Archive for June, 2010

“The night of the fight, you may feel a slight sting. That’s pride fucking with you. Fuck pride! Pride only hurts, it never helps.”

Posted in Articles on June 27, 2010 by oldcountrystrong
This past week in the gym I saw a few things and also heard about a few things that happened. As I was roasting in my office, I digested this week and one word keep popping into my head for some reason, pride. Marsellus Wallace supplied the quote for this post and I am not sure if a could find a better quote to describe this problem which afflicts many.
Pride. Such a simple word, hell its only worth 8 points in Scrabble. But this simple word will fuck you over. How do I know, because I have had to deal with it more than most.
Pride. Pride will hinder your development as an athelete. Pride will tell you that you know what is best. I mean you have trained for years. It has worked up till this point. Why should you listen? You know what that is, that’s pride fucking with you. You know what every athelete at the Olympics has? A coach. You know why? To help the athelete reach his potential. How? They tell you how to unfuck your problems. You know what happens if you don’t listen, your results are impacted. I can testify to this fact. You whole life you do something for years and help mentor someone along in it. Than later that person surpasses you and takes over the teaching, breaks down your technique. That’s hard and even before you count in the person being your little brother. And why, not because he is a lousy coach? Why. Pride. You need to shallow those feelings and listen and not just to your coach, but to everyone. What’s the harm. If the person is right than you learn and grow. If the person is wrong than you can correct and still learn because the best way to learn something is to teach it to others. If you don’t listen though, you never learn. Brother Sky and Z already wrote different posts about some people who came into the gym this week. I did not meet them, I only heard the stories. But you know what word can describe them, prideful. Did they seem like they would fulfill their potential? I think you know the answer.
Pride. Now just because I did not see those guys does not mean I did not see pride in the gym this week. I saw lots of pride on Saturday during cleans. I don’t have to work on my form and my technique. Why? Because I am strong. I can get the weight up. Thats the point of power cleans right. Wrong. Z was preaching technique, work with lighter weight. People were listening, but not everyone. Some were thinking “Let’s move up the weight, let’s bump the music” and missed the point. You know why bar work sucks, why light weight sucks? Because it forces you to focus on your technique. You know what happens when you rely on just your strength, shitty form and results short of your goals. I am a prime example of this. During my clean right before the jump I start to arm pull. Not a lot, just enough. Hey I am strong guy, so what if I arm pull a little bit, what’s the big deal? The big deal is when the weight starts to get real heavy and I cannot get that arm pull with my jump that I am used to, it just doesn’t happen. Watch most of my misses, if ain’t because I miss the rack or did not get low enough, it is because the weight does not get jumped up. My pride stops me from working my technique because I have to lift heavy which in turn does not let me lift as heavy as I can. You can only mongo up the lift for so long. There were a bunch of people horsing the weight around, to lift the weight for the sake of being strong. Their pride would not let them do the exercise right thereby lifting less and losing face. Their pride is not helping them in the long run, it is only hurting them.
We have the Pipehitters Classic coming up here pretty quick. A lot of people are putting a lot of effort into this event, be it planning it or getting ready to dominate the event. How the Classic goes down not only reflects on the gym but on the coaches and the members of the gym. If we are going to have any pride in this gym, lets not have the pride which does not allow us to listen, lets not have the pride which forces us to forsake form for the sake of stroking our ego, lets kick some ass at the Classic and have some pride in knowing we are the biggest pipehitting gym in the 206. That is some pride I would actually writing an article about.
Posted by Nickay

“You look Nervous. Is it The Scars? You want to Know how I Got ’em?”

Posted in Articles on June 25, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

Pardon my french, but some people just DONT FUCKEN GET IT…

I’m a hard ass as a coach. I get that,  my friends and family call me a asshole. I’m fine with that, a friend of mine told me something that rings every time I teach a large class with potentially harmful movements, “Quell the mutiny”.

This goes hand and hand with what I always say, “weakness breeds weakness”. Now it can be someone complaining about weights being to heavy and that infects the group, or it can be one jackass who thinks “he knows what he’s doing”.

Really… If you knew what you were doing why arent you teaching the class? Oh your a trainer… Oh you have a cert… Of course I forgot what that means… Oh your opening your own gym… You want to get the feel of how things run… They run like this, it’s not a democracy it’s a dictatorship. If you dont want to get choke slammed through the wall go back to what every Globo gym you crawled out of or shut the fuck up and listen…

You see the scars you hear me bitching about pains I have. These are from years of building a body of work through trail and and error. I dont care how far you can run. Did I miss the sign somewhere that says that my box was a running gym? Wheres your cert? Let me wipe my ass with it. This isn’t a image I try and sell it’s how I run my program, it’s not picked up through dropping in on a couple classes.

