Saturday, February 13, 2016

You don't have to like it, you have to do it...The preventative Maintenance stuff!

In my last blog entry I made the groundbreaking observation that we should be doing strength training work that we enjoy less we stop strength training out of boredom.  Otherwise, we run the risk of descending into the gym hades known as yoga, Les Mills bullshit, and random inquisition-imitating cardio machinery.  So, if you find something that makes you strong that you enjoy, you should really do that. 

The intuitiveness of this blog is off-the charts I know...

Still, some amount of adulthood has to creep into strength training.  If you appreciate a healthy body then eventually you have to pay the bills with some lifts that keep shit balanced out.  Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I decided to read anatomy and physiology books to learn about how the body works.  The unfortunate problem with this facet of medical science is that if you don't use the knowledge, you lose it.  It's an enormous amount of memorization. 

One such takeaway that I gleaned from this experiment in drudgery was the something called tension integrity.  What that's all about is basically your joints and float on muscular tension rather than bones directly interlocking with one another.   So, keeping shit in proper working order is about making sure the pull between muscles is correct. 

In other words, balance.  Such a word might as well be written in an obscure, foreign dialect when talking to meatheads.  It doesn't have to be a call away from the extreme though.  It can be something as basic as doing either pull-ups, rope climbs, or rows as a supplement to pressing.  That has been the approach I've taken since I upped my overhead pressing work to three days a week.  As a result, I seem to have skipped the obligatory tightness I've heard others complain about with lots of weekly pressing work.

Please don't mistake this writer as someone who read a book and became magically smart though.  One thing that you realize when  you read anatomy books is that underneath your skin, there are tons of different cuts of meat with bizarre Latin names which you won't give a shit about until they hurt.   I'm not nearly smart enough to work out muscles that don't impress women on a regular basis either. 

This happened just recently when I was working out with sandbags mostly while traveling to Wisconsin.  I had some routines I built around having simply a 160 lbs and a 250 lbs sandbag.  After completing the job and eventually I got home, I stopped doing the shit I had been doing for months.  After all, I did those routines since I couldn't do anything else and since I had a bit more sophisticated gear at my disposal, I had no need to bother with my sandbag routines?

Life has a sense of humor in that regard.  Even I should have realized that crude doesn't mean ineffective.  Among the regular flavors on the sandbag exercise menu were good morning and walking lunges.  Around the time I dropped these out of my weekly hoisting, I started driving for work.   A lot.  Everywhere.  The driving was remarkably effective in turning my hip flexors into violin strings.  My deadlift took a major shit.

Realizing that this pain in my hips was really making my deadlift numbers vomit, I decided to start researching ways to stretch my hips out.  One stretch that almost perpetually came up was one that looked eerily similar to something I used to do at least once a week...

So, these movements aren't the sexiest lifts on earth.  They're not in a competition and they don't make it easier to lift hundreds of pounds.  So, they may not make in on your worlds favorite lifts any time soon.  Too bad.  You're an adult now.  That means your body isn't young.  You can't do whatever you want since you sit too fucking much.  You're going to have to do some PM to even out the fact that, generally speaking, we make dumb decisions with how we chose to move...or not move.  You don't have to like it but you do have to do it.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Why did I Change to Strongman?

Hi. i'm reading all your blog when i have free time, since 2007. Even if is too mutch "no pain no gain" for me. (training everyday etc)I really appreciate the content and what you write. I'm sorry you have only 500 like here. One thing that I did not understand is why you went from "no tools" to use the kettlebelsl and other "strongman stuff".continues to write please, it's good for my knowledge and motivation... bye and greetings from Italy!

Somewhere along the line last year I received this comment, probably on the Facebooks where I notoriously neglect to do much of anything to hype this place.  I put it here so I can comment on it further in a draft.  Then, like most everything that I did here last year, I completely forgot about it. 

Since then, as I've felt more compelled to write I took a second look at it.  The person who wrote it did bring up something that I've pondered myself since I decided to get into strongman:  why do I keep writing about it on "bodyweight" blog?  I've obviously strayed a long, long way from where I started this blog seven years ago.  Maybe I should start another one? 

Or, perhaps that my blog wasn't just about how I decided to move for purposes of getting strong.  Maybe I was making points about training all along about stuff that I don't really like in this little subculture of people who like to get strong.  As soon as I decided I wanted to make a conscientious effort to get stronger WAAAY back in 2002, I remember getting hit with ideas about how I had to
to do certain things to accomplish that end.  Indeed, there's a lot of, "do what I say and do", that goes on with lifting. 

You have to go to a gym...
How many times have I heard how necessary going to a gym to get your body in check I cannot even begin to say.  An early motivator for me to use bodyweight was with the traveling I did for work and my pinched finances from importing a Peruvian wife decimated my capability to use gyms to get strong.  Never being one to look at conventionality and say, "oh shit, I'm fucked," I searched for alternatives.  I stumbled down some bad alley ways for information here and there before I finally got things working properly but I managed to get stronger, even bigger, with just my body as the source of resistance. 

There is a distinct possibility that I will always work out more in parking lots and garages than I ever will in gyms. 

Even as I delved into strongman, I still don't regularly go to gyms to train.  I've got far more equipment than I used to.  I still travel a lot so I'm still largely minimalist.  My bodyweight training lessons served me well in that regard.  For my last competition,  I trained far more in a parking garage with two sandbags than I did in the gym down the street.  While didn't win, I was still competitive.

The moral of the story is that gyms are NICE.  They are not NECESSARY.  Yes, your life has to bend a bit to accommodate your training.  That doesn't mean that your training doesn't have to bend to your life as well.  You may not always be able to get to a gym.  You may not always be able to use weights, or use the type of weights that you want to use.  You have to figure out alternatives.  These alternative can get you strong. 

Do what you like to do
Okay, there were several points in time from 2002 to now where I could have easily joined a gym and lifted weights long before I did.   I didn't have to stay in hotel parking lots or my basement and do enormous quantities of weird push-up circuits.  The reason why I did was because I enjoyed doing it.  That's also the same reason why I started picking up weights and I ended up getting into strongman. 

Seriously, let that sink in for a moment.  Now think about how many people just do shit because they're told to do it in a gym, regardless of whether or not they actually enjoy what they're doing.  It's not surprising to me that people eventually stop training since, with weight training, you are either a bodybuilder, a powerlifter, an Olympic weight lifter, a strongman, or a crossfitter.   They all have their lifts, their protocols, their clothing, their programming, and even their own gyms.  They behave like idiotic, rowdy sports fans with their prodding criticisms of one another's styles of temporarily defeating the gravitational pull of an inanimate objects on a temporary basis.   That has to wear thin eventually. 
 Believe it or not, I enjoyed this!
So, seven years ago, I enjoyed bodyweight.  Now, I enjoy strongman.  It's actually that simple.  Both provide me with enjoyable ways of overcoming resistance and therefore, getting strong.  That needs to be remembered when people do this stuff.  You'll never find a definition in a dictionary that defines strength with a specific lift.  That's just the creation of a click within a subculture.  Never forget that. 

That's been the underlying theme of this blog for a long, long time.  Find a balance of working with what you have while doing what you like to do.  It doesn't matter with what implements you do that with or how you choose to move.