Over the next 5 years Archuleta managed to play in all 16 games one time.  It was also the only year he had a decent statistical season, which doesn't mean he played well, just that his numbers on paper looked ok.  

After his 5 years of shit play in St. Louis were over, he signed with the Redskins.  Owned by the dumbest owner in all of the NFL, now that Al Davis is dead (or is he?), Dan Synder paid him 10 million dollars in signing bonus, and something like 30 million overall.  

For what?  

Basically, because of "potential" based off his first round draft pick status.  That's all I can figure because they guy couldn't play a fucking lick when he was with the Rams.  

He played 1 year in Washington.  Yes.  1.  Uno.  He started 7 games.  

Then Chicago signed him.  And he sucked there too.  

The guy was constantly out of position, took poor angles, couldn't read offenses, and for all his "timed" speed the guy was slow as fuck on the field.  Because he lacked FOOTBALL ABILITY.  And for all his time spent in a groovy new-age training environment created to "replicate the collisions on the field", he managed to play a whole 16 game season 1-time in his career.  Nothing he did inside those "weight rooms" made him a better football player.  Not at the NFL level anyway.  

The whole thing seemed like a gag to me after it was all over.  Let's prop up this unorthodox training method, show how these guys took this kid from 170 pounds to 211 over a few years, had him moving X amount of weight, jumping X high, and running 4.4 40's.  He did win PAC-10 defensive player of the year his senior year.  But the PAC-10 is a pussy conference, and everybody knows it.  So who cares?

Anyway, the talk of these unique training methods was all over the net at the time.  I thought these guys did a great job of building up Archuleta as some kind of Superman.  But he was really just Batman.  He wasn't Ronnie Lott, even though he could outrun Lott and certainly outlift him.  And no amount of training and being dropped from heights and catching fat bars was going to make him a better player.  No training "guru" had an answer for that.  Archuleta could have spent those years with just about any solid trainer and ended up with the same results.  The guy was obviously gifted in the weight room.  I don't believe for a second that that particular training, was the reason he boasted the numbers he did.  The ability was already there.  He should have spent all that time working with a coach that could teach him how to read offenses.  A guy that runs a 4.8 gets to the ball faster if he breaks down the play quicker, than a 4.3 guy who has no idea what he's looking at.

The anti-Archuleta
What I'm REALLY getting at with all of this, is that there are no training systems that can make you something you are not.

There are no training gurus or training styles that can turn you into something outside of your genetic ceiling.  Guys who preach the "I don't believe in limits" stuff make me laugh.  They are most often the guys who fail the most, because they don't evolve their training to fit what their body can or can't do.  They have trouble admitting they can't do something.  And when you can't admit a weakness, then you will fail to address it.

Guys also often don't prioritize properly.  If you want to get in shape and lose fat, then make THAT a priority.  Don't worry about setting PR's in the bench or squat when you know you will be doing sprints and limiting food.  This is dumb.

If you're a football player, get stronger on the basics, and spend the rest of your time practicing football.

If you're an MMA guy, get stronger on the basics, and spend the rest of your time practicing your crafts.

This is not a difficult philosophy to understand.

More Chronic Routine Changers -

One of the things that CONSTANTLY runs the course of the net is program and routine hopping by guys that think the reason why they have stalled is because their routine sucks.  And it very well could.  But more often than not it's just that guys don't put in enough time doing the things that have been proven to work over time, in order to get better.

If you took the next year out, and just squatted, pressed, and pulled as heavy as possible, and did a ton of conditioning with mobility work with a tight as fuck diet, what do you think would happen?  Would you be better off or worse off than if you did a bunch of routine changing every other month, worrying about bands and bar speed and shit like that?  We all know the answer.

So why do guys, who aren't even at the 300/400/500 level move around from routine to routine more than guys that are strong?

Lack of patience - 
There are no magical training routines.  There are no gurus that have secret answers.

Lack of understanding -
Squat, press, pull, condition.  That's really all there is to this whole thing.  Regulating volume, intensity, and frequency are all individual things that you need to figure out.  Some guys do great with high and some guys do great with low.

Find your sweet spot in terms of these three things and you'll make the fastest progress of your life.   

There are no training secrets, or training gurus that can turn you into something you can't be.  So stick with the things that have been tried and true for decades and train like your life depends on it for the next year.  You won't be dissatisfied with the results.  



  1. True as fuck. Most people seem to focus on where they aren't rather than where they are. Big goals are great and necessary, but ignoring small bits of progress just because you're not in the 300/400/500 club yet is fucking retarded. If you did something right, if you're getting more awesome, that shit is repeatable, so just rinse, adjust, repeat. I don't get why gyms are full of assholes who program hop like fucking hot potato and pretend like they're not going to be alive in six months. Such abject mindlessness means it's probably the same douchebags who put on their turn signal in the middle of the fucking turn.

    - Chris

  2. Chris - It's real simple. Training ADD. And so far, there is no Ritalin for it.

  3. Hi Paul,
    Happy New Year!
    I wouldn't say I'm a CRC (stuck with 5/3/1 for 2.5 years) plus always done the basics for years and still not hit 300/400/500. Just wondered how you program what you mention above - Press, Squat and DL at its most basic, be very tempted to run this for 2012


  4. True about his ability and how he turned out in the NFL. But you forget his goal: to play in the NFL and make millions. Goal achieved.

    How many of us have #1-played in the NFL and #2- made millions?

    Not me...

  5. Great post, Paul.
    2012 will be a great year for me, since I had a powerlifting meet on 16 december of 2012, and I will do 7 cycles of the 93% rule (raw squat, bench, deads cycles that you posted). I already on the first cycle, and nothing will change my focus, and I thank this for this blog.

  6. Of topic
    Overeem or Cigano?

  7. Reem.

    Anonymous - Not everyones goal is money. Lots of guys make their money and quit, yes. But lots of guys love the game, and/or want to be the best. Not everyone is driven by the dollar. I'm proud for Arhculeta could rip off three teams with some numbers and be a complete bust. I could never do that.

    Dan - Next article bro.

  8. Do NOT google Adam Archuleta and look at the google images.

    I'm just saying'...

  9. Awesome article. Immediately made me think of the article on TN where the author (who sells $100+ sandbags) was dissing the deadlift and touting stuff like 1-arm opposite single leg snatches for MMA training...true story bro!

  10. John - Yes I already saw. My eyes bled for a while afterwards.

    YW - People have to remember that every exercise is just a tool to get the job done. It's up to you to figure out what that job is.

  11. good article other than calling the legend Al Davis dumb...that was a dumb thing to say.


  12. Al Davis made some of the dumbest decisions an owner could make for the last decade of his life. He was also a giant pain in the leagues ass over dumb shit.

    I give him all the credit in the world for being a part of what the NFL is today and helping merge the AFL and NFL. But for the last decade he was a drafting and free agent signing buffoon and no one wanted to coach there because of him.

  13. I hear you... i was just a little defensive after the raiders blew their chance at the playoffs...


  14. You didn't think they were going to do anything in the palyoffs anyway did you? The entire AFC West was garbage this season.

  15. I just wanted them to finish the season strong and build on their .500 2010 season. I really didn't expect them to go anywhere even if they made it to the playoffs with that horrible defense.