04 December 2011

Efficiency And Elite Strength Are Asymmetric Goals

To begin, this will likely be the most contentious piece of writing I've done thus far.  My personal belief in regards to "efficient training" is not a widely held precept, but that is due to the fact that every single person who disagrees with me on this subject is unequivocally wrong.  I'm not talking "mark that fucker down ten points on their SAT" wrong, either- I'm talking "Michael Jackson fingerfucking a four year old while wearing a poop helmet and singing 'I'm a Little Teapot'" wrong.  The reason for this is that efficiency is not a path to excellence, but rather the way to maximize production while minimizing cost.  As such, efficiency in the minds of most is linear growth- slow and steady incremental progress.  Becoming elite at anything, however, requires far more effort than that, and exponentially more effort than that which most modern Westerners will put into anything but consumerism, sloth, and obesity.
Legs like this don't come from 5x5 or once a week squatting.  They come from years of  doing 35-42 sets of legs twice a week.

Given that I attack lifting with the same ferocity that which a fat person employs in the pursuit of type two diabetes in a Krispy Kreme shop, incremental progression wouldn't be my style in any event.  Though my opinion might be skewed because it suits my style of lifting, I believe that a more aggressive, volume intensive, and unmodulated approach results in progression that is volatile, but will resemble a cubic progression rather than a linear progression if averaged.  The problem most people have with my approach, however, is threefold- one, they lack the necessary motivation to attack the weights with the necessary vigor; two, they are either unwilling or unable to continually alter their training to maintain forward progression, and three, they're too busy listening to the astonishing amount of negativity coming from the weak-willed and -bodied peanut gallery to take this path in the first place.

Ultimately, I think the problem lies in large part with one man- Frederick Winslow Taylor.  Before you start googling him, know this- he's got fuckall to do with lifting.  Instead, he is the evil mastermind behind one of the most insidious schemes in history, which sucked the soul out of the American working man and is currently grinding the lot of us to a bloody fucking nub: the plot to make the American workforce "efficient."
Shocked?  She is too.

Even his mother would probably have told us, Frederick Taylor was a fucking asshole.  He went everywhere with a stopwatch and notepad, timing everyone as they did everything and constantly nitpicking, henpecking, and berating them about their form, style, and execution because the wanted them to operate like robots in a factory.  Fucking Frederick Taylor, had he been capable, was likely a blazingly fast and probably unfelt affair consisting of a rapid series of pumps calibrated by stopwatch and in time with a metronome, after which he critiqued the woman for everything he could possibly think.  Though the man was utterly despised by the workers he oversaw, he was the darling of the management of corporations, and his worship of efficiency became the American religion within a century of it's adoption.

If you're wondering why I think this fucked up most lifters, consider this- the core of Taylor's work was standardization.  He studied things, averaged the results, and used that to determine what would achieve acceptable results for everyone, rather than what would achieve optimal results for individuals.  He promoted four essential principles:

  1. Replace rule-of-thumb work methods with methods based on a scientific study of the tasks.
  2. Scientifically select, train, and develop each employee rather than passively leaving them to train themselves.
  3. Provide "Detailed instruction and supervision of each worker in the performance of that worker's discrete task".
  4. Divide work nearly equally between managers and workers, so that the managers apply scientific management principles to planning the work and the workers actually perform the tasks. 

This has since been applied to programming, which by my research (and that's been rather exhaustive), is a relatively new phenomenon- even in the early 20th Century each lifter essentially created their own program.  Now, however, most people dogmatically and rabidly adhere to programs they neither understand nor question who have been designed by people in a distant foreign land for a very discrete group of people.  That, or they do the same with a watered-down program designed to do exactly what Taylor sought to do- achieve acceptable goals for all, but not optimize anyone's output.  Thus, no one trains themselves, they receive "detailed instruction and supervision" in the "performance of their task", and lifters leave the management principles to strangers while they unthinkingly perform the tasks set out for them.  In short, Taylor created an environment where society not only creates robots, but it creates robots who want to be even more robotic.  This is how we've ended up with an internet full of discussions of same three powerlifting or bodybuilding programs, people who think that being fat somehow confers great physical strength (I'm talking to you, GOMAD fuckers), and endless fucking form check videos.  As such, most people are as useless as the annoying black chick from Saved By The Bell on the best of gym visits, and at worst are more likely to resemble that skinny, whiny bitch from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
I haven't seen this movie in ten years and would still stab this motherfucker on sight.

"Efficient" programming seeks to provide the masses with the best results from the least effort every time they enter the gym.  People, being fucking morons, confuse "best results from the least effort" with "best results", and this is how they've started championing Mark Rippetoe as the god of all things lifting.  Because they think that "best results" also means maintaining a strength level that would get you laughed out of a supermarket in Denmark when you threw your back out trying to lift one of their giant wheels of cheese, they think that anyone doing more work than them (and thereby easily surpassing their best lifts) in the gym is a mutant, obviously using steroids, and in danger of "burning themselves out" in short order.  They'll heave excuses aloft like they're Russians blindly firing shit into space in an effort to beat the US at anything at all, and will achieve about the same amount of success as the Russians- there will be a lot of shit erased from their record books out of shame, and weeping will be about the only sound they hear each night as they go to bed.  They will never push themselves to test their limits, force themselves to go beyond what they believe possible, or even attempt something slightly out of the ordinary, because they're content with leading dull, uninteresting lives bereft of excitement and devoid of conscious thought.  They're fucking robots, basking in the pallid glow of their own mediocrity.

