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Mind Pump: Raw Fitness Truth

2131: How to Break Through a Bench Press Plateau, Simple Tips to Get Leaner, How to Work Out With a Herniated Disc & More (Listener Live Coaching)

Wed Aug 02 2023
FitnessFunctional StrengthAttractionCommunicationTraining ModificationsInjury RecoveryBench Press ImprovementObstacle Course RacingWeight Loss StrategiesAestheticsLongevity


The episode covers a range of topics including fitness trends, functional strength, attraction, communication, training modifications, and injury recovery. It explores the decline of functional strength in favor of aesthetics in modern fitness culture and the importance of incorporating offset loading exercises for real-world strength. The episode also delves into the role of attraction in relationships, the value of effective communication in coaching, and the impact of politics on individuals. Additionally, it provides insights on training techniques for bench press improvement, obstacle course racing, weight loss strategies, and training for aesthetics and longevity.


Offset Loading for Real-World Strength

'Offset loading' exercises like suitcase carries and one-arm presses with barbells can build functional strength by addressing power leaks and improving core stability.

The Shift from Functional Strength to Aesthetics

Modern fitness culture prioritizes appearance over functional strength, but there is a growing interest in incorporating functional movements into workouts.

Attraction Based on Capabilities

Attractiveness is often rooted in the capabilities that got someone there, such as wealth or physical abilities.

Effective Communication in Coaching

Trainers and coaches should prioritize effective communication and behavior modification rather than solely relying on scientific knowledge.

Training Modifications for Injury Recovery

Addressing imbalances, building new movement patterns, and focusing on intensity rather than weight can aid in recovery from injuries.

Importance of Novel Exercises for Aesthetics

Incorporating novel exercises can yield great aesthetic results and prevent neglect of important movements.

Training Techniques for Bench Press Improvement

Progressive resistance techniques like bands, overhead presses, and pause reps can enhance bench press performance.

Obstacle Course Racing and Grip Strength

Practicing OCR obstacles and incorporating exercises like dead hangs and rice bucket training can improve grip strength for OCR events.

Weight Loss Strategies and Caloric Intake

Avoiding heavily processed foods, eating whole foods until satisfied, and listening to hunger cues can aid in weight loss without strict calorie tracking.

Training for Aesthetics and Longevity

Adding weight to exercises, focusing on important movements, and increasing stress on the body without increasing risk can lead to better aesthetic results and long-term fitness.


  1. Introduction
  2. Offset Loading and Functional Strength
  3. Attraction and Functional Movement
  4. Decline of Functional Strength and Rise of Aesthetics
  5. Evolution of Fitness Trends and Strength vs Appearance
  6. Clean and Press vs Squat and Deadlift
  7. Debates, Communication, and Trust
  8. Politics, Interviews, and Coaching Advice
  9. Training Modifications and Obstacle Course Racing
  10. Weight Loss, Caloric Intake, and Training
  11. Injury Recovery and Training Modifications
  12. Training for Aesthetics and Longevity


00:00 - 06:37

  • Mindpump is a fitness, health, and entertainment podcast.
  • The hosts answer live callers' questions after a 58-minute introductory conversation.
  • They discuss topics like fitness, current events, health studies, and more.
  • Listeners can skip around using the timestamps in the show notes.
  • Email questions to

Offset Loading and Functional Strength

06:25 - 12:25

  • 'Offset loading' is recommended as a way to build real-world strength. This involves loading your body in an unbalanced way, such as carrying weight on one side like a suitcase carry or doing one-arm shoulder presses with a barbell instead of dumbbells. The idea is that real-world tasks often require offset strength and power leaks can limit your ability to exert force in these situations. Offset loading was valued by strong men of the past but fell out of favor when appearance became more important than functional strength. Eugene Sandow was an example of this shift in focus.
  • Eugene Sandell became famous for his physique and strength feats, connecting beauty with strength.
  • In today's society, women are often attracted to shredded bodybuilder physiques.
  • However, if a less ripped but functional man can perform physical feats, women may find him more attractive.
  • Attractiveness is often rooted in the capabilities that got someone there, such as wealth or physical abilities.
  • Men also have preferences based on physical appearance and capabilities of women.
  • Poor health is a strong signal for unattractiveness in both men and women.

Attraction and Functional Movement

11:59 - 18:26

  • Men tend to value women who show compassion and care for them and their children.
  • Insecure individuals may prioritize superficial qualities like looks or wealth over genuine care and compassion.
  • Attraction is influenced by visual factors for men, while women may consider financial support as a priority.
  • Offset loaded exercises, such as the bent press, build functional strength and create a strong physique.
  • Many modern gym routines focus on comfort and isolated muscle training rather than functional movements.
  • Unilateral exercises like the bent press require core stability and engage larger muscle groups for effective weightlifting.
  • Identifying instabilities or leaks in power can help improve overall strength in specific exercises.

Decline of Functional Strength and Rise of Aesthetics

18:00 - 23:57

  • Unconventional exercises like suitcase carries and offloaded overhead presses can address stability issues and improve deadlift performance.
  • The shift from physically demanding jobs to desk jobs has contributed to the decline in popularity of certain exercises.
  • Aesthetic concerns have become more important than functional strength in modern fitness culture.
  • In the past, strength competitions focused on lifting the most weight rather than appearance.
  • Different eras of strength sports are named after metals (bronze, silver, golden) to represent the tools available at that time.
  • The current focus in bodybuilding is on appearance rather than performance, but there is a growing interest in functional movement.
  • Social media has brought back some interest in watching bodybuilders perform functional movements.
  • Some athletes are well-known for their strength despite not having a great physique.

