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My Thoughts on Strength

December 8, 2008 01:39 PM

Professional Performing Strongman, Arm Wrestler,
and drug-free for life strength athlete.


Recently someone asked me on the DD forum how I am able to side press 135 for 5 reps. Without a doubt the requester expected me to produce an explicitly written program involving many supplementary exercises, and some sort of cookie cutter routine to project him forward. I hope I did not disappoint him with my answer, but realistically the answer is SO SIMPLE that most people will completely miss it. So before I lay that part out, I want to say something about it. I know how to get strong. So I typed the whole thing out, and realized the information is useful for some of the new guys. This information is only useful if you to get strong. If you visit training sites and email people just to ask questions all day, maybe this will insult you or make you laugh.

One more thing; I am not telling anyone what they can or cannot do, ask, post or whatever. I am simply stating a fact. Getting strong is about the easiest thing in the world if you just DO IT.

Comrade DrPower asks:

"I have seen where you posted that you are currently working with 135 on side press for 5 reps is there any thoughts or advice you would give on getting to that weight? Currently I am working on the 40 day plan that Dan John talked about with 5 exercises (DL,SP,PU,KBSn,KBC&P) 5 days a week. My main goal would be to work up to 545DL and 135SP and get weight down to 185 (from 220). Any advice you could give would be great. Oh, my current wok weight is 365DL and 95SP>
Thanks for your inspiration.
Jeff"


MY RESPONSE:

"Jeff,

Simple answer, I am strong, bro. 50% of my upper body work is bending draft horseshoes, bending short steel at chest level, tearing phone books, breaking chains, levering hammer and a whole other mess of stuff.

My other 50% is KB Bottoms Up presses; BB bent presses, Get ups, plate curls, and rubber band work with my chest expander sets.

I do a lot of one arm pressing, so I am very good at one arm pressing. Specific Frequent Perfect Practice.

I know it's hard for some people to believe, but strength is really a very simple affair.

The last Four years can be summed up as this for me
2005—Power to the People!
2006—Enter the Kettlebell!
2007—ETK + PttP in cycles
2008—Strongman work + ETK

Really simple stuff. Don't listen to anyone once you start. Stick to one plan and drive it out. Stop reading magazines and internet training sites (I am not saying stop reading the DD forum, but you have to become solid on your training plan) The "Best" plan in the world is the one you're not using. Funny how that works huh?

Most people who will try to sway you have made no progress to speak of. Don't listen to them. I recently read a term I love: "Might makes right". Damn, Skippy, it does. I don't listen to anyone who is weak when it comes to my strength training. I don't take medical advice from auto mechanics and I don't take computer programming class's lessons from grain farmers.

Beware of what Brett Jones calls "shiny things" I am the first person to say I love new stuff when it's fun, but nothing cuts in on my deads and presses.

Trying to increase your press and DL while dieting does work; but you have to be smart about the whole thing. I do not know enough to really give you solid advice other than this —I have leaned out a lot in the last 3 months. I eat a ton of yogurt, protein shakes, veggies, and lean beef. It is the most boring damn diet in the world, but I am stronger every week, and my clothes fit better...

Work in cycles. You have to understand the DL is a strange beast. You will progress for weeks, than it stalls on you. My 2 cents is to stack up heavy swings and take some time off from deads when you feel the wall coming. Invest in a HEAVY bell. I bought a 56kg for nearly 500 from Australia when I lived in Japan and never looked back. Here stateside you can get a Beast, or look into heavier bells. Just remember why you bought it —Swings. Don't get stupid and try to press out a super large bell, it will rip your arm off in the process.

For the presses, alternate between bottoms up presses, side presses, strict one arm presses, and bent presses. With four different presses you can mix and cycle them to your heart's content. Do a lot of pressing. Press almost every day, keep the weights fairly heavy, and don't do too much. Some days the most I do is one set of 3; other days I may do 5 sets of 5. I rarely do more than that.

The reason I have stuck around this forum for so long is because the training advice pushed here works. Pavel's stuff is no trick or marketing gimmick. "DO THIS". If you do, it works. I do not pretend to be smarter than the SRKCs, I listen to them like a good boy and because I do, I'm becoming a pretty damn strong dude.

So all I just did was outline Power to the People! or Enter the Kettlebell!...like I said, strength is a very simple affair.

So here is the explanation. I want to touch on a few points here.

- Before I started with the strongman stuff, I spent several years doing deadlifts, presses, and more deadlifts, and still yet more presses. There is some more stuff thrown in besides that, but the most relevant piece of that pie is put in my hours with a barbell. Before I set off on this crazy quest to Bottoms Up Press a 48kg bell, I was working my butt off to press the 32, than the 40, than the 48 with the standard military press. Once again, I have put in my hours with a Kettlebell.

