Saturday, March 30, 2013

6 Rules of "Success"

I've said on this website before, while Arnold is certainly inspirational in many ways, he has fallen short on what is most important; in being a real man. Nevertheless, I know we are all imperfect in our own ways and we can always learn something. Arnold gives a good speech here that I believe to be true on many levels. I can appreciate that, even while avoiding some of his mistakes, maintaining my personal honor, and making my family my highest priority.
A preamble to this speech should include an admonition to define success. If your definition is limited to fame and/or fortune your choices and motivation will be much different than if you include personal honor and a righteous posterity as a measurement.
I hope Arnold finds that real success is much more than fame or fortune. Maybe I would humbly add a 7th rule, Always be honest to yourself and in your dealings with your fellow man. Treat others as you would be treated.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Joe Weider

A "doctored" photo of Joe Weider. He was  never very muscular or strong. He was a promoter par excellence.

Another iron game legend passed away this week. Joe Weider passed away at the age of 93. As a young man I grew up in the midst of the "war" between Bob Hoffman and Joe Weider.
Hoffman and his York Barbell Company along with his York Barbell Club weightlifting team ruled the competitive lifting world here in the United States anyway. He published Strength and Health and Muscular Development magazines and marketed a line of supplements based in the small town of York in my native Pennsylvania.
 Meanwhile Joe Weider began to build a bodybuilding empire that began in Canada, then moved to New York City, then the west coast. Joe also had his magazines. In my era it was Muscle Builder/Power, which later became Muscle and Fitness which is still going strong today. He also had an ever changing line of supplements.
 Hoffman and the York Barbell Co. were pretty straight forward and marketed their products as health and character building. Lifting was promoted before bodybuilding and while York did use the physiques of their lifters such as John Grimek, Steve Stanko, Vern Weaver, and many others to market their products; the York way was to show that physical development followed performance.
 Joe Weider came along and turned that world upside down. In the Weider business image was everything. He promoted bodybuilding for it's own sake and divorced it from any types of physical performance. Appearance became the only measure.
His magazines featured physique photos the likes of which were never seen before. He used lighting and angles to really show the definition and muscular separation like never before. He marketed his products with spectacular names like Super Pro 101, Mega Atomic Shakes, and Arm Blasters, He showed girls in bikinis hanging off of the bodybuilders at the beach and made muscles seem sexy. He even gave names to workout strategies such as SuperSets, Giant Sets, and Bombing and Blasting your way to muscle growth. Muscle up and make out was the theme.
Now, with the perspective of time, it's hard to say who won the "war". Weider certainly outlived Hoffman. Bob died a couple of decodes ago at the age of 85 and was senile in his waning years. The York magazines are only a memory and the barbell company is only a shadow of what it once was. They don't even make their own weights anymore and while many still hang on to their old York bars, the current line isn't used in competition anywhere. U.S. weight lifting has continued to decline and shows no signs of approaching the York dominance of by gone days.
Meanwhile Muscle and Fitness,  Shape, and a long line of Weider products continue to command attention.Bodybuilding for men and women is popular around the world in many forms. I suppose if one were to measure the "success" of both companies in terms of sales and income, then Weider wins hands down. Even I have to give Weider his due for his marketing genius, but I'm not sure all of the attention is for the best so far as promoting real health and fitness.
The magazines promote an unrealistic image with the retouched photos and drug induced bodybuilders. The articles are really only thinly disguised advertisements for overpriced and marginally effective products.
A few years ago when I was actively involved in the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association) there was a proposal by some of the board members to invite Joe Weider to the annual convention and give him an award for his contributions to the strength and conditioning field. The NSCA president at the time stated that if they did, he would cancel his membership. In the end his sentiments carried the day and Joe was never recognized by the NSCA. That pretty much sums up my opinion as well.
While he certainly brought attention and publicity to weight training and fitness, it was mostly hype and misinformation. History will now be the judge.
A typical Weider advertisement circa 1970's.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Some Cross Fit Perspective

Casey Burgener is an example of a top U.S. lifter who is now involved in CrossFit.

