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DO YOU GUYS EVEN LIFT HEAVY?

I believe in relativity, both universally and locally.

I have to put a disclaimer up front to offset the high likelihood of confusion: Every single movement has a place for someone, somewhere. I am neither for or against any one thing objectively. I do not believe in “bad” or “good”, especially related to exercise.

That being said you will notice a lack of typical barbell movements and loading. This is different than what I used to do. Specifically, I am not 100% positive that back squatting maximally has positive outcomes as a supportive exercise for other efforts. I realize this is for some reason a sensitive subject for people, namely I recall “Back Squat Gate“ with Coach Mike Boyle when he vocalized similar thoughts on using the back squat in high level hockey players. Fundamentally, there isn’t much cross over for the back squat to competitive sports because not much happens bilaterally nor at the tempo of moving maximal loads (that doesn’t mean it is totally useless). The next issue is that an effective squat for developing balanced, full body strength is heavily dependent on one’s physiology. Long femurs and torsos inevitably places most stress on the lower back. This, in and of itself is not negative but when looking at using movements to balance one’s abilities “long people” tend to overly stress certain parts of the body. Some experts will baulk and claim “TECHNIQUE is the problem”, but you can’t technique your way out of bone length. In reality the GPP crowd is especially affected by the stresses of loaded squatting, the less I apply heavy squatting the less back problems I have seen.

The biggest problem I have with the movements and even loading specifically is that anecdotally I don’t see a lot of capable “power athletes” in their Golden Years. But I do see a lot of crippled has beens. The act of back squatting, using a 28mm barbell and insanely heavy loads (relative) is not much more than 100-years old, the current iteration of the sport is even younger and most advancements have happened in the last 30-years. For me the benefits are questionably scarce, and the defense of the movement is highly dogmatic; all of these are red flags for me.

But I’m not just talking about risk of injury, because that is actually a useful component, especially for developing the psychological benefits of strength training. Putting weight on your back and moving it is an abstraction for strength development, it is removed from the actual stress that leads to strength by more than one level—which is to say it is only correlated to high enough levels of muscular contraction in order to enact compensation. The real question isn’t if we lift heavy or not, it is do we contract the muscle groups at high enough rates in order to increase strength to support other efforts? The answer: try the workout below.

I still squat. I even load it when preparing for sports that the movement is tested (weightlifting CrossFit), but I wouldn’t call it the “king of exercises”, that title for me still goes to the act of thinking, which ironically the people who are vehement about defending heavy squatting seem to not participate in.


Training

Warm:

10-15min easy bike

10m of each:

Alternating kicks

Bear crawl low

Alternating kicks+quad stretch

Bear crawl + sit out

Lunge + alternating kick + Single leg dead lift 

Alternating Crow crawl

3x5 extended crab hold, using rower seat (if you can hold for more than 10sec you aren’t holding hard enough)

3x10 wall lunge (I have no idea what to call these)

3x10 seated hands planted let lift (one set behind the knee one in front)

5x10sec L sit

3x5 tuck to false planche

3x5 Russian dip on boxes

3x5 dip to high hip pull

25min bridge work


Notes: This doesn’t seem like a “hard” session, there is no marker for intensity except for your willingness to contract the muscles as hard as possible, which is different than other forms of exercise where we try and do it as easy as possible and let the weight be an antagonist. This session requires you to be the antagonist. Progression for this style of training is bleak, it is not sexy, it certainly doesn’t look cool, but the payoffs in real world strength are real.


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 Training

Dante’s Triathlon. 

Welcome to the 8-circles of hell (The Divine Comedy had 9-circles, but I have nothing against “Lust”)

2-hour AMRAP

10-20-30-40-50-40-30-20 cals (equal to one round, start back at 10cal)

-Ski

-Bike

-Row

 Kegan: 1850

Michael: 1867

Josh: 1455

Israel: 1262


Why do something like this?

Endurance is better developed (generally) by focusing on the efficiency of one modality. Triathletes taught us this with the infamous “brick training”. So this is NOT the best way to develop endurance, but it might be the one you do, which means that it IS the best way. I needed something long and I refuse to ride an indoor trainer for hours on end, and also…

Today is Super Bowl Sunday. Although I have the utmost respect for the work that goes into playing in the Super Bowl I also count this day as one fo the most miserable for human nature because it is a reflection of the opposite. The day will be spent not only consuming and gorging but also in full criticism of others actually doing something.

I wanted to do the opposite, all effort no advertisement.