Great Article, But.....
I think he's missing the big picture. People just don't like to work hard, even athletes (and I'm saying this as a former coach). They'll work hard if you tell them too, because they want to play, but in reality, only the highest level athletes (or anything else for that matter) are driven to push themselves to the next level. I'd say this is really only about 1-5%, and the rest are just genetically gifted. So yes, I'd assume that the people on this site like to work hard, or they wouldn't be here, but the rest of the general population, including athletes, would rather put in the minimum amount of work possible needed to get the result they think they want.
I want to print this out and nail it to the wall at my gym.
Two small points.
These days in the military, hydration is one of the top priorities during every training event. We chug water like its our job. 50 to 100 years ago, just like the old style of football practices, we didn't. Water was for pussies. See the scene in Band of Brothers where Capt Sobel makes the soldier redo a hike because he drank from his canteen. Then we figured out, with the help of the Israelis, that hydration during training kept people from getting injured unnecessarily. We could deprive people of water to train mental toughness, but that would get people hurt and keep people out of the fight. In Iraq and Afghaniland its pretty much a given that out in the field your going to be constantly dehydrated. You just have to deal with it. Trying to train that would cost more that it would be worth.
Barbells are great, but not the only way to get strong. I mean, guys have been getting strong all through history, whether they were working on the farm shoveling shit and hay, or laying rail road ties across the Rocky mountains, or working all day in the steel mill. All without ever touching a barbell. The problem is these days, manual labor is an optional, not required part of our existence. Human beings that we are, we will always take the easy way. It's possible now to go through life weak, lazy, stupid, and cowardly, and you're probably not going to die because of it. You'll just be a pussy. An adult, biologically, but never moving beyond childhood mentally. Never accustomed to the reality that occasional suffering and pain is what makes us fully human, and that a man, to call himself a real man, must be ready to stand on his own two feet in any situation and provide for himself and his family. Even if he never has to hump a pack and a weapon in a combat zone, or grow his own food, or build his own house, a man is confident that he can, if need be, because he has done the hard things when it was easier to do nothing. And barbells are a tool towards that end.
Well that's it. Great piece, I'm not saying I disagree, just had some thoughts. I doubt it will sway anyone who's not already on board, I mean, it's hard to argue with Bosu balls. They're just so shiny.
Very good. Thanks for posting.
A couple of thoughts
I really appreciate the opportunity to read and re-read this article, and I say a genuine "Thank you" for it.
Man, as a species, advances for many reasons, but a primary reason is economizing. "Getting more by doing less," "working smarter not harder," etc. We economize all the time, when we purchase, when we sell, when we offer to help someone, when we decide not to do something.
I'd bet that most weightlifters allocate a lot of brain cells to determining the best technique possible to increase a certain lift just as bodybuilders think about how to increase their muscle size per unit of effort they expend.
The reason we like Starting Strength is because it works, and is therefore an economizing routine ... Coach Rip has thought through the process incessantly so that we don't have to ... we just get to follow a program that works and we benefit.
However, Coach Steel's article makes me think about a problem endemic to our society ... too much economizing, too much optimization, too much specialization, and not enough RESILIENCY. For the sake of progress we choose actions that are supposedly advanced (BOSU balls, kettle bells, Adjustable Rate Mortgages (hah)) when, in fact, the tried-and-true course of action works. Squat, Press, Don't Buy Something You Can't Afford, etc.
The problem with over-specialization, whether with training or as a survival strategy, is that the world has a tendency to cycle, or exhibit a "Reversion to the Mean." One may be able to do four "muscle-ups", but what happens when a friend is gut-shot or snake-bit and you have to carry him 1/2 way down a mountain and provide protection while you wait for a medevac? You might me able to run a 10k in 29 minutes, but what if you have to kick down a door or pick up a tractor to save someone's life?
Being strong is the answer to solving 80% of life's challenges. It helps one to run faster, it helps one to lift more, and it helps one to lift more weight over a given period of time, since the period of exertion is a (relatively) lower percentage of maximal effort than someone who is not as strong.
I'm a fan of this concept, and I do my best to get stronger every day and week, and I enjoy learning from those of you here who are doing the same.
Agreed. My personal addition to #1 is that for the non-sport athlete, the best conditioning is Actual Physical Work. Manual labor. It gets you tough and it gets things done and it definitely prepares you for the coming apocalypse.
Plus the wall you build will help hold off the zombies/mutants/cannibals/government agents.
Last edited by Monster; 07-14-2010 at 11:11 AM.
I like where this conversation is going.
Originally Posted by Jamie J. Skibicki
Originally Posted by USMC.Scot
Still one of the best articles I have read, about any topic. I have had similar opinions, but didn't have the credentials or anything besides personal experience to back them up with. I will be sure to pass it down to anybody who is interested in strength training.