Monday, February 28, 2011

The Best Thing I Ever Saw Done With a Television

Following is an article that appeared in a local newspaper awhile ago. While it isn't directly about hardcore training, the concept is something to think about. We espouse the values of training and living in the Warrior tradition. This requires us to live and be quite abit different than the average person. The values of much of the world as reflected in the media is that we all are entitled to success without the work required to attain it. Take some pills, have a surgery, look great. Buy a super new device for only 10 easy payments and in only minutes a day you will be toned and fit. We are literally bombarded daily with images and voices telling that we need some help to measure up. Without getting overly philosphical, the intelligent Warrior knows that the best thing to do with a television is to see how far he can throw it!
"In the 1990s, a group of researchers from Harvard went to Fiji and observed what happened when television was being introduced.

The researchers talked to young women just as TV went in and found that the Fijian teenagers had virtually no eating disorders. Fijians have traditions associated with eating, and robust body sizes were common and culturally preferred.

Three years later, researchers found that 11.3 percent of girls had purged at least once to lose weight. By 2007, that number had grown to 45 percent.

Not only that, but poor Fijians began to wish for consumer goods that few could afford. Researchers said television was a storm that arrived in their lives. Family structures eroded, and within less than two decades, as many as one in four young women reported having suicidal thoughts.

So great is the influence of television that a new study from this Harvard team suggests that young women in Fiji become familiar with disordered eating through their friends when their friends have television but they don’t.

Fijians, of course, aren’t alone.

A 1982 study in the United States looked at what happened to crime rates across the country when television was introduced between 1951 and 1955. The study’s authors found an increase in larceny. It appears that, much like in Fiji, people saw the lives of characters on television and began to desire those lifestyles, which were often out of reach.

I thought of those studies after a recent visit to the wonderful Wasatch Front. As I drove along I-15, I saw advertisement after advertisement inviting me to “liposuck” this and “tummy tuck” that and “laser” this and “enhance” that.

Something about those advertisements made me feel inadequate. I sucked in my gut and wanted to look different than I do.

And then I realized something: Here I am a man with a relatively mature identity, and I feel this way. How must young women feel as thin bodies — often digitally enhanced — plaster themselves in front of women in advertising 24 hours a day and create an impossible ideal? What kind of shame must many be tempted to feel?

The science seems significant.

In 2006, a study of what 39 college-age women were shown attractive models from women’s magazines, and those women immediately reported significant increases on a body-shame index. In essence, they felt significantly worse about themselves for merely having seen the advertisements.

Envy. Shame. Disorder. Fear. Such sits in the wake of modern media.

The word "media" — the plural form of medium — is a spiritualist term. Spiritualism, of course, is the old tradition where people attempted to speak with dead relatives through a person called a medium. Media, therefore, help us hear ghosts.

And so it is: Ghostly voices rebuke us through mass media. Soulless voices sit on the side of the road and rebuke our bodies. Ghostly images dancing on television rebuke our inadequate homes, cars and lifestyles. These ghosts in the machine lie and promise happiness, freedom and solutions to pain. As with the spiritualists, many in modern media are charlatans, selling false hope.

Now, I would not criticize anyone who has chosen to do as some advertisements invite. There are healthy reasons to purchase many of the things advertised on the freeway. Nor would I criticize advertising an honest product for a fair price. Further, effective advertising can encourage healthy lifestyle choices. And as a teacher of media, I would be the last to deny the great good media can do. These don’t comprise my point.

My point is the rebuke — both plain and subtle — that we and our children face through many media messages. Were a friend to criticize me for my appearance or habits or lifestyle, I would feel hurt or feel confused. In modern society, we face these rebukes every day, hour by hour from the unfriendly, ghostly voices on the side of the road subtly telling us we are inadequate.

Is it any wonder so many struggle with debt? Is it any wonder that so many struggle with eating disorders? Is it any wonder so many feel assaults on their self-image amid shame?

Media aren’t responsible for our choices, but few can avoid the petty pain of the relentless rebuke and soulless shame each day can bring from the monster media. "

The most intellegent thing you can do with a television.

Making the world a better place, one TV at a time.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fountain of Youth Followup

Not long ago we posted on the Fountain of Youth. Below is an inspiring story of a thrower who seems to have found something that works. He may not be as good as he once was.... but he is certainly amazing.

