You Too Can Lift A Car!

Posted on 01 Apr 2012 22:37

Or not. One of the most prevailing habits in this industry is to take isolated pieces of information and run with them, making sweeping conclusions with little to no consideration of other factors. Information is nothing in and of itself. It's what you do with it, or, how you apply it in regards to the BIG PICTURE. Probably one of the biggest drawbacks of the information age is unlimited information with limited background. Limited background makes facts interchangeable with knowledge. I discussed this often misunderstood difference between knowledge and facts in my post: Facts, Knowledge, and Reasoning Skills

I've seen everyone from novices to industry leaders fall into this trap. You always start with the general and proceed to the specific. NEVER the other way around.

One of the most misunderstood factors of strength is the importance of the nervous system in determining absolute strength ability. It is often overlooked by the inexperienced trainee and the experienced trainer. But you know there is this really irritating phrase that is often applied to neural factors: "We cannot overstate the importance of….."

Yes, we CAN. We can overstate. People overstate things all the time. A great example comes from Pavel Tsatsouline who famously states, "Your muscles already have the strength to lift a car, they just don't know it yet."

You know the scenario. Baby trapped in burning car. Mother, through a surge of powerful hormones, realizes untapped superhuman strength and lifts the car. That's the sort of example Tsatsouline gives. I don't know that there is a documented case of the whole car lifting thing but it is true that people can display freaky strength in times of life and death crisis and there are instances of this happening.

In his "Black Book of Training Secrets" Christian Thibadeau makes a big thing of this quote by Tsatsouline. As usual CT tends to be long on info and short on interpretations.

Pavel has some decent insights on strength training. No doubt about that. But these insights are so interspersed with propaganda the average strength trainee would have no hope of sorting them out. That famous quote about lifting a car is, if not an overstatement, certainly a little bit pie in the sky. What am I saying? Of course, it's an overstatement. See, your NERVES don't actually handle the load, your muscles do. You know what happens to people when they tap into this superhuman strength that they have not trained for? PAIN. Dislocations, tendon detachments…lots of bad mojo.

Since I am not in the business of lying to make money, I will tell you the truth. You will probably never be able to lift a car and doing low reps and "tension" whatever is not a magic recipe for your nerves acting like an overdose of gamma radiation and turning you into a car lifting hulk. Or, in the case of PT's philosophies, a very unbulky but tight and wiry car lifting Super Russian.

Many times people like PT use hyperbole to make a point. What they don't seem to realize is that their statements can and will be isolated, misinterpreted, and taken out of context. "I was just exaggerating to make a point. But…but, but, but…" Well if you must exaggerate to make a point, you're just not very good at making points.

Right, we must be responsible. We must make responsible statements. Or, we must accept responsibility for statements. You can't lift a car. Deal with it. And by the way, are we talking about just getting two wheels off the ground or pressing it?

When you read statements like this it is a perfect time to exercise your critical thinking skills. Be the skeptic. Ask questions. Who knows? Maybe your head will grow and you'll be able to balance a car on it.

This page created 01 Apr 2012 22:37
Last updated 21 Mar 2018 03:25

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