TRAIN HARDER AND SMARTER

BY DAVE GLASGOW

Kenny Glasgow, of the Ledaig Heavy Athletics Club, lifting 345 pounds in the People's Deadlift at the 2013 USAWA Club Championships. Kenny, at 76 years of age, is proof that you can train "hard AND smart"!

MIKE ROWE IS MY HERO. YEAH, MIKE ROWE. YOU KNOW HIM, HE’S THE HOST OF THE TV SHOW, ‘DIRTY JOBS’. HE IS THE CHEERLEADER FOR WHAT MOST FOLKS WOULD CONSIDER ‘BLUE COLLAR’ WORKERS. HIS MAIN CONCERN IS THAT THE ‘INFRA-STRUCTURE’ OF OUR NATION IS DECAYING DUE TO A HUGE DECREASE IN FOLKS WHO, ONE, WANT TO WORK AND GET DIRTY AND, TWO, KNOW HOW TO DO THE TRADESMAN’S OCCUPATIONS. ###(SIDE BAR… THE ELECTRICAL COMPANY NEXT DOOR TO WHERE I WORK IS SHUTTING IT’S DOORS, AFTER DECADES IN BUSINESS. THE REASON?? THE OWNER CAN NOT FIND DEPENDABLE, SKILLED ELECTRICIANS TO DO THE WORK, ALTHOUGH HE IS PAYING STARTING WORKERS $28-31/HOUR!! (THIS IS A NON-UNION SHOP.)###

MR. ROWE FURTHER LAMENTS A POSTER HE SAW AT HIS HIGH SCHOOL WHEN HE WAS A STUDENT THERE. IT STATED; ‘WORK SMART, NOT HARD!’ HE SUGGESTS A DIFFERENT SCENARIO: ‘WORK HARD AND SMART’.

WHAT BROUGHT ABOUT THE THOUGHTS FOR THIS ARTICLE WERE TWO THINGS THAT OCCURRED TO ME JUST ABOUT AN HOUR APART, THIS MORNING.

THERE WERE SEVERAL OF US COMMUNICATING VIA EMAIL, WHICH WENT BACK AND FORTH FOR SOME TIME. THE CONVERSATION TURNED TO SEEKING HELP AND ADVICE IN WHATEVER YOUR ENDEAVOR MAY BE; LIFTING, RUNNING, WHAT HAVE YOU. WE AGREED THAT ONE SHOULD SEEK THIS INTERACTION WHENEVER THE OCCASION PRESENTS ITSELF. NEVER BE TOO PROUD TO GET INSTRUCTION FROM PEOPLE WHO KNOW WHAT THEY ARE ABOUT.

THE SECOND EVENT IN THE MIX WAS A CHANCE OBSERVATION WHILE I WAS RUNNING SOME ERRANDS OVER MY LUNCH BREAK.

WHILE DRIVING DOWN THE STREET, I NOTICED A WOMAN ON A BIKE WITH A TWO-WHEELED CART BEHIND HER THAT SHE WAS PULLING. NOW, I WOULD ASSUME THIS WOMAN WAS DOING THIS FOR THE EXERCISE RATHER THAN OUT OF NECESSITY, DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE TEMPERATURE WAS NINETY AND THE HUMIDITY WAS IN THE HIGH 50s. WHAT STRUCK ME WAS HOW HARD SHE WAS WORKING! SHE WAS ON A GEARED BIKE BUT SHE WAS POWER STROKING WITH THE PEDALS BARELY MOVING, EXERTION CLEARLY EVIDENT ON HER GRIMACING FACE. TO MAKE MATTERS WORSE, THE TERRAIN WAS FLAT. THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN FAIRLY EASY GOING. MY FIRST THOUGHT WAS, ‘LADY, GRAB A GEAR!’ I KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE THAT USING THE RIGHT GEARS MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD, POINTED OUT ON MY FIRST TRAINING RIDE WITH AN EXPERIENCED BIKER WHEN I WAS DOING TRATHLONS ‘BACK IN THE DAY’.

HOW MANY TIMES HAVE ANY OF US DONE OUR TRAINING IN A ‘HARD’ MANNER, THINKING WE WERE REALLY KILLING IT WHEN, IN ALL ACTUALITY, WE WERE REALLY KILLING OURSELVES NEEDLESSLY.

