I got this question in our 21 Day Squat Challenge Class:
I don’t feel crappy enough. What can I do to push it? 1
Don’t laugh! 🙂 It’s a serious question in our world.
It cuts to the core of an important mark of distinction between what most new people to serious training believe to be enough work, and what serious athletes know is enough work.
What follows is based on my answer.
Practical Advice First
Yes, I agree with Michael.
- Step 1 is to attack the Ramps + Intensifiers as literally as you can. Do them exactly as written.
- Step 2 is to calculate your Nemesis Numbers and Kernel 2 for EVERY workout. Track it. If the numbers aren’t high enough you’ll know why you aren’t feeling “bad” enough 🙂
Western vs Eastern Philosophy
There are basically two schools of thought on physical training which I call Western and Eastern. 3 You can tell them apart by the most important questions they ask.
The big question for the Western school is this:
Are you recovering enough?
Most American fitness trainers, coaches, and “gurus” fall into the Western school. Ideas like needing 72 hours rest between leg days, and never train a muscle-group 2 days in a row come out of this mindset.
This is also the camp that most modern-day American Bodybuilders and Powerlifters are in. (Never underestimate how much steroids mask bad training programs! Paradoxically, it often means these guys are training LESS than optimal, but seeing results anyway because of the massive boost they get from the drugs.)
The big question for the Eastern school is this:
Did you do enough work?
Every successful Olympic weightlifting country in the world is from this school: Russian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Cuban, you name it.
So are ALL martial arts styles, all military’s, graduate school programs, music schools, Zen training centers, gymnastics champions, pro football players, Oprah, Chris Duffin, astronauts, Vulcan’s, Klingon’s,… you name it.
As you might imagine: I’m from the Eastern school 🙂
I don’t believe you can do “too much” work. That’s like saying you can study too much for your math class. Bullshit.
The reason most people suck at math is NOT because they are “naturally” bad at it. It’s because they don’t study hard enough. They THINK they do. But they don’t. Lifting is almost identical to math. You ONLY get better when you do the exercises.
At my old gym, our motto was simply: Try Harder.
Don’t stop when you think you have done enough, but when you know you can’t do any more.
Now go lift something heavy,
PS. It’s always important to remind people that when I say “can’t do any more” I mean that your technique isn’t pretty anymore, or something of that kind. We have a ZERO tolerance policy for slop. If you aren’t locking out your snatches — you aren’t snatching. If you are squatting with bad form — you aren’t squatting. You’re being a moron. I argue for you to stop being a lazy punk all the time. But, implicit in that is that you are ALSO not being a lazy punk about your technique/form, recovery, mobility, flexibility, honesty, niceness, humility, etc. That’s a “duh”, point, IMO. But, sadly, there is a lot of sloppy lifting (and living) going on out there…
- As always, I’ve paraphrased these to protect the wicked. ↩
- The Nemesis Number and Kernel are measures we have created to keep you on track, and to keep track of your progress. I’ll be writing that up for you. Don’t worry! :-) ↩
- Let’s not take this East vs West thing too far! There is some truth in it, of course. Asian schools produce more people who are better at math than we do for obvious reasons: they are forced to do more math! And, what I call the “Western School” of strength training is largely — almost exclusively — American. However, there are lots of cases on either side that flip it. I’m using these terms for fun, and to make a point. That’s about it. ↩