Now please don’t read this and take me as a agro dickhead drill instructor. I’m not, I give all my athletes my all. I just expect a little respect in return. When I go to my Coaches I want them to help me. I want them to make me better. I’m respectful. If your thinking of being a Coach or opening a Crossfit or Strength and Condition gym please read the below article. Old Country Barbells very own Niel showed me this one. If it doesnt motivaited you to lift, become better, or listen to someones advice. Then that goal may not be for you.

The Iron

by Henry Rollins

I believe that the definition of definition is reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself.

Completely.

When I was young I had no sense of myself. All I was, was a product of all the fear and humiliation I suffered. Fear of my parents. The humiliation of teachers calling me “garbage can” and telling me I’d be mowing lawns for a living. And the very real terror of my fellow students. I was threatened and beaten up for the color of my skin and my size. I was skinny and clumsy, and when others would tease me I didn’t run home crying, wondering why.

I knew all too well. I was there to be antagonized. In sports I was laughed at. A spaz. I was pretty good at boxing but only because the rage that filled my every waking moment made me wild and unpredictable. I fought with some strange fury. The other boys thought I was crazy.

I hated myself all the time.

Henry Rollins Henry Rollins
(Portrait by Timothy Greenfield-Banders)

As stupid at it seems now, I wanted to talk like them, dress like them, carry myself with the ease of knowing that I wasn’t going to get pounded in the hallway between classes. Years passed and I learned to keep it all inside. I only talked to a few boys in my grade. Other losers. Some of them are to this day the greatest people I have ever known. Hang out with a guy who has had his head flushed down a toilet a few times, treat him with respect, and you’ll find a faithful friend forever. But even with friends, school sucked. Teachers gave me hard time. I didn’t think much of them either.

Then came Mr. Pepperman, my advisor. He was a powerfully built Vietnam veteran, and he was scary. No one ever talked out of turn in his class. Once one kid did and Mr. P. lifted him off the ground and pinned him to the blackboard. Mr. P. could see that I was in bad shape, and one Friday in October he asked me if I had ever worked out with weights. I told him no. He told me that I was going to take some of the money that I had saved and buy a hundred-pound set of weights at Sears. As I left his office, I started to think of things I would say to him on Monday when he asked about the weights that I was not going to buy. Still, it made me feel special. My father never really got that close to caring. On Saturday I bought the weights, but I couldn’t even drag them to my mom’s car. An attendant laughed at me as he put them on a dolly.

Monday came and I was called into Mr. P.’s office after school. He said that he was going to show me how to work out. He was going to put me on a program and start hitting me in the solar plexus in the hallway when I wasn’t looking. When I could take the punch we would know that we were getting somewhere. At no time was I to look at myself in the mirror or tell anyone at school what I was doing. In the gym he showed me ten basic exercises. I paid more attention than I ever did in any of my classes. I didn’t want to blow it. I went home that night and started right in.

Weeks passed, and every once in a while Mr. P. would give me a shot and drop me in the hallway, sending my books flying. The other students didn’t know what to think. More weeks passed, and I was steadily adding new weights to the bar. I could sense the power inside my body growing. I could feel it.

Right before Christmas break I was walking to class, and from out of nowhere Mr. Pepperman appeared and gave me a shot in the chest. I laughed and kept going. He said I could look at myself now. I got home and ran to the bathroom and pulled off my shirt. I saw a body, not just the shell that housed my stomach and my heart. My biceps bulged. My chest had definition. I felt strong. It was the first time I can remember having a sense of myself. I had done something and no one could ever take it away. You couldn’t say s–t to me.

It took me years to fully appreciate the value of the lessons I have learned from the Iron. I used to think that it was my adversary, that I was trying to lift that which does not want to be lifted. I was wrong. When the Iron doesn’t want to come off the mat, it’s the kindest thing it can do for you. If it flew up and went through the ceiling, it wouldn’t teach you anything. That’s the way the Iron talks to you. It tells you that the material you work with is that which you will come to resemble. That which you work against will always work against you.

It wasn’t until my late twenties that I learned that by working out I had given myself a great gift. I learned that nothing good comes without work and a certain amount of pain. When I finish a set that leaves me shaking, I know more about myself. When something gets bad, I know it can’t be as bad as that workout.

