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!

23 March 2010

The Only Thing We Have To Fear Is Fear Itself

Teddy Roosevelt, greatest President and doubtless the coolest person ever to live in the United States of America, hated the fuck out of his crippled cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and I'll admit I'm not much a fan either.  Frankly, I take issue with just about everything FDR did, from the establishment (and no prescription or instruction for the abolishment of) a massive bloated social welfare system for which we cannot pay, the creation of the Social Security Card, which he knew for a fact would be used (illegally) by federal and state governments for yet another piece of identification, he married an ugly bitch who openly disliked sex for her money and name (something I mistakenly believed was the sole purview of women), he made it legal for the government to seize privately-held gold, and he was a complete fucking asshole to TR's son, Ted Jr.

You might be thinking, what the fuck does this have to do with lifting?  I'll tell you- FDR is the progenitor of one of the dumbest fucking nonsense statements ever to be uttered, up there with "it is what it is" and "we're gonna do what we do", namely "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."  You might associate that statement with another political shithead, JFK, but as it turns out, the only useful thing to ever come out of JFK's mouth was Marilyn Monroe's thong.

Back to the point at hand- the statement "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" is patently fucking ridiculous, and an affront to both logic and the entire human experience.  There's plenty in the world to fear- if you see some motherfucker from the African bush bleeding from his pores, you should shit your pants in fear as you run the other fucking way, screaming at the top of your lungs for someone to black glass everything within 100 miles, because he's got fucking Ebola, and is thus a man to be feared.  And though you might think that's an extreme example, assholes who have the bad social grace to bleed out of their pores deserve to get nuked, because they're assholes, and should be feared, because if they bleed on you, you'll be an asshole too.   My logic is as unassailable as that twink werewolf from Twilight's cock is untouchable to females.

Now, how does this apply to lifting, you might ask?  Well, if you're asking that question, slap yourself, limp-wristedly, in the face for being a fucking pussy, because if you've never been scared in the gym, you've never lifted a weight worth talking about.  That's right- it's the motherfuckers who have never been scared who are the pussies, not the guys who brazenly strut around the gym fearlessly lifting weight far below their limit.  A man knows himself because he's tested himself- if you're untested, you're unproven, and thus unknown.  These are relative tests, by and large, because everyone has their own limits, but there are certain rites of passage- the first time you bench 315, or dead or squat 500+.  Getting under those weight initially is ridiculously scary, usually.  I knew a guy, years ago, who always benched with 25s, rather than 45s, simply because he could do more that way.  He'd pull off a rep or three with 6 25s on a side, but got pinned, hilariously, every time we loaded 3 wheels on a side for him.  Odd, and slightly sad, but fucking hilarious nonetheless.  His problem was "mental", as we like to call it, but that's just putting gold paint on dogshit- he was shit scared of the idea of 315lbs, and using wheels made that weight real.

So, when you're scared, what exactly is happening?  Fear's essentially the body's natural response to the onset of external stress, and manifests itself in the form of a massive adrenaline dump.  This adrenaline dump has a well-documented, evolutionary effect on the human nervous system- it either causes you to spazz or to freeze (which would enable you to fight off an attacker/animal/Mothra or would freeze you to the point where you appeared dead, at which point the attacker/animal/Mothra would terminate its attack), and in the first case can give you extra strength.  In either case, your fine motor skills are impaired, and your form while lifting will look like country-fried cowshit.  This is even worse in a competition, as people almost invariably perform worse when the stakes are higher (1)- I personally shake like I'm fucking palsied during my first two attempts at any competition.  It's not uncommon to get that sort of an adrenaline rush, or to have a somewhat unpleasant reaction thereto- just try not to pass the fuck out with several hundred lbs over your face or on your back.

So, how to combat this effect?  Sgt. Rory Miller believes that the best method by which to combat this is to train, extensively, so that your body can go on autopilot and ignore your brain altogether. I personally agree wholeheartedly, but I'll take it a bit further.  Utilizing shit like partials, walkouts, and supports is an awesome way to inure yourself to ridiculous weights and eliminate any fear you might have at handling a given weight.  In fact, these methods do you one better- they train your nervous system to dump adrenaline in a useful way, and they ready your body for future punishment with those weights in larger ranges of motion.  Additionally, I think of it as a nerve-saturator acting much in the same way squeezing your thumb after smacking the fuck out of it does- the pressure actually reduces the pain.  A 45 second google search did not provide me with the scientific reason doing that works, but we all know it does, so suck it.

