The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

It’s no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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Thread: Lifting gurus

  1. #1
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Lifting gurus

    How about a discussion on who's your weight lifting mentor, what type of system they endorse, and the pros/cons/similarities of each.

    I'll start...If I had to pick just one person, it would be Stuart McRoberts. McRoberts wrote several books, the more popular ones would be Brawn and Beyond Brawn, which deal with his prefered system of weight training. He believes in the old system of building strength and size; compound movements (squats, deads, bench, etc.), working the full body twice a week, abreviated routines, minimal sets, and getting stronger to get bigger. He was one of the first guys to popularize the cycles; working up to a new max, dropping the weight and working back up to a new max. He was also a big proponent of big eating as long as the body fat didn't get too out of hand (>15%). Do you see a lot of similarities to Starting strength?

    In his later writings (starting with Beyond Brawn) he really started to get too conservative with safety. He started to recomend not doing things like barbell rows, limiting the range of motion, and using machines in place of standard barbell exercises. That's where he kind of lost me.

    He also had a great magazine by the name of Hardgainer. It was full of great writers like Christy, Whelan, Kubik, Connor, and Dr.Ken. He also had a website with a great forum. Many of the writers from Hardgainer would drop by the forum and answer questions. I haven't been there in a long time, so I'm not sure if it's still running.

    A typical McRoberts routine:

    Monday:
    Squat 1x20
    Stifflegged deadlift 1x12
    Bench press 2x6
    Chinups 2xMax
    Heelraise 2x12

    Thursday:
    Deadlift 2x6
    Shoulder press 2x6
    Curls 2x6
    Situps 2xMany
    L-fly 2x12

    <edit> I think this is a FANTASIC way for a beginner to train!!! Once you reach a point that you've built a solid foundation, move on to something different and suited more for an intermediate lifter. I think a nice way to do it is to move on to specialization routines, and then revisit this type of training again to build a wider base.
    Last edited by Off Road; 08-28-2009 at 08:25 AM.
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  3. #2
    SchModerator ZenMonkey's Avatar
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    I had two. One, Tommy Kono. The other Rick Flemming.

    Ive spent far more time with Rick. Rick used to coach with Rippetoe adn went to college with him in WF and they have the same tastes as far as strength training goes. I dont think I need to go much further than that. Rick became a USAWL coach and Ive been working with him for strength for about 5 years and then WL about 3 years after that.

    Ive only worked with Tommy in person about 5 times. We spend a good deal of time trading form videos over the interwebz and talking over email alot. He is a purist when it comes to WL which I think I nod to in my disposition.

    Both coaches have very similar ideas on how to train a WL. Squat, clean, jerk, snatch. Thats about it. They believe that one must practice the O lifts with diligence and have form down. They are both purists in that they favor perfect form over brute strength. This, I think has made me into somewhat of a lift technician. I have learned to deconstruct a clean, jerk, snatch, front squat and O squat with much detail from these guys. Many f the fellow WLs I train with follow their methodology like gospel, but I have tried to find a middle road of brute strength and form perfection but I do practice the O lifts 2-3x a week.

    Here is a typical split they suggest for a WL

    Snatch + OH Squat 5x2 across - 95%
    Clean 2x Jerk 1x 5x2 across - 95%
    Highbar Squat 5x3 across
    Upper Pull

    Snatch + OH Squat 5x2 acoss - 85%
    Clean 2x Jerk 1x 5x2 across - 85%
    Front Squat 5x3 across
    Upper Push

    Snatch to heavy double
    Clean and Jerk to heavy double
    High Bar Squat to heavy triple
    Last edited by ZenMonkey; 08-28-2009 at 09:23 AM.
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  4. #3
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Isn't it great to have those connections with such knowledgable people? I had a lot of conversations with David Maurice, one of the most frequent Hardgainer writers. Invaluable.
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  5. #4
    SchModerator ZenMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    Isn't it great to have those connections with such knowledgable people? I had a lot of conversations with David Maurice, one of the most frequent Hardgainer writers. Invaluable.
    Definitely. They're out there willing to help, you just gotta have the gumption to find them.