Cursory examination of memorable and elite lifters throughout the ages will leave you one very definitive impression thereafter- there is no one best way for everyone to train.  The very idea of such a thing is patently ridiculous, as the adoption of that theory involves a tacit admission that you're no better than anyone else- you're neither smarter, nor stronger, nor in any way better than the toothless, meth-addicted broad checking you out at Wal-Mart, nor are you better equipped to attack the weights than the special needs kid with a thyroid disorder who's eating crayons in isle 3.  If you're comfortable with that idea, then I encourage you to adopt a cookie-cutter routine on the recommendation of a faceless stranger with a total that barely exceeds his bodyweight.  If you realize that there's a chance that you might be able to rise above the level of "barely human", perhaps you should examine the routine you've been doing to see how it could best benefit you, as an individual.

Another takeaway from that examination is the fact that if you want to be great at something, lifting included, you're going to have to do more than just the bare minimum in the gym.  To wit:
Tom Platz's Leg Routine (which he did twice in 8 days):

Squats 8-12 5-20
Hack Squats 5 10-15
Leg Extensions 5-8 10-15
Lying Leg Curls 6-10 10-15
Standing Calf Raises 3-4 10-15
Seated Calf Raises 3-4 10-15
Hack Machine Calf Raises 3-4 10-15
Using this routine, Platz hit 500 for 23 reps and 635 for 8, at a bodyweight of around 220 and ripped to the fucking bone.

Bob Peoples' Full Body Routine (done 4-5 times per week)

Deadlift 1 x 15-20, 1 x 10, 1 x 8, 1 x 6, 6 x 1 (10 sets total)
Squat 5 x 5
Press 5 x 5

That's right- People maxed out on the deadlift 4-5 times a week. Because he broke his fucking ass and wasn't a bleeding vagina, People's pulled a world record 725 at 181 lbs.  Also contrary to convention, people pulled with all of the air expelled from his lungs, with a round back, and with a double overhand grip, form he determined to be best for himself after experimenting with a wide variety of forms and then actually sitting down and studying what worked best for him.  Can you imagine such a thing?  The horror!

Konstantin Konstantinovs Full Body Routine (training every other day)

Workout 1.
1. Light squat for a warm up.
2. Deadlift. I do a different variant every time I train: rack pulls – 7, 11, 15, 20, 23 cm from the knees (higher than that I never pull). I do either a set of 3 reps or 8-10 depending on how I feel.
3. Bench press. I consider bench press as rest between heavy work. I bench either with touch and go with a medium grip, or with a close grip pausing at the bottom. I might do a single set of 10 reps with touch and go, or might max out pausing at the bottom. It all depends on how I feel and my mood.
4. 2nd deadlift. I pull either from a floor or from a deficit (about 9 cm). I do a single set of 2-3 reps pausing at the bottom. Then if I have enough energy, I might do another set of 6-8 reps.
5. Box squat. Heavy box squat as described above.

Workout 2 (in two days).
1. Medium heavy squat as described above.
2. Heavy bench press for a single set of 3 reps. Once in two weeks: negatives – 1-2 set for 1 rep. Then a single set of 8-10 reps with either close or medium grip depending on how I feel.
3. Cardio – 15-20 min.

Workout 3.
1. Light squat.
2. Medium heavy bench press: a single set of 6-8 reps.
3. Speed deadlift with bands: 8x1. Bands increase weight by 130 kg at the top.
4. Pull ups with weight or bands. ONLY explosively. Very important for my deadlift.
5. GHR, hyperextensions, very heavy abs work (6 sets with emphasis on strength).

Workout 4.
The same as workout 2.
In other words, the man who's the strength freak of our time and who hold the World Record in the Raw Deadlift at 242 and 275 and the total at 308 squats every fucking training session and deadlifts twice a week.  Conventional wisdom can officially go fuck itself.
Bennie Podda, being insane per the usual.

