WHO SHOULD YOU LISTEN TO FOR ADVICE?

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Roland Ramjist

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Apr 15, 1994, 4:48:23 PM4/15/94
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This taken from IronMan magazine a few years back. I
thought it would be useful. Written by Stuart McRobert
who publishes "THE HARDGAINER" a bi-monthly magazine. This
might help those who are trying to find the "right routine"
and wondering who is the best person to ask.

"It's easy and - at least for begineers - understandable
to conclude that those athletes with the biggest muscles
and strongest bodies must know nearly everything about training.
It's true that they know a lot about training as it applies
to those with extraordinary genetic potential and, perhaps,
when it's combined with anabolic steroids; but are they
really good models for the average person training without
drugs? It's been the copying of inappropriate models that's
been responsible for so much of the futile training methods
that abound in the gyms of the world. So, young beginners
in particular, beware of imitating your idols.

You wouldn't use the mainenance manual for a Porsche as a guide
for serviceing a small family station wagon. Similarly, you
shouldn't use a training manual for an elite and gifted
performer as the "last word" and comprehensive guide for a
typical person who even at his best may never be able to squat
much more than 400 lbs. What works for the gifted few who
have a tremendous natural tendency to grow and get strong is,
often, almost the antithesis of what us hardgainers need.

For example, take a superhuman who can bench press nearly 500
lbs after only a few years of training. How can he possibly
understand the problems of a hardgainer who has worked at the
epitome of diligence and motivation (but not knowledge) for
many years and can only bench 225?

We believe that a trainer has to have lived as a hardgainer
(successfully and unsuccessfully) to fully appreciate the
difficulties of a fellow hardgainer. This is not-I repeat,
not- to say that all easy gainers have nothing to say that can
be helpful for hardgainers. Some of them certainly do, but
knowing which ones isn't easy. An experienced and succesful
(by normal standards) hardgainer is, generally speaking, a
much preferred guide and model for the rest of us average
trainees."

Pretty good advice IMO. Another quote for you: Experience
[and poundages one can lift] are no substitute for intelligence.
I never post how many poundages I lift. Someone wrote saying
"well I guess you don't squat x lbs like I do". True, I don't.
Another interesting point about genetics and bio-mechanics. My
legs have always been naturally large and strong. The strange
thing is that I cannot use very high poundages on the squat, BUT
I can use more weight on the leg-extension machine machine than
I squat(!). I have also ALWAYS been very proficient at the
Deadlift. The first time I ever tried a deadlift when I weighed
only 160 lbs I could do twice my bodyweight AND I NEVER TRIED
THIS EXERCISE BEFORE (oops, I guess I did mention a poundage I
ONCE used). Like I said due to bio-mechanics I am at a real
disadvantage at the squat. People look at my legs and assume
I squat over 400 lbs. I don't, and probably never will and I
don't care. I perform FULL SQUATS (going all the way down) in a
SUPER-SLOW manner (10 seconds up, 5 seconds down).

I was performing my one-set squats the other night when a
thought occurred to me. There's no way that I could perform
another set. I couldn't stand for 30 seconds. How is it
possible that someone can do 10, or even 5 sets of one exercise
at that intensity (as people claim here).

You can train long and you can train hard, but you CANNOT do
both (unless of course you have superhuman recovery ability and
have some pharmaceuticals to help you out).

Here's another point regarding poundages. It seems that people
are under the impression that a muscle needs heavy weights to
grow. This is not the case. Your muscles don't know how much
weight your lifting, all they know is the amount of force
exerted. It is a fact (Human Factors 101) that the slower you
lift a weight the more force you are exerting. It has also been
shown that the traditional fast style of training you see by
alot of people in the gym is in fact dangerous. The amount of
force your skeletal structure is subjected to varies over 500%.
Not too good for your tendons and ligaments. If you train
slowly you exert a constant force which not only is safer, but
in fact is a more productive way to train (and I'm tired of
mentioning studies done as they are always dismissed as using
individuals "on steroids", "previously untrained athletes",
"athletes regaining lost muscle").

Try training in the super-slow manner I described in a previous
post. If you do it properly it is BRUTAL. It's tough on your
ego as you obviously have to INITIALLY lower the weight you use,
but eventually you will actually surpass your existing
poundages (I did and so did others I know).


Barry Merriman

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Apr 15, 1994, 5:50:52 PM4/15/94
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In article <CoBJ4...@ecf.toronto.edu> rol...@ecf.toronto.edu (Roland Ramjist) writes:

>
>Pretty good advice IMO. [Stuart McRoberts hardgainer stuff]

Sure---as he is basically trying to undo all the misperceptions based
on the (often phony) published training routines of (heavy) steroid
users that one encounters in mags.

