I think, by this point, I've established fairly conclusively that with the proper application of will, inurement to physical pain and a heavy workload, and adequate sleep and nutrition, that the human body can handle just about anything. That stated, some people might not want to increase their training frequency, or find that the structure of their lives prevents it. If that's the case, so be it- that's not to state, however, that they cannot handle much higher training frequency and volume, it's that they will not. History has shown, however, that it is by and large extreme effort that produces extreme results, so one can hardly fault their genetics for what is in essence their failure to succeed due to a failure of will.
Best pose ever?
To men who had the will and applied it, Saxon and Aston, both managed to put overhead upwards of 300 lbs with one hand- there’s not a single person on the planet who could even begin to approach that feat, much less duplicate it. Hermann Goerner, at a bodyweight of between 240 and 275, deadlifted 727 with one hand and 793.66 with two, both raw and natural, and with a double overhand hook grip. (Willoughby, 94) According to powerliftingwatch.com, there's only one person in the current rankings at 242 who could match Goerner's deadlift, and only 3 at 275- and none of those guys are in tested federations. Charles Rigoulot, at a bodyweight of 200 lbs, clean and jerked 402 in 1924 (Willoughby, 98), a feat untouched until the steroid era by a guy of a similar weight, and the guy who beat him never punched a Nazi officer in the fucking face- Rigoulot did, even though he was a Frenchman.
Wrong Frenchman to fuck with.
So how, then, could this have been possible? These guys trained constantly, competed far more frequently than modern lifters, and were capable of lifting tremendous poundages in an astonishing array of lifts, refusing to merely consign themselves to excellence in one or two lifts. They should not, by the standards of the modern nay-sayers, have been able to lift a paperweight, given their random, brutal, and consistent training regimens, without the aid of supplemental GH, steroids, and of course, the ubiquitous black magic utilized by anyone who does something the plebes cannot. If you’re finding yourself offended or disgusted by any part of this series, or if you're busy making excuses for why you can't handle more than four training sessions a week, you’re probably a generally weak person, tell people that you “test badly” to excuse your insanely low grades and standardized testing scores, and a bad lay.
This is, however, not entirely your fault. We live in a society where children are raised singing idiot songs led by purple dinosaurs. They sit in front of a television, are refused the opportunity to explore the world by their parents, who although they fear that child rapists and gypsies lie in wait for their children behind every tree, refuse to pay any attention to them. As such, the children are raised to be slothful, close-minded, virtually useless consumers incapable of thinking for themselves and bereft of the ability to make logical deductions. Whereas previous generations either encouraged or forced children out of doors to explore and get exercise, to become inquisitive and learn shit on their own, our society teaches them to fear the unknown, to sit on their asses, and to avoid anything that constitutes physical effort.
If you haven't yet seen They Live, you need to, stat.
It's a shitshow, to be sure, but this is the world in which we live. As such, people in the modern world are by and large both physically and mentally incapable of repeating the feats of the people of bygone eras, due to their brainwashing and soft bodies. This makes our task much more difficult, but it’s not impossible- we can regain our former glory. It’s going to be a massive pain in the ass, however, and will require a level of physical and mental effort that will transcend anything most people have ever experienced.
How then, should one go about embarking upon this journey? It’s not as though a person can simply go from being one of the obese, wheelchair-bound social networking addicts of that sheatheap movie Wall-E to an aspiring Bulgarian weightlifter in a day. Or a month. Or a year. The examples I’ve put forth were all those of people who’ve spent their lives enjoying massive amounts of physical activity, and then applying that enjoyment to becoming epic lifters of prodigious weights. Similarly, the incredibly Olympic weightlifters of Bulgaria, Russia, and China all begin their careers in the sport at an extremely young age. Thus, when they hit puberty, their bodies have already been tempered by iron, and they’re used to spending hours every day in the gym. Not only are they used to it- the best of them enjoy it. It’s a way of life. There’s hardly a person in America today, in a land where at best they play soccer a couple of months a year and no one keeps score, where everyone’s taught to a test, the nail that sticks up is hammered down, and books like Your Fat is Not Your Fault are front row and center in bookstores, who’s prepared to embark upon a weightlifting regimen that could lead them to the greatness of the behemoths of the past or the titans of the non-Western present.