THE ODD LIFTS ARE A PERFECT EXAMPLE AND I WILL USE MYSELF AS AN EXAMPLE; TRYING TO FIGURE OUT THE ‘ONE ARM C/J’. TO CUT TO THE CHASE, I WAS DOING IT AS A CONVENTIONAL C/J, WITH THE HAND OVER THE BAR RATHER THAN UNDER. I CHASED THAT DAMN BAR ALL OVER THE PLATFORM; WORN OUT BEFORE I EVER GOT TO THE JERK PORTION. MUCH TO MY SURPRISE AND RELIEF, WHEN I WAS PROPERLY INSTRUCTED, I FOUND IT MUCH EASIER TO PERFORM THE CLEAN, THEREFORE, I COULD WORK ON THE JERK WITH MORE ENERGY. SIMPLY PUT, I WAS NOW WORKING HARD AND SMART!

SO, THE POINT BEING, IF YOU TAKE THE TIME TO ‘LEARN THE TRADE’, YOU CAN WORK IN A MORE EFFICIENT MANNER AND YOU CAN WORK HARDER AND, THEREFORE, HAVE A MORE PROFITABLE WORKOUT!

SO, THE NEXT TIME YOU HIT A WORK OUT, THINK ABOUT IT. WORK HARD AND SMART AND SOMETHING TELLS ME YOUR EFFORTS WILL BE REWARDED FOR IT. THEN, WRITE MIKE A LETTER AND THANK HIM!

(THANKS TO CHAD ULLOM AND THOM VAN VLECK FOR THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THIS ESSAY.)

EVERYONE IS A TEACHER

BY DAVE GLASGOW

ONE OF THE MANY HATS I HAVE WORN IN MY ADULT LIFE IS THAT OF A PARAMEDIC/RN. FOR SEVENTEEN YEARS, I PLYED MY TRADE AND FED MY FAMILY AS AN EMERGENCY MEDICAL WORKER. DURING THIS TIME, I WORKED ‘ON THE STREET’ AS WELL AS IN THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT OF A LEVEL 1 TRAUMA CENTER IN A METROPOLITAIN SETTING.

IN THAT CULTURE, I HAVE RUN INTO ALL SORTS OF ‘CHARACTERS’, BOTH IN THE FORM OF PATIENTS AND IN THE MEDICAL PROFESSION, AS WELL. FROM THE OUT HOUSE TO THE PENTHOUSE, AS IT WERE. DURING THIS TIME, I HAVE HAD SOME EXCELLENT INSTRUCTORS AND SOME NOT SO , WELL…, GOOD. THE ONES I LEARNED THE MOST FROM WERE ‘OLD SCHOOL’ MEN AND WOMEN THAT HAD ‘BEEN DOWN THE OLE HARD ROAD’. USUALLY, THESE FOLKS WERE QUIET, CONFIDENT AND UNASSUMING PROS THAT MADE THEIR JOBS AND ACTIONS LOOK EFFORTLESS. THEN, AGAIN, THERE WAS THE OTHER END OF THE SPECTRUM.

ONE OF THESE INDIVIDUALS IMMEDIATELY STANDS OUT, WHENEVER I THINK ABOUT THIS SUBJECT. ONE THAT I WILL NEVER FORGET.

TERRY (NOT HIS REAL NAME) WAS A GEM. I CAN STILL SEE HIM HOLDING ‘COURT’ OVER A ROOM OF EMT STUDENTS, IMPARTING HIS ‘WISDOM’ IN A MANNER THAT, TO THOSE NOT ‘IN THE KNOW’, WAS FULL OF GREAT TIPS AND KNOWLEDGE FROM A GRIZZLED VETERAN. TRUTH BE KNOWN, TERRY WAS A MARGINAL TECH, AT BEST; AND FAR FROM A VETERAN. DON’T GET ME WRONG, WHEN IT CAME TO THE DIDACTIC END OF THE JOB, HE WAS TOP DRAWER. WHEN HE TRIED TO WORK IT TO THE STREET, HOWEVER, THERE WAS AN ISSUE. HIS CALLS WERE A NIGHTMARE OF INDECISION AND CHAOS. SOMEHOW, HE JUST NEVER SEEMED TO BE ABLE TO PUT IT TOGETHER. HOWEVER, WHEN THE HEAT WAS OFF, HIS BATTLESHIP MOUTH WAS SURE TO OVER LOAD HIS ROW BOAT ASS. YOU COULD COUNT ON IT.

WELL, BEING AS I AM, THIS BRAVADO BEHAVIOR BOTHERED ME TO NO END. I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THE TYPE TO LIVE IN A ‘PUT UP OR SHUT UP’ TYPE WORLD. I DON’T NEED TO EXPLAIN THIS, I’M SURE.