- Stop reading "fitness" related material. Now you say "dude I am reading your article." No, seriously, stop reading so much. Because you're packing your brain full of info, you get all these damn "ideas" for training. Somehow people slipped from a simple 5x5 program, which has been proven for 80 years to build power to thinking they need to lift every angle in the body, with every kind of machine. I am always amazed to see how many different bicep exercises people do. It flexes the arm. Pretty damn simple. It's crazy how many exercises people do. So my solution is simple —stay away for a while. Pick a program and DO IT for 6 months. After 6 months you're allowed to voice your opinion on if it is working. Most people cannot stick to a program for 6 minutes, 6 months must sound impossible.

- The best plan in the world is the one you're not doing. Think about it for a minute. If you're reading this here on the Dragondoor website, you have heard how awesome Enter the Kettlebell! is. If you have been on the forum for more than a few months, you have read my posts saying over and over that Power to the People! is one of the best strength programs ever written. The Naked Warrior is one of the most important books written on the topic of real strength. SO, why is it you "tried them" and felt a need to customize and modify them?? I know you have a thousand excuses, why you didn't follow directions. Just remember the reason you're not where you want to be…you're not DOING IT.

- "Might Makes Right". I do not listen to weak people when I seek knowledge and experience for my strength training. I want to dead lift 700lbs before I Turn 30. Think I am going to ask a 300lbs puller what to do? I will bend a 5 inch piece of 3/8 cold rolled steel one day, do you think I will ask a guy who cannot bend a 60D nail how to get there? I am not pointing a finger at anyone and labeling them "weak" to be rude. I am using a direct word to bring something important to your attention. ANYONE can SAY to do this or do that. I take my advice from the people who have walked the path. When I get a guy like SRKC David Whitley on the phone to talk about snatching a KB, I know his advice is solid because I know he puts up huge numbers in his snatches. Because he can DO IT, his word carries weight. I have the great privilege and honor to be able to reach out and communicate with one the greatest strongman the world has seen. His advice is priceless to me, because he has proven he walks the walk. YOU can listen to whoever you want. Remember this; if you're not getting what you want, you need to swim in deeper waters with bigger fishes.

- Shiny Things. "Oh cool! Look what I can do if I take a Kettlebell, a barrel full of crawfish, put on an eye patch and stand on a Bosu trainer!" Hey bud, that IS awesome; but first let's get you to the point where you can press a decent sized weight! Let's get you pulling and squatting some big weights and work for more than 5 minutes before being out of breath.

- Diet is important.

- Deadlift for a while, than swing for a while. Two muscle groups that are never too strong —the lats and the glutes. The stronger your lats and glutes, the easier everything else gets.

- If you want to be a strong in the press, you must press. Press, press, press, press, press, and then press some more. Your press is never too strong.

- Hardstyle works. Hardstyle has nothing to do with kettlebells and everything to do with strength. It is a SCHOOL of strength; a SYSTEM of strength. It is a certifiable system because it produces results every time when done correctly. I realize you may see "information" on the web from competitors make claims concerning right ways, proper ways, traditional ways or perhaps one true way. Learn to discriminate between the business side of the fitness industry and the results. If Hardstyle does not work, than why is it the people who focus on its tenetts are so damn strong and conditioned? Hardstyle is so good that everyone else is trying to shoot it down because they are threatened by it. Do not be swayed by clever marketing. There are many ways to get strong, no one has the monopoly. I choose this school of strength because it fits all of my needs. It fits the needs of my friends, family, and clients. It has allowed me to build my body to the point of incredible strength demonstrations. Even though there is no officially produced Dragondoor product which describes how to bend a horseshoe, everything you need to know about it is written in The Naked Warrior.

There are many things you can do with your fitness. The most important thing to do is DO SOMETHING. Stick to your guns. Don't surrender the fort the first night of the siege. Don't think too much about it, it's really simple. When I first started lifting weights at age 15, I just pulled weights off the floor, and pressed them overhead. Later I began to educate myself on processes and cells in the body, and energy systems. Later still I learned the ins and outs of every lift. TODAY, I just pull weights off the floor and press them overhead. Complicating fitness is not productive.

So look, it is very simple. Stop trying to find the perfect program, stop asking if this is a good or bad drill. Pick something and do it. O-lifting, PL, Westside, ETK, PttP, PP, BB, Doggcrapp, Naked Warrior, AKC, Flowfit, sandbags, big rocks, Heavy Hands, Combat Conditioning, Dinosaur Training....it really does not matter. If you take an elite Power lifter, an Elite Olympic lifter, an Elite Kettlebell lifter, the World's Strongest Man champion, the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion and Chuck Norris and place them all in one room, you will find they have a million things in common in terms of training. Jab, Hook, Uppercut, Backhand-they all are called a "punch".

I will leave you with this. "Mastery of one thing leads to mastery of all things." From some samurai, probably written in Japan, before I was born…

So that's enough out of me...


Unbreakable Adam T Glass; Old Time Professional Strongman, Trainer, and Crazy Person. Contact him at adamtglass@yahoo.com and view his training at www.Adamtglass.blogspot.com


 

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