As reported for IronMind by Francis Brebner, 70-year old Vern Alexander broke four masters world records at the Queen Mary Highland Games in Long Beach, California.

2011 Queen Mary Highland Games
by Francis Brebner

The 2011 Highland Games season got off to a great start in Southern California with 66 athletes competing at the 18th annual Queen Mary Highland Games this past weekend in Long Beach.

The weekend's weather was perfect for record-breaking performances despite a very brief downpour of rain that did not dampen the athletes' sprits in the least.

The highlight of throwing over the two days came from the masters' division. Vern Alexander, a four-time winner of the Masters' World Championships in the +60 category and now at the well-developed age of 70, proved he was still a force to be reckoned with. He faced off against his longstanding rivals once again and rewrote the pages of Highland Games history by
producing four masters' world records in a single day, a feat practically unheard of.

The first world record to fall was the 16-lb. hammer: Alexander smashed the old record of 74' 1/2" with a new record distance of 84' 8-1/2". In the 22-lb. hammer, Alexander again demolished the old record of 57' 4" with a new world record distance of 63' 3-1/4".

In the 28-lb. weight-for-distance, Vern pulled out a winning throw and astounded the large crowd with yet another world record of 44' 10-1/2", crushing the old record of 40' 6". Now with three new world records established, all eyes were on Vern as he prepared for the 42-lb. weight-for-distance. Vern did not disappoint his growing fan club that had been cheering him on throughout the day. He notched up his fourth world record-breaking performance as he added more than 1' to the old record of 26' 6" with the new distance of 28' 7-1/2".

Asking Vern how he felt about setting four new world records in one day, Vern replied, "It hasn't sunk in yet. This is something that I thought I could possibly do over the course of the season. The distances are more than what I ever thought I would have achieved in my first competition of the season."

Asking Vern about his training over the winter, he replied, "I am very active and keep myself in shape. I still work around my two-acre property and walk up to five miles every day and eat very healthy. I think my lifestyle definitely helps in keeping myself in good form and is what has helped me produce my record performances.

"I am somewhat surprised at my throwing in the light hammer, as I am throwing it farther than what I have done in the last four years."

When asked about what keeps him going in the sport, Vern said, "I have been competing now for seventeen years and most of the athletes I compete against are like family. It's great to get out there and compete with them and above all it's the atmosphere of the Games for me. It's just fantastic."

When most men Vern's age are sitting down to a cup of tea while reading the paper or vegging out watching TV, this is something you won't find Vern doing as this old war horse is out in the field lifting and throwing around weights. Just like a fine wine, Vern Alexander seems to be improving each year, with a lot more to come.

More power to you Vern.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dangerous Lifts?

In a followup to our last post, here is some more from Sean Waxman. My comments are in blue.

Olympic lifting bashers will proclaim the Clean and Snatch dangerous but have no problem with a box squat! Explain to me how sitting on a box while compressing ones spine from both ends and relaxing the hip-flexors is perfectly safe while... the Olympic lifts are dangerous? I'm not sure I understand this line of reasoning. While I agree with Sean and personally do not use the Box Squat (I don't like the feeling my spine gets between a heavy weight and an immovable object) I suppose it can be executed safely with proper equipment, coaching, and technique. Greg Shepard, founder of Bigger, Faster, Stronger (BFS) teaches it as a very controlled exercise to be done with weights not in excess of about 100 lb.(45 kg) or so above the athletes best full squat. However in reality, I seldom see them performed in this manner. In many weight rooms the box squat is an excuse for wannabe squatters to load way in excess of what they can squat and bounce up for reps.Again I think of Meg Ritchie's quote "There are no dangerous lifts, just dangerous coaches"

How Can Anybody Say This Is Safer Than A Power Clean!

While I agree, this is most certainly dangerous...


