Man does not live by absolute strength training alone - Powerlifting Podcasts
I once interviewed Bill Pearl for Muscle & Fitness magazine and he noted that “The hardest muscle for the bodybuilder/strength athlete to develop is their Mind.” Once you exhaust the contents of the box, to take your game to the next level, you must step outside the box.
I am often asked why our podcasts are not strictly powerlifting podcasts. I have been a competitive lifter for just shy of 60-years. I am an IPF world master champion and six-time national master champion in three different weight classes. My closest friends are elite powerlifters. My training partners are competitive powerlifters. While my roots are deep and long in this, the world’s strongest sport, the ultimate secret in powerlifting is, past a certain point, to optimize power potential the lifter need step outside the limited confines of the powerlifting box to improve power performance.
Once all the training and periodization possibilities are exhausted, once all the classic and current strength strategies have been test-driven, once all the periodized strategies have been tried, the contents of the powerlifting box are exhausted. Further experimentations devolve into a mere rearranging of the box contents.
To unlock the stagnation logjam, the lifter need adopt new disciplines and new strategies. Doing powerlifting podcasts limited strictly to powerlifting athletes, power competitions, and power training strategies, becomes a content dead-end.
Powerlifting prowess is an invaluable attribute for any athlete. Powerlifting is the premier example of absolute strength, one of three identifiable strength types: absolute strength, explosive strength, sustained strength. Explosive strength examples include Olympic weightlifting (snatch and clean and jerk,) explosive kettlebell drills, sprinting and leaping are all forms of explosive strength. Sustained strength, AKA strength endurance, can be exemplified by running hills, MMA drills, wrestling, extended kettlebell sessions, etc.
Powerlifting is all about absolute strength. Nothing more, nothing less. Powerlifting creates power and builds muscle, two profound athletic attributes. To radically transform, i.e., create a lean, muscular, fit, healthy physique, a variety of interrelated disciplines need to be practiced.
Man cannot live by powerlifting alone. Many an elite powerlifter can bench press 500-pounds for reps – yet gets gassed walking up four flights of stairs. A powerlifting podcast is too narrow a scope. To optimize powerlifting prowess, the powerlifter need step outside the confines of the (relatively) small box that is powerlifting.
The great lifters have low bodyfat percentiles within their weight class. Far better for a lifter in the 220-pound weight class to carry a 10% body fat percentile (22-pounds of body fat) versus the same lifter in the same weight class carrying 20% body fat (44-pounds of fat.) The leaner lifter has a muscular advantage over a chubby lifter in the same weight class. No dramatic decreases in body fat percentile occurs without adding a coordinated nutritional element. A man does not drop from a 20% body fat percentile to a 10% body fat percentile by increasing his reps from 5 to 10 and adding some ab work.
The internal organs need to be exercised as surely as the external muscles. Cardiovascular exercise makes an athlete leaner and fitter. A leaner, fitter lifter can train harder, longer, and more often than a fat, unfit lifter. Powerlifting podcasts might consider including nutritional strategies while paying attention to cardiovascular fitness. Discussions on post-workout recovery and the all-important psychological aspects of the transformative process are invaluable.
Broadening the pure power approach could begin by making room in the training template for all three strength types. In addition to power training, explosive lifts are woven into the resistance template. Sustained strength drills are integrated into the overarching training template. Strength-endurance drills do double duty as aerobic drills. Underpin the intense, consistent training with a disciplined nutritional approach, add lots of restorative sleep, use “brain-train” tactics to motivate the process. A fit, lean, muscled-up lifter optimizes their genetic potential.
Those that choose to stay within the confines of the “powerlift-only” box will never be as good as they could have been. In 2022 the serious lifter looking to take their game to the next level need integrate a variety of interrelated disciplines. Anything less will deliver lesser results.
The competitive powerlifting universe is relatively small. Make no mistake: getting good at powerlifting for the sake of becoming a better competitive lifter is a wonderful and worthy pursuit. Absolute strength provides the critical muscle and raw power foundation. Atop that absolute strength foundation, the intelligent athlete layers explosive strength by practicing the quick lifts, or perhaps sprinting, leaping, or jumping.
Sustained strength and aerobic training can be combined, drilled simultaneously. Sustained strength aerobics should be done on a near-daily basis. Melding strength-endurance training with cardiovascular training makes the time fly and is a far superior mode to sitting (disengaged) riding a stationary bike in steady-state fashion as the minutes drag by like hours.
Intense and consistent training is combined with a synchronized nutritional approach and backstopped with excellent rest and recovery, i.e., deep sleep. Full and complete recuperation between sessions is routinely attained. Results occur with great rapidity. The athlete attains a physical and psychological synergy when all the component parts are in place, in balance, and executed with the requisite frequencies and intensities.
Our mission is to create complete humans: externally muscular and strong, internally strengthened, athletic, capable, “healthy” (a fuzzy term used to denote those possessing ample energy and vitality) and able to maintain youthfulness and full function deep into old age. One-dimensional training creates imbalances. Comprehensive training creates balanced humans; capable, athletic, healthy externally and healthy internally. Maintaining a strict powerlifting podcast format would be thin gruel.
About the Author - Marty Gallagher
As an athlete Marty Gallagher is a national and world champion in Olympic lifting and powerlifting. He was a world champion team coach in 1991 and coached Black's Gym to five national team titles. He's also coached some of the strongest men on the planet including Kirk Karwoski when he completed his world record 1,003 lb. squat. Today he teaches the US Secret Service and Tier 1 Spec Ops on how to maximize their strength in minimal time. As a writer since 1978 he’s written for Powerlifting USA, Milo, Flex Magazine, Muscle & Fitness, Prime Fitness, Washington Post, Dragon Door and now IRON COMPANY. He’s also the author of multiple books including Purposeful Primitive, Strong Medicine, Ed Coan’s book “Coan, The Man, the Myth, the Method" and numerous others. Read the Marty Gallagher Biography for a more in depth look at his credentials as an athlete, coach and writer.