My knowledge base of training and dieting over the last 2 decades has been built mainly through trial and error, along with reading a lot of magazines, books, and watching videos. When the internets first exploded I found lifting boards much like a lot of guys. Everyone exchanged ideas and discussed theories and all the usual shit. But I was surprised at how much shit I read from guys concerning how you HAD to do things.
I was once told, after telling guys that they didn't have to squat and deadlift to get big, that I was flat out wrong and I would be getting a phone call so I could get my shit straightened out.
There were other things too that I've written about before. I thought speed bench was the dumbest fucking thing I ever heard of. I argued with people to the hilt about this. Was told I was a moron, and didn't know shit about training. Or was asked "how much do you bench?!!?!"
Since then, the majority of geared guys have now dropped speed bench in favor of "the repetition method". You know, where you just do some reps. Why the fuck did it need a god damn fancy name?
I had this same argument with guys about box squats. It made no sense. How was a lift that unloaded the entire lower body supposed to help a raw squat, which loads the bottom portion the hardest? Two very opposite things. Again, I was told I was stupid and obviously knew nothing about training theories and methodologies.
Now guys that have made the switch from geared lifting to raw lifting have all confessed that the box squat is pretty much worthless for raw guys.
Jeez, I'm soooo dreamy.
This isn't a "look how smart Paul is" post. Just a shout out to using anecdotal and common sense, to make good training decisions.
Anecdotal and common sense training methods trump "scientific" bullshit to me.
If you want someone to tell you some supplements, go read up on scientific training methods. I've found that those two things often go hand in hand. As soon as you start reading a "scientific training" article, before you know it, that article is telling you that you won't ever gain another ounce of muscle due to this new finding unless you buy their fucking supplement.
Just to add to this, kind of randomly, a guy recently wrote about me that I replace "scientific knowledge with profanity".
Fuck yeah I do.
Cursing is manly and makes me look like a caveman. Cavemen weren't scientists, thus they had nothing to sell. And you can't trust a salesman, therefore you can indeed trust me.
Now with that out of the way, let's cut through some bullshit for the day shall we? I'll address some of the common arguments I read about, and some more shit I catch shit for, but won't budge on because well, I have a pretty awesome bullshit detector.
- Steady state vs HIIT - Guess what, they both work. Who knew? I believe from my experience that it's all in how you use them that makes them effective. Bodybuilders have been doing steady state in the morning for decades to get ripped. Guys have also used interval training to get ripped as well. My thought about this is, if you're trying to get in bad ass shape, do interval work, but treat it like lifting. In other words, make sure you're properly fueled. Don't do it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. I think that's a fine recipe for burning through muscle. If that's your only option, have something before you do it. Just keep it light. The best method is to do steady state, which has TONS of benefits, 3-4 times a week and an interval session 1-2 times a week. Unless your goal is to get into bad ass conditioning shape. Then do 3 interval sessions a week and 2 steady state. Point of all of this is, they both work. Just pick the one you like and roll with it.
- Low reps build strength, medium and high reps build mass - I really can't believe still discuss this. 1 rep max strength is built best through reps of 1-6, mass with reps of basically about 8-20. I laugh when I hear guys talking about all the mass they built from triples and shit, where "bodybuilding didn't work for me." Maybe if you actually learned how to work hard enough it would "work"?
- Peri-workout nutrition is overrated - Another sham by supplement companies. You need all this shit to take before, during, and after your workout. Here let me tell you that I've done every method of that and nothing beats food. Last year I settled in on my cottage cheese and rye bread 2 hours before training, and that was the best thing I ever found for making sure my blood sugar and energy levels stayed good throughout the workout. Lately all I've been doing is a cup of coffee for a kick. After I train, I eat food. Nothing has ever worked as good for me as just plain ol food after a workout. The only caveat I will add to this is, I can tell a difference when I drink a good BCAA during my workout. Other than that, I don't think shit matters. I laugh when I hear guys talk about "make sure to use an isolate after your workout to ensure recovery." Go get fisted GNC boy. Figure out if you train better a little bit fasted (some do), or if you need a slight amount of food a couple of hours before you train. Afterwards, just have a good meal with clean food. Don't ask about fucking macro nutrient ratios on that meal either. The point is, just eat. It works.
