Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Pink Floyd Path

His name fails me but in the third Kettlebell workshop that I attended at Bodytribe, I ended up chatting with one of the other, fellow KB-lifters, discussing what we did for training. Like I've commented earlier, I'm "the Bodyweight Guy", in those parts. He said something that struck me as kind of interesting. For a long time, BW was the most reliably-available method of strength training that I could do. I had to make it work. Since I had so little contact with anyone else, in this guys words, "I wasn't told it couldn't work so I made it work"... or something to that effect.

That sort of reminds me of Pink Floyd. I watched a super-rare interview and documentary about them. According to David Gilmore (I think it was he who mentioned this), they were a bunch of guys who wanted to start a band but they had one problem: they didn't really know how to play any musical instruments. Obviously they learned. Gilmore said it wasn't easy but it did have a distinct advantage: when someone else teaches you to play an instrument, you'll always sound like someone else. It was a totally out-of-order way to become one of the greatest rock bands of all-time but they made it work. In a sense, they didn't know any other way to do it, so they did it the only way they knew how.

It's too common to omit the fact that strength is the same way these days. There are a multitude of instruments that can be used in very different ways to create great amounts of force. Furthermore, we all tailor it just a little bit differently to suit our needs and wants. I don't think that strength can be fully understood if this isn't accepted. There aren't as many unmovable rules to strength training as people out there (who really want your money at all costs) would have you believe.

It was bad enough that I decided to get strong without using the traditional strength training apparatus (as of the this draft of this entry, I have worked out with a barbell twice in my life). I also didn't organize my movements properly. I didn't even use weights for a while. There was a time when I didn't know the meaning of circuit training, even though that was basically what I was doing. I was never told that I couldn't get strong training like that. I never heard that it was just for beginners or it was only good for endurance. Still, I made it work well, presumably moving past what could be considered, "a beginner."

Sure, there are better ways than others to arrive at strong than others. It's obvious that it's way easier to learn how to play a musical instrument than on your own. Improvising as you go usually means that you'll make more mistakes before you get it right. A teacher is, in part, someone who has screwed it up before and can effectively tell you where the mistakes happen. Still, if you're smart about things, you'll find a way to make it work even if someone isn't showing you the way. Too often, teachers are people who benefit from you doing it THEIR way. Forcing you down that way while telling you that's the only way to do it should always raise red flags. Ultimately, it's your body and your strength. The journey and the destintion should suit you.

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