Archive for the 'Training' Category
Following my most recent training compilation, I’ve had several requests to create a similar video without the hip hop music. My original attempt was blocked by Youtube due to the audio restrictions so here is a second try. The track name is Hungry By Rob Bailey and The Hustle Standard.
I like this feeling of weariness after training, when I’m walking home exhausted, dragging my feet. I like this a lot. – Fedor Emelianenko1 comment
No matter how strong you are, you aren’t stronger than you are. There will always be an exercise or weight that is beyond even the strongest man’s ability. Anyone who has ever lifted any meaningful weight has failed. The strongest person you know has failed. We all have failed.
No one is ever too good to fail. Often times we must fail in order to succeed. The greatest athletes you’ve ever seen have failed and will fail again. And while these words may appear depressing at first glance, the opposite is actually true. A bad day in the gym does not signify that something is wrong. It simply reaffirms that you are human.
Unfortunately, many young athletes have been fooled to believe otherwise. They falsely assume that success brings with it immunity to failure. I hear from these athletes regularly. They write to me out of frustration whenever they miss a lift or have a bad day in the gym.
Just last night I received an email from an aspiring athlete who asked the following:
Ross, I am trying to reach your level, but I occasionally have a bad day in the gym. What did you used to do when you had bad days? Did you push through it or train something else?
This question was asked with a built in assumption that I no longer have bad days. I receive questions like this all the time. These athletes believe that something is wrong if they aren’t hitting personal bests every time they step in the gym. It doesn’t work that way. Let me remind you again. We all fail.
The ambitious often fail more than anyone else. I certainly do. I am very passionate about my training and always want more. Whatever I can lift, I want to lift more. Whatever I can do, I want to do more. If I’m not willing to go too far on occasion, I won’t know how far I can go.
Earlier this week, I posted a video to Instagram of me performing dips with 225 pounds (see below).
After posting the clip, I received several positive comments. A few people even suggested it looked easy. They don’t realize that I viewed that set as a failure. Instagram only allows for 15 second videos so no one saw what happened next. I had my heart set on hitting 5 reps. I failed on the 5th. I’m lucky the video cut off so no one could hear me afterward. I may have contended with CT Fletcher for the most F-bombs in a minute.
Fortunately, I am experienced enough to know that failure isn’t fatal. It’s part of the process. Anyone who knows how much they can lift also knows an amount that they can’t. It comes with the territory. I know I am close. Sure, I’ll get pissed off when I’m caught up in the moment, but it only takes a few minutes to get over it.
It was sometime last year that I did my first dip with 225 pounds. I was so excited when it happened. I had my eyes set on 225 for months. I’d made several attempts before and had always come up short. When I finally hit my first rep, I knew I had won. My previous failures were stepping stones. They were an integral part of the process. They were always there to let me know where I stood. Without an attempt, I wouldn’t have known.
Now that I am working towards 5 reps, my experience has been almost identical. I don’t fail all the time, as I certainly don’t set out to fail. It happens though. It’s part of the process. When I filmed the video above, I thought I had it in me. That’s why I tried. I was wrong. It wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last.
If you are a young athlete, please heed this advice. You will never be too good for a bad day. It happens to the best of the best. We all have bad days. I have been in training camps with some of the best fighters in the world and even they have an occasional off day. They don’t panic though because they understand it comes with the territory.
In summary, please don’t misconstrue the message. I am not suggesting that you set out to fail. I don’t plan it in advance. I am ambitious however so there are times when I need to know what I can do. There is no formula in the world that is as accurate as trying. If I want to know what I can lift, I don’t reach for a calculator. I reach for the weights.
If an occasional bad days pops up out of nowhere, I don’t lose sleep over it. I hop back on the saddle and come back the next day. As I’ve said many times before, real strength requires an investment in time. There are no shortcuts. A few weeks or months is a blink of an eye. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a lift or have a bad day. We are all human. Bad days are part of life. Don’t ever assume you are too good for them. Instead, stare them in the eye and keep on working. Consistent, diligent work is the best formula you’ll ever find for success. It isn’t easy though and you will fail. Accept it, deal with it, and keep on grinding.
There is no failure except in no longer trying. – Elbert Hubbard8 comments
One of the participants on my forum recently posted the following video of himself. It’s a classic video that is well worth a minute of your time.
There are so many great things about this clip that I’m not sure where to begin. For starters, this individual weighs over 200 pounds yet has some of the most impressive pull-up strength I’ve ever seen. It is much more common to see bar displays of this level from smaller athletes.
What is equally impressive is his ability to hold the upright position with relative ease. Drinking a glass of milk from this position may appear comical, but doing so is actually quite difficult. He is essentially holding an extremely challenging isometric position with the control necessary to calmly drink a glass of milk. He maintains this position for almost 20 seconds. He also gets bonus points for casually strolling through the snow with bare feet and a t-shirt. This is real man strength from a real man.
