Comments on “The Cred”

“Conscience is the inner voice which warns us that someone may be looking.”

H.L. Mencken

Thanks to my good friend Chris, of the wonderfully insightful blog, Conditioning Research, for this find.

I’ve sung the praises of the Dumbell Snatch – and of all of its incarnations and variations – many times before; as an example, check out this post from not too long ago. And now, via the blog, Straight to the Bar, (and via Staley Training Systems) comes this interesting take on the (sometimes maligned) exercise, by John A. Peck.

And just who the hell is John A. Peck, you ask?  Well, check out John’s bio, as excerpted from the above-mentioned article:

John A. Peck is the priest of the Eastern Orthodox Church in Prescott, Arizona. A lifting veteran, he finds it an enjoyable way to avoid dying of life-style diseases. John is an adjunct instructor for Tri-City Prep High School (Latin), Yavapai Community College, and Veritas Theological Seminary. He has enjoyed great success in utilizing tiered and measurable physical training in Christian Youth programs. He is a happy husband, father of three sons, and owner of one dog, 13 chickens, and a set of bagpipes. He currently trains at TNT Fitness & Body in Prescott, AZ.

Father John, courtesy of Staley Training Systems

Father John, courtesy of Staley Training Systems

Hey, anyone with that kind of bio – I’m going to sit-up and take notice. And I gotta love his term for the dumbbell snatch — “The Cred” – what a name! I hope he doesn’t mind that I’ve now taken to calling my beloved dumbell snatch that as well.

Anyway, this is a short, to-the-point, though highly insightful, and enjoyable article; thanks again to Chris for sending it my way. Give it a read, and you’ll see that “Father” John is spot-on; The Cred will buy you some serious – and well-deserved — cred in the gym.

In health,


12 responses to “Comments on “The Cred”

  1. Keith,

    This is not to pick an argument with any of your readers at all, but some have had an issue with the fact that I am not massive or muscular enough in appearance to have credibility in their eyes.

    I have watched the videos of Mr. Staley on the link above (I know nothing of, and am sure he is very professional and well-versed in physical culture), but I wonder why this criticism is not levied at him. His appearance notwithstanding, the knee wraps probably are for knee problems that he has BECAUSE of the type of training.

    Throughout the field of physical culture, we have a bad case of “Mikey likes it” (and I am guilty of it too). We tend to point out deficiencies in those that advocate something we are not as drawn to…deficiencies that we don’t notice (or forgive) in those that advocate something we are drawn to. This natural tendency muddies water that is already made murkey by selection bias, and survivorship bias.

    Just some grist for the mill. BTW, father John definitely has “The Cred”.

    Doug McGuff

    • Doug,
      Good point, and along the lines of the point I was making by using Greg Glassman (CrossFit) and Mark Rippotoe as examples, here. In other words, knowledge and phenotype/expression of such knowledge are two distinct phenomena that are not in any way correlated. I consider myself lucky in that I’ve been blessed somewhat with both. There are many who I’m sure will argue my positive, intellectual self-assessment, though 🙂

  2. Keith,

    I pointed this out to get you to link your prior post. Thanks for taking the bait. That particular post was one of the most well-articulated on this topic that I have ever read. Every time this issue comes up, you should re-link to that post.



  3. The thing is that I think Doug looks good. I’m 41 and have been training since I was 15 and look something similar. I long ago accepted that without drugs I’d never look like a bodybuilder….but I could certainly look better than 85% of my contemporaries. And as I get older my peers look worse and worse.

  4. I would not pick a fight with Fedor, who does not look like the mental vision one conjures up when one things “The best living MMA fighter”. Judging a book by its cover has never worked. Look at the guy he recently defeated.

    To throw my two cents in, I believe that odd object and functional training are uniquely suited to combat sports because of the mental toughness that they breed, an altogether different strength than that developed by exercise.

    Frankly Art DeVany is correct when he says (paraphrased, of course) that the exercise needed for success in health and that needed for success in sport are different in kind and degree both, and that one does certainly not imply the other.

    That is why I am recommending Dr McGuff’s book wholeheartedly to all my relatives who come up with nothing but excuses as to why they can’t follow a healthier way of life. From what I have seen in all my proselytizing to friends and loved ones regarding health and fitness, there are a few barriers that come up.

    I often hear something to the effect of, “How am I going to look like that guy on the cover of men’s health?”. It’s clearly not just women who suffer from body dysmorphism in our society today! People, especially the natural endomorphs and ectomorphs, see such a large gulf between their natural builds and the mesomorphs that are featured in magazines, that they would never have a positive self image no matter how hard they work out. So they don’t.

    Then they buy in to the time argument. Our society has popularized the illusion of the necessity of extreme time investment for success in the health and physical arenas. Dr McGuff’s book was a revelation to me in that I could finally see a brilliantly researched source that I could hold up as an example of how to slipstream a healthy way into one’s life, and even save time doing it.

