heavy lifting | Critical Bench

Your Muscle & Strength Authority Site Since 1999

Savage Strength Interview With Mike Gillette

Howdy partners. I did this sweet interview with former swat commander and executive bodyguard Mike Gillette who is the creator of an extremely kick-ass program called the Savage Strength Training System. Are you prepared to be entercated? That’s right you get entertained and educated at the same time…..boom! I said it. Enjoy.

Me:  In your experience are strength and size of a muscle correlated?

MG: Research suggests that a larger cross-section of muscle tissue will yield greater contractile potential than a smaller cross-section of muscle tissue. But if this was all there was to the strength equation, then bodybuilders would also dominate the realm of strength sports. But they don’t. The chief strength variable that almost everyone overlooks is the Central Nervous System. Often-times a smaller but more neurologically-efficient athlete can outlift a larger one.

Me:  Why do you feel it’s more important to train for strength than it is for looks?

MG: Because I need a body that PERFORMS. After having had so many big, impressively-muscled guys come up to me and say “What you do is amazing…” , it becomes apparent that deep down, what everyone really respects is CAPABILITY. Meaning what you can DO rather than just how you LOOK. I am 49 years old and I am still out on the road. And whether it’s for bodyguard work or a presentation of mind-body feats, my body has to be able to do WHAT I want it to WHEN I want it to.

Me:  What would you say to someone that is intimidated by the Savage Strength program and claims to be too old, or has a bad back or just isn’t ready for something like this yet?

MG: I would say “Just try it out…” While it’s true that there are some very tough exercises taught in the program, I specifically included some easier ones too. And that’s because (as long as you pay attention to the detailed instruction) this program can be for ANYBODY. You just have to work within your present level of capabilities. You have to be smart about it. The program is self-calibrating. No matter how strong you are, you can adjust the intensity level by manipulating various training parameters which are explained in detail in the program manual.

Me:  What are the advantages of becoming stronger and more functional?

MG: Simple… in a physical context  you can do what you want You learn how to become the master of your body and not the other way around. Get strong and gain the strength to live the life you want… the life you’ve always wanted.

Me:  Briefly differentiate between muscular endurance vs. muscular strength.

MG: Endurance refers to output capacity sustained over a period of time. The longer the time-frame, the lower the intensity level. Strength refers to MAXIMUM output capacity. In my world, endurance is a quality I associate with “wellness” or “health”, strength is a quality I associate with “taking action” or “saving lives”. Strength give you on-demand usefulness to the world around you.

Me:  Mike, as former SWAT Commander was there ever a time that your strength training proved to be an asset?

MG: Too many to possibly count. For every meth-lab door kicked, every street thug I ever fought with, every suicidal person I wrestled a weapon away from and for every frightened child who took my hand and needed to know that everything was going to be okay… each one of those people needed to feel all my strength… for different reasons.  And for all of them, it was my DUTY to become as strong as I could be.

Me:  On page 28 of the Savage Strength manifesto you said that when you were in your early 40s, your body felt like it was training all the time, even when you weren’t.  What did you mean by that?

MG: Primarily it was the time I had left law enforcement and I was working in the private sector running some very large training projects. Lots of deadlines and lots of travel. My training had unfortunately become routine. So routine in fact, I was sometimes losing track as to whether or not I was even doing it. I had lost some of the imperative to train, I had lost that edge. This was also around the time that certain overuse-related injuries had started to crop up.

Me:  Do mentally tough people get stronger than those who aren’t?

MG: They absolutely do. Strength training is hard work. And strength training performed at the ragged edge of your own capabilities is even harder. It is the ability to develop mental toughness that separates the STRONG from the merely “fit”. You have to be able to break barriers to achieve something meaningful. And if you aggressively seek opportunities to REALLY break through to whatever your own “next level” is, you will likely get a glimpse of your best self.

Me:  Tell us something most people don’t know about Mike Gillette.

MG: Between the scary resume, the bending and the breaking and the mind-power feats I do, some people have a hard time approaching me. It’s interesting that kids have no problem coming up and asking me for pictures or an autograph or just to talk. But a lot of adults seem uncomfortable making that same overture. So, while I understand that a lot of what I do strikes most people as “unusual”, it’s not unusual to me. This is simply who I am and what I do. And it is vitally important to me to share what I do and the things I have been so fortunate to learn… all these unconventional techniques, methods and teachings with others.

Me:  In closing, why does the world need more strong men?

