Q: What do you think of frequency-specific micro-current as a training aid?
A: Six years ago I learned how to use frequency-specific microcurrent to heal a host of injuries. I used it with great enthusiasm but as an avid learner moved on to other things. That was a mistake. Through my colleague and friend Nick Liatsos I returned to using microcurrent for everything from quieting the adrenals postworkout to recovering from jet lag. Nick programmed a unit for me with a set of frequency protocols for my unique needs.
Oddly enough, I almost immediately saw my strength increasing, heading toward the peak loads I was using when I was 34. I called Nick to report my observations, and he said that he was also amazed by the number of iron-game sportsmen who reported the same thing.
The physiology behind it goes beyond the scope of this column. Bottom line: It works. If you want to get a unit programmed for you and your clients, though, you can attend Nick’s seminar in January 2010. Send e-mail to Janelle@CharlesPoliquin.com for more details.
By the way, I’m not talking about electrostimulation; I’m talking about a device that sends microcurrent of two frequencies at a time, one for the tissue and one for the condition. For example, channel A may address fascia while channel B addresses inflammation. PICP coaches can get a unit programmed for their needs at any seminar held at the Poliquin Strength Institute.
Q: Is it true that there’s a correlation between teeth health and the ability to make gains in the gym?
A: The health of your teeth affects strength and muscle growth. Chiropractors, who practice many of the offshoots of applied kinesiology, showed that a long time ago.
I’ll give you an example. If you have pockets of inflammation in your gum line and you get them treated with ozone therapy, your work capacity goes up. That means you can do more reps and sets without dropping out—you get stronger and bigger faster. Period.
To find a great practitioner in biological dentistry, you have to ask around. There are very few good ones, and many traditional medical practitioners view biological dentists’ “holistic” orientation as suspect. Practitioners of biological dentistry get at the root of the problem (no pun intended) and treat with methods that are far more in line with how the body is supposed to heal, instead of using materials such as lead and mercury in fillings, which creates havoc in your physiology.
Q: What do you consider strong arms? I’m talking in the top 1 percent in the world.
A: Here are some lifting norms that would indicate strong arms—the kind of loads that get you a second look.
For elbow flexors:
• Scott reverse curls with 60 percent of bodyweight for six reps
• Scott supinated close-grip curls with 73 percent of bodyweight for six reps
• Incline curls with each dumbbell at 36 percent of bodyweight for six reps
• Close-grip bench presses at 158 percent of bodyweight for six reps
• Dips at 185 percent of bodyweight for six reps—meaning your bodyweight plus 85 percent tied to it, preferably using a loaded pin tied to a climbing belt. By the way, for a dip to be considered a dip, you should be able to pinch a sheet of paper between your elbow flexors and your forearms in the bottom position. If not, you’re not going low enough.
Q: You’re in your late 40s, as I can see from that recent photo of you with IFBB pro Hidetada Yamagishi, but you still sport a decent pair of arms. How do you keep motivated?
A: There’s no reason hard work can’t be fun. One of the keys to strength-building success is that you should look forward to your workouts. I travel with my staff at least 20 weeks a year, from Australia to Sweden, and I can assure you that every workout is a “world championship.”
We bet with each other on everything from reaching bodyfat percentage by a certain date to incline presses for reps to squat scores using the Wilks formula—whatever it takes to fire ourselves up. It helps to train with younger guys too, as they’re driven and enthusiastic, especially the students who train in poorly equipped gyms. When they come to the Poliquin Strength Institute, they’re like kids in a candy store. That’s another source of motivation.
When I’m in Colorado, I enjoy great workouts at my house gym with my friend Larry. Betting time again. Yes, I am a compulsive competitor. That doesn’t make me a bad person, just a competitive one.
Another way I stay motivated is by simply trying out other training systems or talking to successful colleagues and trying their approaches in the gym. If you don’t grow, you die. That’s true whether you’re talking about a business or building strength.
Q: In the world of pro sports who are the fittest athletes?
A: Fitness is a specific thing. For example, being fit for ice hockey won’t make you a great running back in football, and vice versa. If you’re asking which sport has a high percentage of athletes committed to being in the best shape possible for their sport, then ice hockey wins hands down. If you’re talking about who has the most natural freaks, then American football is king. The sad thing is that the hands of most strength coaches in the NFL are tied, and they can’t apply their knowledge to the athletes. That’s why the better strength coaches stay at the college level.
The other problem is that since players don’t have secure contracts waiting like pro players in the other leagues, NFL athletes are just considered meat by management. Injured? So what. Fifty guys are lined up for your job. I could write a book on the careers that have been tossed away by the lack of care or management. You’d never see such abuse in the NHL, for example.
Baseball is the least athletic sport. If you were to go to the training camp of any Major League Baseball team, it would be hard to find five bodies on the team that look somewhat athletic. Most baseball players have the physique of a small-town circus accountant.
European football, or soccer, as we call it in America, is about 40 years behind in terms of strength and conditioning. Hannah Montana could beat every one of them in a power index test. Soccer players look like children compared to hockey players and infants compared to the speed position players in the NFL.
Soccer teams waste fortunes every year on the latest gadgets but won’t invest in a decent strength coach or buy the right equipment. They may have 20 vibration plates but not one matched set of dumbbells; they may buy a $150,000 cooling suit—that fits only one player at a time, of course—but they won’t give their players a decent postworkout shake. If soccer managers were to look at what is done in America in terms of conditioning, they would have a serious reality check.
Someday someone will figure it out, and then it will become popular. Ice hockey used to be like that, but the Edmonton Oilers started to win consistently, so conditioning became popular. Within a matter of years all teams had a strength coach.
Rugby is probably the sport that is catching up the fastest in terms of strength and conditioning. Rugby coaches finally got the concept—that players who are stronger and fitter improve the quality of the game. They are also quite progressive at promoting recovery between matches.
I would love to see a fitness test show on TV where the best players of every sport would compete in basic motor ability tests such as vertical jumps and overhead throws, etc. Soccer fans would be in for a real shock and realize that their idols are a disgrace to the world of athletics when it comes to conditioning. On a scale of 1 to 10, depending on the events, the results would come in like this:
American football: 10
Ice hockey: 9
Editor’s note: Charles Poliquin is recognized as one of the world’s most successful strength coaches, having coached Olympic medalists in 12 different sports, including the U.S. women’s track-and-field team for the 2000 Olympics. He’s spent years researching European journals (he’s fluent in English, French and German) and speaking with other coaches and scientists in his quest to optimize training methods. For more on his books, seminars and methods, visit www.CharlesPoliquin.net. IM