I TOOK MY FRUSTRATION WITH TERRY TO MY PARTNER, THE GUY WHO TAUGHT ME EMERGENCY MEDICINE, WHEN I WAS A ‘PUP’ AND CONSIDERED, BY ALL, TO BE THE ‘REAL DEAL’. HE LET ME VENT FOR 10 MINUTES OR SO, CALMLY LIT HIS CIGARETTE AND QUIETLY SAID, ‘DON’T YOU SEE HOW MUCH YOU CAN LEARN FROM TERRY?’

HUH?? ARE YOU SHI**ING ME?? WHAT COULD I POSSIBLY LEARN FROM TERRY?? HOW TO TURN A ROUTINE CALL INTO A DISASTER?? MY VENUNCULAR PARTNER SAID, “SIMPLE. YOU CAN LEARN FROM TERRY BY SEEING WHAT HE DOES WRONG AND MAKING SURE YOU DON’T DO IT YOURSELF!’. SIMPLE AND BRILLIANT! I HAD NEVER THOUGHT OF IT IN THAT LIGHT. THAT CHANGED MY WHOLE THOUGH PROCESS, FROM THEN ON.

WHAT MADE ME THINK OF THIS IS DUE TO THE RECENT BOOM OF ‘SOCIAL MEDIA’, I HAVE NOTICED MORE AND MORE FROM ‘YOU TUBE’ VIDEOS THAT PEOPLE POST THEIRS LIFTS, EXERCISES OR WORKOUTS. AS WITH MY EXPERIENCES IN THE ER WORLD, THEY, TOO, RUN THE GAMET FROM GOOD, TO POOR, TO, DOWNRIGHT, DANGEROUS!

ONE NEEDS TO BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THESE ‘KEY BOARD’ EXPERTS. THEY MAY VERY WELL BE LEGITIMENT BUT SOME COMMON SENSE NEEDS TO BE APPLIED.

SO, THE NEXT TIME YOU SEE OR HEAR ABOUT AN INDIVIDUAL THAT DID SOMETHING YOU DEEM DANGEROUS OR SILLY, REMEMBER THIS…….

YOU CAN LEARN FROM ANYBODY. YOU JUST HAVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR.

EPILLOGUE………………….SOME YEARS LATER, I FOUND OUT THAT I HAD ONE MORE THING TO LEARN FROM TERRY.

ONE RAINY NIGHT WHEN TERRY AND HIS PARTNER WERE WORKING A MOTOR VEHCLE ACCIDENT IN SOUTHERN TEXAS, AN ELDERLY MAN, DRIVING A PICK UP, WAS CONFUSED BY THE RAIN, THE DARK AND THE FLASHING LIGHTS. TERRY SAW THE CAR COMING DIRECTLY AT THEM AND COULD HAVE, EASILY, JUMPED CLEAR. INSTEAD, HE SCREAMED A WARNING AND WITH ONE DESPERATE, MIGHTY SHOOVE, HE PROPELLED THE CART, WITH THE PATIENT ON IT, INTO HIS PARTNER. THE MOTION KNOCKED BOTH THE PATIENT AND HIS PARTNER WELL CLEAR OF THE ONCOMING MISSLE, WITH NOT AN INSTANT TO SPARE. TERRY WAS CRUSHED BETWEEN THE CAR AND HIS UNIT. HE DIED INSTANTLY.

IN THE END, HE TAUGHT THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON OF ALL. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” JOHN 15:13

Building Bigger Legs

By Roger LaPointe

Wilbur Miller knows the value of building leg strength through squatting. He just recently did a 320 pound 12 inch base squat at the Dino Gyms Record Day at the age of 79!

The secret to building bigger legs is really knowing the tools of the trade. You simply don’t build a skyscraper without a solid foundation. To build that foundation you need the right tools.

I had a great conversation, which did result in a sale, with a very high level basketball coach. As you might expect, he is dealing with very tall men who really are not built to be weightlifters. Yet, they do need the strength and explosiveness in their legs that serious weightlifting will bring them. We talked about the various bars I personally use, unsurprisingly, they are the same type of bars he uses, with slight variations. I regularly use an Olympic weightlifting bar with super smooth rotation, a stiff thick bar, a shrug/trap type bar, and a safety squat bar. At a height of 5 foot 3 inches, I am using them somewhat differently than his potential NBA recruits.

These are the exercises you need to do for building big and explosive legs:
1. Back Squats
2. Clean Pulls or, better yet, Power Cleans
3. A grip building exercise, such as Thick Bar Deadlifts
4. Front squat type movement – for some coaching situations, based on sport, facility resources, and/or body type – shrug bar deadlifts or a safety squat bar squats will be best

Now you need to apply these correctly.

