Nothing has changed in the world of lifting. The professors still sell the same old dreams directly and indirectly. The only difference is that the buyers are new. What happened to the previous crowd? They did their squats and ascended? Yeah, right. They just left.
One of the biggest scams ever told to any natural is that they should be lifting heavy. Natty brahs have been misled into believing the lie that heavy weights equal insane hypertrophy. They do not.
All my lifts, aside from my deadlift, have never been impressive and never will be. But what will shock most of you is that I actually regret lifting even that heavy. Looking back, I can say with certainty that overclocking myself to push or pull a lot of iron was a major waste of time and a fruitless activity overall.
The main benefit that I got had nothing to do with a physical transformation. It was mental. I forced myself to do something difficult. The test was hard and maybe useful, but at the end of the day, you can spend your central nervous system juice on more meaningful priorities.
Why does lifting heavy fail so bad?
It is incapable of catalyzing the growth that the gurus are alluding to. From Pavel Tsatsouline to Mark Rippetoe or even Jason Blaha – they are all leaving you with the impression that you will become some sort of mammoth if you “lift like a real man”. They even shame you if you don’t invest serious dedication into increasing the numbers that you are fighting against.
And so do many other strength fetishists. The scholars constantly come up with arbitrary numbers that you have to reach or else. And you buy it…because you don’t want to let yourself see the truth.
So, what is the truth?
Lifting heavy is never going to deliver the benefits you are expecting. It will only put your sanity at risk.
Below are a few fundamental principles that the mainstream narrative wants to reject and yet they are correct:
1. Lifting heavy is not healthy.
Moving big weights is a form of masochism which only trains your ego while draining your mental energy and adrenal glands.
Additionally, when the weight is heavy, your form always suffers. This creates unnecessary stress on the joints. Stress that brings you absolutely nothing other than the perception of envy from strangers in the gym.
2. Gym strength is useless.
Beyond a certain point, which is far lower than one would want to believe, gym strength becomes useless.
The weight room is a sterile environment where everything is perfect and designed specifically to allow us to lift more weight – knurling on the bars, straps, mixed grips…etc.
Don’t listen to professors like Rippetoe who say that strength can cure everything. It can’t.
3. You are delusional.
People listen with fascination about men like Doug Young. Let me tell you something. You are not Doug Young, Mr. GOMAD boy. And you will never be because the path to becoming a man in that weight class is different. You can’t do it naturally.
It’s funny how powerlifters and their teachers make fun of bodybuilders for spending too much time analyzing the body parts of other men and yet they do the exact same thing. The only difference is that the bodybuilding disciples focus on shaved men whereas the powerlifting crowd prefers their men hairy.
Honestly, I am tired of both groups. If you want to spend your time worshiping a man just because he has lifted heavy weights and injected steroids, be my guest. I am no longer interested.
But don’t think that you will become a man of that magnitude by eating steak and chaining yourself to a squat rack while following some mythical programming.
4. Strength will not make everything better.
Have you ever wondered why the gurus promote strength and lifting heavy as a solution? Two reasons – business incentives and the illusion of control.
They want you to worship strength. They want you to be a slave to some ridiculous numbers that actually do not matter at all outside of a powerlifting competition. Ironically, the numbers don’t matter even if you compete because there’s little to be won in the sport unless you are doing it for the experience rather than the podium. In that case, the rule still applies – why kill yourself?
They make it their mission to turn you into a strength addict because they have established a position as strength experts who know the path to your dreams. Hence their solution to everything is “get stronger”.
Well, that’s nonsense. Most sports and activities are not decided solely by strength.
5. Strength cannot replace PEDs.
Rippetoe claims that barbell lifting could replace steroids, but it cannot. He knows this very well but plays dumb and trolls because it makes the crowd of fatherless kids around him happy.
The sports that rely on steroids will continue to do so. They will not replace PEDs with squats and deadlifts because…wait for it….those are already a part of most programs anyway.
Who will be stronger?
The man who does squatz&deadliftz or the guy who does squatz&deadlifts and takes steroids?
The pros fall in the second category. If you tell them that they simply need to do more squatz&deadliftz, they will laugh at you.
Professional sports adopted steroids not as a replacement for barbells but as enhancement. Your average starting strength or 5×5 samurai will always get destroyed by the drugged bulls trained by high-level coaches. No amount of pure barbell love is going to help him. No amount of manly steaks will produce the 80 lbs of muscle he is missing in comparison to the steroid loaded linebacker who under Rippetoe’s logic can do it all naturally if he was to spend more time under the bar.
Those are nothing but stories for the kids who continue to write down their sets and reps in their blue pill book.
You have three main options:
A. Be a dreamer
I was once a dreamer myself. I would do various routines and never quit despite seeing mediocre or no results at all.
By the way, I am not talking bad about “naturalism” because I hate “successful people”. I do it out of anger that the dream does not actually work.
The dreamers love lying to themselves:
“If I finally come up with the perfect protein ratio for me….”
“If I finally find the number of sets and reps that result in unheard of hypertrophy….”
Yeah right. This is no different than believing the pickup scammers telling you that a new opener will make you a slayer. It won’t.
The room for error isn’t that narrow. You are not small because your protein intake is off by 20 grams or so. You are not small because you did 3 instead of 4 sets. Stuff like that is irrelevant.
But you don’t have to believe me. You can keep lying to yourself only for so long.
If your goal is to have a truly impressive physique, you might just as well become a needle samurai. After all, this is what the posters boys are doing. Make no mistake about it – those in the ads are not natural.
Drugs are the backbone of the industry. End of story.
A very intelligent solution is to maintain what you have built and focus on something else in life.
Let’s say that you maintain the following:
15 pull-ups in a row
20 dips in a row
2 BW Deadlift
1.2 BW Squat
1 BW Bench Press
Those are incredibly low numbers, right?
Not really. If you maintain them for life, you would be in a better condition than the majority of the population while focusing on something else other than saving the world by chasing another mindless 5 pound PR that requires you to play human crane for hours in a gym.
The Illusion of Progress
What may come as shock to many is that even the experts do not really progress that much. Look at Jason Blaha 3-5 years ago and today? He looks identical to me. The same applies to many other popular figures in the game – AthleanX, Rippetoe, Tsatsouline, Vegan Gains, Scooby…etc.
With all that knowledge and motivation, your heroes still haven’t upgraded that much or at all. They all look stuck in time to me.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. It can actually be a positive. If you like what you have and maintain it, you are still winning. But many of the experts place a lot of emphasis on how hard they are trying. Well, if you are so knowledgeable and work like a mad man, where are the gains?
This brings me to a logical question – if all that overkilling keeps you at the same place, why do it?