> Another quote for you: Experience
>[and poundages one can lift] are no substitute for intelligence.

Sure, but nor are they exclusive. It is possible to be big, strong
and smart. I wont speak for myself, but my training partner is
on of the top power lifters in the world, is finishing up his
PhD in math, has a 150 IO and 15 years knowledge about training
that he has developed pretty throughly.

>I have also ALWAYS been very proficient at the
>Deadlift. The first time I ever tried a deadlift when I weighed
>only 160 lbs I could do twice my bodyweight AND I NEVER TRIED
>THIS EXERCISE BEFORE (oops, I guess I did mention a poundage I
>ONCE used).

The deadlift, muchmore so than other lifts, has a strong biomechanical
component. My buddy, who has seen many powerlifters train, has
known a lot of folks, not necessarily big, who could pull 500--600 lbs the
first time they tried deadlifting. He himself pulled 575 after only
10 weeks of training when he weighed 180 and a teenager.


>don't care. I perform FULL SQUATS (going all the way down) in a
>SUPER-SLOW manner (10 seconds up, 5 seconds down).

That is probably part of the reason you don't squat 400---though
I fully understand that a biomechanical disagvatage can really
hold back a lift like squat or bench.

>
>I was performing my one-set squats the other night when a
>thought occurred to me. There's no way that I could perform
>another set. I couldn't stand for 30 seconds. How is it
>possible that someone can do 10, or even 5 sets of one exercise
>at that intensity (as people claim here).

When I used to train multiple sets of squats as part of
my periodized bodybuilding routine, I too would squat until
I couldn't stand. My kness would buckle walking away from the rack.
I would rest as long as it took, drop the weight a bit to keep
the reps up near 8, and do it again, 3--4 such sets. maybe it
takes 45 minutes, but so what?

>
>You can train long and you can train hard, but you CANNOT do
>both

This is a phrase mentzer loved to bandy about. There is obvious
grain of truth to it, but who says only 1 or 2 sets is the limit for
hard training. I can do closer to 4--8. Just rest until you
can do another, andover time your body will be able to do mutliple
ones better and better.

>
>Here's another point regarding poundages. It seems that people
>are under the impression that a muscle needs heavy weights to
>grow. This is not the case. Your muscles don't know how much
>weight your lifting, all they know is the amount of force
>exerted. It is a fact (Human Factors 101) that the slower you
>lift a weight the more force you are exerting.

No---as long as the acceleration is 0, the force = the weight on the bar.
(Physics 101).

Also, actually the more you accelerate the weight, the more force
you exert (Physics 102). If you try to accelerate a weight, you apply
a force greater thanthat on the weigth. In the extremes of bouncing
and jerking this is very dangerous, but controlled acceleration during
contraction is fine, and a way of generating a variable resistance.
(See the Mother Text, Stone et al, chapter on the biomechanics of lifting).

>It has also been
>shown that the traditional fast style of training you see by
>alot of people in the gym is in fact dangerous.

Oh really? Then why aren;t we all dropping like flies. I've never had
an injury from 15 years of that fast training. The only injury I ever
had was a minor muscle tear due to sloppy form with a very heavy weight.
(T bar rows with 6 plates for 6 reps---I didn't wear a belt,and
I tore a stabilizer in my oblique.)


>>Not too good for your tendons and ligaments. If you train
>slowly you exert a constant force which not only is safer, but
>in fact is a more productive way to train

Defientely safer. As for more effective? I tried it, didn't work
for me at all, so that statement cannot have universal validity.
Since it forces you to use good form, I suggest it is only
effective of poor form was casuing you to short-change the desired muscles.

The theoretical opinion is that tension and load builds muscle. See
Stone et al.

>
>Try training in the super-slow manner I described in a previous
>post. If you do it properly it is BRUTAL. It's tough on your
>ego as you obviously have to INITIALLY lower the weight you use,

If by brutal you mean painful, sure it hurts a lot. But psychologically
its a pretty mild way to train. Brutal is multiple sets of 8 reps in the squat
with a heavy weight, and a pause at the bottom. That'll tke the desire to train out of you in no time.


--
Barry Merriman
UCLA Dept. of Math
UCLA Inst. for Fusion and Plasma Research
ba...@math.ucla.edu (Internet) ba...@arnold.math.ucla.edu (NeXTMail)

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