There are myriad other examples, and all of the Baddest Motherfuckers I've chronicled threw a metaphorical fuck you to the world every single time they entered the gym.  That's because they knew, instinctively, that there is no one best way for everyone to train- there's only the best way for you to train yourself.  Just as the cookie cutter programs predominating in the strength world today should arouse the ire of the lifters using them, as they're forced from what works into what usually works for most people, Fred Taylor's methods made him a fucking wanted man in factories the world around.  Artisans and factory workers despised him, because he took away their free will and individual expression and replaced it with robotic movements and communal behavior.  Amusingly, the Soviets were some of his biggest proponents, in spite of the fact that Marx himself decried the dehumanization of the worker.  Similarly, Christian existentialist Simone Weil proffered the following, which is a pretty excellent summary of modern society's mental state:
"However tied and bound a primitive man was to routine and blind gropings, he could at least try to think things out, to combine and innovate at his own risk, a liberty which is absolutely denied to a worker engaged in a production line.... Thus, in spite of progress, man has not emerged from the servile condition in which he found himself when he was handed over weak and naked to all the blind forces that make up the universe; it is merely that the power which keeps him on his knees has been as it were transferred from inert matter to the human society of which he is a member."
I find that particularly striking due to the fact that Christianity doesn't seem well suited to individual thought and expression, by and large.  If they and the progenitor of one of the most disgusting and insidious political movements in the modern era could see the evil inherent in Taylorism, anyone on Earth should be able to do so.
But, you might be saying to yourself, those guys are fucking freaks, and while I'm not retarded and half-crippled and don't resemble a young Kuato from Total Recall, I'm hardly a strapping young KK.  He's a genetic freak, and I'm not.  Interestingly, science has addressed that theory, and they've told you to nut the fuck up.  In a meta-analysis of thousands of elite performers across a variety of disciplines ranging from hockey to violin, researchers discovered that "Individual differences, even among elite performers, are closely related to assessed amounts of deliberate practice. Many characteristics once believed to reflect innate talent are actually the result of intense practice extended for a minimum of 10 years." (Ericsson et al. 363)  I've mentioned my issues with Sir Francis Galton before, and he's the one who's got it in your mind that you simply lack the genetics to be elite (which is not surprising given that "Genetic influences are still incorrectly viewed as deterministic factors that lead to unmodifiable consequences determining the structure of the  human body and its nervous system"[Ericksson et al 364]).  Well, once again, you and Galton are about as correct as the 29% percent of American who couldn't identify the vice president of the United States.(Daily Beast)  Instead, what studies like that show "is that 10,000 hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world class expert" (Outliers 40)  In studying these elite performers, they found that "the people at the very top don't work just harder or even much harder than everyone else.  They work much, much harder." (Outliers 39)
Working harder already
They don't just work harder, either- they react, adapt and overcome, just as elite Special Forces units do as a matter of course.  In a study in the late 19th Century of Morse code operators, it was discovered that even a tremendous amount of practice and experience did not inure Morse code operators from the dreaded plateau we all know from training.  What they found was interesting for another reason, though, because it applies directly to my point- people who unthinkingly performed their tasks found themselves mired in bullshit, while those who approached their task thoughtfully and busted their asses did not- "with mere repetition, improvement of performance was often arrested at less than maximal levels, and further improvement required effortful reorganization of the skill. Even very experienced Morse Code operators could be encouraged to dramatically increase their performance through deliberate efforts when  further improvements were required for promotions and external rewards."(Ericksson 365)  Put simply- you have react and adapt if you want to overcome obstacles in your path to greatness.  You're not going to do that, however, if you're taking the easy way out, resting on your laurels, following some program designed by a person who's never met you and used (identically) by everyone you know, and never deviating from the path set out by that stranger.  You've got to identify your strengths and weaknesses and motivate yourself to overcome them through the thoughtful application of sheer, unrelenting will and brute fucking force.

To sum up- if you do the same thing everyone else is doing, you'll suck just as much as they do.  "Remember, you never want to be in a fair fight if an unfair fight is an option" (Griffin), and by doing what they're doing, you're making every competition a fair fight.  You can always push harder, lift heavier, and fight harder for what you want, and you're going to have to fucking do it if you want to rise above those around you.  Claiming that your sessions are more efficient is simply another way to say you're a fucking corner-cutting slacker, and I'm going to laugh at you when I outlift you and your lifting partner combined at a meet.

Don't be a fucking pussy.  Go do something epic.

I left this bit out because this post ran so long and covered so many things that I forgot to mention it explicitly, though I thought it would be more or less apparent:
Optimal training for an individual will not be "efficient" due to the fact that you will have to put more and more effort into lifting in order to transcend your previous bests.  This coincides with the "Law of Diminishing Returns", which states that "in all productive processes, adding more of one factor of production, while holding all others constant, will at some point yield lower per-unit returns." (Wiki)  Those lower returns, however, are necessary if progress is to continue, and is the point I was attempting to make by citing the study of the Morse code operators.

Additionally, it appears, via the comments, that many people are confusing "optimal" and "efficient"- optimal training is training in which you're maximizing your maximizing your output.  "Efficient" training, on the other hand, is achieving the best possible result form a minimum of effort.  As such, it is rare that "efficient" training will yield optimal results, due to the fact that so much more effort will eventually be necessary to continue your progress, and because of the delicate balance of man's internal systems it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine what will achieve the greatest output as increased effort is required.

     Carson, Brian.  Bob Peoples Deadlift Training.  http://ezinearticles.com/?Bob-Peoples-Deadlift-Training&id=1522211
     Kasatov, Konstantin Dmitri.  Interview with Konstantin Konstantinovs.  http://www.lift-run-bang.com/2010/04/interview-with-konstantin-konstantinovs.html
     Ericksson KA, Krampe RT, Tesch-Roemer C.  The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance. 1993:  100(3) 363-406.  http://projects.ict.usc.edu/itw/gel/EricssonDeliberatePracticePR93.pdf
     Frederick Winslow Taylor.  Wikipedia.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Winslow_Taylor
     How Dumb Are We?  The Daily Beast.  http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/03/20/how-dumb-are-we.html
     People, Bob.  "The Training Methods of Bob Peoples".  http://pressingtostrongman.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/bob-peoples-speaks/
     Tom Platz Leg Workout – The Man Who Became Famous For His Remarkable Leg Development.  SimplyShredded.com. http://www.simplyshredded.com/tom-platz-bodybuilding.html


  1. The more I train, the more I realize what you speak of is true. The masses know of nary a thing that is effective, I've seen it countless times at my gym. Good work jamie.

    Oh, and was going to email you about this, but what the hell. What do you think about the Chaos and Pain facebook page?


    I know you don't like facebook, but a lot of readers are on there and it would be a good way to keep up with your posts. Just a thought, and if you don't approve it can be labeled "the unofficial fan page of Chaos and Pain" or some bullshit.

  2. Hahahaha. Thanks for doing that, man. Provided no one on there pretends to be me, I'm cool with it. I've no idea if it can be done, but throw my email on there so people can hit me up if need be: chaos_and_pain@yahoo.com. If I get laid out of it, I'll buy you a steak.

