Chet Morjaria runs Strength Education and is a leading strongman writer for BreakingMuscle.com. In this episode of Sheer Strength, Josh and Chet will discuss all aspects of strength training and how you can start to implement it into your program to see results and become badass strong.
Chet was always the kid who was slow, weak, and didn’t really eat well. He didn’t enjoy sports at school yet managed to get involved in tennis. Somewhere along the way, he realized there was a fundamental trick he was missing: getting stronger. He found Crossfit and started to enjoy training for the sake of training as well as the challenge. He went on to immerse himself in the Crossfit world. Let’s fast forward a few years. Chet is now a West Side certified strength coach and power lifter. He has learned the value of hard work and doing what you enjoy, as well as the ability of trying, applying, trying again, and learning from your mistakes and experiences. Chet runs Strength Education and teaches people how to get stronger through powerlifting, weight lifting, and strong man competitions.
Chet likes to think of strength in general terms, such as ‘strength for a task’. This is the regular movement needed to achieve what you do on a daily basis. Josh suggests you prioritize your goals before deciding ‘what’ it is you want to get strong for, and ‘why’ it is you want to get strong. This decision and direction is also critical to longevity.
It is important to remember that ‘simple’ and ‘easy’ is not the same thing, especially when it comes to strength training. The overall principals of human movement are pushing, pulling, squatting, hinging and carrying. If you are missing one or more of the principals, then you are doing an injustice to overall strength. Josh points out that we all have our favorite movements, as well as the ones we hate, so we are always biased toward our preferred movement. It’s the things that you are ‘bad at’ or ‘don’t like’ that are probably things you need to focus on.
When it comes to sets and reps, you want something that is going to get you stronger in a continuous fashion, without breaking you. Josh and Chet are both fans of the Wendler 5/3/1 program, which is a classic, simple strength training program that can be cut down to only 4 movements and is not too taxing on the body.
In the Wendler Program there are 3 or 4 simple movements that progress on a week-to-week basis in 4-week cycles. Each week, the reps are lowered and the weights are increased. This is a simple and obvious correlation between volume and intensity. Even though the warm ups are percentage based, your last set is crucial and allows for as many reps as your body sees fit to handle.
Chet suggest that when your nutrition and recovery is on point, that is an opportunity to do more reps than you have ever done before and hit your personal bests. Josh’s caveat is that you be cautious with the last set, especially if you aren’t an advanced lifter, as going to maximum effort can be dangerous. If you are following this prescription, it is best to err on the side of caution and reject the common ‘go hard or go home’ mentality. Even if you can’t afford a strength coach every session, having someone to check in with once a week, or every two weeks, is worthwhile.
The overall objective of coaching is to allow the client to be able to do the work on his or her own. Don’t neglect learning and educating yourself about lifting. Josh says your coach should put you in a position whereby you can ‘leave them and not need them.’ Make sure you learn the fundamentals so you can apply them yourself. It’s your coach’s job to give you the tools to work things out for yourself and not just tell you on the day so you have to keep going back to them.
We are infinitely stronger than we realize yet learn to connect our body as the sum of its parts rather than a whole. We actually have all the strength we are ever going to need, and it is coach’s job is to help you unleash your full strength. We’ve all heard the stories of superhuman mom strength about mother’s deadlifting cars off kids to save them. This strength is not displayed on a daily basis but is within us all. The question is how do we allow ourselves access to super human strength so we can get stronger? Fundamental to this is learning how to brace and breathe within our body.
Forget programs with instant gratification and wanting everything yesterday. Instead ask yourself the following:
– Is this program going to have longevity?
– Does this program allow me to cater for when things are going well or not well?
– Can I continue this program for months and years to come?
If your program doesn’t have the above elements, then reset and look for one that does. Gaining strength is not about entitlement but more about paying your dues. A lot of trainers will mix things up for the appearance of a magic pill fix or a cutting edge image. However, these quick fixes generally don’t produce results. People don’t blame themselves for choosing a ridiculous program but rather blame the program, and ditch it for another program of equal difficulty when the initial choice doesn’t work. This will only place you in a vicious cycle which means you will end up below where you started. Slow and steady wins the race.
To aid strength training, the ideal supplements that Chet suggests are through Kratos Nutrition. In particular he uses fish oil, vitamin D, multivitamins, zinc, and magnesium, plus a mix of protein after training. He suggests that the three major supplements you need to include to aid training is sleep, food, and water. Josh finds that his male clients are more likely to have sleep deprivation, so if you are not recovering well and want to take a magic pill to fix that, then you should first look to change your lifestyle.
Tidy up your lifestyle in order to become proactive and productive throughout the day without being fatigued. Your training will increase, you will have more free time, you won’t nap, you’ll be sharper at work, and you’ll have less cortisol, stress, fat and heart issues. Also, tidy up your sleep hygiene by using black out curtains, turning off lights in the room, and removing your phone so you don’t get up in the middle of the night to check messages. Josh also suggests 5-10g of creatine a day for strength, as it is a fantastic supplement for your brain. Ensure you do your due diligence on all supplement companies.
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