You’ve got to start somewhere, however, and here’s what I suggest:
First, you’ve got to get your fucking head right. This might mean devoting a great deal of time to learning about the people I’ve mentioned, or simply reading about people you find inspiring. Developing a positive mental environment is essential, however, as no amount of negative motivation can propel your fat ass into the gym 12 times a week. That jackass who slobbers all over the place while screaming “Lift the weight, you fucking pussy” needs to take a fucking dirt nap… or at least stay the fuck away from you. That bullshit isn’t conducive to becoming better- at best, it’s only encouragement not to continue sucking. Three books I recommend to aid you in this pursuit are The Super-Athletes by David Willoughby, Manthropology by Peter McAllister, and Gladiator by Philip Wylie. I’ve mentioned the first two ad nauseum, but the third is an insanely inspirational novel that essentially birthed the superhero fiction genre, is both thought-provoking and massively poignant, and the protagonist bears “an immense loathing for the world.” It’s not your typical goodie-goodie horseshit- it’s actually compelling. One of the quotes is part of the reason I started this blog:
"'Eugenic offspring. Cultivated and reared in secret by a society for the purpose. Not necessarily your children, but the children of the best parents. Perfect bodies, intellectual minds, your strength. Don’t you see it, Hugo? You are not the reformer of the old world. You are the beginning of the new. . . The New Titans! Then -- slowly -- you dominate the world. Conquer and stamp out all these things to which you and I and all men of intelligence object. In the end -- you are alone and supreme.'”
(An aside- Clearly, I thus far have had no interest in creating any progeny. My offspring are my thoughts, my opinions, and the results of my continuous and exhaustive research into strength training and nutrition. Like the protagonist in Gladiator, I fight bitterly and constantly against the philistines of the world- people who blindly accept the conventions and mundanities of our society, reject intellectualism, and heartily embrace all that is trite, so that they can pass through the world like unthinking drones in drab, uninteresting lives. For those of you horrified by this amalgamation of socio-political theory and physical culture, you probably should be- I intend to incite a small revolution.)
Is Sarah B the product of some super-secret Swedish eugenics program? Possibly. And well fucking done, Sweden.
Next, you're going to have to experiment with increasing your frequency. This is where you apply the shit I just outlined in the above paragraph to yourself- start thinking for yourself, rather than letting others do the thinking for you. When I was first confronted with the question of how to increase one's training frequency, I was incredulous. Why not just ask me how to get out of fucking bed? It shouldn't even be like learning to tie you shoes, I thought. Well, apparently I'm the only one who thinks that way. As such, I gave some consideration to my transformation from a bodypart workout guy to a full body routines with higher volume guy, and recalled my experience with Chad Waterbury's High Frequency System. The program is pretty fucking awesome, in my opinion, and is a nice primer for anyone who's looking to increase their training frequency and dabble in the same sort of training I do. The essence of the program was essentially to use three weeks to acclimate to a training regimen unlike the bodypart split most people follow. In the fourth week, you add a second workout once a day, ever four days. At that point, then, you're doing a morning and an evening workout once every four days in place of a single workout. By the seventh week, you're doing two-a-days two days in a row, taking a day off, and repeating. It was pretty much fucking genius, provided you started at the beginning.
Rumor has it that Ajax used Waterbury's programs. Read your Homer, it's in there.
I, of course, started at the end, and I paid the price. If you're used to slow-paced, single or double bodypart workouts, jumping headlong into a routine wherein you're training everything multiple times a week, and twice a day to boot, is unadulterated insanity. To say that I was sore all the time was a vast understatement, and I eventually cut my training back to M-WT-S, with two sessions either on Saturday or Wednesday. It involved a lot of experimentation, but that's what I eventually adopted as reasonably comfortable. Later, I dropped the two a days and monkeyed with the program in the Waterbury Method, adding and subtracting the shit I didn't like. It wasn't until George Bush utterly laid waste to the economy while I was in grad school that I started training twice a day regularly, however. Being marginally employed or employed at a gym gives you plenty of time to train, and that's when shit really started to take off for me. I guess I can thank GWB for that.
Next up: "Part 3- the Bulgarian system, what I would do if I were you, and what I do since I'm me."
If you want to download Gladiator in pdf format, you can do it here.
Willoughby, David. The Super Athletes.