Ground on which we can only be saved from destruction by fighting without delay, is death ground. In death ground, fight.
"Suppose an army invading hostile territory without the aid of local guides:—it falls into a fatal snare and is at the enemy's mercy. A ravine on the left, a mountain on the right, a pathway so perilous that the horses have to be roped together and the chariots carried in slings, no passage open in front, retreat cut off behind, no choice but to proceed in single file. Then, before there is time to range our soldiers in order of battle, the enemy is overwhelming strength suddenly appears on the scene. Advancing, we can nowhere take a breathing-space; retreating, we have no haven of refuge. We seek a pitched battle, but in vain; yet standing on the defensive, none of us has a moment's respite. If we simply maintain our ground, whole days and months will crawl by; the moment we make a move, we have to sustain the enemy's attacks on front and rear. The country is wild, destitute of water and plants; the army is lacking in the necessaries of life, the horses are jaded and the men worn-out, all the resources of strength and skill unavailing, the pass so narrow that a single man defending it can check the onset of ten thousand; all means of offense in the hands of the enemy, all points of vantage already forfeited by ourselves:—in this terrible plight, even though we had the most valiant soldiers and the keenest of weapons, how could they be employed with the slightest effect?"You know what you do in this case? Fucking ATTACK. We've all been in this position in the gym- broken/torn whatevers/horrible illness/etc. Something that not only cripples you physically but cripples you psychologically. I've had it happen twice in the last year, first with walking pneumonia and then with the broken hand/torn bicep combo. In both cases, it wasn't just the fact that I couldn't train the way I liked, but the fact that I'd been proven mortal by the universe at large. Though that might seem preposterous to most people, if you think of yourself as mortal and consider your own mortality, you will never transcend mediocrity, never rise out of the muck, never crawl over the assembled, teeming,unwashed, blind, stinking masses to grab the brass ring. Thus, a catastrophic setback initially freaks me the fuck out and throws me into whatever my best impression of "depressed" is. I, however, have never allowed myself to get sad for all that long- like they said in the original Red Dawn, I "let it turn into something else". Instead of getting sad, I get mad at myself for being a Fucking Awesome Guy and get insanely, ripshit angry. I get angry at everything- the sun, the fact that a book I love has a shitty cover, the fact that my dog pointedly ignores certain command, pants (because fuck pants), my crippled body, everyone driving a car, EVERYTHING. Then, I channel that energy into creativity.
Yes, creativity. It might come as a great shock to everyone under 25 who's reading this, but the gym is the perfect place for you to express your creativity. If you're not creative, you're going to be a shitty lifter, plain and simple. Allow me to explain- in order to be a great lifter, you have got to get creative to overcome hurdles, train around injuries, get lean, fix weaknesses, and sculpt your body however you want it to look. If you just do what you're told, you're going to suck- it's just that simple. Lifting is not a science- it's an art. For those of you who are going to expose your utter blindness to the truth and irrefutable ignorance, consider that just as science influences and supports art (the creation of colors and mediums, explaining why certain art appeals to the majority, etc), science also influences and supports lifting... but lifting cannot, will not, and never could be made into a science because there are too many independent variables involved in programming, exercise selection, and loading for anyone to accurately utilize science or math in their calculation.
Skeptical? I have taken advice from people on a number of occasion, and it has always ended in disaster. One time I didn't cum for almost a year because getting off would "hurt my gainz". No only did my gainz suffer, but my dick developed schizophrenia and would not respond to normal commands when called into battle. If I could have found the old fuck who gave me that advice, I'd have sent everyone in his family a fucking nailbomb. Likewise for when my squat stalled and someone suggested that since Bill Kazmeier only did 10-12 reps in the off-season, I should too. My squat literally dropped 50 lbs over three months and it took the better part of a year to make a five pound PR over my previous plateau weight. People, as it turns out, know precisely fuck all about what will make you strong.
I'ma dig a ditch, bitch, and throw your ass in.
Speaking of knowing exactly fuckall, there is one major caveat to what I am suggesting- if you're under the age of 27 at this moment and happen to ever find yourself injured, you might as well quit lifting and eat a fucking bullet. Not since Al Qaeda conquered the assembled unwashed and uneducated dirt merchants of Afghanistan has there been a less well-educated or more pompous, self-aggrandizing, entitled pack of dogmatic, uninteresting, dickless, brainless fucktards than the under-27 crowd of "powerlifters" fucking up any decent discourse on the subject of lifting on whatever public forum they currently choose. So wedded to the idea that they have to adhere to a "program" lest they fail to achieve the baseline mediocrity for which they so desperately wish in order to impress the other saddie bitches yammering on about the program du jour, they're completely incapable of enacting a damage control system of "improvise, adapt, and overcome" to train around an injury. Frankly, I've no idea how these assholes manage to get out of bed and get their fucking shoes on ("Thanks for tying them, mom! I'll get it before I turn 30! I promise!"), but that set of actions certainly stretches the limits of their autonomy to the breaking point. They'd be more likely to transmogrify themselves into a rape monster in the form of winged bag of pulsating ectoplasm covered with turgid 10" cocks than they would be capable of determining a course by which they could train around an injury.
Hate those motherfuckers about this much.
If that offended you, good. Anyone who defends that generation of lifters will join them in the fucking camps. Lest you worry, we know your work capacity isn't going to allow for much slave labor, as your CNS allegedly has less balls than a geriatric AIDS patient covered in cancerous goiters. Nope, we're just going to lead you fucking lemmings to the edge of a deep pit (dug with bulldozers, because again, you fuckers would fall down dead of exhaustion from digging a potted plant out of the ground) and shove you in, where you can lament the fact you never did a fucking pullup with all of the other assholes in your generation as you starve to death.