  3. So I scrolled over Rippetoe's AMA:

    Jamie Lewis writes in his book:

    Guess what the Chinese program is like. Give up? High fucking intensity, brutal, day long workouts, 6 days a week. Year-round. There's no time for bullshitting about with extended rest periods and abbreviated workouts with the Chinese... they're too busy winning every medal on Earth to bother with Mentzer, Rippetoe, and Stuart McRobert's fear of the ephemeral overtraining boogeyman.

    [–]Rippetoe[S] 191 points 6 hours ago

    This comment refers to the Chinese National Weightlifting Team. Not the demographic I deal with, and not the demographic that actually exists in this country outside the NFL. Not novices, and not any of you. An irrelevant question, therefore.

    Hahahahahaha what a dipshit. Golden thread.

  4. Overall, he came across as a colossal cockbag. Meanwhile Kroc's AMA was class.

  5. The email's already done. Let me know if you want to change any of the wording or what not. Haha, thanks man!

  6. Notice anything about just about every lifter you wrote about?
    They were (or are currently) around there 30s when they "reached the top."
    It floors me every time I see a kid whining about how he can't press 300 or squat a grand at 15-20 years old, having only been training a few years (at most.)

    Other notable examples:
    Pisarenko, Alekseyev, Serge Redding, Louie Simmons(well, he says he's gotten stronger... but his gear and "supplements" have just imrpoved.)

  7. I really detest cookie cutter programs and can't imagine why people utilize them so much.

    Jamie, any content coming related to Mikhail/Misha Koklyaev? Aside from Konstantinovs, he's one of the other contemporary guys who's a beast.

  8. Jesus Hotel Christ I dont even have words for this article, you are stirring some real shit with this one...

    Instinctively I disagree with almost everything you've stated, and I can't even entirely figure out what cubic progression means (google yields this article itself).

    I'm not gonna blindly jump on the whole anti-Rippetoe bus either like most of the CnP neophytes, I've read every one of your articles (most several times) and the one thing you consistently rally against is dogma or close mindedness, I've learned plenty of good dope from Mark Rippetoe.
    He's hard to defend sometimes because he's so fat and a rabid libertarian, not to mention his fanboys are annoying as fuck...his basic programming template will never produce elite lifters nor does he claim it will, but there are far worse cultist leaders out there to target.
    The real problem, I feel, is a far more human phenomena: retardation

    On human phenomena, I'm curious about your proof against linear progression in nature, linear growth seems logical to me. I suppose nature can still be an illogical 'Blind Watchmaker' but don't things still evolve or develop one step at a time, one cell at a time, a pound at a time...?

    Yes, it's low-risk, efficient, and boring but it's understood. The examples you give of those bad motherfuckers is compelling and worth experimenting with and investigating, but I'm not about to throw away the tried-and-true...there is nothing wrong with the missionary position if you pound hard enough

  9. My squat was in the shitter for months because I hadn't figured out that I couldn't low bar squat ass to grass with a straight back like some kind of weight lifting contortionist.

    and @ slowfuse
    Nobody ever makes linear gains for very long. It's either a process of trial and error with changes and ups and downs, or you stall out over time and become a pussy.

  10. @slowfuse

    Yes, nature evolves one step at a time, but that doesn't mean it evolves predictably. Evolution only occurs when the current state of being is being put to the test.

    Humans started walking on two feet cause it was more efficient, apes still walk on four limbs because it's what their lifestyle demands of them (or viceversa - either way it makes them stuck in a vicious circle)

  11. Really inspiring, probably your best piece yet. The laziness and complacency of most people is so depressing. It's really nice to read the occasional tirade against such mediocrity. I love lifting, and can not understand why anyone would WANT to take days off for no good reason, or want to not work harder.

    Also - finally got around to trying overhead squat lockouts - definitely my new favorite exercise.

  12. This has pretty much been my experience and I only really clued into it when I first came across CnP. I think the only universal training principle is "work fucking hard", combine that with your own individual tweaking and you'll get strong.

  13. "Evolution only occurs when the current state of being is being put to the test."
    Like when homoeostasis is consistently disrupted by progressively adding weight to the bar in a linear fashion? Did you just agree with me?

    "that doesn't mean it evolves predictably" / "a process of trial and error with changes and ups and downs"
    This sounds like bodybuilding.com muscle confusion crap. Doesn't Jamie just change routines up to avoid boredom, at his elite level that obviously makes more sense for him

    "Humans started walking on two feet cause it was more efficient"
    Aren't we trying to argue a case against efficiency?

  14. That argument was against using a utilitarian method i.e. a method that is most efficient when applied to the group as a whole. Efficiency for the individual is a different thing.

    Arguably, Jamie's training is close to the most efficient training method for him. If I somehow got hold of exactly what he did each session I probably wouldn't get as good results. I'd need to find a method which is efficient for me.

    The issue that Jamie's arguing, I think, is that cookie cutter routines do exactly that: they try to apply a method that worked for one person and apply it to everyone else. Or worse, they create a theoretical method that should work well for everyone. These are efficient for the group because they get reasonable results for everyone, but the whole point of CnP is that 'reasonable' isn't good enough. If you want to be really strong then you're going to have to tweak your program so it's as efficient as possible for you.

  15. This article was excellent. I'm still VERY new to lifting, and I'm stupidly fortunate to have found your blog when I did. You have saved me years of bullshit.

  16. Jamie, I don't know shit about shit, so feel free to lambast me for this. I've been reading your book, and then reading this post something occured to me and I wondered if you had ever given it a try.