The fact is, Olympic Weightlifting is the safest form of resistance training (Hamill, B. Relative Safety of Weightlifting and Weight Training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 8(1):53-57. 1994). Coaches who proclaim otherwise DO NOT KNOW HOW TO COACH THE LIFTS PROPERLY.
I cannot agree more. The lifts are not dangerous when performed properly. But what passes for the lifts in most weightrooms is certainly an injury waiting to happen.
I see very few coaches who take the time to teach first. They are usually too much in a hurry to load up the bar. "We don't have time to teach technique, we need to get strong!!" It's like being to busy chopping to sharpen the axe.
As much as we like to pretend to be civilized, we're all still members of tribal units. We still divide the world up into "us" and "them." "They" want to come here and steal "our" cattle, take "our" land, and enslave "our" people. Everyone does it. We're still just as tribal as our pre-historic ancestors were. Only now we have instituted laws so that we don't take up clubs and bash each other's brains in. Really? I guess I better put my club away then. lol

Coaches who are part of the "Westside/Powerlifting" tribe will always extoll the value and saftey of the Box Squat and other training means over the Snatch and Clean for athletic development. Anyone who has watched the documentary Bigger, Stronger, Faster knows that the Westside lifters are powered by more than just "conjugate training" methods. Applying this type of training to drug tested athletes in other more athletic sports is pretty iffy. While coaches who are members of the "Olympic Lifting" tribe will zealously defend the Olympic lifts as the best and safest method for athletic development.

Tribal warfare changes when one tribe develops better weaponry then the other. Olympic Weightlifting has the ultimate weapon...Its called SCIENCE!
The trouble here in the U.S.A. is that much of what passes for science in the area of resistance training is garbage. University PE classes working out for 12-14 weeks does not shed much light on heavy training by high level athletes. Having said that, I agree with Sean that Weightlifting, correctly implemented, is backed up by plenty of evidence, empirical and otherwise.

So the next time somebody wants to argue Olympic Weightlifting is not safe, tell them that they shouldn't bring a club to a gun fight!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"We are not trying to be like Weightlifters in here!"

We have posted some stuff off of Sean Waxman's website before. I like Sean's directness. Recently he posted some comments on the mantra that is so often repeated by "Strength Coaches". "We are coaching athletes, not weightlifters!!" Here is Sean's take on the topic.....
"This nice little mound of BS really stinks. I often wondered what coaches really mean when they say "We are not trying to be like Weightlifters in here!" Is it secret code for "we are not trying to develop pasty white, anti-social mutants, who's idea of fun is staying home and watching the 1986 World Weightlifting Championships frame by frame?" Or is it they are not trying to develop strong and powerful athletes? Is there a secret "non-Weightlifter" method of teaching the Olympic lifts that I missed in coaching school?

You will often hear those Mensa like words spouted from the mouths of coaches who have actually seen good Weightlifting and know that it should be in their programs. However, because of their inability to coach the Snatch and Clean properly, and their unwillingness to improve upon this inability, these coaches have created their own bizarro world. In their world, efficiently executed Olympic lifts are considered something only to be done by Weightlifters. While rounded backs, wide stances, forward hips, and swinging bars are perfectly acceptable because they are not trying to be like Weightlifters...HUH! "
Look at this assorted group of clips taken off of Youtube. They represent only a small fraction of the garbage that passes for weightlifting. Tell me, is this really preferable to solid lifting technique? Is it really so hard to teach proper technique to good athletes? What is so difficult about flat back, shoulders over the bar, arms relaxed? What is so hard about developing a rack position? I'm afraid these examples are only injuries waiting to happen. See for yourself. I rest my case.

Another perpetuation of the myth that X number of reps = a huge Max lift. No way.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Is Throwing the Fountain of Youth?

Not quite. Centuries ago the Spanish explorer Ponce De Leon landed somewhere on the coast of present day Florida here in the U.S.A. in search of a fountain of youth that he had heard about. Of course the natives who were living there took one look at him and his entourage and knew they didn't want them in the neighborhood. So they replied, "Fountain of Youth?, Sure, you bet. Just keep heading west, you can't miss it." Well, the way I heard it, Ponce and his crew got the same reply from each of the native tribes they ran into and ended up somewhere near present day Kansas before they gave up and turned back. After several more vain attempts, he eventually succumbed to a poisoned arrow before he could get really old. Recently on "The Ring" there has been some discussion on aging and training. Now that I have seen the sunrise 20, 400+ times in my life, I find myself very much more interested in that topic than I was years ago. As they say, "Getting old is not for sissies." However I have resigned myself to the fact that there is only one alternative to getting older and unless you are ready to be the honored guest at a funeral, then you better find a way to embrace the process. I ran across an interesting article a few days ago. You can read the whole thing by clicking on the link.