I used to fight the pain, but recently this became clear to me: pain is not my enemy; it is my call to greatness. But when dealing with the Iron, one must be careful to interpret the pain correctly. Most injuries involving the Iron come from ego. I once spent a few weeks lifting weight that my body wasn’t ready for and spent a few months not picking up anything heavier than a fork. Try to lift what you’re not prepared to and the Iron will teach you a little lesson in restraint and self-control.

I have never met a truly strong person who didn’t have self-respect. I think a lot of inwardly and outwardly directed contempt passes itself off as self-respect: the idea of raising yourself by stepping on someone’s shoulders instead of doing it yourself. When I see guys working out for cosmetic reasons, I see vanity exposing them in the worst way, as cartoon characters, billboards for imbalance and insecurity. Strength reveals itself through character. It is the difference between bouncers who get off strong-arming people and Mr.Pepperman.

Muscle mass does not always equal strength. Strength is kindness and sensitivity. Strength is understanding that your power is both physical and emotional. That it comes from the body and the mind. And the heart.

Yukio Mishima said that he could not entertain the idea of romance if he was not strong. Romance is such a strong and overwhelming passion, a weakened body cannot sustain it for long. I have some of my most romantic thoughts when I am with the Iron. Once I was in love with a woman. I thought about her the most when the pain from a workout was racing through my body.

Everything in me wanted her. So much so that sex was only a fraction of my total desire. It was the single most intense love I have ever felt, but she lived far away and I didn’t see her very often. Working out was a healthy way of dealing with the loneliness. To this day, when I work out I usually listen to ballads.

I prefer to work out alone.

It enables me to concentrate on the lessons that the Iron has for me. Learning about what you’re made of is always time well spent, and I have found no better teacher. The Iron had taught me how to live. Life is capable of driving you out of your mind. The way it all comes down these days, it’s some kind of miracle if you’re not insane. People have become separated from their bodies. They are no longer whole.

I see them move from their offices to their cars and on to their suburban homes. They stress out constantly, they lose sleep, they eat badly. And they behave badly. Their egos run wild; they become motivated by that which will eventually give them a massive stroke. They need the Iron Mind.

Through the years, I have combined meditation, action, and the Iron into a single strength. I believe that when the body is strong, the mind thinks strong thoughts. Time spent away from the Iron makes my mind degenerate. I wallow in a thick depression. My body shuts down my mind.

The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it’s impossible to turn back.

The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.

This article originally appeared in Details Magazine





Posted by: Z

“Is that enough for you? Is that enough of a scene? Cause I could start doing a lot worse then that. And the reason that you haven’t taken me home to your mother is that your mother, with her makeup and all her drinking, she’s in the closet too.”

Posted in Gyms on June 24, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

Today’s post come’s from our very own burly necked Dr.Pond on how to not make a scene when visiting other gyms. (Videos were added for my amusement.)

Yesterday the 6am class was graced with a rare guest who trained with us before he left town.  It was a great experience for all as he got exposed to a Wendler Cycle for his first time and he got to witness some epic heavy lunging.  We in return learned how to not come off as a D-Bag when visiting someone else’s gym.

To not come off as a D-Bag when visiting someone else’s gym:

1. Don’t brag-  It is sometimes necessary to announce your max such as yesterday when we were working off a percentage maximum back squat.  It is not however necessary to list off ALL of your maxes nor is it necessary to make a ridiculous statement such as “my back squat is already at #330 so when you get that big it’s hard to make any more progress.”   Ridiculous.

Z- Yeah you could tell by this guys barbwire and tribal tattoos he moved weight. I double taked when he walked by.

2. Don’t give advice-  Don’t correct other people’s form.  Don’t even comment on other people’s form.  Don’t tell strangers how they can get as strong as you.  They might be stronger than you.

Z – There wasnt any dbag posturing from this guy at all

3. Don’t complain

Z – Im sure it was just his shoes…

4. Don’t make excuses-  Such as “I didn’t get much sleep last night.”  Or “I drove 19,000 miles yesterday.”  No one cares.

Z – Come on thats Rule #76

5. Work hard, have fun, say thank you


Written By: Sky

Posted (and video commentary) By: Z


Where do You wear Your Colors…

Posted in Articles on June 22, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

Does moving the iron bring you back to a much simpler time? Slapping your legs, spitting, grunting (some of us bark), snot bubbles, and torn skin. This is where we come for our down time. Some snow board, or bike, or some other nonsense, I lift. I’d rather hammer out a max rep set of squats then go for a hike. But that’s me I love the chalk, and the loud music and the pain you get only through hard work and suffering.