Live strong,
Roger LaPointe

PS. If you can possibly get there, you need to come to the Atomic Athletic Great Black Swamp Olde Time Strongman Picnic. The real draw is the other people who attend. We have had coaches from the worlds of: football, track & field, basketball, mma, wrestling, cycling, boxing and a wide variety of other sports. This is your chance to pick their brains. Don’t miss it. Who knows, they might surprise you and try to pick your brain…

Notes to my younger self

by Al Myers

This is a photo of myself in a powerlifting meet when I first started competing, when I was 20 years old. If only I knew the things then that I know now!

A while back  I was discussing with Dave Glasgow  everything we have learned “the hard way” during our long lifting careers, and how we both wish we knew THEN what we know NOW.  The lifters nowadays have much more training information “at their fingertips” by the volumes upon volumes of training wisdom found on the internet (not saying it is all good info, but there is alot of good information).  Back in my early training days the only source of training information was from other lifters and the most recent edition of Muscle and Fitness that I read in the store off the rack.  Eventually I was able to  afford a subscription to Powerlifting USA so my learning curve expanded.  I want to make these “notes to myself” just in case somehow, by a modern day miracle, I am transformed back into the mind and body of my early 20’s.  

1.  STICK TO THE BASIC MUSCLE BUILDING EXERCISES

I remember when I was a young lifter I often got “sidetracked” with unproductive training programs (usually out of the latest issue of M&F!).  I kept looking for the ultimate program and truly believed there was one. I would ”jump around” from training program to training program.   Now I know there’s not a “secret training program”   – many programs can be very successful and there is not a single program  that is always better than the rest.  Looking back, I realize now that most of my strength gains came from the most basic of exercises – squats, presses, and deadlifts. 

2.  STAY CONSISTENT IN YOUR TRAINING

The most important thing a young lifter can do is to stay consistent in their training.  This means lifting year round, and not taking extended breaks.  I know when I was young I would often lose focus on my training, and participate in other non strength activities for long periods of time.   I also took alot of things for granted – and just assumed that I wouldn’t lose the strength I built up while taking time off for a couple of months to play slow pitch softball during the summer. 

3.  MAINTAIN ATHLETICISM AND FLEXIBILITY

When you are young you are at the peak of your athleticism.  Try to maintain it for as long as  you can because it will leave you eventually!   One thing I’m very glad of was that I was introduced to the Highland Games right at the same time I started lifting weights.  The Highland Games require a great deal of athleticism as several of the events require you be quick on your feet, and be able to move with weights in your hands.  The combined training of weights and the games allowed me to keep my athleticism as I got stronger in the gym.   I have seen several lifters spend so much time with their feet set solid in the squat rack under a set of squats that the ability to move the feet quick is lost.  Also don’t take your flexibility for granted, because as you age this will soon disappear as well.  Take the time to do your stretches.

4.  EAT A HEALTHY DIET

Young lifters often eat the very worse of diets during the course of a weight  training program.  Fast food seems to be the norm when you are in college.  I know now that  my progress would have been better if only I would have spent a fraction of the time paying attention to my diet as I did to my training.  Also, there are no secret supplements that will quarantee success in the gym.  I have spent money I didn’t have on supplements that I was convinced would help me (remember the liver tablets???), when I should have been buying extra meat and milk instead.  

5.  LISTEN TO COACHES

Young lifters are the worse when it comes to listening to advice.   Find a good mentor and listen to the coaching advice as it will pay off. 

6.  AVOID HIGH RISK ACTIVITIES

I just think of things I did when I was younger and I am just thankful none of them resulted in a major injury that would have sidelined my lifting career.  I remember feeling when I was young that I was invincible and there was no way I could get hurt doing anything!  Well, all it takes is a couple of serious injuries and you soon realize that the body is NOT invincible and any injury will set back your training!!!  But I did enjoy that fast motorcycle in college.

7.  COMPETE AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE

This is an understatement.  I have met several lifters through the years  that didn’t compete, and when asked about it, would reply that they were waiting to get stronger before hitting a competition.  I know now that more competitions makes you a better lifter as you learn from the competitions and it gives you a gauge of your progress. It also serves as a source of motivation. Plus if you are waiting to get stronger to compete – you will NEVER compete because you will never feel you are strong enough to do it. 

(FINAL NOTE:  I’m not delusional or senile yet so I know my chances of being transformed into a “younger self” will not happen, so I just hope these bits of wisdom somehow helps a new young lifter.   )

LESSONS

BY DAVE GLASGOW

WILBUR MILLER TRAINED ALL-ROUND LIFTS ALONG WITH OLYMPIC LIFTS AND POWER LIFTS.