Or just check out the abstract below. It basically says that we are eventually going to get older and weaker, but we can slow down the process with resistance training. I have found that to be true and occasionally an "experienced, mature" person can still outdo a younger, but less seasoned athlete. lol Awhile back we posted a video clip of L.J. Silvestor still throwing at 70+ years as well as Anders Arrhenius still lifting some heavy iron at 60+. There are many other great examples of those who are not willing to burn out or fade away.
Human aging is associated with skeletal muscle atrophy and functional impairment (sarcopenia). Multiple lines of evidence suggest that mitochondrial dysfunction is a major contributor to sarcopenia. We evaluated whether healthy aging was associated with a transcriptional profile reflecting mitochondrial impairment and whether resistance exercise could reverse this signature to that approximating a younger physiological age. Skeletal muscle biopsies from healthy older (N = 25) and younger (N = 26) adult men and women were compared using gene expression profiling, and a subset of these were related to measurements of muscle strength. 14 of the older adults had muscle samples taken before and after a six-month resistance exercise-training program. Before exercise training, older adults were 59% weaker than younger, but after six months of training in older adults, strength improved significantly (P<0.001)>We conclude that healthy older adults show evidence of mitochondrial impairment and muscle weakness, but that this can be partially reversed at the phenotypic level, and substantially reversed at the transcriptome level, following six months of resistance exercise training.

Train smart, live well, and enjoy the journey.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Too Much Muscle

Here is an article I really like. I saw it on the T-Nation site. Glenn Pendlay is a successful coach who has developed some great lifters from the junior to elite levels and also has developed a following training athletes in a variety of sports. I really like his approach. We have featured some of his stuff in earlier posts also. The article is somewhat lengthy, but worth the effort to read. I find it very applicable to throwers. In fact, I think it further validates the compatibility and synergism of lifting and throwing. I will highlight what I think are the most important points in red and make a few comments in blue.

Too Much Muscle
The Glenn Pendlay Secret
by Chris Shugart – 2/08/2011

Glenn Pendlay, noted Olympic weightlifting coach, has a problem: His athletes are building too much muscle, too fast.
The weightlifters are growing right out of their weight classes... while losing body fat.
They're not training for hypertrophy, but they're gaining muscle much faster than people who are. People like you.
And they're doing it by not training like bodybuilders.
Do you feel sorry for Pendlay and his "problem?" We don't either. So when Christian Thibaudeau, Tim Patterson, and I called him, we didn't tell him we were sorry to hear about his little accidental hypertrophy issue. Nope, we interrogatedhim about it.
We wanted to know how his athletes were training. We wanted to hack his system and pass that info on to you. This is what we learned.

Testosterone Nation: Your athletes, whether they're Olympic lifters or football players getting ready for the NFL Combine, are known for putting on muscle very quickly. But you're not a hypertrophy coach per se.
Glenn Pendlay: I'm not a bodybuilding coach. I coach high-level athletes. For me, it's never been about how you look but about how much you lift or how fast you run or how high you jump. Still, I've often had trouble keeping an athlete down in his weight class.
Anybody can "bulk up." Eat a ton of food, drink a bunch of milk, do your major exercises like squats and bench presses and rows and deadlifts and military presses... it's just not that hard to gain 20 pounds with at least some of it being muscle. Most people that "can't" do it have simply not done the program correctly.
Of course, done that way you don't end up looking good naked. And you usually don't end up running faster, jumping higher, or having the ability to close the cushion in the first five yards off the line if you're a football receiver. What we do, the way we train, seems to increase lean body mass, decrease body fat, and definitely adds to your ability to run and jump and do athletic things.
If you're trying to get someone to be as good as they can be in the 94 kilo class – where 207 pounds is the most they can weigh – the object is to get them as strong as possible within that weight class. That means being very lean because the more body fat you have the less muscle you can carry and still be in the weight class. And it means making any muscle that is added very functional: muscle that adds to performance and not just to the bicep measurement.
T NATION: It's a little frustrating to hear that a lot of athletes build very muscular and lean bodies without ever "bodybuilding" in the traditional sense of the word. Train for performance, look like a bodybuilder, or at least a drug-free bodybuilder.