I saw this quote on Talk to me Johnny, John Welborn of Crossfit Football’s site. I thought it struck home on Old Country.

“As for the primitive, I hark back to it because we are still very primitive. How many thousands of years of culture, think you, have rubbed and polished at our raw edges? One probably; at the best, no more than two. And that takes us back to screaming savagery, when, gross of body and deed, we drank blood from the skulls of our enemies, and hailed as highest paradise the orgies and carnage of Valhalla.” – JACK LONDON

Couple of announcements, first if your going to participate in the PipeHitters Classic as a Judge or as a athlete please get your information in. Secondly as many of you already know our first shirts are ready to get ordered. Please contact myself or Margaux with sizes and how many you would like. I’ve been told the shirts are good for an extra 10 pounds on your squat and are pretty much rip proof when causing serious mayhem like seen below.

Posted By: Z

Well, if you were directly above him, how could you see him?… Because I was inverted… (Cough) Bullshit…

Posted in Articles on June 18, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

Well this is suppose to be a information site some of the time, Right? I like many people who visit OCS usual have 70’s Big on the sites they regularly check in the morning. Today article really peaked my interest so I thought I’d post it up with my thoughts then leave it open for discussion.

Where is your pullup god on PR Friday?

The following post is by Gant.
When you have to load four Atlas Stones on a trailer, the heaviest weighing over 400 pounds, your pullup God will not be able to save you.
-Dave Van Skike

There have been a lot of positive steps in the exercise industry in the last few years. While corporate “health centers” and machines still dominate the fitness landscape, a growing percentage of people are getting theirs from the iron. Gyms are starting to look less like dance clubs and more like a place you can get some work done. Many people have been turned on to this kind of training because of CrossFit, RossTraining, Mountain Athlete, or some other iteration of full-body functional training.

Unfortunately in the quest to become functional/tactical/elite/hardstyle, we have tossed out quite a few babies with the bathwater. People are pressing overhead again, which is great. But the bench press has been scorned and, apparently from the bench numbers in last month’s challenge, largely forgotten.

The case against the bench press is usually made by some domestique-looking guy who tries to convince you that doing 92 snatch burpees with an empty bar is better than pressing your body weight overhead. The problem is that some of you people have listened.

But nothing has been vilified like the barbell curl. Somewhere we have been told that all isolation training is bad, that we don’t need to curl because we can get all the arm strength and size we need from swinging madly about on a pullup bar. If your training goals culminate in posting more shirtless pictures of yourself on Facebook, you probably don’t need curls. But if you participate in a sport, especially one of the strength sports, you might consider throwing in a couple sets of a week.

Why are they helpful? For the same reason any isolation work is helpful. Because you are limiting the number of joints involved in the exercise, you will be using lighter weights (and typically higher reps). This lets you focus on strengthening the connective tissue, which does not adapt to heavy loads as quickly as muscles. This comes in handy when lifting odd objects, fighting an arm bar (or an armed bear), or throwing a lead weight as far as you can. I have heard people use them for everything from stabilizing the rack position in a snatch to tossing small trees.

I couldn’t care less about my arm size, but I’m damn concerned about my tendons. I didn’t do curls for years for the same reasons you guys don’t do them. A few months ago, I added a few sets of drag curls or hammer curls in a few months ago (once every week or so). You feel like a douchebag at first, but then you start kissing your guns at the top of each rep and “checking the time” and it’s all good.

The best quote on curls came from one of CrossFit’s videos with Louie Simmons. They were doing a CrossFit powerlifting cert at Westside. As someone was trying to put PVC into a monolift, a CrossFitting male asked one of the Westsiders why he did curls. The guy shrugged his shoulders and, with big arms folded, replied, “The strongest guys in the world do curls. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.”

My 2 Cents

Well first off I don’t know why Crossfit as a whole always gets the rap for a couple of extremists. Yes there are some douche bags out there that shun assistance exercises all together. The thing is, most of them arent very good Crossfitters. And they definitely aren’t very “strong”, why the “strong” you ask? Well because there is “strong” and then there is STRONG.

“Strong” is strong, but its not STRONG… Zach get to the point right, ok I will. “Strong” is strong by crossfit standards, I’m “strong” by Crossfit standards. I Squat 405, Snatch 225, Rack jerk 305, etc. My strength numbers for a Crossfitter are really good. But you go into other communities and those numbers don’t hold up very well. You hear things like “Not bad… for a Crossfitter”.