We have addressed CrossFit on this site before. In the meantime it only keeps growing. We believe it has it's place and value. It is the for everyone, but there is definitely a place for it for those who understand and implement it wisely. We also believe that, like many fads, it is often misunderstood and misused. I don't see CrossFit dying out, like Exergenies, Nautilus, and Nordic Track....etc. But I do see it becoming more refined as the trendy wannabes are weeded out and real coaches adapt it to their athletes. Below is a good analysis by Glenn Pendlay, a top U.S. weight lifting coach and successful training entrepaneur. A lot of good weightlfiting coaches are now involved in CrossFit and it is becoming a mutually beneficial arrangement as interest and understanding of competetive lifting is growing and CrossFitters are developing better technique and more rational programs. For example, in the latest Utah state weightlifting championships there were over 90 lifters entered. The most ever and the majority were CrossFitters who were anxious to try. While some were clearly out of their league, others showed potential and all enjoyed the experience. Weightlifting in Utah has more people who are interested than ever before.

Glenn Pendlay on CrossFit

"As weightlifters, or those that use weightlifting movements in training, squat deep, and worry more about lifting more weight than about how defined our arms are (I would guess this describes most on t...his board)… what did we used to complain about?

1. No place to train with bumpers and chalk.
2. Getting hassled about dropping weight
3. “Trainers” at the local globo gym telling us squatting deep was gonna ruin our knees.
4. Girlfriends not wanting to squat because she is afraid she will get “bulky”
5. For the competitive weightlifters among us, getting asked “how much ya bench?” after telling someone you are a weightlifter.
6. Trying to explain what a snatch is to someone, usually ending with a pantomime then the words “you know, like they do in the Olympics”
7. If you ever tell someone, hey you should try it its fun, being told “oh no, I could never do that”
8. Being surrounded in any gym by folks that think eating red meat or fat is the enemy of good health or a good looking body.
9. Curls in the squat rack.
10. Pink dumbells.

So with Crossfit you get…

1. 2000 + more gyms around the country with bumpers and chalk.
2. Most Crossfitters would think you were weird if you DIDN’T drop weights.
3. They may debate where to put the bar on their backs, but they all squat deep.
4. Crossfit girls squat heavy and are proud of getting a rounder butt from it.
5. Most Crossfitters don’t bench press, they might ask you how much you squat instead.
6. Most Crossfitter’s snatch, those that dont certainly know what it is.
7. Crossfit is filled with people people who not only want to try new things, but are willing to work hard to learn and won’t be put off by falling on their butt a few times.
8. Crossfitters, as a whole seem to be proud that they not only eat meat, but are able to eat GOOD (meaning eat a LOT) and still look good because they train so hard. A couple cookouts at Crossfit boxes remain the only two times I have seen women bragging about how many ribs they ate. And not fatties. Young, in shape women.
9. Crossfitters are the ones who will make fun of YOU, if YOU do curls in the squat rack.
10. Crossfitters only use pink kettlebells.

Are their assholes in CF? I am sure their are, but off the top of my head I can’t think of many that I have met, and, there are certainly assholes in the weightlifting community also.

Are their elitists in CF? Yes, there are. But what is a common criticism of the weightlifting community? That we are elitist. And just like in CF, yeah, there are elitists among us. I don’t think its the norm, but they are there.

The fact that CF has exposed quite literally hundreds of thousands of people to weightlifting aside, do you know what I most like about Crossfit?

They appreciate what we do. I quite often find myself in front of a group of crossfitters with someone like Donny, or Jon, or Caleb demonstrating a heavy snatch or clean and jerk. And you know what, these people appreciate what they are seeing. They appreciate what it took to accomplish it, the work, the years of work, the athleticism, the strength and power. The years of pain, the sacrifice. And for these lifters, there is finally a community, a rather large one, that appreciates what they do, that admires them for it. And that is a beautiful thing. Especially when the average person watching someone do a 140kg snatch has about the same ability to appreciate it as someone who doesnt know how to play chess does to appreciate what they are seeing if they watched a Bobby Fisher chess game.

Weightlifting finally has a fan base. And it’s growing. And that is gonna open up all sorts of new opportunities for the sport.

