Wednesday, July 20, 2011

John Broz Methods: A Response

A few weeks ago we posted an article about the Broz Gym in Las Vegas, NV with some comments reflecting my thoughts. We got several comments and the article seemed to stir up some opinions and interest. As a follow up, a few days later Jim Wendler, a well known powerlifter and author responded as posted below. I liked what he had to say and am pretty much in agreement. I'll share his post and add a few of my own comments again.  By the way, the USA Weightlifting National Championships were held this past weekend and Pat Mendes won his first national championship with lifts of 177 Snatch and 212 Clean & Jerk. These are certainly excellent lifts for an American lifter in his early 20's but we have yet to see the big Youtube lifts in a competition. Maybe he is "training through" the meet and will be prepared for bigger lifts on the international platform. At any rate, time will tell and congratulations to Pat on some great lifts and being a national champion. Also the story is that Pat (along with all the Broz Gym lifters) was "randomly" selected for drug testing. There are some who wonder what the odds of such a "random" occurance are?
John Broz: A Response
by Jim Wendler - 07/05/2011

Read with an open mind.

It’s been a few days since the Bret Contreras article on John Broz, his gym and his training methods came out on T-Nation. The response was huge (just check the comments to that particular article); and I received dozens of questions and comments asking for my opinion about John Broz, the training methods and if it’s right for powerlifting, etc. Here are some of the thoughts, ideas and conclusions I have come up with. Read with an open mind.

• I think what he is doing is awesome – he and his lifters are strong. Whether or not he produces Olympic Gold is not relevant to me. He is doing what he believes in and doing it with passion.

I couldn't agree more. Whether I completely agree with his methods or not, he is getting results and producing champions.
• Don’t ask John Broz to modify a program to fit YOUR schedule. You can’t ask someone who has taken a lifetime to build something and modify it because you can’t pay the rent.
Great point. If it works for you, great. If not, be smart enough to find something that does. 
• Look at the overall IDEA of the training, interpret it and see how you can apply it to your own training. To me, it’s not about squatting every day or doing two workouts a day. It’s about realizing that the human body is much more capable of stress than most of us think. I don’t read an article by Mike Boyle and get all mad because it’s NOT what I do; I read it and try to figure out how single-leg training can be used in my own programming.
I couldn't agree more. Be your own coach, continually learning and adapting.
• Appreciate, admire and respect what the lifters are doing. Many of the comments on the internet about John and his training are incredibly negative, mostly because when one reads an article they IMMEDIATELY get defensive about it. This is because they recognize their own faults, weaknesses and compare themselves. Instead of applauding the dedication and achievement, they knock them down. You are no different than a woman criticizing a skinny girl for being “too skinny”.
The internet is a great way to learn and communicate. Don't waste this great resource on gossip and innuendo.
• If, when you read this article, you immediately wanted to change your training, you need time to develop your own philosophy. I guarantee that if John Broz read an article on the XYZ Weightlifting Team he wouldn’t drop his training philosophy. Absorb what you can, discard what you don’t need.
Well said. I have always said that if any single article or discussion changes your life comletely, you didn't have much of a life to begin with. 
• Is it right for powerlifting? I have no idea. There is a logical way to find out – schedule a meet, develop a plan to get there and see what happens. But please understand that the programming that he uses has been passed down from decades of experience and takes at least that long to perfect and coach. You can’t take an eight week run, bomb at the meet and call the training system a failure. The guy is a Lifer.  Another great point.  My take is that anything works for awhile, nothing works forever. Grow and adapt as you go.
• If you want to find out more about this training, find the sources that John used – that way you can learn and be inspired by what help shape his programming. And guess what? It’s not going to be easy to find these things. Go to the source and make your own interpretations.
• Did you notice that John lifts AND competes?
You bet.

I don’t know John, and I’ve never met him but thank god there are people like him pushing the boundaries of strength training. I wish him and his athletes nothing but success. Whether he produces a gold medal or not, I hope he realizes he is doing more good than any of that paperweight warriors that haven’t the fortitude and discipline to put it on the line. It’s not about the training to me; it’s about the attitude and simply going full-speed.

While I personally agree with this attitude, my personal experience as an athlete and a coach lead me to the opinion that hard work, along with wise use of recovery methods, including both low volume and low intensity days periodically, are needed. But I also recognize that high level competitors can  handle more weight, more often than the average athlete. No doubt there is pain and risk involved if our goal is to compete at the highest levels. Great athletes do many things that are "out of the box" although their "innovations" are largely limited to their own physical potential. Look around you at the best athletes, but listen to your body.

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