WATCH: Who Do You Take Advice From?
In today’s world, you can find guidance and advice almost anywhere – some of it free, some of it not. The question is, should you always listen to it? When it comes to the sport of powerlifting, I would advise you to be strategic about who you choose to rely on for help. In this video clip, I break down my perspective on seeking advice, who I trust with my training programming, and how to identify the right people with the knowledge and expertise you need to succeed.
It’s no secret that I’ve been around powerlifting for years. Whether competing in Strongman competitions, or simply training and lifting weights, I’ve been completely immersed in the sport for over 25 years. When you reach this level of knowledge and experience, some people assume that you just stop asking questions. Indeed, there is some validity to this. There does come a certain point in time where you have to stop asking questions, and just start doing. That being said, I ask questions all the time – even after all these years, I’m still learning new things.
I train with a number of different guys at my gym who all have backgrounds in different areas. Whether it be nutrition, psychology, other sports, or physical therapy, they have expertise in certain subject matter that I don’t have. As a result, I make a point to tap these guys for information all the time. Admittedly, they don’t always give me the correct advice. But let’s say that they give me ten pieces of advice; I know that there is at least one golden nugget hidden in there somewhere. Even if their advice doesn’t apply to me at that time, there may come a point in the future when it comes into play – either for me, or for someone that I’m training.
Beyond my training buddies in the gym, I do ask a lot of questions to certain experts that I trust. I generally stick to seeking advice only from the people who really know what they are talking about, and who also understand me and my training psyche. Needless to say, this is quite a short list. One such advisor, however, is Dave Tate – he wrote my box squat routine. This particular program was a six-month training program that could rotate into a year if needed. In the end, it really helped to skyrocket my box squat routine, and eventually helped me hit the 957-pounds that I box-squatted.
Another advisor is Matt Ladewski, who has also written programming for me, particularly with regard to the bench press. He’s given me numerous ideas on the deadlift as well, and is particularly good at customizing his advice to fit me and my training style. I relate to what he says; his ideas are always genuine and they come from actual experience. Like Dave Tate, he also has a deep understanding of me as a person, and what fuels me in the gym.
After all these years, I’m still surprised by some of the knowledge and expertise that is accessible online. When I visit Starting Strongman on Facebook, people ask training questions in the chat forums. Suddenly, all of these people who I have never heard of provide them with amazing answers. Although this is great, let us not forget to listen to those people who have real, proven experience. Take Bryan Benzel, for instance. When he gives advice, some choose to totally disregard it – despite the fact that he’s been involved in Strongman for the last decade, and has managed to go from an amateur to World’s Strongest Man. Perhaps we should hear what he has to say to us, and learn from what he’s done to get to where he is today.
Even if there are people with whom you don’t always see eye to eye, you still have to respect when someone has experience and knows what they’re doing. For me, this person is Dione Masters. Though I might not always agree with her, she is consistently Dione, and we ultimately have each other’s backs. In the past, I reached out to her when I was having issues on the log press, and she had tons of advice for me. She brought me back to the basics that I was ignoring, and I saw immediate improvements. Even though she no longer competes, she knew about me and my training, and could pass along her wealth of knowledge that she’s built up over the years. Think about all the conversations that she’s had over the course of her career with countless athletes about what’s worked and what hasn’t – she is someone that we can all learn from.
All in all, my recommendation is to avoid taking advice from people who have less than five years of experience in powerlifting. People with less experience don’t really know what they’re talking about – they might think that they do, but the truth is, they just haven’t been around the sport long enough. Seek out advisors who not only have tons of experience, but who also understand you. That’s the key to unlocking great advice that will actually work.