30 September 2012

It's Time To Stop Mocking Indians For Their Clubbells #2

The ancient period of Indian history, as I've explained, was definitely an era in which developing physical strength was important, it didn't become institutionalized until the Rashtrakuta kingdom, which was extant from the 6th to 10th Centuries.  During that period, India basically became a place that only exist in most of our wet dreams (except, of course, for the godawful food), as every village under the control of the the Rashtrakuta contained a gym called an Akhada.  This could have been a carryover from the Grecian occupation, as all Greek towns contained an agora, wherein people would gather, lift weights, wrestle, and fuck.  Given the fact that modern historians believe that most or all hard-style Asian martial arts are descended from pankration, which was introduced to the East by Alexander the Great through India, it would stand to reason that the martial arts themselves would bring with them Greek-esque gyms.  Should you think I just took a Matrix-like leap from one metaphorical building roof to another, settle down Neo- the Akhada, like the Greek agora, were places where the men of the region developed their physical strength and martial skills simultaneously.  Thus, they were similar enough that it's not that big a leap.  In any event, by the time the Rashtrakuta were in power, club swinging and wrestling were the two most common forms of heavy exercise, and are credited with the development of "awe-inspiring" figures in a number of historical figures and the populace.  It was at this point that the first accounts of Hulk Hogan-esque descriptions of historical figures began in Indian history, The physical culture craze really took off with the rise of Krishnadevraj to power in the Hindu empire.  From 1509AD onward, the entire Indian populace (men and women alike) became obsessed with heavy club swinging, wrestling, and other "hard manly exercises" (Mujumdar 15)  Thus, in a time when Europeans had completely forgotten we'd already discovered and mastered central heating, we were shivering in half-frozen stone buildings looking like sickly scarecrows and trying to pray away the plague while the Indians were busy getting jacked as fuck.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with club swinging, it's a recently revived exercise with an extremely long history in India.  The war club and heavy mace were two of the most prominently utilized weapons in ancient India, and as such were utilized heavily in training in the akhara to ensure the bearers of those weapons wouldn't tire in combat.  In the past, I've posted about how badass it was that English railway navvies were able to handle sledges three times heavier than moder construction workers, but Indian mace and club swingers blow even those guys out of the water with the weights they handle.  When you think of club bells, if you know about them at all, you think of some skinny, ambiguously homosexual karateka in the back of your gym swinging 5 lbs bells in the darkened back corner of your gym while screaming his ridiculous karate screams and throwing the occasional piss-poor punch at the mirror.  If you've never had the pleasure of witnessing such a spectacle, you need to get out more, as there are few things funnier than American karetekas doing pretty much anything.  In any event, Indians training in akhadas still use heavy stone maces and clubs for training.  They'd start with 5kg clubs and maces and then work up to 35 to 45 kg maces and 25 to 60lb clubs (that measured up to four and a half feet in length), getting so good with them that they could swing them all day (Wikipedia, Pahlavani).  In training.  For those of you who are unaware, it'd be hard for most people to raise a 77 to 99 lb club with both hands, because the majority of the weight is in the tip away from your hands.  That sort of training should give you wrists and hands to rival freak of nature and unstoppable arm wrestler Denis Cyplenkov, in addition to badass shoulder strength. In short- club and mace training in India during India's strength training heyday was nothing whatsoever like the stupid shit you see bandied about on the internet these days- in their day, shit got real when the Indians busted out their clubs.

I don't think that's a club bell.  It looks suspiciously like a giant dildo.

As time progressed, Indians became more and more obsessed with physical culture, stone throwing, wrestling, and weight lifting.  By the establishment of the Maratha Empire, gymnasiums were incredibly widespread, and were associated heavily with the worship of Hanuman in Hinduism.  This became so prevalent that the Indians began putting idols of Hanuman, the monkey god representing strength and valor, in every gym in the country.  Though that seems about as reasonable as putting a statue of Samson in gyms throughout the American Southeast, it actually points to a really interesting facet of Indian physical culture.  In the West, there exists in the minds of the populace what is termed the Cartesian formula, wherein the mind and body are two separate entities.  In the Cartesian dynamic, the mind is the superior organ,and the body exists as its subordinate- the effeminate and adolescent Robin to a grizzled, hirsute, foul-mouthed Batman.  There is no such distinction in the Hindu belief system, wherein the mind and body are much more like the Catholic Yahweh and Jesus, two components or equal parts of a larger whole, no more able to be separated than the elemental components of air with one's bare hands.  Thus, a hulking, ripped, Herculean physique is incontrovertible evidence of a disciplined mind in India, whereas it is generally ascribed to heavy drug use or some other disordered behavior in the West.

