To avoid having to check this page every ten seconds for updates on supplements, music, and sundry little details, hit us up on Facebook and like the page. That'll keep you updated without getting spammed with a million twitter-length posts!

04 January 2010

**Live Dangerously and You Live Right.

Goethe said that. He was all about being a badass and living on the edge, to the point where he also stated that "The dangers of life are infinite, and among them is safety."

I live, essentially, by credos like "nothing ventured, nothing gained", "no guts, no glory" and "fortune favors the bold". These are the mottoes on which I base my life, my training philosophy, and my very persona. Many a tactician has lived and died by these mottoes, and given that weightlifting is essentially a battle with iron, it would stand to reason that we march toward the enemy with the fearlessness and disdain it deserves.

That stated, this is a high-risk, high-yield methodology. You're not inured from risk. You flirt with it. You tempt it. You cavort with risk every single time you grab the bar. It's essential you realize this, because if you ignore the risk, injury, or hurt, it will surprise and discourage you.

Pain is a reminder that you're alive.

You will hurt. This is the nature of life- pain.

A couple of months ago, I fucked myself up badly doing the ultimate in high-risk, high-yield exercises, the Behind the Neck Push Press. I've told the story here before- I spent about an hour doing singles with 315, then missed one, bashed myself in the head with it, and crashed into a massive, hulking, two story leg press machine, which is now my nemesis. My bad elbow swelled up like I was an African with elephantiasis and I could barely extend my arm, much less do useful weights on BTNs, for quite some time. Since then, I've become a bit of a pussy on them, training in gyms where I can't dump the weight, or just not loading up like a man would. That ended the other day. I rocked the fuck out of 295-315 for multiple singles, and 285 for a bunch of doubles. At the end, I got it into my head that I was going to do a death set. Given that I was in the gym after hours, by myself, in a city where no one knows me, this could have actually been a death set. I pushed through a few reps, then blasted myself in the back of the head and called it a day. Three days later, my neck is killing me, but I finally rid myself of my low-grade headache.

video

There's another standpoint from which to view the art of training dangerously- from an economic standpoint. ChAoS and PAIN is essentially a high-risk, high-yield bond. Conservative investors, of which I bet Stuart McRobert and Mark Rippetoe are representatives, tend to avoid "junk" bonds, focusing instead on bullshit like CDs and municipal bonds. Why even fucking bother, in my opinion, buying one of those? The rate of return is only marginally better than what I get on my fucking checking account with Schwab. Thus, Ripp and McRobert advise people to stick with low volume exercises, low risk movements (McRobert likes leg presses because they're safe, which is utter horseshit, and bespeaks his idiocy), and they probably enjoy elevator music, the color beige, and movies starring Alan Alda.
If he's saying to himself, "Why god, why? Why do I suck so fucking badly?", that makes two of us.

An article in the Motley Fool a while back read:
"As an investor with a focus on dividends, "Don't chase high-yielding stocks" is particularly close to my heart. In theory, a high yield screams high risk. In practice, a high yield can also mean slow growth prospects or simply that a company is being misunderstood by the market."

CnP is a perfect example of the latter- it's a program that is misunderstood by the market. Asshats all over the interwebs, all of whom would lose a fistfight to a cardboard cutout of Miley Cyrus, have high bodyfat percentages and are as weak as AIDS-ridden kittens, have had a lot of bullshit to say about CnP, and not a single one have tried it. They fail to understand that there's a method to the madness, and that while this methodology does indeed carry a higher rate of risk, it also bears a far higher rate of return.

D.E.B. Dubois once said that the "most important thing to remember is this: To be ready at any moment to give up what you are for what you might become." So, it's time to give up sucking and become a badass. Know that you've got to crack a few eggs to make an omlette. Abandon your fear.

Attack the weights.


----------------
Now playing: The Dillinger Escape Plan - 43% Burnt
via FoxyTunes

28 comments :

  1. Funny enough, Mark Cuban (who I highly recommend you read, if you don't already) had a very similar the same thing to say a few days ago, albeit in regards to business. I kept forgetting to send you the link. His quote was, "no balls, no babies".

