New Wave Insanity

Andrew Charniga

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” ― Voltaire.

Figure 1. Female Olympic champion weightlifter; a super athlete of explosive sport which essentially did not exist prior to the 2000 Olympics; is a testimonial to the experiences of real world sport science; not textbook or university pseudo science.  Charniga photo.

A science of absurdities

The value of schooling beyond secondary education is a commodity of relative worth; and not easily quantifiable. Just completing of higher education does not guarantee sufficient financial reward in and of itself. Hence the proliferation of the ‘Doctor expert’. 

The Doctor expert can be a knowledgeable expert; irregardless whether he/she is trained in a specific area;  especially if the aforesaid physician appears on TV; as well as the various forms of social media. The doctor expert can be an authority on subjects for which he/she is not trained; has no actual experience; as long as the there are initials after his/her name; and, especially if the expert graduated a prestigious university. Who would have the audacity question the credentials of a graduate of Stanford University?

The area of strength and conditioning is by no means immune from the doctor expert with an inordinate and seemingly inexhaustible confluence of MDs and Phds and various gurus dispensing expert advice on training, exercise devices and so forth. For instance, consider the emergency room physician hawking a monstrous eccentric strength training machine depicted in the figure. 

This MD is perfect example of the blind leading the blind: the unqualified ‘expert’ demonstrating the dubious value of a forced eccentric partial squat while strapped up to a commercial exercise device. How a positive outcome could be obtained from a grinding half squat with shins vertical; more bend at hip than knee; is not forthcoming. Yet, one is encouraged to accept blindly, this nonsensical machine which is designed for strength training at a very low velocity.

How could this exercise protocol with these machines be of any practical value? The fact of the matter is there is no intrinsic value; outside of stiffening joints and developing excess inter-muscular connective tissue to make muscles more resistant to passive stretching, i.e., a facilitator of injury susceptibility.       

A new wave semantics of insanity

In a world of puking, what does one consume for the pre – event meal? Who wants to dump an expensive lunch?

Vomiting is not fun, but it is necessary”. Vomiting is also sometimes a sign that “you’re ready.” Bell, R., 2020

A not uncommon shtick in the marketing of ignorance to the unsuspecting, the gullible; is the pure non-sensicality of the message. For example, the notion that “vomiting is necessary” is that the insanity  of the message for sale is obscured by the seller’s mellifluously spewing of a non – stop stream of meaningless aphorisms:”puke and rally”, “engage your gluts”,  “tight core”, stability, unstable, loose, tight”, “super slow”,and so forth.

The semantics of what passes for exercise science are all too often exercises in ambiguity; repetition of the nonsensical aphorisms such as “engage your gluts”, “tighten your core” go unquestioned. Isn’t it bad enough someone advocates exercise to the point of throwing up; which means you are exercising properly (see Arthur Jones & Nautilus training and HIT); the point is to continue exercise in such a manner as to work until one reaches such a state of failure to have to throw up. After which, one should ‘re – gather’ and continue.:

“It’s not about the puke. It’s about the rally.” Bell, R. 2020

The permutations of such stupidity invariably push dislogic to the next and the next levels.The author of the puke aphorism left out a crucial bit of information. Is the puker to rally and leave his/her mess behind for the unsuspecting? Shouldn’t one at least have the common decency to clean up one’s excrement before proceeding on to glorious “rally’?

Left unchecked, does insanity mutate and breed more insanity?   

For instance, consider the incident below at the university of Oregon; a major university in the Pacific Ten conference. Major universities of this caliber can have rather large medical staffs onsite.

By way of example, the collective staffs of the University of Michigan athletic department include: a staggering 31 AT/PTs (athletic trainer and/or combined physical therapist); 14 team physicians and at least ten (10) strength and conditioning coaches. Is the sheer number of people involved a reflection the school’s delusion it’s bloat of medicament dispensers are required to ensure the safety and well being of their athletes? Is it a reflection of a wealth of ‘knowledge’ is available for the prevention and care for injuries incurred on the athletic field? Quite the contrary; how and why can the athletic program of this institution be so hazardous to the health of the athletes as to justify all those people?

Consequently, in spite of, or  because of all this all the medical knowledge and professional expertise available to collegiate and professional athletes alike; the following is not uncommon:

“…over several days, student athletes vomited, passed out, or collapsed during the workouts.” It says that Oregon’s medical staff “acknowledged that the workout went beyond the student athletes’ natural limits after the first day, but rather than stop the workouts, university staff brought in oxygen tanks on the second day.”

