Last week, I was forwarded an article by Mark Rippetoe on Mike Webster’s training.
Reading it I was flooded with more than a few emotions. And since I am clinically unemotional this was no small feat. I finished the article saddened by his journey, angry the NFL has forgotten and proud of the man nicknamed, Iron Mike.
For those of you too young to remember Mike Webster, he was the center for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played 6 times longer than the average NFL career, 17 years and 245 starts. His nickname was “Iron Mike,” not because he played for the Steelers but because he looked like he was forged in a foundry and kept playing long after most couldn’t. To put it in perspective, I played 9 years and started over 100 career games, making 1/2 the journey Iron Mike did. I was fortunate to play with Will Shields who started 231 games in 14 years, another iron man.
You need to read it.
“…The problem was he was using some kind of foreign plates, in kilograms. I didn’t understand this until much later when I loaded up the bar with “25 pound” metal plates rimmed with thick rubber bumpers. I was trying to put 300 on the bar, to warm up for squats, and was nearly crushed as soon as I took the bar to my shoulders and began to squat down. These days there are a lot of kilogram-only plates floating around most gyms, and I still check to make sure what I’m loading. I do remember him saying that for a long time, his bench press was just around 350 or so, but his best workout was 445 pounds for six sets of eight reps on the bench. I think he said he finally jumped up in progress when he started really tucking his elbows in, it took a few weeks to adjust, but once he did his bench went up. As his career went on, most of his workouts were with an almost close grip on the bench, more for the reason that he needed to focus on involving his triceps as much as possible, not a muscle isolation thing. His hand placement needed to be inside the other guy’s to control him, and it carried over better…” cont