The First Lifters
Let’s pretend. You’re you, maybe a tad younger (in my case, let’s make that a pretty big ‘tad’), and the calendar reads 200 years earlier. You want to increase the ability of your body. Basic wisdom seems to be that hard work will help you to your goals. It seems to then reason that picking up heavy stuff might be a good way to create a sufficient workload, and eventually you might find others who agree with you.
That’s about all there is available in terms of lifting knowledge. The closest thing to an ‘internet’ in most parts of the world is a system of letter delivery that seems to be run on prayer and dreams. The librarian, if your town even has one of those new-fangled big-city book houses, might think you a ‘bit touched’ after you tried to explain your quest for a book about lifting stuff.
Ultimately it would be just you and the iron. No DVD’s, no Weider magazine empire, no liftheavyshit.com websites, no 24-Hour pump and neon McGyms, just you and a lump of something heavy.
(Ironically, infomercials were alive and well back even in this early date. They were called medicine shows, and the snake oil they sold was about as effective as the garbage hawked in the name of fitness and health today, like this gem Mistress Krista pointed out to me: FLUIDITY)
Today we seek help, often in the form of ideas and knowledge pre-digested so we don’t have to think much. This makes sense, knowing our need for NOW combined with our desire to do as little work as possible. Leaving free thought at home to rot with those veggies you promised yourself you’d eat keeps you at the mercy of snake oil salesmen.
Dan John’s 9th Commandment
Strength competitor, track and field coach and prolific fitness writer Dan John once listed his 10 commandments of lifting. I’ll post them here and I hope he doesn’t mind.
1. Use whole body lifts; rarely isolate a muscle.
2. Constantly strive to add weight to the bar and move it faster.
3. The best anabolic is water.
4. Did you eat breakfast? If not, don’t ask me anything about nutrition.
5. If you smoke or don’t wear your seatbelt, please don’t tell me the quick lifts are dangerous.
6. Go heavy, go hard.
7. Keep it simple. Less is more.
8. You have to put the bar over your head.
9. Put the bar on the floor and pick it up a bunch of different ways.
10. Know and love the roots of your sport.
It was the ninth one that slaps rust off my brain. First, the commandment gives you complete freedom, releasing you from machines, gizmos and contraptions that limit your success. It says ‘take one thing and un-limit yourself,’ if I may be so bold as to paraphrase. The ‘bar’ could be a dumbbell, kettlebell, sack o’ sand or your passed-out prom date, the point is that the tool is not limiting, only your knowledge of it. The commandment dares you to create with an open challenge to explore, experiment and learn.
Learning the art of independent thinking is a type of strength all it’s own.
When playing with a barbell isn’t something naughty, here’s some options:
and of course, Bueler’s.
We’re applying some dynamic effort work to overhead presses today, and following it up with some good ol’ Functional Metabolic Core Conditioning.
DE Overhead Press. 10 sets, 3 reps, 60% max, go for speed. Short rest periods.
Helen. We’ll borrow from our buddies at Crossfit and see if we can’t kick out Helen a little faster today.
400 m run/21 KB swings/12 pullups. 3x for time.