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Ground Up Strength
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Knowledge takes precedence over material considerations in any pursuit that can be called purely scientific. The more scientific the fitness industry was, the less it would care what you, as an individual does with this knowledge, and the more it would be concerned with expanding that knowledge. In other words, the more the fitness industry was scientific, the less of an 'industry' it would be.
Even at the best of times, scientists don't completely live up to their ideals. But scientists, at least, do science rather than just wave a banner. The fitness industry reminds me, sometimes, of Tom Hanks in "A League of Their Own." When I see how personal so many fitness scientists take things, I want to incredulously cry "There's no CRYING in science!" So what would the fitness industry look like if it really were scientific? A bunch of differ...
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Fitness trainers often talk about the "perfect" exercise or the one way you MUST exercise. What counts as exercise and what doesn't? The answer is not what you think!

New article co-authored with +Tony Ingram Is Exercise Subjective? Personal Trainers are selling a product and they must create
demand for that product like any other business. How this demand
is created affects not only their business, but your choices and outcomes.
By Eric Troy and Tony Ingram1 Of the following items, which do you feel you absolutely need: Food, water, clothing, shelter, microwave oven, cell phone, and personal training? A bit of a daft question, perhaps. We know, as humans, that our absolute necessities of survival do not include microwave ovens, cell phones, and personal training. We can say that we must have food, water, clothing, and shelter. We might also include healthcare and ...
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The impetus for writing the Nonsense Detection Kit was previous suggestions made by Sagan (1996), Lilienfeld et al. (2012) and Shermer (2001).  The Nonsense Detection Kit is referring to nonsense in terms of “scientific nonsense”.  So, nonsense as it is referred to here refer to “nonscientific information” that is often perpetuated as scientific, when in fact it is not scientific. 

The Nonsense Detection Kit provides guidelines that can be used to separate sense from nonsense.  There is no single criterion for distinguishing sense from nonsense, but it is possible to identify indicators, or warning signs.  The more warnings signs that appear the more likely that claims are nonsense. - Jamie Hale
The impetus for writing the Nonsense Detection Kit was previous suggestions made by Sagan (1996), Lilienfeld et al. (2012) and Shermer (2001).  The Nonsense Detection Kit is referring to nonsense in terms of “scientific nonse...
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Some Tips for Lifting Focus

Since lifting requires a narrow focus, the strategies used to develop focus can be different from things like basketball, soccer, or football, where a broad focus is needed. You can tune out everything but the barbell or lifting implement, whereas a soccer or football player needs to decide at any one time which elements, or cues, to focus on. Keep your thoughts simple and develop cue words to help you focus on the task and execute the lift to the best of your ability. Cue words not only help you focus, they also can help drown out negative thoughts concerning failure or injury. Imagery can help tremendously as well.

Even so, it can be hard not to get distracted. Someone drops a weight or another loud noise occurs during your big lift, for instance, and it is hard not to automatically attend to it. This is called the orienting response. This has a lot to do, however, with what you are used to. If your gym environment is always loud and a bit chaotic, you will, over time, get used to it and you will be able to automatically tune out loud distractions, as long as they are of the usual sort. In fact, after training in a place like this long enough, you might find a quiet environment makes it difficult for you to focus! Believe it or not, if you are a trainer who trains people in a quiet environment but will soon be going back to a commercial gym environment, you might want to provide distractions during lifts! It makes no sense to train someone in a quiet environment who will subsequently be doing most of his lifting in a loud one. Not all distractions in sport are bad, of course. Some of them are needed and help keep an athlete safe, etc. But in strength training and lifting in general, pretty much everything is noise. You may hear people shouting encouragement during a heavy lift at meets or in the gym, but a lifter in the midst cannot attend to and react to such encouragement. For distractions, it's very simple. You have to get used to them so that they become "normal" to you.

Once you've learned to tune out distractions, it is your own thoughts that are likely to be the problem. Concentration and focus are not something you need to maintain at all times during a lifting session. You need to learn how to turn it on when needed, otherwise you will mentally fatigue yourself and this mental fatigue WILL result in a corresponding drop in performance. The key to dealing with your thought is to keep them firmly rooted in the present moment.

When I say keep your mind in the present, trainees often get confused by just how exact I am being. Thinking about how nice it will be to get a big PR, is actually thinking about the future! Focusing on how the task will turn out is not focusing on the task. Certainly, if you are thinking about how it would suck to fail at the lift, this is even worse. Instead of all the various thoughts that are clattering about in your mind while approaching a lift, you might try forming a simple picture of yourself lifting the weight the way you want to lift it.