"In American physical education and sport, strength is a purely physical phenomenon. It can be measured in objective terms: body mass, arm size, muscle-to-fat ratio, heart rate, weightlifting ability, and so forth. As such, strength is something that can be developed as purely somatic and as quantifiable and calibrated. While strength is also manifest as a physical attribute in India, it is, more significantly, linked to such ineffable cultural values as duty, devotion, and morality. It is neither purely somatic nor strictly quantifiable. A wrestler cannot be strong if he does not follow his guru's mandate.  He cannot be strong and indulge in sensual pleasure. Strength is manifest not only in the size of his arm but also in the sparkle of his eye and the luster of his skin, symbols that indicate spirituality, devotion, and moral control." (Alter 4)
The closest thing to which I could compare this in the West is the "muscular Christianity" movement, which is without question one of the most preposterous movements in any religion, anywhere.  The principle concept in muscular Christianity is to build one's body for the subjugation of the world the Jewish god of the Old Testament gave to the Christians. This is, of course, fucking retarded, since the New Testament is a paean to pacifism and basically being a chill bro.  To emulate the Indians, muscular Christians would have to modify statues of Jesus to make him look like a mashup of Buddy Jesus and Derek Poundstone, then start lifting and acting in such a way as to convey that they were attempting to achieve the ultimate in themselves rather than "glorify[ing] God in your body" (1 Corinthians 6:20), as Indans strove to emulate Hanuman's example and channel his spirit rather than worship him by making themselves more awesome.  Given the abject failure of Muscular Christianity t gain a foothold in the minds and hearts of the West, and it's failure to produce more than a handful of elite athletes, I would posit that the Indian method appears to be the BMW M5 to Christianity's Ford Fiesta in that regard.
Hanuman got his fucking swole on.

Instead of engaging in the mild retardation exhibited by muscular Christians, Indians have utilized a very holistic methodology for developing the mind, body, and spirit simultaneously.  It's for that reason that statues of Hanuman were found in gyms.  In the mind of Indians, a strong, muscular body was a reflection of their strong mind, rather than evidence of their mind's ability to force the body to bend to its will.  Additionally, unlike exercise as is generally practiced in the West, Indians specifically tailor their programs to the individual, and they feel their body expresses their individual personality.  Thus, from an Indian's view, Westerners develop their bodies to exhibit "the lines of force of the generic human animal", whereas Indian training displays physically in the individual the "eccentricities his tastes and vices leave in his carnal substance" (Alter 5).  Thus, you're not going to find in any old Indian training text a rigidly defined program of  lifting and conditioning, as they believed (rightly) that there is no single system that will suit multiple people, and this belief has persisted for over 1000 years.

Former WR holder Karnam Malleswari might clean more than you do- 249 at 119lbs, and 286 at 151.  Did I mention her 220 lb snatch?  Also, holy fucking triceps.

"But", you might be thinking, "didn't you kick this fucker off by telling us that the Indian people are collectively worse at lifting than a tiny nation of car thieves?"  I did indeed, but I was referring to modern Indians, who are basically a pale, sad shadow of their former selves after being systematically raped and robbed by the British.  When the Brits raided the Indian national treasury and planted their boots on the throats of India, India pretty much gave up on lifting.  They were, however, unmatched athletes in bygone eras.  

  • In the early 20th century, the professional wrestlers of India could "on the average, perform in their training five series of 300 'dunds'(body-swaying [pushups]) and three series of 1000 'batticks'([squats] performed on their toes) (Willoughby 258).  To put that in perspective, that means that there were literally thousands of men in India 100 years ago who could match or exceed Herschell Walker in his legendary workouts, in spite of the fact that they were vegetarians.  East Indians took this training a step further and added jump squats performed like baithaks, only they jumped as high as possible at the top of every reps.  They could do up to 700 of those in a a row, which is a volume of work that would kill Crossfitters who consider a giant bowl of rhabdomyolysis part of a balanced breakfast (Willoughby 200).  
  • Rama Murti Naidu was a pro strongman from Madras known as the Indian Hercules who could support a 7000 lb elephant on a plank at a bodyweight of 195 (Willoughby 177).
  • The Great Gama, legendary professional wrestler of the early 20th Century, was still doing 200 dunds and 400 baithaks followed by a four mile walk/run and three hours of wrestling a day... at age 69 (Willoughby 370)
  • Hamida Banu, daughter of a famous Indian wrestler named Nadir, fought 300 professional wrestling matches after turning 19 and only faced other women three times (Willoughby 579).  This is probably because she was built like a brick shithouse at 5'3" 215lbs.  She remained unmarried long past what was considered proper due to the fact that she'd only marry a guy who could beat her in a match, and hardly anyone could.  
  • The aforementioned Karnam Malleswari is India's badass modern lifter and the holder of India's sole medal in the Olympics.  One broad coming out of nowhere to take the mantle from Malleswari is Chandrika Tarafdar, a tiny lifter who just pulled down a bronze at the Youth World Weightlifting Championships.  The 15 year old 97 lber just busted a 121lb snatch and 162.8lb clean and jerk in competition.  Time to bust out the razors and the rat poison, fellas.
Dara Singh laughs at your legs and your squat rack.

Next, I'll cover how Indians trained and ate at the height of their dominance of the professional wrestling world, at which point you'll understand why I'm so impressed at their pushup and free squat abilities.

