Thursday, September 22, 2011

Inteview with Jason Pegg - Part 2

If you missed Part 1 of this interview with Jason Pegg, I suggest you go back and check it out!

JOHN: I have noticed lately, the physiques of some of the younger guys coming in are beginning to look more "athletic". Back in my day, you looked like a bodybuilder if you lifted weights (rounded shoulders, ILS "imaginary  lat syndrome"), or you just looked fat. Nowadays, I notice alot of kids are looking more balanced and agile. This is a refection of their training. Would you agree that the kind of training people participate in dictates how up-to-date they are? How dedicated they are?

Jason: As far as kids coming in looking more athletic, I really don’t know what the hell they're doing. I’ve got some theories, but who knows. I see more fat kids now than I can ever remember. And they're not "big" fat, they're just sloppy, TONS of body fat. All kidding aside though, I think that its a bit of "Al Bundy" syndrome with their dads and the fact that the kids now are really the first generation who had LOTS of parents who hit the weights at one time or another. It’s coming out now that mainstream sports besides football are really killing it in the weight room. Not that they weren't before, but its come more to the forefront that guys like LeBron James and Derek Jeter get after it with the weights. It’s become big time. These guys are getting articles in the muscle mags about stuff they do in the weight room.

I think that the kind of training they participate in helps, but with young kids it matters so much less. Especially a kid who has never trained before. Like I said before, anything they do elicits a positive training response, no matter how wrong it is. As for up to date, I think that's all relative, and goes in cycles, just like in the nutrition side of the house. The program I’m using right now is based on Russian science from the 60's and 70's. That stuff is older than you and I both. I think a lot of guys consider it "cutting edge" because they've never heard of it. I think rather than being up to date, guys are just placing more time into researching the why of what they're doing, as opposed to only worrying about the how. There are so little "new" studies being done on training anyway. It seems that researchers are doing studies on stuff that has been in good gyms for a long time, so to refer too much of anything as "up-to-date" as far as programming goes is a bit of a misnomer.

As far as dedication, I think its relative too. For example, I’m personally a fan of the guys who claim that kettlebell training is "revolutionary," and speak of it as a replacement to barbells and dumbbells. These guys amaze me. Kettlebells have now spent time in 3 centuries! But like I said, it’s all cyclical. I never saw a kettlebell until I was 22 or 23 probably. Now they're the huge deal. I think they have a place, but I also think a lot of these guys go way overboard, especially the "kettlebell only crowd" I'd like to speak to some of them in a few years and ask the how their shoulders feel after hundreds of rounds of 2 minutes of continuous single arm KB snatches. I would probably shake their hands, but I doubt they will be able to lift them high enough to do it! 

Like a lot of "functional" trainers who claim that their system is far superior to just standard weight training. I’m not talking about programming at all here, outside of exercise selection. It’s almost like talking politics or religion with some of these guys, you know? "Functional training has more carryover to real life" they say. I still have yet to hear a good explanation for that. If that was true, why are they doing squats on a BOSU ball with a bar on their back? I’ve never seen that situation in my life, and I have more life experiences than a lot of people! Why aren't they trying to dig through their purses with 2 armloads of groceries while talking on their cell phones?

Outside of a competitive powerlifter or weightlifter, NOTHING you do in the weight room has any direct carryover to normal life, in the sense they're talking. It only mimics it.

JOHN: And you would think with all the information available on the Internet and bookstores, why are people still getting it wrong?