Another thing that steals focus from a lift is treating a new weight as if it is something completely different than anything you've ever done before, complete with all the fear and anxiety that comes with this. I'll use an analogy. When tightrope walkers are learning the ropes, pun intended, they place the tightrope a few feet off the ground. Once they have mastered the walk at this low and safe height, they should be able to do the same walk on a higher rope. That is, there is no difference in the physical skill required, only the stakes are higher and the danger is much greater. When we lift a heavier weight, we often treat it as if it's our first time walking a high tightrope. It doesn't matter how physically prepared you are, if your mind is telling you that this is something you've never done before. This is when it is time to trust your training and hard work. Remember, only the weight is changed, everything else is the same! You've done this hundreds of times and there is no reason to pretend like you're balanced a hundred feet off the ground.

Ironically, these PR jitters can cause you to try to micro-manage your lift, tuning into every little thing you do and basically trying to control the lift too much. Just about everything you do should be automatic and the time for thinking is over once you begin a lift. One way to combat against this is to treat all lifts the same, using the same tools and focusing the same on the task. You see, if you learn to respect each lift as if it is as important as every other lift, after a while, you will not be thinking of your 500lbs deadlift being something completely different than your 450lbs deadlift. You can't wait to learn focus when you think it is really needed. Approach every lift the same, and you might be surprised when one day you get a big PR like it is routine, only to realize after you finish what you've just accomplished.
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The question to ask about principles versus programs is which came first. We can use our experience with training to make many observations. While making those observations we may be using programs, or routines. We can then take these observations and derive philosophies and principles. If the observations are sound and the conclusions we make from them are sound they will apply regardless of the programming methodology. In other words they will have a good chance of being generally true rather than true only if we use a particular way of programming.

Most such "theories", however, involve no risk because they simply cannot be refuted. Any instance can easily be interpreted to fit someone's philosophy or experience. In fact, this is a central problem with those who think that experience trumps knowledge. Each new experience is explained in light of the previous experience so that it doesn't matter if the experience base is five or three thousand. A narrow and prejudiced knowledge base informs each interpretation. But since the theories based on this experience cannot be refuted by any means, the theories are worthless. Theories must be testable. Therefore there must be an inherent risk! I might say you have to be willing to be wrong. 

It does not matter, though, once we have derived sound principles and philosophies, where they came from. Let me put that a different way. When you flip a light switch you know that an electrical current is coursing through the wire and making the bulb light up. It doesn't really matter to you whether Benjamin Franklin really stood out in a storm with a key tied to a kite. The electric light is the application and how the principles that govern that application were derived does not change anything. If on the other hand, electricity only 'worked' with lightning, then the Franklin with the kite story would be a lot more important. If we wanted power for our light bulbs we'd somehow have to harness lightning. If this were at all possible and practical.

Lightning in a bottle is exactly what you get with many training programs that claim to be in themselves part of a larger programming methodology.
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Discussing "Expert Intuition"

The question of how much is knowledge and how much is experience is a moot question. You cannot separate the two, when it comes to being an expert. They rely on one another and are entangled. Yet, we come across experts every day, that read a lot of books but only train themselves. Not an expert, in my opinion. Or, we come across an expert that has never bothered to educate him or herself, and instead relies completely on "in the trenches" experience, with no foundational background. Not an expert.

In the first case, the person who reads a lot, and maybe even has a degree or two, but has practically no experience training others, may have lots of, for lack of a better term, theoretical knowledge, in his head, but will completely lack the experience to recognize when and how to apply that knowledge. In the latter, the person who has observed and worked with many trainees, but has no education, lacks a broad enough knowledge base to effectively deal with most situations. 

What I've learned to recognize in this type of "expert" is that they often have great ideas, brought about out of intelligent thinking about what they have observed, but they lack a broad enough educational foundation to fully bring these ideas to their fruition, or to recognize when the ideas cannot become models.

Today's internet expert wants people either to think that he is so vastly experienced, and so immune to bias and bad thinking, that he is automatically superior to those 'book learners' who haven't been in the game for the hundreds of years he has. We can't do anything with these experts but ignore them and hope they go away, which they rarely do.

Just as harmful is the expert full of big confusing words and muddy jargon who has practically no experience training others. These "book learners" believe that they can think their way to expertize. The internet slang "knowledge bomb" is a part of this trend, although not all of those who use the expression are guilty. The idea that being an expert is having tons of facts at your disposal is a gross misunderstanding of expertize! Most of us who put their "experience" to work to train others can easily recognize those self-proclaimed experts who write about strength training on the net but who have obviously never trained another individual besides themselves. How do we recognize them?

I'll give you one big clue. This may not help you pin down true experts but it should help you eliminate the all talk and no go experts who inundate the net. Here it is: These bogus experts hardly ever make statements about strength training that you can directly apply to your training right then and there, so to speak. Superficial and vague is the rule. Always remember, even when a true expert is being abstract and philosophical, rather than practical and direct, there is almost always a practical lesson in it that can be applied! These book-learner experts usually confuse style with substance.

