I thought I would do a quick lunchtime blog update while I had the time. I dealt with two ends of the conversation/social interaction spectrum this morning…I had a session with the gyms biggest talker…Denise ‘I passed my driving test…pay me attention’ Fox and the gyms most prolific question asker James ‘Explain the universe and all it’s components’ McGee. So on one side of me I had Denise spouting endless white noise and on the other side I had James asking endless questions…I was in a no win situation. If you don’t talk to Denise then she doesn’t stop talking and goes on and on endlessly so you don’t get any break…not that she actually listens to anyone when they are talking to her…it’s just nice to get some respite. Then with James I know that no matter how many questions I answer and how many answers I give all I am setting myself up for is more questions.
It really was a nightmare…thankfully something useful came out of it. It was in the same vain as what I was going on about last night but it’s my blog so I will talk about whatever the hell I like.
James was asking me about tire flipping firstly and what I think about it. I was making the point that when you train athletes variety is important. I have athletes that have been involved with me since 2000. I would say that at least 25% of the athletes that I work with have been involved with me for over 5 years. That’s a lot of sessions. There are only so many squat and bench variations…switching from overhand pull ups to underhand chin ups only gets you so far. I’ve heard people go on and on about ‘strongman’ training…tire flipping, sled dragging, farmers walk and how great it is for sport, how it is so much ‘functionally’ better for athletes etc etc …I have one word for you….BULLSHIT.
Now before some of you get you knickers in a twist. I love ‘strongman’ training but the reason that I love the real reason that it is so great for athletes…and that is that it provides VARIETY. It is good because it is different not because it is inherently better than traditional weight training. It is the same reason that you see athletes promoting all sorts of whacky crap….other than due to the fact that they get paid to…they try some funky new weird training crap….they get all hyped about it…it gives them a new buzz…of course they think it’s the best training method ever. The thing is…to really find this out we’d have to remove all the gains and all the adaptations that they got for the previous 10 years of boring old traditional weight training. I don’t want to pick on Bosu Balls or Swiss Balls or hell you could even throw in a tire…if you found 4 untrained genetically identical individuals and got the best Bosu, Swiss Ball and Strongman trainers in the world together and me of course representing traditional (read non sexy and boring) weight training and gave us 8 weeks with our respective untrained individuals who do you think would get the biggest improvements with regards to strength? I know what I would be putting my money on.
Strongman training is great…it is a great way to add variety…it is not the basis for training as an athlete though…unless of course you’re a strongman. Even then…I bet there is not a single strongman out there that does just strongman training exclusively…and I’d be willing to bet that the best spends more time doing traditional work in the gym than they do doing specific strongman work if you looked at the entirety of their season.
He was also asking about the guys that I have that do Olympic lift…and why he doesn’t. The reason that I have some guys Olympic lift is because they are strong and balanced enough to get something decent out of it. If you can’t hit those strength targets that I mention constantly here you’ve got more important things to worry about than cleans or snatches. Because seriously who gives a shit about your 60kg power clean when you have guys working in with you doing bicep curls with your 60kg barbell. Olympic lifting like strongman…has its place…but Olympic lifting is not the basis for training for sport….unless of course you are an Olympic lifter. On a related note…I always think it is funny every time hear someone going on and on about cleans and snatching for sport and how much superior Olympic lifting is to traditional weight training…they always seem to somehow forget how much time Olympic lifters put into squatting and all their supplementary work….which is funny because all those squats, deadlifts, military pressing and RDL’s look a lot like traditional weight training.
So anyway…maybe one day James will get to flip tires and snatch…but he’s got a lot of work to do before then.