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What’s the best way to get big and strong?
Some people say that the only way to get big is to get strong, and the best way to get strong is to stick to the big lifts. Do a lot of heavy compound weightlifting, and you’ll naturally get bigger as you gain strength.
In other words, anything that’s not the squat, bench press, overhead press, and deadlift is a more or less a waste of time and effort.
On the flip side of the coin, some claim that if you want to get big, you need to blast your muscles with tons of reps on isolation exercises to really concretize the “mind-muscle connection” and gain size.
In fact, they claim, you don’t have to do any compound lifts to get bigger and doing big lifts like deadlifts and squats cause more fatigue than necessary, limiting how much work you can do on accessory exercises.
As is usually the case, the truth is somewhere in the middle, and in this episode, I speak with Mark Rippetoe on the best ways to incorporate assistance exercises in a strength training routine.
I thought Mark would be a good guest because while we agree on many things, we don’t always see perfectly eye to eye when it comes to training for aesthetics (or wanting a six-pack). In fact, Mark didn’t agree with my approach to the programming in the latest edition of my book for intermediate and advanced weightlifters, Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger, and I thought this could make for an interesting discussion.
In this episode, Mark and I discuss . . .
- Movement patterns versus assistance exercises
- Exercises that really move the needle when it comes to muscle growth
- The value of barbell curls and lying triceps extensions
- Why and how to incorporate rack pulls
- Halted and wide-grip deadlifts
- Overhead squats and good mornings
- The importance of trap and ab training
- And more . . .
So, if you want to learn about effective assistance work you can incorporate into your routine, this is an episode you don’t want to miss. Hit play and let me know what you think!
7:19 – Should you put accessory exercises into your program?
38:36 – What about variations like rack pulls or Romanian deadlifts?
38:23 – How and why should someone put a rack pull into their program?
43:19 – What’s the point of the halted reps?
49:01 – What about overhead squats?
51:36 – Is the good morning a good assistance exercise?
52:25 – Do you recommend any direct trap training?
54:29 – Do you recommend any ab training or anything directly for the core muscles?
Mentioned on the show:
Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger 2nd Edition
Legion VIP One-on-One Coaching
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Mike: Hey there. I’m Mike Matthews. This is most for life. Welcome to another episode. Thank you for joining me today for an interview I did with the godfather of Gaines, the sovereign of strength and the ripper of toes. Mark Rippetoe, my good friend, and always entertaining guests to talk about. Well, getting bigger and stronger, of course, but specifically we talk about accessory exercises, other than the big three or big four, if you will, you know, the squat, the deadlift, the bench, and the overhead press.
And this interview came about because I asked Mark to check out and blurb. If he liked it, my newest book, the new second edition of Beyond Bigger and Stronger. And he came back to me and he was likem. I’m sorry, man. But I can’t blurb the book because I don’t agree with it. And that by the way, was after Googling how to do a Texan accent.
So that’s the best I’ve got. I’m gonna stick to my day job. And specifically though what Mark objected to was the variety of exercises that are in the Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger Program, for example, you do the barbell back squat, but you also do the barbell front squat and the leg press and a couple of different lunges and some hamstring curls.
And then there is the traditional barbell deadlift, the conventional deadlift in the program, as well as the trap bar deadlift and the Sumo deadlift and the Romanian deadlift and so forth. And so I wanted to get Mark on the show to give his opinions on what exercises are worthwhile. In addition to the basic squat.
Bench deadlift, overhead press, because we all know those are great exercises at this point. I think it’s fair to say, if you are not doing those exercises regularly or a very similar variation of them regularly, you are not going to be gaining muscle and strength as quickly and efficiently as possible.
You certainly can gain plenty of muscle and strength without deadlifting squatting, benching or overhead pressing. But if. Can do those exercises. You are going to get to the finish line faster. So there’s no real debate on that. However, are those the only exercises you need to get as big and strong as possible?
Mark would say mostly yes, that you don’t need to do much else. There are a couple of other exercises that are worth doing like chins and barbell curls, and a few others that he’s going to talk about in this interview. But for the most part, just get a big squat, get a big deadlift, get a big bench press and a big overhead press.
And you’re done. You are going to be jacked and you are going to be strong. And you are probably not going to get much bigger or stronger, no matter what you do, no matter how many exercise variations you employ, or how you try to fiddle with your programming. Now, Mark is not wrong. The decades of results that people have gotten with his starting strength and practical programming books and programs speak for themselves, his approach works.
However, if we are talking about the average guy or gal who wants to go from normal, or maybe even worse than normal to let’s say super fit, I think it makes a lot of sense to include accessory exercises in the mix. I think it makes a lot of sense to squat, deadlift bench, press overhead, press and do other exercises that Mark would dismiss as unproductive and unnecessary.
If he were to be nice about. And so such is the theme of today’s episode, where Mark and I talk about several things. We talk about movement patterns and training movement patterns versus just doing accessory exercises. We talk about some of Mark’s approved assistance or accessory exercises like barbell curls, and lying triceps, extensions, and chin ups.
We talk a bit about rack poles, halted, and wide grip deadlifts. So some interesting variations of exercises that you don’t see many people doing in most gyms. If you do, there are probably Olympic lifters and more. Also, if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my V I P one-on-one coaching service because my team and I have helped people of all ages and all circumstances, lose fat, build muscle and get into the best shape of their life faster than they ever thought possible.
And we can do the same for you. We make getting fitter, leaner, and stronger paint by numbers, simple by carefully managing every aspect of your training and your diet for you. Basically, we take out all of the guesswork. So all you have to do is follow the plan and watch your body change day after day, week after week and month after.
What’s more, we’ve found that people are often missing just one or two crucial pieces of the puzzle. And I’d bet a shiny shackle. It’s the same with you. You’re probably doing a lot of things, right. But dollars to donuts, there’s something you’re not doing correctly or at all, that’s giving you the most grief.
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Marky. Mark is back Marky mark in the
Mark: the ferocious bunch , you know, I bet Walberg really cringes. Every time he sees that. 30 years
Mike: ago, but I mean, he was the shit back then. I don’t, I think I listened to my Marky mark in the funky bunch tape until it’s either that or crisscross until it broke and I had to buy it again.
Mark: I had to admit, I never bought one of his records, but he is a hell of a good actor. You know, he shows up in shape. He’s a good actor, technically a very good actor. I mean, I fuck. It’s hard to be pissed off at the guy.
Mike: He’s kind of like an Arnold. He worked hard. I mean, he came from. That’s right.
Well, let’s see if we can get this podcast on
Mark: track, which is, yeah. Let’s get back on track today, which is, let’s
Mike: talk about less common, but exercises that I would say are still effective and give people listening. Some context. We were speaking about a week or so ago about this new book that I have coming out.