Pendlay: If you look at the physiques of a lot of the guys I coach, whether they're weightlifters or in the NFL, they're not professional bodybuilders, but they possess the physiques that would be looked at as ideal by nine out of ten people who don't want to use drugs. They just want to look good with their shirts off.
Look at the average running back in the NFL – he has a very muscular, very lean, functional physique. Most people will see that physique as more realistic. They don't want to do the drugs necessary to look like a pro-bodybuilder.
In fact, they'd preferto look like the running back rather than a pro-bodybuilder. Ninety-nine percent of people want to look like Jon North or T.J. Ward.
Last year when we did T.J.'s Combine prep, he gained 20 pounds of lean body mass. That guy looks scary without his shirt, just densely muscular and lean.

Methods & Metabolism
T NATION: Okay, let's get to it. How are these guys gaining muscle so quickly?
Pendlay: When weightlifters start doing a ton of extra workouts that are concentric-only, they have a problem: they grow out of their weight class. And that's with lean muscle, not fat.
We do very frequent training. We have a certain number of workouts per week that are very high intensity. We have only a couple of workouts per week that involve heavy eccentric loading, something like squatting.
We do very frequent, very high intensity, concentric loading. We do it for weightlifters, we do it for professional athletes, we do it for guys getting ready for the NFL Combine... we do it for everybody.
You get stronger and you gain lean body mass without gaining fat. You train like that, that often, then it's actually difficult to gain fat; your metabolism is going like a furnace.
T NATION: You've talked in our forums about how this is related to hormones. Can you elaborate?
Pendlay: The research I did getting my master's degree was all hormonal based. I'm always looking at how training influences the hormonal response, and, if you get it right, how hormonal response influences the results you get from training. That made a huge impact on how I've designed my training philosophy.
The whole-body type of workout, where you're doing big, stressful exercises, stimulates a powerful hormonal response. That's one of the reasons why people who aren't on drugs get the most benefits from a completely different training style than those who are on drugs.
Someone who's on drugs already has all the testosterone his system can handle. Someone who's not on drugs needs to train in a way that stimulates his body's production of hormones.
T NATION: That makes sense.
Pendlay: If you're a pro-bodybuilder who's taking the things that pro-bodybuilders take, then you don't have to train the same way or worry about the same things as your average 25-year old guy who wants to build muscle and isn't going to take drugs to do it. Those are two completely different systems of training.
What we're talking about is doing things that stimulate the whole body more. You're not doing isolation work; you're not coming in and doing curls and blasting your biceps once a week with 20 sets. Instead you're doing big exercises, leaning towards a whole-body workout.
Not everyone needs to do a whole-body workout, but they certainly don't need to do chest one day, biceps the next, etc. Whole-body workouts or upper/lower splits are the answer.
You're training more frequently, and as you get into better shape your goal is to start including "extra" workouts where you do very explosive, fast movements and, generally, concentric-only movements.

T NATION: What does your upper/lower split look like?
Pendlay: My favorite split is squatting and pressing on Monday and Thursday. Then, on Tuesday and Saturday, we pull. That includes variations of the snatch and clean, as well as pull-ups and rows.
T NATION: How often are your athletes training?
Pendlay: My best athletes are in the gym twice a day, every day, and every single workout they're working their hips, their backs, and their legs.
Regular people may not be able to always do that, but that's the ultimate expression of what I'm talking about. What the regular guy can do is build towards that. He can look at what these athletes do and copy it to the best of his ability in the time that he has in the day. (I would like to point out that throwing is a resistance exercise also, done a high speed. This needs to be considered when computing total volume and frequency)