    J.Ja

    ReplyDelete
  2. “The great art of life is sensation, to feel that we exist, even in pain.” ~Lord Byron

    My pain is that your video is broken. Nothing happens when I push play. Fail.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I don't know if any of the Blogger videos are working.

    ReplyDelete
  4. wheres the video?

    ReplyDelete
  5. We need more of this - Great post.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I beleive that leg presses are much, much more risky and injury prone than squats. The simple fact is, the body works as a *system*. The leg press eliminates nearly every part of the *system* and reduces it to a combination of the strongest link in the chain (the quadriceps) and the 3rd or 4th strongest link in the chain (the knee, which is one of the most, if not the most, complex joint in the body). In a squat, you are limited by a huge number of factors... your back strength, abs/obliques, hamstrings, knees, ankles, even your wrists, traps, lats, and triceps to a degree. It's a total body exercize, which is why it builds test levels like nobody's business.

    But the leg press allows you to far exceed the limits of the rest of the system. That's why you can leg press hundreds of pounds more than you can raw squat, often DOUBLE or even TRIPLE what you can raw squat. Problem is, by taking out all of the limiting factors, it is a cinch to exceed to limits of the KNEE.

    It amazes me to talk to so many people who consider the squat to be a "knee killer" but will grind out the "safe" leg presses. Never mind the fact that they could 1RM squat 400 lbs., but are banging out sets of 8 or 10 reps with 1,000 lbs. on the leg press (due to the mechanical advantage of the incline, probably more like 600 - 800 lbs. of actual upwards force, depending on the angle and quality of the bearings). All while locked into a position that sends it DIRECTLY through the knees with no wiggle, no adjustments to the rest of the position to shift the weight better, no correcting the angles because once you are under load THAT IS IT, straight to the quads, in a position that if something goes wrong, there is no dumping the sled; if you get stapled on a leg press, you are SCREWED compared to getting stapled in a squat cage, ducking out and having a good laugh once the adrenalin flows through.

    People tell me I'm nuts because I don't do leg press or leg extensions, I say they're nuts because they DO.

    J.Ja

    ReplyDelete
  7. Man that had to suck, i remember a while back i was racking my first warm up with 135 n the squat, and while i was ducking back out under the bar the damn thing rolled off one side and the plates cracked me at the base of the skull... that shit sucked.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Personally, I am with J.Ja

    -- Pratik

    ReplyDelete
  9. This may be your best one yet. Now, please stop trying to off yourself with after hours death-wish sets and possibly causing concussions biweekly. Some of us would at least like you around into your 40's.
    ~You-Know-Who

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love the background music. Very ennervating. Sad to say, it's better than the Mariah Carey and Chris Brown they play at my gym, might as well inject myself with estrogen and eat a pile of sugar coated soybeans...

    J.Ja

    ReplyDelete
  11. Justin: I agree 200% with your comments on the leg press vs squat. well said.

    ReplyDelete
  12. YEAH BUDDAY BEING A QUADRAPELIGIC IS HARD_CORE_

    COMPLETE CERVICAL SPINE DESTRUCTION YEAHHHHHBUDDAYYYYY

    ReplyDelete
  13. J. Ja. They typically play dance music in there, because they train tons of high school athletes, but we put on Sirius Lithium after they left. I, of course, was listening to the Hoods on my mp3 player.

    As for the retard- there is no "cervical spine destruction", because your legs serve as shock absorbers. Enjoy your knee destroying leg machines and your shoulder impingement from countless sets of bench presses, fuckface.

    ReplyDelete
  14. one point: where the heck has Stuart McRobert EVER promoted the leg press?
    That guy gets bashed left and right, and all he is promoting is good form, primarily with free weights, hit it hard, and recover, and do it again.
    In other words, don't put yourself in a position to cheat a lot of weight up, and have it drop on your neck.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Cheat a lot of weight??? It's caled a push press fool.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anon -

    Another one of the common arguments against the BTN Push Press is a rehash of the "BTN presses wreck the rotator cuff" item, which is a perfectly valid statement. However, because the BTN Push Press begins the motion with leg drive, the rotator cuff is under very little tension until the weight clears the danger zone and the shoulder is at a much safer angle for pressing.