    In my twenties when my training was all schizo M&F/Men's Health insprired, and compounded with lots of cardio, one of my favorite things to do was take a free-weight isolation move to near failure and then immediately switch to a synergistic compound move with the same BB/DB. My favorite was skull-crushers into close- or reverse-grip bench presses.

    Have you ever tried doing that with some of your stuff? I don't know how the %'s work out, but as an example I was thinking strict press singles into BTNPP triples or fives. Kind of like "baby" bears? If you've tried this, how did it work out, and if you haven't, why not?

  17. slowfuse is right. Where most will not agree with is the systematic "5lbs" jumps per week [in certain programs], just to throw a number out there. With a high volume of training and a set routine, it is possible. Some weeks, maybe you won't make the 5 pound increase and just 2.5 or even a fraction, but it is still progress. Some weeks you may progress 10-15 lbs on some lifts within the same # of reps and sets. You have to be disciplined and maintain a detailed log of your workouts for this to work [Doug Furnas], which Jamie has stated he refuses to do, because he doesn't feel like it and isn't the way he wants to go through with it. Which is valid and returns to the point of the post, to each their own, and to find your own damn way. There are many ways to reach a goal, just find the one that works best for you.

  18. Slowfuse- I've addressed my problems with linear progression in the past. Essentially, my argument boils down to the idea that linear progression relies on an exceedingly simplistic view of the human condition, wherein all things remain equal (sleep, stress, nutrition, environment, etc) and the only thing that changes is the total volume of weight lifted. That is fucking preposterous. There's a reason that the Bulgarians check resting heart rate and blood pressure meticulously throughout the training day- they know that there are far too many factors to track in terms of stress on one's system, and thus modulate their workload according to biofeedback signals. I despise simplistic views of complex systems, and linear progression is based upon a premise so simplistic that it's based on nothing more than intellectual dishonesty and hope.

    As for your missionary position analogy- that's true if you're banging some random housewife on a Wednesday afternoon with the blinds drawn. If you're fucking Jenna Jameson on pay per view, however, you've got to up your fucking game. I've no interest in being the lifting equivalent of the housewife fucker- I plan on being far more epic than that.

    Nilster- That's typically referred to as pre-exhaustion, and I despise it. It places the emphasis on the "fluff" exercises and lowers your poundages on the actually useful ones. I've never found that it's helped, though the only thing on which I've ever really tried it was squatting.

    Javier- Exactly- Doug Furnas did what he did because that's what worked for him, which was entirely the point of my post.

    Everyone else- check out the addendum. I tried to clear up a couple of things.

  19. @slowfuse

    "Like when homoeostasis is consistently disrupted by progressively adding weight to the bar in a linear fashion? Did you just agree with me?"

    Adding 5 lbs will eventually have a predictable feel, mentaly and later on physically, from my own experience, and thus result in the body falling back into homeostasis.

    ""that doesn't mean it evolves predictably" / "a process of trial and error with changes and ups and downs"
    This sounds like bodybuilding.com muscle confusion crap. Doesn't Jamie just change routines up to avoid boredom, at his elite level that obviously makes more sense for him"

    Don't speak for other people to deviate the subject if you initially want to argument your own findings.

    ""Humans started walking on two feet cause it was more efficient"
    Aren't we trying to argue a case against efficiency?"

    Human evolution has exchanged raw strength for intelligence - walking on two legs is a byproduct if anything. There's nothing athletic about walking, but who needs to climb trees all day long to avoid getting killed by predators when you can create fire to keep predators away and yourself and your family warm. Thus - optimal evolution for survival.

    Humans (man) are hunters by nature. Lions are better hunters, and gorrilas are stronger, but I don't see either species flying aeroplanes any time soon.

  20. Also think about this: it is possible to combine the Furnas method with the CnP approach. For example, you design a solid routine, and stick to it for a few weeks, one day you don't feel like doing the programmed day, for x reason, but you still need to work out. DO WHATEVER YOU WANT, no one will care either way. If you feel like doing 15 sets of max-sumo stance snatch grip high pulls and 40 yard sprints with 20 jumping jacks for 3 rounds, then do it. Eventually, I recommend you get back on the program the next day or two, because in this way it serves as a base and measuring stick for your overall progress. The base program is obviously subject to change as needed (precomp, inseason, etc). This is how I currently go about.

  21. As another example, you do your programmed day, then add in more reps, sets, exercises to finish, because you feel like it.. Or maybe another session consisting of x.

  22. @Alexandro
    "This sounds like bodybuilding.com muscle confusion crap."

    If you think changing a program to vary training volume and work on your weaknesses has anything to do with muscle confusion, I feel very sorry for you, and for your parents.

  23. I agree completely about the idiocy of following someone else's program instead of coming up with something that works for you.

    Which is why it seems very strange to me that people ask you for routines, and try to "do Chaos and Pain," essentially aping your workout routine. They're reading, but they aren't comprehending, and while they may get better results than one of Rippetoe's drones, I doubt anyone else who just follows your lead will ever lift anything exceptional unless he happens to be very similar to you physically and psychologically.
    I've read this blog regularly, hell, I even bought the book, but I've never had any inclination to actually "do" Chaos and Pain, because I'm not Jamie Lewis, and so, Chaos and Pain was not designed for me. I read this blog for inspiration and interesting ideas that I can incorporate into my training.(Btn push presses are now my favorite overhead lift, and I'm eternally grateful to you for showing me how far heavy shrugs could be taken. I used to think 405 was heavy, now I'm repping twice that.) But the ideas get incorporated into the program that suits me, which looks nothing like yours. (training to failure, less frequency longer workouts etc.) What I do works for me, and while I'd be happy to listen to any advice they cared to give, I wouldn't necessarily change what I do just because Konstantinovs or Tom Platz or Nicholai Tesla says so. They're experts in how they need to train (or how to blow up Siberia), but not necessarily in how I need to train.