     Alter, Joseph.  The Wrestler's Body: Identity and Ideology in North India.  California Scholarship Online.  12 May 1992.
     Mujumdar, DC (ed.).  Encyclopedia of Indian Physical Culture.  1950.
     Schatz, William Jackson.  Club Swinging for Physical Exercise and Recreation.  Boston: American Gymnasia Company, 1908.
     Traditional Iranian Martial Arts (Varzesh-e Pahlavani).  Pahlavani.com.  Web.  30 Sep 2012.  http://www.pahlavani.com/ish/html/ph/new/meel.htm
     Wikipedia.  Mace (club).  Wikipedia.  Web.  30 Sep 2012.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mace_(club)#Indian_Subcontinent

26 September 2012

Baddest Motherfuckers Ever #28- Ivan "The Polish Hammer" Putski

Poland is an interesting place.  Wedged in between the titans of Europe, the Germans and the Russians, the Poles pretty much fought a two front war against both groups for centuries, and finally had their shit handed to them in the 18th Century when the Russians and Prussians basically just walked in and started pointing at random shit and yelling "Mine!" like a couple of  fat, retarded girls in an ice cream shop.  Thereafter, both countries started what pretty much amounted to the least fair campaign of discrimination and disinformation of all time, shouting to the mountaintops about how the Poles were a pack of ugly, stupid pack animals that you'd like in your kitchen less than an unwashed, rotting donkey's ass.  For those of you who've never been to Poland, Poles are actually pretty fucking awesome.  In fact, you could throw a rock into a crowd in  Poland and hit three chicks that look like this- there's a reason Hitler had the SS banging the ever-loving shit out of every broad in Poland.

There exists, however, a Pole who exists simply to disabuse you of the false notions you might hold about the Poles, and his name doesn't rhyme with "oodzianowski".  Nope, before Marius could doff his fishnet tank top to hand you a beating, another badass Pole would rip off your arms and beat you to death with them were he to hear you spout off with some Polish jokes in his presence. That man is Ivan "The Polish Hammer" Putski.  Putski, born Josef Bednarski, was born in Poland and immigrated shortly thereafter.  You'll hear a lot of bullshit about how his English sucked, but that seems purely a gimmick- in the interview to which I listened, the motherfucker sounded like he was speaking on the phone from horseback in West Texas with chaw in his mouth and bowl of bean-free chili in his lap. 

For those of you who are unaware, Putski was a professional wrestler in the early years of the WWF, in a time when WWF wrestlers looked much more like superheros than men's board shorts models.  He was one of the massive motherfuckers in league with guys like the benching phenomenon Ted Arcidi, Olympic weightlifter and strongman Ken Patera,  and overall beast and badass facial hair rocker "Superstar" Billy Graham.  Throughout his career he mostly feuded with Billy Graham and the successor to Graham's original look, none other than Jesse "The Body" Ventura.  At the time, because there were so many jacked-to-bits dudes dripping testosterone and chugging cans of whoop ass that they regularly had to dispense with the bullshit histrionics and just settle shit Over the Top style with arm wrestling matches.  It was clearly a different time then, as the 180 lb oily goofballs predominating the modern WWE would have been eaten alive in Putski's era.

Putski stood a mere 5'6", but his weight as a wrestler and strongman vacillated between 225 and 300 pounds.  Most of the latter part of his career, in which he was more or less a bodybuilder, he was a lean 250 lbs, which is the same billed weight as Triple H, who's considered huge by modern wrestling standard in spite of the fact that he's almost a full foot taller than Putski.  If you haven't yet caught on, Putski is and was not to be fucked with.  Throughout his life, Putski was a professional football player (in the fledgling Continental League), a strongman (he placed 8th in the 1978 World's Strongest Man), and Tag Team World Champion with Tito Santana.  Thus, he did more awesome shit in an average day than most of us will likely do in our lives, and thought nothing of it.

I first read about Putski when researching Destroy the Opposition, (which is on sale on the right if you haven't already picked it up) and found him mentioned in a story about Doug Young.  Young was one of the greatest benchers in history, and a fucking beast at 242.  When Young was coming up in the scene, he happened to hit up the gym where Ivan Putski lifted.  By any account I've been able to find, Putski gave exactly zero fucks about programming- he just went in the gym, found someone doing something epic, and attempted to best them at their pet lift in marathon workouts that left everyone covered in vomit while Putski happily munched on boiled eggs and patted them on the head like they were small, harmless children.  According to Terry Todd, here's what happened when these two lunatics met on the iron battlefield.
"The word had gotten around to all the local horses, and so we had a big bunch at the T.A.C. when Doug began to train. No one, however, except Ivan Putski, the Polish pro-wrestler, seemed very interested in benching that day; and we suspect Putski didn’t know, or care, what was on the bar. The rest of us, though, surely knew – and cared. Doug took 135 for 100 reps as a warmup and then went to singles with 225, 315, 405, 485, 505, and 520. He then dropped back to 405 for 8 repetitions and 315 for 15. Not bad, seeing as how he had just lost weight down from 260 in an effort to stay somewhere near the 242-pound class limit"(Todd). 