    Ive also had the opportunity to work with Elliot Hulse of Strength Camp a few times and Vic Valoria (NCAA football star and NCAA champion WL). I actually helped Vic coach his athletes .. he is now a strength and conditioning coach for SMU. I wanted to learn more about training so I simply called him up, scheduled a meeting, and he invited me to come out and watch. That turned into one of the most fun and interesting jobs I had in college. I worked with him for about 2 years learning from his ideas on training athletes.

    I think it is ever important to seek knowledge from those who know more than you. Just as we train our strength based weakness to get stronger we should do the same with our minds. There is always something to be learned.
    Sarvamangalam!

  6. #5
    Squat Heavy, Squat Often Cards's Avatar
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    I never had a mentor when it came to weight training, but if I were to give something credit it would be this website. Not only do we have people here who are as dedicated as the pros, we have the pros. Its fun to lurk around and read everything, get different perspectives, ideas, combine and create. The information and ideas that are available here are unlimited.

    For those of you who are bored read some of the debates that date back to when WBB first started in 2001.

    That being said the people that motivate me are the people working harder than me in the gym doing the same basic exercises. I don't respect people who are 30lbs heavier than me and do 10 different sets of curls. I respect the person who is 20 lbs heavier than me, squatting 50lbs more than me.
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  7. #6
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    Ya as Cards said, no one in particular. It's the forums that help me out the most. I believe that I can figure anything out by myself.

    Besides, most "gurus" are extremists - either bodybuilders, powerlifters, strongman, etc....

    I want to be strong in several rep ranges, fast, explosive, lean and muscular, have endurance and stamina.....so I guess boxers and other fighters would be who I look up to.
    Last edited by brihead301; 08-28-2009 at 09:58 AM.
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  8. #7
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    Regardless of the proponent's name, I've found the most effective lifting principles to centre around the idea that muscle hypertrophy by and large tends to be merely a by-product of strength gains. If you work on getting strong, you will inevitably have some muscle growth. Focus on muscle growth only and you start getting into the troubled waters of analysis paralysis. Lift heavy. Be a meat head and don't complicate things.

  9. #8
    Senior Member Gymjunkie's Avatar
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    It's great people have mentors. For me, I just read a lot and a bit different perspectives trying to find the best way for myself to train. Mostly respect and listen to Rippetoes, L. McDonald, McRoberts. Tsatsouline, Kubik have interesting stuff too.

    WBB forum has been great. Lots of people who know WL well.

    How's everyone's opinion on Will Brink and Vince Gironda?
    Lifts:

    Bench Press 60kg 5x5
    Squats 77,5 kg 5x5
    Deads 112,5kg 5x5
    BB Rows 80kg 5x5
    Overhead Pr. 40kg 5x5

    My training journal:
    http://www.wannabebig.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=125238

  10. #9
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Since most of you don't have gurus...how about people that fire you with their writings? I'm always on the lookout for writers that get you fired up to train hard.

    Personally, I like Dr.Ken and Brooks Kubik for getting fired up.
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  11. #10
    Bodybuilding Mythbuster
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gymjunkie View Post
    It's great people have mentors. For me, I just read a lot and a bit different perspectives trying to find the best way for myself to train. Mostly respect and listen to Rippetoes, L. McDonald, McRoberts. Tsatsouline, Kubik have interesting stuff too.

    WBB forum has been great. Lots of people who know WL well.

    How's everyone's opinion on Will Brink and Vince Gironda?

    Haven't read that much by Will Brink...but can't remember a lot that I disagree with him on.

    Vince Gironda was a bit of a crank. He strongly believed that squats and bench presses were worthless exercises...to the point where he would throw people out of his gym if he saw them doing said exercises. That said, he definitely knew some stuff...but could have profited (character wise) from being a bit more open-minded.

    As for myself, I don't have anyone I consider a mentor as such...but McRobert definitely had a strong influence on my lifting philosophy.
    Last edited by Songsangnim; 08-31-2009 at 12:37 AM.

  12. #11
    Risk10k Clifford Gillmore's Avatar
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    Louie Simmons, Mel Siff, Jim Wendler, Dave Tate.

    There are a plethora of people who have helped me at any given point.

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    How about a discussion on who's your weight lifting mentor, what type of system they endorse, and the pros/cons/similarities of each.