I always had the desire to inflict pain on others and to have others inflict pain on me. I always seemed to enjoy everything that hurt. The desire to inflict pain, that is all that is uppermost.
For the rest of you, what's important is that you get creative and tried new shit. That is the only thing you can do when you get injured, because when you're facing a serious injury, improvisation is all you have. Consider my latest clusterfuck- confronted with the issue of a torn bicep and broken bone in my right hand which still hurts like a fuck), I was reduced to unilateral pulls that did not involve my palm with my right hand, nothing with my left, and machine leg training. As such, I simply started training legs as much as possible, alternating between machine squats and leg extensions/leg curls. Then, on alternating days, I did explosive unilateral pulldowns, curls, one arm pullups, and triceps pressdowns. Once I had surgery, I added in two non-unilateral movements that I basically invented myself- band crossovers with the bands on my biceps rather than in my hands (to remove the load from my bicep) and band rows with the bands over my triceps. You might be thinking to yourself, "that's not gonna do shit", but you know what? It's more than the average person does, and I was trying to keep my back as conditioned as humanly possible.
For anyone who wants a new goal, how about a triple bodyweight one arm dead? Pete Cortese: 370 lbs. at 116 lbs.
As my arm healed, I started doing one arm deadlifts with the other arm to keep moving heavy weight, and at 5 weeks cautiously started squatting again, working up to a double with 585 in my first squat session in 7 weeks just fucking because. That week I also started benching again, working with a wide grip to refrain from compressing my bicep too much, adding in a bunch of machine bench presses just to get my volume up. I also added overhead presses, starting light and not going to lockout just to keep the strain and stretch off my bicep, and gradually (over a week and a half) worked to full lockout. At the same time, I remained cognizant of the strain holding a bar at lockout on my bicep, so I simply put the bar as for over head as possible without retearing my bicep and dumped it. Clearly, none of this should be Earth-shattering- it's just a combination of a bit of creativity and not being a fucking bitch. Pursuant to the latter bit, I've perhaps taken nine days off in the last two months (I had surgery exactly two months ago)... so it seems your body and your CNS is capable of handling both recovery from surgery and heavy, frequent training without giving you cancer of the IDS provided you feed it plenty of food and remember to avoid being a bitch.
To most of you, that strikes you as a waste of time. Leg extensions? Band crossovers? WHAT'S THE CARRYOVER, BRO? The carryover is you're a fucking retard and your parents fucking hate you, bro. Every time I'm asked what the carryover is from one exercise to another I want to burn the world and fuck on the ashes just a little bit more. I want spray random passers-by with acid. I want to grab a small child by the feet and beat an entire college campus to death with its corpse. I want to breathe smoke. You know why? BECAUSE THE CARRYOVER IS THAT ANY TIME YOU MAKE YOURSELF STRONGER, YOU'RE FUCKING STRONGER. Te aforementioned question is a tacit admission that 1) the questioner does not like lifting weights, and 2) knows precisely fuckall about strength training, 3) that person is beneath your contempt and should be treated as thought they just crawled bare-ass naked out of a public porta-potty with their mouth wide open and a baby doll stuffed up their ass.
If you think I am alone in acting in that manner, I am not. The progenitor of the modern bodybuilding competition and basically the person you have to blame for the popularity of physical culture in the US, Bernarr MacFadden, was a harder motherfucker than you will probably ever be at age 12. Having grown up in an environment wherein he was constantly being reminded that his death from tuberculosis was eminent and wherein his mom dropped dead of the same disease and his dad peace out when he was a baby, Bernarr decided to get hard. Essentially an orphan and had no money to join a gym, so he did what he could- too poor to join a gym at age 12, he bought a set of dumbbells he used religiously every morning until he couldn't lift them, replacing them with heavier dumbbells when he needed a bigger challenge. As if that weren't enough, he took nothing but physically demanding jobs, with the thought that desk jobs would lead him to his death... and he was still a tween.
Harder Than You Crew circa 1900.
That's right, a twelve year old kid out-harded you. He idolized the badass motherfuckers he saw coming out of mines and loathed the bitches he saw in banks, so he started carrying a lead ingot everywhere he went at age 15 so he wouldn't go soft as he worked for the company that eventually became Dunn and Bradstreet. As he grew older and got more wealthy, his penchant for experimentation expanded, and he became a renowned wrestler and strongman weighting only about 150 lbs due to a fanatical, round the clock lifting program and in spite of a near vegetarian diet. MacFadden wasn't busy worrying about carryover, his CNS, loading protocols for the squat versus the bench, what particular minute adjustment to his bench form he could agonize over, or any of the other stupid shit with which "lifters" find themselves preoccupied these days. He made himself stronger so that he would be stronger, in spite of whatever bullshit life happened to throw in his way, be it poverty or pneumonia.
In summary, this shit couldn't be any easier. You're backed into a corner by life, so you fight your way the fuck out and leave nothing alive. Pretty fucking simple, frankly. Everyone who's been worth a shit in the past has done it, and so will we, if we aspire to even being mere shadows of our much tougher forbears. Time to stop making excuses and harden the fuck up people.
Don't forget- we've got forums now, in case you assholes want to bitch about how I just touched your inner child in its no no place.
Adams, Mark. Mr. America. New York: Harper Collins, 2009.
Gentle, David. Some Amazing Feats of Grip Strength. Bob Whelan. Web. 7 Dec 2013. http://www.bobwhelan.com/history/gripstrength.html
Sun Tzu's Art of War. Web. 3 Nov 2013. http://suntzusaid.com/book/11