Monthly Archives: November 2015

Pissing Contests or Healthy Competition

Decades ago in an unnamed private school bathroom a group of grade school boys gathered.  There was an underground tournament.  I happened upon it on my way to the boy’s bathroom. Three of my peers were testing how far they could get from the john and still make the stream reach without missing the urinal.  It was hysterical, partially because one of my peers showed a reckless disregard for his target the other reason was the sheer magnitude of distance another friend was making.

Regardless of this boy’s room fiasco there is a complexity to the scenario of competition, more specifically of all healthy competition.  All competitions create a type of escalation.  In society we see it in smart phones, politics, art, and life in general.  In a lot of ways there is a cooperative competition much like powerlifting is a cooperative competition or cross fit is a cooperative competition.  People gather to see who can best the other.  This chronic one-upmanship is what makes sport interesting, but also what sustains a competition and builds people’s desire to compete.

Often time’s once our glory years are behind us it is hard to maintain our competitive zeal though I think our best efforts come from when we are competing and when there is a deadline.  If anything competition can tell you a lot about who you are as a person, but also it can help you become more than you though you could be, or at least get you closer.   I’m writing this to encourage people to compete, to compete in running, lifting, or even craft beer making what matters is your mastery of your art.

As a coach sometimes I once half-jokingly told an athlete that competing is a lot like breathing. You really can’t feel alive unless you are.  I find there is some truth to that idea. It is a lot like Shakespeare’s quote “better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”  Though I look at it as better to have tried, and failed than never to have tried at all.

There are many types of competitors and a myriad of fields to compete in.  In weightlifting though I think if you have never left some skin or blood on the bar you never really lifted.  Taking risk is all part of competing if you never expose yourself to some risk maybe you should start.  Separate yourself from the spectator, and the critic, participate.

The Rusted Bent Barbell Outreach Program

In the brother hood and sisterhood of iron with a quest to solve the riddle of steel there is a rite of passage into this order.  Some young followers are not given a map and have to define it for themselves. There are a variety of followers some are Olympic, some Power, some Met con, and others Aesthetic.    Regardless of your denomination we are all young at one time and we grow with each consecutive rep and set in this arduous journey towards the unattainable.   This beaten path does not have a defined entry way so I decided to create one for beginners.  I call it the rusted barbell outreach program.  I have been gifted with a number of barbells in my day most have seen their better days some I have contributed to weathering.  Either way the program will rely on barbell patterns and introduce variety to the lifter.

Over the years of lifting I have acquired a number of lifting apparatus and various implements to exploit progressive overload with.  One apparatus that has stood the test of time is the barbell.  When you think about roots of strength/physique sport, you have to realize men and women that were strong didn’t come from a gym.  A gym in those days was manual labor.  Though it seem likely that barbells were an evolution of the dumbbell.  One of the greatest assets of the barbell is also it’s greatest weakness stability.  The stability of a barbell provides a way to judge symmetry of movement pattern, but doesn’t allow you free range of motion that a dumbbell will.

As discussed a long time ago the cardinal planes of movement are basically the XYZ planes of movement. A barbell can que the lifter on symmetry.  On a deadlift symmetry of bar contact with the body, symmetry of bar contact on touching the ground can tell you if a shoulder is lax.  On back squat elevation of one side over the other can tell you about how scapula along with where your elbows are can tell you if upper body is tight.   Symmetry of elbow position on a press can tell you about the shoulder.  All if not most lifts can educate and que  the lifter if he or she pays attention when fatigue sets in or when tension is to great to sustain form.  For this reason I have created a program to help the beginning lifter.

It is an outreach program as I have gifted a few people used barbells that may have never seen the light of day again.   Good luck, fellow patron of the bar.

Bent barbell out reach 1.0