That, my friends, is how babies get made.  Putski didn't give a shit that Doug Young was the greatest bencher in history at that point, that Young benched more in a week than most people do in a month, or that Young had benched 545 with three broken ribs in the past- he just said fuck it and matched him rep for rep on anything like the motherfucking beast that he was.  From other anecdotal accounts about Putski, that seemed to be his M.O.- he'd just step up to keep his rep up, whether it was Ken Patera doing overhead presses or some goofball doing calf raises like he was training for the world championships of accessory movements.  Lest you think I'm joking about the latter bit, I'm not.  One account I found online was from a self-professed nobody who happened to work out at a World Gym frequented by a bunch of WWE wrestlers and a couple of East Coast bodybuilders, including Mike Katz of "Pumping Iron" fame.  This guy recounted the following of Putski:
"I remember I was working out my strongest body part "calves" when Ivan politely asked me if he could work in on the standing calf machine with me. I was thrilled to be working out with the man who patented the "Polish Hammer" as a finisher. I remember Ivan eating a couple of dozen hardboiled eggs during his workout. He would do a set then eat a couple of eggs, do another set eat a couple more eggs etc. Ivan's English was very broken back then but when I was laughing at his eating so many eggs during his workout he simply said "Putski eat, Putski push." and push he did......an amazing powerhouse!
We eventually had the calf machine maxed out with all the weight that it could handle. 1400 lbs. to be exact, we had the entire weight stack pegged plus hung and placed 100 lb. dumbells and plates anywhere on the machine that we could safely add to the resistance of that poor overloaded machine. We both did our last set with 1400 lbs. for several reps when Ivan downed a couple more eggs, then came over and patted me on the shoulder, gave me a thumbs up, and a wink, as he grabbed his gym bag off a nearby bench and headed to the locker room" (Massie).

It becomes fairly apparent from those accounts that Putski didn't really stick rigidly to a set program- he just fucking loved lifting.  He did have a basic program he apparently stuck to rather loosely, just because he traveled so much for the WWE.  According to the interview I heard with him, however, he still trained on the road, and ensured that he took the earliest flight possible so he could get in a morning lift and then wrestle in the evening (Guttman).  His brutal workouts, however, all took place in the beginning of the week, when he wasn't traveling.

His main training days, then, were as follows:
Bench Press:  225 x 10; 325 x 10; 425 x 8; 425 x 7; 425 x 8; 425 x 8; 425 x7; 425 x 7; 425 x 8; 425 x 6; 425 x 7; 425 x 7; 425 x 6; 425 x 5; 425 x 4.  Each set was taken to failure, and he continued doing sets until he noticed a significant drop-off in bar speed and strength.  He called it "train yourself til you strain yourself." Putski, incidentally, was reputed to have a 600+ pound bench.
Push Press: 225 x 10; 275 x 10; 325 x 10; 325 x 12; 325 x l1; 325 x11; 325 x 10; 325 x 10; 325, x 10; 325 x 10; 325 x 10; 325 x 8; 325 x 8; 325 x 9; 325 x 6; 325 x 5

Box Squats (which he did to a high bench, actually): 300 x 10; 500 x 10; 15 x 10 x 650 
Stadium Stairs:  He would run the stairs of a local high school football stadium for a hour if the weather allowed.

Standing Barbell Curl or Seated Concentrated Curl:  15-20 x 10 x 200 or 100lbs, respectively.
Skullcrushers or Standing Tricep Extensions: 15-20 x 10 x 200lbs, going until his form gets sloppy.
(Marunde Muscle)

Another source had Putski busting out a pulling day on day three, though it provided no information on that (Furman).  I would ascribe the discrepancy to the fact that Putski simply did a hell of a lot of whatever the fuck he felt like every time he entered the gym.

The rest of the week, he'd be traveling and wrestling at night, so he would get into the gym early and do smaller workouts.  Frankly, the fact that he wasn't in a coma by Wednesday night is a testament to the type of beating you can put on your body and survive.  By all accounts, Putski was the nicest fucking guy on Earth, and was constantly smiling.  He was one of the few wrestlers to remain a babyface his entire career, because he was just too nice to play a heel.  This, I suppose is proof that you needn't be a total cock to be a badass, which is somewhat disappointing, as I like to think that channelling my inner Tommy Conlon spurs me on to victory.

Instead of being fueled by hate, however, Putski was fueled by the produce of his massive appetite.  Like most of the old-school, Putski ate more in a sitting than most of us eat in a day.  When Putski was first starting out, he lacked the money to eat anything expensive, "so a usual evening meal would consist of a quart or two of raw oysters. a pound of cheese, some Polish sausage, and fresh fruit. As he began learning about U. S. cooking, he developed a taste for fried chicken and it’s not at all uncommon for him to eat 20 or 30 pieces after an evening bout"(Marunde Muscle).  In case your math sucks, that's between two and a half and four WHOLE fried chickens in a single meal.  As he gained prominence in wrestling and became a bigger earner, Putski started eating steak three times a day, in addition to what was reputedly an absurd amount of kielbasa.  This then, lends a great deal more support to the credo of "eat big to get big", because Putski was a gigantic motherfucker.

