T Nation

Stuff You Learned This Year


Every year we train we learn a little bit more about our bodies and this helps us fine tune our training to our specific needs. With the year coming to an end in about 6 weeks I thought it would be cool to make a thread about all the stuff you learned this year in training. This could be general stuff or personalized little things like, "deadlifting once a week works better for me then twice a week" or "my pressing exercises respond best to lower reps".

Here are some of the things I learned about myself...
-I have to press twice a week. Once a week isn't enough for me to get stronger my strength levels just stay the same

-sumo deadlifting and good mornings have very good carryover to my conventional deadlift

-deadlifting for anything more then 4 reps barely does anything to make my max go up. Heavy singles with very long rest periods are the way to go

  • keeping the sets low and upping the frequency of my training works better then vice versa

I'm interested in what your guys have to say!


Last week I tried swinging weights. If you dont know what it is, look up stump straps on Elitefts. I thought I was tight on bench, once I started swinging weights, I learned what tight was.


I learned:....

-To deadlift. No seriously. Before the summer my max ever was like 90kg, despite me squatting 140kg at the time. I do it sumo and have progressed now to a 150kg max set a few weeks ago.

-Your body can take a lot more than people suggest. Try squatting your 5RM, then taking 10-20kg off that, squatting 10 reps, and then taking another 10-20kg off and doing another 10 reps.

-A gym and other people to train with are really important. Especially if you haven't been in the game a long time.

-Benching 3x a week is not a guarantee of shoulder problems nor will your bench go backwards. At least for me.

-There is a lot of advice and cautions everywhere, but you never know until you try it yourself. Listen to people's experiences and advice, but with the intent to implement and try something yourself. Results (good or bad) can then be seen and measured weeks/months later.

Right now I'm trying 5/3/1 so I'll learn my next lessons from that. I was doing a lot of volume and squatting before so it feels very awkward to do a warm-up set and then 3 more and I'm done.


I learned when to keep my mouth shut and not post So that I may learn something ; )
I learned to turn off the tv and dig my head back into books about everything strength related,
thanks to Jamie Lewis on this one !
I learned how to better control my food intake for maximum effectiveness.
I learned that I am sadly surrounded in Mammoth Lakes by a dearth of deadly vag's.

I reaffirmed that places such as this, elitefts, Chaos+Pain and Death to Fitness
are like little islands of sanity in a really fucked up fitness world !

Thanks to all who have put up with my trolling for three years before I finally
grew balls and joined in this year, forever grateful killerDIRK


GMs make me wanna shit my spine and puke my guts....that is a good thing!


I learned that:

  • You can never be tight enough on bench.
  • You can never grip the bar hard enough.
  • It's okay to fight through the pain (I broke my leg, tore up my ankle, had awful shin splints, and still
    benched with a separated shoulder throughout the football season).
  • Dynamic work is amazing.
  • Foam rollers hurt really good.
  • Joe DeFranco is a God among mere mortals.
  • JUST BIG radio is hilarious.
  • Rhodestown is a real place.
  • Hardcore gyms actually exist.
  • StormTheBeach is the smartest guy on this forum.


  1. When in doubt when programming, KISS
  2. Speed work serves me well so long as I keep it varied
  3. OH work keeps my shoulders feeling good
  4. Olys aren't the devil
  5. If elbows are feeling iffy, curl
  6. If shoulders are feeling iffy, more back work and replace some of the pressing with one arm work
  7. Conditioning/cardio in appropriate doses goes well with PL
  8. Better judgement concerning when to hold'em and when to fold'em
  9. I need some heavy work to solidify gains made through reps
  10. Regular deloads are very helpful to me


I learned that I don't know a fucking thing about training... as soon as I accepted this, I started getting stronger.


I learned that I have a lot more ahead of me in terms of experience and learning, and that the best way to learn is by doing and talking to other people who have already done it.


Why does everything you say make me chuckle?



I learned the reason my low back has been hurting is because I push it too hard too often and that the pain goes away if I leave it alone


I learned that occasionally taking a week off to rest and reset can make you come back stronger and more enthusiastically.


I learned

1)You need to wear at least some groove briefs if your raw squat form is almost identical in width and every other capacity to your squat in canvas.

2) somewhere along the line I lost my ability to be a gear whore, and now instead of squatting 700+ single ply with a 400lb raw squat, I squat around 800 single ply and 885 multi ply with a mid 600 raw squat....hopefully 700 raw squat next meet.

3) Multi ply lifting IS harder than raw lifting. I went from single ply, to multi ply, to raw, to both. Raw is easier, less stressful, ect. But its fun to change shit up.

4) Pectorals can suck my dick.... or at least quit repeatedly being injured every time I work up to 75% of my previous raw PR...

5) My hamstrings and glutes were weak as hell, and the only thing carrying my squat till the past year was my big quads. Brought up glutes and hams, raw squat went up about 200lbs...

6) My conventional pull was almost as good as my sumo, without ever training conventional, so I may switch to conventional.

7) Grinding out deadlifts is a cool way to get a nosebleed, and look like you are having a seizure.

8) Military press is one of my best indicators for bench. Assuming my pec is healthy enough to bench.

9) I am not smart enough to write my own programming yet, even though I am very good at coaching other people. That is why I just hired someone to write my programs.

10) Being strong takes patience. It isn't something you can rush.


I learn all the fancy stuff will make you run in circles and trying to do everything at once doesn't work. I'm a minimalist now when it comes to training. I do lots of sessions now with only one lift. Especially deadlifts. It still takes me close to 90min because i focus on singles for the most part.


What did you do to bring up your glutes and hamstrings?


1) Training by feel is mostly retarded.
2) Have a plan
3) Get in
4) Hit the planned weights
5) Get out
6) Repeat
7) Frequently

Seriously though...
8) Increasing OHP strength really helps my bench
9) Widening my stance makes suit work much better
10) Driving hips hard once the bar hits your knees is the only way to lock out a heavy deadlift
11) Listening to those who have more experience, not neccessarily more strength, is a good idea
12) On that note... Stronger people can sometimes be retarded so don't listen to them... Always be critical of any advice and check for many sources and opinions


I hate you guys that are saying that your press is an indicator for your bench. I put ~40 pounds on my press over the past 6-7 months and my bench still sucks.


Maybe you need to get stronger in other areas? Maybe your technique drains balls? Maybe you could use an even stronger OH? Maybe all of the above are true???

DISCLAIMER: This is not me being a douche.


I learned, that my back is going to hurt wheather I squat, and pull or don't...so I do.

       technique is everthing.
       you can hear the same thing over and over, and then one day a light bulb goes off in your head,     and 
      it's ohhhh, I get it now.


I learned, that my back is going to hurt wheather I squat, and pull or don't...so I do.

       technique is everthing.
       you can hear the same thing over and over, and then one day a light bulb goes off in your head,     and 
      it's ohhhh, I get it now.

still havent learned to post...maybe this year.