    Likewise, I've done (in the past) BTN lat pulldowns, and frankly, they didn't feel great, but BTN chin ups feel fine.

    The more I think about it, the less I like the bench press. Look at the lengths that the powerlifters go to in their stance and form in order to engage the body in a way that is natural "as a system", in order to overcome the fact that they are pinned to an immovable object. It does NOT help in the slightest that it involves driving hundreds of pounds through the wrists while they are in a supinated position, either. Log presses should be much better for the wrists/forearms, probably the elbows, and possibly the shoulders as well. I would love to swap out bench press in favor of log presses.

    Yesterday, I was knocking a guy for doing pushups. The more I think about it, the more mistaken I was. I think pushups, if you use the bars (*not* the "Perfect Pushup" things, just the little handles to let you get depth and get your wrist position straight), are most likely much, much safer in so many ways than the bench press. It's just a matter of finding a way to get the weight on there. I used to try stacking plates on my back, but they were always shifting around and didn't work out so well. If there was a good, safe way to load weight on a pushup, I might prefer that to the BP.

    J.Ja

    ReplyDelete
  17. Q: "where the heck has Stuart McRobert EVER promoted the leg press?"

    In his book "Build muscle, Lose fat, Feel great", which you obviously have not read. He advocates doing "safe" exercises. Safe = useless at best. "Perfect form" is the form with which a given individual can lift the most weight without injury. Everyone has different leverages, so advocating a universal perfect form, or perfect exercise, is absurd. McRobert is very nearly retarded, and most certainly a useless trainer.

    J- Log presses are the shit, and were the only thing I could do for OHP for some time after my elbow surgery. You are correct, sir.

    ReplyDelete
  18. "If you've had a major back injury, get the clearance of a chiropractor before you barbell squat. If you've had any minor back injuries, still get a chiropractor's clearance.

    No matter how effective an exercise may be for someone, if it doesn't suit YOU it will do you no good, and perhaps do you harm. When considering the preferences of a trainer, coach, or author, consider YOUR limitations and technical proficiency.

    How well you squat is heavily affected by your leverages -- your relative torso, thigh, and leg lengths, and relative femur (thighbone) and tibia (shinbone) lengths. And there are other important structural factors, including muscle insertion points (which vary from person to person, to some degree), which influence squatting efficiency.

    With correct technique (including NO ROUNDING OF THE BACK), controlled rep speed, and the right weight selection, the squat is safe and productive for many if not most trainees. For those who can't squat safely even when using correct technique and rep speed, they should use alternative exercises -- for example, the leg press. But even then, exercise technique and rep speed control need to be correct. All exercises will eventually produce injury if done incorrectly."

    This is amusing for several reasons, beginning with the fact that you're too fucking stupid to use google, and ending with the fact that THE LEG PRESS AUTOMATICALLY ROUNDS YOUR BACK. It's horrible for your back.

    ReplyDelete
  19. http://www.hardgainer.com/qna01.html

    "If you've had a major back injury, get the clearance of a chiropractor before you barbell squat. If you've had any minor back injuries, still get a chiropractor's clearance.

    No matter how effective an exercise may be for someone, if it doesn't suit YOU it will do you no good, and perhaps do you harm. When considering the preferences of a trainer, coach, or author, consider YOUR limitations and technical proficiency.

    How well you squat is heavily affected by your leverages -- your relative torso, thigh, and leg lengths, and relative femur (thighbone) and tibia (shinbone) lengths. And there are other important structural factors, including muscle insertion points (which vary from person to person, to some degree), which influence squatting efficiency.

    With correct technique (including NO ROUNDING OF THE BACK), controlled rep speed, and the right weight selection, the squat is safe and productive for many if not most trainees. For those who can't squat safely even when using correct technique and rep speed, they should use alternative exercises -- for example, the leg press. But even then, exercise technique and rep speed control need to be correct. All exercises will eventually produce injury if done incorrectly."

