Random Thoughts

I haven’t done one of these in a while, and when I wait the list just keeps growing. Here are fifteen random thoughts for you curious bastards.

1. Musclemag Article

This month I have an article in Musclemag titled Radical Arm Hypertrophy. It’s a really good plan for those seeking increased arm growth. Definitely consider picking this issue up if you’re inside a grocery store or bookstore that sells the issue. They used Johnny Jackson for the model which is good; he’s an incredibly strong bodybuilder. Sadly I didn’t buy it at the Borders here in Auckland because it costs $25 for an issue since it’s air-shipped from the US!

2. To Crunch or Not to Crunch

My friend Brad Schoenfeld and I worked very hard putting together a journal article that we titled, To Crunch or Not to Crunch. We just received proofs from the Strength and Conditioning Journal, so look for it in the near future when it’s published before press. It may take a while until it hits print.

 

3. Peak Performance Seminar

My friend Joe Dowdell is putting on a seminar with nutrition-expert Mike Rousell. The seminar will be held on July 9-10 in New York City at Joe’s facility, Peak Performance.

To learn more about the seminar, click on this link. I’ve seen the material that Joe has put together on program design and it is top-notch. In case you don’t know, Joe has trained dozens of A-list celebrities and professional athletes and for good reason – he knows his stuff! I highly recommend that you attend this seminar. In addition, you’ll get to see Joe’s badass 10,000 square foot facility equipped with the latest and greatest strength training equipment.

4. Matt Nichol Speech on Energy System Development and a Mel Siff Quote on Functional Training

I’ve posted this in the past but I just watched it again the other day with much delight. Matt Nichol is a smart dude! I could listen to Matt speak all day long, he maintains the perfect blend of dropping knowledge and telling stories. I love this guy.

At 1:05:50 into the video, Matt relays a quote by Mel Siff on functional training, which he deems (and I agree) the best definition on the topic:

Functional Training: Any training that you do that improves any relevant biomotor ability that doesn’t come at the detriment to other biomotor abilities.

5. Shout Out to Carlo Buzz and Rob Panariello

Around a month ago I interviewed Carlo Buzz and several months ago I interviewed Rob Panariello. These guys are super smart and have been around the block. It’s so nice to have guys like this who are willing to share their knowledge and pass it down to the rest of us. Carlo left some very good advice to readers after the interview, which is worth reading if you haven’t already. On my last blogpost, Rob chimed in and he and I ended up having an intriguing exchange of comments, many related to training with elastic bands. In order to read the post you need to scroll down to the 98th post and read to the 108th post. Here’s a link to where the fun starts. It’s a very informative exchange! I’m honored to have these guys posting comments on my blog from time to time.

6. Glute eBook

The other day I was scrolling through my glute eBook (Advanced Techniques in Glutei Maximi Strengthening) and I was reminded about how much good info is in there. Every couple of years I learn so much and am much smarter, but I won’t change this book as it’s a testament to what I knew and how I trained two years ago. I’ve been asked to update it but I like it the way it is. The eBook is loaded with information and is truly one of its kind. Though I could write a much better book nowadays, I still think that everyone should own it as there are some very revolutionary ideas contained within the book.

7. John Cronin Quote

Here’s a quote from my professor John Cronin that I love:

This is what I know today. Next week it’s subject to change.

He tells this to his students at the beginning of the year. The reason why I love this quote is because it emphasizes the need to be flexible in your thinking as you gain new knowledge and scientific advancements are made in the field.

8. Christian Thibaudeau Quote

Here’s a great quote from Thibs:

Training is my passion. I love everything about training. That’s why I don’t have ONE training methodology to my name but include every single type of methods that has been shown to work. I have too much respect for every single successful coach or athlete to dismiss any technique, program or system just because it doesn’t sit well with my own personal likings and beliefs.

I feel the exact same way! If only more coaches were this humble.

9. Fitness Industry Movers and Shakers

I posted a while back that I’ve been reading a book titled, Muscle, Smoke, and Mirrors. The book intrigues me, and it’s definitely left me thinking about the industry. I’m very proud to be playing a role in the S&C field and influencing the way that trainers, coaches, and physios (as well as lifters and athletes) train. When I arrived here in NZ I was taken back as to how many individuals performed hip thrust variations. I think it’s funny when people are performing them near me in the gym…part of me wants to mention to them that I popularized the exercise they’re doing, but I never say anything because I know they’d think I was full of it.