It’s a second edition of a book that I have for experienced weightlifters. I guess you could say. And I asked if you could check it out and gimme a blurb if you liked it. And you said you couldn’t because you didn’t agree with the training approach because it’s very different than what you teach and I totally understand, but I thought it’d make for a good discussion because the big difference is really just the additional exercises, the body building stuff that I’ve added.
On top of the basic barbell movements in the program, obviously people are barbell squatting and they’re barbell deadlifting and their barbell bench pressing and barbell, overhead pressing. But they’re also doing other, you could say accessory exercises or isolation exercises. So I thought this would make for an interesting discussion and get your take on how necessary do you think that stuff is?
And just to quickly summarize why I think it is useful is if you have someone, the book is written for it’s called beyond bigger leaner stronger. So it’s obviously targeted toward men, although there’s actually a lot of good information in there that women could benefit from as well. But it’s written specifically to men who let’s say that they’ve gained.
70, maybe 80% of their potential muscle and strength, which I think that to put a number to that in most guys, that’s probably in terms of muscle 25 pounds or so of lean muscle, not weight, but lean muscle tissue, maybe a little bit more. And that guy doesn’t need probably more than what’s in my book for beginners or novices, bigger leaner, stronger, which is more in line with starting strength.
That really just kind of revolves around the big, heavy lifts. There is some accessory work, but as you know, there’s not that much in addition to it, however, in beyond bigger leaner, stronger it’s that’s. For the guy who he’s been doing bigger, leaner, stronger, he’s done well with it, but now he’s at a plateau.
And as I talk about in the book, my understanding both of the scientific literature and having now worked with many people and a lot of at least training experience myself as well is the primary. Lever that you can pull to get the needle moving again is volume. Basically. You just gotta start working harder in the gym.
So, whereas a newbie can get by with nine to maybe 12 hard sets per major muscle group per week, somebody more advanced is gonna need more. They might need 15, or even as high as 20, depending on how they respond. And so when you need that much volume to get the training stimulus, get enough of a training stimulus to drive the last let’s call it 10 ish pounds of muscle.
That’s available to the average guy. It’s hard to break that down per body part and make it work. If you’re only doing the big lifts, the accessory and isolation exercises are a nice way to get a little bit of extra volume into your biceps and your triceps and your shoulders and even your chest. And I would say even probably some of your back, if we were talking only deadlift.
So yeah, I think that’s a good little preamble for people to understand. You’re now gonna talk about and understand a basic summary of my position.
Mark: Let me go ahead and state that there is a basic delineation here between the way I think about these things and the way you think about these things. Yep.
I think about movement patterns, because I’m only interested in strength as the primary effect of our training. I regard muscle belly distinctions as irrelevant in terms of movement patterns, because whatever muscles need to be incorporated into the movement pattern, the skeleton does that for you. Yes, you can’t squat without your quads and your glutes and your hamstrings and your eductors and your calves and your low back muscles.
So. What we focus on is try to tailor the movement pattern in a way that allows us to lift the heaviest amount of weight, because that’s what strength is. And then whatever happens to the muscle groups that are involved in that movement pattern happens. And we’re not specifically concerned with anything except maximizing the amount of weight on the bar and in doing so.
What we do is maximize the efficiency of the use of the most valuable pieces of the kinetic chain to moving the greatest amount of weight. So we don’t ever talk about anything except the movement patterns. Now, in our way of thinking about this, since we’re only concerned about a movement pattern, like a squat or a dead lift.
Or a press or a bench press. We are concerned about adding five pounds to the weight that you lifted next workout. And that’s the only thing we’re concerned about. And what we have found is that when this takes place, then you grow, you get bigger, your muscles get bigger because that’s how they adapt to lifting heavier and heavier weights.
And in fact, the inclusion of these basic exercises in your program, which is different from ours in that it does take aesthetics into account is a recognition of the fact that the best way to get these big, important muscles bigger is to lift heavier weights with them. Since our concern is strength, I don’t see a role for assistance exercises.
Especially for more than one or two assistance exercises for the first six to nine months of a guy’s training. I think that if you take your deadlift from 2 25 to 4 95, over the course of nine months or a year and a half, then everything involved in the deadlift gets bigger. Your traps, your shoulders, your lats, your hips, your neck, all of these things that are aesthetically important to the male physique, all grow without needing any assistance exercise to help do it.
Mike: you think that’s the case with the lats in particular? Yes, because yes, I do. I mean, they’re involved in the deadlift,
Mark: but they’re probably, oh God. Yes. They’re very involved in the deadlift.
Mike: They’re much more engaged though in something like a pull up right. Or even a lap. Sure.
Mark: But a pull ups only with your body weight.
Well, you can wait it though. You can wait it, but if you think that the lats are not involved in a 4 95 deadlift, then you have never tried to deadlift with a lad injury, but it’s a
Mike: different type of involvement. Right. Cause it’s more isometric in nature. You’re not getting it is
Mark: isometric in nature and that’s its role.
Yep. For stabilizing, it’s a stabilizing muscle. Now it’s also used in a pull up. Right. But how do you use it with heavier. With a dead lift or can you waited chin up 4 95?
Mike: Well, but you can target the lats though with an appropriate weight for them. And you can do sets of five
Mark: or six that.
Sure. You can. But see here again, I don’t care about the lats. I care about the dead lift. I care about the movement pattern, picking something real heavy up off the ground. Now the lats are involved in that.
Mike: And what you’re saying though, is you don’t need extra developed lats to be able to do that.
You just need them to be as developed as they need to be to do it.
Mark: No, I have never seen a big, strong dead lifter with small lats or I have never seen, I’ve never known an accomplished powerlifter that’s deadlifting 800 pounds that thought that weighted chins had anything whatsoever to do with his LA with his dead.
Now Larry Pacifico used to use a whole bunch of assistance exercise. He basically did a bunch of body building type stuff along with his power lifting, but he did a whole bunch of other stuff too. And it’s hard to separate the effects of being strong enough to deadlift 800 from you know, 300 pound lap pulled out.
Mike: Yeah. I mean, you’re already dealing with a genetic
Mark: freak to begin with. You’re dealing with a big strong man. How did he get strong by the LA pools or the deadlifts? Yeah, I would say the deadlifts were the tool. You look at big, strong powerlifters that don’t do any chin ups that don’t do any direct LA work.
All of them all. Of’em had big lats because the lats are extremely important in the deadlift and we’ve analyzed. In fact, we’re probably the only ones that ever have analyzed the actual mechanics of the use of the lats in a deadlift off the floor. They’re terribly important. They stabilize the bar over the balance point over the middle of the foot.
You’re intimately involved.