- High carb or High fat - This is another one that annoys me. Bodybuilders used mostly low carb methods in the 70's to get lean, with higher fat ratios. In the 80's, they switched to higher carb, low fat diets. Guess what? They both worked! Oh the humanity! Dorian Yates literally did calorie counting on a high carb diet to get lean as hell. Don't think so? In his Blood and Guts book he talked about how he would just drop his calories in the 4K range or so, and hold there, do more cardio and he'd lean up into contest shape. Yes I'm aware that Dorian MAY have used a fat burning aid, but the point still stands. If you don't like low carb diets, a higher carb/low fat diet will work for getting lean. I don't give a god damn what any diet guru or anyone else says. Guys have done it plenty of times.
- High Intensity or High Volume - Again, both work. In fact, I think you need both if you want to really have complete development. But you can't go overboard on either. If you are going to do some SHIT (super high intensity training) then you have to limit your volume. If you're training high volume intensity must be more limited, unless you're just sticking to singles. One way to combine these is to limit your volume on the big mass building lifts, along with some high intensity, and then go high volume on the small stuff. This is exactly how the new big-15 mass building program is built. I can't wait to start running it after this meet.
- Weak Point Training - This one is still my fave. I still read countless of guys out there arguing this point. If they are arguing it's generally because....
- They don't know what I am talking about when I talk about weak point training being bullshit.
- They are stupid
The whole theory of weak point training comes from geared powerlifting. The term "weak point training" generally refers to the strength curve from gear. For each guy, gear works a little differently. So guys have to things to figure out where the "weak point" in the movement is for them, based on that transition.
Raw guys do not have "weak points" in this regard. Before some message board guru pops in to put me "in my place", let me beat you to the punch. You're wrong.
When I talk about weak point training, I talk about it in terms of the movement. For a raw guy, when he misses a lift 99% of the time he's going to miss it at the same spot. This is not a "weak point". This just means he's not strong enough to make the lift yet. This is why I say "get stronger." A more "scientific" way of putting this is, the lifter didn't generate enough force from the bottom portion of the lift, to move it through the transitional phase. That's a fact. This is why things like pause squats and pause bench are such great helpers for the lifts. They build strength in the bottom position of the movement. This again, is not weak point training. I'm using the lift, to build the lift. Adding in a pause does not change the lift.
Weak point training is not doing face pulls and rows and db benches and all sorts of shit like that. That's just god damn training. I've heard raw guys say "my lockout was weak so I did board presses." This shit makes me laugh. I've never seen a raw guy miss a bench at lockout ONE TIME in my life. If you say you have, it only means you don't know what lockout is. It's the last few inches of the press. Raw guys don't miss there. They miss at midpoint. Once the bar clears midpoint, it's pretty much a 100% deal they will make the lift.
Lots of guys from the 70's and 80's never did anything besides the actual competition lifts. Squat, dead, and bench. And got brutally strong. Let me break this news to you. You're no special snowflake. If your goal is to get as strong on the possible on the big 3, do the big three. Sure, there is nothing wrong with throwing some shit in after. I do it too. But mainly for other reasons. I keep rep work in because I want to get bigger, but other than that, I don't venture outside of the big 3 much anymore for when I am prepping for a meet. Squat, pause squat, bench, incline, some curls (for my elbows), block deads, regular deads, stiff legged deadlifts.
I don't need text books or scientific studies to prove to me what works. In fact, often times those things end up running counter to what real life shows us over and over again. Strength is not built in a test tube. It's built under callouses and a loaded bar.