    This is amusing for two reasons: one, you're too fucking stupid to use google, and two, THE LEG PRESS NECESSARILY CAUSES YOU TO ROUND YOUR BACK.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Google and I are currently at odds, it appears. Error messages abound, and double posts follow in their wake.

    ReplyDelete
  21. The funny thing about that quote, is that I agree with significant portions of it. Good input, bad output. Where his analysis falls apart is the assertion that leg press is a safe alternative to squat. A safe alternative to squats would be to find a squat variant which works around the injury. Belt squats take the back and arms out of the equation, for example. but the leg press is NOT a safe alternative to the squat, not by a long shot. I may not be some guru with a number of books to my credit, but all you have to do is spend some time under the weight in each exercise, and just *feel* your body. Where are the pressure points? Is the weight being focused on strong joints or week joints? Are joints loaded in a locked position? Are the joints under load in a position that they would not normally go into while going about your daily business?

    J.Ja

    ReplyDelete
  22. Justin's common sense wins out against the 'guru'. After I hurt my back I couldn't squat, so when I started training again I began with dumbbell lunge variations, then moved onto barbell lunges and finally squats. Its not ideal, but it makes more sense to me than loading up a leg press cause you want to feel like you're moving as much weight as you were, even though its obviously a different lift, and still dangerous to boot.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I think you've got "belie" confused with "bespeaks". I think more people use "belie" the wrong way than the right way. But that doesn't make it right. I'm sure you understand.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Wait a minute! You have a t-shirt with sleeves?!?

    ReplyDelete
  25. Noted and appreciated, Jack.

    yeah, Doug- I've got a couple. I took a couple of Benadryl prior to my workout to counteract my allergic reaction to fabric on my upper extremities, haha.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Jamie,
    I tried to post this as a comment on your "Live Dangerously" post, which I just got around to reading, but some stupid filter here at work won't let me use the comment box.

    The reason I'm just reading it now is that I have been in Rhode Island for a week taking some courses at Charles Poliquin's strength and conditioning center. One of them was a two-day course on Olympic lifting, taught by Pierre Roy, former national coach of the Canadian national weightlifting team, and one of the best weightlifting coaches to come out of North America.

    He brought two of his current trainees to demonstrate technique: a woman in her 20's and a guy who is just 18. Both are crazy strong. The kid was about 5' 10" and 170-175 lbs. If you saw him on the street, you would think, "That kid is too skinny, he needs to lift some weights." Well... he does! (He obviously has incredible neuro-muscular efficiency, plus perfect technique). He jerked 180 kilos (396 lbs) and cleaned 170 (374). But what was really impressive, and what your post reminded me of, was the squat. Pierre has this technique for working through your sticking point. It involves this contraption that attaches to the ends of the bar--similar to chains, but the weight increases all of a sudden, instead of gradually. Basically, you adjust it so that some plates, which are designed to hang flat on the ends of the rope, hit (and come off) the ground right when you reach your concentric sticking point. So, you go down, the plates touch the ground and the weight suddenly gets lighter. You go all the way into the hole, come back up, and just as you hit your non-sweet spot with the lighter weight, the extra weight comes off the ground--forcing you to get stronger where you need it most.

    The kid had 180 kg (396) on the bar, plus 40 kg (88 kg) hanging from the ropes (484 lbs total), and was doing singles. On his third lift he hits his sticking point and is screaming bloody murder, but can't move the freaking weight. Rather than dump it, he takes his hands off the bar (no joke), puts them on his knees and forces himself up until he has enough knee/hip extension to keep moving, then grabs the bar again and completes the lift.

    Everyone in the room was like, "Holy shit!" Pierre, however, was non-plussed. He just said (in his thick French-Canadian accent), "You see, he couldn't move the weight, but he found a way."

    No shit.

    Pierre wants him to put on 45 lbs of muscle over the next eight years, and compete at the world/Olympic level at 220 lbs. He definitely has the guts to get it done.

    Feel free to post this in the comments, if you think others might find it interesting.

    Glenn

    ReplyDelete
  27. Great story, Glen!

    ReplyDelete