Integrating Other Forms of Training for Success.

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by A-Unit, Nov 11, 2006.

  1. A-Unit

    A-Unit Master Don Juan

    Aug 6, 2004
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    By no means am I a PT, as deep as my passion for health and nutrition is...however, I enjoy looking around for supplementary info, as well *unique* health information. For instance, I enjoyed the posts which related to fasting, and it was through search engines and WA that I learned more about *big* protein. Since then, I've seen more confirmation of great proportions of protein than I've seen anything to the contrary (programs suggesting more carbs than protein).

    One Recommendation I would make is a book called Power to the People. Its written by a Russian Strength instructor and widely available through dragon door publishing. I recently purchased the book, and the found the added information to be of great use in my current workouts. The writer's philosophy is SOLELY that deadlifts and a few other exercises contribute the MOST to an overall physique change. He backs these statements up with real world evidence, as well as his own training experiences teaching clients, mostly olympic lifters and elite special forces teams.

    His most powerful example lays out how TENSION and FORCE are the same, and that TENSION of a muscle leads to force and therefore power. In all workouts and lifts he suggests going in with the muscles "Flexed/Tensed", and that this is the most powerful and active state. By practicing this while doing mundane activities, you can increase your muscularity and power in the gym, and outside of it. He also makes the claim this is SAVER to do, and will immediately increase all your lift poundages. As an example, if you were squatting, you would tense your whole body, act as if you're driving your legs, thighs, calves, buttocks, and feet through the ground, like a dynamic anchor. And with the bar, you would tense around the bar, gripping it like you want to smoosh it in your hand. Your shoulders, back, traps, and abs would also be tensed, like ONE gigantic muscle. Doing so slows the lift down naturally, but also gives more power, the illusion the weight is heavier and thereby more power.

    He further supports this TENSION/FORCE statement by demonstrating how masters in self defense and martial arts LONG have used these same techniques to break bricks and boards, yet they rarely lifted the levels of iron most guys try or hope to lift.

    I personally tried this immediately, and my max weights went up easily. I also used in helping a person move, that took over 5 hours of straight lifting, squatting and picking up things, in strong man type movements, and found it to be beneficial, energizing, and safe. I lasted that whole spam, while lifting the most awkward objects of the group. I'd recommend this book for the added information he provides. He does suggest STRENGTH over power, and advocate POWER/STRENGTH as opposed to BULK. However, he says if you do want SIZE and POWER, eat big protein, and he leaves that up to you to determine HOW to do it. He references one BIG 300lb powerlifter at 10% bodyfat that would eat ALL protein ALL the time, and even set alarms at night to get more in. He doesn't squabble over % and tells people to determine their own diet.

    The last big I will reveal as somewhat different theory on lifting, is that anything over 5 reps, to him, is a waste. He advocates ONLY free weights, and suggests using machines is like building a frankenstein body by piece mealing all the body parts. His contention is MUSCLE is meant to work in groups, and thereby, all lifts should emphasize this fact. Doing machines takes you down from 3-D lifts, to 2-D or 1-D lifts, where the joint is isolated and you lose the TRUE benefit of lifting because the strength is not transferred to FREE weights, and contributes to many injuries because of the isolation of joints, but also because the lifter perceives he is stronger than he truly is. His rationale for no more than 5 reps is thus...

    1) That Russian Lifters have long NOT gone to failure and still gained better than the US lifters (anabolic hormones aside).
    2) That Beyond 5 reps for a given set results in the failure of stabilizer muscles, which contribute to injur when they fail, such as on squats.
    3) That one can't gain in linear progression forever.
    4) On doing 5 rep sets, you would do 90% of your 5 or 10 REP max and cycle the weight. You would lift MORE frequently on the big weights, so that you can more frequently, and NOT go to perceived failure in the gym. For exampe, if your 90% for 5 reps was 300 on deads, you do that, and if you can do 300 again, good. If not do 80% of that number. Occasionally you do 1RM to see where your strength is at, but the goal is to lift MORE frequently close to your max, pushing you strength up in periodic cycles.

    I'm not advocating anyone change to this, just that the lifts and ideas may revitalize your workouts, or confuse you. I've incorporated some of what he's postulated and found myself quite happy. I've never believed one person knew all there was about the body, and it is MY body, so I constantly want to be educated about it and what it can do. I revere a balance of POWER and SIZE, and would feel awkward if all I had was size, but little STRENGTH based on my size.

    There are other books, such as the Stuart McRobert book at, but I've yet to review it and checks info against other bookstore and internet lifting guru's. A good % of the guys advocate the same programs, just recycled with different mixes. It's about finding what works for you.

  2. spesmilitis

    spesmilitis Master Don Juan

    Sep 3, 2006
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    very enlightening post. *thumbs up*

    Can you go into more detail about "He does suggest STRENGTH over power"?
  3. MetalFortress

    MetalFortress Master Don Juan

    Jun 28, 2003
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    Keesler AFB, Mississippi
    fine wine
    Heh, oddly enough, before I read your post, when I just read the title, I thought you were going to mention kettlebells. Turns out it was another Pavel Tsatsouline thing instead.
  4. newbie81

    newbie81 Don Juan

    Aug 15, 2005
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    Pavel Tsatsouline is a great beginning to get into the right direction in training.

    I've been lifting weights for 7 years now. Bodybuilding during the first 4,5years. Now I'm doing strength training since 2,5 years: a combination of olympic lifts, powerlifting & odd lifts. I never looked that good, I never was this strong.

    Training is easy. Some records in certain lifts were made more than 50 years ago, while no one seems to be able to break them now.

    Machines & steroids are causing lots of people to train the wrong way. So are the muscle magazines like flex.

    Look into the trainings of Arthur Saxon, Eugene Sandow, Bill Starr, Steve Reeves, ... They trained without steroids & without machines.

    My tips:
    -Eat quality food, get enough rest.
    -Train hard & heavy: singles, doubles & triples on core lifts. Lower than 6reps on auxilliary exercises.
    -Be careful with advice coming from people taking steroids.
    -Set clear goals to work for
    -Exercise selection
    *Train your legs hard: all squat & deadlift versions
    *Train your back hard: weighted chinups & pullups, heavy rows
    *Do more overhead work: all standing press variations
    *Work on your speed using olympic lifts: snatch, cleans, jerks,...
    *Do some odd lifts: bent press, sots press, 1hand variations of anything
    *Learn to train with chains & bands
    *Work on flexibility, mobility & injury prevention.

    Good luck.

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