When I first went to see my physio a couple of months ago (prior to my biceps tendon surgery) he was laughing because he came to work that day and my blog was pulled up on the computer and his trainers were teaching their clients hip thrusts. Little did they know that I’d be walking in later that day. I was surprised to learn that my supervisor was speaking to Olympic strength coaches in foreign countries and when he brought up my name he learned that they were fans of my blog. As time goes on I’m speaking to more and more strength coaches for professional sports teams. I am very serious about the science of strength & conditioning and take my responsibility very seriously in terms of educating the masses.

Those of us who are influencing the masses need to appreciate each other’s viewpoints and quit being so opinionated and irrational. Disagreement is okay because it leads to the truth, and it pushes us to get out of our comfort zones and grow. We fitness folks are one big family and we need to treat each other with more respect, even if we disagree with one another.

10. Injury Resiliance – Kevin Giles

I just read an amazing editorial by Kevin Giles in this month’s edition of the British Journal of Sports Medicine. It’s very Gray Cook-esque. If you can access the paper, I highly recommend you pull it up. It’s only two pages, but it was so eloquently written. Here are three excerpts from the paper.

…The body is designed to move in a certain way, a series of interconnected levers, stabilised and moved by muscles and fascia. Certain body structures are designed for certain tasks – sequences of muscle actions have the ability to produce, reduce and stabilise force in a complex environment that react to all the senses the human body has at its disposal – a never-ending cycle of neuromuscular activity that links the brain to the body and the body to the brain automatically and reactively. This is the world of mechanical efficiency where each constituent part plays its role in a well-ordered, sequential, sympathetic operation that maximises the role of each individual part in a complex system of connection.

 

Take a moment to consider what happens when a required movement pattern is unsound and is then exposed to the full measure of our modern day sports specialist who operates in a narrow band of expertise and only has this one experience a thousand times. For example, with triple-flexion and triple-extension of the ankle, knee and hip complex forming the basis of all gait/locomotion (think sprinting, running, hurdling, acceleration, deceleration, stopping, starting, agility, evasion, jumping, landing), it seems obvious that the neuromuscular pattern that coordinates this fundamental movement will not react kindly to any errors.

 

The usual response is that the injury or ‘accident’ came out of the blue, was a surprise, everything was going well. A quick fix by the sports medical team, a bit of rest, a few drills and back to the training process is the usual order of the day. Discerning practitioners, however, see things a little differently and have a different approach to the performance environment. They do not assume that everything is well, they question the assumption that just because the person is carrying out the physical tasks that all is well. They look deeper into the area of mechanical efficiency by assessing the aforementioned movement patterns. They guarantee movement efficiency; in fact they must guarantee repeatable movement efficiency, before considering the training frequency, density and intensity.

11. The Development of Physical Power, by Arthur Saxon

Click on this link to read a 1931 reprint from a book written in 1905 by Arthur Saxon. This stuff fascinates me. Check out the picture below. Were they rockin’ the barbell glute bridge over a century ago?

 

Looks like it, but this is really the end range of the barbell double handed lift on back motion, shown on page 63, which is sort of like a bent arm pullover. 

12. The Textbook of Weightlifting, by Arthur Saxon

 Click on this link to read a book written by Arthur Saxon in 1910. Here’s an excerpt from page 79:

 If you must brag about your lifts, for heaven’s sake, understate them. It is the only safe plan, for the temptation to overstate, if submitted to, will become so strong as to master you yourself at last, and you will begin to fancy yourself a hero as to be afraid of lifting for fear of proving yourself a liar.

 It’s almost like he was peering into a crystal ball and looking into the future of internet forums!

 13. Charlie Francis Quote

 This is a quote I remember reading in Charlie’s legendary book, The Charlie Francis Training System, in reference to high-level sprinters:

 If you have a Ferrari, you don’t plough fields with it.

 14. Lorimer Moseley Speech on Pain

For those who don’t know, Lorimer is one of the world’s leading experts on chronic pain. This is a very intriguing video on the topic.

 15. Unstable Training

I posted this picture on Facebook the other day and many of my friends got a chuckle from it. But it got me thinking, would I see even more results if I drank a couple of beers prior to the exercise? What if I had someone spin me around a few times right before I did it, would this make me even more functional? Or what if I had a buddy punch me in the head with a couple of right crosses immediately before I stood on the Bosu ball, would the carryover to real-life activity be even greater? Hopefully you can sense my sarcasm!

