Saturday, April 24, 2010

Adding Tools

"When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

"They're all just tools. There is no Holy Grail."

"Add this tool to your toolbox."

"Have the right tool for the job."

Whether it's a piece of exercise equipment, an exercise, a drill, or an assessment, "tools" get a lot of attention (good and bad) these days. The tricky part about tools is that all of the above statements are true ...but they don't tell the whole story.

The field of strength and conditioning seems to be tool-happy. We hoard tools and buy, sell, and trade them like stock. The critics speculate on worth while consumers buy on emotion. But, we are not talking about stock shares. What is the point of indiscriminately adding a tool every time you encounter a problem, especially when you have failed to fully exploit and master the old tools you already possess? Adding genuine, high quality tools that you can use effectively takes time. If your squat sucks, do you really need another tool (bands, chains, GHR, pull-throughs, cambered bar, etc), or do you need to spend more time and energy squatting? For complex activities, the answers may not be so straightforward - for example, a baseball player slow at running bases probably won't significantly improve simply by playing more baseball, but often the cause and solution CAN be found within the exercise itself.

Thoughts on tools from Clint...


Tom said...

That's a good clip boris, very easy to see the metaphor in that video.

With 3 certain exercises, any man worth his salt can get up to a decent level of strength.

That's what I read in to it anyhow :P

Boris said...

Thanks Tom. Another layer is that the "tools" are important, but they don't HAVE to be WD40, vise grips, and duct tape.

Sperwer said...

Sometimes, though, you really do need to use the "right" tool. I live in a place where people are so used to having had to make do that they often do ridiculous and dangerous things, e.g., trying to pry the lid off a jar with the point of a 10" chef's knife - whoops, is that your eyeball on your cheek?

Boris said...

A wrong or bad tool is just wrong or bad. But, if the tool is more than adequate to the task, and we don't know how to use it, is there a need to continually amass more and more, newer and newer? That's all I'm saying.

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matt said...

Hi Boris,
Thought I would share a link. Jim Wendler interview from Mark Rippetoes site.

Boris said...

Thanks Matt! I haven't had time to watch a lot of it, but I enjoy listening to and reading both Wendler and Rip. Good stuff.

How is training going?

matt said...

OK. I dropped some kettlebell work to run outside for the summer.

Every once in a awhile I will do some interval snatching at a really slow pace. Probably around 8 - 10 a minute. Mainly focusing on keeping my hands healthy.

Squatting is going ok too. It is hard trying to figure out everything that needs to be stretched so I can get to a good depth.

Boris Terzic said...

Boris great post. People are distracted by flashy toys adn don't put in the effort to prefect anything.

I think that it also goes beyond just toys, there is a lot of ego atached to the aquasition of tools. Professionals have tools, they use them to attain certain goals, those who are not professionals will attempt to mimic by atleast having the tools but not the knowledge or skills to use them.

I like the example of people who by $3-4,000 road bikes but can barely ride more then 10-15k. The bike didn't make Lance who he is, hard work and efford did, the bike was there just for the ride.