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  • glennpendlay 9:19 pm on July 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    The Life of a Samurai. 

    Louie Simmons said something to me several years ago that resonated with me.  He said “Glenn, I have lived the life of a samurai”.  What I believe he meant by that is that he had devoted his life to one thing.  Louie’s one thing is strength, and the development of strength.  He became a master in the development of strength, his one thing.   I do not pretend to compare myself to Louie, but I have pursued one thing in a similar fashion.  My one thing is weightlifting, the snatch and clean and jerk.  I have given up a lot in pursuit of my “one thing”.  A marriage, a successful business, and many of my friends.  Even my relationship with my son has been strained almost to the breaking point.  I have walked away from everything that didn’t fit in with my pursuit of producing a bigger total in an American weightlifter.

     

    From time to time I question if it has been worth it, or if it will ever be worth it.  I have one friend who I believe is as obsessed as I am with weightlifting.  Donny Shankle and I have never spoken about the subject in these terms but even without speaking about it I know he would understand perfectly.  He would understand because he is as obsessed as I am.  Just the fact that a like-minded person is out there makes life easier somehow.

     

    I continue to believe that if you succeed at doing one thing really, really well everything will work out.  Your life will have been worthwhile.  Your life will have been a success.


     
  • glennpendlay 9:19 pm on July 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:   

    The Life of a Samurai. 

    Louie Simmons said something to me several years ago that resonated with me.  He said “Glenn, I have lived the life of a samurai”.  What I believe he meant by that is that he had devoted his life to one thing.  Louie’s one thing is strength, and the development of strength.  He became a master in the development of strength, his one thing.   I do not pretend to compare myself to Louie, but I have pursued one thing in a similar fashion.  My one thing is weightlifting, the snatch and clean and jerk.  I have given up a lot in pursuit of my “one thing”.  A marriage, a successful business, and many of my friends.  Even my relationship with my son has been strained almost to the breaking point.  I have walked away from everything that didn’t fit in with my pursuit of producing a bigger total in an American weightlifter.

     

    From time to time I question if it has been worth it, or if it will ever be worth it.  I have one friend who I believe is as obsessed as I am with weightlifting.  Donny Shankle and I have never spoken about the subject in these terms but even without speaking about it I know he would understand perfectly.  He would understand because he is as obsessed as I am.  Just the fact that a like-minded person is out there makes life easier somehow.

     

    I continue to believe that if you succeed at doing one thing really, really well everything will work out.  Your life will have been worthwhile.  Your life will have been a success.


     
  • Anthony Mychal 4:25 pm on July 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    WYSIATI 

    I was prepared to punch him in the face.

    I didn’t know who “he” was, exactly. “He” was someone. Anyone. It could have been a “she” for all I knew.

    I wouldn’t punch a girl. Maybe I should though. I’m all for equal rights. The moral of feminism: girls want to be punched in the face. Did I pass the test, Lena?

    I can’t lift my arm overhead right now. Grade 3 shoulder separation. My range of motion would be perfect if I were in the Schutzstaffel. So I had the following scenario running on repeat in my head.

    Someone was going to give me flak for not being able to perform an overhead physical task. Maybe it’d be an old lady in the supermarket asking me to get something down from the top shelf and I’d be all, “I’m sorry my 6’4” physically capable looking frame can’t accomplish this task for you. Good luck. Don’t slip and fall in the bathtub anytime soon. Bye.”

    And then she'd be all, “Oh for Pete's sake, this younger generation is a bunch of hairless sissies.”

    And I'd be all, “No, you don't understand. I really can't grow a beard. I've tried. I'm really insecure about it, and you just hurt my feelings. I'm redacting what I said earlier. I hope you slip and fall in the bath tub. And break your hip.”

    Someone was going to make a snarky comment about me on account of my (current) disability.

    (Ha! Disability. I’m mashing all sorts of politically correct buttons right now. I might as well be playing Tekken as Eddy Gordo.)

    Whoever this snarky commentator would be — that's who I was prepared to punch.

    And I got my chance.