There are Crossfitters who take offense to this, I dont really. Why? Cause we are stepping into some one else arena, of course they are gonna be better then us. We look to take the best of everything and mix it together to make what we consider the most “complete athlete”. Now how do I personally do that for my program? By going out side Crossfits GPP standard, programs are mapped out to peak or be totally torn down at certain times. I talk with people outside the community, when I needed help with Johnnys bench program I went to a power Lifter. John from Grey Skull helped me out and totally opened me up to a lot of different stuff.

What did Johnny do? He benched… a lot. And did a ton of assistance exercises HEAVY hammer curls, kroc rows, shrugs, he’ll tell you it was the best time of his life. His back grew to epic silverback standards and he finished out his cycle benching 365. Now for my regular classes filled with people that dont care about their numbers (I still dont understand that), programming like this doesnt work. And I’ve said a number of times to some people who walk in here with bow flex muscle that they arent aloud to do curls.  Just do pullups IS what I say, why? Because these are the same douche bags who don’t wanna deadlift or squat deep. They just wanna do curls to build up muscle to fill out there tshirts.

Sorry I’m ranting here, this is suppose to be about me supporting assistance exercises. Which I do, why, because I like being “strong” but I wouldnt mine being STRONG. We work the head yoke, do shrugs, kroc rows all to be a better strength athlete. It’s silly to dismiss something cause it does work the “whole body”. Why do axel deadlifts, why would you want a stronger grip? Cause having a stronger wouldnt make you a better Crossfitter oh no sir.

I think everyone just needs to back up off each other and look at some of the top athletes from each sport and see they all are cross training. It just depends on what your sport is. I do know if viking or hammer curls can get me to do something beastly like this, I’m definitely not calling bullshit…

Posted by: Z

Cause We’re better Than you and We know It…

Posted in Gyms on June 17, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

So Barbell Club membership director Johnny Winters has taken it upon himself to write profiles for all members of Old Country Barbell. For those of you not associated with the Club one of the questions was “whats your favorite part of it”. Well I dropped some epic Rip quote in my response to him and called it a day. Then I thought about it, and it’s the simple fact that I love our gym.

We cuss and play the music we want as loud as we want with no complaints from the dog groomers next door. We throw chalk and used ammonia caps around without a care in the world. If  a athletes bitching about something you just get to tell them to “sack up”. I also have more women athletes that’ll tell you that squats cure cancer then I know what to do with.  Then there are the workouts that spill out  of the gym into the local bar. Pretty much the best gym every.

It hasnt always been like this for me. My last gym I shit you not I worked for a douche bag just like this…

Whats my favorite thing about Old Country Barbell and liven a “We do Whatever the F*ck we Want” Old Country Strong lifestyle. Is it we dont care how much we weigh but how much we lift? Or that we get our weeks “carb intake” in a weekend sitting at the bar? Or that we wear more chalk then deodorant? Maybe it’s just all those things combined.

Posted by: Z

OH SHIT… Christmas com Early

Posted in Competition on June 15, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

Lets see where to start with all the recent stuff going down. Well first the Club just got a new Boot (but he might flick your junk if you called him that) in Neil Donathan. Neil even in his Boot status will be getting a profile done (along with all other Club memebers) by membership director and senior Silverback Johnny. With the Clubs growth we also finally sat down and finalized something a lot of you’ve been nagging me about for awhile now. So I guess we’ll finally have the unvailing of the Old Country Barbell shirts…

Shirts will be offered through pre orders only.

Awesome shirts and new Boots aside lets talk about some other important stuff, competition… Thats right if you havent heard yet the date for The PipeHitters Clasic has been set for the 24th of July with a email to a number of Washington Gyms going out tomorrow.

Fun for you guys, shitty for me. I love to compete as well and Im stuck running the damn thing (actually I do like running these kind of things). But my day got brighter when Rainer Crossfit announce a tentative date for what was formerly their Mount Rainers Strongest Man contest. The Competition is now becoming Crossfits Strongest Man and Women and I cant wait to see what exactly that entails but I’m in!

But the spirt of competition doesnt end there no,no, no. For those not interested in either of the mentioned events I have a fun (and booze) filled race that I’ve been talked into for you. I know I said after my marathon (stupid) I’d never run another race. But this looks more like a Mad Max kegger, my kinda race. Check out a video of the after party below and tell me thats not OCS and worth a little run. Rumor is Johnny is gonna strap a keg to his back for this thing.

Well this is like a overload of epic news so I may as well top it off with sick ass video Gogo sent me. I was hoping to get down like this when I did Religion in the gym yesterday. Gotta have goals…

Posted by: Z