The Agoge Fitness Systems’ Powerlifting team is now in its second week of training. At present there are nine of us on the team, five men and four women.
We’re following a program laid out for us by Hugh Morgan and Bob McKee, two national level competitors who were lifting during the 70s and 80s. Hugh and Bob shared the platform with such lifting greats as Paul Anderson and Bill Kazmaier and, now in their 70s, are still able bodied and healthy enough to coach programming and demonstrate technique. We are very honored to count them as part of our team.
If you’ve followed my blog you’ll know I place great value on the lessons of our elders. I think we’ve given up much with the advance in technology. Our lives are softer, easier and more comfortable. As such we’ve lost an edge that our grandfathers took for granted. In our modern era of comfort and convenience, of mass produced but nutritionally dead foods we, like Pottenger’s cats, are diminished with each subsequent generation. I, for one, am thrilled at the chance to learn from men who not only pushed the envelope of their physical capacities but came back from that edge heathy and whole, capable of sharing their knowledge and experience. It is a fool who fails to learn from those who came before him.
Our training is simple. We lift four days a week. Our training is focused on the perfection of technique in the squat, bench press and deadlift. Supplemental training is minimal but effective. The overall goal is to get stronger in each of the lifts and all other work is designed to support that goal.
The joy of training this way is that it frees up energy and resources for all other kinds of play and development. Training for this program can be completed in four to six hours weekly. This is my second cycle and I can attest that the abbreviated training schedule (as opposed to my previous 12 to 14 hours a week) actually frees me up, both time wise and energetically. In addition to the kick boxing classes I teach twice weekly, I train in kickboxing two hours a week, plus an average of 3 more hours training kali/silat. On my rest days, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday, I have plenty of energy for whatever mobility work I might feel like, chores I need to tend to, or fun/games I might be inclined to play.
Best of all I’m getting stronger. Freed of the neurotic drive to do more and keep training I do my work, follow the program, and leave it. At the end of the last cycle I added 35 pounds to my squat, setting a lifetime PR, and made improvements on both my bench and deadlift. I fully expect to set lifetime PRs in both of those lifts come the end of this cycle.
Mentally I am a different animal. Before working with Bob and Hugh, I can now admit, my training was characterized by doubt and insecurity. “Am I doing enough?” “Could/Should I do more?” “Am I doing too much?” Each week these doubts would plague me and the only way I felt I could banish them was to push harder and do more. My strength stagnated. My energies diminished. I felt hounded and uncertain. That is no way to train.
That’s something else the old guys knew that we have forgotten. Your mind is as important as your muscle. Banish all negativity from your mind when you train. Leave you problems at the door. When you train you are magnificent. When you enter the gym you are committed to working on the best parts of yourself. You work commitment, dedication, loyalty, drive, persistence, focus, friendship, fellowship and love. Gains in strength and muscularity are but side effects of this far more noble work.
If you’re interested in joining our team get with me. Our current cycle will end in a mock powerlifting meet on July 11th and the next cycle starts on the 18th. Team members need to stay on cycle with each other and so membership is closed until the start of the next cycle, but we can discuss training options until then.
To our perfect imperfection,