MG: Strong men, by their very presence, make their little corner of the world “better”. What I mean by that is they make things safer, more stable, more sensible, more… BETTER. Discipline of BODY, Discipline of MIND, Self-Control… the world is always a better place when more men possess these qualities.

Me:  Thanks for your time.

MG:  My pleasure.  Check out the article below to get 4-keys to savage strength.

CLICK HERE NOW

Why Heavy Lifting Releases More Growth Hormone

February 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Hormones, Muscle Building, Recent Posts, Training

by Mike Westerdal

aggressive-strengthOver the last ten years or so, there has been a marked increase in discussions about how Growth Hormone (GH) impacts muscle growth, boosts the metabolism and facilitates the burning of excess body fat. Growth hormone is a protein-based peptide hormone that is made up of 191 different amino acids.

It is synthesized and secreted by cells called somatotrophs that are located in the anterior part of the pituitary gland. Looking back at man’s development over the last few thousand years, it seems that GH developed as a means to maintain growth and lean body mass during those times when access to food was scarce.

As an anabolic agent GH functions similar to testosterone, stimulating muscle growth, enhancing recovery and increasing utilization of body fat as fuel. However, there are a number of different theories as to exactly how GH works its magic in the body.

Two in particular are among the most common theories discussed.

The first theory—referred to as the somatomedin hypothesis ¬—states that once the pituitary gland releases GH, it then travels to the liver and other tissues where it stimulates the synthesis and release of insulin-like growth factors (IGFs). This hypothesis makes the supposition that the IGFs then function to stimulate the endocrine system, therefore facilitating the outcomes associated with growth hormone.

The second common hypothesis is known as the Dual Effector theory , which states that GH itself has anabolic effects on body tissues and does so without the assistance of IGFs.

Although there are different thoughts regarding how GH actually impacts the body’s metabolism there are certain things that we do know for certain. First, production of GH is at its peak when we are younger. As our bodies age natural production of GH begins to decline. We also know that we have the ability to influence our bodies’ production of GH.

Various factors that impact the body’s production of GH include overall health, diet, activity level, weight training, sleep patterns, consumption of alcohol, prescription drugs and the use of illicit drugs.

Of these, training with weights—in particular, training with heavy weights—has among the most profound effects on GH production.

Muscles get bigger and stronger in response to the stress of lifting weights. The growth is the body’s attempt to prepare itself for the next time it is faced with the same stress (lifting weights) so that when it encounters the same situation again, it is less stressful on the body.

Muscle growth is essentially an ongoing process of stress and recovery. Over time, as you continually lift heavier weights, the body continues to adapt to the additional demand being placed on it, by growing more muscle. With this understanding, it only makes sense that the greater the stress (lifting weights) the greater the body’s response action.

Training with light weights invokes minimal stress on the body and consequently, requires little or no recovery response because to the body, this is a ‘no big deal’ situation that it is prepared to handle. With light weights, the body has no reason to add more muscle because the muscle you currently have can handle the demand.

But introduce heavy weights into the scene and suddenly, the body’s reaction is totally different. Lifting heavy weights puts the body’s systems on high alert, evoking a strong hormonal response. And herein is what drives the pituitary gland to produce more growth hormone. The key to maximizing the hormonal response is to lift heavy weights utilizing compound movements that simultaneously recruit multiple muscle groups.

Isolation exercises (and exercises performed on machines) do not provoke the same strong hormonal response. Good GH-inducing movements would include the deadlift, the benchpress and the squat. These are commonly referred to as the ‘big 3’ of bodybuilding and for a good reason. Each is a compound movement that involves multiple, large muscle groups. As such, these exercises—when performed with low reps and heavy weights—push the body to increase its production of growth hormone to enhance muscle growth and recovery.

The capacity of heavy weight lifting to drive hormonal responses has been documented by researchers . For example, in a 2008 study, researchers regularly measured hormonal levels in the blood of an elite, record-holding male weight lifter over a period of several weeks. They found that his serum hormone levels spiked considerably as his training peaked. So if you’re interested in boosting your natural production of growth hormone, you need to pick up some heavy weights and get moving. Check out the video below to see some serious weights being lifted!

heavy-lifting

References:

Daughaday WH., Hall K., Raben MS., et al: Somatomedin: A proposed designation for the “sulfation factor”Nature235:107, 1972

Green H., Morikawa M., Nixon T. A dual effector theory of growth hormone action.Differentiation29:195, 1985

Hormonal responses in heavy training and recovery periods in an elite male weightlifter. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2008) 7, 560-000