“Anyone, anyone?” is one of my favorite movie quotes from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”. I love the quote because I often feel like Ben Stein (the teacher with this quote) when I ask many fitness professionals why they do what they do? One of my favorite things to read fitness professionals try to justify their training is that it is “old school.”
Eh? “old school” what does that even mean? It may sound weird that the guy who is so strongly promoting sandbag training is questioning “old school” I have often said I am not in favor of sandbag training, I am in favor of problem solving! A big difference as most fitness pros fall prey to the excitement of doing something new and different.
I wonder if anyone could even define what training “old school” actually means? It isn’t about the implements, tools shouldn’t determine the training, it can’t be just an attitude thing can it? No matter what, I think most people have a really poor understanding of what “old school” really relates to.
For one, you would have to define what time frame is “old school”. Greek and Roman times versus the early 20th century are just a tiny bit different. My point is that there is a lot of time that we could discuss many different sociological factors, but let’s not get off the point.
To think there was a unified system of training in any period of time is very misleading. Think about the internet is only 10-15 years old (heck even less for some people) and the ability to share information was quite different 100 years ago. Not only could people be doing very different things in different regions of the US, internationally it could have taken quite some time to have information travel country to country, especially overseas. Hopefully you are seeing the idea of some type of “old school system” is really quite ridiculous.
This doesn’t mean we can’t learn from how some of these amazing lifters trained “back in the day” but have we been mislead in what they valued as important? To prove my point I pulled some great information from two top Strength Coaches.
Here was a great post by renown Strength Coach, Mike Boyle, as he was posting the picture of some interesting lower body training.
“You may not be able to read the fine print; the top caption says, “Squatting on one leg will do more for you than squatting on the two legs together.”
Interestingly, the bottom caption says, “Just a variation of the same exercise as illustrated by the photo above.” So in 1922, the bilateral squat was “just a variation” of the single-leg squat.
What happened in the last ninety years? How did bilateral exercise evolve to make more sense than unilateral exercise?
The exercises didn’t evolve, but the industry did.
We grew up in a strength and conditioning world dominated by bodybuilders, powerlifters, and Olympic lifters – all lifters for whom double-leg training makes perfect sense. Team sport athletes are not the same as strength-sport athletes, not by a long shot. So why argue that they should train the same?”
Weird, but isn’t a big lift the key to fitness success? Isn’t this what we are chasing after in the weight room? Sorry, but our focus has been lost and continually we are torn by competing beliefs. Listen to some thoughts by Strength Coach, Jason Ferruggia, “The majority of guys who have been training for more than a decade have worse athletic ability than they did ten years earlier.”
Coach Ferruggia goes on to say: “Some people believe that training like an athlete means you squat instead of leg press. While I agree that those seeking enhanced athleticism should steer clear of machine training there is nothing exceptionally athletic about performing a squat. It’s the first major movement pattern you mastered as an infant. Since then you have probably screwed it up a bit and may not be able to do it as well but there is nothing exceptionally “athletic” about taking two steps back and squatting down. It’s commonly performed millions of times per day in crappers worldwide.
I’m not knocking the squat, of course; it’s a great exercise that will do more for you and will incorporate far more muscle groups, and requires more hip and ankle mobility, along with core strength and stability than any machine.
Just don’t think that just because you put a bar on your back instead of lying down on the hack squat machine that you are magically going to become Jerry Rice.”
However, that is what most people in the fitness and strength & conditioning industry values. We say we are about movement, we say we want “functional” exercise, but at the same time we put people in racks that lift the weights for them, specialized equipment that balances them perfectly. What the heck is happening?!
Is Ultimate Sandbag Training Old School?
Whenever I watch people in our Ultimate Sandbag Training workouts I know we are on the right track! What did old time strongmen do that we keep forgetting? Maybe it was the idea they used weights to always enhance movement, where we value weights more than the actual movement! That is why our Ultimate Sandbag Training has so many progressions and variations. We aren’t anti-weights, we are pro movement!
Hold up though! I hear you now! “But Josh are you true to sandbag training?” Ah, great point! Here is the difference, Ultimate Sandbag Training stills stays true to the base idea of an “odd object” that moves and is unpredictable. Some people would point at the handles and think that makes Ultimate Sandbag Training easier. Just the opposite, the change in leverage makes a lot of the exercises more difficult and the handles allow us more levels of progressions and ability to make more complex movements. Racks and other more modern equipment makes us more stable and doesn’t accomplish these goals.
Addressing your goals and specific needs with designated exercises sounds logical, but how come it is the exception and not the rule? We like to think with the increasing popularity of Ultimate Sandbag Training we can change all of that!