7 reasons your training SUCKS. Stop the suckage and be awesome. This is part 1 of a 2 article series, covering the first 3 reasons your training SUCKS and some things you do to stop the bleeding and get more awesome NOW.
What’s up Dungeon-ites! I’m still up in New Jersey for the Underground Strength Certification but felt compelled to throw a little “tough love” your way. In short: the training your doing right now probably SUCKS, and it’s keeping you from getting the results you want to see on the playing field, track, on the mat, or in the mirror.
If your training has any of the following 7 qualities… chances are you SUCK… and are showing no signs of getting any better.
Sorry, but it’s probably true (and sometimes the truth hurts and can piss you off a little bit). Don’t get mad–that’s why I’m here.
1. You spend too much time working your “beach” muscles.
I know how it is. I’ve been there. Everyone wants to focus on the muscles they can see in the mirror. And the training probably looks something like this:
Monday: Bench, arms, leg extensions
Wednesday: Bench, arms, abs
Friday: Arms, abs… flexing in mirror… You probably do some shoulder raises, too. That’s cute…
Here’s some inconvenient truth–if you spent as much time working your “go” muscles, the POSTERIOR CHAIN — back, spinal erectors, glutes, hamstrings, calves (i.e. the muscles that actually improve athletic performance) as you did your “show” muscles (biceps, chest, abs, quads) you would be INFINITELY stronger, more athletic, and you’d be able to work your “show” muscles harder and look 10 times better than you would if all you did was arms and abs.
On top of that, a balanced training program keeps you healthier as well.
If you’re always working on the “show” muscles, you’re more likely to develop imbalances and injuries, leading to even GREATER suckage than before.
2. You use straps for EVERYTHING (and don’t include ANY grip work)
So you can deadlift with straps, huh?
Bent over rows?
Wiping your ass?
Your handshake probably also feels more like a dead fish than a MAN-shake. If you play a sport, you probably spend a lot of time having opponents slip through fingers, fumbling, or just downright sucking.
Enough with the straps!
Spending the past week or so at the Underground has re-opened my eyes to the importance of a strong grip in ALL facets of strength. Having a stronger grip alone will likely improve ALL of your lifts, allowing you to produce bigger “outputs” in training that will eventually produce bigger performances on the field, track, mat, etc.
Strong hands=stronger man.
In addition, grip work is the fastest way to develop a set of bowling pin/Popeye forearms.
Ditch the straps. They’re a tool that can be used “appropriately” in certain situations, but drop them out of your training for the next two months or so. You won’t be able to lift as much at first, but once your grip strength “catches up” you will reach and surpass your old strength into new levels of AWESOMENESS.
3. You never stick to a program (and if you do it’s from a damn bodybuilding magazine)
Misguided Padawan of Wanna-be-Strong-and-Awesome: “Yeah, I was doing Starting Strength for a couple of weeks but then I saw this Jay Cutler jacked arms program so I was doing that.”
Jedi Master of Awesome: “How long did you that?”
Misguided Padawan: “For a couple of weeks. Then I started this Men’s Health abs thing.”
Let’s get this straight and make it short and sweet. #1 NO program will deliver the results you want if you only follow it for a few short weeks.
For the average guy or gal, this just doesn’t happen.
Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 is one of the single best systems for developing strength, and is based on multiple 4 week cycles and progress over an extended period of time. If you want to have success on a program, give it chance to “work it’s magic”, track your indicator lifts, eat like a madman, and make PROGRESS.
Now, on the bodybuilding magazine thing: 99% of the programs in those magazines are complete and utter BULLSH*T. If they ever actually ARE (and they rarely are) the programs of the bodybuilders that are “pitching” them (i.e. “do Jay Cutler’s arm workout!”), they are created with the juiced up pharmacological experiment professional bodybuilder in mind.
This just in: YOU WILL NOT PROGRESS FROM THE SAME PROGRAMS OF THE JAY CUTLERS AND RONNIE COLEMANS OF THE WORLD! They are a part of the “genetic elite” and are pumped so full of artificial hormones and drugs they can recover from 10,000 sets of this or that exercise. Natural athletes have to train a lot more optimally, and you won’t find an optimal program in a bodybuilding magazine. Sorry.
Check out Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength or Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1. Do those programs as written for 6 months and get back to me. You will be unrecognizably stronger, more muscular, and more athletic than you’ve ever been, all from following an extremely BASIC program.