Yes, I'm back to blogging. Apologies for the long, long layoff. Someone commented that I better have a good excuse. Well, I was lazy and I had no desire to remove my writers block. Here's one I started writing but never finished up about 8 months ago...
For a guy who comes off as shocking well built, obviously strong as shit, and generally pretty spry, Nick McKinless certainly came off as a grumpy, old bastard.
Fuck it! Stop listening to the gifted, young people!Theoretically, I should disregard this grouchy-sounding ol' bastard since I'm under the age of 35 (as of this writing) except the guy has done just about everything that can be done to a body in the name of fun and games. So, I shouldn't disagree with my elders. Thing is, though, I don't.
- Anyone under 35 has an advantage.
- Anyone gifted has an immense advantage.
- Despite body type nuances anyone under 35 can do anything and gain muscle EASIER than anyone over 35 plus.
These are truths.
If you want to get better listen to the coaches and trainers that are still gaining muscle, staying lean, keeping in shape and generally improving. These people are the real teachers.
By all means follow the 'pretty trainers' and the 'gym bunnies with nice butts etc' but for the love of god DO NOT LISTEN TO THEIR ADVICE!!!
In my twenties and thirties I really thought I knew it all. After all I had a 640lbs Deadlift, a 310lbs Bench and a 440lbs Squat. And I was good at some VERY off lifts. Hah! And you thought I was gifted. Nope! The deadlift soon went away once I started hitting the ground as a stuntman.
The point is training is EASY when you are young and gifted. And so you mess your bodies up with bad form, stupid programming, showing off on social media, program hopping and bad recovery methods. Go for it! But I promise you it will catch you up.
Let's see how you all look in your 40's, 50's, 60' and beyond...AND what you can lift.
We've all watched our favorite highy-paid athletes get to around the age of 30-34 and proceed to degenerate into overpaid and hollowed out versions of their old selves. Its almost as though a light switch went off and they're just unable to turn it back on. What happened is pretty much what Nick McKinless is bitching about above.
Being a teens or twenty-something athlete is a grand time. Your body is still fresh and young, responding with aplomb to practically every stimulus in training that you throw at it with cheerful positivity. While it feels like no wrong can be done, something happens around the late 20-mid 30's. The body's new car smell wears off, so to speak. Abusive movements that a new body was able to shake off with alacrity suddenly create aches and pains. Or, as in my case, an injury happens that requires surgical repair. Once cut into, you're never really the same.
This isn't the end of the line but merely the point in an athletes' life where they are forced to accept that they just can't do anything they please without consequence. The body still has plenty of life to it but now care and consideration have to be applied to training if they wish to proceed onward at a high level.
This is why young lifters don't know shit. Chances are high that at 23, they've never had to adjust to anything in their training. When your body breaks, that's you really start learning about how to build it back up. That kind of problem solving with human muscle just can't be duplicated with a mere strength goal built towards with a fresh, young body. It requires so much more study and care.
I'm pretty sure my ACL tear was such a turning point. After reconstructive surgery and PT, I had a soda straw for a left leg. I maintained about a 180-185 lbs weight throughout the whole ordeal, most of it going to my upper body. Once I re-started training with my legs, I was partially smart. I used a lot of sled work since it didn't put to much stress on my knee outside of muscular tension. I did front squatted variations that forced me to use good squatting form (goblets, zerchers and belt squats).
I didn't do everything right though and proceeded to deadlifting (295 lbs for singles. Yes life sucked). Unfortunately, with my leg strength so imbalanced, I'd lock out the right leg first. Eventually, this caused irritation in my lumbar discs, taking me out of the deadlifting game for a while longer.
I focused mostly on squatting and quad strength. this proceeded to bite me in the ass when all of the quad-dominant work gave me IT band pains.
Then, the disc thing. Again. One week before my first strongman competition.
I eventually realized that I still lacked the natural hyperextension in my left knee. That still caused my right leg to lock first. So, I resorted to hyperextension work on a GHR to force that ligament to hyperextend a bit more naturally. Of course, the extra spinal erector strength didn't hurt either. I threw in more unilateral leg work, focusing on trying to focus on the muscular contraction each time I lifted something.
Take a look at that list of issues from one knee surgery. In one year's time, I had to figure out a way to bring my lower body strength back up, fix my back, rehabilitate my knee, and even out my leg strength. I learned about the importance of having natural joint movement back, the importance of unilateral strength training, and working with and around pain. At the end of it all, I came out stronger than I was before. That's not a learning curve that can be replicated with a simple strength goal. Dealing with a fragile body teaches someone the proper balance between strengthening without abusing. You just don't know that line when you're young, fresh, and have no wear on your body.
...off topic but you should really check this short that Nick made a while back