    I was boarding an airplane, unable to lift my carry on luggage into the overhead bin. So I did the sensible thing: I forced my lady-friend to lift it for me. (She’s only 5’2”, har har.)

    I’m coaching (yelling at) her. “Use those muscles! Get that thing up there!”

    And that’s when it happened.

    An older man behind us said, “It’s nice that you’re helping.”

    WHY SO PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE, BATMAN?

    Despite my original face punching intentions, I kept my cool. I turned his way, pointed at my sling, and said, “I can barely move my arm.”

    His snark laden superiority complex laced face melted into one of apologetic regret. Witnessing this 180 felt good. I'm a shitty human. Whatever. I already hate myself, might as well add a few more pancakes and make it a tall stack.

    When we landed, he helped me put my book bag on. Because when you only have one arm, putting a book bag is like solving a Rubik's cube. He also helped us get our luggage down.

    He was obviously a kind man, but he got owned by the WYSIATI heuristic. “WYSIATI” is an acronym created by Daniel Kahneman that stands for What You See Is All There Is

    We make decisions and judgments using information available to us — no matter how limited (it’s usually always limited) — as if it were the only information out there. We rarely step back and ask ourselves, “What information don't I have?”

    The man on the plane fell for WYSIATI, but he’s not alone. You fall for it. I fall for it. I’m in the lobby of a hotel right now making snap judgments about everyone I see.

    That guy is wearing white rimmed sunglasses? He must be a douche bag. OH. WAIT. That’s just my reflection in the mirror.

    90% of that chick’s butt cheek mass is hanging out of her bikini. She must be a slu…gift from God put on this earth for the sole purpose of my eyeballs right now; I’d be a fool not to stare.

    The moral WYSIATI, given the stories above, appears to be: don't be a dick. Don't be so quick to judge others.

    True.

    But how we feel about (and treat) others is only one facet of WYSIATI. It also affects how we feel about ourselves.

    Because most of us engage in the following serial killerish behavior: comparing ourselves to other people.

    But we never really compare ourselves to other people. We compare to the parts of other people we can see. And, usually, the parts of other people we can see are the parts they want us to see. In other words, just browse fucking Instagram.

    Although a diatribe on social media would be heavily relevant right now, I won't go there. Perhaps another day. Just know, for now, that social media is a cesspool for WYSIATI.

    WYSIATI is a bitch. Right? An entire book could be written about WYSIATI. It affects…everything.

    Consider that WYSIATI has been a background programming running in your mind ever since you've been able to think. A lot of thoughts and judgments you already have (and will continue to have) about how the world works are a product of WYSIATI.

    Meaning a lot of the things you think you know and understand are just that: things formulated with LIMITED INFORMATION that you THINK you know and understand…but DON'T.

    The moral of all of this is, of course: WYSI(SN'T)ATI. But there's something else to keep in mind.

    You know about WYSIATI, so you won't fall for it anymore. You have the antidote. Right?

    Wrong. You'll fall for it. Often. 97.3% of the time, to be as exact as something not trying to be exact at all. Because WYSIATI isn't under your conscious control.

    The you that you think about when you consciously think about the you that you are isn't always in charge of your thoughts, beliefs, and judgments.

    You can consciously acknowledge that people aren't 100% defined by their clothes and physical appearance. Yet it's been shown that we form impressions of people within (ready for this?) less than one second of meeting them.

    Your subconscious is the true protagonist of your thoughts, whether you realize it or not. (Hint: you don't.)

    Overriding WYSIATI takes conscious effort.

    It's not easy.

    Which is why you rarely do it.

    Talk about a happy ending.

    Actionable advice is for idiots, anyway.

    The post WYSIATI appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • glennpendlay 4:58 pm on July 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Pendlay WOD 

    The Pendlay WOD is programmed in 8-week training cycles.  I do it this way because this length of cycle works the best for the most people.  Training cycles work for a simple reason.  Neither the human body nor the human psyche react well to monotony.  We thrive on change, particularly when it comes to stress.  So we constantly change the stressor.  On the competition weightlifting movements, every week brings a change in the intensity and the volume.  We also do variations of the weightlifting movements such as the power variations, or lifts from the knee or the hip.  While the competition movements are done weekly with moderate intensity, we do the variations with high intensity, often going right up to our maximum. We can do this indefinitely because we change which variation we are using every week or two.  The combination of doing the actual competition lifts with moderate intensity and different variations with maximal intensity while regularly changing the variation works.  But it is only half the story, or actually 1/3 of the story.  Doing only the snatch and clean and jerk doesn’t make an effective program.

