Three years ago our family moved from a gang-influenced blue collar neighborhood to a safe, quiet, blue collar neighborhood. In both instances, our neighbors, for the most part, were and are hard-working individuals that included tradesmen, firefighters, police officers, manual laborers, and landscapers of mixed ethnicity. In our current area, there are a large number of bay men and dock workers as our 1.1 square mile village sits on the water. In both locales there are expressions heard on the street, offered by every racial and ethnic group, somewhat unique to the area, but phrases that immediately sum up what might take five sentences to express elsewhere. Any backlash, backtalk, or general hassle that has come from my “challenging” the concept, exercise, and “cottage industry” of the bench press, as they say here, goes into the category of “I brought this ‘stuff’ on my ownself!”
One doesn’t have to go back to the leather helmet era to find the requirement that players participate on both offense and defense. This made playing and watching football more enjoyable than today’s highly specialized game. The well conditioned players understood and practiced the fundamentals. Strength training and powerlifting have also gone to very specialized “niches” where few if any compete at more than one aspect of the iron game sports and often, only focus upon but one of the competitive lifts.
I had given consideration to discussing the “specialized” equipment and apparel that has been associated with the sport of powerlifting for decades and realized that an age of specialization now spans a number of generations. I have always described myself as it relates to my profession, my interests, my daily and weekly activities, and my focus as a “football guy.” I initially began to train at the age of twelve in order to “be a better football player.” I wasn’t certain what that truly meant but after seeing my first in-person high school football game in 1957 and thinking that the guys on the field were the biggest, strongest, and most exciting athletes I could imagine, my path was very much set in stone. I of course grew up in an era where it could be said of most activities, that there was little specialization. Watching my grandfather and father at their jobs as iron workers had me convinced that it would take too many years to ever master the ability to measure, cut with a torch, weld, heat, throw, and pound rivets, properly use a hoist, drill press, punch-and-chop Pels Ironworker machine, and then enter the blacksmith shop to heat, shape, and work metal into intricate horseshoes, railings, gates, and ornamental staircase fittings as the men in my family did. They truly could and in fact, “did it all” and I understood that it took many years to master the craft of iron working and blacksmithing if only because there were so many aspects that were incorporated into a day’s work.
“Dear Dr. Ken,
A Lifter In Ohio”
It pleases Pete Alaniz, founder and President of Titan Support Systems, to receive feedback on the series of articles I have written for Titan. We both wanted to provide information and a monthly “enjoyable read” to the many customers and potential customers of Titan, and powerlifters who stumbled upon the site. While almost every male or female who has lifted weights for a number of years, has humorous or unusual stories related to the activity we enjoy so much, there have been questions about some of the statements I have made regarding accidents resulting from faulty barbell equipment. Unfortunately, the stories relayed within this column have been true and I suggest that every lifter go to the Ivanko Barbell Company site and read Tom Lincir’s very informative articles.
With the past three-and-one-half years’ worth of discussion about the use and changes in training equipment, barbells, squat racks, and more, the use of the Olympic or power bar for competitive or non-competitive lifters has definitely provoked the most response. In my own case, I have achieved the “best of both worlds” with a combination of two terrific products. Remember the past few months’ columns please. I believe I established a viable opinion if not fact, that a barbell with rotating sleeves is not a necessity for those interested in squatting, bench pressing, and deadlifting the most weight possible. Just as clearly, I believe I made the point that a “good” barbell that could withstand the constant exposure to the heaviest of weights was a necessity. Steel that has been treated to maintain its shape and integrity is a must if one is to lift safely and efficiently.
I admit that I have enjoyed the responses that the most recent articles in this series have evoked (or provoked) as much as I have enjoyed writing the articles. For those readers new to this column which now includes forty-three monthly installments, the past few months have been spent explaining why it isn’t necessary to use what the lifting community refers to as a “power bar” or “Olympic barbell” for training if one is a competitive powerlifter. This stance is viewed as heresy by some or beyond the understanding of others because they were “raised” on the assumption that it is in fact a requirement to squat, bench press, and deadlift on a bar with rotating sleeves.
The Alaniz family are true American pioneers in the field of innovating and manufacturing Powerlifting and Strength products.Since 1981, they have played a leading role in the development of equipment and the growth of the sport through sponsorships and contributions. Pete Alaniz was awarded the prestigious Brother Bennett award from the USAPL in 2006. ×
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