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Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Importance of Heavy Weights - By Ian McKown

"Progressive exercise is positively the only road to great strength."-Earl Leiderman Secrets of Strength 1925

Many, many of the "Old Time" lifters absolutely fascinate me with the amount of strength they were able to build and the ease with which they were able to demonstrate it. The Iron Game has taken several severe (if not fatal) blows in the past 40-50 years which have turned it from a respectable "Man's Right of Passage" to a trendy and bloated financial machine, conspiring to "tone", "pump" and "shape" the current crop of lifters. This, in my mind, has to change.

What is the one major problem with today's lifters? They utterly refuse to TRAIN HEAVY. How many times have you walked into a gym and seen Betty "Fluff body" frantically waving her neon colored "power bells" in an attempt to tighten her arms or tone her body? How many times have you seen Johnny "Buff body" strutting around the gym with his aqua blue spandex pants, his pre-torn lifting shirt and his designer lifting gloves lift nothing heavier than his water bottle through his entire "workout"? Granted, at least they're in the gym, but the real problem is that they feverently believe that they are doing it "right" and that people who grunt and slam the weight around are just macho iron-heads who haven't got a clue. Some things need to change, or the Iron Game- the TRUE Iron Game might just disappear forever.

Whew! Now that's out of the way, let's move on to the topic of the day- HEAVY WEIGHTS. You won't see those two words in most of today's current muscle-publications, but you should. Nothing will build more mass and strength than the liberal use of HEAVY WEIGHTS and HARD WORK. I'm not talking about a "Hard Set" of 135lbs on the supine press, I'm talking about 300 or more on that lift. I'm not talking about 315lbs for the deep-knee bend, I'm talking about 400+lbs. I'm talking about using a weight that is 2- 3 times heavier than the average gym bunny would even consider doing. Of course, many people can't use this kind of weight right off the bat, but that doesn't mean that they can't put as MUCH WEIGHT AS POSSIBLE on the bar and get as many reps in good form as they can. If you truly want to be strong, nothing less will suffice.

I occasionally visit internet sites which have a more "friendly" view about training than I do. I recently read a thread where one gentleman posed the question "My wife says dead lifts will ruin my back. What do you guys think?" Needless to say, the majority of the answers were in the vein of "She's right, you don't need them anyway". Basically the other guys were helping to keep the man in question from doing something they themselves are too afraid to do. A lift like a HEAVY dead lift is a true test of a man's mettle. To have to do something like a max dead lift, many of the current crop of lifters would run for cover. Hell, to tell you the truth, I wish there were an easier way of building "Super Strength", but there isn't. You need to work those hard lifts even HARDER to get any real gains.

Have you ever heard of the term "Poundage Progression?" No, I'm not talking about those numbers on the side of the nearest selectorized wonder machine, I'm talking about the adding of weight to the bar (plate-loading machine) whenever humanly possible. A lifter who wants to be big and brutally strong must see the adding of weight as the most important factor of his training. Sure diet is important. Rest? Of course! But none of that will matter if you aren't REALLY trying to add weight to the bar. Will you be able to add weight to the bar every time you train? If you don't have fractional plates, probably not. But you will be able to shoot for one more rep. You will shoot for carrying that sandbag for another 20 feet.

The point is that you can, if you really want to, make any workout a little HEAVIER. You don't have to be a bunny and make a million excuses why you "can't" lift heavy. You might be wondering what HEAVY weights can do for you that light weights cannot? Well, HEAVY weights can stimulate far more muscle fibers. They can stimulate the strengthening of the tendons and ligaments (something of utmost importance for someone wanting SUPER STRENGTH) and they can literally make a man out of a mouse. Why do you think the breathing squat programs are so successful? Why do you think some of the participants in those programs are able to pack on 30,50 even up to 100lbs of muscle? Because they strive to add weight to the bar. They strive to lift HEAVIER and HEAVIER weights. Some men, with a large amount of drive and determination, can literally add weight to the bar every time they train. They have the BALLS to push themselves. They have the BALLS to train like men and really, really give it an honest effort. Do you? I know I spent a large amount of my training career trying to get bigger or stronger by taking the easy route. I was always searching for the scientific diet and the miracle program. All of that is BULLSHIT! I finally started making gains when I stopped trying to find the easy road and just started adding weight to the bar. I must have gone up 30lbs in 6 months and I haven' t looked back since. I want to be STRONG. I want to be able to lift any weight that comes across my path. How can some people be content staring in the mirror, using the same poundage they've used for the last two years and not making one slightest bit of progress? Men lift HEAVY weights, that's what we do. We don't pump the weights. We don 't F-E-E-L the weights. We KILL THE WEIGHT. And when it's dead, we move on to the next HEAVIER battle. See you on the battlefield!

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