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Default My Epiphany of Strength
by BendtheBar 04-02-2012, 08:08 AM

EFS Classic: My Epiphany of Strength

Excepts:

What it Takes to be a Champion

One of the lessons that really helped sink these ideas in my head was when I finally got the chance to meet one of the strength athletes from when I was a kid. He was a guy whom I really looked up to and aspired to be. Well, after I was able to meet and spent a little time with him, I thought he was a d@#$. This guy who I looked up to was one of the greatest strength athletes in the world, but he was a jerk. I lost all respect for him and think being a true champion is more than just winning.

If Iím ever lucky enough to be considered one of the best in the world or to have people look up to me, I damn well better be enough of a man to handle it. I do strive to be one of the greatest lifters ever and by my own definition, that means I need to be more than the best lifter. Of course, Iíll always attack the competition with everything I have and never leave anything on the platform. I also need to be a person who loves the sport and wants it to progress. This means I should want someone to eventually break my records and that I shouldnít criticize new lifters or bag on them for the changes that happen in the sport.

There are ways to talk about what you donít like without being negative. These things make the sport grow, and it has to be that way. I need to be positive and help other lifters, especially the beginners. I donít care if someone eventually beats my records if I helped them do it. That would make me proud to know that I helped.

Basically, I live my life the way I do and think the way I do because I know I have to look at myself in the mirror, and I want to be proud. I want my friends and family to be proud to say that theyíre my friends or family. I want my niece, nephew, and all the kids around me to be proud to have me in their lives, and hopefully, Iíll have a positive effect on theirs. It really doesnít matter what everyone else thinks. Yes, I do hope these people see me for what I am, but I wonít put up a front or act untrue to myself to make people think differently about me.

So I feel as though I learned a lot of strength lessons over the last 8 or 9 years, and it would be great if I could help other people avoid some of the pitfalls that I fell into. Lately, it seems as though everyone is looking too deeply into strength training. It seems as though they canít see the big picture or they canít see the forest through the trees, so to speak. One of my greatest lessons is that the simpler I keep it, the stronger I get. Strength is not some hugely complicated equation. I know there are a lot of strength trainers, strength specialists, strength coaches, and highly educated professors out there who would try to make you think differently. I even have a few friends that are like this. They can talk for days about philosophies, training tables, percentages, and theories. Some of these guys may even have helped train some really good athletes.

Intelligence

Still, my main problem with these intellectual types is why they dedicated so much of their lives to strength, but never use their own advice to get strong themselves. If these guys are so into studying and theories, why not become a physicist and make some real money. I never met anyone who wanted to know everything about strength, but not be strong themselves.

I actually fell right into this trap at one point, studying all the books and taking courses in college. Most of it was complete crap. The more of that shit I forget, the stronger I get. How can one style of program be suited to meet so many different peopleís needs anyway? Just look around at everyone. Weíre all so different. We have different recovery rates, different muscle mass, different amounts of muscle types, and different muscle densities. Iím sure all of our central nervous systems have minor differences too. Then, there are all the different mentalities. I keep hearing about the European programs from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, but I never heard anyone talk about how maybe these programs they designed are only good for one type of person. Think about it. I know a lot of those countries were testing the children, and if they met the right expectations, they were in the program. So maybe those programs are just meant for those specific types of people. Well, I really donít care that much about the true genetic freaks. They already have a leg up. I care more about the regular people who did not get that gift. Iím not saying you shouldnít study or learn new information about strength training. Just think about it for yourself and donít accept it as gospel.

I was very fortunate to talk with many top-level powerlifters, and Iím always looking for good ideas to change things up. In talking with all these top athletes, I noticed that they all train differently. I can probably tell you at least one top powerlifter for every different style of training. I heard some people say that you should ignore what all the top athletes do because they are the genetic freaks and will gain no matter what. I donít think Iím the only exception to this case, and it logically leads me to think that the training program may not be the true key to strength. Maybe thereís a specific training program for each type of person.

What I observed in my own team leads me to believe that the program isnít as important as everyone believes. Iím not saying that you can just go workout doing whatever whenever and get strong. Iím saying that thereís no miracle program set up to met everyoneís needs. I think the answer is a program like the Westside program, even though itís often misunderstood. The reason I like the Westside program is because itís basically just an outline. Itís based on the very sound principles of force. Force = mass x acceleration. These are two keys that can help everyone.

As far as the workout schedule, it can be adjusted. The band tensions can be adjusted, accessory work can be adjusted, percentages can be adjusted, and just about everything can be adjusted to a personís specific needs. It basically consists of a max effort bench workout, a max effort squat workout, a dynamic effort bench workout, and a dynamic effort squat workout. You can start on the basic outline and adjust the workout schedule to meet your recovery or live schedule needs. Then, you can find your weak points and adjust your accessory work to strengthen those. You can check your bar speed and adjust the band tension or percentages to get what you need the most. One of the things most people donít understand is that when a group is training Westside, theyíll often do the main movement together but then split off to meet their own individual needs for the rest of the workout.