Thus, to bring it all home for you, the following can be gleaned from Putski's example:

  • you can, and likely should, be doing far more volume than you are currently doing.
  • you can pretty much eat whatever you want in whatever quantities you want if you train your ass off, provided that your diet is heavy as hell on proteins.
  • you don't have to be an asshole to be a total badass.
  • compared to Ivan Putski, we are all a bunch of pussies.

Go eat something already.

All WWE Westlers. The Wrestler Ivan Putski. All WWE Wrestlers. Web. 20 Sep 2012. http://www.allwwewrestlers.com/ivan_putski.htm
Forum Post. Ivan Putsky's Training. Marunde Muscle. 26 Nov 2006. Web. 20 Sep 2012. http://www.marunde-muscle.com/
Furman, Tom.  POLISH POWER TEMPLATE.  Physical Strategies. 22 Nov 2006.  Web. 20 Sep 2012. http://physicalstrategies.blogspot.com/2006/11/polish-power-template.html
Guttman, James.  Ivan Putsky Interview.  World Wrestling Insanity.  23 Oct 2010.  Audio.
Massie, Roger.  Memories from World Gym in Connecticut. Online World Of Wrestling.  5 Sep 2005. Web. 20 Sep 2012. http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/columns/misc/rogermassie01.html
Todd, Terry. Doug Young. The Tight Tan Slacks of Deszo Ban.  3 Sep 2011. Web. 20 Sep 2012. http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2011/09/doug-young-terry-todd.html
Wikipedia. Ivan Putski. Wikipedia. Web. 20 Sep 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Putski

25 September 2012

Chaos And Bang Your Earballs- It's Just One Of Those Days

Paul and I are back with a new round of bullshit.  This cast basically focused on two things- the movie the Raid and the fact that most people are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole when they adopt a program.  Frankly, it's a pretty good bit of conversation.  Additionally, we briefly touched on the Bud Dwyer suicide video, which is pretty awesome if you haven't seen it.  Dude got popped for embezzling from the city of Philadelphia while he was (I believe) a city councilman, then shot himself of the news.
Here's the stream:
... and download it here.

Also, Ion Dissonance has an awesome song called the Bud Dwyer Effect that I uploaded here in case you want to watch this with a soundtrack.

If you don't care about any of that, you might care about this:

Coming up this week: a new Baddest Motherfuckers entry and part two of the India series.

19 September 2012

Clash For Cash Bench and Deadlift Videos

... there is no 650 squat video.  My cameraperson epically failed in her attempt to take it and basically took took somewhat blurry pictures of me from behind.

385 Bench

And here's my high 645 squat.  The 650 was much, much deeper.

670 Deadlift

18 September 2012

I Am Legend- Clash For Cash Results

As you may have already heard, I took part in the most epic powerlifting competition since powerlifting's heydays in the early 1980s.  At the 504 Clash For Cash, my flight took the squat record for the 198s, tied the record in 181s, and broke the total records for 181 and 220.  Dan Green took the total record at 220, Jesse Kellum broke Tony Fratto's 39 year old record in the squat, and I tied Bob McKee's 650 squat and broke his 1700 total with 1705.  Shit just got real.  I'll be posting videos later tonight of my third attempts in the squat, bench, and deadlift, but my attempts were:

Squat: 605, 645 (high), 650
Bench: 365 (lifted my ass), 365, 385 
Deadlift: 605, 670, 700
Total: 1705

Apparently, many butts were hurt over my choice of tshirts, as I rocked a "Smile, Satan loves you" shirt for the squat and bench, but I was assured by a random nice guy that Jesus still loves me, which I'm sure you know comes as a relief.  Southerners have no sense of humor at all.
How could you not love this shirt?

13 September 2012

Chaos And Bang Your Earballs, The Grunge Appreciation Edition

Paul and I decided to discuss 90s music, some training, gunshot wounds to the chest, the Crocodile Drug and whatever is wrong with the Russian peoples as a whole, and a bunch of other random bullshit for this iteration of CNBYE.

