Dispel the Dogma and Find the Gems

A few days ago, my buddy Bret Contreras wrote up a summary of John Broz’s training methods over on T-Nation. I’ve been following Broz and his athletes closely for the last year and a half, and he’s never failed to impress. Whether you agree with his methods or not, you can’t argue with his results.

My own experimentation with daily training started when Broz’s comments convinced me to give it a good try. Over the years, I’ve always found that I respond better to more training, but less “intensity” in each session. By intensity I don’t mean weight on the bar as a percentage of maximum. I mean effort. I mean exhaustion. Typical wisdom says you need to throw all your energy into your workouts and leave yourself crawling out of the gym.

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I Am Not a Geared Powerlifter [Context Matters]

A few years ago, I posted a squat video on Youtube. Not the best source of intelligent commentary on good days, several comments stuck out to me. These users, with the best of intentions I’m sure, gave me what I can best describe as “internet powerlifter squat advice”, which I found confusing. I’m not a … Read more

The Training Methods of Bob Peoples

Since I’ve been back on a daily-squatting kick, I thought this would be appropriate an appropriate read to get some discussion going. For reasons that will become clear, Bob Peoples has been a huge motivator in the “just go lift” scheme of things. You see that he wasn’t shy of trying new and different methods … Read more

The Value of Restraint in Training Weights [Strength Progressions]

We like fast progress. All of us do. I like it. When poundages aren’t going up on the regular, I start second guessing. I wonder where I’m screwing it up. I need that regular feedback. I know it doesn’t work that way. I know in the sense that I’m aware of the facts. As we realize now, knowing is only part of the issue.

I know that muscle tissue can only synthesize so fast and there are limits to how much can be added on a given body without chemical intervention. I know that neural factors adapt on an asymptotal curve, increasing strength rapidly before leveling off in a new plateau as neurons rewire themselves. I know these things, and yet, it’s the psychological rush, the hit of mesolimbic pleasure-reward, of hitting new levels and new PRs that motivates most of us.

Without that quick feedback of success, the signpost on the road to tell us we’re heading in the right direction, it’s easy to start second guessing. Once that happens, you’ve lost.

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Pain Isn’t A Virtue [Muscle & Strength Gains]

In biology, it’s rare to find an instance where more is always better. Biological systems respond in dose-response relationships. More is better — to a point. Once you get past that ideal range, more is worse. You can visualize this as an inverted U-shaped graph, with the ideal range falling into a nice hump between … Read more

Zen and the Art of Squatting, Part II

Back in part I (read that first so you aren’t lost), I talked about the unconscious nature of motor learning and skill training, and mentioned how the brain rewires itself in response to outside changes, which include exercise. Now I want to discuss what this means for fitness goals.

If you like what’s in this article…

You might want to check out my book, Squat Every Day, which has over one hundred 5-star reviews on Amazon.

You can grab a copy here: https://myosynthesis.com/squat-every-day

Squat Every Day

We’re taught to fear overtraining from day one. We know, since we’re told so often, that if we train too much, we’ll basically die. A whole culture has developed around how to plan and apply training programs so that we avoid doing too much while trying to scratch out some kind of progress. I know it, as I was part of that culture.

Recent experiences have had me rethinking that viewpoint, to the degree that I’m no longer sure what’s a genuinely physical limit, what’s a psychological roadblock, and what’s just a good idea, limitations aside. ‘Overtraining’ has moved out of my vernacular — and this has happened because I stopped caring about the consequences.

That’s bad phrasing. I haven’t stopped caring. I’m still very aware of the potential consequences, all the nasty things that Personal Training 101 says will happen if you train too much. It might be better to say I’ve stopped dwelling on those consequences. I just show up and train, and oddly enough my body isn’t falling to pieces. The more frequently I do something moderately challenging (moderately being the key), the better my joints feel, the better my training goes, and the better my overall sense of well-being.

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Zen and the Art of Squatting, Part I

If you like what’s in this article…

You might want to check out my book, Squat Every Day, which has over one hundred 5-star reviews on Amazon.

You can grab a copy here: https://myosynthesis.com/squat-every-day

Squat Every Day

I’m not exactly sure where to start this post, because it’s a departure from the straight-up, I did this at the gym kind of thing I normally talk about. I’ll start with a little background.

I have a wide range of nerdly interests outside of weight training. I’ve mentioned that my approach to strength and physical culture came out of my earlier geekiness, but what I don’t talk about often is that my interest in the science of biology doesn’t stop with exercise and nutrition. I don’t want to go into a lot of the personal-philosophy details, mainly because they aren’t very relevant and more importantly, they’re kinda out there, and I don’t want to bog the place down with my wider thoughts.

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Let’s talk about fitness.

I think by this point everyone has noticed the trend toward functional fitness, cross-training, and tactical elite athleticism that’s been creeping into the fitness industry. With the rise of Crossfit and everybody else rushing to copy-cat, it’s hard not to notice the rush of people jumping on the bandwagon of functional circuits for time, the sudden appearance of people wearing Vibrams or Chuck Taylors — the hallmark of shaved-headed powerlifters c. 2001-2008 — while doing weird combinations of deadlifts and plyometrics and other assorted exercisey things not generally seen in your average gym.

Those of you that know me know I’ve been half-ass critical of that in the past. Only half-ass, though; I couldn’t and still can’t bring myself to full-on hate, because there are a lot of positives that have come out of this trend. It’s hard to deny that getting people more active in general, and exposing them to solid strength & conditioning practices in the process, is a good thing on balance. Even putting aside benefits like the Andro Broads, Crossfit and the wider functional-fitness movement it has spearheaded has done a lot to popularize the effective training methods that I’ve tried to promote for years.

Again, on balance, this is a good thing. But this does not preclude any criticisms.

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Squatting still hasn’t killed me.

For those of you that were concerned, no, I’m not dead. I haven’t even hurt myself again, wonder of wonders. I know, I’m surprised too – for a guy who couldn’t look at a barbell without something tearing, lifting more often was the last thing that I thought would be helpful. It turns out that … Read more

I’m addicted to daily squatting.

I had totally planned to cut my Bulgarian/frequent-lifting experiment this week, after eight full weeks. I had no real reason other than to break up the monotony. I’m not hurt; I actually feel better than I have in years as far as joints and connective tissues. I don’t feel burned out, not even close. In … Read more