    I'll start...If I had to pick just one person, it would be Stuart McRoberts. McRoberts wrote several books, the more popular ones would be Brawn and Beyond Brawn, which deal with his prefered system of weight training. He believes in the old system of building strength and size; compound movements (squats, deads, bench, etc.), working the full body twice a week, abreviated routines, minimal sets, and getting stronger to get bigger. He was one of the first guys to popularize the cycles; working up to a new max, dropping the weight and working back up to a new max. He was also a big proponent of big eating as long as the body fat didn't get too out of hand (>15%). Do you see a lot of similarities to Starting strength?

    In his later writings (starting with Beyond Brawn) he really started to get too conservative with safety. He started to recomend not doing things like barbell rows, limiting the range of motion, and using machines in place of standard barbell exercises. That's where he kind of lost me.

    .
    The reasons he recommended not doing barbell rows are enumerated here (see 5th paragraph in the link). Doesn't mean you shouldn't do them if you like them (and can do them safely), but his points are still valid.
    http://www.hardgainer.com/qna01.html

    As for limiting the range of motion...several exercises do have an excessive range of motion (like the overhead DB press, upright row or dip.) Again nothing controversial there. This can be a great joint saver.

    As for using machines in the place of a standard barbell exercise...as far as I know he only recommended using a machine in place of the barbell or T-bar row. Machines have their place.
    Last edited by Songsangnim; 08-31-2009 at 12:56 AM.

  14. #13
    Senior Member Gymjunkie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Songsangnim View Post
    The reasons he recommended not doing barbell rows are enumerated here (see 5th paragraph in the link). Doesn't mean you shouldn't do them if you like them (and can do them safely), but his points are still valid.
    http://www.hardgainer.com/qna01.html

    As for limiting the range of motion...several exercises do have an excessive range of motion (like the overhead DB press, upright row or dip.) Again nothing controversial there. This can be a great joint saver.

    As for using machines in the place of a standard barbell exercise...as far as I know he only recommended using a machine in place of the barbell or T-bar row. Machines have their place.
    Gotta agree with McRobers about Rows... they do place a lot of stress on my back and I stopped doing them when I started lifting 20+ kg over my weight on the bar. Concentrating on pull ups now and maybe DB Rows later.
    Lifts:

    Bench Press 60kg 5x5
    Squats 77,5 kg 5x5
    Deads 112,5kg 5x5
    BB Rows 80kg 5x5
    Overhead Pr. 40kg 5x5

    My training journal:
    http://www.wannabebig.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=125238

  15. #14
    Senior Member Gymjunkie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Songsangnim View Post
    Haven't read that much by Will Brink...but can't remember a lot that I disagree with him on.

    Vince Gironda was a bit of a crank. He strongly believed that squats and bench presses were worthless exercises...to the point where he would throw people out of his gym if he saw them doing said exercises. That said, he definitely knew some stuff...but could have profited (character wise) from being a bit more open-minded.

    As for myself, I don't have anyone I consider a mentor as such...but McRobert definitely had a strong influence on my lifting philosophy.
    The guy (Will Brink) has written probably THE BIGGEST (page wise) book on bodybuilding I've seen. His Bodybuilding Revealed is 630+ pages!!! Haven't had the courage to read it yet...

    Gironda was damn wrong.. but I will read his book to maybe get some useful insight.

    Cheers
    Lifts:

    Bench Press 60kg 5x5
    Squats 77,5 kg 5x5
    Deads 112,5kg 5x5
    BB Rows 80kg 5x5
    Overhead Pr. 40kg 5x5

    My training journal:
    http://www.wannabebig.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=125238

  16. #15
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Songsangnim View Post
    The reasons he recommended not doing barbell rows are enumerated here...Doesn't mean you shouldn't do them if you like them (and can do them safely), but his points are still valid.
    I'm very familiar with his stance on these issues. This is the reason there was an imediate split between McRoberts and Brooks. I tend to lean more twards Brooks' side of the issue. Most lifts can be dangerous if performed in the wrong way. It's the lifters duty to practice form and only progress at a rate that allows you to keep that form. But don't give up on a productive exercise just because it's been labeled as dangerous (like Rows and Oly lifts) if that's what you want to do.
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  17. #16
    WBB's Juggernaut/Liason BigCorey75's Avatar
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    I pull advice from a list of sources. My faves are Chad Waterbury, Eric Cressy, Dave Tate, Louie Simmons, Pavel Tsatsouline, Mark Rippetoe, Christian Thibedeaux, Dr. Lonnie Lowery, Scott Abel and Alywn Cosgrove the list goes on but those are my tops

    They all basically teach, movements, heavy weight, volume, and working the body as a whole, slightly disagree on a few things, waterbuy, cosgrove and tsatsouline believe in total body workouts, Cressey and Tate like upper lower splits. Lowery and Waterbury give lots of scientific info which I love.

