Break the Cycle

No more blindly following empty advice. Get on the path to real progress and results.


When you choose “it works” as a justification for how you train, this requires defining the specific population it worked for. Most of the time, the industry will point at the best in the world. If you want a great back, you might as well model your training after the way the best back in the world trained. Makes sense, right?

Unfortunately, this focuses only on external influences. Bars, barbells, and equipment—it’s the same for everyone. This completely neglects internal response to the external stimulus. All of which can be best summed up with the word genetics.

But what does that really mean?

While two people can hold the same barbell and perform the same exercise roughly the same way, what’s on the other side of that barbell drastically influences the outcome. Think bone/joint structure, lever or limb lengths, and muscle bellies, shape, and insertions. All those create a real, quantifiable internal response to external stimulus. And after your body determines how that external load is expressed internally, that does not even take into consideration your body’s physiological and chemical responses to that stimulus.

Based on those factors alone, it is impossible to assume that external plus internal equals result (or “it works”) when it is clear the “internal” part of the equation varies drastically from person to person.

Even more, possible attribution error has to be a consideration when your sample population is the genetic elite.

You cannot train like the elite athletes of your sport. You must learn to make intelligent adjustments to fit the execution and the program to your body and needs.

Such is the inside joke among strength coaches at the professional level—that the coaches who produce the best results with their athletes are the ones who don’t injure them. Implying that it doesn’t really matter how you train them because they will continue to perform at the highest level if they stay injury- free. It’s the same with Olympic sprinters and marathon runners. Often bad habits and misinformation are perpetuated by the elite without any proof of the benefit—for example, parachutes for sprinters, or the idea that lifting weights is bad for endurance athletes.


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