Mike: Yep. Yeah. Anybody listening, if you want to experience that, if you don’t prepare at the bottom and engage your lats, like I like to think of squeezing it could be tennis balls or oranges in between my armpits, right? Like kind of like I’m squishing them and having my shoulders down and in place, that position makes such a big difference when you’re coming off the ground than if your lats, if your shoulders are kind of Ford and your arm is a little bit away from your body and your lats, aren’t engaged
Mark: the way we teach the deadlift.
Again, you know, it’s popular to talk about the glutes, all of a sudden, for some bizarre reason, everybody needs to think about their glutes when they squat, when they deadlift, you need to think about the squat. When you squat, you need this. Think about what you’re going to do with the bar. And the glutes will take care of themselves every single time the glutes will take care of themselves.
And when we queue position for the deadlift, the squat, all this other stuff, we’re talking about skeletal position, we don’t talk about muscle groups. Because it’s just not necessary. It’s not only not necessary. It’s inefficient. The movement pattern is what we’re concerned about. So we cue
Mike: things, because it’s going to
Mark: happen naturally.
Yeah. The muscles are gonna do what they need to do. You get to
Mike: the top of the squat, you’re glutes are going to
Mark: have done work. They are going to have extended the hips. Yeah. Yes. Stand up. Guess what happened with the glutes? Stand up. Guess what the quads did. Yep. This sort of thing. So you don’t micro, there are too many muscles involved in it.
In fact, that’s why we use those exercises so much muscle mass and so many muscle groups involved in it. You can’t babysit them all anyway. And if you focus on one of them, it’s going to be at the expense of some piece of the movement pattern that you did not concentrate on. And the movement pattern is the key because the movement pattern utilizes the skeleton, which is moved.
By the little motors that we call the muscles, the system of levers called the skeleton is moved by the system of motors called the muscles. And if you move the barbell correctly, using the skeletal positions correctly, then the muscles that do those jobs will have done them correctly. It’s just much more efficient to not think about muscle groups and a person can get a very long way up into his potential strength without doing any assistance exercises whatsoever.
And the experience of myself and lots of very good coaches that, that thinking about muscle groups during the time that you should be thinking about the movement pattern is that reduces the efficiency with which you move the bark.
Mike: Yeah, well, people will talk about the mind muscle connection.
Mark: Right. Which right. We’re talking about the mind movement connection. Yeah. That’s a, probably a better way to think about it. I’m not concerned about my
Mike: biceps. Yeah. Which I was gonna use that as an example, if I’m doing biceps curls, I am gonna focus on my biceps because that’s what I’m, that’s what I’m doing.
Mark: Sure. And don’t get me wrong. I mean, I’ve got barbell curls in my book. I understand people need to do barbell curls. I understand that people, in fact, barbell curls, this is interesting have proven to be such a useful exercise for older trainees. And I’m talking about 75 year old people because a standing barbell curl for a person that old that can’t do a lot of other stuff becomes a total body exercise.
So I’m not shitting on barbell curls. I understand people are gonna do them. I have a better way to do ’em I think, than anybody else’s describing. What’s your way I use aspects of both elbow flexion and shoulder flexion. Okay. I want both movement patterns, and I want you to lean back as you come up. I want to involve as much.
Mike: So it sounds like something that somebody would say, oh, that’s bad
Mark: form because yeah. It’s not because you’re not isolating your biceps. Well, why the hell do you wanna isolate your biceps? Because they gotta get bigger. Well, they’re gonna get bigger anyway, because you know what you’re gonna do. You’re gonna get your curl up to five.
If you do it heavy, and guess what happens to the biceps? When you’re curling 2 25, they get a lot more work. Then they do. If you’re only doing 95 and you’re throwing in a whole bunch of other muscle mess and making a heavy barbell standing barbell curl into what is actually a very useful exercise, but for somebody just starting off in training, it’s not necessary.
And it, it takes time. That is gotta be spent in the gym doing other stuff. That’s more productive for a person at that point in their training. So what this discussion basically boils down to is the things that you are telling people to do with your resistance exercises, apply to everyone after they’ve been training a certain length of time, but they don’t apply to anybody who’s just starting off.
And that would be our primary departure.
Mike: I would say though, that take somebody year one, if they are doing just the big barbell movements, I agree. They’re gonna do great. They’re gonna gain a lot of muscle and strength. There might be a. An appreciable difference if they also were doing some assistant work for certain muscle groups that like take the shoulders, for example, take not just the front deltoids, but the other two as well, or take lats might actually be another decent example, biceps, probably a good example, where if you have the person doing their squatting and they’re dead lifting and they’re pressing, and they’re getting good volume in on those exercises and you have them do a bit of extra volume for these muscle groups that get kind of indirect volume, not as direct as the pecks gets.
For example, like the triceps and shoulders of course are involved even lots, a little bit involved in the bench press, but it’s direct Peck volume and it’s kind of indirect volume on the other muscle groups. So if you give those O other muscle groups direct volume I would think that at the end of year one, that person is gonna have a bit more in the way of just overall muscle development.
And probably for many guys getting into working out, I’d say maybe not with the primary goal of getting as strong as possible. They wanna get strong, but they also wanna look a certain way. So it has that bodybuilder element to it that they will probably be a little bit happier with their results with the bodybuilder stuff added in.
Do you disagree?
Mark: I disagree because I think that if you will get aesthetic results more effectively, by going up on your bench breast, then by doing dumbbell flies, can’t be done heavy enough to benefit the bench breast. But if you take your bench from 1 35 to three 15, what’s happened to your chest.
No, I’d agree there. But
Mike: what about the triceps
Mark: though? That’s the basic analysis I’ve got.
Mike: What about the triceps though? So let’s say you’re doing the benching or the benching plus you’re doing, you know, maybe some press downs or
Mark: some, the press downs are useless. I think that the best tricep exercise is the one that.
And well, let’s go back to Pacifico. Pacifico had an exercise and I’ve got this one in the book. It’s the lying tricep extension it’s done on a bench it’s done with heavy weight. You start at the top, the skull crusher. Right. But behind the ahead. Yeah. So that good exercise so that the exercise so that the bar path is longer.
Yeah. And a bar path comes out of the bottom of the range of motion with a combination of triceps and lats . In other words, once again, we’re trying to involve as much muscle mass into that assistance exercise as we possibly can in order that we can lift heavier weights with the muscles involved because that’s what makes muscles grow.
And the tri the lying triceps extension, the LTE is it’s referred to Pacifica, used to call that the fourth power. And he had those guys handling way up over 300 pounds with those things. Wow. And I have used it beneficially when I was competing in power lifting. I think it’s an important, it’s important assistance exercise, but who can benefit from it?
A guy bench in 1 35 has no business doing anything except trying to get to one 40 on his next workout and then 1 45 and then one 50. And anything else is a distraction. A B anything hard enough to make something grow is going to have to be recovered from. And where is it beneficial, more beneficial to spend your recovery recovering from of the bench press or recovering from a bench press assistance.