     

    As amazing as an exercise like the snatch is, it is not all that effective for building maximal strength and muscle.  For that, we have to do movements like the squat and deadlift.  Ideally the exercises that we use to build strength and muscle will work the body through the same or similar ranges of motion as the weightlifting movements but will use much heavier weight and therefore slower bar speed.  The exercises that work the best are the back squat, the deadlift, and the front squat.  The use of training cycles is even more important for continual progress on the squat and deadlift than it is for the snatch and clean.  Each 8-week cycle on the Pendlay WOD moves the athlete from higher volume training on the squat and deadlift at the start, to lower volume and higher intensity by week 8.  Each 8-week cycle should end with PR sets in the squat and deadlift as well as PR lifts in the snatch and clean and jerk.

     

    The combination of moderate competition lifts and maximal lifts on a variety of variations is  1/3 of story, an effective strength program is another third, and the final piece of the puzzle is something that few weightlifters like to do.  Assistance exercises like glute-hamstring raises, back extensions, hip extensions and other similar things done for sets of 10 at the end of every training session.  No one likes to do these exercises.  No one looks forward to their time on the GHR.  But just because they are not fun doesn’t mean we don’t do them.  Exercises like the back extension and hip extension build muscle and strength where we need it most, in the back, hips, and hamstrings.  They also build tolerance to workload and enable an athlete to handle MORE squats, snatches, and clean and jerks.  With each successive 8-week cycle you get stronger in the snatch and clean, stronger in the squat and deadlift, as well as in better shape and able to handle a higher workload.

     


     
  • Anthony Mychal 12:25 am on June 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    long slow walks 

    I started doing a new kind of walk (out of necessity) a few weeks ago. I'm enjoying this new kind of walk…a little too much.

    I'm looking forward to my walks, which is strange because I haven't looked forward to most of the physical activities I've done in…years.

    I've even started to (sometimes) take two walks every day.

    I'll tell you about this new kind of walk in a second.

    First, some context.

    I'm not new to walking. Before this new kind of walk, I used to walk daily (pending weather). Most of these old walks…I did them, but I didn't really look forward to them.

    I just wanted to get the benefits of walking.

    To clarify…

    I don't walk for fat loss purposes; I don't walk to burn calories. I did enough incline treadmill walking back in 2006 in the heat of my fat loss craze.

    The days of me huffing and puffing my adipose tissue away are long gone. As are my days on treadmills. I'm shivering just thinking about those memories.

    I walk because, when I'm walking, I'm not (a) sitting down (b) inside of a room (c) in front of a computer.

    I need less of those three things.

    Most people need less of those three things.

    I also walk because a long list of writers, thinkers, and creatives have said that walking is better than cocaine.

    All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.

    -Friedrich Nietzsche

    Nietzsche convinced me to walk more than any modern “health expert” has.

    Now…

    Prior to this new kind of walk, I didn't put much thought into walking. Sometimes I'd listened to a podcast. Sometimes I'd leave everything at home to fast from technology.

    Whatever.

    I didn't put thought into walking. I'd just move my legs like they knew how to move.

    But then I injured my heel.

    Some nuckfugget jumped into the air and landed on my heel (he was wearing spikes). I couldn't put any weight on my left heel. Which sucked, obviously.

    Couldn't do any lower body lifting. Couldn't walk heel-to-toe. Couldn't cut potatoes.

    (Okay, I could cut potatoes just fine. I was just seeing if you were still paying attention.)

    But I'm an aggressive rehabber. I've wrote about my rehab philosophy a few times in the past — not gonna get into the guts here.

    TL;DR, I get moving as quickly as I can after I'm injured. I walk the line between discomfort and pain.

