Bodybuilding, Health and Athletic Development

Three diverse pursuits emanating from a single, overriding endeavor — weight training.  I began dabbling with a Venn diagram to illustrate the association (or, rather, lack thereof) between the above-mentioned individual pursuits themselves, and quickly gave that up; the association being more along the lines of the interaction of blobs within a lava lamp (showing my age here) as opposed to any Venn diagram can accurately portray.

It seems to me that what is lost on most people — even those who are relatively well-steeped in the S&C/iron game — is the fact that weight training (writ large) must be considered the toolbox fabrication shop within which the various tools, techniques, methods and modalities are housed and, indeed, expressed.  The basic tools and techniques of metalsmithing, for example, apply both to the welding of I-beams, and to the creation of fine art; the same mindset, I think, should apply to the art of “phenotypesmithing”.

If your goal is to become a better athlete, it makes little sense to train as if you were (or wanted to be) a bodybuilder.  High-rep/high volume protocols will indeed increase muscular hypertrophy via increased cellular sarcoplasmic fluid volume; a phenomena that, although kinda cool, has little (if any) correlation to betterment of the strength/power-to-bodyweight ratio that athletes ought to be concerned with.  Enter the “look like Tarzan, play like Jane” conundrum.

I don’t want anyone to think that I’m down on bodybuilding and/or body-comp pursuits in general — to each his own, I say (in true libertarian fashion) — I just want folks to realize that goals and methods need to be smartly co-joined.   This is not to say, however, that I can’t cross lines and borrow from the bodybuilder in order to enhance (in a round-about way) my athleticism.  This, my friends, is what a smartly-designed, n=1 programming entails.  With an open mind, absorb what is useful, and with no attachment, let go of what is not.  Be a lava lamp; a lava lamp, though, with n=1 direction and discretion.

OK, so I managed 3 back-to-back lifting sessions over the course of last week; again, not ideal — but, hey, that’s life.  Of course, no single session was quite like the others, so I can, to some extent, mitigate any overtraining issues.  One thing I have dearly missed as of late are my sprinting sessions, and I hope to reintegrate those as soon as my life normalizes out of this transition period (moving cross-country; new house, new gig, etc.).

Monday (Rosedale studio) – a superset of btn jerks (with a slow, controlled negative return to the rack position) and bodyweight pull-ups.  This was attacked as a short and intense metcon burst; very little rest between sets and/or movements.  Rest-pause as necessary on the pull-ups in the later rounds.

btn jerks (left leg lead x reps, then right leg lead x reps): 135 x 5; 185 x 5; 195 x 3, 3

pull-ups: bw x 15 each round

Tuesday (Rosedale studio) – similar idea, a different movement pairing.

power clean: 135 x 5; 155 x 5; 175 x 5, 5, 5

dips: bw x 25 each round

Wednesday (Downtown studio) – with an anticipated 4-day break looming on the horizon, I dived headlong into this one.  Nice contrast, here, with the metcon-dash style of the previous two sessions.

MedX lumbar extension: 300 x 12, 12 (5010 tempo)

tru squat (extended set, rest-pause method): 135 lbs, 0lb counter – 10, 5, 3, 3 (40×0 tempo)

leg press: 420 x 17 (40×0 tempo)

then, a superset of the following two exercises (partial movements following full-range failure on all), each at a 4010 tempo (40×0 on partials):

(A1) Nautilus pec dec: 110 x 10, 7, 7

(A2) Nautilus reverse flye: 110 x 12, 8, 7

Xccentric flat press (no external load, no counter): 12, 11 (70×0 tempo)

Nautilus pullover (extended set, rest-pause method): 255 x 10, 3, 2 (5010 tempo)

Admin note: I will be posting additional workouts — some client examples, some of my own — over at the Efficient Exercise blog.   In doing this, I hope to illuminate the vast array of n=1 approaches taken toward achieving the common goal of  improved “fitness” and bettered health.  Also, I’ll be dissecting some Paleo meals on the Efficient Exercise site and, as the vast majority of Meesus TTP’s and my food is locally (Austin/central Texas) sourced, it only makes sense to cover them in a more localized forum.  Even if you’re nowhere near the “epicenter of Physical Culture”, though, drop on by and check out both the workouts and the good, Paleo grub.

And on a final note – wow, how times have changed.  Now, I’m all for the NFL’s Play 60 initiative, but damn!  When I was a kid (again, showing my age, I suppose)  our neighborhood’s moms fretted aloud as to what to do to get the kids to back the hell off for 60 minutes; 60 minutes of relief from bloodied noses (and other minor, blood producing emergencies), mischief, and all-around neighborhood-wrecking mayhem.  Oh well, times do change.

In health,


8 responses to “Bodybuilding, Health and Athletic Development

  1. The “Play 60” initiative could as well be called “Put Your #%&!@&! Video Game Down for a Change and Get Your A$$ Moving for a Bit!” initiative, at least if my experience of what preoccupies “kids these days” and sucks up their time like a vampire is any guide . . .

    But it is mystifying to those of us geezers old enough to recall riding bikes w/out helmets and playing no-pads tackle football almost every day after school right up through junior high.

    • Every time this subject comes up I’m reminded that I need to tell my mom that I’m sorry for all I put her through in my youth 🙂
      …and she only knew the half of it 😉

  2. Great point here, Keith. I try to stress to my readers that going for “health and fitness” is not the same as going for “athleticism,” and therefore the methods for getting there aren’t the same.

    I think for men in particular, the tendency is to hold up bodybuilders and pro athletes as the healthiest and fittest people in the world – even if they conveniently ignore all the behind-the-scenes illness and injury – and therefore we should be getting our nutrition and exercise advice from them.

    Like you, I think it’s to each his own, but believing these things are mutually inclusive definitely leads to confusion and inefficient techniques.

    • Yep, it’s long been my belief that competitive athleticism begins where the best of health peaks…and subsequently declines. Just as training for high-level competition involves a series of give-and-take — i.e., shaving another 100th of a second off an already rockin’ 40 time might necessitate a slide in that athlete’s max deadlift, for example — making the jump to competitive athletics necessitates that overall health take a backseat.

  3. We all perhaps hearken back to the days when powerlifters, bodybuilders, and Olympic lifters trained together and learned from one another.

    I wouldn’t know first hand, but I heard it was nice.

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