Exercise. That’s my argument. Now, if you get to the point where we’re talking about, what do guys like to do in the gym? I was just
Mike: gonna bring that point up as like, well, what about having fun?
Mark: okay. That’s a different consideration entirely. Isn’t it? You know, I understand that guys like to do stuff in the gym.
I understand that I’ve done it myself. I was there once myself. I don’t argue with the fact that there is a market for correctly building in a bunch of assistance exercises into a program. Okay. I just don’t think that it’s optimal. I understand that it’s going to be done. I understand what people are gonna do.
I understand that people like to do barbell girl. I haven’t told anybody to not do barbell curls. I’ve told people to do barbell curls. After you get through with your squats, your presses, your bench presses, your deadlifts and your power cleans. And if you wanna do some curls after that, go ahead and do ’em, but do ’em right and do ’em heavy and don’t do some many.
That you interfere with the rest of your training. We put chins into the program for novice trainees almost immediately. We chin the first month that everybody’s training. I think you need some chin-ups why, because it’s an important movement pattern. Being able to pull yourself up is an important movement pattern in terms of the muscle mass.
It works. It’s not just lats, it’s arms forearms, it’s triceps, it’s fors grip, strength work it’s abs for God’s sakes. It’s an important as it’s the most important assistance exercise. The first one we use with everybody chins, because it’s an important movement pattern pulling things toward you is an important movement pattern.
We don’t do them for the muscle mass for the, for biceps, we understand that biceps are positively affected, but we do it because it is an important movement factor, you know, and overweight people can’t do ’em but very weak people can’t do them. Either. You take a 55 year old lady and get her a chin up.
That’s important. That’s some very useful strength that she now has that she can use in her daily existence. I don’t care about her biceps. I could give a fuck about her biceps. We do chin ups, not pullups. We do ’em with a supine grip specifically. So we’re involving the biceps, which are not involved in a chin up a pullup right.
Chin ups are supine. And we want as much, again, as much muscle mass as we can get in the movement pattern so that we’re training more muscle mass. But in terms of what people want to do in the gym, I’ll just go ahead and say right out front, your workout makes a hell of a lot more sense than mine because mine’s boring.
Mike: although I will say, I’ll say still, I mean, I joke with the marketing again, I’m the program is meant for, and we’re on the same page with people who they have already built a foundation of muscle and strength, and they’re gonna have to work really hard to gain whatever’s left to them in terms of, and this is primarily muscle.
So that’s, again you pointed this out early on that your focus is strength and performance. My focus is more aesthetic. I don’t neglect strength in performance, but it’s at least as much aesthetic as it is strength in performance. And so you’d expect the programming to differ.
Mark: What I expect is that people have different expectations coming to the program, depending on what they’re trying to get out of it.
If a person’s motivations are primarily aesthetic, that person is going to expect more separate muscle mass work. I’m not going to try to pretend that I can educate everyone to understand that if you get your deadlift up to 4 0 5, all of the aesthetics that you’re gonna try to get with barbell curls and a bunch of shoulder shrugs and dumbbell flies, and our work are going to be there without your having done all those assistance exercises.
It’s too hard for people to understand that because they haven’t had, they haven’t had that experience. They’ll learn it eventually. Anyway, if you get your deadlift big, then probably the deadlift is even more important than the squat in terms of aesthetic changes for the male body. Because all of the things that you look at in a male, in a muscular male are the result of the deadlift.
What you see if I take a skinny kid at 1 55 and I get him up to one 90 and I get his deadlift up to 4 0 5, 4 55. And I look at him in his shirt, his people won’t hang around with his shirt off. I look at him in his shirt, I’m gonna see broader shoulders. I’m gonna see traps. I’m gonna see a bigger neck.
I’m gonna see muscular looking forearms and hands, and I’m gonna see lats. That’s what I see with demand standing there in a shirt. And it’s deadlift. That means deadlift. And if you try to do all of that stuff with assistance, exercise, You’ll get part of it, but it doesn’t look the same. You don’t have the same chest
Mike: depth and it’s not, as I’d say it’s not as efficient and it’s not as fun.
It’s fun to get strong on the deadlift. It’s not particularly fun to get strong in the lap, pull down or seated cable row. You just do it. No,
Mark: you’re right. It’s not, it’s hard to get strong on assistance exercises because they just don’t move up in a linear fashion for a long period of time. Yeah. You can get your deadlift stronger for 15 years.
How long can you improve your lap pool? Yeah, six weeks. , you know, six weeks, eight weeks. And then you plateau and then you go do something else. You cycle off, do another exercise you’ve invented. This is the difference between assistance exercises and the basic movements. Basic movements can be trained for a very long.
They could be trained productively for years.
Mike: And that’s why, I mean, in this new book, those are what I’m terming the primary exercises and saying, these are the most important. These are the ones you have to get stronger on
Mark: because they could be trained. You don’t exercise them. You train them, you produce results on ’em for years and years.
So our boy chase Liley here. Chase started training with us when he was 12. He’s a little fair haired child with type one diabetes. Last month, chase did a standing press out of the rack with three 70 at a body weight to 2 45, no dumbbell flies. we’re involved in that. He’s never done an assistant exercise.
He’s pressed he’s benched. That’s all he that’s all he does. Cuz that’s all that’s necessary. And chase, God helped me for saying this. Chase is a big, strong, impressive kid. He’s a good kid. He’s 22. He’s a starting strength coach. Now we’re all very proud of chase. We raised him at the gym and he’s our son.
Basically. He is proven better than anybody else. The fact that if you just get under the bar and do the work that you get great, big and strong, he’s got about a 38 inch waist about a 60 inch chest. And he doesn’t know where the dumbbell rack is. And it’s just an interesting observation. If you stick with exercises that are trained, you know, you just don’t need much of anything else.
Now he does some curls every once in a while. He does, you know, he’s weighted chins. He does a bunch of weighting on weighted chins. He’s up over a hundred pounds. So there are a few assistance exercises, but he’s built that impressive male physique with. Just training the basic exercises and not much of anything else.
And remember this kid’s type one diabetic,
Mike: I’ve heard from many people over the years and worked with them virtually. And I’m trying to think if there’s one who didn’t one for one, they figured out a way to make it work. It was usually they had to, you know, they paid attention to their carbohydrate intake and
Mark: yeah, he’s had to learn how to manipulate his food and stuff.
He has problems gaining weight because if he eats a whole bunch of food, it fucks his insulin levels up. And so he’s accomplished quite a bit with with just paying attention to the exercises he could train and not worrying about the stuff you have to just exercise for a little while. Mike, I used to do all of this assistance stuff I did back extensions and glued ham raises for years.
