I remember when I first heard the saying five years ago at a clinic—if you read for one hour every single day in your field, you will be one of the world’s leading experts in seven years. I’m not claiming to be one of the world’s leading experts yet, but the main thing I did take away from that thought was to become a serious student of the iron game.
I’ve learned to become more astute at noticing little things that work and all the things that are a waste of time. I’ve been pretty darn diligent about reading an hour every day. I read everything from strength training books to self-improvement books to business and marketing books. I’ve been extremely busy lately with the opening of my new facility, my upcoming nuptials, and the purchase of our first house together. With that said, there is so much information I want to convey. It’s been over a month since I’ve had the chance to write an article, so I’m going to be jumping around quite a bit.
“Absorb what is useful and discard the rest.” —via Alwyn Cosgrove via Bruce Lee
* After reading Dinosaur Training by Brooks Kubik, I made the decision to incorporate my fat grips into almost all pressing or pulling movements. When people ask me how they work, I explain how innervated the hands are with the central nervous system. If we train hand strength, the nervous system will become more efficient. But you will also notice that when you use fat grips on an exercise like the bench, you wrists and shoulders feel a little unstable. Yes, you’re using stabilizing muscles, but I believe the more important effect is the stress and adaptation to your tendons and ligaments. This is where the true strength is built. I got a PR this week with 355 in the bench and it went up pretty easily. This is up about 30 pounds since the winter. The only difference in my training has been to incorporate my fat grips.
* Newton’s Third Law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Lifting parallels life in so many ways. We learn to push ourselves harder than we thought possible. We eventually learn that to succeed, we need to surround ourselves with other like-minded individuals. It has also been my experience that any of the big dogs in the iron game are very driven to succeed in life. This is where Newton’s Law comes in. If you put in the dog work, late nights, and the blood, sweat, and tears, the results will come down the road. This is a principle that too many people don’t understand. If you create and make all that action, you will get the investment of that time tenfold in success. This can be used for lifting and life.
* The quads are critical to train to remain injury free. The quads provide the breaking forces when the front leg hits the ground during sprinting. The leg is never fully extended during sprinting because then you would be moving vertically, not horizontally. In particular, the VMO is critical as it affects knee tracking. The best way to hammer these guys is through movements such as lunges, step ups, rear foot elevated split squats, or speed skater squats.
* When I get my high school athletes telling me their weight has hit a plateau, I have them do two things. First, I have them consume a shake that has 970 calories and 75 grams of protein in it twice per day. Second, I have them consume 80 grams of glutamine per day on training days. This can be done every two to three months. I got this idea from Charles Poliquin. It helps to heal the stomach lining, which will lead to better nutrient absorption. All my guys who have done this have gained 3–6 pounds of lean weight and have kept it on after the week.
* Sleep is king: I’m a hypocrite when it comes to this because I always fall back into the trap of burning the candle late at night to get more work done. However, when I presented at a clinic recently, a fellow presenter was from the U.S. Navy and his findings were very awakening. He said that if the brain is awake for 17 or more hours for three straight days, it functions as if it were intoxicated. He even showed images of a brain with eight hours of sleep versus one with six hours of sleep. The six-hour brain had significantly less blood flow than the eight-hour one. He also spoke of the importance of recovery. He was very fortunate to have an Omega Wave machine to know when his guys were about to hit bottom. He did say that a deload week should be used every four weeks or so. This is also what Buddy Morris suggested when I looked back at one of his presentations. Sleep and recover to grow!
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