Jason: I think a lot of it has to do with the bullshit meter we talked about earlier. Guys who haven't done this for a while don’t know what sucks and what doesn’t, so they end up trying everything. Or, even worse, they take parts from some programs and plans that suck and put them together. I see guys trying a lot of this in the Q&A side of EFS. It’s not because they're dumb by any means. I applaud them for trying to get the best gains the fastest way possible. I know I do. I’m actually glad they ask before it becomes a problem for them. Where they run into the issue is that they don't understand the science and application of a program, so they figure that it will work better that way. They see Lifter A, and what he is doing for his bench. He’s killing it with his program. Then they see Lifter B, and what he’s doing for his deadlift, and he is killing it too. They know from their own experience that they are doing something that has their squat numbers flying up. They figure that if they take parts from Lifters A and B, all three of their lifts will be through the roof, and they will be awesome. What they don't realize is that Lifter A is a bench only competitor and does 3 total sets of squats and deadlifts a week. Lifter B has a shoulder injury, so the only training that he can push is his deadlift, because he can’t press anything remarkable, nor can he get under a squat bar. He doesn’t have any issues deadlifting though, so he is doing it in some variation twice a week. Now, they have a program that has them doing 30 reps of everything between 90-100% of their competition max once a week and they end up over trained. They don’t know that they’re grossly overtrained; they just think they're not doing enough. They push harder, and start getting weaker. When they increase the volume and intensity again; then they get hurt. The only books out there that really cover what to do at that point, in any real depth are pricey, and in all honesty, aren't written for the layman. 
5/3/1: The Simplest and Most Effective Training System to Increase Raw Strength
A website is only as good as its content, and if you don't know what you're looking for, how do you judge it? If you were to Google "weight lifting information" you would get almost 15 MILLION results. Alexa won’t even wade through that much junk. Books are the same way, if not worse. They don't sell the stuff with the real good information. They have some great books in there, but you won’t find many of the books that are on my shelves in there. Now don’t get me wrong. Most of them have good titles for the recreational trainer. As far as athletic preparation, you may find a "powerlifting for dummies" or "bodybuilding for dummies" but you wont see Wendlers 5/3/1 anywhere. You won’t see anything by Dr. Issurin, or Zatsiorsky. Dr. Verkhoshansky? Not a chance. Siff? Stuart McGill? Not if you're life depended on it. You won’t find the really good stuff from Alwyn Cosgrove, although the books he has in there are great. I think you see what I’m getting at.

Basically what you’re looking at is an extension of the problem that the internet has. There is so much out there, what’s good, and what’s junk? Everything sounds good to someone who is learning. Eventually they find the truth, but it’s now a matter of who wants to put forth the time and effort to look. Conversely though, at least on the internet side, more people are willing to direct others in the right direction. 15 years ago, if you would have asked some random dude about Westside and the conjugate method of training, they would have more than likely told you to piss off. Now, you go onto a forum and ask the question, and look a bit, and someone will eventually direct you to a site like EFS, or what have you. Does that make sense? I hope it does, else I’m going to look like a long winded fucking idiot.


JOHN: Let's talk training. You say you're best lift is the back squat. 915 pounds is alotta freakin' weight! Tell me how a suit actually helps a lift get off? If that 915 was performed raw (without suit), how much are we talking? In other words, how much does the suit help?

Jason: Thanks John. Want to hear something funny? Everything between 700 and 1000 feels the same on your back. It’s all heavy. As far as the gear helping in the squat, specifically, it can help a ton. It does help a lot. I would be lying to you if I said otherwise though. I got 260 pounds out of my suit at the last meet I did. I didn’t wear any briefs. There is more to it though. In the 80s, when gear first came on the scene, it was designed more for injury prevention than something that would give you hundreds of pounds on your total. The gear still does that today, as far as joint protection goes. The disconnect from now and then is that now, guys flip flop gear depending on what manufacturers equipment gives them the most pounds. All of them will protect the joint similarly, but guys can get different poundages out of different cuts, plies, and different materials. 
Basically, for the squat, the suit does one of two things. It slows down and stops you on the descent, or springs you out of the hole. A lot of guys will combine pieces that do both, so they get stopped in the bottom, and have a lot of pop when they reverse the weight. Virtually all of the support is gone about halfway up too! How much they help though varies as much as lifters do. I get, like I said, 260lbs out of a suit. You may only get 200. You may get 350. It is so dependent on technique, how tight it is, and what you can support on your back and hamstrings.




The thing that most people fail to realize is the technical aspects that go into the equipment, as well as the relative strength of the hamstrings, upper and lower back, hips and abs. You can NOT just put on the suit and get a squat that’s 250 pounds bigger than your raw max. Do you sit back the entire time when you squat? Do your shins stay perpendicular to the floor throughout the entire range of motion of the lift? Because if not, you aren’t going to be able to get as much out of the suit as I am. That is what I’m talking about as far as the technical aspect goes. Now for the strength part, I’ve got some more questions for you to consider. Do your hamstrings have the strength to support the extra 250 pounds on the bar? Or are they maxed out at your current raw max? Do you have the strength to keep your upper back arched properly when you have 900 plus pounds trying to get you to flex it? Do you even have the strength to un-rack it? What about your abs? Are they strong enough to keep your upper body from folding up when you try to transfer that 900 plus pounds of force from the floor back to the bar?  That is something else a lot of guys don’t realize about the powerlifting gear. I train my upper back to hold that kind of weight. I train my abs to do it as well. Same for every other muscle group. I also hammer away at the technical aspects with all sorts of different loading patterns. There are so many different things that go into it that would be impossible for someone to just throw it on, and squat something way bigger than they are right now. [END]

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