Two years already?
This “stuff” has been pouring through my head for over two years. We were getting ready for Easter in South Bend, Indiana. I had come out to be a sponsor for Seth Rosenberg and his dad, noted lifting enthusiast, Mike Rosenberg, was encouraging me to write about training scholastic athletes. Mike and I have had a series of adventures and he has been one of the major engines driving me to write articles from Slosh Pipes to One lift a day.
Mike had been telling me about his frustrations at a local gym where high school football players train with Bench Press, Lat Pulldowns and Curls. They read the muscle rags at the supermarket and pour creatine in their twenty-five soft drinks every day. More importantly, they don’t listen to old men who are twice or more stronger than them. Mike’s great insight about these young men and their training is simple. They only listen to Farmer Ted.
“Yeah, but the thing is I’m kinda like the leader, y’know…kinda like the King of the Dipshits.”
It’s a quote from Anthony Michael Hall playing “Farmer Ted,” in the movie “Sixteen Candles.” Yes, I think the movie is great and well worth watching. For many of us, we would like to be the painfully sad rich kid with the hot girlfriend. Many of us know those who follow the Farmer Teds of this world. And, one day, we look around at our local spa and realize that we are Farmer Ted. The King of the Dipshits.
For the bulk of those in the gym and spa, they gleam their information from these dissected and sliced up bits of hearsay and heresy that someone selling us something made up about a bodybuildings champion’s training who also spend five figures a month in supplements you can’t get from the grocery store. The kids at Mike’s local gym cut out the routines of the “champs” and follow the workouts exactly as written…except for the leg day, the back day and the shoulder day because, and I quote, “I don’t want to get too big.” Don’t worry, I will call you the day before you look like Mr. Universe and remind you to back off.
The issue is something that has been crashing over me for the past four months. The point was best summed up at the Charlie Francis Seminar when he simply said: “Most people’s highs are too low and their lows are too high.” The vast majority of people who train tend to swim towards the middle: middle reps, middle sets, medium intensity, medium recovery.
In other words, most of us train like Farmer Ted. True success in training is realizing that your “highs” have to be very very high, and your lows just tend to be above walking the dog. Most of us, however, compromise the really hard days by making the easy day a little harder than necessary basically insuring that there will be a lessening of what should really be hard. This is the secret behind training sprinters like Charlie Francis. Honestly, when you study the training schedules of Charlie’s sprinters, they perhaps train only 1% or LESS of their total training day. Of course, he has sprinters who bench over 400 and squat over 600 (for six reps) and go one hundred meters in under ten seconds.
I listen to Charlie Francis. I also listen to Dave Tate. I loved his point about most people’s training programs that he noted at testfest. Basically, he said that any time he saw any workout with lifts over 90%, he stopped looking at it. For him, it might take months of training to sneak up to 90% and anybody who thinks you can do 90% weekly or for reps simply doesn’t’ understand how far they have to go. Dave’s famous four levels of training are “Shitty, Sucks, Good, and Great.” When Dave and his Westside powerlifters go heavy, they go very heavy. They go so heavy that I noted a few years ago that my 400 pound bench is shitty.
Listen to the best. Listen hard. Do your best to keep humble. Have a great Easter!