Are you ashamed years and years? No, I know I did ’em for years because I, this is before I had learned to think the way I do now. About what is training and what is exercise. I would get on the glued ham machine for a while and say, you know, I’m gonna move these things up. And I’d got up to the heaviest weighted, glued ham all the way up in the air that I’ve ever done was I think I probably did 180 5 for a set of five, one time.
And the problem with assistance exercises that involve isolation like this is they always expose a joint to unsupported stress. Now, if you look at the way the knee is constructed, you’ve got the ACL and the PCL, and then you lay down on the glute ham bench and the thigh is supported by the pad and the heels catch under the rollers in the back, you push on the plate.
And pushing on the plate, the planter flexion allows you to convert what would stop on just a simple hyper extension bench into a glued ham, where you can flex the hips and come up into, to a vertical position with your torso. Now it’s obvious that you can do that without any weight, but if you really wanna make the thing strong, you start holding plates or put a barbell behind, you know, on top of your traps in the high bar squat position and use that for your resistance.
And it’s been my experience that you get that thing up to pretty strong weighted, glued him in six or eight weeks, and then it stops because going up anymore is going to bother your needs because now you’re into. Your ACA,
Mike: I’ve always had that problem with leg extensions. They just have never felt good to
Same thing, opposite direction. You know, you just, you the knee is designed to be supported by both hamstring tension and quad CEP tension. And if you make the quads quiet, like you do, you take them outta the movement like you do on a glued hams. Then the support for the knee becomes one sided. And now you’re into a ligament and it’s just you just can’t train ’em any heavier than that.
But the dead lift and people put weight on their deadlift for years, and years, because you can train the deadlift. You can train the squat, you can train the press, the bench press. What about some
Mike: variations then? What about something like rack pulls or Romanian? Deadlifts
Mark: rack pulls are important.
At some, like, like I said earlier, at some point variations on these major lifts are going to become a staple of your training, but not at first, right? No, I don’t pull off the floor myself. Now. I just rack pull. I do a low rack pull, which is about middle of my shin. And oh, I, you know, I’m 64 years old. I did 4 55 the other day for a triple.
It wasn’t, you know, wasn’t the limit set, but you know, I get beat up easier now than I’m 64. So I just don’t do as much work on any of this stuff as they used to. But the basic strength is still there cuz I trained it for all those years. And
Mike: for somebody wondering how they would work a rack pull into their programming or why what do you have to tell them?
Mark: Well, I would, what I do is in our program that uses rack pulls is in the book practical programming for strength training. Third edition, which is available on Amazon or our website. We go into quite a bit of detail on the use of all of these assistance exercises in programs. In that book, the blue book, starting strength describes the correct way to perform the movements and that practical programming shows you how to put those in to training programs when it is appropriate to do so.
We don’t rack pull novices, cuz they don’t need to rack pull. They need to do the full range of motion, exercise the deadlift until they get to deadlift way up heavy. And then we start using the rack pool because it’s a shorter range of motion and it’s therefore easier to recover from one bad thing about deadlifts is they beat the shit out of you.
They’re very hard. And that’s why we don’t use sets across heavy deadlifts. We use one set, heavy deadlifts are harder on you than the squat, even though the range of motion is shorter. For various reasons, we discuss in the books and it’s been our experience that rack pulls can be recovered from at heavier weights than deadlifts can.
So the way I do this is I will put a deadlift off the floor into the work. And then the following week we’ll do a rack pull with maybe 75 pounds heavier. It’s an every two weeks thing. We deadlift off the floor. One week rack pull off the floor. We might even deadlift off the floor up to just above the knees and back down, which is what we call a halting deadlift and divide that range of motion into two pieces with some overlap in the middle rack pulls start below the knee.
And halting dead lifts end above the knee. So there’s about four or five inches of overlap in the middle of the range of motion. But if you shorten the range of motion, even with heavier weights, the things easier to recover from, and we have found those to be useful for people who are in the intermediate and advanced stages of training for strength.
But I have never found LA pools to be useful for anything. What about wide grip? Deadlifts? That’s essentially the same thing. A snatch grip deadlift is serves the same basic purposes, a deficit deadlift, and that is it lengthens the range of motion of the pool. Cause
Mike: people will say it hits. It helps with ensuring the low back stays neutral.
Some people say it’s better for improving your grip
Mark: strength. Well, it’s a, it’s harder to get set up in a position where your back angle is more horizontal. It’s harder to get set up. It’s harder to keep the back set in extension in a position like that. Absolutely. It’s I tend to not ever use deficit deadlifts.
I’ve never used them myself and I don’t use ’em in programming. I administer for anybody, but I understand people do use them. Snatch grip, deadlifts require straps because of the angle with which the hand approaches the bar. So you have to strap. Those is the real hard to hold onto, but variations on the main lifts.
I call assistance exercises that are not variations on the main lifts like chin ups, back extensions. Applying triceps extensions, those things I refer to as ancillary exercises, just throw some vocabulary around. So we know what we’re talking about. I, if it’s a piece of a normal movement, like a pin press, a partial range of motion, press in the rack or a partial bench press.
Those are what I call assistance exercises, pieces of the deadlift pieces of the squat. Those things are very useful and I regard them as more useful than ancillary exercises, but sometimes you need to do a barbell. Sometimes
Mike: the spirits just they just move you, you know, you gotta do it.
Mark: That’s right.
That’s absolutely true. It’s just what you have to do
Mike: if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast. And elsewhere, definitely check out my V I P one on one coaching service because my team and I have helped people of all ages and circumstances lose fat, build muscle and get into the best shape of their life faster than they ever thought possible. And we can do the same for you.
What’s the point of the halted reps?
Mark: It’s the bottom of the range? Motion of the deadlift training, that specific part of it. Yes. In other words, you’re gonna break the deadlift into two pieces. The rack pull is the top piece. Yep. The halting where you halt above your knee, you can hold ’em there for a second.
Some guys used to do ’em like that. That’s
Mike: still a thing. I mean, Squats too, like pause squats. That’s a
Mark: thing with some, oh, squats same thing. It just, but it specifically a halting deadlift is the bottom part of the range of motion of the deadlift, the rack bulls the top part. And there’s some overlap in the middle.
And the point
Mike: in the case of the deadlift that you just said was that it allows you to recover better essentially is what you’re going for. What about in the case of the squat or the bench press? Do you think there’s any use in pause reps or halted
Mark: reps? Yeah, I do. Of course I do. I’ve in fact, I’ve got a I have a video.
We have a video about pausing on the box for box squats briefly. What I probably do 95% of my squatting at this point, since I’ve injured, my knees. So many times over the years from doing shit wrong. Amazing how you figure out how to do things right. As a result of hurting yourself,
Mike: that’s the human condition.
