“There is nothing new under the sun.” — God
The Nemesis style of physical training can freak a lot of people out when they see it for the first time.
Nemesis seems to break all of the rules your personal trainer told you, that your health teacher told you, and that the internet “Guru’s” keep blabbing about.
Hell, it looks downright dangerous and irresponsible!
And yet, it works. It works fast. And has been shown to reduce injury among our athletes.
Not to mention, it’s also a ton of fun!
Good People, Good Talkin’
Been thinking. Dangerous territory for me and anyone else in close proximity. Brooke, asked why does she PR when she feels broke down. Nick, talks about “overtraining” as BS. More and more trainers are talking about the nervous system and muscle patterning. PTs and surgeons are starting to promote movement immediately post surgery. The Pros do it. Then there is this Marc Pro device (STEM) with videos discussing the lympatic system cleaning junk from our body (inflammation). What does all this have to do with the Training Grounds?
Nick also says, “More is not always better, but it usually is.” Also, whats the cure for sore legs, “more squats.”
This squat journey and Eric Marks most recent post have got me thinking about why the Nemesis program is so ingenious. For one its actually a tried and true system. The 3 zones used have been in training for sometime just people forget to put it all together and have fun with it. Nemesis makes this easier. However, on a more physiological level there is more going on or so I believe. Alas, I am not smart enough to articulate it or extrapolate it from my head. But, I’ll try and not draw it out too much.
What if our broke down PRs and lack of overtraining comes from the body’s own amazing neurological ability to adapt? The body adapts to stimulus. Increased ability to deliver oxygen, tolerate lactic acid, and handle heavy ass loads. What if squatting everyday makes you stronger because of constant nervous system adaptation? Like shooting a basketball. Shoot 3 hours a day and you get better. Take a week off and you don’t shoot as well your day back. Apply this to a weekly Monday Squat day routine.
But I’m sore and overtrained. What if the pumping of muscle fibers is what drives the lymphatic system and causes the removal of waste and toxins from the muscle? Why do we move post op? Do you really feel better if you take a couple days off or do you feel stiff and weaker? Get under a barbell and watch the stiffness and weakness gradually leave the body until the nervous system remembers heavy weight (because heavy weight was less than 24 hours ago) and you PR.
There is a lot more to this but I’m overstaying my welcome and probably breaking some blogging ethics of simplicity.
I don’t understand why it works exactly, but it does.
A nice aphorism about the truth to the “how” and “why” questions of ALL training routines that actually work, summed up in a nice sound bite 🙂
(Lesson: Always distrust a person who “has all the answers”.)
Eric comes back in with:
Jama, I think you articulated that just fine…and I think you are dead on top of it. One thing my article did a poor job of getting across was relative strength and relative strength increase. Do we really know what a true PR is? What does a comeback PR on a certain day really tell us? We default to the “daily max” because it is truly the only honest gauge there is. Unfortunately, it is also the most variable. This whole discussion (and most of the training fun) comes from not really knowing how those systems have adapted since yesterday.
As you pointed out, the body has an “amazing neurological ability to adapt.” The examples of this used most often are construction laborers and musicians. No one would suggest they couldn’t improve, no matter how slightly, over night. Also, as a guitar player, I can say that practice and volume guarantee you nothing when your fingers betray you for a gig. (That’s the equivalent of your shitty day where 80% doesn’t want to move after you had a great breakfast.)
What is so fascinating to me about Nemesis is the “Squat or Die!” function kicks in so quickly, sometimes within 7 days. Arthur Jones and Vince Gironda were onto something when they had totally untrained subjects and made them perform the exact same routine over and over, day after day. Their interest in this was three fold: Repetition of the movement pattern (neurological); Building of the habit (psychological) and; Reducing soreness and metabolic waste (cellular/lymphatic). Nemesis takes care of this in spades. We’re on to something here. Sometimes, the simple and boring have the most complex explanations. Let’s keep sharing info, folks.
Nemesis Is Weird: Strength Training The Hard Way
The gist is this: Nemesis breaks all the rules you were told were true (especially if you lived through the HIT era!), and yet it works — and works fast.
That freaks people out!
Here’s a rundown of the strange brew that might turn your mind to mush:
- You don’t get light days
- You don’t take days off unless forced (let’s call 5+ days a week, “daily”)
- You will feel sore and tired constantly
- You will constantly be hitting new PR’s, regardless of those facts (read: because of)
- You will focus on quality at all cost
- But, you will be working that quality with maximum quantity (both, not either)
That’s bullshit, right?
All the “guru’s” keep telling me that my knees will explode, my head will catch on fire, and baby dolphins will die a slow death if I train like this!
- What about the 72 hours of rest my body needs?
- What about overtraining?
- What about … the big board!1
NOTE: I’ve never once had a lifter who spent time in the military who thought anything about our training style was weird.
The Scary Truth About Nemesis
Nemesis is not an invention, it is not new, it is simply a way of looking at the world that has existed since the time the first humans walked the earth.
I like calling it a “style”, rather than a training program.
It’s a way of thinking about training, not the details of the training itself. The truth is that the details of our training programs are constantly in flux — as they should be — to account for what we learn along the way.
We haven’t invented anything new with Nemesis — nor its most popular variant, Squat Nemesis. It is simply a re-packaging of what have been considered best-practices for literally thousands of years throughout the world.
From military training, to martial arts, to music, to mathematics, the core principles are the same: Hard work, works.
Sometimes we can discover tricks and ways around having to reinvent the wheel, but the only reliable thing we have is our own effort.
Moreover, we hold fast to the belief that YOU are capable of FAR more than you — or all those people around you — believe you are.
Humans love to invent glass ceilings for themselves.
A Strong Mind Begins In The Gym
But, it’s not all hard work and gains. If it was, it would be fun, and nothing more.
To me, the point of training like this is to:
- Have fun
- Learn important lessons about yourself, and about life
From Eric’s post, to Jama’s comment, to Sheldon’s aphorism, it’s clear that Nemesis raises more questions than it provides answers.
How boring it would be if we had reached the end of the road of knowledge and had nothing left to learn!
Now go lift something heavy,
- “… the big board!” is a reference to the movie Dr. Strangelove, in case you haven’t had the pleasure. ↩