Respect Your Elders (but not all of them)

 “That’s the classic nature of people, though. We’ll skip the basics and get pissed when the sexy stuff doesn’t work.” – Martin Rooney

“Did you ever notice those who criticize the strong or the elite are usually weaker or less successful than those they pass judgment on. And those who are strong or elite in their respective sports rarely condemn those who are not as strong or as successful as they are.” – Louie Simmons

“Far too many bodybuilders spend too much time exercising the smaller muscle groups such as the biceps at the expense of the larger muscle groups such as the thighs, and then they wonder why it is that they never make gains in overall size and strength” – Reg Park

When it comes to training, the guy who’s been in the gym for 10, 20, 30 or more years AND who is still in good shape, lifting heavy weights, in perfect form is almost certainly someone you should be talking to if you have only been lifting for 1-9 years.

The guys who have been lifting for 1-5 years and look amazing, lift crazy heavy weights or both, are genetically gifted and can do almost ANYTHING and get results. These guys are impressive but have no bearing on the majority of us. Admire from afar.

Here’s a little ‘chart’.

  • Under 6 months – Just do the basics. Nothing more. You know nothing so simply squats, deadlifts, bench press, chins, dips, shoulder press, rows, curls and abs is all you need. Your probably between 15-25 anyway so let youth do it’s job. Just learn perfect form and add some weight now and again.
  • 1-2 Years – Same but up the intensity. You should be beginning to understand hard work and have done some 20 rep squats, know what 5×5 is and how to use single and double progression. Hopefully 20-30lbs heavier.
  • 3-5 Years – Should have gained 50lbs of muscle by year 5. If not get another hobby. Hopefully you are approaching the 3/4/5 mark for the big 3.
  • 5-9 Years – Begin to experiment on yourself whilst progressing on the key lifts. This is the time to ‘add your own twist’. Sometimes you’ll hit and sometimes you’ll miss.
  • 10+ Years – Hopefully you know what you’re doing but MANY don’t. If not. Go back to the BASICS. 3/4/5 is your minimum at this stage.

For those of you young fools taking steroids to short cut this process between the ages of 18-30 then good luck looking good (inside and out) when your 35-100! You are damaging you endocrine system which may or may not recover.

This is from a steroid site.

“There is a risk of permanently damaging your HPTA (editor note: basically your balls, your physical growth and how much test/estrogen you produce) if you take AAS too young, you could end up with symptoms of andropause and HRT for life. Symptoms could be Limp dick, low libido, depression, low energy, low endurance, erection problems and many more…….are these the types of symptoms you want to have in your 20’s?.”

Not only that, why are you taking them when you have no where near reached your own genetic limits. It takes 10 years at least to max out your own genetic limits. For some much, much longer. And really, who knows your genetic limits.

I know many, many high level strength athletes from strongman to weightlifting to track and field take them in their 20’s BUT…and I am not condoning them…they are making their living from their strength. Most of you are NOT!

Yes I know some people get away with it. Arnold was supposed to be taking them when he was 15-16 but Arnold WAS a genetic freak and no doubt had the ability to sustain his steroid use. Some can. MOST can’t.

Steroids after 30. Make your own choice but if the goverments wanted to legalise them I would suggest they make them legal after the age of 30. That’s when T Levels begin to drop for most and when people (men) tend to get somehwta more responsible.

Going back to respecting those who have trained for a long time with success. There are of course the other ones you should ignore. These are the USE’DA crowd.

“I use’da bench 500 for reps”
“I use’da know a guy who squatted for 4 days straight”
“I use’da know a guy bigger than Dorian Yates”

These guys should be avoided because they never did anything. They probably knew a a few guys who did do something, probably trained for a few years and then gave up for various reasons.

So stick to the basics. Listen and respect the old guys in good shape who can still bench 300lbs and squat 400lbs for reps. And stay away from Use’da guys.


PS…If you don’t know who those men are who made those quotes then go and find out!

Reg Park, Arnold’s IDOL, bench pressing 500lbs a LONG, LONG TIME AGO!!!

2 thoughts on “Respect Your Elders (but not all of them)”

  1. hey nick gotta tell u this. i discovered your work in t-nation few days ago.
    as an athlete that practices many sports (lifting, cycling and martial arts), going 100% natural (i don’t even supplement), in a country that have a lot of great bodybuilders and gyms but very underdeveloped in powerlifting (brasil), and as a student in physical education (in a world full of ‘rules’ and ‘scientific research’ castrating physical culture); what i have to say is:
    i find your shit very inspiring.
    sometimes i feel like doing everything wrong. like i could never be at least good at all the things i practice, or spend a ton of money in supplements (they are very expensive around here), or dropping the sports practice, or i should do steroids cause everybody does or whatever.
    the shit u write keep me on track, makes me see i’m doin it right, at least for me.
    thank you for this and keep on with the great articles.
    ps:my brother recently hit his greatest PR on the squat, a double bodyweight (140kg) while cycling heavy in a fixed gear everyday and oftenly practicing muay thai. fuck the boundaries!
    ps2: would like to read something about lifting for combat athletes, or what u did back then for strength.

  2. Hi Rodrigo…great comments and thanks for following Beyond Strong and all it stands for! Your brother is doing well…fine squat numbers at his bodyweight. I will put a note in my article diary to do something for combat athletes…when you guys give me input like this my mind EXPLODES with ideas!!!

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