This book “doesn’t sound like me.” I keep hearing that when people start reading the text. “You’re not angry,” “You don’t seem to be ranting,” and “You don’t sound like you are going to strangle anybody” are three of the comments that I have heard from the early reviews.
Well, okay. You can fully expect that in the upcoming books, but here, “From the Ground Up,” we are going to going to try to encourage people to change the whole modern paradigm of training and get back to the roots of the sport: pick heavy stuff up. I get dozens of emails a week and talk on the telephone with people who all say the following basic statement: “I didn’t know I could do it.” What is “it?” Simply, it is facing down a barbell, picking it up and putting it overhead.
That is exactly how I learned to lift. In my very first published article, I wrote:
When my friends and I used to lift the old six foot bar with cement filled weights, we all thought we were pretty strong. Then, Dad would ask us to help him move a car engine or open a rusted jar of nuts and bolts, or put the ping pong table up on a rack for storage. Yes, I was the strongest kid in the four-house area, but every Dad had that scary kind of strength that allows one to pick an engine out of a Pontiac station wagon and carry it to the lawn. (From “The Dinosaur Files”)
And, how did my friends and I lift? We had the bar on the ground, picked it up and pushed, pressed or kicked the bar overhead. When somebody learned to clean the bar in one motion…rather than the five or six that the rest of us used as a “technique”…we all adopted the new, better method. Was it perfect? No. Did we get better and better in our sports? Yes. Did we get hurt? Well, of course not…we didn’t even know that you could get hurt “playing.”
I want to bring the joy back into lifting weights. I want to see people having fun again in the weight room. I want people to go into their home gym and train without feeling like they can’t because they don’t know the most recent research. For all these reasons, I titled this book From the Ground Up. Sure, on one hand it deals with taking the bar from the ground to overhead. Yet, it also reflects my goal of getting across the lessons of training…the long-term approach…so the athlete (you) can deal with in-season and off-season issues, some insights about nutrition and, most important, learning NOT to make the same mistakes over and over and over and over again.
In the upper right hand corner of the book, you will see pictures of the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk. By flipping the pages, you can see the basic lifts in “motion.” Nothing about this book…or the series of planned books…is too technical. Let’s be honest, the most elaborate thing I have in my gym is a pair of sawhorses. I’m not exactly “cutting edge” yet…
Throughout this text, you will find great pictures from both Charles Staley and Mike Rosenberg. I appreciate the athletes who have allowed me to experiment with them to learn these methods better!