    So I started walking as soon as I could.

    At first, I hobbled. I stayed on the toes of my left foot, making sure my heel didn't touch the ground. But then, after a few days, when I could walk with discomfort and not pain, I started to put a tiny bit of weight on my heel.

    This required me to sloooowwww down my pace. A lot. To a uncomfortable degree, just because it felt so…different. My steps were shallow. Slow. Gentle.

    I walked like a 97 year old retired iron worker, really.

    It took me twice as long to walk my normal route, which sounds boring…even to me, right now. BBOOOORRRIIINNNG. I'm going to close out of this window myself, I think.

    But it wasn't boring.

    It was invigorating.

    When I slowed down, I had no choice but to notice things. To open my eyes and look at things I normally didn't see. I felt like a guy sauntering around town with no where to be. Without an agenda —

    A flâneur.

    And it felt amazing.

    And that's when I realized something about the act of walking. Something best described through a conversation I had with my fiance as we were walking.

    “Walk slower,” I said.

    “Ugh. This is painfully slow,” she said.

    “Well, I'm hurt. And, besides, what's the point of walking?” I asked.

    “What do you mean?” she asked.

    “We aren't walking to lose fat. And we don't walk to get from one place to another. Otherwise, we wouldn't even leave the house because we'd already be where we need to go. We start and end at the same place.”

    “What's your point?” she asked.

    “We walk to walk. That's the point: to walk. So why rush?”

    I realize this might be very anticlimactic. I'm telling you to walk slower, which doesn't seem exciting or new.

    But you should try it. Walk as if you have no where to be. Walk as if time doesn't exist. You'll feel the difference…mentally.

    And you'll realize that most people are walking with the exact opposite mindset. They're walking fast. They're walking to get somewhere they want to go (or so they think).

    I'm sure I could mention something here about enjoying the moment or relieving stress or…

    But that's going to bounce right off the walls of your skull, as is most of this. Because self-limiting your walking speed isn't going to feel fun or exciting.

    So I'll 1-UP things…

    I'm getting older. My eyesight is going bonkers. I stare at a computer screen most of the day. So, on these slow walks, I make a deliberate attempt to alternate between focusing on things far, far away — like the clouds or the top of trees.

    And then I focus on things really close to me.

    Not very formal or scientific. Just something I think will help my eyes in the long run.

    “To become a philosopher, start by walking very slowly.”

    -Nassim Taleb

     

    P.S.

    If you want to get a little more serious about fixing your eyes, check this out from GettingStronger.org.

    P.P.S.

    Hat tip to Nassim Taleb for introducing me to the word “flâneur”.

    The post long slow walks appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • glennpendlay 8:40 pm on June 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Don’t Stand When You Can Sit 

    The summer weightlifting camp just started today, and my house is already filled with napping weightlifters.  Many people look at naps as a sign of laziness, but for a hard training athlete naps and just generally learning to take it easy is absolutely crucial.  None other than Paul Anderson said that a lifter should never stand when he could sit, never sit when he could lay down, and never lay down when he could sleep.  And Anderson seemed to know what he was talking.  He won Olympic gold and become the strongest squatter in history.

    If you are not willing to rest and recuperate, training hard is a waste of time.  This camp is a great break from the real world of job’s, responsibilities, kids, etc.  It is a week in a make believe world where an athlete can focus on themselves and approach life and each day of training as if they were a professional athlete with nothing to do but train and recuperate.

    I really believe  most lifters really need an experience like a training camp at some point in their career.  Not that you are going to make enough progress in the 1 or 2 weeks of the camp to propel yourself to the top of the rankings.  You won’t.  What you might do is learn how hard you can push yourself and what your real limits are.  and that is far more valuable.5961860-orig_orig


     
  • glennpendlay 3:59 pm on June 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Summer Weightlifting Camp 

    5961860-orig_orig

    One of the lifters coming to the camp this week ask me what to expect.  My answer is, the same type of training I have used for years.  When the lifters show up, we are going to jump right in and train heavy.  I use a wide variety of exercises but they are usually variations of the competitive lifts, and we almost always go as heavy as possible.  So snatches from the hip, the knee, and the floor as well as cleans or clean and jerks from those positions.  We will also do complexes consisting of one snatch or clean pull plus one snatch or clean and jerk.  We might add in snatches or cleans with a pause, or snatch or clean pulls with a slow negative.