I'm as guilty as anyone when it comes to succumbing to this fear, and my BTN press has been remarkably shitty after nearly killing myself with the bar a few short months ago.  As such, I've tried a variety of methods to overcome this mental block, among them:
  • switching to front push press
  • doing lighter, higher rep sets with 225
  • focussing more on clean and press, and abandoning presses only altogether
  • doing partial btn presses with a variety of weights
Take a guess as to which ones worked and which ones did not.  Give up?  The partials, which included nearly full range BTN presses with strict form from the bottom position, push jerks from the midpoint, and overhead squats/BTN push press lockouts with >315lbs.  The result?  The vast majority of my fear of 315 is gone, I'm able to do between 5-10 BTN push press singles with better lockouts and very short rests, and far more stable lockouts.
I probably should have tried this... just for experimentation's sake.

What did I learn?  The only thing I have to fear is picking the wrong place to do a wildly dangerous exercise, and then continuing to do it after I'm exhausted.  


Stop fearing the weights and fucking attack them with partials.  That is all.

1) Miller, Rory.  Meditations on Violence.  Boston:  YMAA, 2008.  p. 58. (This book is the tits, by the way)

30 comments :

  1. I'm sure there are Doc's in the house that can more fully answer why pressure relieves pain, but the simple answer is that there are separate nerves that respond to pain and to pressure. The signal from the pressure cells can hijack the incoming signal, drowning out the pain. You put pressure on a much larger area then just the spot you hit, so the pressure signal is yelling at the brain whereas the pain is sitting in the corner muttering to itself.
    This is in essence why massage can help with temporary pain relief.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Believe it or not, there was once a time (and it wasn't even all that long ago) when pussies didn't lift weights and articles like this weren't even necessary.
    Now the Internet has convinced every douchebag that he can be a "powerlifter" or an "athlete" even if he's been doing nothing but sit on the couch flipping channels and playing video games for the past 10 years. They're convinced you should be happy with mediocre lifts and slow as fuck progress as long as your form and range of motion looks youtube-worthy.
    More and more pussies are flooding the weightrooms all over the western world. It's disgusting. On top of everything else, they ask stupid questions and have the audacity to give advice based on what they've read recently online instead of personal experience, of which they have none. They need to be chased away. Intimidation and straight up verbal abuse are the weapons of choice...

    ReplyDelete
  3. I believe the fucking sight of the word "over training" has left every dumb ass worried about feeling like shit and being sore. Hence, why people seemingly don't max out on squats or even perform squats.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I just noticed that douche is lifting the chick in flip flops. I'm surprised he doesn't whip out his cross-fit monkey-feet.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Listen. I don't come to this site to read your bullshit weight lifting advice. I come for your random musings on history. MORE T. ROOSEVELT LESS BTN PUSH PRESS TALK.

    -Historian

    ReplyDelete
  6. Who the fuck asked you what you come to this website for? I've got news for you, kiddo. You're insignificant and not the least bit interesting. No one cares what your opinion is. You could probably walk around with your fly down and nobody would tell you because you're that much of a loser.

    ReplyDelete
  7. A bit of the pot calling the kettle "black", eh?

    ReplyDelete
  8. I don't come on people's blogs telling them what they should or shouldn't write about so no, it's not the pot calling thekettle black. It's me calling you an insignificant loser. If you had a triple digit IQ you might be able to comprehend it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. so..do you ever deaload

    ReplyDelete
  10. Glen MacLoser,

    I'm not a loser. Far from it, buddy. I'm a historian, and I'm the coolest historian you'll never meet. I go to bars and start talking mad game about the Roman Empire, and I need a mop to sop up all the wetness. If my fly were down, as you suggest, I'd need two mops.

    So while you spend your time lifing weights -- I bet you even do idiotic shit like 100 lb one-arm bench press in your backyard -- I'm in the library getting a upper respiratory job from a chick who digs my knowledge of the Spanish Conquistadors. Deal with it.

