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He makes a number of good points, and not just about strength training.
For one thing, he makes a useful distinction between exercise and training. Exercising is using or maintaining what you've got. Training is about steadily building ability, whether in strength, endurance, etc.
I like his idea of the Minimum Effective Dose, which is pretty much what my trainer guides me through - just enough needed to show slow but steady improvement.
You've got their concept of exercise versus training wrong. You're correct about training - it is purposeful, planned programming aimed at a goal. That goal MAY be simply maintaining what you've got - especially if you are old. Exercise (when used as distinct from training) can be better described as non-goal oriented physical activity. There may be some wiggle room for semantics if you say your goal is simply to burn calories.
I appreciate the distinction you’ve made. My community gym in Japan calls the weight and cardio room the “training room” which has always sounded strange to me, but I assumed it was a Japanese English thing. Now I realize it is about being precise. Thanks for the article. I have always gone to the gym to increase capacity and strength, never for “exercise.” I agree, as we age, we need to stress and stretch our bodies intentionally just to stay even. Otherwise we’re losing muscle at a fastest rate than our younger counterparts.
I appreciate the distinction you’ve made. My community gym in Japan calls the weight and cardio room the training room which has always sounded strange to me, but I assumed it was a Japanese English thing. Now I realize it is about being precise. Thanks for the article. I have always gone to the gym to increase capacity and strength, never for exercise. I agree, as we age, we need to stress and stretch our bodies intentionally just to stay even. Otherwise we’re losing muscle at a fastest rate than our younger counterparts.
"You're not growing, you're not getting stronger, you're just spending a lot of time in the gym, getting sore and doing lots of volume that, even though it's not heavy enough to make you stronger, is still a stress that must be recovered from anyway. Junk reps that don't make you stronger can still make you overtrained, because even though they are not heavy enough to drive a strength increase, they can produce inflammation if they are of sufficient quantity that their fatigue keeps more productive work from being done and recovered from. Like running 10 miles or jumping off roof of the building, it's hard, but it's not useful."
Given that, I'm interested in your trainer's explanation for why he has you doing 5x5 deadlift workouts to 75% of your max (as you mentioned in a previous post). How exactly is that going to make you stronger? Assuming your one rep max is in the 245 lbs range, 75% is about 185. Does he really think that's enough to drive a strength increase?
I guess there are some things we do agree on. I've been posing similar concerns re: BD's program for years. Old farts (and I'm one) don't tolerate volume, but they do need intensity. From his descriptions, it really seems like his trainer has his volume at a level that makes recovery (and improvement) difficult if not impossible. I am assuming - based on his posts saying he's looking to add muscle and strength - that these are at lease two of his goals (maybe he has too many simultaneous goals!).
I think this is one reason a workout log/journal is important - it allows you to look back and see if you really improved, what you improved at, what program details preceded your improvement, etc. People tend to get "greedy", i.e. they see some improvement and then get greedy for more improvement and add too much junk to their program or they try to work on too many goals at one (instead of prioritizing strength and maintaining "cardio", they try to prioritize everything - which means they prioritize nothing).
Best lifter I ever knew always looked relaxed and fresh in the gym and rarely went to failure. Yet he won WPC world powerlifting championship in London in the 1989.
I think this is at least the third post of yours where you say we agree on something. :-) And there's nothing in your post here that I disagree with in any way.
And yeah, it appears to me that BD's trainer is more interested in having BD flail around the gym several hours a week doing random combinations of arbitrary movements, rather than having a systematic plan of doing the hard work of picking up and putting down heavy weights (and then recovering from that effort). But BD appears to be happy to go along with that approach and it's his time, sweat, and money.
It's not that I'm not impressed with BD's dedication and commitment. He is an example to be emulated, for sure. I'm just not impressed with his views on building actual strength and I'm not convinced of the relative value of the endless amount of cardio/endurance work he does. And yes, I would count those 5x5 75% max deadlifts as being in the cardio/endurance regime, because they sure as heck aren't building strength.
"...it appears to me that BD's trainer is more interested in having BD flail around the gym..."
When I first read that, I thought you said FAIL......but I think either word is correct.
RE: Working hard and then recovering. Dan Gable (former Iowa wrestling coach) once told me that they work hard at wrestling and then they work equally hard at recovering so that they can work hard at wrestling again. Recovery is often ignored, but it's when our efforts are converted into results.