Mike Webster Quotes
From Starting Strength:
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“If you want a simple strength and conditioning program, stick to the basics. Run your 400s and 800s, and do lots of power cleans and presses and long heavy sets of squats.”
“No one is a ‘natural’ anything. Everyone has to start the same place you do, at the beginning, and learn from there. Just always remember there’s another guy working out there right now, to either beat you or take your place, and you’d better out-work him.”
“Don’t be afraid to take a rest day. Sometimes the best thing you can do when your training progress stalls is to take three days off and hit it again. Often, you’ll be stronger for it.”
“There’s going to come a point where you can’t add weight every workout, then every week, then you’ll be where some powerlifters are (Dad actually referenced them a lot, even though he felt he had to train a little differently) where you’ll be happy to add five pounds to your bench in a month. Most guys think they’ve reached their potential when they get there, and just start trying to maintain, they might even drop down a little bit here and there as the years go on, and start just doing higher rep stuff because it’s easier. It’s fine to drop weight and build back up, but you should never surrender ground gained for good."
“It’s not so much that the muscles can’t increase strength, but the fact that by that point you’re squatting or deadlifting 700 pounds or more, and just think about the load that places on the human skeletal structure. You’re up to the point where you’re well beyond what you were designed to take on
a regular basis, and that’s the goal − to push the limits of human performance. The body can adapt to it, but the muscles and tendons tend to lag behind, and it takes time. Think about the time to heal a broken bone versus the time it takes for a pulled muscle to heal. We’re talking weeks and months here, rather than 72 hours. It’s a different kind of tissue. If you back off too much once you reach that sticking point, and I’m talking about the point where you’re trying to bench 500 or 600 instead of 450, your body is smarter than we know, and it’s going to limit you until it gets the joints, fascia and connective tissue to where you don’t destroy yourself.
That’s often why you’ll see someone hurt themselves doing a max lift, they’re trying to go a little beyond what they’ve been able to do in workouts, they’re motivated and trying to pump themselves up, and they end up arching a little more, or bending a little more at the waist, and bam, they are just a little beyond the point where their body was that stopped them from putting out more strength. They’ve forced the issue, and since they were already at their limit they’ve just added that last straw and injury occurs.” (The whole time here he was doing this little chopping motion with his hand
as he enumerated his points, it was a constant feature anytime he was explaining something)
If a lifter stays right where they are, or close to it, the bones and joints still get the message to adapt, and over time − sometimes months, particularly if you’ve progressed quickly and the bones have to catch up − you need to just stick with it, and eventually you’ll see a huge jump in strength. It’s
not so much that the muscles got stronger overnight, as the body has released its hold on them, and now they’re free to progress. It might be all at once, it might be just that you start being able to add five pounds at a time again. The important thing is to stick with it. Even at five pounds a month, that’s still 60 pounds in a year, so if you keep going and don’t quit, in two years you have added more than a hundred pounds to your lifts, and that’s how you get great as a powerlifter. Just take it slow, be patient and don’t get hurt, and you’ll get there.
That’s also why some of the great powerlifters are much older than other athletes. When you see them in their twenties and thirties, there are some guys who managed to put up big weights, close to a record real fast, but when they couldn’t progress for a while, they changed their training to
something else or just figured that was the best they were going to get and stopped trying to break a record. They might have had tons of potential, but figured they were past their prime and moved on. Some of the best guys weren’t even very big or strong in their twenties and thirties, so they kept
pushing at it and were just the sort who wouldn’t quit, stubborn even if not gifted, and they broke a record while the guy who out-lifted them two decades ago is now cycling around or doing aerobics with Richard Simmons, just trying to avoid dying of a heart attack, and he’s going to go when it’s time for him to go anyway. If he kept lifting weights, at any level, he’d be at least fairly strong instead of atrophied and paunchy.
But it’s not too late. Even being older, the best thing you can do is get back to lifting again, and give your system a reason to stay as strong as it can as long as it can, so at least you’re still moving and can shovel your own walk when you’re seventy − which probably feels better then than benching 300 pounds. It’s not so much that the guy is so old, as that he hasn’t had anything more than his upper torso on his legs for forty, fifty, or sixty years, so there’s never been a reason to pump out hormones, or keep his bones, muscles, and tendons strong.”
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