    -Historian

    ReplyDelete
  11. I do one arm bench presses so I have a hand free to hold a book, motherfucker.

    Deaload? Saints fucking preserve us.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Unrelated comment, but check out this week's Sunday article in the WSJ weekend journal, "The Masculine Mystique, New research suggests that women from countries with healthier populations prefer more feminine-looking men.

    SL

    ReplyDelete
  13. Glen MacCharles got owned like a little bitch. He missed the joke both times, and yet makes passing comments about IQ.

    Get riled up dude! Lift more weights! But please, so that I may laugh at you more, make more videos!

    I predict Glen will make some comment about me posting anonymously. I wonder if Glen will call me a pussy?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hold on a moment, the condemnation will commence shortly, I'm sure....

    ReplyDelete
  15. I think we would have heard from Glen by now if Anonymous hadn't preempted the inevitable "anonymous posting == pussy" bit.

    He's probably in his back yard, 100 lb dumbbell in one hand (which is hardly braggable on flat bench), Paula Poundstone's Big Book of Insults in the other. When he finds an insult he likes, we'll hear about it.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I posted the article in the forums.

    ReplyDelete
  17. (Under women defy logic) HAHA

    ReplyDelete
  18. Don't forget: if you offer a contrary opinion, you can go f__ yourself, and obviously you can't use google, and
    your parents should have killed you at birth. etc.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Still no word from Glen... Paula Poundstone's Big Book of Insults must be pretty big!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Perhaps he is out roughing up new guys that dared ask questions, at the gym? Maybe he is busy updating his Face Book page?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Just so everyone knows Glen is a really sound guy.

    He's a frequent poster over at rosstraining.com

    Also to the folk saying hes weak. He's a strong dude. He's one strongman competitions and stuff.

    You are all making a big deal out of nothing. All he did was carry on in the same style - fuck everyone and everything - as Jamie's posts

    Either take your heads out your asses and whine about Jamie and how mean he is aswell or stfu.

    Peace
    x

    ReplyDelete
  22. First, let me point out that an O'Neill is standing up for a MacCharles. I'm glad your two tribes finally stopped warring. As a historian, this is thrilling. I would have loved to been at that party. I'm imagining that scene in Braveheart where a grown William Wallace comes back to his village and throws a rock at that big guy and they they bear hug and bagpipes start playing.

    Second, I'm genuinely sorry if I went too hard on Glen. I was just messing around, and I got carried away. It has nothing to do with Glen personally; I was just amusing myself more than anything. Glen, I'm not trying to chill your comments on this blog, and I won't single you out when you resume commenting.

    --Historian

    ReplyDelete
  23. Jamie pulls off the "obnoxious" card better than Glen. I'm sure Glen is a swell guy.
    As are the rest of us.
    The site drips caustic, abrasive attitude, and as soon as you dish a little back, you guys are huddled up
    for protection. On this entry alone, we have a penis ejaculating on some guy I am proud to say I have no idea who he is,
    we got the "F_ you" to a former president, etc.
    And we gave Glen a bit of a hard time and you have to come running in and defend him? Still, that was noble of you.
    Personally, I'd like Jamie to make an appearance and get back on track with discussions of heavy weights.
    Amen.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Where is Justin?? Are we adrift at sea?

    ReplyDelete
  25. By the way, I find it ironic that Teddy Roosevelt is picked as an icon of greatness. His college classmates at Harvard were embarrassed to work out with him because, when they would be lifting weights, young Teddy would hang onto a bar and flail around. The only thing athletic about Teddy was his horse, who he would ride the shit out of every morning.

    --Historian

    ReplyDelete
  26. Dude, TR fucking wrestled pro wrestlers and boxed pro boxers in the fucking White House, after starting up a private army and leading it in semi-victorious, ill-considered, and insane cavalry charges against machine guns. He was 11 different kinds of the man.

    I'm very proud of that pic of the dude from Twilight catching a load in the face. Some of my finest work.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Wow, you people really got your dicks hard over Glen MacCharles, didn't you? Jesus fucking niggers.

    ReplyDelete
  28. "Jesus fucking niggers." HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    ReplyDelete