    Back to the issue of sport. I currently follow the Crossfit protocol, with the owner of my affiliate, Jeremy Thiel, taking third place in last year’s Crossfit games. As a martial artist, I find the strenuous nature of the workouts to deliver the sort of mental toughness and agility to deal with opponents of any sort. I would be more than happy to grapple or strike with someone using the BBS method for the same results, as I firmly believe I would win.

    On a similar note, I adore the Crossfit protocol, and the varied movements I encounter when I walk through the door. Having used Nautilus-type machines in the past, I find them to be dull and soulless at best. They are simply a hard sell for me. I love kettlebell swings, The C2 Rower, deadlifts, and push-jerks, because doing them makes me feel alive!

    Does the BBS concept work? No doubt. As I begin to slow down from the inevitable injuries I sustain (small prices to pay for doing something that I love), I will certainly being utilizing similar concepts (if not the book as-is!). The only part to BBS I objected to was the false dichotomy drawn between the BBS method and other methods (functional, olympic lifting, etc). The book paints with a bit of a broad brush with regards to calling other methods “too time consuming” or “too boring”.

    Some of us do these things because we truly love them.

  5. Ryon

    this whole area of functional training has really got me thinking since I discussed it in that interview with Doug McGuff.

    I have been a big proponent of functional moves / primal moves, but as I read more I am not so sure. Sports / martial arts etc are fun and I enjoy them myself, but I’m starting to see a real difference betwen skill training and strength training.

    I’ve got another post on it coming soon, but from what I am reading about motor learning there simply is no transfer between different skills and indeed similar skills can actually interfere with each other confusing your brain. Skill traiing – develops skills. So if you want to improve your martial arts you need to practice the martial art. From what I am reading at the moment a kettlebell swing will strengthen your posterior chain but it is that improved strength that will help your jumps or whatever rather than the “functionjal” nature of the move. You coudl jsut as well get that extra strength through a hip/back machine or a stiff leg deadlift.

    So if you want to compete in the Crossfit Games you need to practice Crossfit moves (whatever they may be on the day). Developing skill and agility comes through training those skills.

    It is interesting too that you admit that your picking up injuries from your crossfit training – reading round the boards – inclduing the corssfit board – there are lots of injuries generated by their approach. Getting older I don’t want to be injured anymore. Plus I regret the things I did 15 or 20 years ago that have left me with niggling injuries that I still feel.

    This is an interesting debate though and is worth discussing.

  6. I am a big fan of Crossfit, but I don’t follow it strictly any more, due to the fact that every three months I seemed to injure my knee, or shoulder, or ankle. I must admit though, that each time it was because I was being over aggressive, allowing form to deteriorate with fatigue because I “Had to finish” the WOD, instead of stopping.

    Had I been smarter, I probably wouldn’t have injured myself, and I believe that with perfect discipline (thoroughly warming up, cooling down, and stopping when form deteriorates), Crossfit and similar protocols can be followed w/ low incidence of injury. For me, it was never the movement itself, but my doing it in either an over-fatigued or un-warmed-up state.

    I still do many of the high impact movements in Crossfit, but at my own pace, and my training looks a LOT more like Keith’s than anything else now, as I’ve shifted my focus to producing power over much shorter time domains (1-10 seconds), instead of the 3-10 minute domains Crossfit generally focuses in. Despite this shift, I haven’t found my ability to grapple for 5 minutes lessened, as I still do interval training several times per month.

    As for functional movements, skills are, as Chris said, exactly that: skills. They are specific, so I try to train those that have lots applicability to things I personally do frequently. The danger, like anything in life, is in overspecification.

    I do muscle ups because I like being able to easily climb a tree, and because they allow for hypertrophy/taxing of many muscle groups. I deadlift because I like being able to pick up heavy things, and I clean because I like being able to rip things into the air (or people when I’m grappling). I like turkish getups, but I do them less frequently because I don’t have to stand up while holding something in the air that often. I love the movement, it makes my shoulders feel great, and it kicks my butt in high reps, but I don’t do them every day, because I don’t care about being really good at them.

    I think it’s important to strike a balance in how specified our functional movements are. Something highly specified, like a bent press, is going to have good carry over to other areas for sure, but you may want to think about how specified you get with it. Adam Glass, for example, owns this movement, along with the TGU, but he is a strong man who does strength demonstrations. I am not. It’s a personal thing, but for me, a few injuries have simply taught me the value of choosing the movements I do carefully.

  7. Keith

    Thanks for your kind comments on the article.

    The “Cred” is a great exercise, and it’s fun to boot.

    I’m thinking of a follow up article on it, perhaps a little more nuanced. Since you obviously are a fan of this lift, I’d be interested in your ideas on it.

    • Hey, great to hear from you Father John! Sure, shoot me an email and let me know specifically what you’d like to cover. I could talk for days on the benefits of one of my favorite exercises!

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