The true expert will tend to see and extract much more than the less experienced expert from any one piece of information, be it a statement made by a trainee or an actual observance of a training situation. The reason they see more is because of the connections that they already have at their disposal. You know the color red because you have experienced it. Well, the same goes for experts, whether they be strength coaches, doctors, engineers, or chess players. You'll also find that the resultant instruction is more brief and pointed. The expert has learned more about efficient instruction, and has gotten past the over-coaching stage.

#StrengthTraining #Fitness #Health #MaximalStrength

 
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The "Add 50 Pounds to Your Bench Press Instantly!" articles are not usually aimed at beginning lifters, but at much more advanced lifters. Therein lies the rub. For the advanced, small changes in technique cannot make that big a difference in load on the bar. Sorry, but it's true. Small changes are more likely to make a difference in terms of training longevity, but not absolute weight on the bar, instantly. It just does not work that way. For the advanced, it's work, work, work, that makes the difference.
 #StrengthTraining
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Detoxification is a myth. Detoxification is a myth. Detoxification is a myth.
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It is funny that the big boys in the guru club do not see the irony of their situation. The journey of a guru:

1. I am so smart and scientific.
2. Let me stand up for evidence and rationality.
3. Let me talk down about all the ignorant bros out there doing and saying stupid stuff.
4. Let me network with the big boys so I can be heard more.
5. Let me pretend to agree with every darned thing they say, lest I get kicked out of the club.
6. Now we can all say whatever we want because we're all protected and wrapped in warmth and security.
7. I'm saying whatever the heck I want! So nice not having to stand up for rationality anymore!
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You always progress in a linear fashion?

There are many ways of looking at "linear progression." The term itself is just a bit of meaningless babble that has somehow become vogue in the strength trainining world. All progression is linear. It's just not all a straight line. But this is not what people mean by linear progression, what they really mean is linear loading. However, a huge misunderstanding in strength is that your training will continue to be a simple journey from point A to point B and there will always be a straight line between those points.

So, imagine that point A is at the bottom of a long flight of stairs and point B is at the top. EVEN if you go up two stairs and regress down one, up one, and down two, and so on and so forth until you eventually reach the top your PROGRESSION from the foot of the stairs to the top is still LINEAR.

A straight line is, of course, always more inviting than a curvy one full of detours and side-roads.

Detours and side-roads, though, are reality. So-called linear progression (but really, again, an imaginary significance because any progression is linear)..straight up the stairs... works for a certain period of time when you first begin but the more advanced you get the more creative your training must become. The more thought it takes. I didn't say complex. Complex is not always required. But simple-minded may not continue to work.

Yet, there are still hundreds of fitness or strength training books and articles that start out with the story of Milos of Kroton and his bull. I know you've heard that story. It is almost required to be told once on every fitness related site. So, Milos got himself a bull calf and he carried it up a hill, or a mountain, depending on the version. He repeated this every day. As the bull got bigger he got stronger until, eventually he was carrying a full grown bull up a hill, or a MOUNTAIN! WOW!

Most people know that this is a fable. But most people believe it to be a true model of strength training. They believe that if you increase the load in very small, minute, increments, over a long period of time you won't ever "feel" the difference but eventually these very small increments (even one-half pound a day) will add up to hundreds upon hundreds of pounds.

This inspires people, and such information is aimed at inspiration, not practical instruction. People share inspiration while happily using the practical instruction. If that is all there is to it, I can do it, they think. They can envision themselves lifting herculean weights without too much effort at all! But, of course, before they know it, they are asking questions about how they are supposed to get up that darned mountain, while still being inspired by the story!

You and I both know that Milos would have failed miserably to continue to carry the bull up the hill. At some point this straight and so-called "linear progression" would have failed to continue. Remember, LOAD is the ONLY parameter that changes here. The distance he carries the bull does not change and the story is implying that the time involved does not change. He doesn't carry the bull any faster or slower each time. After all, he doesn't even 'notice' the changing weight.

Linear progression (loading) WORKS when it WORKS. We must accept that the same thing will not continue to work forever. We are constantly changing. We are not static. We are dynamic.

When I use the term linear progression in this way, to again make it perfectly clear, I am borrowing the term the way it is generally meant. The idea that there is a way to progress that is "non-linear" is ridiculous. Don't get "periodization" which regards training, mixed up with progression.

+Eric Troy

#progression #lp #linearprogress #linearprogression #MaximalStrength #MaxStrength #Fitness #Workout #Deadlift #Deadlifts #Deadlifting #Deadlifts455 #Strongman #Powerlifting #liftbig #StrengthTraining #barbell 
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