Saturday, May 18, 2013

Shooting My Mouth Off: Youtube-internet judge edition!

The pain killers must really be kicking in.  Or, maybe sleeping and living on a couch for days in essentially one position is starting to get on my nerves.  Whatever it is, I feel a strange compulsion to let my inner asshole out and figuratively wear a shirt that I've long avoided...

This is a real T-shirt...and get it here!
Maybe it's because I'd kick a loved one upside the head just to be able to get back to bent pressing, hack squatting, or at least some truck pushing.  I love to move...not some pointless flailing but with some sense of control and purpose.  I blew my knee out from lack of control (missed a step).  I don't see the point in doing a movement, BW or with a heavy object, with the intent of just getting it done at all cost.  The whole point, as far as I'm concerned, is to get stronger from the move.  You don't get stronger if you get hurt.  You don't get stronger by taking shortcuts just for the sake of getting the  move done. 

So it only makes sense when I see someone picking up something way too heavy, with their body simultaneously convulsing like they're being electrocuted and bending like an overloaded beer trailer at a Cinco De Mayo party, I'm not really that impressed.  In fact, just downright hideous.  Lifting like that isn't impressive and I'll tell you why.  There's such a thing known as absolute strength and that's using 100% of your muscles.  At any given time, you barely use a third of your power, even if you think you're using it all.  Your mind blocks most of the power subconsciously because it's for emergency use only.  Your tendons and ligaments probably won't hold up to that kind of contractile force.  If your mind senses a life or death situation, then it'll kick in.  After all, what good are in tact connective tissue on a corpse? 
So, in other words, your lifting past sensible physical limitations is both stupid (you're wrecking yourself)  and half-assed (you're still a mental midget because you can't harness your full muscular power) at the same time.  Nobody really admires someone lifting in such cartoonish mannerisms anyway.  What's impressive is lifting big shit and making it look like it's not that big. 

So, I've established that I'm no fan of lifting grotesquely past physical limitations.  I'm also not always a of a fan of modifying equipment to make lifting easier simply for the sake of moving more weight.  What I'm getting with this statement is some of the sandbag lifts I've seen.  Since I bought my Alpha Strong Sandbags two years ago, a day rarely goes by when I don't use either Thy Beast or, more recently, Thy Kraken.  Implicit in sandbag training is that the sand can shift with each lift, creating an awkward weight that isn't exactly the same each time you pick it up and put it down.  That movement is the cornerstone of sandbag training.  So, it baffles my mind to see people filling sandbags to the point where they are rigid and, even worse, finding a way to tie them up so the sand barely shifts at all.  
...I had a specific video in mind of an an Xpurt doing exactly this but it won't upload!  Shit!

I learned quickly that I had to learn how to do a clean if I wanted to get serious about training with sandbags.  I'd never done a barbell clean previously.  When I got around to doing one, with 135 lbs, I was surprised that it was much easier than cleaning my 87 lbs sandbag.  That's how much difference a shifting weight can make.   Sandbags aren't simply about how much they weigh.  It's about how much more they fight back when we attempt to lift them. 

In case you're wondering if I still do BW and if I still write about it yet then the answer is still yes to both and I've got some major peeves about what passes as rope climbing in some circles.   Unless you're Czech, there probably isn't any organized rope climbing competitions unless it's part of an obstacle course.  If there was one that I started, the goal would be to get up it as fast as possible, not counting the descent speed for anything.  The reason should be self-explanatory:  too easy to let gravity do the work for you.    That should count as much for rope climbing as a six-pack counts on a skinny guy. 
So, naturally, it drives me nuts to see someone climb a rope and then do some sort of controlled crash downwards, and then recording how fast they can go for the whole damn thing.  If there's no rope climbing competition federation, then it doesn't matter how fast you do the whole thing.  Fast therefore shouldn't be the point.  Once again, the point should be to get as strong as possible from climbing the rope.  To get the most out of the experience, go up fast and down slower. 

Maybe that's why I have a certain aversion to what competitive lifters of all stripes do for training.  The way I see it, it's all ass-backwards.  They all do different lifts but they all have the same thing in common:  they want to lift as much weight as possible with a few, chosen moves.  They define strength too narrowly.  When goals around movement become too focused, the mind looks for shortcuts.  These shortcuts always have a way of loosing the purpose of the exercise in the first place.  Perhaps this is more apparent to me as I watch my left thigh atrophy from weeks of being nothing more than a few dozen pounds of deadweight and my frustrated mind aches for physical stimulation beyond hobbling around on crutches. 

Yes, I'm currently reduced to being an internet couch judge.  If you're not, then for fucks sake don't take for granted that you can move, lift and climb.  Don't waste that ability on short-cuts.  

Or maybe I'm an asshole like the rest of them...

1 comment:

Fiona Silk said...

Dude... you're not an asshole... you're... RIGHT!

Spot on.

Great post.