I like the comparison of art and strength training for a lot of reasons. It applies, even demands, a sense of personal expression and some originality. Thinking about it like that, maybe that's why people are so intrigued by the old-timers like Paul Anderson, Arthur Saxon and Joseph Greenstein: they were trail-blazers. They started lifting, or otherwise expressing strength, in ways that were very unique. I find it far more fascinating to see a guy squatting 55 gallon drums of dirt while standing in a hole that it came from than seeing which McStrength athlete just deadpress-squatted 5,000 lbs.
As you can see, it also gets the chicks too!
Asshole-blogger Jamie Lewis as the inspiration behind me writing this post, especially when he threw this quote up from Fritz Perls: "I am not in this world to live up to other people's expectations, nor do I feel that the world must live up to mine." So, why do too many people go out to the gym, or their respective place of muscle-worship, trying to be like someone else, taking their goals as their own? Real training is about fusing the body and spirit with intense, severe movements. Your soul and your body combined are as different from the next person are as snowflakes falling from the sky. How could the same, exact exercise glue even begin to work the same? Why do we wonder how people can quit on their goals so easily when they get to a certain point? It's the body-soul equivalent of putting aluminum foil in place of a fuse! Stop looking, wishing, and wanting to be something that you're not and find a set of goals that moves you. Optimize yourself and quit molding your routine to make you like someone else. Find things that few, if any, dare to try. Most of all, do it for yourself. Don't turn the whole experience into a repetitive game of follow the leader. ...This might seem hypocritical coming from a guy who took up a challenge named after a famous bodybuilder but like I said, there's not a whole lot left to innovate and in a world dry of originality. It doesn't take much to stand apart. My 100-rep, 1/2 BW squat set (Steve Reeves challenge) is moving along quite well. I'm down to three sets, two-25 rep sets and one-50 rep set. I decided to give myself a break and switch to back-squatting half my BW (which would be about 87 lbs) rather than front-squat it. It's a bit easier on the shoulders but still plenty difficult to blow me away as a finisher.
My more-original 3" rope climb is on the shelf. Actually, it's in the truck, in Sacramento. I won't get it back until mid-April. In the meantime, I'm just plugging away on the grip training stuff. HARD! I don't do a pull-up or a chin-up that doesn't require me to grip anything less than 2" thick. I even cooked up a single-hand deadlift with my sandbag that's pretty fun. My fingers told me that trying to grip the bag was a bad idea so after some trial-and-error, I found a good fit for me: I attach a softball to my sandbag with an eye-bolt and a carabiner. Five reps on each hand make me happy, in a hard way!
You've been reading long enough now. Go find something cool and different to make yourself sweat!