Matt’s been reading a book called “MONEY Master the Game” by Tony Robbins. In it there are a multitude of financial topics, ranging from retirement planning to financial independence. One of the most repeated quotes in the book comes from Warren Buffet. It says: “ Rule #1: don’t’ lose money Rule #2: see rule #1”. We can relate this to powerlifting, stay tuned to find out how.
The key meaning behind this is that by making consistent gains (financially) year over year, you have a higher probability of success. If you plan on investing over a longer period of time, taking predictable year over year gains is the way to go. Yes, they have a slightly lower risk profile and less of a quicker payoff, but will nearly guarantee future success. This means avoid risky investments. They may end up losing a significant portion of your investments, making the odds of ever recovering even your original amount extremely difficult.
The logic and math behind this is illustrated in a simple scenario. You lose 50% of $100 in an investment and you end up with only $50. What do you need to get back to $100? The common answer is that you only need a 50% return on investment. This would be wrong. You will need a 100% return to get back to $100.
This goes to show if you have a long term mindset and avoid setbacks you can avoid significant “lost years” where you are working to gain back everything after making risky investment decisions.
Applied in Lifting
This is all kinda like Powerlifting and increasing your strength over the period of a program.
There are more aggressive volume driven powerlifting programs such as DUP and the Bulgarian Method (if this is even used anymore) that instruct lifters to use higher volumes and lower variations for the main movements. This adds the most pounds to their total in the shortest amount of time.
On the contrary are programs such as 5/3/1, the Juggernaut Method, and even concepts from Westside Barbell (we won’t demean this by calling it a program because the methodology casts a wide enough net to essentially be anything related to sports development). They are criticized for providing lower poundage to your total for raw lifts.
The latter types of powerlifting programs provide better results in the lifetime of a lifter as compared to the higher volume, lower variation programs. There is a lower risk of chronic or acute injuries that tend to appear in lower volume programs, making it similar to where investing over a longer period of time is the way to go. Having more frequent deloads and slower variation (including periodization) may build strength slower, but it beats breaking your back and not being able to make any kind of gains for the foreseeable future. More intense programs that favor short term gains over long term results lead to injury and therefore little to no results.
Bias in Lifting
Survivorship bias is severely understated in the choice of powerlifting protocol.
As a refresher, survivorship bias is essentially over weighing the likelihood of an outcome based on the story of success. For instance, when you listen to an interview by Tom Cruise saying anyone can be a successful actor because he is, this completely disregards the 99% of people that strive to become successful actors. It disregards those that end up keeping the restaurant business of Los Angeles fully staffed with waiters.
A large number of top tier powerlifters are successful from higher volume programs. Most (if not all) have most likely sustained some injuries – just not enough to keep them from competing. We would make a conjecture that these lifters may be less resistant to injury than the average population. The ratio of those hurt to not has to be something astronomical. This shows that most people offering programs will base it on their anecdotal experience and their own success. Not so much what actually may be the most successful in the long term for the general population
These programs overemphasize “grinding out” workouts and promote “sucking it up” when your joints start flaring up. They promote doing 50 sets of squats a week because this will make you the best lifter possible. Ha. In the short term you may get stronger, but the name of the game in lifting is progressive overload. Meaning you have to add weight or reps during your sessions or complete the workload in a shorter period of time.
In the framework of a higher volume program, if your knees are aching at 50 sets of squats a week and you want to get stronger you need to either add more weight or reps. Knee pain then only has one direction to go – eastbound and down.
How We Can Relate
To be fully transparent, Matt’s best total ever was 1375 lbs at 231 lbs bodyweight. This makes him an average (if we’re being generous) to below average (if we’re being honest) powerlifter. Tiffany has never even tried to compete making her less than average of a powerlifter. What we lack in true Powerlifting experience though, we have in years of raw lifting experience and countless injuries between the two of us. We are not master program designers by any means but believe we are not alone in our views. We find it hard to believe that Matt is the only one being pushed out of the sport early because of these unsustainable programs.
Think about it. When things are rushed, form will be compromised. Even someone who hasn’t truly followed a Powerlifting protocol (cough, cough Tiffany) can understand this. That form leads to injury. Even if it’s not your form, it could be the intensity or lack of rest during and after a workout. We’ve both experienced times when we don’t give our bodies to heal (because we’re too stubborn- as Matt talked about here). The outcome is aches and pains.
So as Warren Buffet paraphrases, take it slow, don’t lose your body. So what should you do? Take a rest day and take deload weeks as needed, listen to your body. Be in it for the long run.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree with us? Let us know in the comment section!