I will leave you with one last thought. Donny Shankle has been able to drop most of his personal training clients, while finally getting the access to chiropractic, massage, etc, that was always financially tough to get when he needed it. Why is he able to work much less, rest and train more, and still financially swing all those little things that help him?

To a large extent, its been Crossfitters. Now I don’t want to ignore others who have helped, and even donated. But it’s the Crossfit boxes that are holding fund raisers for him, its the Crossfit websites that are encouraging their members to go to his blog and hit the donate button that are the most active in raising money.

You can certainly find the bad in anything. But I prefer to say the glass is half full. In this instance, maybe even 3/4 full."

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Yaanibaa Collins, Lifting for Life

Last weekend Yaanibaa Collins, My older (by two years) sister won the Utah State Open Weightlifting meet in the 75 kg. class. Yaani held state weightlifting records in both Arizona and Utah during her younger days. In high school she was an All-Arizona volleyball player as well as state runner-up in the discus. She graduated from BYU as an ATC (certified athletic trainer) and worked with BYU football and rugby teams. After marrying and having 3 children, she decided to compete again. We are proud of her and her commitment to a balanced life. She trains mainly in her basement when the kids are napping and her husband babysits now and then so she can visit and train with some other local lifters a few times a week. She is doing some of her best lifting ever right now. One of the neat things is that her children love to mimic her lifting with sticks. They are most likely to grow up enjoying exercise as well. Yaanibaa is a Navajo female war name the means "went to battle and returned".
Yaani starts her kids young!

Yaani and her 3 children after she pushed them up Y mountain in a stroller!

Yaanibaa Jacob Collins
Husband Jake is a physical educator, mountain biker, and wrestling coach.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Long Live the Amazing Fred Lowe!

Fred in his prime. Note the great leg development.

One of the all-time great American lifters, whom we don't hear much about, is Fred Lowe. He had an amazing career that began in the late 60's and is still going strong as a Masters competitor. Among his accomplishments are:
A 3 time Olympian, 1968, 1972, and 1976.
Also 8 national championships, 1969, 70, 72, 73, 74, 75 ,76 and a comeback in 1981.
He clean and jerked an American record of over 400 lb.(182.5 kg.) at a bodyweight of 165 lb. (75 kg.)

Below are some video clips that show him lifting in his prime and one from the 2012 American Open.
 He is still amazing.
 Finally there is a video containing a short interview on his backround and squatting technique for beginning athletes. 
Fred was an inspiration to me as a young lifter and he still inspires me as I strive to cope with the issues of aging. He coaches and instructs many young athletes and is in demand at Cross-fit clinics. 

A more recent picture of Fred.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Strength, An Endangered Species?

Raw strength is a worthy goal!
Below is a good article that expresses our Haske Warrior Strength philosophy well. In today's world the value of strength seems to be minimized for more "sophisticated" qualities. Being physically strong is a good thing and worthy of an investment of time and energy. While it may be possible to live and even get rich now days by pushing buttons on a computer and never going outside or straining a muscle, such individuals never really experience the thrill of actually living life to the fullest. We are physical creatures who enjoy life the most when we are in touch with our bodies. Nothing puts us in touch with our bodies like a physical challenge. Don't let strength become endangered in your life!

