On Thursday night my Athletic department was ?lucky? enough to have one of the countries leading ?functional training? experts come and give us a presentation. I went in with an open mind but knew deep down that if I had to do a stand-up comedy job in front of the T-Nation community, this would provide me with more than enough material.
Enter the presenter. 5 foot 10 and 250 pounds. At least 30% fat. Automatically he was behind the 8 ball. Seriously, if you?re going to talk shop with Coaches, at least look like you have trained.
First thing he does is walk into our gym which consists of multiple power racks, platforms, Olympic bars, dumbbells ranging from 1kg ? 50kg, tonnes of free weights, many benches and the list goes on. Clearly a decent strength trainers paradise. He then tells us that ?I could get a better workout at a playground with monkey bars, a sandpit and a see saw.?
He then sits us all down to talk about nutrition. ?Everybody has a background that determines the way they should eat.? We are all either valley men, mountain men, or desert men. I think what he was trying to say was that we were either a ecto, endo or mesomorph. Our category that we fall into is due to our family tree. So mountain men have mountain kids and so on. Yet he had trouble explaining why one sibling may have classic mountain men traits and the other have a desert man body type.
He then goes through the typical spiel of eat only what was available to a caveman. Don?t take supplements, vitamins, fish oil and etc. They weren?t available to a caveman so you shouldn?t eat them. Vaccinations are a way for the government to make money too. He also said that shoes are bad and if it wasn?t unacceptable in society he would walk around in bare feet all day. He was surely stumped when a colleague asked him if he knew the average age of a caveman was mid thirties and things like polio don?t seem to exist anymore.
He then told us about a mate of his. 6 feet tall and 135 pounds. He could wield a 5 foot chainsaw with 1 hand and was the functionally strongest guy he knew. His nickname was Twig. He said if he could choose to look and perform like Arnold or Twig; he would be Twig. He said that covered everything from the sporting arena, in the gym, on the beach (too bulky to pick up chicks), and doing manual labour. ?Why would anyone want to be 6-2, 240 and functionally weak?? he begged. ?Why not be 6, 135 and wield a chainsaw with one hand?? This guy was a clown. On the football field Arnold and Twig are charging head on at 25 mph each. They collide at the same pace, who wins? Our boy, Arnie every time.
He then went on to say that if he was head of our athletic department the following exercises would be black listed. Bench, squats, deadlifts, bb rows, good mornings, cleans, push presses, and of course bicep curls. I will give you his reasoning for the bench press only. If one person is given push ups for a month, and the other is given bench, the person who did push ups will increase his 1rm Bench by more than the guy who exclusively did bench. Who would honestly believe that? I thought he would go the Paul Chek ?What does the sheer amount of weight that someone can push whilst lying flat on their back have to do with anything??
Aerobic training and anaerobic training are bad too. We should try to simulate old school hunting in our training. Running around with a longbow trying to bag a deer was his way of training and he suggested that as a possible team workout. Yep, I?m going to give long bows to 17 and 18 year olds and let them loose in the forest.
The night went on from him bagging out bodybuilders, strongmen comps, the way elite footballers/basketballers train and etc. I found the night a clear insult to the pioneers of strength training and those who challenge themselves under the iron. I have built my individual and my team performances with solid weight training and I am fearful that the strength training world is going this way. I blame Paul Chek and other marketing gimmicks for this. The problem is that resistance training is simple in reality. Simple movements are the key to success. They think that standing on a swiss ball and doing squats with 2kg dumbbells in each arm is going to give them Emmit Smith quads.
I hope you can all share your ?Functional? training stories, as I really had my eyes opened to the frauds in this industry.