    So is the most important take home message of this post "think for yourself and do what works for you" or "high frequency/volume training is good?" I don't think you can always have it both ways, because these messages are going to be in conflict for some people. (Unless you want to say, "If you think for yourself properly you'll come to the conclusion that my way is best," but that would make you a jacked version of Ayn Rand, which would be bad.) I'm not trying to give you a hard time, but I don't think that trying to find the system that results in maximal strength gains will mean such high training frequency for everyone. I have a feeling we don't actually disagree on this so I'm just trying to clarify.

    As long as I'm being the devil's advocate, and since you brought it up, I think Gomad works pretty well if used properly. I think the only problem with Gomad is that some retard (Rippetoe) got the idea that it would be good for beginners who don't really need that many calories to get stronger. Obviously if you take some skinnyfat from bodybuilding.com and force feed him 5000 calories, he's going to look like shit. It works great for more advanced lifters who need a huge number of calories to actually grow any more. I first strict pressed my own bodyweight (230 at the time) while on Gomad which wouldn't have happened if it was making me as fat as you seem to think. I'm a terrible presser, and there's no way I could have done that if I was carrying too much useless weight. And obviously every month or two, you need to get rid of some excess fat, but if you do this, it works surprisingly well.

    @arethosenewshoes? This post is already way the fuck too long, but hell yeah I'm that kid! Some tiny guy back in the stone age (Maxick) strict pressed my max, 230, so I should be pressing 300 at my size! Most of my best PRs have been motivated by outrage that I hadn't already lifted that particular weight.

    Btw, was the order number for your book 666-666-666 on intentionally? That'd be one hell of a coincidence?

  24. Late to the party but love the post. I'm gonna kill it tomorrow in the gym

  25. Thanks for the response Jamie, you've definitely given my something new to consider.

    I agree with Nathan's points also.

  26. @Carjack

    You missquoted me, as I was citing slowfuse.

  27. Awesome post.

    It's like anything in life where people want a plan, do simply what they are told, and then become #1.

    Although "efficient" and beginner programs do have a place. For people who are new to lifting they provide the right kind of basis and know-how. I started with 5x5. It taught me technique and not to skip work outs. Someone then trained me under a new heavy volume program. It taught me a lot of mental conditioning (squat your 5RM, deload 10 kilos 10 reps, deload 10 kilos + another 10 more reps god that was brutal), that my body can take a lot more than I think, and the need for independence/experimentation in training (for example, benching 3x a week seemed to work for me). Now I'm doing 5/3/1 which allows me to see what periodazation is like and gives me lots of room to try assistance work/new exercises.

    I'm not sure and maybe you agree with me though (I couldn't gleam it from your article accurately enough), it's not these programs themselves that are evil, it's people's attitudes towards programs and lack of initiative/risk tasking that make this "program training" mentality idiotic.

  28. I think this comment section is longer than the post.

  29. I think eskimos are smug.

  30. @Nathan
    It's good to have long term goals, but when guys bitch and moan on forums, asking and searching for the best assistance exercises, supplements and programs when they're not very strong to begin with.
    I've even seen "Chaos and Pain" bastardized by bros who do BTNPP with 115 and squat lockouts with 405. LOL.

  31. This is hilarious. I don't care if it's been posted before or not. http://ironstrong.org/index.php/topic/821-wrote-a-hopefully-funny-lifting-related-song/


  32. Just found this and thought I would share. Might have made the rounds before but if not ;


  33. This is uncomfortable. I don't know if it's made the rounds or not so I thought I would share: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_pornography

  34. This was a great post. I just discovered your blog following the link put up by Prague Stepchild. I first look at the photos and loved them of course, then read "Hail To The King #3- This Is My Boomstick!" and fuckin hated it. I thought you were clueless about training and especially diet, but I was impressed that you used words longer than 4 letters unlike most of the training blogs, so I checked out a few more posts and now I'm constantly coming back. Also now I read that first blog with a different perspective. This post is the best. After 30 years of training and intending another 30, I think you're spot on. Anyways, thanks. I appreciate your efforts and will be purchasing the book just because it would be a crazy kind of stupid not to!

  35. That first pic is hot as fuck.

    Too bad I can't enjoy it as I just got the urge to punch people in the face. CnP tens to do that to me.

  36. Got a thing for Tom Platz' legs, have you?

  37. Jamie, you must be on crack if you think a novice who never set foot on a gym has any clue whatsoever as to what works best for him. This is why novices work well on cookie cutter routines, because if left to their own, half their workout will be curls and the other half will be bench. When they are at this level, someone other than him (say, a coach, like Rippetoe? oh, the heresy!) will know more about what will make him stronger/bigger than himself. After a while, when mr.novice is no longer mr.novice, hopefully he will have learned a few things, such like squats will make your legs big and that doing 20 sets of curls with 25 lbs dumbells is not the way to biceps growth. Then he might know enough to do his own shit and make it work.