I'll go ahead and upload the Krokodil pics later, as Blogger is being a bastard right now.  Rest assured, you're going to vomit up your last protein shake.  ... and here they are- Krokodil for the win.  For those of you who are curious, here's Wikipeda's take on Krokodil:

"Desomorphine attracted attention in 2010 in Russia due to an increase in clandestine production, presumably due to its relatively simple synthesis from codeine. The drug is easily made from codeine, iodine and red phosphorus, in a process similar to the manufacture of methamphetamine from pseudoephedrine, but desomorphine made this way is highly impure and contaminated with various toxic and corrosive byproducts. The street name in Russia for home-made desomorphine is "krokodil" (крокодил, crocodile), reportedly due to the scale-like appearance of skin of its users and the derivation from chlorocodide.  Due to difficulties in procuring heroin combined with easy and cheap access to over-the-counter pharmacy products containing codeine in Russia, use of "krokodil" has been on the increase. Since the home-made mix is routinely injected immediately with little or no further purification, "krokodil" has become notorious for producing severe tissue damage, phlebitis and gangrene, sometimes requiring limb amputation in long-term users. The amount of tissue damage is so high that addicts' life expectancies are said to be as low as two to three years, especially as they are often highly susceptible to infections and gangrene due to widespread HIV infection among injecting drug users in Russia.
Abuse of home-made desomorphine was first reported in middle and eastern Siberia in 2002, but has since spread throughout Russia and the neighboring former Soviet republics. In October 2011, indications of "krokodil" use were found in Germany, with some media outlets claiming several dead users. One death in Poland in December 2011 was also believed to be caused by "krokodil" use, and its use has been confirmed among Russian expatriate communities in a number of other European countries. In September 2012 the drug was reported in use by Norwegian heroin addicts in Tromsø."

No eye cleanse for you!  Go eat some well-done ribs cooked over an open fire and be happy you're not fucking Russian.

10 September 2012

It's Time To Stop Mocking Indians For Their Clubbells

As a student of history, I've come to the realization that I shouldn't be surprised by anything I find in historical annals. In spite of that knowledge, I still find myself continually surprised by shit I thought I had locked down, when I in fact didn't know the half of the story. Most recently, I had this realization about India, a place with which I generally only associate stupid wars with Muslims over glaciers no one really wants and "food" at which even the least discerning scat porn actors would turn up their noses. Certainly, when I think about India, about the last thing of which I think are robust physiques and weightlifters.  After doing a bit of research, I discovered that India has earned precisely one medal in Olympic Weightlifting, a bronze medal in the women's 69 kg class in the 2000 Olympics.  That seems about right to me, because the  Indians seem only capable at excelling  at badminton and perpetuating horrible diseases generally not found outside their country's borders than they do at strength sports.
Harlequin disease or progeria?  I honestly cannot decide which is worse, but they're both proof that if there are higher powers, they certainly hate the holy fuck out of India, and they are without question the biggest shitheads ever.  The kid on the left is apparently alive but their skin is a hard crust, and the poor fuck on the right is fifteen years old.  

But, you might argue, they also excel at driving taxis, owning convenience stores, and making godawful 5 hour movies filled with interminable and inexplicable dance numbers.  That's correct, but still fails to explain one thing- how is it possible that a nation of 1.2 billion could possibly produce fewer weightlifting medals in history than the tiny, poverty-stricken, land-locked nation of Moldova produced in the 2012 Olympics?  Moldova's economy, as I understand it, is based almost entirely on moving cars from stolen all over Europe.  If you think I'm joking, stolen car resale is so extensive in Moldova that the Moldovan Justice Minister was caught driving a stolen car in Austria (AP).    Thus, a couple million car thieves managed to produce more medals in weightlifting this year than more than a billion Indians have in their entire history. The craziest part?  Indians have a longer and more storied history in weightlifting than any group of people on Earth.  That is where this story gets interesting.
Rumba with 10 lb dumbbells?  Apparently Crossfit was bestowing elite fitness on ancient Romans, too.

Insofar as I know, most of us believe that ancient weightlifting pretty much began and ended with the Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans, and was pretty much a dead issue until the 17th Century when traveling strongmen resurrected it.  Strength historian David Willoughby chronicled some strongmen who performed in the interregnum, but there appears to have not been any widespread strength training or physical culture in the West until the 18th century, and it didn't really pop off fully until the 19th Century.  While that might have been the case in the West, it was not so in the East- Indians held strength training the fuck down the entire time, only quitting when some ill-tempered pasty-faced limeys robbed their country blind and left them so bereft of pride they make modern reality television stars seem downright noble in comparison.

As an aside, I realize it's unfair to paint India with such a broad brush, given the fact that they're so enthnolinguistically diverse they're essentially all of the Americas crammed into the state of Texas, but I like broad generalizations.  India's actually a pretty fucking crazy place, even after they chopped it into three countries in 1949.  When you think of India, you probably think of mocha-colored people speaking Hindi, rocking twig arms and legs and potbellies, always looking for a cow to worship.  You'd not be all that far off, but there's all kinds of crazy shit going on in the fringes, like the Toda people of South India, who live in thatched huts shaped like barrels, are ethnically related to Greek Cypriots and have a sacred Milkman; the people of Kashi, who brawl so fucking hard at Thai-style kickboxing that people in the stands kill each other in fistfights; the Meitei who live on the Burmese border and speak a Sino-Tibetan language, basically treat chicks like men (which is not the case in the rest of India), and whose script is comprised of letters that all correspond with parts of the human body (the first letter means "head", for instance); and the overarching Hindi culture, which has pretty much predominated since the Indo-Aryan invasions began out of Western Siberia around 2500 BC.  It's really that culture to which I'll be referring, since it's the one about which there is the most information.  Basically, I'll be treating India like most foreigners regard Americans- to them, we're all fat, white, barely literate xenophobes who buy everything from Walmart, are aggressively ignorant of other cultures, and drape ourselves in American flags while hating homos and supporting wars of foreign aggression with no logical reasoning.
Dude's never even seen a squat rack and has bigass legs.  U mad bro?

