Of course karate people would not know anything about hyperbole.
YOU can lift a car… « GUStrength’s Blog.
Excellent read- timely too, as I actually just got done with Pavel Tsatouline’s “The Naked Warrior” which I found to be exactly as the author of the GUStrength article framed Pavel’s stuff: long on ideas, a bit lacking in specifics. Pavel briefly quotes and references loads of the Soviet strength training data behind his work, but never directly cites the studies, institutes or researchers in question- which drives me nuts, because I would love to see the hard data for the ideas that puts forth in the book- it’s hard to separate his subjective information from the scientific. His basic ideas are good, and I can correlate them to outcomes I’ve experienced with his training methodology, but it took me half the book to figure out what the hell his methodology is.
“Naked Warrior” would be a great start for someone who is just interested in developing general overall strength without a strict routine or access to lots of gym equipment, but anybody looking for more will be disappointed. He kind of reminds of of the William James of strength training- it obviously works for him, but the info he presents is very easily take out of context and left open to misinterpretation.
Regarding the dichotomy between neural function and muscle loads, I also just finished a book on neuroplasticity studies, “The Brain That Changes Itself” which I highly recommend to anyone. There’s not much about athletics or strength per se, but one chapter discusses a German study wherein a group of participants was asked to visualize lifting a weight (group A) for a set amount of time several times per day over several weeks. A second group (Group B) actually preformed the weight exercise for the same amount of time that Group A was visualizing it over the same period of weeks. At the end of the study, both groups were tested for overall strength gains in the exercise. Group A was able to perform within 20% of the ability that Group B had developed. Group A was then given a week to actually perform the exercise, and the researchers found that they rapidly reached the same ability level as the lifting group, and in a quicker amount of time than a control group who had done neither visualization or lifting. Basically, mentally rehearsing the lift established the same neural pathways required to successfully handle the same weight load as Group B was actually lifting. When actual physical exercise was added, Group A was already neurologically primed to perform the physical task. It sounds very L. Ron Hubbard-ish, but the changes were physically observable in the groups’ brains. fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) confirmed the fact that when Group A visualized the exercise, their motor cortex was firing in new ways specific to the exercise and these patterns quickly became established- and recruited other brain areas involved in actual movement and muscular control. So when the actual exercise was performed, the nervous system was a step ahead of the body.
Very interesting stuff- but as the GUStrength poster pointed out, attempting to lift something heavy that the muscles are not ready for is not a good idea…even if the nervous system is ready to send the signals.
*The study was done using a relatively light amount of weight, so it wasn’t as if the participants were being asked to move a fantastic amount beyond the norm
haha, yea karate is a big one for these types of claims.
Randy, thanks for the book rec. and I couldn’t agree more. Pavel uses a “propogandist” approach to his writing which can be very frustrating. Also, quite frankly, Pavel’s 7 or so books (i think) could have been easily condensed to 2 or 3. Obviously to write an entire tome on just a couple of movements will require a lot of fluff.
“it obviously works for him, but the info he presents is very easily taken out of context and left open to misinterpretation. ”
His concepts can be useful but we have to be willing to experiment and approach them from a broader base of experience and knowledge. Pavel and the kettleball phenomenom have begun to become very similar to the CrossFit rage, etc. You can use the tools that you find without becoming a disciple or “comrade”. Honeslty, the fact that people on DragonDoor (which can be a good resource) go around calling each other comrade should be enough for reasonable trainees to approach it with a large grain of salt.
Thanks for the linkback Robert. Much appreciated.
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