Remember Monty Python’s Holy Grail? The scene from the movie during the great plague where the guy is pushing a cart yelling “bring out your dead”? The throw a guy on the cart who protests… “I’m not dead yet!”. The guy pushing the cart retorts… “oh shut up, you’ll be dead soon”. “But I’m not dead yet!!”.
Lately, I feel like the guy that is thrown into that cart. The luminaries of the strength and conditioning world are all celebrating that HIT is dead. Fed up with “HIT Jedi” and SuperSlow/Ren-Ex agitators, they are happy to get on with “Strength-Speed, Speed-Strength, Acceleration, Explosiveness, Power, Strength-Endurance, Endurance-Strength, and just plain Strength” amongst other training variations applied through complex programming schedules that only the true athlete can understand or appreciate.
Mike Bradley (Strength Coach for the Florida State University Basketball team) recently dropped by for a visit when they came into town to play (and defeat) Clemson. Mike knows what I’m talking about. He is like that Japanese soldier from WW II that is still hunkered down in the Philippines. He lives (and enjoys) the life of a S&C hermit. There are still a handful of guys like him in the collegiate and professional S&C arena, but they are few and far between.
Mike loves his job like you wouldn’t believe. He gets to apply the most efficient and effective training programs to the most responsive athletes imaginable. He says… “Doug…it’s like Jurassic Park”. And, his head coach loves him. mHis players are strong, dominant and injury resistant. One of the most important aspects of sport at the collegiate level is recruiting. Mike feels that his S&C program gives them a recruiting advantage because the kids, and their parents see something that is very different from the same old thing that they see at every other program. The players, and their parents are impressed with the approach and with the emphasis on injury prevention, both on the court and in the training room.
Mike’s visit was a breath of fresh air. We had a great time in the gym and had a wonderful dinner and wine afterwards. My son was along and was absolutely mesmerized by Mike’s stories. My son and wife also got to enjoy a great game the next day (I, unfortunately, was in the ER). After the BBS site crashing and HIT fading into the sunset, it was great to see a HIT/BBS approach proving itself at the highest level of competition.
Another breath of fresh air has been Lawrence Neal’s podcasts at
www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com. His interviews with HIT thought leaders, along with experts in diet, business and productivity have made my drive time to and from the kids’ schools an absolute pleasure. In a recent podcast Lawrence details how he has taken everything he has learned from his interviewees and applied it to his own life. It is really a great listen, and shows how the best of many different approaches can be combined to fit into a busy lifestyle. Give it a listen here:
Finally, I have another video up on my Youtube channel discussing my feelings on the how BBS fits into the world of training in 2017. Check it out here:
Welcome to the re-opening of the Body by Science blog, now located at drmcguff.com. The prior site (bodybyscience.net) eventually succumbed to Chinese hackers and malware and the host ultimately shut down the site. This was initially very upsetting as 8 years of content is still unaccounted for. Hopefully, I can retrieve this at some point and turn it into an ebook that will document the amazing journey that was BBS.
The silver lining on this otherwise dark cloud is the opportunity to reboot and take a slightly different approach. What I would like to focus on going forward is my ever-growing certainty that no matter the issue, no matter the benefit sought, no matter the disease state to be addressed, or the problem to be surmounted, strength training seems to be the answer.
Want to look better in your clothes (or out of them)? Strength training is the answer. Want to address almost any disease state (diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cognitive decline, obesity, metabolic syndrome)? Strength training is the answer.
Are you about to enter into chemotherapy? Strength Training will help prevent cachexia and even help defeat your foe. Are you suffering from depression? You guessed it… Strength training. In almost all of these situations, strength training is not just adjunctive; it is the most effective measure you can take, with other measures adding adjunctive to marginal value. It seems that we have evolved from struggle in the constant presence of gravity and our adaptation to this fact have given us a tool to solve almost any problem.
When it comes to strength training, I have some definite opinions on the best and most efficient way to perform it, but those opinions are not as strong as my belief that you should perform strength training in almost any form. Muscle has evolved over billions of years and is the most adaptive and plastic tissue there is. As such, strength training can be incredibly simple, precisely because muscle is so complex.
There are many different ways to train and skeletal muscle will adapt to them all. My only major objection as to the form of training will be towards those techniques which pose an undue risk of injury. As Arthur Jones once said “It won’t matter if you have 20 inch arms if you injure your back”. Or, as I say in my elevator pitch when people ask me about Ultimate Exercise (my personal training facility), “It’s like Crossfit… without the torn rotator cuff”.
In the past 10 years the scientific literature has exploded with studies that uncover benefits to strength training that we never imagined. Much of this linked to myokines, the hormone-like substances released by exercising muscle that signal benefits all the other tissues of the body.
Like my new focus, most of this literature focuses on the why of strength training; but as the why becomes obvious, the focus will begin to shift on the how. Once this shift happens, we may begin to find some answers to some of the most heated debates that have occurred at bodybyscience.net (as well as other sites).
Initially this blog will focus on the why as well. This is simply because I feel that strength training is the single most effective public health initiative that we could undertake.
2016 was the first year since we began tracking life expectancy where the numbers started going down. If the message spreads broadly enough, we can at worst reverse this trend, and at best, serve as a bridge to true life extension technology. But as the studies on how accumulate, we can also debate the best way to get there. I look forward to exploring these frontiers with all of you.
Doug McGuff, MD