According to a number of sources I recently discovered, however, the Indians were the only group of people heavily into strength training in the Middle Ages.  Strength training manuals in India have been discovered that date as far back as the 1100s, and recommended that people basically do what you see going on in pictures of third world gyms today- they lifted stone weights and sacks of sand (Sandow).  By the 1500s, strength training was so widespread in India that it could be considered to have been what cricket is today- their national pastime.  Since then, North Indian wrestlers have been held aloft as some best-conditioned athletes ever, and some authors have made entire careers out of regurgitating ancient Indian strength training "secrets" for a generation of people who think that walking and occasionally jogging a 5k is an impressive physical feat.

My interest in Indian strength training grew out of an article I recently read about former Mr. Universe winner  Monohar Aich.  Swarthy little dwarf that he is, Aich won the 1952 Mr. Universe after pulling a full-on Charles Atlas transformation.  Aich contracted one of India's famously bizarre diseases, black fever, and dragged his own ass from death's door to peak physical condition by doing 100 rep sets of one-legged squats, pushups, crunches, pullups, and leg raises all day long.  Monohar got a bit of time off from wrecking shit in the Indian Air Force by getting invited to British prison for mouthing off to the Limeys for being thieving assholes, during which time he trained for twelve hours a day on bodyweight shit.  After his release, Aich went on to become the Indian version of the Mighty Atom, repping out 660 lb squats, tearing 1500 page books, in spite of the fact that he was only 4'11'' and didn't weigh more than 150 lbs (Tyrrell).  The craziest shit about his story is that although he grew up so poor that George Jefferson's humble beginnings would have been moving way the hell on up for Aich, the dude not only still trains 90 minutes a day, but is still jacked at 100 years old.  Not surprisingly, the Rigveda actually states that people should live to be over 100, and Aich isn't the only Indian bodybuilder to live into his triple digits.  In a country where our jacked guys' hearts explode at age 55 even with highly advanced medicine and great material wealth (come the fuck on Michael Clarke Duncan.  How the fuck do you die of a heart attack at 55?), Indians are pretty much making us look like their punk bitches.
Aich, making most people look like soggy dogshit at age 75.

Codified systems of exercise are actually about as old as what we think of India itself, as the Vedas made frequent allusions to systems of exercise, though they didn't detail them outright (Mujumdar 1).  For those of you who are unaware, the Vedas have basically been a combination of Wikipedia, the Bible, and the Farmer's Almanac for Indians for the last 200 years.  In the Rig Veda, it was suggested that one use digging, fist fighting, swimming, running, and archery to build physical strength (Mujumdar 2).  Interestingly, Mariusz Pudzianowski regularly includes the middle three in his training, and Steve Justa mentioned the value of digging in Rock, Iron, Steel.  Though digging gets short shrift in comparison to the wood chop so frequently detailed in Men's Health and frequently performed in big box gyms around America, it's a hell of a workout.  In the Vedas, the sage Agastya "desired to develop his strength by digging with a hoe (Vide Rigveda 1-179-6" and suggested others do the same (Ibid).  Justa mentions that doing shovel lifts, in which he essentially mimicked the movement of shovelling with one of his wacky homemade implements, increased all of his other lifts after skipping other lifts for weighted shovels for two weeks.  Frankly, any of you who's shoveled snow for a day know that shovelling kicks your ass inside out, and any of you who have seen an old image of a coal shoveler know they were ripped up in spite of the fact that their diets consisted of sausage and liquor.

In addition to the above, the Rigveda kicked shit off right, by recommending they take a variety of herbs to increase their strength, and to eat a diet heavy in fats.  As I've covered before, fat-rich diets improve your hormonal profiles significantly, which will in turn confer greater strength upon you over time.
Indians still take stone lifting seriously- "only men who have been practising and know they can manage, take part because in this age of technology news travels fast. 'There is the insult factor,' said Abbasi. 'If someone takes part in a Karachi competition, and fails, news of it will be discussed in his village [up north] for days.'"(Sultan)

The Ramanyana followed that with recommendations or stone lifting and throwing, which persists in the Karachi district in India as Gutti, was part of the ancient Greek Olympics, and is still popular in the Scottish Highland games and among the Basques, both of whom are renowned for their physical strength.  It also promoted jumping, which is still a popular exercise among East Indian wrestlers (who contributed heavily to modern catch wrestling/mma grappling) (Willoughby 200).  Additionally, "swinging" was promoted, which from the accounts I've found seems like a combination of Crossfit's pullup abortions mixed with random Olympic high-bar gymnastics done from tree branches.  As anyone with eyeballs and a television knows, gymnasts have always been, and always will be, jacked as fuck.  Finally, the last couple books in the Veda basically promote "games" that consisted of hopefully-not-fatal brawling with fists, maces, and any other blunt object they happened to find laying around. One look at the average mma fighter will give you an idea of what that does for the body- all good things.  Thus, all of their recommendations in ancient times are better than most of the nonsense you'll read online today- and that shit basically just came from their Bible.