There was once a time when strength ran supreme. It was the quality by which a person could be measured and judged. It was idolized and worshiped by those who coined sayings of its prominence, “Only the strong shall survive.” Without this trait there was no progress, no honor, no life. The physically strong were admired and looked to for guidance, protection, and inspiration. Civilizations were built by the strong and then torn down and burned to ashes by the stronger.
However, this time has long passed us by and physical strength is endangered. This regression did not happen overnight, rather it was a slow and gradual disease taking hold over centuries. For a long time, this trait and its followers were oblivious of the gradual decay that was taking place. They were unaware that they were slowly being hunted.
Centuries ago, we could not survive without strength. Our great ancestors knew this and placed the highest value on its development. Today, strength is treated as an outcast—unvalued and left to die. The pursuit of it is now looked upon as trite or moronic, a waste of time and energy. How easily people have forgotten what this trait has done for us. It was what kept us alive during the hunt, what protected us against enemies, what gave us confidence during turmoil. It was the primary catalyst in our progress, and we have forgotten and neglected it as if it were a stranger.
The days of hunting for our next meal and protecting our families against deadly wildlife are in the past; however, the value of physical strength remains the same. A quality so important to humanity that it cannot just vanish and be forgotten…although, there are some who wish it were that way. With every infomercial that sells the next fitness gadget, and with every workout video that claims to have reinvented the wheel, we stray further from it. The quest for strength was once pure, but now it is littered with “experts” who care nothing for its development or preservation, who only desire to piggyback off of it to make a profit. Poachers claim that the pursuit of this quality can harm us. They claim that what once kept us safe and healthy is now un-safe and detrimental.
The path to strength is more than physical, it as an all-encompassing quality. Strength is the skeleton key, opening doors that were previously locked. It teaches the values of courage, patience, and perseverance. There are still many who genuinely respect the quality of strength and all that it has done for us; however, I fear that number is dwindling.
So for those of you reading this, I ask that every time you train, you respect this trait and its qualities. When you speak of it, let your words be true and in favor of its prosper. When you see injustice towards it, speak up and defend it.
However, most of all, enjoy the journey towards this trait. Although the road forward can be treacherous, it has been built this way for a reason. Without the hardships, failures, and frustrations this path bears, the unworthy would walk along it freely. Do not stray from this road when forward progress stalls, for strength has always been an elusive trait—broad as day one moment then vanished the next. It is as if strength has developed a defense mechanism, always moving and hiding, cautious and suspicious of the intents of those who walk its road. Do not let this ever defer you from it, for many have walked it genuinely—to arrive with open arms.
 Joe Amberlock (Orlandi) is an undergraduate student at Liberty University pursuing a degree in Kinesiology. Joe’s tutelage under master strength coaches Bill Gillespie and Dave Williams, along with experience working with Division 1 collegiate athletics, has allowed him to learn, apply, and share his methods to all levels of athletes. Find out more at AmberlockPerformance.com

Strengths rewards are greater than trophies, but those are nice too!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Jon Cole, R.I.P.

Jon Cole getting ready to Press.

Jon Cole was one of the lifting heros of my youth. He was an amazing power athlete who excelled in a wide variety of events. Some of his marks are listed below. It is noteworthy that his olympic lifts were almost completely devoid of technique. They were basically very rough power snatches and cleans. He also was a pioneering strength and conditioning coach. One of the first in the NCAA. He was hired by legendary football coach Frank Kush at Arizona State  University to make the football players stronger and faster. ASU had a reputation as one of the fastest teams in the country back then. Jon was quite an intimidating figure and he had no problems with player compliance. No one claims that Jon was "clean" when these feats were performed. His prime was well before testing for PED's. Indeed he battled alcoholism and substance addiction throughout his life.  He died last week of lung failure at the age of 71.

1) Ran the 100 yard dash weighing 258 lbs in 9.9 at a sanctioned AAU event.
2) Threw a baseball 435 feet witnessed by Arizona State University Head Baseball coach.
3) Place kicked a football 68 yards witnessed by legendary Arizona State Univ Head Football coach Mr Frank Kush.
4) Owner of 62 National, American, and World Records.
Track & Field Records
1) Threw the Discus 231 feet
2) Tossed the Shot Put 71' 4"
3) Threw the Javelin 241 feet
Powerlifting Records*************
1) Squat 905
2) Bench Press 580
3) Deadlift 885
4) total 2370
5) First powerlifter to total over 2300 pounds
6) All lifts in powerlifting were performed raw with only ace bandages as knee wraps, an exercise belt, no power belt.
Olympic Lifting records********************
1) Military Press 430
2) Snatch 340
3) Clean & Jerk 430
4) Total 1,200 

Jon Cole deadlifting big. Notice the old  style Adidas throwing shoes.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Day of the Dead- Last Man Standing

Who is the Last Man Standing?
 Hint: He is wearing a HASKESTRENGTH T-shirt and looks like Clark Kent X 2 or 3,  with legs for arms.
Oliver does an easy 700 for the win. Took a big jump and narrowly missed 750, then called it day.
I'm not sure I appreciate the music, but the video is fun to watch. One lift meets are fun and a good way to celebrate strength and the Warrior Spirit.