At approximately this time of year, every year, the same thing happens. A great deal of people begin to talk about training. Coaches will tell me their team needs to get stronger! Parents contact me about their sons, and athletes themselves realize the cold hard facts. They need to start lifting.
What has been interesting this year is the amount of ‘high quality’ wrestlers who ‘may’ want to come down. Several very good wrestlers who are now in college may have gotten a taste of reality at the next level. Maybe they now understand that all of us preaching about lifting are correct.
I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but the truth is; if you don’t become stronger, you will become the next victim of the wrestler who does! While coming to this realization is easy, the reality of proper training is not. You see ‘saying’ and ‘doing’ are two very different things! If 1 out of every 10 athletes who told me that they “want to train” actually showed up, I’d need a bigger gym.
The good news is wrestlers in general have the attributes required to successfully enter into a serious off-season weight training program. You need the ability to push yourself and to endure the pressure of hard work. You also need the dedication and desire to commit to a year round program. What I believe to be the biggest characteristic needed though is discipline.
To take it a step further you need self discipline. Everyone can tell you to do the extra work if you truly want to excel. It is only you though,who can make you do it. There will always be excuses for not showing up. The nice weather will be here soon and I guess for most, it is much easier to go lay on the beach.
I like to tell the athletes, “you can deal with the pain of discipline now, or the pain of regret later.” The pain of discipline is what you must deal with when you go on your runs in the bitter cold or blazing heat. It keeps you on your diet during Thanksgiving when there is all that great food to eat. Discipline is what gets you to my gym 4 x a week including 9am every Sunday morning.
Here in part 2 I plan on exposing the 1/2 truths and lies. The hope is to arm you with the correct information so you can make a wise choice about your training. You also will have to make the commitment and be truthful with yourself in the price you are willing to pay.
I am going to help you by saving you money (or insult you because you already wasted it). Let’s get right into it. That piece of garbage on TV is not going to help you “in just 10 minutes a day.” You will not get six pack abs from any of those contraptions. All those pills, powders, potions and lotions are a waste of money (there go all my sponsorships)!
90% of the contents of the ‘muscle mags’ is junk. It would be higher, but sometimes they have hot girls! Following one of their 20 sets per body part double split routines is a recipe for disaster. Those photos you see of Body Builders in contests, when they ‘look their best’ are when they are the weakest.
In other words, don’t believe all the hype. There are no substitutes or short cuts for hard work. If you look at your wrestling practices I believe you will realize this. If you don’t show up everyday willing to push yourself, you will fall short. So why are some telling you a different story? The sad truth is to make a quick buck.
In part 1 we left off with a bunch of questions to answer. Let me do you a favor and answer them for you. You might be asking yourself how am I going to answer questions about your training? (No, I have not been following you around.) It is really quite simple as the options are not that great and I have seen and heard them all.
Option # 1) you will train at home, 2) you will train at the high school weight room, 3) you will join the local health club, 4) you are going to train with the guru at his fitness studio, and 5) you are serious and will seek professional help at a real gym.
OK now we can begin looking into each option. How in heck are you going to train at home? Unless you are one of the extremely rare individuals with a basement or garage filled with equipment, and someone who actually knows how to use it. How are you going to train? Who is going to teach you? I’m sorry, I forgot. You have the Bow Blaster and it comes with a DVD instruction video.
My friends, you have been lied to. As I stated before, you are not going to get “serious results in just 10 minutes a day.” While it may be better than nothing for a non-athlete, it certainly is not going to cut it on the mat. How about the high school weight room then? I love this one! It is always entertaining. I see the most unbelievable things there.
Again, unless you are one of the few with a knowledgeable instructor, who has a lifting background, who devotes a great deal of time to you, then it usually looks something like this. Your coach hands you a ‘program’ he printed up from lord knows where and says “follow this.” Well don’t throw it out. If you have a bird, bring it home and put it in the bottom of its cage!
If you are insulted so be it. I have seen many of these programs in the past. Including some from major colleges that I honestly thought the athletes were playing a joke on me. That is how bad they were! But you need not take my word for it. Let me give an example of a major program used at many high schools.
It is called B something S. Their promise is they will make you strong, large, and quick or something to that nature. I remember one of the first times I was exposed to their ‘training’. I started a new job at a local high school wanting to make a good impression and help out with the sports teams. I took the extra assignment of ‘Weight Room Supervisor’.
The kids had been to a seminar and had their new programs I was told. Basically all I had to do was “watch and make sure no one was fooling around.” Well I was trying to assist a couple of athletes as best as I could when something out of the corner of my eye struck me.
It appeared to be a kid ‘shoving’ another kid as he was doing a “power clean.” I immediately stopped what I was doing in disbelief. This could not be what I saw? Is this kid trying to get me fired on my first day in the weight room? I rushed over and started tearing this kid a new butt hole. I later had to apologize to him!
I really felt bad. You see this was what he was taught! As one lifter is trying to clean what is entirely too much weight, and he starts bending over backwards the ‘spotter’ gives him a shove. Now I do not consider myself an expert on the Olympic lifts, but I have studied them. I have talked with some of the best in the state about them as well as watched instructional tapes from some of the best in the world.
Never has any one of them condoned this practice that I am aware of. Common sense would also seem to say that this might not be a wise thing to do. You can make the decision for yourself. This is not the only thing wrong with this outfit. They seem to be the kings of the 1/2 truths.
They have a knack of taking good things and screwing them up. For example, Box squats when done correctly are great. When done ridiculously high with too much weight, on one of the ‘boxes’ (read bar stools) they sell, not too good. Add to this the pushing of the kids lower back with one hand and his chest with the other. Then yell out “TA DA” look at what little John can lift in just one workout with us, pretty bad or amazingly stupid?
Truthfully I have had many come from this program who could not squat 135 for one, but told me they could squat 400+, wonderful! They love the partial lifts as a way to increase the weights used without gaining any strength. They have no clue what the true merits of a partial lift may be or why and when to use them. Let me give you another example, the chains that they sell.
Chains can be a great way to ‘change the resistance’ of a lift. As with other exercises and equipment, you need to know how to set them up and when to use them. They ‘solved’ that problem by selling chains bolted to a collar. You may have them down at your gym. Tell your coach “he just wasted your fund-raising money.”
In the past I have gotten some funny answers to questions I have asked the geniuses who run this outfit. So here is another question for them. Since you ‘teach’ and use the Olympic lifts in your program and are building these unbelievable better athletes. Why haven’t some gone on to Olympic lifting fame? I mean the USA has not been able to so much as sniff a medal at the Olympics in years.
In my program and others like it, older athletes from other sports have gone on to Powerlifting or StrongMan competitions with great success. Many former football players and wrestlers, for example, have won numerous titles and set many records. My thinking here is you must have at least one who has raised the bar? Please let me know.
Other problems associated with training at your school’s gym are as follows: Access, when is it open? The days and the times that your weight room is open may be less than ideal. It is also usually closed on holidays and weekends. Plus summer hours are often too limited. Equipment may also be a problem. Let’s just say most often it is less than ideal.
Let’s end part II here. We will talk about ‘health clubs’ and ‘gurus’ and more in part III. One last note: For all of you who have expressed interest in training, PLEASE just do do me a favor. Shut up and show up! You are all welcome to come down and train free for a week. In that time I believe I will show you why you need to be here. For those heading to the States, GOOD LUCK. For those whose season has come to an end, next season has just begun!
Thanks for reading,