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Esoteric Strength Wisdom
I’m pumped to be chasing STRENGTH and MUSCLE again by running my BARBARIC STRENGTH program. I had small set back in 2020 that forced me to lay off squats and deads for a minute.
That said, I want to share some ESOTERIC STRENGTH KNOWLEDGE I’ve picked up over the years.
STARTING STRENGTH by Mark Rippetoe is best way for a BEGINNER to get to his PHYSICAL LIMITS fast. Only thing I would change is adding Pull Ups and Dips at the end of each session to balance the gains.
The biggest mistake lifters make with Starting Strength is believing it’s meant to be ran long term. No — you only run the program until you hit the wall. 3-6 months on SS is all you need.
To stay on Starting Strength any longer is sacrificing overall fitness for strength. No one and I mean no one, wants to spend 10 minutes resting between sets. Even 5 minutes is pushing it.
After you hit the wall, move to a different program in line with your goals.
Stop maxing out.
I get it, I really do. You want to move big weight. There’s too problems with maxing out that really aren’t worth the price tag. The first and most obvious is you risk injury. Everyone by now has seen the video of the guy’s chest ripping off the bones while he tries to incline bench 500lbs.
Yeah, there’s times where you’re going to want to see what you can do, but this should happen a couple times a year tops. 99% of the time you should be focused on increasing the weight on your working sets. A man who benches 315 for his working sets will look better than the man who maxes out at 315.
Last year(2020), I recall maxing out twice. Once for a Press early in the year and again for a Back Squat during the summer.
The second, less obvious downside to maxing out is demoralization. You can’t lift more weight every time. This is the same reason why you don’t spend too much time on Starting Strength.
The more you fail, the more your confidence in the program takes a hit. The weight on the bar isn’t the only thing that matters. How many times can you lift it? For how many sets? How fast can you lift the weight for a 10x5? How fast can you recover from set to set?
The more you fail a lift, the closer you get to demoralization.
Anyone who’s lifted for a minute knows the existential crisis that hits you after a bad workout. You start questioning what you’re even living for. Are you on the wrong program? Do you need to change it up? Should you start cutting? Or should you bulk?
When you’re training for strength or say want to hit a certain weight, you must train well below your max. You must think of yourself as mastering a given weight before you move on. It’s not enough to be able to lift the weight. You need to demonstrate control and mastery of it.
Can you control the weight? Can you rep it over many sets? 3 to 5 sets ain’t enough to master a weight. You need at least 10.
Use multiple means of progression to measure your mastery of the lift.
Starting Strength uses one form of progression: linear. It only cares about the weight on the bar. Your muscles however, don’t grow from workout to workout. Hence why the Starting Strength wall exists.
The weight on the bar isn’t the only thing that matters. You can get stronger without adding weight to the bar. There’s other things you can measure. You can:
- Increase the reps you can do at a weight
- Increase the number of sets
- Decrease the time rested
- Perfect your form and control the weight(don’t let gravity help you)
There’s so many ways to get stronger without adding weight to the bar. Good programs will use multiple means of progression. One of my favorite ways to improve the Press is something called Reverse Pyramid Training(RPT), which has you do your heaviest set first and subtract 10% of the weight from subsequent sets.
The RPT program uses the weight the bar and the number of reps performed to progress. You work in rep ranges like 6-8 reps. When you can hit 8, up the weight. The more forms of progression you can add to your program, the longer you can run it.
Certain exercises just make you stronger.
Not all exercises are created equal. A back squat will yield better gains and development over a leg press. This doesn’t mean you skip the leg press, only that you put a heavier focus on the back squat. Don’t major in the minors as they say.
Being able to do your deads, squats, and presses along with your bodyweight movements like lunges, pull ups, and dips brings you POWER in addition to aesthetics. They should always be a part of a good program.
That’s all for now.
Lift eternal, jacked and tan.