The Best O-Lifts and the Push Press
T NATION: Okay, what's one lift the hypertrophy-focused guy needs to learn from the Olympic-lifting world?
Pendlay: Either cleans or snatches. Preferably both. If you can't do a full snatch, then do a power snatch. Do some sort of explosive pull, then drop the bar. If you can't drop the bar in your gym, then at least lower it in a way that you're not getting a huge eccentric load.
For upper body development, people should focus more on push presses, where the weight moves fast and explosively. I want people push-pressing every week.
There's also a ton of value for the average guy who wants to get more muscular to pull a sled or push a Prowler. Everyone who wants hypertrophy should emphasize those things more than they do now.
T NATION: Break down the push press for us. Why should the bodybuilder use it instead of, say, a military press?
Pendlay: The push press has more carryover to pressing in general – bench press etc. – than any other upper body exercise. Show me a guy who can push press a big weight and he's going to be able to excel at any other pressing movement, even if he's never done it before.
A big bench presser doesn't get that same carryover. I don't want to have 400-pound bench pressers who can't do anything else. The guy who can do heavy push presses doesn't have that problem. He's strong at everything. (I concur 100%)
And that can't be done with the strict military press either. It's too hard to get it moving. You have such a weak point at the start that it limits the amount of weight you can use.
With a push press, you can put 10 to 20% more weight over your head. You're forced to develop the ability to recruit those muscle fibers very quickly because you're pushing the bar off your shoulders with your legs and then your arms have to come into play, fast, so it doesn't stall. The ability to do that is very, very valuable.
Second, with the push press there's just a huge overload at the top. That last six inches at the top is like doing a partial. That has a powerful effect on the body.
T NATION: Wow, time to start push pressing more often! Give us the important points of how you want to see people push press.
Pendlay: They have to rack the bar correctly. Most people rest it on their clavicles, but what they need to do is shrug their shoulders up, putting their elbows slightly forward so the bar is resting on their deltoids. Then they have to stay on their heels and use and dip and drive.
After the leg drive, they have to push with their arms immediately, not pause for three seconds. Think rate of force production. It's also very important to end with the weight behind your head, not in front of it. At the very least, a vertical line dropped from the bar should pass behind the ears, and you should pause momentarily at the top, every rep.

Speed Kills

T NATION: Explosive training is making a comeback, so to speak, in hypertrophy training. Why exactly?
Pendlay: Explosive movements teach your muscles to "turn on." Everybody should do explosive movements!
If you get better at explosive movements then you're going to get more out of your other training. If you get better at jumping on a box then you're going to get more benefit from squatting because your nervous system is going to be tuned up to utilize every available motor unit.
If you can turn on an extra 10 or 20% of motor units when you're squatting, you're going to get more benefit out of it. The easiest form of explosive training is to just jump on a plyo box.
T NATION: Give us an example of explosive training.
Pendlay: I'm looking out my office window right now. I see football players doing explosive, clap-style push-ups. What we do is, we make two stacks of two 25 kilo bumper plates. They do a push-up explosively and land with their hands on the bumper plates, about five or six inches off the ground. From there they push up again and land back on the floor.
That type of exercise is a huge complement to bench-pressing if your goal is to have a bigger chest and shoulders.
I see some other guys doing a medicine ball drill where one kid is standing on a box and throwing a ten-pound ball at another kid who's lying on the floor. He throws the ball back up as fast as he can, no pause. Again, it's sort of a bench press movement.
Bench presses are slow and heavy. The push-up drill is faster since you're using only body weight. Then you have the med ball drill, which is light and fast. The lesson: You need to train at different speeds. From heavy, heavy, slow bench presses to throwing a ten-pound medicine ball as fast as you can.
Put all this together and what does it mean? It means that we get a guy who weighs 180 with a 30-inch vertical and pretty soon he weighs 200 with a 35-inch vertical... and he's leaner. If he's a football player then he's going to be able to push people off the line. A 500 pound bench press isn't going to do him much good if he's slow.
He's not only added muscle, he's ramped up his nervous system. It allows him to use the muscle he has more effectively. He doesn't just get bigger. He gets bigger and faster and stronger, all at the same time. (It would seem that throwing and lifting are an ideal combination)
T NATION: Train at different speeds. Got it. And you break that down into three speeds, basically?
Pendlay: Yes. The guy who's having trouble getting bigger and stronger and leaner is going into the gym and training one speed. What he needs to do is train at a variety of speeds: explosive, super explosive (medicine ball), medium-level plyos (body-weight box jumping), and alsodo squats and bench presses.
He'll look better and be a better athlete. In athletics, speed kills. The Olympic lifts are a big part of training at different speeds. (So is throwing various weighted implements)They're in between deadlifting and jumping.

