Posts Tagged ‘Arnold’

Franco arnold

 

Before we begin, check out this quote from the man himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

 “I did it because of something I’d seen in Franco (Columbo), which was his incredible willpower. I knew he could go all the way. I knew too that he was the training partner who could weather the ferocious workouts necessary in the coming year. It was important for me to be with Franco during a time when I wanted to adhere to a grueling workout schedule.”

That’s a really cool quote for me. I came across it the other day, and it inspired this article. It got me thinking of the gains in athleticism, strength, and power I’ve made over the past few years, and forced me to realize the importance that incredible training partners have had on my development. In one sentence I would say this.

“A great training partner can take a great program and make it superhuman.”

Yep. I just quoted myself, but I don’t care. I feel that strongly of a great training buddy’s impact on one’s progress in the gym.

I also don’t feel that a training partner is limited to just people who share the same program as you. In fact not one of the athlete’s that trained alongside me in Boston at CP shared the same program as I did. Each person brings an individual set of strengths and weaknesses to the table, therefore no program there is designed alike.

With that in mind, a “training partner” can be a coach, mentor, friend, family member, or even someone you don’t really care for, and probably would never go grab a beer with. That’s ok. They come in all shape’s and sizes, and here are the qualities that every great one possesses….

rocky training partner

1.) A great training partner hold’s his buddy accountable for effort and consistency.- Effort and consistency are certainly two of the biggest deterrents of training gains, and when working alone, it’s easy for many people to use their rational mind to negotiate around a tough ass workout, or showing up every day ready to crush it. It’s simply human nature for most individuals to avoid discomfort, good pain, and loads of sweat. An awesome training partner doesn’t care whether you hate him or her temporarily. He or she will push you to your breaking point, make sure you finish all your reps, all your sets, and take you beyond your comfort zone. If you can find someone around you who you feel is capable of this, bring them into the gym for a test run.

2.) A great training partner is probably stronger than you. If they aren’t, then they are usually just as strong. – This quality is something that I’ve noticed over and over. I’m no sociology major, but strong motherfuckers tend to gravitate and train with strong motherfuckers. The weak guys tend to workout together too. If you are weak, I recommend finding someone who trains hard, is strong, and does it the right way. By the right way I mean working their butt off, eating right, and living a diesel lifestyle. Find this person. Sack up and ask them for some training advice. Ask them who taught them to get strong and get the body they wanted. Just don’t ask them 2 seconds before they pull 600 off the floor. Have some feel…Maybe they can help you with a program or keep you accountable for showing up and getting after it like an animal.

3.) A great training partner isn’t a prima donna. This should go unsaid, but unfortunately it must be expressed. The last two months I’ve been training at a commercial gym, so I’ve gotten to see some of the umm how should I say this…”interesting” dynamics of not only what people do in the gym, but with whom and how they go about it. I give people a bunch of credit for showing up. If I was a teacher of gym101, that would be half the credit of my student’s grade. A great training companion encompasses the other half of the grade.  He or she trains and doesn’t simply “workout.” He or she pushes themselves and whoever they are with to the max. He or she isn’t afraid of heavy weights. He or she isn’t afraid of sweat, blood, and possibly regurgitation. Above all ,you and the person you train with have a responsibility. You owe it to each other to move weight around fast and hard, keep your head down and work without looking at your phone or socializing. Bottom line. Don’t be this guy….

skinny douche

In summary, take Arnold’s advice. Find that person this offseason with the willpower, commitment, and no bullshit workhorse mentality. Watch them, talk to them, train with them. It will take your training to levels you never thought possible.

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Note: This is the first installment in our Hacking Your Off Season series.  We will cover training, nutrition, and everything in between so you can optimize your time in the off-season.  As current off-season athletes ourselves, much of what we talk about will stem from personal experience and how we’ve learned to optimize our own off seasons for optimal performance come season time.  Let us begin:

I wanted pipes.  No, not the kind of arms that earn you respect in Planet Fitness.  I wanted pythons.  The kind that people saw and started to ask Arnold who?  I wanted to be carved out of stone and be a god among men. 

Have you seen The Rock recently?  That’s a titan.  The silverback.  The alpha.  He was the goal.

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Full disclosure:  That wasn’t just some carefully crafted short stream of consciousness.  I didn’t just make that up. That was real.  I’ve thought those very things on many occasions in the past.  If you’re thinking that I’m a real narcissistic vain son of a bitch, I can’t say that you’re wrong because at times in the past I have been.  Maybe my own vanity stems from being picked on as a kid.  I saw the iron as my opportunity, my escape to get lost in something.  That if I got big and strong all the bullying would stop because the first rule in the playground is that you don’t pick on someone who’s bigger than you.  Or maybe it’s rooted in our biological nature that predisposes us to these things.  After all, what’s the easiest way to be the man?  Be bigger than everyone else.  It’s a primitive form of dominance rooted in our evolutionary history.  Any testosterone filled man will chase that at some point in his life. 

Learn From Me

Whatever the cause, I’ve been through it all. I unnecessarily dieted down and chased the six-pack.  I know what it’s like to eat like a glutton for six months and try and get as big as possible.  Chasing aesthetics and performance goals simultaneously is a dangerous game and it almost destroyed me as an athlete. 

You see the weight room can be a beautiful place.  Given the right guidance, it can be an iron house that puts appropriate systems in place to build and breed athletes.  Fueled by the wrong mindset, however, and the weight room can become a prison that perpetually fuels athletes own vain desires ultimately leading to their own very destruction.  Broken through strength.  The irony is profound to me. 

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                       Get strong, look good

As athletes, optimizing your off season training is critical for your development.  Those who will be most successful will be able to check their vanity at the door.  They will be able to distance themselves from any narcissistic desires that may have fueled their time with the iron in the past.  Learn to disengage yourself from any thought process that prioritizes looking good in the mirror or impressing your friends at the beach. 

Rather, begin to critically evaluate your off season program based on a different set of metrics: Is it going to address my weaknesses?  Is it going to increase my peak power potential?  Will I become a better athlete because of it?  Eliminate thoughts of “oh there’s not enough bench or chest, or what ab exercises will give me a six pack?”  Instead, begin dissecting movements and asking which pushup variation will create the optimal balance of anterior shoulder stability, stabilization of your rotator cuff, and activating your serratus anterior not which one will build the best pectoral. Core exercises for better abs?  How about what exercises will train my “core” to produce the optimal stabilization patterns and eliminate any energy leaks in order to produce the greatest amount of force.  Prioritize performance. 

I understand the pressures at hand.  I understand the often-subconscious lens through which we sometimes view our training programs.  Learn from my mistakes in the past.  Don’t train for performance and concern yourself with aesthetics because you will get hurt and you, as an athlete, will suffer.  Trust the training program, optimize your diet, and let the aesthetics take care of itself.  You’ll have plenty of time to chase your “beach body” once you retire.  For now, this off-season, solely ask yourself how can I become the best athlete I can.  By doing so, you’ll optimize performance and I guarantee you’ll start looking the part as well.