     

    For most of the lifters this camp will consist of 14 or 15 training sessions consisting of at least 10 different exercises.  If this camp is anything like previous camps there will be multiple PR’s set every single workout.  And one thing that always surprises the athlete, while they will feel like crap by day three or four, they will keep performing and keep making PR’s.

     

    Even at the Christmas camp, which was a full two weeks, athletes were still making new PR lifts right up until the last day.  Whether they felt good or bad, they were often able to perform maximal lifts when asked.  Jon North used to say that this was what he liked about me as a coach, the fact that I did not put limits on him as an athlete.  He was right about that, and the reason I don’t is I don’t know when a lifter will have a huge day and when they will have a terrible day.  I might suspect that they are tired and wont lift well, or I might suspect that they will be strong that day, but I don’t know for sure.  And the only way to tell for sure is to warm up and try it.  So twice a day for the next 7 days we will be trying to make new  PR’s.     Wish you could be here!


     
  • glennpendlay 7:29 pm on June 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Still on Track 

    IMG_3651

     

     

    Well it has been a while now since I had a stroke and ended up in the hospital and in a coma.  In the subsequent years I have worked pretty hard to get and stay healthy.  I made some changes that included stopping using snuff, losing weight, and starting to run or row.  Still working on the 6.59 2k which has been my goal since i got the C2, but this BP reading tells me I am on the right track.


     
  • glennpendlay 2:30 pm on June 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Goldilocks 

    These days it seems that everyone is bragging about their workouts on social media.  Folks can’t wait to tell you about the EPIC workout they had last night.  It was, well, EPIC.  They survived unbelievable pain and suffering, and were even able to snap a nice picture of the sweat angel they left on the floor.  The only problem is, one especially hard workout isn’t doesn’t really help you get your squat up.  What does help you get your squat up is a workout that is just a tiny bit harder (or heavier) than the last one.

     

    Easy workouts won’t help, but neither will workouts that are epic in their difficulty.  They need to be in the Goldilocks zone, neither too easy nor too hard.  Difficult enough to cause an adaptation, but not so difficult they can’t be recovered from and adapted to.  They need to be just right.  Workouts that are just right won’t make you a hero on social media but they will make your snatch and your squat go steadily upward.  The best way to stay in this zone is by employing slow progression.  Progression because the workload has to rise over time to give the body a reason to adapt, but slow progression because the human body can only adapt at an extremely slow pace.  Trying to speed things up only overwhelms the body and leads to no adaptation at all.  The only problem is, telling folks that your squat workout last night was medium hard won’t get you a lot of followers on Twitter

     

     


     
  • glennpendlay 2:30 pm on June 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:   

    Goldilocks 

    These days it seems that everyone is bragging about their workouts on social media.  Folks can’t wait to tell you about the EPIC workout they had last night.  It was, well, EPIC.  They survived unbelievable pain and suffering, and were even able to snap a nice picture of the sweat angel they left on the floor.  The only problem is, one especially hard workout isn’t doesn’t really help you get your squat up.  What does help you get your squat up is a workout that is just a tiny bit harder (or heavier) than the last one.

     

    Easy workouts won’t help, but neither will workouts that are epic in their difficulty.  They need to be in the Goldilocks zone, neither too easy nor too hard.  Difficult enough to cause an adaptation, but not so difficult they can’t be recovered from and adapted to.  They need to be just right.  Workouts that are just right won’t make you a hero on social media but they will make your snatch and your squat go steadily upward.  The best way to stay in this zone is by employing slow progression.  Progression because the workload has to rise over time to give the body a reason to adapt, but slow progression because the human body can only adapt at an extremely slow pace.  Trying to speed things up only overwhelms the body and leads to no adaptation at all.  The only problem is, telling folks that your squat workout last night was medium hard won’t get you a lot of followers on Twitter

     

     


     
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