Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WTH Effect - A Cautionary Tale

The "What-The-Heck" Effect - A Cautionary Tale

I've seen this happen to quite a few people who find a strength-niche they enjoy. See if it sounds familiar...

A person with solid barbell lifts decides that they really enjoy strongman, or CrossFit, or kettlebells, or grip work. To accelerate their gains in a pet lift or area of specialty, they focus on that activity. As their SPP and numbers improve, they begin dropping the basic strength work that formed the foundation they began with. Eventually, the gains slow to a trickle - to combat this, they power on with more and more SPP, but the gains are still negligible. When they finally say "Forget this!", they return to the power rack to realize that, now, by any measure other than the one they've been training balls to the walls for the past two years, they are weak. Very weak. "WHAT THE HECK???"

It can happen to you. It can happen to me. It can happen to everyone eventually.

So, after an embarrassingly long time away from substantial squatting, I find myself working with weights I would have giggled at just a few short years ago.

2011 will be a good training year. It's getting better everyday.


Paul said...

Just this morning squatted for the first time after a 3+ month layoff.

Worked up to a staggering 135. But my form was great, and I won't be crippled by soreness.

Saturday morning, I'll squat 145. Next Tuesday it will be 155.

Start light, add weight steadily, and get back to where you were in no time.

Paul B./Chicago said...

My unrelated cautionary tale for 2011: not switching things up. Per your review I bought the book & started Dan John's highly prescriptive "Mass Made Simple" program. Note: I haven't changed anything I do in the gym for a very long time.

Result of starting "Mass Made Simple": my whole week has been a mess. Not b/c his program is difficult (so far). I'm like a kid not getting a piece of candy--struggling to follow his workout b/c it's not like mine. I already eat much like he recommends, but suddenly don't want to combine that with his workout. Also have been disorganized at work & at home.

To top it off, when I read his brief chapter on "rest", I realized I never really rest at all. I recommend that page to everyone.

Brilliant stuff Boris, and thanks always! This is a great way to start out 2011.

Boris said...

Sounds like you're on the right track!

Paul B,
Exactly. Not switching it up is the same as overspecializing.
Thank you very much - I hope you enjoy MMS.


Sable Weisman said...

I just found your blog and I am so excited! :)

I totally relate to this post btw... I laid off straight legged deadlifts for about 10 wks due to an old injury acting up, and two weeks ago when I did 'em again for the first time I was mortified at how much less weight I could move :( It'll come back though -- thank God for muscle memory!

Boris said...

Thank you Sable.

Lay-offs because of injury - I just wrote about this on a forum... There IS a lot to be mined from the experience, but that's tough to do when you're pissed, feeling sorry for yourself, feeling "entitled" to train, etc. If you can detach from the injury and training, it makes it easier to cope and you'll probably have a more productive recovery and come-back.

I hope your training goes well and thanks for being here!

Anonymous said...

Once I got my squat to 440lbs. I was burnt out, and stopped squatting for 3 months. When I came back it took me a half year to get back up to 440lbs again. There and then I decided that I'd never stop squatting until I quit altogether, apart from injuries and sickness, this I have done for the last 9 years. I've set my self a big squat as a target, and to get there, there will be no excuses. Just hard and smart work.

Boris said...

3 months off took a year and a half to recoup your losses? That's a tough road back. 9 years is really admirable - well done and keep on squatting!

I fallen far, and I won't be rushing things, but I plan to maintain acceptable levels now for as long as humanly possible. There's really never a good reason (for me) to stop squatting.