    But all believe in hard work, good programming and effort
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  18. #17
    big on TONING dynamo's Avatar
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    when I started (way back in the day) Arnold was my motivation. I never read any of his books. I just lifted. Then I found WBB and I started using WBB v1 and that worked then I found out from people about the whole 5x5 thing, so I adapted lifting from WBB v1 to fit 5x5 then I read some more and found out about west side and I added more to fit. So really its just been the people on this board that got me to where I am now. I've come a long way, and still have a long way to go. Worked on form with squats from sensei and worked on bench from dave tate and worked on deadlifts from louie if I remember correctly.
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  19. #18
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    John MacCallum, love his book which has plenty of good routines to try. He was also packing muscle on guys before AS really hit the scene

  20. #19
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisIsDaBoy View Post
    John MacCallum, love his book
    I've only read excerpts from his book, but the little I've read was AWSOME!
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  21. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    . But don't give up on a productive exercise just because it's been labeled as dangerous (like Rows and Oly lifts) if that's what you want to do.

    This is exactly what I said above "Doesn't mean you shouldn't do them if you like them and can do them safely.""

    Just saying that for certain people his advice has merit.
    Last edited by Songsangnim; 08-31-2009 at 09:11 PM.

  22. #21
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    Bill Starr would be another main influence. He's always been an advocate of strength exercises as opposed to building size at the expense of everything else.

    Sure his training advice at times veers slightly towards football players...but most beginners and intermediates could prosper equally well from it...once they've understood the basic principles.

  23. #22
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    Thought I'd revive this thread. I've never had a training mentor in the sense that I've almost always lifted alone but some of the writers whose works have influenced and/or motivated me the most are:

    • Brooks Kubik - great books, entertaining reading and some good ideas on how to set up a program
    • Dr Ken - incredibly motivating guy and a great writer
    • Stuart McRobert - huge advocate of common-sense training
    • John McCallum - one of the best writers in strength training, routines he wrote would have been better if you dropped the volume in half
    • Sean Toohey - wrote some of the best online articles I've ever read but he's disappeared (was on WBB for about 2 days last year)
    • Jim Wendler - 5/3/1 taught me a lot about programming
    • John Schaeffer - propopent of one of the best linear progression programs
    • Mark Rippetoe - keeps it simple and straightforward
    Last edited by StLRPh; 07-14-2011 at 06:34 AM.
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  24. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by StLRPh View Post
    Brooks Kubik, Dr Ken, Stuart McRobert, John McCallum, Sean Toohey, Jim Wendler John Schaeffer, Mark Rippetoe
    Good list
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  25. #24
    Become Unbreakable Mark!'s Avatar
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    I'd have to say the most influential person I have in my life lifting wise is Josh Bryant, since he's my trainer, and has become a good friend of mine. Brian Dobson is also on my list, he's always there for advice and help when needed, but is a little limited when it comes to powerlifting implements.

    1. Josh Bryant
    2. Brian Dobson
    3. Dave Tate
    4. Jim Wendler
    5. Any of the Elite FTS writers
    6. Numerous guys here at WBB, Vin, Travis, Tom, big Wilk, Brian, Nick, and several others who frequently post help/assistance in my journal and threads. I think having a wide base of LIKE MINDED guys to help from really helps in progress. If you get too wide of a group with too many different opinions/standpoints, there's a chance you're gonna end up spinning your wheels taking in contradictory information.
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  26. #25
    Cardio bunny Alex.V's Avatar
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    A 110 pound woman named Stephanie, with quads bigger than mine are now, who 11 years ago saw me squatting in the gym and said "what on EARTH are you doing?". She proceeded to demonstrate correct form, encourage me to stop eating like a little bitch, and otherwise slapped some sense into me.

    That lady taught me more about weightlifting than any other individual. Ever.
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