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Part Two of HISTORY OF POWERLIFTING, WEIGHTLIFTING, AND
STRENGTH TRAINING NUMBER 114 began with the lines, “Hucksterism in powerlifting? The peddling of bullshit in the guise of legitimate training information? Enjoy a warm welcome to the media, advertising, and the Internet.” Briefly noting the fact that powerlifters, like all strength athletes are a prime target for purchasing “bullshit” products and information due to their dedication to what we must admit is a fringe sporting activity, annoyed some of our readers. However, as expected, it brought out many admissions and rather humorous accounts of “falling for the hype hook, line, and sinker.” Typical was this:
Hucksterism in powerlifting? The peddling of bullshit in the guise of legitimate training information? Enjoy a warm welcome to the media, advertising, and the Internet. There is a parallel between the history of “providing” training information and then figuring out what exactly the interested party purchased, and the nutritional supplement industry, so a bit of background information will help as we wind our way back to the “routine” aspect of this specific discussion.
Unfortunately, many if not most lifters have bought into the same “you need nutritional supplements to succeed” mind-set that most athletes have. The segment of the general public that spends money on anything past a one-a-day type of vitamin tablet and perhaps “extra” Vitamin C has been constant since the 1960s but the real money for the supplement suppliers resides in the athletic community. I recently noted to some of our younger trainees that the presentation of the various “super-duper” supplements is cyclical. One of the advantages of having lifted weights at age twelve and continuing to do so into my early seventies is that I can truly state that “I have seen it all” and relative to supplements, “all” is usually something that has been recycled after initial failure to produce
My daughter often will chide me about my inability to correctly note time. I can read a clock accurately. I may be Polish but I can “tell time” but admittedly have an inability to properly “sequence time.” Events of twenty years ago could have been two years or “not too long ago” in my reference of history. It frequently is necessary to think about the appropriate placement of an event or incident on a timeline, much like a doctoral student must sit and consider the exact wording of his or her dissertation. Especially coming off the top of my head, I am often “not close” in determining when something occurred. I attribute this obvious inability to having witnessed, lived through, survived, or been exposed to “too much stuff.”
The comments received after the publication of last month’s article that focused on the advisability of training or competing were numerous and somewhat surprising. If we summarize the content and intended purpose of the piece, it would be:
If you’re injured to the extent that you have to wonder if you should be training or competing, you probably should not do either and take the appropriate steps to heal, rehabilitate, and progress in reasonable fashion back into the “mainstream of your usual training.”
Coming years after my involvement providing backstage and other security services in the music industry, the song “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” was released by local singer Cyndi Lauper who of course became an international star. It may surprise some that Lauper neither wrote nor made the first recording of the song but certainly her version was and remains the iconic version. Although not “my kind of music,” my daughter when a pre-teen, more or less adopted the song as a favorite for a while and would blast it as she ran, jumped, or danced around the house. Every time I heard it, I would reflexively substitute the words “powerlifters just want to have fun” in part I am certain because lifting was always so enjoyable to me and my various training partners. With great staying power, the song was played as background on a television commercial early this morning in the warm-up area of our facility and once again, I thought, “yeah man, powerlifters just want to have fun” and most, I would think, do when they’re lifting. However, how much fun are they having when they can’t lift due to injury or in their zeal or compulsiveness, do lift when logic, common sense, and medical or orthopedic certainty dictates that they shouldn’t?
In all areas of athletic endeavor, as it is in any profession, vocation, groups with specific interests or among those of various ethnic and racial backgrounds, there are individuals judged to be “nice” or “not nice,” “considerate” or “not considerate,” and “helpful” or “unhelpful.” Obviously within any group some will be liked and others won’t be dependent upon their behavior and attitude towards a number of variables. I was taught that being part of a specific athletic endeavor, profession, vocation, groups with specific interests, and/or various racial or ethnic backgrounds is never a basis for passing judgment on a person. Instead, my father’s credo was “Take each individual as they are, if they’re an asshole, they’re an asshole, it has nothing to do with being white, Black, Hispanic, Asian, or where they’re from. They’re just an asshole.” This has allowed me to go through many decades of life without prejudice related to almost everything people display prejudice about.
I am not one to make resolutions, not for New Years or on other calendar dictated occasions. However, I do recognize the necessity to periodically assess, reassess, revitalize, overhaul, and commit to approaching one’s quest for increased muscular strength and size. Thus I accept the vows, promises, resolutions, and oaths that accompany the turning of one year into the next. The proviso of course is that one should always be on fire and jacked up about their training and what it will take to reach the next level.
My father usually kept his opinions to himself unless directly asked to comment, especially about the cultural and social aspects of existence. With his very limited education and early introduction to hard physical labor, the term “cultural” as used in his case, should not be confused with any relation to intellectual pursuits such as reading, music, or art. “Social” too would not refer to the broader aspects of developing relationships outside the family as he was a committed loner who was most comfortable only within the borders of his work or gambling environments. However, at least to me, he had plenty to say about the hippies of the mid to late-1960s, those who would try to avoid military service if called upon by their country, what he determined to be the lack of respect of the traditional values he grew up with that included courteous public conduct, a willingness to learn from those older or more experienced than he was, and the application of hard consistent work to earn the goals one set for themselves.
As a high school student, my attitude and approach towards academic work ranged from indifferent to enthusiastic. This I believe is typical with most young people, excited and willing to work hard relative to subjects or topics that they enjoy or have a true interest in, and perhaps not stimulated enough to do more than the bare minimum otherwise. I took my teachers and coaches as they came, often with simmering distrust and dislike under a veneer of being polite and respectful at all times, and less frequently sharing a true passion
Of course had I known that last month’s blog/article would have prompted so many responses related to “training during a hurricane,” I would have planned on a continuation. Certainly there are a few humorous responses to that article to share with our TITAN readers and the answer is “No, I did not think others were filled with either, to quote the title of the article(s), as ‘dedication or lunacy’ as I was.” None who responded downplayed the seriousness or degree of danger brought by the hurricane or storm they referenced and of
course, neither did I. Especially with the home offices of TITAN SUPPORT SYSTEMS in the bulls-eye of Hurricane Harvey a month ago and a follow up disaster with Irma in Florida almost immediately afterwards, there is little to be trivialized. However, many were humored enough to send comments about my insistence on training, doing it outdoors, during the onslaught of Hurricane Donna in September of 1960. There were a number of comments made unrelated to lifting, that also painted a rather funny picture. My friend Rich Landsman who eventually developed into an accomplished athlete who took his track and intellectual abilities to American University in Washington D.C. had not yet demonstrated the benefits of strength training he would at a later date. In 1960 at the height of Donna’s intrusion, he was ordered to press his less than impressive 100 pounds of physical heft against the front door of his home so that it would not blow in on his family. As I attempted to both frame a picture in my mind of Rich, back to the door, arms outstretched to each side of the door buck, actually leaning with all of his might against the bulk of the door and the outside winds that buffeted it, I was also reminded of the sometimes “unscientific” and naïve thought process of 1960 and an older generation.
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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