Friday, April 25, 2008
The minds of American children are now so stressed and crippled by Tiggerish wham-bam Video games, Television Shows, and Instant Left-Brain Computer Activities that many of them are unable to concentrate on anything for more than five minutes. As an ever-growing number of teachers are finding out, educating such minds is impossible. If something can't be immediately grasped, they won't understand it. And if it can be immediately grasped, they won't understand it either because Instant Information Accumulation is not understanding.
- Benjamin Hoff, The Te of Piglet
The willingness to do whatever it takes is infinately more important than knowing everything there is to know about how to do it.
- Dan Kennedy, No B.S. Business Success
The internet has certainly changed the face of strength and conditioning, and lifting weights in general. Prior to the 80s, the only people that went to gyms were a few very progressive thinking athletes and coaches, bodybuilders, and olympic weightlifters and powerlifters. By the mid-80s, most people that went to gyms were either going to an aerobics class or they were putzing around doing a lot of bench press and their knowledge was limited, more or less, to what they gleaned from "Flex" or "Muscle and Fitness", if that. Today, popular magazines like Men's Health can be found in waiting rooms and homes throughout the U.S., and thousands of young people on internet forums and in gyms can quote research abstracts, paraphrase Zatsiorsky, rattle off the percentages and band tensions necessary to implement a circa-maximal phase, and tell you the ins-and-outs of every supplement known to man... but does that help them? Are they training any more intelligently now than they were 20 years ago?
Despite the apparent abundance of information, I still see young people following ridiculous routines of 20+ sets and eight different exercises per bodypart, taking many of them to absolute failure and beyond, and training 5x/week with horrific technique. So what we have here is a world of knowledge at their fingertips but not enough experience to know how to apply it in any kind of practical manner. Similarly, some armchair strength athletes can cite muscle recruitment percentages for a myriad of exercises, but rarely recruit motor units themselves for much besides keyboard based events.
It's important to remember the crucial role that time and experience play in physical and mental development. Beginners don't need to take sets to absolute failure or work at intensities of 90% of their one repetition maximum. Most beginners don't need "phases" or "periodization" either, more importantly they need consistency and attention to form.
Posted by Boris at 7:05 PM