Starting Strength – Common Misconceptions and Outright Lies | GOMAD

There’s a whole bunch of silliness on the internet when it comes to Starting Strength.  I don’t know what it is, but people come up with some really bizarre shit anytime someone brings up Mark Rippetoe or Starting Strength.  Most of it is perpetuated by people who haven’t read any of the material or are getting information from some third party and accepting it as truth.  This is the nature of things on the internet, but sometimes as a coach, you have to dispel some of this stuff when dealing with a client or interacting with folks online.  In this series of posts I’ll do my best to explain where the issue at hand came from and the truth behind it.

GOMAD – Gallon of Milk A Day

Also see: A Clarification – Rippetoe

GOMAD, or drinking a gallon of milk a day, has become almost synonymous with Starting Strength and with Rip.  “Should I drink a gallon of milk a day?” or more commonly: “I know Rip recommends drinking a gallon of milk a day, but……?” are probably the most recurring questions I get asked.  Not only that, but there are people who will outright dismiss a coach, the books, videos, forums, and all the other available information because of their inaccurate notion of when and why they’d recommend GOMAD. This is usually because they heard that their buddy’s buddy “did SS” last year and got fat or some other stupid crap.

Here’s the deal.  GOMAD is for a person who needs to gain a lot of weight. This person will be 17 to 25, male, underweight and will not have been able to keep weight on in the past.  And guess what, for that demographic, it works beautifully. Provided they’re actually doing the program, these folks get bigger and stronger.  The kind of bigger that they want to be. And when they’ve gained sufficient weight, or the weight gain starts going in the wrong direction, they cut out some or all of the milk. This process takes 3 to 4 months AND THEN THEY DON’T DRINK A GALLON OF MILK A DAY ANYMORE.

In my now 4 years as a Starting Strength Coach, coaching people regularly in that time, I’ve recommended GOMAD to 2 clients.  Largely because of the nature of the demographic that has the time and money to hire a regular strength coach, but nonetheless, we’re not going around telling everyone to drink a gallon of milk to get their gainzzz.

The recommendation won’t go away, because it’s very useful for the folks who need it. For people who won’t squat three days a week, are older, not underweight, women, or fat, it is simply inappropriate.  Yes, when these folks start a strength training program, they will probably have to eat more than they’re used to in order to recover, but these are relatively moderate increases compared to what the 5’9″, 145 lb, 23 year old who can’t squat 95 lbs would need.

The key here is that GOMAD is a powerful tool for the underweight novice in doing the program.  The guy who goes on GOMAD will only do it for a short time for a very specific purpose.  For the vast majority, though, “GOMAD is not for you”.

 

How to Squat – Gripping the bar

There’s nothing that works better for getting strong than basic barbell training.  Full range of motion lifts that load the entire skeleton are both efficient and effective in producing an adaptation that is beneficial for all aspects of human performance.   Whatever it is you do, whether it’s Krav Maga, sports, martial arts, or just life, you need to be stronger to be better at it.

There are always a lot of questions on the squat.  As a Starting Strength Coach, I teach the squat as described in Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, by Mark Rippetoe.  The proper grip is a thumbless grip, with straight wrists.  The bar is placed under the traps, on top of the posterior deltoid, under the spine of the scapula.  Keeping the chest up and elbows back wedges the bar in place.  Don’t neglect setting up properly.  Issues with tightness at the bottom of the squat can sometimes be traced to a loose upper back and a crappy grip or bar position.

Here’s a video I put together for Starting Strength.  Comment below if you have any questions.

Tactical Spec Ops LEO Elite Krav Maga

Anyone else tired of hearing the word tactical? Unfortunately, I have quite a few perfectly good t-shirts from days passed that have that cringe-worthy, non-sensical term all over them.

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Tactical Elbow Touching

In the 10 years I’ve been teaching Krav Maga, I’ve used it on tag lines, websites, t-shirts, etc, etc, etc.  It sounds neat, or at least it used to.  I’ve also made a big deal out of training “tactical” people.  Cops, military, security folks – those types.  All self-defense instructors do to some extent.  Either the system being taught is used by “Elite” forces around the world, or the instructor has personally trained Delta Force while a member of Seal Team Six operating under cover in the IDF.

Here’s the thing.  You become a better instructor by teaching and coaching regular folks.  Taking a completely normal person, with a normal job, who has never been in a fight and transforming that person’s ability and mindset in a few hours of a seminar or over a few months in regular classes takes serious skill.  Doing this well is something most instructors can’t do.

It really does sounds cool when you tell someone that you trained a Secret Service Agent, or that **insert military unit here** uses your system, but what no one understands is that the police officers who choose to take your training and the guys who are in military units they make movies about, especially, ARE ALREADY FIGHTERS AND KILLERS.  You may give them a handful of techniques that they’ve never seen before, but you’re kidding yourself if you think that you’re blowing the minds of guys who are specifically selected to solve problems and do a lot with a little.

Telling folks they’re training in a system that a tier one unit supposedly uses is also complete bullshit.  It’s irrelevant because what applies to small unit tactics and may be mission specific doesn’t apply to Bill, the insurance agent.  Bill doesn’t carry an M-4 to work and roll with 4-12 of his closest buddies.  Bill is pre-diabetic, just started “working out” last year, has a bad shoulder, and showed up to your class because he’s getting bored with machines at the gym and wants to feel like a badass.

If you’re ever lucky enough to train someone who’s very experienced, you find that you’ll get the opportunity to push, and push really hard.  Being able to keep the attention of 30 or 40 veteran police officers says something about you as an instructor, but those skills are honed through taking people who can barely walk proficiently and making them powerful, confident, and competent quickly.  The only way to do that is to have a deep, fundamental understanding of absolute basics.  Of what’s important and what’s a waste of time, and the experience to be able to give minimal instruction to produce maximum performance.