Mark: That’s not just burning your hand on the stove, right? Same kind of deal. Those of us that are slow, you know, learn this way, the hard way. So I, we finally learned that you have to squat with your hips, not your knees. So we finally learned, you have to sit back and bend over. So to, to put most of the stress on the hips so that you don’t hurt your knee.
Now I have some form problems. And when I get real heavy on the squat, like a lot of people, I tend to have my back to vertical. This brings my knees forward and my knees are shitty anymore. And as a result I have found the knees won’t knee. No, the knees are delicate at this point. So I have to use a box squat.
I use a box squat and I reach back. And I pause on the box and then I concentrate on the hip drive up. And when you do that, you take the rebound out of the movement pattern. That’s the reason for the pause, take the rebound out of the movement pattern, but you also take the rebound off of the knees and for a old master’s guy like me, I think these are quite a bit safer, especially if you’ve been training 40 years.
Like I have now, when I started a new 65 year old guy showing up squat correctly. But if at any point it becomes his knees get tender. I’ll put him on box squats with a pause. And in fact, when I use box I’m about a half inch above parallel and the reason I’m half inch above parallel is because I’ve injured my pelvis.
A couple of times, I’ve separated my pubic synthesis back about 20 years ago, a couple of times. The, you know, horse wrecks that I’ve had, I’ve separated my pubic synthesis. And if I go down all the way below parallel on these box squats, it irritates my pelvis. So I’ve had to cut the thing off about a half inch.
I’ve given myself permission to do that because of the injury. I don’t give you permission to do that. Those of you listening
Mike: rules are for the,
Mark: not for me. Right, right. Rules are for thinking through too, you know, a situation where a person’s got a bad knee. You’ve got bony arthritis in your knee. What if though,
Mike: somebody they don’t have any limitations.
Mark: Yeah. Any limitations you need squat below parallel.
Mike: Is there any value in squat below? Parallel pause,
Mark: stand up. Yeah. Yeah. It’s good. Light day squat work. It’s a variation on the lift there’s value in that. Yes, absolutely. So
Mike: that would be one of your accessory exercises,
Mark: Yeah. It’s an assistance exercise it’s or assistance.
All of the, I got a whole chapter in the book about assistance exercises. In fact, it’s the longest chapter in the book. Isn’t it fascinating that Rippetoe understands that assistance exercises are useful, but they have to be applied correctly in the correct situation. And novices don’t need any assistance, exercise and advanced and intermediate people depend on them.
It’s kinda like periodization the same thing you periodize or novice, then you are wasting his time and you don’t know what you’re doing. But if you don’t periodize an advanced lifter, you’re also wasting his time and you don’t know what you’re doing.
Mike: You could say though, that starting strength is, I mean, just use as linear puritization right.
Where you just add weight based on the simple system. That’s what
Mark: the novice program
Mike: is. Yeah. So you could still say it’s periodized, but now I understand what you’re saying.
Mark: Periodization typically refers to some kind of undulating daily, weekly, something like that daily, you know, percentages based on the ravings of some Russian , you know, and I’m not concerned with that.
I understand all of that. And we’re so far past that now that I don’t care about Russian periodization they’re idiots, they don’t know what they’re talking about. We know what we’re talking about because we’ve trained hundreds of thousands of people and it works better our way Merca than this Molo or whatever, you know, all this other shit.
What about overhead squats? Overhead squats are for Olympic lifters. Overhead squats with the bar and the snatch rip over your head. That’s how you get outta the bottom of a squat snatch, Olympic weightlifters have to front squat also, but nobody else needs to do those. Nobody else needs to do overhead squats.
Mike: many people, they find it easier on their knees and on their back. I mean, I’ve experienced it myself for what it’s worth. No, not overhead front, sorry. Overhead squats for me. Yeah. I mean, I don’t particularly have knee problems, but in the past, if my knees have gotten a little bit irritated on the back squat, same thing with my back, which is not surprising, cuz you’re more upright, but
Mark: well, we’ll we’ll have to sort that out later, I, the only time I’ve ever actually injured my knees where they were later, a problem is front squatting because all of the moment arm is on the knee.
None of it’s on the hip. You know, you’re loading the knees. I’d rather let my hips help. Because they’re a little bit better designed for that sort of loading. Overhead squats are a shoulder strength exercise. They don’t challenge the squat strength at all. So they’re not a squat assistance. They’re a, they’re how you get out of the bottom of a snatch and front squats.
The same way. If you’re front squatting two and a quarter and back squatting three 15, what happens if you get your back squad up to 4 95, what happened to your front squad? Well, it went up to, but there are special aspects of that position that you encounter when a Olympic lifter catches a clean in the bottom and the front squat for an Olympic lifter must be trained just like the back squat must be trained, but it is a mistake that a lot of Olympic lifters make to think that they don’t need to train the squat.
In other words, put five pounds on it. Every time you squat go up, make it stronger too. They get so focused on the snatch and clean a jerk that they think that’s the only thing that you have to try to challenge without understanding that the ability to do a snatch and to clean a jerk is the ability to display strength.
And where is strength most efficiently developed? Well, not in the snatch and the clean cleaning jerk. It’s most efficiently developed in the squat, the deadlift, the press, and the bench press. And then you practice the snatch in the cleaning jerk and learn how to do those with heavier weights because
Mike: of the technical aspect there, because of how much technique is involved.
Right. That’s right. One more for you. What about the good morning?
Mark: Good mornings are a valuable assistance exercise. They’re actually ancillary exercise, but yeah, I’ve used those for years. Used them for lots and lots of people. Once you get your deadlift up over 500, they’re valuable. Yeah, but his Arico used to do heavy, good mornings, but the Russian guys back in the eighties, they were quite.
Adamant about the fact that you really don’t need the good morning, more to a hundred kilos. It’s an exercise. , it’s not a, we don’t train those. We just do a little back work with them. Yeah. I mean, shit. I’ve
Mike: probably gotten close to that because
Mark: they won’t go up. Yeah.
Mike: You only get so far. Of course.
That’s right. But they are fairly easy
Mark: to recover from. They are in fact, you know, I mean there’s no range of motion around the knees. Yeah. Not much. Anyway.
Mike: Any direct
Mark: trap training, I have found that traps and this is again for advanced lifters. Once again once the traps are,
Mike: as in, in starting strengths, talk about barbell
Mark: shrug, right?
Yeah. Yeah. We use barbell shrugs as a pulling assistance. It’s the top part of the deadlift and it’s a dynamic movement. It’s very useful. It makes the traps grow too. Yeah. And this is why beginner lifters sometimes. Fall in love with the barbell shrug the way we do it is a dynamic movement.
It’s like a power clean that you can’t rack. And that’s the best way I teach it. The power clean that you can’t rack. It’s heavy enough that you can’t rack it. It’s a movement pattern that once again is not useful, if you’re not deadlifting way up over 500 pounds, but for people like that, for example, barbell shrugs should be performed with weights that are a hundred pounds in excess of your deadlift.
