Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The devil most certainly is in the details

So many people get so swallowed up in the tiniest and most insignificant details of training and diet.  It drives me nuts.  I mean nuts.

If you're a powerlifter, you need to go in and bench, squat, and deadlift pretty often.  Perfect your technique, do some "bodybuidling" here and there.

If you're a bodybuilder you need to bring up the bodyparts that keep you from winning, add mass, correct the things that caused you to fail at your last show.

If you're a strongman you need to get better at the events that kept you from taking home the gold.

And for all three, you generally just need to get bigger and stronger, overall.  This requires actually doing the lifts.  Quite a bit, and figuring out how to best use your leverages in them, and simply put..."get stronger".

There is generally not one thing that you're going to do that is going to put you "over the top".  Whether you decide to do flyes on the pec deck or db flyes is of really no consequence in your training.  I've watched threads on message boards go on and on and on about whether or not you're supposed to look down or straight ahead or up during a squat.  Who gives a shit?  You're squatting.  If I look down and I squat, I just did a squat.  If I look up and squat, I just did a squat.  I know, it's mind blowing shit isn't it?

"Don't tuck, that's for geared guys."

"No it's not, raw guys tuck too."

I feel like I'm reading a conversation between Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs and another serial killer friend he has that also likes to play hide the sausage.

"You gotta train your lockout."

"Find your weak points."

Man if you're pulling 3 or 4 plates you don't need to worry about a god damn lock out or weak points, you need to worry about the fact that you're just really fucking weak and need to get stronger.  These conversations are silly enough as is.  They are even more silly when it involves guys that benches 275 but thinks board presses will fix his shit.

I'm not saying figuring out technique nuances about training don't matter.  My video on not getting your arms under the bar in the squat has obviously helped a lot of guys that were having elbow pain from this.  But I learned that from being under the bar, not discussing how I should squat all day long with bros at the gym or on a board.  It came from trial and error.  You know, how all the guys got strong from decades ago before the interwebs took hold of what we call training and broke its spine.

So few people "just train" now because they are fixated on a method, rather than a result.

Any novice or intermediate trainee that has read articles or watched videos from every advanced guy on the planet, hears the same thing.

Time, consistency, effort,'s not a rah rah speech or Tony Robbins clinic for lifting weights.  Eventually, all of us that developed thick callouses on our hands and enough injuries to "brag" about, came to the understanding that ultimate goal we have for ourselves may take a while to reach.  That "shit...I'm really not going to be Bill Kazmaier by this time next year!  Or ever!"

Sure, there are some guys who find success faster than others, but they are also going to ceiling out faster as well.  After 25 years, I feel like I'm just entering my best years.  Also after 25 years I have figured out that there's a lot left I still have to learn.  The biggest reason that is, is because my mind is far more open now, but I have a better filter on what I'm going to allow into it.

When you think you've got everything figured out, you really don't know shit.  And when you think you don't know shit, you probably have a nugget or two of knowledge to offer.


  1. Thanks for this. It's a common problem for us over-thinkers. I've been able to relax a lot more and just train this year, thanks in large part to your influence. Learned a lot about myself in the process. And I still over-think things.

    Now I just have to figure out how to put the food part on autopilot. I spend way too much time thinking about it and then not doing what I need to do or planned to do.

  2. You know, all my weak points got a lot less weak when I just lifted more...

  3. I think it's the cultures ability to think there is a quick fix for everything. When I hear people like yourself discussing their lifts which are 2-4x that of my own, I sometimes internally think that I'm doing wrong.

    I do find myself checking training methods, etc. I think the biggest part I got out of this whole thing was 25 years. I've been lifting for a little over a year.. No wonder you're 2-4x that of myself. Patience.

  4. Oh, it's so true. Too many people really do sweat the details. The problem now-a-days is that developing or finding the perfect program is beoming more of the quest than actually building strength. Not just strengt, but......Strength.

    In today's world--a lot of folks feel that they NEED to add a variety of exercises to complete the whole game. For instance, some people feel like they MUST do db curls or whatever to get the big pipes. Too many people walk into the gym and get flooded with an arsenal of exercises and they feel like they have to hit everything to be the best.

    Look, if its your first day. Congrats, you made the first step to becoming a stronger man. Just getting yourself to the gym is a big bold first step, dont complicate things by adding 50 exercises or spend months developing and consulting on how to create the perfect program.

    Honest to God, I remember one day where I said screw it. We are keeping this simple, jack. Walked in my garage and just benched. Left. Came back the next day, and just squatted. Left. Came back the next day and overhead pressed. Left. Came back the next day and just deadlifted. I did this for at least 2-3 weeks. Some of the best gains I've ever had. Simplicity. One big lift a day?? Why the fuck not? Simple and effective. Just train.

  5. It's funny I stumbled on an Ed Coan video about an hour ago and he echoed quite a few if not all the points you just made- go figure right? Keep it comin brother!

  6. I spun around for years over-analyzing every tidbit about training and technique looking for a magical nugget that would propel me to greatness when all this time it simply boiled down to one thing: great things come through simple, back breaking hard work and consistency. If I could sum up training and most goals in life in one sentence it would just be that.

  7. "So few people "just train" now because they are fixated on a method, rather than a result."

    GREAT line.

    I was thinking something similar the other day, that people fixate on an ATTITUDE, rather than a result, to borrow your phrasing. A few years ago, it was the SHW/multiply ethos: "eat like a pig! get your bloat on! eat your way up to at least 275!!" Today, Crossfit is king of letting attitude drive your training.

    But if you read training info from guys like John Kuc, Ed Coan, even Kazmaier, they don't talk about following some BS attitude-laden methodology. They talk about good, basic, consistent training over time.


  8. See you at the Chiefs/Cowboys game?

  9. Apropos of nothing, how do you feel about the Sheiko program? I feel like it echos a lot of your sentiments (high volume, practicing the lifts you want to get good at, lower percentages). Boris does not seem to be as much of a believer in assistance exercises as you are, howver.

  10. Good series:

  11. Could someone please direct me to the link mentioned in the article, regarding elbow pain and getting arms under the bar? I am having some trouble with the very same thing right now, although I think a lot of it has to do with poor shoulder mobility.

    Good read!

  12. Good post but thanks for reminding everyone pulling 3 or 4 plates how weak we are.

    1. "weak" is relative. The point is, on the way up, quit sweating all of the small details and just get some training in.