The Rule and the Row
T NATION: Any general rule with the Olympic lifts for those of us not training under the watchful eye of a coach?
Pendlay: If you miss the lift three times, stop. No matter how good you feel. Three strikes and you're out. (I like this rule, no need to practice missing. Either drop the amount of weight, or come back another day)Also, use the Internet. There are a number of pretty good tutorials on how to learn the lifts.
T NATION: Not many coaches have exercises named after them. You do. What are Pendlay Rows?
Pendlay: Well, I didn't give them this name myself. Someone else started calling them that and it kind of got traction.
Basically, this came about because I advocated doing rows in such a way as to keep the back parallel or near parallel to the floor the whole lift, return the bar to the floor between each rep, and explosively attempt to flex the thorasic spine on each rep. Very different than a standard barbell row.
T NATION: Any final tips for the T NATION audience?
Pendlay: One way or another, you need to be able to explosively lift a bar and drop it.
And if you can figure out a way to train more frequently, then you'll get better results. Period. Olympic lifts either have no eccentric component or a very small eccentric component, so you can do them pretty damn often. And "pretty damn often" means better results.
Lastly, I've always said that people do too damn many exercises, and they don't concentrate on the ones they do correctly. Take just about any college strength program for football. You'd be better off if you randomly crossed out half the exercises, then spent your time doing the ones that are left correctly and with focus. (AMEN)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Where's the Beef?

It apparently is not at Taco Bell. (Anyone for a Mexican inspired, meat inspired taco?) Rulon Gardner, who we featured in an earlier post seems to have a handle on it. After all, what's a pound and a half burger when you are trying to lose 200lb.?lol

AFTON, Wyo. (AP) -- An Olympic champion wrestler has been serving a 1.5-pound hamburger at his Wyoming restaurant, even while competing to be The Biggest Loser on TV.

The mighty Rulon Burger at Rulon Gardner's Burger Barn restaurant is so big it's molded in a pizza tin. It comes on a bun with all the toppings.

Gardner won gold at the 2000 Olympics by beating Alexander Karelin, a Russian who hadn't lost in 13 years. Gardner's challenge to all comers now: Finish the burger plus a basket of fries and a 44-ounce drink in 20 minutes.

Winners get a signed Rulon Gardner Olympic Champion T-shirt and their name on Rulon's Wall of Fame. Gardner's best time is 8 minutes, 23 seconds, set when he opened the restaurant in his hometown in 2004.

This year, Gardner has been competing to lose weight on the NBC show, The Biggest Loser. He weighed in at the beginning at 474 pounds, more than 200 pounds heavier than when he won gold.

His reality show teammate, Justin Pope, runs a gym with Gardner in Logan, Utah. Viewers have included Jeff Hunsaker of Orem, Utah, who made the Wall of Fame a couple years ago by eating a Rulon Burger in 19 minutes, 1 second.

Hunsaker said he's been trying to lose 30 pounds himself.

"I'm now watching the show because of him and being inspired, frankly," he said.

Hunsaker said he visits the Burger Barn every year while driving to Jackson to ski. His strategy for beating the Rulon Burger included cutting the burger into quarters.

"Failure's not an option in my mind when it comes to things like this," Hunsaker said. "I was going to make it. If I had to throw up, so be it, I was going to get it down."

The last fourth was a killer, he said, but Hunsaker swallowed it all.

"It tasted great," he said.

Gardner has stayed in the news since 2000, and not just by wrestling.