    I think another problem is that having yourself as an example skews what's normal and what can be reasonably expected from average joe. Average joe usually falls in two categories: he is eager to be mr. huge, so he piles on the weight, lifts it with the most atrocious form and hurts himself every other workout. The other is mr. "let's take is slow". He doesn't know a lot about lifting and is afraid to hurt himself, so he does his bench press with 95lbs as the PT told him to. One month later, he's up to 100lbs!

    And there's the other problem: sometimes people get demotivated. They were once eager to be huge and stuff but after 5 years lifting, they get lazy, do the same workout with the same weight over and over and just spin their wheels.

    So, your method of doing your own shit and doing what works for you is awesome and pretty much every coach would agree with that, but you don't seem to understand that this is NOT true for novices who don't know shit and it won't work unless the guy is motivated and not dumb. This restricts your demographic significantly (look around your gym and see how many non-dumb, motivated, non-novice guys your see and compare this number to the rest).

  38. Of course, "they'll just bench and curl" is a huge line of bullshit, as is any assertion that SS/Stronglifts will start anyone using correct form.

  39. It's bullshit? if so, tell me why there the bench will see more people during a day than the squat rack will see during a month? Assuming people actually squat on the damn thing instead of curl or shrug with 135 lbs.

    Stronglifts is a rip off from SS, created by a "coach" that no one serious respects, so I wouldn't go there. But hell, at least they are focusing on the right exercises, right?

  40. Yea, Carlos settle down man.
    I agree with you, but if you look close and re-read the edits and title you'll see he's making no recommendation for novice lifters, I also got a little fired up because I thought he was at first.

    Oh yea, and Stronglifts is the worst fucking thing ever, that weak little eurotrash cunt Mehdi makes a shit load more web money than Rippetoe by bastardising his research, has the audacity to charge for it and deadlifts 400 and calls himself an elite lifter. If Rip wasn't such a shitty businessman I'm sure there would be lawsuits involved.
    I experimented with stronglifts dilligently for about 6 months a few years ago and eventually had concerned office co-workers approaching me awkwardly asking if anything was wrong with my lifestyle or diet

  41. Gym rats bench and curl because it's all they know. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone trained to squat or deadlift, and typically the only guy who reads books will be a CSCS coach.
    In the rare case that these guys squat, they only go down half way and bow their knees inward like they just pissed themselves.

    A powerlifting program is a step in the right direction from that shit show, but it's no guarantee that the beginner will squat right.

    Beginners trained on Starting Strength and its wannabes often get stalled because the programs brainwash them with the idea that there's only one right way to train (retarding physical and mental growth past the first two months), and then set them up for a long plateau by instilling overcomplicated and incorrect squatting form.

    If you need a beginner routine to get your head right, fine. But don't become a 175 deadlifting program cultist.

  42. It's not a guarantee but hopefully they will look around and see that Starting Strength is the name of a book and that the book contains a fairly decent guide on how to learn the main lifts. Then, they might buy that book and read it. That's how it went for me and for a number of people.

    Beginners (the skinny kind) get stalled mainly because they don't eat enough. I've seen it happen over and over and it's something you can observe even on a day to day basis: if I did my workout and didn't eat like hungry hobo, I'd feel it the next session. It's not the only way to train, sure but at that moment, it beat anything else I'd ran across.

    If Jamie is talking about advanced lifters I think he's not making much of a point: advanced guys know how to train, otherwise they wouldn't be advanced. His advice certainly applies in this case. But then, why is he mentioning Rippetoe? the guy is mostly known for his beginner and intermediate programs. You ask him to build you an advanced program and he will tell you he can't because advanced programming is a very individual thing.

  43. This comment has been removed by the author.

  44. Jamie I need a new blog post! I check your blog 2-3x a day hoping I see a new one.

    BTW - I purchased your ebook as well. You're an awesome irreverant bastard.

  45. Hey Carlos Danial, why don't you head over to the http://moynihaninstitute.blogspot.com/ ? They love pussy's like you over there. You're a piece of shit and I hope you die of herpes because it's an avoidable shameful death you infected hymen. Have you read most of Jamie's blogs or are you just posting because you've jacked off to too much twink porn today? Do us all a favor and stop posting. (Drunk) Hooligan out.

  46. That blog's a joke right? It's gotta be a joke.

  47. Carlos,

    Whilst I understand the importance of ensuring that certain movements (deads and squats) are learned correctly when beginning to lift, there's no reason to follow Rippetoe's advice past your first 3 months of lifting. I'm 34yrs old, 6'5" and prior to June 2010, have NEVER lifted in my life. Other than bodyweight movements to support Muay Thai training, I'd never considered 'powerlifting' movements, being of the uninformed opinion that it would make me bulky and slow. In 16 months of following C&P, I DL 385, am squatting 285, rack pull 445 from below the knee, and BTNPP 205. Whilst these are hardly numbers to use compaparatively; I think the're decent numbers for less than 2yrs of training. I HAVE to disagree with you, because I AM that noobie lifter that's seen the gains possible on C&P.

  48. Iggy seems to have a hard on for me. Sorry buddy, I'm taken.

    Unless you are talking about the Starting Strength program, there is plenty of reason to follow Rip's programs after the novice stage, but SS will not work for two years. You'd have to do something appropriate to your stage of training which if you asked Rip would be Texas Method. There's much more wiggle room for customization and "finding what's best for you" on this program. The "standard" version calls for 5 sets of 5 across on Monday and a single set of 5 on Friday. However, you can do 8 sets of 3 and a triple, you can do dynamic effort stuff on Monday instead of 5x5, add some assistance on Tuesday and so on. I think it's still important for an intermediate to have something of a program, I've seen a lot of people go do their own thing and fuck up what was a nice steady dose of weekly PR's.

