The great thing about the strength and conditioning world is that just when you think you know something, someone comes along and pulls the rug from underneath you. While I’m still just a baby in the game I’ve been around long enough to experience my share of training ideologies, thinking I was onto the next best thing in training. Early 2000’s it was all about the Swiss ball, then it was ‘sports specific,’ prior to all of this it was H.I.T.
Since these times I have spent a lot of time in the books and even more time under the bar trying to better myself as a trainer, not only for my clients/athletes, but also for myself. I’ve been fortunate enough to follow the literature of the likes of Stiff, Poliquin, Defranco, Tate, Simmons, Cressey, McGill and of course this site.
In a broader sense I’ve also read a lot of Richard Branson’s books, became interested in the Chinese medicine approach to problems and experienced my own ups and downs in world that is sport.
While all of this has helped make me a better person it has also made me realize that ‘The More you know the more you don’t know’.
So I guess I had two choices. I could write piece called “50things I know that will probably change in the next 2years” or I could stick with 6 things that I know, live by, and I will still know to be true in 100years time. Enjoy.
i. Experience Is What You Get When You Didn’t Get What You Wanted
I stole this one from Randy Pausch’s life changing lecture simply called ‘The Last Lecture’. It’s easily one of the best lectures I’ve seen and is available online here http://download.srv.cs.cmu.edu/~pausch/
Pretty self explanatory, I think the best lessons I’ve learnt have come through failure and it has meant in future I don’t make the same mistakes. While I think it’s good to learn off the errors of others I think the mistakes I’ve made myself have more of an effect on how I go about things.
ii. You’ll Get Injured At Some Stage, And If You’re Lucky, You’ll Learn From It
I think I’m lucky to have had some of the injuries I’ve had. Before I dislocated my shoulder I didn’t see the point in doing rotator cuff work.. It wasn’t until I had hip problems that I really trained my gluets. So while some injuries can be debilitating I think that, for me, long term they’ll give me a bit more longevity because they’ve taught me to do all the ‘nerdy training’ young.
iii. 3 People May Have The Same Goals But Require Different Solutions, However 3 People May Have Different Goals But Require The Same Solution.
This one is also pretty self explanatory, and I guess it comes back to the principle of individualization. I’ve trained a guy that was 6’5” and only 70kgs and I used the same protocol (8sets of 3) to get him bigger that I used for another guy who was after strength. And both of them got their goals.
I guess it comes back to the question I often get asked “what is the best exercise to put on/improve/lose” to which my answer is always the same ‘depends…’
iv. Hebrews 12:11
Now I’m far from a biblical man but for whatever reason I stumbled across this passage about 5years ago and to this day I can’t think of a truer statement with regards to training.. I won’t ruin it for you and I’ll let you look it up for yourself.
v. Improving Your P.B by 5kgs won’t make you a better athlete but working towards it will.
Somewhat of a favorite of mine to tell the guys I train. I use to tell them that “improving your P.B. by 5kgs won’t make you a better athlete” but then I realized that training towards the improvement would. The effort they’d put into lifting heavier, doing more or going faster for longer would at the end of the day create greater mental toughness, improve their work ethic and give them a sense of achievement. It also makes the accessory work seem that much more important.. I mean what sounds better to a young athlete “This exercise is going to decrease the risk of shoulder injuries” OR “this exercise is going to help your bench press”
vi. It all comes down to how bad you want it and natural talent doesn’t mean anything
This point is easy. You’ve got to put the work in. No magic programs or anything like that are going to change that. You’ve got to do the grunt work, the hard yards and really strive for your goals.
I’m 6’4” and can only weight 100kgs due to weight classes for my sport however I’ve never ONCE used ‘oh my genetics mean I can’t lift as much’ OR ‘I’m not built for bench press’ as an excuse. The second you start putting limitations on yourself you’re already slowing your progress.
I also never won a single tournament when I was young, didn’t fight for New Zealand till I was 18 and had come 2nd at the Nationals more times that I care to remember.
But I’m so glad I wasn’t ‘talented’ because most of the kids/teens that I grew up competing against that were naturals are gone. It either became too hard to get to the next level or they just didn’t want it enough to put the work in, but because I was working so hard to just get to their level it means I’m more than eager to put the work in to get to the next level.
I also see it in the training all the time. We’ve got a guy we call 80% because you’ll only ever get 80% from him tops. He’s also the guy that claps the medal winners. Meanwhile the other guys in my squad are the ones that shake hands facing down on the podium because every second of training they’re there to work.
So there you have it. I hope someone somewhere will get something out of this. Just putting my values onto paper means at least I have.
Please leave any comments, criticisms or otherwise.