How and why deplorable incidences such as the one described above (in the testimony of a civil suit brought against the university) occur; are prime examples of professionalism in the name of science gone bonkers; outside the bounds of any common sense.

“The title of Dr. Rob Bell’s latest book sums up the secret to success in life. Learn how to PUKE your setbacks and use life’s trials as a force multiplier…”

The fact of the matter is that, between the various hucksters,  charlatans, clueless coaches, the pseudo – experts from the medical and academic spheres; bizarre injuries of potentially profound serious consequence such as the one below; which is not that uncommon; occur to elite athletes without any culpability on the part of the amalgamation of those involved: conditioning coaches, trainers, therapists, doctors, PhDs and so forth: 

“The Minnesota Vikings quarterback completely tore his left ACL and dislocated his knee while suffering a non-contact injury at practice Tuesday. Bridgewater’s injury was so bad that practice was canceled, and an ambulance had to be called to take him away. Turns out it was a good thing that ambulance came quickly. According to injury expert Will Carroll, there was a chance Bridgewater could have lost his leg had he not received immediate treatment.”

How is it even possible to suffer a amputation threatening non-contact injury running about at football practice?

Figure. Female weightlifter slips and falls and  is uninjured when 119 kg barbell falls on her back. 

In point of fact, an utter lack of culpability; a lack of any logic based cause and effect approach to a rash of injured athletes; fosters a permissive environment of institutionalized insanity at collegiate and professional levels; where one injury disaster after another; nonetheless, can propel a conditioning coach to successive promotions from collegiate ranks to the professional ranks; despite a trail of broken bodies in wake. Consider the trail of bodies left by one over successive steps up the coaching ladder: “After a season wrought with injury that decimated USC’s defensive corps, many began to wonder what USC’s strength and conditioning program was doing to set players up for a healthy playing career.”

Ivan the Terrible” by fans, and is generally reviled by both UW and USC fans for his poor results and especially the amount of injuries suffered by players under his coaching.

The Seahawks have in no noticeable way improved their preventative health over last season, and it’s almost impossible to dispute that it’s worse than 2018.”

The root cause, the driving mechanism, as to why a school’s (the example of the University of Oregon above) medical staff would resort to oxygen tanks instead of calling a halt to workouts pounding athletes into a pulp; the why and how a trail of broken and brittle bodies accross many sports at many schools and professional teams comes to pass; the why and how nonsensical weight room exercises and running sessions with no practical carry – over to dynamic sport become so popular; the why they are performed to an irrational state of fatigue and so forth; can be the traced to the morphing of a single, or similarly collection of mindsets of applied insanity such as: 

If you are training in such a fashion that your muscles don’t hurt doing the exercise, don’t bother. Quit. Do something else.” Arthur Jones

What can be the dumber of the dumbest; the selling of stupidity or the buying of stupidity? Buying into stupidity has to be the dumber of the dumbest as many US institutions do this on a regular basis. Aren’t they are supposed to be smarter than the rest of us (see examples of institutionalized torture cited above):

“Vomiting is also a rite of passage. Being a champion in any area of life will require you to Puke & Rally. If you want to puke & rally and to seize your Hinge moment and significance in life, schedule a call.” R. Bell, 2020.

Perhaps at the pinnacle of insanity new wave are the following workouts which were inflicted on the members of the Louisiana State University Football team. Somehow or other the dislogic at work here is to condition football players for a game played within the confines of a 100 yard (91 meters) x 53 yards (48.8 meters) playing surface; where the average play usually lasts less than 10 seconds. The exercise sessions listed below are designed presumably to prepare the players for conditions which will never occur in a football game. To what end other than physical abuse?: 

“…makes his team run 16 – 90 yard shuttles with 1 – minute rest in between; receivers have to do the drill in 15 sec; quarterbacks and tight ends in 17 sec and linemen have to do it 19 seconds; after this you have to do 16 – 110 yard sprints after five minutes of rest from doing the 16 – 90 yard shuttles. If you fail one of those reps you have to do it every Friday until you are no longer failing reps.”

The abuse described above is an example of exercising to an absurd level of fatigue; inconsistent with actual game conditions; and, likewise, inconsistent with the conditioning of skilled athletes.  A question the purveyors of such abuse obviously neglect; whether there is a high likelihood such training to fatigue makes the athlete more susceptible to injury over the long and short term. In point of fact, the prevalence of injured LSU football players of this period in time, would strongly indicate that is the case.