    In two years of training, most of which I followed Rip's programs, I did 295x5x3 on the squat after about 8 months of training. Nowadays I can squat 500x3 with knee wraps and belt, bench 285x3 raw and deadlift (estimate since I haven't pulled below 5 reps in more than a month) somewhere in the high 400s, at the bodyweight of 190 something, at 5'7. I also have a bodyweight press.

    I'm not trying to put you down, but I'd expect you to be squatting more after 16 months of training. A 285 squat for a single is attainable in (much) less than a year on SS. Sure, your lifts are decent, but according to Jamie, decent doesn't cut it, right?

    The reason I'm defending Rip is because there is no way I'd be squatting 500 for a triple if it weren't for his stuff. I'm sure I'm not the only one who benefited for the 30+ years he has spent coaching beginners. People, the guy knows his shit, he's one of the good guys. Sometimes I wonder if Jamie has even read any of his books, since he says they disagree on pretty much everything when I see the exact opposite, the core of their training philosophies is essentially the same: do large compound movements, get strong at them and big will follow. Don't be a pussy.

  49. Rippetoe is a good place to start. Sheyko (class 4) is a good place to start. Bill Pearl's Keys to the Universe powerlifting program is a good place to start. Stefan Korte's 3 X 3 is a good place to start..should I stop here?...after a year or so, you will have to individualize your training and gradually, over years and years, increase training frequency, volume and intensity and it gets to be a real bitch. This statement is particularly true for those who wish to remain natural.

  50. I've never read such utter boring shit since the comments in the last post from this blog. You're all gay, brown nosing wankers. I highly doubt Jamie will marry any of you, get a fucking life, losers.

  51. Eric,

    Sure. "Rippletoes" is not the end of all programs.

  52. I don't get it. I thoroughly understood the post with ease. Wasn't it the point that we should train the way it works for us?

  53. Hello Jamie. I like the Bob Peoples workout you outlined. I gonna do it 4 times a week.

    Deadlift 1 x 15-20, 1 x 10, 1 x 8, 1 x 6, 6 x 1
    Squat 5 x 5
    Press 5 x 5

    In which order would you do it? 1. Squat, 2. Deadlift, 3. Overhead Press?

    Some people say it's not wise to squat after the deadlift, so I'm wondering which order you would use.

  54. That AMA seemed to imply that you are taking tren now?

  55. The Bob Peoples workout is dead-squat-press. That's how he trained. He was a deadlift specialist and did power style squats.

  56. It's a low bar squat, with an Olympic style squat also being called a high bar squat. Basically the difference between this (high bar)...


    And this (low bar)...


    Also, http://29.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lve486xZU81qeuil5o1_500.jpg

  57. After reading the above blog post, Shiotzuu has chosen to do a cookie cutter routine four times a week right down to the sets and reps. Classic.

  58. If one wanted to ape Bob Peoples, this would be a really great source:


    Peoples was awesome.

  59. Ha! Glen, what's the old saying about leading a horse to water. The idiots see some kind of a routine written out and go for it.

    There's so much retardation going on in these comments even Rant came out of his vegan stupor to join in.

  60. "After reading the above blog post, Shiotzuu has chosen to do a cookie cutter routine four times a week right down to the sets and reps. Classic.

    ha ha ha!

  61. "After reading the above blog post, Shiotzuu has chosen to do a cookie cutter routine four times a week right down to the sets and reps. Classic."

    Yeah yeah. I simply wonder how it would work for me to do a routine where you go balls on the deadlift 3-4 times a week since I usually deadlift once a week. It's an experiment to challenge my back and see how much stress it can take.

    Dray - thanks for the information.

  62. If it's simply an experiment then why do you need to ask about the order? Why don't you just go try it and see what happens? Or try something different along a similiar vein? That's Glen's point.

  63. Shiotzuus, how the hell would anyone but you know what deadlifting 4 times a week will do to YOU? Damn man...just god damn.

  64. Obviously you guys didn't get my question at all. I was talking about the EXERCISE rotation on a given workout day.

    Some articles I read gave the information that squatting AFTER the deadlift is increasing the chance of lower back injuries. So I wanted to see Jamie's point of view about that.

  65. I'd say that Jamie's view on most received training wisdom, e.g. never squat after deadlifting, should be pretty obvious by now.

  66. To expand, some articles will tell you that training a given muscle more than once a weak will cause you to die of overtraining.

  67. Iggy - please note I called you ALL gay, brown nosing wankers. I wasn't missing anyone out, least of all you. Peace out.

  68. To whoever asked about the tren, I said that tren's in most of the "prohormones" on the market.

    Shiotzuus- I'd rotate them if it were me, but if it were me I'd just squat a bunch and then shrug a bunch and overhead press a bunch and row a bunch and skip the fucking deadlift altogether.

    In re the bits about Ripp and novices, I've stated before I don't give a shit about training novices, and agreeing on exercise selection with Ripp doesn't mean I agree with him any more than I agree with fundamentalists on the creation of the Earth- we can agree the Earth exists and is old.

  69. http://startingstrength.com/articles/intuitive_training_starr.pdf

    Just in time.

    If you're not talking about novices then I agree with you and Rip and anyone with a brain does too.

  70. http://www.sportsscientists.com/2012/03/10000-hours-vs-training-debate-no.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2FcJKs+%28The+Science+of+Sport%29

    Read this and you'll understand why your article is completely retarded.

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