Once they got out of the Biblical age, shit got real in India for weightlifting.  Up next- how Indians got to be some of the most jacked motherfuckers on Earth while Europeans were too busy burning each other at the stake and declaring the female orgasm to be the sole produce of sorcery.
Also, desi broads can bring the ruckus.

AP, Associated Press. Moldovan Justice Minister Comes to Austria in Stolen Car.  The Associated Press.  8 May 1996.  Web.  7 Sep 2012.  http://www.apnewsarchive.com/1996/Moldovan-Justice-Minister-Comes-to-Austria-in-Stolen-Car/id-5c33ec2f31e03cdc7e4ac03d48c25f0a

Mujumdar, DC (ed.).  Encyclopedia of Indian Physical Culture.  1950.

Sultan, Azhar.  Hazara traditions: Big men prove brawn and bravery with balls of stone.  Express Tribune.  28 Dec 2010.  Web.  10 Sep 2012.  http://tribune.com.pk/story/95636/hazara-traditions-big-men-prove-brawn-and-bravery-with-balls-of-stone/

Tyrrell, Ron. Monohar Aich- An Enduring and Endearing Ambassador for Physical Culture.  Sandowplus- Indian Physical Culture.  Web.  10 Sep 2012.  http://www.sandowplus.co.uk/India/Monohar/aich.htm

05 September 2012

Destroy The Opposition

One of the main criticisms of my approach to training, it seems, is my reticence to program anything.  Thus, I have heeded your incessant requests and combined my general training scheme with a bit more of a static approach to give you Destroy The Opposition.  Destroy the Opposition is a powerlifting training book that grew out of my series detailing the three powerlifts.  Unlike my previous ebook, however, this one isn't simply the blogs rehashed.  DTO was built from the ground up to give you guys insight into how I approach the three lifts and training for powerlifting in general, and  includes rewritten versions of the powerlifting series blogs and the addition of a bunch of other champion lifters' programs.  Champion liftes whose programs I profiled include:

  • Doug Young
  • Rick Weil
  • Jennifer Thompson
  • Ted Arcidi
  • Jeremy Hoornstra
  • Scot Mendelson
  • Ken Fantano
  • Bev Francis
  • Ken Lain
  • Jim Williams
  • Lamar Gant
  • Konstantin Konstantinovs
  • Bob Peoples
  • Benedikt Magnusson
  • Rickey Dale Crain
  • John Kuc
  • Ed Coan
  • Julia Zaugolova
  • Idalberto Aranda
  • “Mad” Mike Kuhns
  • Andrey Belyaev
  • Sam Byrd
  • Paul Anderson
  • Phil “Squatzilla” Harrington
  • “Captain” Kirk Karwoski
  • Mikhail Koklyaev

Like I stated above, the book includes programs for squat specialists and deadlift specialists and covers training for beginners, intermediate lifters, and advanced lifters.  I am no overstating my case when I say this book is the unadulterated shit, and I was literally impressed with myself as I reread it.  Additionally, it's been through at least 10 different proofs and edits, so it's pretty airtight from an editing perspective, lest you worry.  If any of you purchase this and are subsequently disappointed with the decision, I will literally eat my fucking laptop.  

For those of you with a Kindle, I've included a mobi copy in the download, so you'll get a pdf and a mobi when you buy the book.

Thanks for the support!  

03 September 2012

Chaos and Bang Your Earballs #15 (Allegedly)

Paul and I finally got around to posting another installment.  I've been sort of cloistered in an effort to finally finish the ebook, which should go on sale this evening.  In any event, we cover:

  • Paul's grave error in failing to see Expendables 2, which will explode your face if you've not already seen it
  • A couple of other movies worth seeing, and mini-reviews of the Dictator and the Bourne Legacy
  • the latest "doping scandal", in which I'm pretty sure my voice rose to an earsplitting shriek in the midst of my wild-eyed rant
  • the oldest and youngest broads we'd realistically fuck
  • a tiny bit of training 
  • upcoming meets

If you liked the song in the intro/outro, it's off the Warriors' first disc, War is Hell.  If you didn't like it, eat shit.  That song is the tits.

In other news, this cyclist has legs bigger than yours, and is the guy I was looking up when I stopped paying attention to Paul altogether near the end of the podcast:  Robert Förstemann is on the German Olympic team for cycling and doubles 572 on the squat at a bodyweight of 200 lbs.