Saturday, May 8, 2010

Would You Be Stronger Or Weaker Without The Internet?

Do you think you would be stronger if you spent zero time on blogs, message boards, and online shops, pouring over comments, "research", logs, and advertisements? Or would you be weaker because these have provided you the insight, knowledge, and motivation that's helped push you to where you are now?

I'll go first.

Without the internet, I'd probably be stronger... at squatting, benching, and deadlifting (and maybe the olympic lifts). I started lifting with some seriousness in high school and I picked up my first copy of Powerlifting USA after I came back from a work stint in Japan in 1997. I didn't get online appreciably until 1999 or so.

But without the internet, I'd also be an injury-ridden mess and most likely would have never gotten into kettlebells. Then again, maybe I would have - I had friends who were interested in strongman and subscribed to Milo, and maybe I would have sought these things out for myself. Maybe, but probably not.

So, what do you think? I'd like to hear your thoughts.


Peter said...

I'd be weaker. Until I found some good sources of information online, I was deadlifting poorly, and too lightly. I wasn't able to squat due to injuries and I couldn't figure out how to overcome them on my own. I was locked into training methods that weren't as effective as what I discovered online.

Finally, thanks to reading web forums I found a world-class S&C facility, researched their programs and tried them on my own, and then signed up there when I moved back to the US.

Heck, thanks to the internet I was able to find my first MMA school and started competing. None of that would have happened sans WWW.

I can see why some people would get distracted by the sheer volume of information, get paralyzed into inaction, get swayed away from good training...but then again, there is so much good information out there.

Faizal S. Enu said...

Hard to say, but generally I would say that smarter people generally get better use out of technology than dumber people.

I would say that I was in better shape before technology than after, but I am also 16 years older.

I will say this -- I used to buy a ton of fitness magazines. I think it was just as much for amusement as education. Now that amusement is essentially free on the internet. So now my education is seminars, books, and internet instead of magazine. I bet it works pretty close both in terms of:
* Time spent
* Relative amount of money spent.

I have noticed that magazines are more about advertisements than content these day. I think that is because the public won't pay for content, but adverts will pay for eyeballs.

Niel K. Patel said...

I see myself on both sides of the fence for this.

Weaker because I would lack a ridiculous amount of knowledge that I've gained through free online resources (articles and such). Additionally, it allows me to discuss various fitness topics online with others I probably would never meet.

However, I can see the internet also being a distraction for myself. If I didn't use the internet at all, I'm confident my day would have much more accomplished.

Dingletec said...

I would be weaker. I found useful info and motivation to begin working out from a blog called Stronglifts. I learned to squat properly and got out of the cycle of injury, gaining significant strength due to a blog and series of YouTube videos called SquatRx. I was introduced to Olympic lifting and refined my power lifts from blogs published by this group called Crossfit. I was introduced to kettlebells once again by a blog called SquatRx. And finally, I became interested in studying martial arts because of a few blogs I ran across.

Boris said...

Sounds like the internet has been good to you strength-wise!

Agreed - I spent a lot of $ on pretty worthless magazines. Now, I spend very little on magazines and when I do, it's usually because I'm a sucker for kids and their fund-raisers!

I certainly lose some productive time w. the internet. Sometimes I make up for it on the net, I guess, but usually not.

Thank you! I'm glad I've been of some help!

Tom said...

Definitely weaker.

I train in Australia and over here finding a good quality gym, or even good quality training partners is very hard to come by.
I first started researching physical training on the internet. It also allowed me to broaden my training horizons and get in contact with people in my area that would be able to help me.

With that being said, if I was cut off from the internet now, I think I'd go along just fine. I've made plenty of good, smart friends who, along with the information I know posses, I think would be able to help me with most issues.

Boris said...

Thanks Tom. I think that most of us would agree that we've learned some things from the internet and made friends that we otherwise would not have, but sometimes I wonder if the internet is helping my training much right now.

Eric said...

id be weaker. the internet has given me a lot of great insights (and i learned about kettlebells here) just have to learn how to filter out the noise and shiny things

vinnie said...

Without the Internet Rippetoe, nor you would have been discovered and you both have strengthen me more so than merely lifting; I'm truly an educated user of developing strength which the North American male is missing the experience and pleasure of. My only alternative would the Lost Battalion Weightlifting Club in Queens but then I still would be unaware of the benefits and shunned it aside. Cheers to the good the Internet has enrich us with.

Tom said...

I think that it may still Boris, as it makes you reflect on your training.

That's how I feel anyway.

I compared myself to others, I wondered why I wasn't seeing the same numbers, I analysed my training patterns and fixed what I thought was broken.
Admittedly, this could be done without the internet but it's much easier with.

J said...

I would definitely be weaker.

Without the Internet there's a good chance I'd have bought into the myth that as a female I shouldn't really lift weights because I might hulk out and look like a man.

Without the Internet I'd never have found Starting Strength, and if I was doing any weight lifting at all it would probably be the bro-plan my husband and friend heard about from someone they met at the gym. A plan that is essentially a 7 day split that is just crazy.

I probably would have no clue about the importance of getting enough protein.

Also, I might think that what I observed people doing in the gym was correct form based on how the majority of them did things. And I'd probably think the power rack was for shrugs :p

Jenn / Bing said...

Hands down, I'd be weaker! If for no other reason, I found CrossFit through the internet, which spurred my curiosity for fitness in general. Otherwise, I'd be stuck at Gold's squatting 175 to partial depth, deadlifting probably 200 with bad form, and doing a whole lot of bicep curls.
CF lead me into Starting Strength, and other strength and fitness info online. Plus... how else will you sign up for informational seminars? Snail mail?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Weaker -- though given how weak I am currently, it's a little hard to believe.

The single biggest benefit of the web has been the Squat Rx videos about good mornings -- they taught me how to back squat b/c I got over my fear of leaning too far forward.

Offline reading like Rippetoe's "Starting Strength" has been crucial, too, but even something like that I became aware of online.

Andy and Judy said...

Definitely weaker. I live in a remote part of a small country. There simply no one around from whom I'd have learned, if not from the 'net.