Iron Wisdom

There’re really only two things I miss living in a Mexican village. One is riding a bike around – the roads are cobbled with stones. And the other thing is a gym – there isn’t one.

Working out in a gym,  you get used to hearing a certain type of banter, at least between guys. This probably happens in big franchise gyms too, once you’re a regular.

Mark Rippetoe is a well-known strength coach with a good system and a few books. Here’re some of his barbs and wisdom that I like and you might too if you’ve spent much time in a gym. I distilled these from a longer list if you want more. If you’re politically correct or hyper-sensitive stop here, otherwise enjoy:

Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general.

You can’t make people smarter. You can expose them to information, but your responsibility stops there.

Does a bigger motor slow the car down? No. But a bunch of junk in the trunk does.

People at the Division One and pro level rarely know what the hell they are doing, their athletes are pre-sorted. They are already strong or they would not be on the Dallas Cowboys.

If you can’t train and work in a warehouse at the same time, you probably have ovarian cancer. Consult your gynecologist.

There is simply no other exercise, and certainly no machine, that produces the level of central nervous system activity, improved balance and coordination, skeletal loading and bone density enhancement, muscular stimulation and growth, connective tissue stress and strength, psychological demand and toughness, and overall systemic conditioning than the correctly performed full squat.

Ask Old Santa for a squat rack. Preferably one that won’t fit down the chimney. You can’t do the program without it, and that would leave you forever an elf.

… when brain surgery, or string theory, or the NFL draft, or women’s dress sizes, or white wine is being discussed, I remain quiet, odd though that may seem. But seldom is this the case when orthopedic surgeons, athletic trainers, physical therapists, or nurses are asked about full squats.

A guy asks if hack squat is useful since his college does not have any squat racks only squat machines  “I recommend that you change colleges.”

During the last few reps of a true 20RM squat, just do what Jesus tells you. Trust me, if you do an honest 20 rep program, at some point Jesus will talk to you. On the last day of the program, he asked if he could work in.

Your muscles cannot get “longer” without some rather radical orthopedic surgery.

The vast majority of women cannot get large, masculine muscles from barbell training. If it were that easy, I would have them.

Muscles don’t get leaner—you do.

There is no such thing as “firming and toning.” There is only stronger and weaker.

Women who do look like men have taken some rather drastic steps in that direction that have little to do with their exercise program.

I don’t read around the web much, because I’m old and busy, and just haven’t got time. If I’m on the Internet, I’d rather be looking at porn.

We don’t wear singlets because A…one…they’re gay.

Baby mammals drink milk, and you sir, are a baby mammal.

I’m not interested in what’s been done in the past. I’m interested in what should be done.

The sooner everybody—both halves of the population—accepts the fact that effective exercise is more like training for athletics and less like lying around on the floor, more about performance and less about appearance, the sooner it will be understood that women really don’t need their own figure salon.

Any idiot can get on a treadmill and watch TV and then take great pride in the fact they’ve “exercised.”

A 2 pound weight gain doesn’t count, since it is the size of an average turd.

If you want to look like a bodybuilder, that’s fine with me. That is a matter for you to discuss with your God and your psychologist.

There are few things graven in stone, except that you have to squat or you’re a pussy.

To a bicyclist saying that riding was similar to squats since they both made your legs hurt: Yes they both hurt, but so do burning your hand and burying your bulldog. The differences are actually quite significant.

Milk is quite literally better than steroids for a novice lifter to grow on, and no supplement produces the same effect.

Soy milk is essentially Coffee-Mate laced with estrogen, and is best left to vegans and other socialist vegetarian types that can’t bring themselves to eat the completely natural-for-humans flesh of our friends the Animals but who have no trouble with slaughtering trillions of our other friends the Plants and processing — in gigantic factories run by multinational corporations with shareholders that eat meat themselves…

Pierre, if you are eating 5500 calories a day, then I am a female kangaroo with a Sonic Drive-In franchise and a heroin habit.

In response to a guy complaining that his leg curl weight hasn’t increased since he started dead lifting: “That’s like bitching about masturbation not being fun anymore since you started dating a porn star”

On a respectable number of pull-ups: Well, I can do 16, and I’m 51 and I weigh 210. So you have to beat me or you’re a pussy. And if you do beat me, you’re probably using drugs.

Never ask a question that you may not be prepared to have answered.

Like it or not, we are the product of a very long process of adaptation to a harsh physical existence, and the past couple centuries of comparative ease and plenty are not enough time to change our genome. We humans are at our best when our existence mirrors, or at least simulates, the one we are still genetically adapted to live. And that is the purpose of exercise.

The deadlift is more functional in that it’s very hard to imagine a more useful application of strength than picking heavy shit up off the ground.

There are no shortcuts. The fact that a shortcut is important to you means that you are a pussy. Let me be clear here: if you’d rather take steroids than do your squats heavy and drink enough milk, then you are a fucking Pussy. I have no time or patience for fucking Pussies. Please tell everyone you know that I said this.

I recommend against a wooden squat rack, for much the same reason that I recommend against a wooden car.

It is important to always stay within your comfort zone. This prevents having to subject oneself to the inconvenience of learning something new and potentially useful.

If you insist on wearing gloves, make sure they match your purse.

Bodybuilding is men on a stage in their underwear wearing brown paint showing other men their muscles. It is training for appearance only, and at the contest level requires a degree of vanity, narcissism, and self-absorption that I find distasteful and odd.

The full squat is a perfectly natural position for the leg to occupy. That’s why there’s a joint in the middle of it, and why humans have been occupying this position, both unloaded and loaded, for millions of years. Much longer, in fact, than quasi-intellectual morons have been telling us that it’s “bad” for the knees.

There is no substitute for milk. Sorry.

Rip: You need to drink one gallon of full fat milk everyday. It’s almost mandatory. Somebody from audience: I’m lactose intolerant, could I substitute yogurt for milk?     Rip: Gallon of yogurt.

On drinking not 1, but 2 gallons of milk/day: But you would be shitting primarily cheese. Are you ready for this?

In response to someone who hit himself in the testicles when deadlifting: “You either have very short arms or very long nuts.”

“Thanks for the kind words, but if “Starting Strength” is the most interesting book you’ve ever read, you must have just started reading a couple of weeks ago.”