Some heavy shrugging heavy, because doing them light doesn’t make any sense. They’re a little tiny short range of motion, and they’re a fabulous exercise for the stabilizing muscles of the trunk. Cause the weight is so heavy and they start on the pins in the middle of the thigh and.
They finish with a dynamic shrug at the top, then you set ’em back down on the pins. Yeah. But to go over to the dumbbell rack and take the 90 pound dumbbells out the rack and shrug them in that little circle, you see people do it’s this is what we call ion masturbation.
Mike: A little bit more productive than masturbation.
At least you burn some
Mark: calories. I don’t know how you masturbate, but not
Mike: very vigorously. I burn calories.
Mark: I’m serious about my masturbation.
Mike: you know, for me, it’s there. There’s not much romance. It’s just a
Mark: transaction, right? Yeah. It’s a quick transaction. I understand.
Mike: Okay. Last one. Any AB training, anything directly for the
Mark: core muscles?
You know, I don’t use the word core unless I put it in scare quotes. Yeah. Because I, I think it is every fitness guru has got an opinion about. The core and what I have found to be incontrovertible. This is always the case. If you get your squat from 1 35, up to three 15, your core got stronger. If you get your dad lived from two and a quarter up to 4 0 5, your core got stronger.
Now people think you have to strengthen the core before you can do all this other stuff. How about if you just squat and deadlift, which is obviously dependent on spinal stability, and if you go up five pounds on your squat and your deadlift, what’s happening to your core, why it’s getting strong along with everything else?
I don’t think that direct AB training is necessary at all. At all. I don’t think back extensions.
Mike: Yeah. There was a time when I would probably, I wouldn’t completely disagree. I would say that, oh, with some guys that this is mostly with guys where they’re erectus Adom, it’s just, it’s almost underdeveloped and they could develop it maybe a little bit faster with maybe some cable crunches, which maybe they’re still SI.
Maybe that’s not entirely inaccurate actually. But I think it’s similar to the fact that some people just like to do some core stuff, they just, it just makes their workout more enjoyable. But I would tend to agree with you more about that.
Mark: Well, you know, I, and I understand and I worry back to what would people prefer to do in the gym?
Mike: know if you notice, but in the new book, there’s no direct AB training. I talk about why. Cause I already anticipate, I think it’s in the FAQ. I have one of the questions in there. Why is there no core training? There’s a lot of core training. You’re squatting. You’re deadlifting, you’re doing a lot of this.
Mark: right. Exactly. No, I noticed that. And you and I have spoken about this before direct core training, sit ups, crunches. This sort of shit is not necessary because all of those muscles are working very hard. If you are properly keeping your back in extension, they are counterproductive for a large number of people because, and this is something that’s not, that’s very seldom unappreciated.
The first time a guy tweaks his back and all humans tweak their backs. Everybody tweaks their back. One of the most common human experience, you know, some people are socialists. Some people are capitalists, some people are black, some people are Asian. Some people are short, some people are tall, some people are male, some are female.
There’s all kinds of different people. All kinds of different opinions about everything. But the one thing we all have in common is our, we can all unite around is our back is going to hurt some people’s back hurts more than other people’s backs. And the best way to keep your back aggravated is to wiggle it around as your back ages, your discs, your intervertebral discs will desiccate dry out thin and do things and begin to look in a way that it doesn’t look like when you’re 25.
All right, this is just a part of growing old. It is unavoidable all people over the age of 35. When MRI study is performed on the low back, all people without exception, all people will show degenerative changes in the spine. This is normal. It’s normal to have a bad back. And if the intervertebral discs are thin and desiccated, like they will eventually be for everybody.
Does it make sense to work the spine in extension inflection, to wiggle the spine around and expose the inner vertebral discs to a bunch of movement that they’re no longer capable of dealing with? Or does it make better sense to hold the spine in normal anatomical position and load it in moment so that the muscles that hold it still get the work I’m telling you.
I used to tweak my back all the time. Now my back hurts. Most of the time now just aches, you know, it is something you get used to. I’m 64, I’ve done a lot of stupid things, but I haven’t had a back tweak since I quit doing sit ups and back extensions. And the conventional wisdom is you have to do that to keep your back from hurting, been my experience and the experience of the people I’ve advised about this, that if you wiggle your back around your back, won’t like it.
If you load the back isometrically and make the muscles that hold it still stronger, then you’re far less likely to hurt your back
Mike: or at least to experience the
Mark: pain. Right. I actively discourage. Yeah. I actively discourage. think you’re gonna expose yourself to far more problems. If you do sit ups and back extensions, and if you just deadlift and squat and press, you know, how much work chase is doing with his abs when he presses three 70, think about this.
You know, that’s just the, that’s a lot. I mean, it’s difficult to understand how much trunk musculature is required to stabilize a three 70 overhead press. Yep. Strong boy. So, no, I don’t think you okay. Good. I understand people are gonna do though. So at least some
Mike: leg raises or something, maybe some planks
Mike: you want.
Well, that was all of my questions for you this time around. This was great, though. This was something that we found a discussion that hasn’t been beaten to death by either one of us, at least not on our podcast, not on my end, at least. Well,
Mark: Mike, you’re welcome out here. Anytime I’m gonna
Mike: make it to one of the seminars we’re just working out.
don’t think this September because it, the final day is my son’s birthday and that weekend is gonna be his birthday thing, but October should work just fine.
Mark: Yeah. We’re back here in I think we’re in Denver and October and we’re back here
Mike: in December. Okay. And for people listening. So let’s see right.
Schedule. This is gonna go up probably in the middle of August. So what do you have coming for seminars over the next? Let’s say, you know, like what do you have in, do you have something later in August? And then what does September
Mark: look like? No, we’ve got I think we’ve got camps scheduled more frequently.
Now the deadly coronavirus pandemic that has decimated the population of the world has curtailed everybody’s travel and has curtailed everybody’s ability to participate in normal, daily living like we have been accustomed to doing so. We’ve cut our schedule way back. We’re not traveling much.
We’re going to Denver and October for a seminar and all these specific dates are on the website. Starting strength.com under events. We’ve got. Camps scheduled for Wichita falls, but we’re not going anywhere except December the rest of the year to do an actual seminar, right? September is the next seminar here in Wichita falls and we’re in Denver and October.
And then we’re back here in December, probably one, a camp is a shorter event, one of those a month. Okay. And you have
Mike: coaching camps and you have training camps, right? We have
Mark: coaching camps. We have camps for the self-sufficient lifter, how to squat, press and deadlift by yourself. Things to think about things to watch for on the video.