The Secret to Maximum Strength and Power!

 That’s all peeps! Catch you on the flip side. -BC

19 thoughts on “Random Thoughts

  1. Jon Goodman

    Thanks for the emphasis on understanding what you know while still appreciating others efforts. Too many get wound up in one type of training / one guru to follow whereby even that guru will tell you to also learn elsewhere. I love the fact that the top coaches are starting to get together and pool their resources for everyone’s benefit!

    Reply
  2. JIm

    Hi Brett,

    Awesome article. I was especially interested in the turn of century workout books. I found a site that has a reprint of a lot of the books that were, and still are, an interesting source of ideas.

    http://sandowplus.co.uk/

    enjoy!

    Reply
  3. Kashka

    Some great discussions went on in the comments Bret, I guess I should start reading up the comments section too. That velocity cage looks like a interesting and probably expensive piece of equipment for power assessment. I wish my 24 hour fitness would buy one, instead of 10 different kinds of chest isolation machines.

    Reply
    1. Kashka

      Good to know, Rob. But wow, that is pretty expensive, definitely not something I would buy for a garage gym. Probably too expensive for a franchise gym to invest in, too.

      Reply
  4. Rob King

    Great read dude..

    “We fitness folks are one big family and we need to treat each other with more respect, even if we disagree with one another.”

    Love it…

    Reply
  5. Steven Head

    Bret,
    My serious inquiry re: balancing on the Bosu was lost among all the sarcastic remarks on FB. I was curious if you feel there is any benefit to be gained just standing and balancing on one foot?
    Steven

    Reply
    1. Bret Post author

      Steven, there are several studies showing a transfer from “sensorimotor training” to power production. I haven’t read the particular studies but I pulled them up for a friend of mine who is conducting research in that area. I ran across them in my S&C Biological Principles and Adaptations book. So I’m not sure as to what the training entailed, but I can imagine various balance and 1-foot maneuvers.

      For this reason, I really like the single leg RDL and single leg box squat, as I believe that they can aid in power production via several ways, one of them being increased proprioception/balance/coordination. I’d much rather go the single leg exercise route than the bosu/wobble/disc approach.

      To answer your question, if an individual is weak and has poor balance, then of course it will help, as standing on one leg strengthens the glute medius and can improve balance. But advanced individuals can do other things and reap some benefits, such as the exercises mentioned above as well as psoas holds, airplanes, etc.

      Reply
      1. Steven Head

        Bret, Thanks for the great answer. I was just hoping for some support for my notion that there is some benefit (albeit, limited or rudimentary) to balancing on the BOSU. Hope your rehab is moving along swimmingly!

        Reply
  6. Marianne

    Hey Bret,

    Great thoughts as always, just thought I’d echo my comment from FB.

    I was thinking about number 12 and it actually amazes me how true this can be. Secretly we all want to be impressive, but actions always speak louder than words and we should be prepared to prove what we say we can do.

    There’s this guy in the gym I go to who has “always done everything better than the next guy” – like he’s always lifted more, no matter what… It’s funny, because everyone knows he’s full of shite and, it doesn’t help his cause when noone has ever seen proof of these “lifts” – Think he just wants to be impressive and respected or he just likes the attention, which is sad considering he is actually achieving the opposite.

    Anyway, I believe modesty and quiet confidence are always the best approach. Not only do you avoid being considered an arse for boasting and not living up to it but, it’s much more rewarding to be the Dark Horse! :D

    Reply
  7. James

    Shouldn’t the title of Saxons book be: The Development of Physical Strength, by Arthur Saxon?. How fast could he move?.

    Reply
  8. Jeb

    Dude!

    Muscle, Smoke and Mirrors is one of the best books — scratch that, THE best book — on the shady history of bodybuilding and strength culture. I love how you delve into the history of your field.

    Great job on the MuscleMag article, too! It was a welcome surge of quality info.

    Reply
  9. Keith and Rene

    Some good reads here Bret, Hows Auckland treating you. Have you seen anywhere else outside of JAFALAND yet. Are you sick of Auckland traffic yet. If so you better come to the South Island for some RnR. $25 for the musclemag thing. It’s the same thing for Muscular Development. A far better magazine. Whats the best thing about NZ so far.

    Reply
  10. Daniel

    Hey Bret,

    I don’t get it (in the pain video @ 3:24). What does he mean with A and B are exactly the same? They are not the same colour, or am I an idiot?

    Reply

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