The SEVEN Commandants of Lifting

If you always do what you always did, then you'll always get what you always got

lt came about, oh around the fourth century B.A. (before Apollo). This was before E.S.P.N.before Soul Train even. Hercules the prlmogenitor of Larry Pacifico, and the god of strength, went up to Mount Olympus were he fasted and prayed for forty minutes. lt was there that Zeus the king of heaven and the lord of the thunderbolt, appeared to Hercules in the form of a burning bush. Now Zeus said to Hercules, "Cut out for yourself two stone tablets and I will write on the tablets - if you help me with the spelling - the Seven Commandments of Powerlifting. Yes! Seven Commandments because he couldn't think of ten. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, "The Seven Commandments." Then he told Hercules "take these commandments and give them to the lifters of the World."

Thou shaft not lift until thou has developed picture perfect form. Before you even think about doing a single repetition, make sure you know how the exercise should be performed in order to get the greatest bio-mechanical efficiency possible. And don't you dare add an ounce of weight until you have developed consummate form. This isn't your mother talking hear, so pay attention. Proper form Is one of the most critical aspects of lifting heavy weight. Heck, It's one of The Seven commandments. By using proper form you will not only be able to cut down on Injuries but you will also be able to significantly enhance your performance. The more efficient your "lifting groove" the more weight you will be able to move.

Thou shalt not neglect hard work. Even a "doubting Aphrodites" knows that in order to be good at something you have to work at it. As Pacifico, the god of the "total" once said "hard work is everything". lf you are not willing to struggle a little, sacrifice a little, and work a lot, you will never make it in the "iron game". If you are going to get anything from your training, you have to work up a little sweat. And that means a little discomfort ... OK, a little pain too. Did you ever hear of the overload Principle? It states that in order to get a training effect you have to tax your muscles beyond what they are normally accustomed to. That means you have to push yourself if you want to make gains. The old cliche, "no pain, no gain" is true. (There are limits to this however - see Commandment 3). Interestingly, John Lawther a renowned motor learning expert has said that in order to reach an elite level In athletics you have to train approximately 10,000 hours. That's 10,000 quality hours of hard training, not just 10,000 hours spent in the gym. Like Pacifico said, "hard work is everything." Remember too, that whatever a man soweth that shall be also what he reaps.

Thou shalt not kill thyself. This is not only the law of the gods but it is also one of the primary rules of most gyms. Members are not allowed to kill themselves. Although most of us have been taught that there is a direct relationship between hard work and success, too much work will not only decrease the likelihood of success, but may even bring about serious injury. Research has consistently shown that if a muscle is placed under stress and then stressed again, without being given enough time to recover; the muscle will become weaker, rather than stronger. Continued use of a fatigued muscle is especially injurious if the muscles exhaust their supply of glycogen and utilize the protein of their own cells for energy. In short, train too much will not only decrease your performance but can also lead to serious injury. Note, that lifting should be a lifelong activity, not a life threatening one.

Thou shall stretch out, before thou shalt workout. An individual who does not have adequate flexibility cannot move with ease through movements requiring extreme ranges of motion at the joints. He also significantly increases his chance of injury especially in movements requiring a full range of movement. In fact, research has shown that maintenance of an adequate range of motion prevents and/or helps relieve muscle spasms and tears. Besides increasing movement capabilities and reducing the possibility of injuries, flexibility can also enhance lifting performance. According to research, proper flexibility will enable you to exert more muscular force in extreme ranges of movement. For example coming out of a deep squat requires that you exert maximal force from a position of extreme muscular stretch. Fred Hatfield, the god of squat, said that by improving hip and shoulder flexibility, the ability to perform explosive movements improves with the essential by-product of reducing the chances of injury to joints and muscles from over-stretching. So stretch for god's sake.

Thou shalt not stay up all night chasing women. OK, OK, you can chase women, but just don't stay up all night doing it. If you want to be great, you have to get your sleep. As you might expect sleep deprivation not only affects mental preparedness, but also physical performance. There are several studies which have revealed that as little as one hour of sleep deprivation for a period of one week can cause a significant decrement in strength, speed, and coordination. Physiologist, also believe that rest is just as essential to muscle growth as nutrition and proper exercise. In short, an adequate amount of sleep is necessary If you are going to reach your full potential as a lifter. So get plenty of sack time. Naps are good too, but skip the cookies and milk.

Thou shalt not feast on ambrosia (the food of the gods). You know like ice cream, cake, or any other food that tastes too good to be good. Although at present there is no way to ascertain an individual's precise nutritional needs for optimum health and/or performance there are some general rules you can follow. First of all most experts in the field of nutrition recommend that serious athletes consume approximately 60 to 75% carbohydrates, 15 to 25% protein, and 5 to 10% fat in addition to limiting fat (the average American consumes approximately 40% fat) the experts suggest you eliminate salts, stimulants, sugar, flour, hot spices, alcohol, charcoal-broiled foods and foods that contain additives and preservatives. Don't panic! It sounds like everything, but it really isn't. On the other hand, try to increase the consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain cereals. A multi-vitamin supplement might also be taken as determined by your age and sex. Remember, you are what you eat. You don't want to be a twinkie do you?

Thou shalt not drink spirituous beverages. Research has consistently revealed that even moderate use of alcohol can cause myocystites (an inflammation of muscle tissue) a condition that can significantly decrease an individual's strength and endurance. Strength decrements as high as six percent have been found in some subjects the day after they consumed as little as two ounces of alcohol. There is also a prolific amount of research which shows that moderate consumption of alcohol can decrease the production of testosterone (you know the hormone that makes men ... well, bigger and better men, and women almost men), which will also predispose an individual to decrements in strength.

And that's the way it was written in the book of lifting! 

Yours in strength,

Dr. Judd


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