Safe Effective Strength Training
July 25 "A moment's insight is sometimes worth a life's experience." OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
I'm going to depart a bit from the normal training information found here and get a little more philosophical and talk about a philosophy of strength training I've developed. It came about as a result of the process I went through acquiring strength. It has nothing to do with sets and reps, or how much weight you can handle, rather it has everything to do with how you handle yourself.
Let's pretend its January and not July. It will all make sense in a moment.
It's that time of year again when everyone + dog is making resolutions. "I'm gonna lose weight", "I'm going to get in shape", etc. Nothing wrong with those things. IF you are serious and follow through. January is a time when I will not step foot in a commercial gym except in "offest" of off hours. I'd rather train out on the freeway during rush hour. It's not as busy as the gym in January. And that's how it is for January and February. When March rolls around you'd swear it was the rapture and only you and a few others are left here. They gym is a ghost town compared to January. In January it was good luck getting a piece of equipment, now it's good luck getting someone to spot you.
When I was but a mere 9th grader it was the same situation when track season rolled around in the spring. Every year for 4 or 5 days the girls track coach would drag her team into the weight room, give them the requisite half hour of instructions and turn them loose. There were about two girls out of 30 that were serious. I'd give them the time of day and be helpful. The others I could not care less about. (From a training standpoint, mind you, not a teenage boy standpoint.)
Now you might think that's harsh, but that was how I was indoctrinated into the ways of the weight room. I started lifting in eighth grade. There were a couple others in my grade that started lifting then too. They didn't last though and I did, for a reason. The other occupants of the weight room were a few sophomore's and a couple juniors and seniors. They were much stronger than I was and in most situations would not have even associated with an eighth grader. But that is not the way of the weight room.
The way of the weight room is to help anyone who comes seeking help. Seeking help is not you and your buddy stacking the lat pull machine and then hanging on it to see if you can make it move. That type of crap is mostly what my buddies did and what the girls track team did. Those things carry no weight in the weight room.
The older kids saw I was serious about what I was doing and took me under their wing. They were mostly good influences from a methodology standpoint. Most of them were training to become better athlete's or simply bigger and stronger. They weren't of the bodybuilder mindset and steroids weren't even a consideration.
The respect I earned in the weight room did not just live in the weight room, I was able to walk up to the same sophomore, junior and senior kids and talk to them anytime. I got some quizzical looks from my classmates and so did the older kids from their peers. Those looks went away when one of them would say, "he lifts with us". That was the magical key. Weightlifting was the common thread that cut through age and grade barriers and put us all on the same level.
I held and still do, everyone that has come after me to the same test. Show me you're the least bit serious, even if you don't know what the hell you are doing, and I will help you. I've tutored many who have came after me to the ways of the weight room. If you've spent anytime lifting with me or others I've lifted with, you will respect anyone who wants to learn and is putting in an effort. Social strata, financial status, your name, etc. don't matter.
It's simple, if you live up to the way of the weight room you will be taught and benefit from it and hopefully one day instill the way in someone else.
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