Category Archives for "Training and Exercise"
Training and Exercise
Training and Exercise
If you are engaged in body building for the sake of becoming as big and as muscular as you possibly can then I’m sure you’ve noticed that 1) Your confidence isn’t growing as fast as your muscles are; 2) Very often it seems like it’s a lot of work and the results are disproportionately low to what you put in as effort;, and 3) Even when you achieve good results oftentimes you don’t feel satisfied. It’s like it’s never good enough.
In this article (and video), I will give you 3 reasons why you may be feeling this way, and why building huge muscles for the sake of being huge should probably not be your main goal:
The truth is that we build muscles for reasons that we aren’t even conscious about – admiration and respect from other men, domination over other males, and status. The bigger you get the more you think that you are invincible and there is no other male that can stand on your way.
The problem is that usually competing for domination and status among other males doesn’t work with striking bodybuilding poses. It does take actual skills in physical fights. And, big muscles have nothing to do with fighting skills, fighting skills have everything to do with fighting skills. So, if bodybuilding is your main thing and you ignore the manliness aspect you may find yourself in trouble.
Muscle dysmorphia, also called bigorexia or megarexia is a medical condition that’s the opposite of anorexia. It simply means it’s never enough. You are always too small, too skinny, too ugly, underdeveloped.
Think of it this way. If your arm is 15 inches your goal is to grow it to 17 inches. When you get to 17 inches it’s not enough. You’re still small and now you want it to be 18 inches. Does that sound familiar?
In my observations, most guys who are fixated on building excessive muscle mass suffer from muscle dysmorphia. I used to suffer from it.
And, it’s not easy to cure yourself of this – 1) You have to acknowledge that you have it, and 2) You have to learn to accept yourself the way you are.
You have to eat all the time not only to grow new muscle but simply to maintain. Feels like a job and your day revolves around your food. Your vacations, travel, enjoying evenings out with friends – everything is difficult because you have to eat every 3 hours.
You have to eat 5-6 times a day, there must be a large amount of protein in each meal, it’s difficult to prepare, it costs a lot in money, in time, effort, in missed opportunities and life in general.
And, the moment something happens and you aren’t able to maintain that schedule your hard-earned muscles start to go away.
If it’s so difficult, if it’s so unnatural, if you have to work so hard at it – without getting paid – why do it then? A lot of it is going to go away one day anyway.
I did bodybuilding for 23 years, 9 years as a competitive bodybuilder. It took me more than 27 years to learn what I know today – why I did bodybuilding and the high prices I had to pay in work, effort, money, missed opportunities and missed life.
So, if you’ve never thought about it, I want you to take a few minutes and think about why you are doing bodybuilding.
Once you know the answer, think about whether it is worth the cost that you’re paying for the return on investment you are getting.
I’m sure you’ve seen somebody do pull-ups with such an ease and grace that you were simply amazed. And, you probably thought, I’d love to be able to do pull-ups like him.
And, that thought made you feel bad because you are painfully aware that you can’t do even one pull-up.
Okay. Here is the thing: If you have two arms you can learn to do pull-ups. Period! I don’t care if you are a female or male, small or large, young or old. All you need to do is learn the skill.
And, I say “learn the skill” because the pull-up is not an innate capability, like the push-up – push-ups are fairly simple: go down, go up. All you need is the strength. The pull-up is a learned skill, which goes way beyond just being strong.
Think about it this way: To hit a tire with a sledgehammer you have to have two arms and the ability to swing a sledgehammer. That’s your push-ups.
To play the piano you also have to have two arms, right? But, that’s not enough – you also need to acquire the skill. So, think of the pull-up as learning the piano, only learning the pull-up is much, much easier.
Ok, then, but why is it so difficult for us to learn to do the pull-up?
Here are the two main reasons why:
In the first case here is how we think: “To learn to do a pull-up I have to train my biceps and my lats.” And, we end up doing isolation exercises.
The problem is the pull-up is a complex movement pattern and it requires that we train the entire body exactly the way the pull-up is done. Which simply means you have to train the pull-up by doing pull-ups. There is no other way around it!
In the second case, we use pull-up assist machines and rubber bands instead of gravity. There are 3 big problems with assist machines and bands:
1) they provide too much help and at the wrong times;
2) they don’t train some of the muscles we need for unassisted pull-ups – like the core muscles for example; and
3) transitioning from assisted to non-assisted pull-ups is even harder than starting from scratch.
So many people have told their stories of being able to do 8-10 pull-ups with minimal assistance but as soon as they try unassisted pull-ups they feel like their muscles are frozen.
Ok. So, this is why you can’t do the pull-up, but how do you fix that? Here’s how…
I personally have a pull-up bar on the door to my home office. Several times a day as I go through the door I do a few pull-ups.
This is it. If you do these 3 things there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that you will learn to do the pull-up.
Anyone can learn to do pull-ups – ANYONE! And, that includes you. You just have to commit to it, be diligent, and put in your time and effort – just like I did.
I’m leaving you with this message. There are two types of people in the world:
those who talk about things,
and those who make things happen
Which type of person are you?
If you are still reading, I think I know the answer. And, I know you know it, too. So, get to work and make this happen. And, I’m here to support you every step of the way!
This is the last video of the 4-part video series on Relative Strength and the exercises that we use to test for it – and to develop it in the first place.
In this video, I discuss the hip drive movement, expressed by the one-legged full squat – aka. Pistol Squat.
This is PART 3 of the “Relative Strength benchmark exercises” series. In it, I discuss The Push – the handstand push-up – how to get into an inverted position safely, and how to progress to your first handstand push-up if you can’t do any.
In this video, I talk about the pull-up as one of the three main Relative Strength benchmark exercises. I also explain the ways to progress to your first pull-up if you can’t do any.
In this video I’m defining Absolute Strength and Relative Strength and talking about why both are important, and why I even think that Relative Strength is probably more important than Absolute Strength.
I also describe the main moves (exercises) that are used to develop and test both, Absolute and Relative Strength.
We are at the end of this 4-step video series.
In this fourth and last video, I summarize everything I said and demonstrated in the previous three videos.
I explain (one more time) my gym workout, its components, what I do and don’t do, when I do the stuff and for how long. I also talk about my non-gym-day training and skill practice, and my personal opinion on training with isolation machines (which I don’t do!).
I also talk about my non-gym-day training and skill practice, and about my personal opinion on training with isolation machines (which I don’t do!).
In this third installment of “My workout” video series, I talk about and demonstrate Relative strength training.
“Relative strength” is a strength training that’s relative to your own body weight – in other words, it’s bodyweight training aka. calisthenics.
I do insert a little weight here and there and that’s to challenge myself even more than what just my bodyweight can provide as far as a challenge to my musculoskeletal system.
In this vid I demonstrate front-lever-like pull-ups (from vertical to horizontal, not from strict front lever), combined with ice cream makers. Also, handstands and pistol squat. I also throw in a set of dragon flags and a couple of dashes of sprints at the very end.
Not everything I did that day for my bodyweight training segment is on the video – I didn’t record stuff that I did more than once, such as the handstand and additional pull-ups for example.
In the fourth and last installment, I’ll summarize everything I did and said in the previous three videos.