You’re gonna take you yourself. When you’re training. We teach you how to basically coach yourself to the greatest extent possible. And those are one day camps they’re quite affordable. And We’re doing those here in Wichita falls and in our full weekend seminar, that’s a big affair. It’s a 25 contact hour event.
They’re long and they’re grueling and they’re whole bunch of information. And you gotta kind of have your head ready for
Mike: that. And what about the gyms? What about the startings with gyms?
Mark: Our starting strength gym program, our franchise program continues to expand. We have four gyms open right now. All of them have recovered back to pre COVID levels of membership.
They’re surprising me. I thought we were dead, but people appreciate the fact that when you come in starting strength, Jim, everything is normal. Everything is normal and you are handed away to get stronger. That works every single time for every single person. It comes in the gym. It’s more affordable than personal training.
And it’s far more effective than personal training. We’re in Dallas, Houston, Austin, and Denver right now. And a long list of gyms that are about to open up our affiliate program is active. We’ve lost several gyms due to local governments, not understanding about their own tax base, you know, but lots of gyms remain open.
We’re all struggling. Everybody’s struggling with the death of common sense that we have encountered recently. And our gyms are no exception, but I think you’ll find that all of our gyms are full of very good people. If you want to learn how to do this correctly, that’s the place to go.
Mike: And that’s where people can get, they can get coached very affordably, right?
Mark: That’s why you go there.
Mike: It’s not just a gym to go work out at it’s for the
Mark: coaching. No, it’s a gym that uses our methods and our type of equipment.
Mike: Of course people can learn about that over at the website to learn about the different locations you have gyms in. Let’s see you have Texas.
Obviously you have, let’s see Connecticut here, you have Maryland, you have Arizona, California.
Mark: All of those are affiliate gyms, and they’re all run by good people that we know very well. Any other
Mike: book projects,
Mark: That you, no, I haven’t. I haven’t got a, another book in me right now. I think that every time we publish, every time we reprint the book, there’ll be a few changes in it.
The third revision of the blue book is as current as probably it needs to be that all that material’s been constantly updated since the thing was first published in 2011. Yeah. Yeah, I’ve done the same thing. And it’s our final statement on most of this stuff. Cool man, your book’s doing well though.
When’s the new one come
Mike: out. Yeah, it’s gonna be, so it’s a bit odd cuz I have to get the material up in the next couple of days because of a, an agreement, a deal that I’m doing with Simon and Schuster and they want a full year in between the signing of the contract and the well they want a full year of me not publishing anything before they publish the book that I wrote for them, which is fitness for the 40 plus crowd men and women for people who are brand new to all of this essentially.
And so I have to kind of rush to get this second edition of beyond bigger lean are stronger up just so I can show them. I got it up by the end of the month. And I have another book that I coauthored with a guy named James Krieger, who you may or may not know, but called fitness science explained. And that also is kind of on the same deadline.
So what I’m gonna be doing is getting these books up and they’re going up in the next couple of days, and then I’ll, I’m putting together all of the launch related stuff. I’m not gonna go over the top, but I want to at least put some work into it and make it fun and do a giveaway and stuff. So I’m thinking that.
The beyond bigger leader, stronger launch will probably re be ready to begin at the end of August. That’s my thinking, or maybe the beginning of September. And so we’ll do that for a couple of weeks and then I’ll probably wait a month or so, and do that for the fitness science book. So it’s a bit odd to do it that way, but it’s okay.
Like, I understand why I’m
Mark: doing it, you know, you know, it’s if you’ve gotten in with Simon and Schuster, you’re gonna be on New York times here pretty soon. Aren. Yeah. Yeah.
Mike: That’s part of the reason why I did the deal. This is the first traditionally published book for me. And I mean, I don’t have to tell you, you know, now
Mark: we’re in the same business, you know, it’s yeah.
Mike: the advantages of self-publishing the advantage, let’s start with you make four to five times the amount of money you sold. You can start there,
Mark: but if you’re self published, New York times bestseller list, doesn’t give a shit about you. They’re not gonna look at it. And because they are in deals with the big houses, if you’re not with the big house, you’re not on New York times, we’ve sold three quarters of a million books and New York times doesn’t even know who it , which is fine with me.
Wonderful group of people like that. True Patriots. Yes. True Patriots.
Mike: But yes, there’s that element of it, although I’m not sure how much of that is just kind of vanity versus practical value in terms of building a business and me accomplishing my bigger strategic goals. What is definitely valuable though, is publicity is media attention.
So I’m hoping that this book gets me on the morning shows and just gets me out there in a way that is very hard to accomplish. If you’re just by yourself, if you’re just a hermit sitting in your cave, writing books, I mean, it’s kind of ironic. I mean, a self-published author like yourself who has sold three quarters of a million.
Books. That’s actually much harder to do and much rarer than someone who gets a good book deal with a big publisher, but it’s all about the optics. It’s there’s obviously still a stigma of sorts in the industry with self-publishing, which I understand. And it’s because most self-published stuff is awful.
I understand that. Oh yeah.
Mark: Most self-published the vast majority of like 98. Yeah. And a half 99% of books sell less than 500 copies. Yes.
Mike: And there’s a reason for that because most of them, most of ’em are not worth reading. Yes. Are very bad. And they’re very poorly marketed. They have bad titles, bad covers, bad everything.
Mark: everything about bad. And so, you know, the market sorts that out. That’s just fine. But occasionally there comes along something that’s worth reading, like our stuff. And we are denied a broad audience because of the way we publish the thing. And I, you know, I don’t care. I make enough money. But it would be nice if our ideas which we consider to be correct were more broadly available as a result of the exposure that could be provided by New York times best seller list.
But you know that,
Mike: that’s why I’m doing this book with Simon and Schuster, and it’s been a great experience so far. They’ve been great to work with no complaints. Yeah. If you would like an introduction,
Mark: I could make one tell I said, hello. Well, I had somebody contact me several months ago about wanting me to do a book for them about what I’ve learned about accomplishment or some kind of shit like that.
And this is a east coast publishing house. And I said, you know, this sounds like a wonderful deal and I’d love it. And it’s major house made the offer. And I said, but before you get all happy with me, maybe you’d better read my website. Because I have a lot of stuff in print and a lot of opinions out there that do not comport with your east coast, conventional wisdom.
Are you saying
Mike: that you’re not very woke? Is that the problem?
Mark: Yes. Yes. Okay. That’s I’m not sufficiently woke and I, you know, they said, oh, you know, we know what you do. We think it’s all valuable. And I said, well, nonetheless, why don’t you guys investigate that? and I haven’t heard back from him.
Mike: Cool, man.
Well, thanks again for taking the time and I look forward to the next one. We will figure out what to talk about next.
Mark: Yeah. Yeah. We will always enjoyed it. Same. You’re welcome out here. Anytime,
Mike: man. Thank you brother. All right. Well, that’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful.
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