I also enjoyed the title of his video. He’s named it One Arm Towel Pull-up Certification. I’m assuming (and hopeful) that this title is a dig against the fitness industry. Never before have there been so many bogus certifications. We’ve literally reached the point where you can become a certified professional after a few hour course that is provided over the weekend. You could essentially leave your job on Friday evening with no experience and start a business on Monday with piece of paper that says your are a professional.
In the past year alone, I have had several people ask if I provide ab wheel certification courses. Yes, you read that right. An ab wheel certification?! I wish I was joking. We’ve reached a point that is beyond pathetic.
Contrary to what the fitness marketers would like you to believe, real knowledge and strength are not acquired over the weekend. It takes years of consistency and effort. If you wish to perform feats such as that seen above, prepare to invest several years of your life towards hard and consistent work. There are no shortcuts.
When recently asked on my forum about his training, the man above responded with the following:
Pleased to manage new personal records after 18 years of training, somehow PRs feels better and better year after year.
He went on to say that he has trained grip strength specifically for 4 and a half years. He also spent over 8 years working hard, manual labor.
Let me remind you again, there are no shortcuts. That’s not my opinion. It is a fact.
For 37 years I’ve practiced fourteen hours a day, and now they call me a genius. – Pablo de Sarasate7 comments
Following my most recent compilation video, I received several questions about the manila rope exercises that were demonstrated within. I will use this entry to address those questions and inquiries. If you have not yet seen the video, take a look below.
Perhaps the most commonly inquired about exercise were the one-arm body rows demonstrated at the 2:54 mark. This exercise is a favorite of mine as it allows me to target multiple objectives. Not only do we have a quality pulling exercise, there are obvious hand strengthening benefits as well.
Targeting multiple objectives is particularly useful when your training goals cover a broad spectrum. I train to become stronger and better conditioned, while also addressing commonly neglected areas such as the hands and neck. As a result, I welcome the opportunity to perform exercises that allow me to target more than one objective. The one-arm body row is a prime example. Traditional two-arm body rows could also be performed for a less challenging variation. With each, expect the hands to be challenged throughout the movement.
If you wish to perform rope body rows, you will need to attach the rope overhead. The most inexpensive way is by knotting your rope to an overhead pull-up bar or rack. You can see below how I tie a simple knot to satisfy this requirement.
As for purchasing strips of manila rope, two of the best suppliers that I have used in the past are Mcmaster.com and one particular seller from eBay (I have no affiliation with either). With each, you can purchase rope by the foot for reasonable rates.
It is also possible to purchase longer strips of rope and cut them yourself to perform exercises such as rope pull-ups. You can see a video demonstration of rope pull-ups and rope cutting within the following tutorial.
If you opt to tie a rope overhead for one-arm body rows, you may wish to add a second rope. Doing so allows for additional options. One example is the bodyweight triceps extension that was demonstrated at the 2:42 mark within the compilation video above. Using rope instead of the more traditional suspension trainer adds another element of difficulty. This variation is perhaps my favorite triceps exercise of all. It is much more challenging than it appears.
Another advantage of securing two ropes overhead is that you can also climb rope indoors. As seen in the picture below, you can climb two ropes from the L-sit position. This exercise is ideal during winter months when you may not be able to climb rope outdoors. You can either climb up and down the two ropes for continuous reps, or target two objectives by climbing to your pull-up bar whenever you use it. For example, each time I perform a set of bodyweight pull-ups, I climb to the bar, rather than simply grabbing it while standing. This simple addition introduces a new challenge without eating more than a few seconds from the clock for each set. Such an addition may not sound like much, but it certainly does add up over time.
When it is nice outside, you can certainly climb rope and also pull a weighted sled as demonstrated at the 2:46 mark within the video. If you wish to create your own homemade pulling sled, you can find simple instructions within the previous tutorial.
If you have any additional questions about the exercises seen within the video, feel free to comment below or shoot me an email.
Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle. – Paulo Coelho
Paul Anderson was a legendary strength athlete. Legendary may even be an understatement. His strength was off the charts.
I’ve actually discussed him on this blog several times before. I was always a big fan of Paul Anderson, not only because of his strength, but also his interest in homemade equipment. Paul Anderson was the king of homemade gear and low-tech training.
In previous entries, I’ve shared a brief video that highlighted his training style. Many of you may have seen the following video. If not, it is certainly worth a look.
Fortunately, I recently learned that the full documentary where that clip originates can now be seen on Youtube. The embedded player below contains all seven parts of the film.
I’ve always believed that one of the best learning tools is observation. When you come across a fellow athlete or coach who is successful, it is useful to simply observe them in action. You don’t necessarily need to copy what they do, but try to understand what were the keys to their success.
I like to think that everyone I meet knows something that I don’t know. I try to learn something from everyone. I apply this philosophy not only towards coaching but also life outside the gym. I am always interested in learning from and observing others. Therefore, when I come across almost two hours of footage about Paul Anderson’s life, I get pretty excited.
If you share my enthusiasm, you will surely enjoy the footage above.
What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. – Socrates4 comments