Where is the logic behind pounding elite, skilled athletes into a pulp? And, likewise, what are inevitable consequences of training to a state of fatigue which does not; and cannot occur under the natural conditions on the field or court? A rational explanation does not exist this side of a mental institution.  

For instance, football at the elite level is not a test of run till you drop fatigue. By its very nature, fatigue is enemy of coordination and skill; decisive factors at the elite level of dynamic sports like football, basketball and others.

Speed, power, coordination, skill and so forth, are dependent on the efficiency of the electro – chemical – mechanical process of muscle contraction; which decline along with the onset of fatigue. For instance, physiological research shows: 

“During a fatiguing maximal voluntary contraction, the electro-myographic activity declines roughly in parallel with the loss of force. This decline has been attributed to reflex inhibition of the motor neuron pool . many reflex inputs can reduce the motor-neuronal output, but the contribution of the different kinds of afferents is to a large extent unknown.” Astrasnd, P-O., Rodahkl, K., Dahl, H., Stromme, ZS., Textbook of Work Physiology Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL 2003

A not so difficult to find collection of workout protocols of the fastest man in history Usain Bolt would show he would not see fit to run 10 – 100 meter sprints in succession; let alone sixteen after sixteen 90 yard shuttles. And, yet it was Bolt’s job to run 100 meter sprints.

The coaches who assign such madness as described above obviously do not take into account how all this running transfers to the relatively short bursts of running characteristic of the natural conditions of a typical football game.

For example, exercise tests, competitions and workouts of some exercise emporiums are a good examples of the negative consequences of fatigue training which are part and parcel the same morphing of a single idea of exercise to irrational state of fatigue.

A young woman suffered an Achilles tendon rupture in amidst of the following protocols of a ‘let’s all get tired together’ competition: 

1 – mile treadmill run; 50 Overhead Squats; 100 sit ups on GH machine; 150 double unders  jump rope; 50 sumo stance high pulls; 100 box jumps.

The injury was sustained in the midst of performing the box jumps, i.e., after the five (5) preceding events. In and of itself jumping up and down to a box 100 times would mean the lower extremity musculature would be in a state of fatigue for many of the 100 jumps; that is on top of the pre – jumping event fatigue from the the preceding tasks. The elasticity of the young woman’s tendons would definitely be compromised by the prolonged tension cycles due to insufficient cycles of muscle relaxation; let alone a rational rest period.

Consequently, the agonist/antagonist pairs of muscles are fighting each other; adding to the stress/strain on the tendon which snapped in the process.   

Figure Achilles rupture sustained from box jumps after several events pre – fatiguing lower extremities. 

In another example of the same vein, a serious ankle injury, resulting in major surgery occurred to a young woman after the following exercises:  21 Thrusters 75 lbs; 12 rope climbs – 15’ rope; 15 thrusters; 9 rope climbs; 9 thrusters; 6 rope climbs. She sustained the ankle injury turning her ankle as the descended from the rope climb.  

Figure. Female weightlifter uninjured after turning ankle slipping with heavy barbell in hands. Charniga photo. 

Compare the ankle injury which occurred from fatiguing exercise to the non -injury of a female weightlifter in the figure. Logic would dictate she should have been injured twisting her ankle from falling with a barbell in her hands; the key difference between the non – injury weightlifting fall and the fatigue – induced – rope – climb – fall ankle injury is the weightlifter was not in a state of fatigue. Her ankle ‘springs’ (tendons and ligaments) were able to stretch and recoil without snapping, i.e., due to injury prophylactic elasticity properties. 

“There are two different types of people in the world, those want to know, and those who want to believe.” Friedrich Nietzsche 1844 -1900

How it is possible bad ideas propagate, such that intense exercise and throwing up go hand in hand; to snow ball if you will. This has to be connected with, in the words of Nietzsche: those who want to believe. For instance, if one wants to believe; it is that much easier to buy into dumb ideas for sale: can improve your speed and agility in any particular movement just by getting stronger; regardless of how you get stronger, fast, slow movements even isometrics

The fact of the matter is you can’t improve your speed by “just getting stronger, regardless how. The specificity of training for strength precludes an all – encompassing effectiveness from training, for instance, with slow movements, isometrics and so forth, no matter how much nor how often you puke.



/ Bell, R., Puke and Rally, DRB press, 2020