Suggested Reading


Everything You Know About Fitness Is A Lie – Daniel Duane (from Men’s Journal)

This is possibly the best article I have read in many months about simple real world training for the regular person. Although I may not agree with 100% of it, the message is similar to the feelings and thoughts I want to express to just about everyone that asks me about getting in shape. I can only hope that because it was printed in a mainstream magazine that a lot of people have read it. For those of you who haven’t, do it. If you still slave away on a daily basis at your local gym like most people, hopefully this will begin to change your thought process.

Waxmans Gym Olympic Weightlifting Bullshit File: #3 – Sean Waxman

In this article strength coach Sean Waxman goes off on coaches who don’t hammer home technique with their athletes and use excuses for their shortcomings. Or, more bluntly, they don’t know what they are doing. His message is clear, if you are going to do something, do it right, especially coaches. No excuses. The Olympic lifts are no exception. I personally have seen college weightrooms where all of the athletes can perform cleans and snatches with proficiency. It can be done. I have also had many college and high school athletes demonstrate for me the technique they have learned at school and been scared to death for them. A fine example would be the sweet video Sean shows of something that is labeled a hang clean but after watching the short clip several times I was unable to spot one.

Brilliant At The Basics – Dewey Nielson

This is a perfect segway to my next point. I just finished watching this weeks episode of The Ultimate Fighter. I think I love the show and the UFC in general because of the training and preperation that takes place prior to a fight. However I was horrified to see fighters performing what I think were supposed to be barbell snatches during their conditioning workout. Point 1, their technique was laughable, or painful depending how you look at it. It could have been because they were tired but more likely because they don’t actually know how to properly perform the lift. Meanwhile the coaches yelled at them to keep going. Point 2, I don’t believe barbell snatches or any high skill exercise designed for building explosive power are good exercise choices for conditioning. Point 3, if you don’t have a lot of time to teach your athletes, as may be the case with these fighters, choose something that is effective for what you want to develop and doesn’t take time away from the real focus, fighting. For anyone that knows me and the training style at Ambition Athletics, the basics, or fundamentals as I like to refer to them, are critical. This article entitled “Brilliant at the Basics” is specifically written with MMA fighters and their weight training in mind but it can really be applied to anyone. You don’t earn your black belt the first day. Consitantcy and repetition must become a priority to get to whatever the next level is for you. From the article: “The thing that separates a novice from and expert is the ability for the expert to perform the basics extremely well.” How does this apply to you?

Deconstruction and Reconstruction – Patrick Ward

In sticking to the same theme, this next article begins with a quote from legendary strength coach Vern Gambetta, “Are you getting tired or are you getting better?” I have touched on this topic (here) in the past. Generally speaking this post from Pat Ward talks about how it is not important to crush yourself every workout. That can be a tough concept to grasp for those with the “go, go, go” approach to training. At Ambition Athletics we have recently been employing what we call the 80% rule, which means that we want people to perform most sets at 80% of their max reps with a given weight, rest, or perform another exercise and come back to perform your next set at a high level again. The quality and strength of the movement is most important, not pushing yourself to failure each and every set. Although cardio conditioning is important too you should be able to leave the gym feeling better than when you came in, as well as feel recovered the next day.

– Mike Baltren

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