I DON’T SUPPOSE THERE IS ONE OF US THAT, AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER, DON’T THINK, “GEE, IF I HAD ONLY KNOWN THAT BACK WHEN….” OR “I SURE WISH I WAS YOUNGER.”  FOLLOWING MY WORKOUT LAST EVENING, I HAD SUCH A MOMENT.  YOU SEE, WHEN I FIRST STARTED LIFTING, IN THE LATE ‘60s, EARLY ‘70s, POWER LIFTING WAS MAKING A BIG ENTRANCE.  BY THE TIME I LEFT COLLEGE IN THE MID ‘70s, IT WAS KING.  FOR STRENGTH ATHLETES, IT WAS POWERLIFTING AND THE REST BE DAMNED.  OR SO I THOUGHT…  THIS IS WHERE THE LESSON SHOULD HAVE STARTED, BUT WAS LOST IN THE TRANSLATION.  THIS WAS ESPECIALLY TRUE TO ME, A KID IN HIS EARLY 20s., AND NOT A BIT ‘HEAD STRONG’ , I MIGHT ADD.

IN AN ATTEMPT TO ‘EDUCATE’ MYSELF, I SUBSCRIBED TO ‘IRONMAN’ MAGAZINE.   THOSE OF YOU IN MY AGE GROUP WILL REMEMBER PERRY AND MABLE RADER AND THE VERY, EXCELLENT PUBLICATION THEY PUT OUT.  (TO MY MIND, THIS MONTHLY CHRONCILE HAS YET TO BE MATCHED.  YES, I UNDERSTAND THIS IS GOING TO START A RIFF; HOWEVER, THAT IS MY OPINION.  THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A MORE DIVERSIFIED AND UNBIASED MAGAZINE, BEFORE OR SINCE.)  I DISTINCTLY REMEMBER PASSING OVER THE OLD TIME STRONGMAN ARTICLES, SKIMMING THE OLY LIFT STORIES AND INSTRUCTIONAL ADVICE TO GET TO THE POWERLIFTING SECTION. WHAT WERE THESE OLD GUYS FROM THE TURN OF THE CENTURY GOING TO TEACH ME?  HOW COULD OLY LIFTING POSSIBLY HELP ME?  I CAN ONLY SHAKE MY HEAD, NOW. WHAT A MISTAKE!!  I HAD ALL THE INFORMATION I NEEDED RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME BUT I CHOSE TO TOTALLY DISREGARD IT.  ALL THAT WAS IMPORTANT WAS A BIG BENCH PRESS.  ‘WHAT CAN YA  BENCH??’, WAS THE COMMON PHRASE BACK THEN.  AS I KNOW NOW, THE CATCH PHRASE SHOULD HAVE BEEN, ‘WHAT CAN YA SQUAT OR DEADLIFT??’

THE MORE I GET INVOLVED IN THE USAWA, THE MORE I REALIZE THAT I, TOTALLY, MISSED THE BOAT.  THERE ARE SO MANY LIFTS THAT INVOLVE STRENGTH, ATHLETICISM AND POWER THAT IF ONE BECOMES ‘STALE’, IT WOULD CERTAINLY BE THE FAULT OF THE TRAINEE FOR NOT IMPLEMENTING THESE MIRIADE OF LIFTS.  IT JUST STANDS TO REASON THAT AN INCREASE IN OVERALL BODY STRENGTH WILL ONLY INCREASE THE ABILITY TO PERFORM ANY OTHER LIFT TO A HIGHER DEGREE.  HOW CAN ONE GO WRONG DOING SNATCHES, CLEANS, OVERHEAD PRESSES (WHICH I TOTALLY AVOIDED IN MY IGNORANCE), ONE HANDED LIFTS, DUMBBELL WORK…….MY GOD, THE LIST IS ENDLESS.  FROM TIME TO TIME, I HAVE BEEN ASKED BY SOMEONE TO SET UP A ‘PROGRAM’ FOR THEM.  WHILE I AM ALWAYS QUICK TO HELP, I HAVE GOTTEN INTO THE HABIT OF TELLING THE INDIVIDUAL TO DO THEIR OWN RESEARCH AND GET BACK WITH ME.  IT IS AT THIS TIME THAT I WILL TELL MY OWN STORY AND STRONGLY ENCOURAGE THAT PERSON TO MAKE HIS WORKOUTS WELL ‘ROUNDED’ AND DYNAMIC.  I NEVER FAIL TO CAUTION THEM TO BE CAREFUL THEY DON’T FALL IN THE SAME RUT I DID.

MAYBE THOSE ‘OLD TIMERS’ HAD SOME LESSONS TO TEACH, AFTER ALL!!