Training


Why Is Strength Training Obsessed With Failure?

There is an entire series of posts, here at the GUS Blog, that are centered on failure. However, they are not about failing, but about how failure seems to be built in to so many methods and theories of strength training. The strength training culture often seems to place more emphasis on failure than success. You may wonder why I would go to the trouble of placing primary focus on it myself, to the extent of writing a bunch of articles around it. Well, you are going to fail, but failing should not be built into your training! Success should be built into it.

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From FitNitChick: Overview of Muscle Fatigue Versus DOMS Versus Strain

A trainer named Tamara Grand has a blog called fitnitchick and today I commented on her nice overview of muscle fatigue versus muscle soreness (DOMs) versus muscle strain. A lot of people new to strength training or resistance training might have a hard time knowing what kind of discomfort is "good" and what means they have gone too far or even hurt themselves. In fact, I know many people have this question because I've been asked many times.

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Can't Do More Than 1 X 5 for Deadlifts?

The subject of today's blog post is an old pet peeve of mine. Of course it is about deadlifts. That shouldn't be a big surprise. Specifically it is about the amount of deadlifts you can do, or, as some would have it, that you should be allowed to do. I've already been complaining a lot about the idea that nobody except competitors "should" ever lift max weights. I think you know why I put the word should in quotes: Because it speaks of values. What you can do is much different than what you should do. Should overlay's a set of values on what you do. You CAN do many things that perhaps you should not do, according to this set of values. On other hand, some people's values should be kept to themselves. The prevailing opinions about how many deadlifts you can do per week, or per day have everything to do with values!

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Are Muscle Rubs Useful For Pre-Workout?

I got on the topic of using muscle rubs for pre-workout on our Facebook page a while ago, dropping a few tips here and there. Some exercisers, and especially lifters, may think that it's not okay to occasionally use a muscle rub to help with aches and pains before a workout, or to help deal with stubborn joints. It is. You just have to use your best judgment and not try to use muscle rubs to cover up the pain of an acute injury so that you can work through it at the wrong intensity and volume. A pre-workout muscle rub is great for a stubborn joint that needs a little help now and again, but it should never be used to work around an active injury. I thought for today's letter I'd go over some basics on how muscle rubs work.

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What Is Strength Training?

Strength training is actually simpler than you thought. The majority of basic articles on strength training do not bother to define strength training at all. When it is defined, the word "strength" is used in the explanation. The most typical type of definition looks something like this: "Strength training is using resistance to build your physical (or muscular) strength."

Usually, however, explanations focus on the benefits of strength training: Strength training builds muscle, decreases injury risk, makes bones stronger, etc.

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If You are Not Going to Compete, The Only Reason to Strength Train is For Fitness and Health: Stop Saying That!

I am going to have an aneurysm. There is a little vein in my forehead that is just pulsing. It's getting bigger and bigger and I'm afraid its getting ready to pop. Why? Because yet again I read someone saying that unless you plan to compete, your goal in strength training should not be to get stronger or to achieve a big lift. It infuriates me. Plain and simple. I am sick of hearing it and sick of reading it. It's bullshit. Stop saying it.

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Train Smart; Not Hard - Does Intelligence Mean Less Effort is Required?

Train Smart; Not Hard. This is one of those aphorisms I'm not sure about. It sounds good, doesn't it? On one hand, I've said it myself in regards to strength training. When I said it, I had a fairly specific idea of what I meant. I meant to say that you should ignore the macho caveman bullshit that is such a part of messages about strength training, where people say things like "Just shut up and lift heavy. Work hard. Beast mode!" I meant that you should THINK, PLAN, ASSESS, and, you know, just generally behave like you have something between your ears. Don't live up to the meathead view of strength training. It really does take some smarts to get very, very strong.

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'Gym Rescue' Reminded Me Of Fitness BS I Hate

So, I watched a few minutes of the first episode of the new show Gym Rescue, where Randy Couture and Frank Shamrock try to rescue a floundering gym. It is pretty much the same premise of Bar Rescue, which makes sense because it is a spinoff of that show, airing on Spike TV. I would have done better to have a drink while watching it.

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What Can the Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) Tell Us About Strength Training?

Critical thinking, like "evidence based training" is all the rage these days. That's great, if it was anything more than a couple of buzz-words. However, it seems that people in the fitness industry want to talk about good thinking, rather than do it. It's hard work. It's never-ending. It's kind of like deadlifts. There are those who do them, and there are those who shout "Booyah, arrrgh, deadlifts, BEASTMODE! Hardcore!" One of my main reasons for not believing that critical thinking is really something the fitness industry, at large, cares about, is that too many of its members do it selectively. In other words, they think about things they have a negative reaction to, and criticize those things, but when something happens to coincide with their general views, the thinking stops, even if it doesn't represent a credible "scientific" stance. One of these instances is anecdotal evidence, and "this works for me" prescriptions given by individual trainees, or better yet, celebrities who strength train or stay fit for movies, or what have you.

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Is Exercise Subjective? The Personal Training Industry and Demand Creation

Of the following items, which do you feel you absolutely need: Food, water, clothing, shelter, microwave oven, cell phone, and personal training? A bit of a daft question, perhaps. We know, as humans, that our absolute necessities of survival do not include microwave ovens, cell phones, and personal training. We can say that we must have food, water, clothing, and shelter. We might also include healthcare and education in that list. Other things, no matter how much we love them, are luxuries. However, what we don't always realize is that before the microwave oven was invented, there was no demand for it. And for years, when our rotary phone was attached to the kitchen wall and we had to stretch the coiled cord of the handset over to the broom closet so our parents wouldn't hear our private conversation, there was no demand for cell phones. So, just because a product or service is useful and even though it changes our lives, the demand for these things does not exist until they arrive on the scene. But, often, it takes more than usefulness to create demand for a product.

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Strength Training v. Bodybuilding Part 1: The eBook Expanded

For a couple of years now I have been giving away a free PDF book entitled "Strength Training and Bodybuilding: How Different Are They?" This book explains, to my way of thinking and in no uncertain terms, how bodybuilding is a practice that is distinct from strength training. This was not a book that I ever hyped and certainly not something I thought would set the strength training world on fire. In fact, I doubted it would make a difference at all, no pun intended.

Although many hundreds of people received the book, only a few ever expressed any views on it and there are several people who absolutely loved it, to the point that they insisted I should be selling this book. If I sold it, they told me, people would take it more seriously and I would therefore reach more people, besides making money, etc. Well, I know that all this is true. If I promoted my books, and myself, I'd be more successful!

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Double Standards in the Strength Training Community

In the Powerlifting community — and this has become synonymous with "Strength Training" — the new unspoken set of rules for economic success is to train hard, compete, set at least one World Record in some federation (there are about a hundred of those so pick something legit), write an eBook workout program, claim you use it for your "many" trainees and sell the hell out of it.

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Quality Volume Deadlifts

I've been following a "volume" oriented approach to Deadlifts for many months now. This blog post is meant to explain this quality based volume approach to training heavy on Deadlifts.

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Are Strength Training Stalls or Plateaus Inevitable?

The standard definition of a stall is a temporary stop in progression. When most people talk about a stall or plateau they are talking about failure to progress on one or two exercises.

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