He was stranded in a snowmobile outing in 2002 and lost a toe to frostbite. A car hit him on his motorcycle in 2004. Three years after that, he was forced to swim in 44-degree water when his plane crashed in Lake Powell, Utah.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Below is a great article I read in AMERICAN TRACK AND FIELD by John Godina. John really hits the mark. Our public education system here in the U.S.A. has become a monument to political correctness in many localities, fortunately there are also some exceptional areas of excellence also for those who are willing to fight back. In throwing and lifting technique is so important that we sometimes forget the role of pure aggression. For years the Russians and Bulgarians dominated the international lifting arena as the Asian nations are now. It was not and is not their superior techniques that set them apart, but their unworldly strength and mental attitude. Never forget that throwing is a combat sport with it's roots in warfare. It is menat to be performed with aggression. How this is personified will vary greatly among individuals and cultures, but aggression is the spark that sets off the explosion of power that is applied through efficient technique. Thanks for the reminder John! I will insert some commentary in yellow.
The Key to Success in Throwing is... AGGRESSION!
The common perception of non-contact sports is somewhat distorted with regards to the need for aggression, and nowhere does this hold more true than in the throwing sports. Unlike any other non-combat sport, success in the throwing events is directly proportional to the amount of controlled aggression an athlete can put into the throw.
(You bet!)Unfortunately for athletes (although fortunately in the case of the general population), most of society’s rules, regulations and policies are designed to limit aggressive behavior in people. This education in emotional control is a benefit to society as whole since we don’t really need people being indiscriminately punched in the face; but for athletes, learning to release aggression at opportune times and in productive ways can create incredible and often unexpected performances. (I have seen amazing things happen when an athlete has said, "I'm Mad". Of course anger is no substitute for preparation, but it can enhance it)Many young athletes have been overtaken by a steady, lurching flow of timidity that has eaten away their competitive edge. Because of the constant influx of competition-crushing, never-feel-bad, pad-every-corner-and never-keep-score leadership, young athletes today actually need to be taught to compete and not feel bad about winning. Strangely enough, the powers that be seem to be doing a great job of teaching young athletes to not feel bad about losing. ( Pretty perceptive for someone who does not work in the "system", unfortunately, he is right.)Three simple rules can really help a young athlete learn to compete. 1. Create a competition every day. 2. Try your hardest to succeed. 3. Fail every day until you succeed.
That may sound simple. But putting it into practice and making it work is demanding. It requires constant, intense effort during every minute of every workout, from the coach as well as the athlete. This can take some getting used to. Read on:
1. Create a competition every day– To begin learning to compete you must have a competition in the first place. This is easy enough. Each week an athlete’s training ebbs and flows according to his or her training program. Some days are designated for hard throwing. Some days are designated for hard lifting. Some days are for running or jumping. Likewise, each day usually has components of all of these activities integrated at some point. What if at every possible point we create a challenge? Whether it be how far you can throw a shot over your head or how far you can jump on three consecutive single leg hops, each challenge you face as an athlete – no matter how small – teaches you to prepare your mind for the moment and to not fear failure.
(This simple key can change the whole complexion of the workouts)
2. Try your hardest to succeed– This rule creates, sometimes for the first time, the need for self-awareness in the athlete. Athletes have to be able to truly know themselves and assess their effort, plan of attack and focus. A coach can encourage, challenge or create stress to help an athlete succeed, but only the athlete can know if he or she has done everything in their power to succeed. At first, most athletes will accept inferior effort and performance as maximal. Usually this is because almost everyone else has accepted—or even applauded—that level of commitment from them (see column 1, paragraph 3) therefore it is comfortable to be sub-maximal. Maximal effort is difficult. It takes concentration, commitment to the moment and investment in the process. It also explores the boundaries of the athlete’s abilities, which most people are not comfortable knowing. However, the only way to move beyond a personal limit is to know your limitations. Without this selfawareness, progress is subjective and
Control of a competitive situation is merely a psychological construct grounded in the shifting sands of momentary feelings of ill-conceived self-satisfaction. So how can athletes be sure they have tried their hardest? They fight. Every day, in every challenge, during every set, on every sprint, in every bound, on every throw they have to fight with all their mind and body to accomplish the goal of the moment. They learn where their boundaries are today and break through them tomorrow. How do they find the boundaries?
(In throwing and lifting measurement is inherent, it's all about kilos and meters)
3. Fail every day until you succeed– Without failing every day in something athletes will never know themselves or teach themselves to succeed. The goal is to mark the distance, record the weight, check the time and beat it. Record the results today and beat it again the next time. Two weeks of trying will only make the victory sweeter. Investing in victory is dangerous to the meek of heart. There is always the chance that an athlete gives everything they have in the pursuit of a dream and comes up short. However, the reward for their efforts is not found in the victory or the record. The reward comes from going out on a limb, putting all their eggs in one basket, bravely risking dreaded failure and, above all, learning to give all of themselves. With so many young people today learning to not compete it’s nice to know that what we learn in sport will serve us so well in life. (Great insight. We need to eliminate the fear of failure, not by lowering expectations, but by teaching the rules of success)
John Godina is a three-time world champion and two-time Olympic medalist in the shot put and the best shot put–discus combi- nation thrower in history. He founded and operates the John Godina World Throws Center at Athletes’ Performance in Phoenix. Reach him at www.Worldthrowscenter. Com, www.Athletesperformance.Com or (480) 449-9000.

Koji gets after it Samarai style!!!