Top Athletes

I guess one of the things that I tried to do the most is to see if I canít figure out what the common thread is between all the top athletes. One of the things I noticed the most about all top athletes is that they really know their bodies, and theyíre confident in their training decisions. I mainly see this when it comes to overtraining. Theyíll comfortably take time off or back off their workouts. Many of them will just leave a workout if they donít feel right. I also saw this in a lot of top bodybuilders but donít ever remember reading about that. I always read that they stick to their strict schedules. They know what their body needs and how it will react.

Itís funny to look at new lifters or even look back at myself and see how I stressed out about workouts. I would freak if I missed one and do everything to try and make it up. If I was sick for a couple days, I went nuts. I even tried to workout if I was sick. The workout would suck and just break me down more, but in my head, it made sense. I was such a dumbass. Now I see these professional bodybuilders or powerlifters and something comes up in their lives, so they miss a workout. Itís no big deal. They donít freak out. They donít even make it up. I hear about them going into workouts, and they start to warm-up. Then, all the sudden theyíre leaving. It didnít feel right, so theyíre done. Theyíll be back on the next scheduled day. Iím not saying a novice should necessarily train that way, but be aware that you should get to that point.

Strength Tips


I compiled a short list with some of the philosophies I think are the most important for gaining big-time strength.

Training breaks down muscle. This means you actually get weaker in the gym.
You get stronger when your muscle recovers. This mean you actually get stronger out of the gym.
Your body is designed to adapt to stimulus. If you keep doing the same exercises and training, your body will become accustomed to it. It will gain only enough to deal with that stress and then quit improving. If you keep changing the exercises and training, your body will have to keep adapting and growing. Itís like a carpenter who swings a hammer for 20 years of his life. His forearms did not keep growing the whole time. They grew enough to handle that stress and then quit growing.
Youíre only as strong as your weakest link. If you focus on always making your weakest muscle groups stronger, you will make much faster gains.
There is no miracle training program, no miracle drug, or no miracle exercise!
Technique is one of the best and easiest ways to lift more weight. In fact, with proper technique, you can lift more weight without even getting stronger. Itís the best way to optimize what you were given genetically, and it will help reduce injuries. Understanding and executing proper technique will also help in finding what your weak points are.
Four of the most important words to remember about getting stronger are DEDICATION, HARD WORK, and SACRIFICE.
Your heart is the strongest muscle in your body. I donít mean this literally. This is the most important aspect of gaining strength and the most important thing I can tell you. The HEART is the strongest presence in your body.

I think this pretty much sums up the philosophies that I use in my training and life. Itís kind of funny to think it only took seven or so pages. These are the basics of what I base my training on. To find out more about what my actual training looks like, visit the elitefts.comô articles.

I also recommend reading the other training logs on the site. I know some of these athletes, and this is the only place youíll ever get to see what athletes of this caliber actually do for their training. To learn more about me, visit Powerlifting Champion Chad Aichs. You may ask questions from my website or the Q&A on EliteFTS - Powerlifting and Strength Training Products and Knowledge for Lifters, Athletes, Coaches, and Trainers. I also recommend everyone signs up for the eliteftsô newletter and read the articles on the site. They have an enormous amount of useful information. I sincerely hope that this article helps everyone out there achieve a greater level of strength.
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:24 AM   #2
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I also need to be a person who loves the sport and wants it to progress. This means I should want someone to eventually break my records and that I shouldnít criticize new lifters or bag on them for the changes that happen in the sport. I donít care if someone eventually beats my records if I helped them do it. That would make me proud to know that I helped.
That's one of the best things I've read in a training article. That is a great attitude and I wish more lifters and athletes in general would take on that philosophy. Be an embassador for the sports that you love.
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:53 AM   #3
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I agree OR. Reading this kicked off my Monday in a good way.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:19 AM   #4
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Great article. This quote is very appropriate to one of the other threads.
Quote:
I guess one of the things that I tried to do the most is to see if I canít figure out what the common thread is between all the top athletes. One of the things I noticed the most about all top athletes is that they really know their bodies, and theyíre confident in their training decisions. I mainly see this when it comes to overtraining. Theyíll comfortably take time off or back off their workouts. Many of them will just leave a workout if they donít feel right. I also saw this in a lot of top bodybuilders but donít ever remember reading about that. I always read that they stick to their strict schedules. They know what their body needs and how it will react.
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1Co 9:27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:22 AM   #5
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I guess one of the things that I tried to do the most is to see if I canít figure out what the common thread is between all the top athletes.
This is the theme I try to get across when teaching muscle building to new trainees.

Why does everything seem to work? Progression + enough quality exercises + dedication + reasonable eating plan.
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