Evolution of Fitness Trends and Strength vs Appearance

23:33 - 29:46

  • Bodybuilder with a great physique may not be as strong as someone who doesn't look as impressive.
  • The evolution of fitness may involve a blend of highlighting strength and appearance or moving into something completely different.
  • CrossFit helped make strong women cool again based on their abilities rather than just their looks.
  • Social media is starting to celebrate women's lifting achievements more, but appearance still dominates popularity.
  • Different eras in bodybuilding had different focuses and time periods, but the transcript does not provide information on the current era.
  • As fitness trends change, wisdom from previous phases tends to get lost instead of being built upon.
  • Exercises like barbell squats and deadlifts fell out of favor in the late '90s and early 2000s but are now recognized as highly effective.
  • Many effective exercises have been forgotten over time due to ignorance and lack of teaching focus.
  • Examples include heavy suitcase carries, one-arm presses with barbells, bent presses, and pullovers.
  • The clean and press is not considered the king of all exercises because its limiting factor is how much you can press.

Clean and Press vs Squat and Deadlift

29:17 - 35:18

  • The clean and press is not the king of all exercises because the limiting factor is how much you can press.
  • The overhead squat would also not be the king of all exercises for the same reason.
  • Clean and Press requires a high skill level and is not relatable to most people in their regular programming.
  • Squatting and deadlifting are more popular and relatable exercises compared to Clean and Press.
  • The world record for a clean and press is much lower than that of a deadlift, which means deadlifting has the potential to build more overall muscle mass.
  • Skill level is important in exercise performance as it determines the benefits one can acquire from an exercise.
  • Lifting weight with speed is considered the pinnacle of skill, but most people lack this skill.
  • Clean and Press involves speed, making it challenging for many individuals.
  • Squatting and deadlifting require technical proficiency, but they offer more opportunities for growth and change compared to Clean and Press.
  • For an average person, learning to squat and deadlift is achievable, while mastering Clean and Press may be difficult or impossible for some individuals.

Debates, Communication, and Trust

34:59 - 41:21

  • Debates are like sports for the speaker, where winning is the ultimate goal and losing is a part of the learning process.
  • The podcast hosts encourage and embrace aggressive debates in their business as it helps them identify weaknesses and gain new perspectives.
  • Listening to friends or trusted individuals can provide valuable insights about oneself and one's actions that may be unknown.
  • Trusting friends' feedback even when initially disagreeing can lead to self-awareness and personal growth.
  • Building trust with clients as a trainer is crucial for success, as they need to believe in the trainer's genuine care for their well-being.
  • Coaching clients often involves helping them work through deep-rooted issues rather than providing quick fixes or magic tricks.
  • Self-awareness is a vital skill that contributes to overall success in life, not just financially or in business.
  • Self-awareness is a crucial skill for success in all aspects of life.
  • Listening to your spouse's feedback can lead to personal growth.
  • Acknowledging flaws and working on them can improve relationships.
  • Communication and setting expectations are important in partnerships.
  • Trainers and coaches need to earn their clients' trust to be effective.
  • Asking the right questions and fostering communication is key as a coach.
  • Effective communication is a crucial skill for trainers
  • NCI offers a Wednesday call for trainers to ask questions and get support
  • The real value of being a good trainer lies in communication and behavior modification
  • Touting the science alone is not effective in coaching clients
  • Sharing personal challenges with clients can make coaching more effective
  • Trainers should lead with vulnerability and make clients feel understood
  • Clients often feel self-conscious about their food choices around trainers
  • Family gatherings can also trigger guilt in relation to health and fitness goals

Politics, Interviews, and Coaching Advice

52:41 - 58:47

  • Politicians like Vivek Ramaswami are starting to defend themselves on podcasts against criticism.
  • PBD challenges guests with opposing views and has interviewed socialists and those who disagree with him economically.
  • There is a list of 46 names connected to the Clinton hit list, which includes some suspicious deaths.
  • While it's a fair argument that many of the people on the list are old, there are also younger and healthier individuals included.
  • It's important to question and not take things at face value when it comes to deaths and politics.
  • To reach high levels in politics, individuals often have narcissistic tendencies and must play the game within established structures.
  • Tulsi Gabbard and Ron Paul were taken down by their own parties when they started rising in popularity.
  • The caller seeks advice on improving his bench press performance compared to his deadlift and squat numbers.
  • Progressive resistance techniques like bands can be added to bench press workouts for better results.
  • To improve bench press, focus on exercises like overhead press and clean press
  • Bench twice a week, one heavy and one dynamic for speed and explosive power
  • Every two or three weeks, add bands to your heavy day for progressive resistance
  • Consider using a slingshot to load heavier weights and get an elastic energy boost
  • Leg drive in bench pressing technique can contribute to force output
  • Overhead press and deep dips can help with sticking points in the bench press
  • Try running a program cycle focused on incline bench or dumbbell presses
  • Increase calorie intake during bulking phases to support muscle growth
  • Advanced techniques like pause reps, chains, bands, and isometrics can be beneficial
  • Weighted dips can have carryover into bench press strength
  • Work on shoulder stability and mobility to address weak points in the bench press

Training Modifications and Obstacle Course Racing

58:28 - 1:05:06

  • For bench press improvement, try isometrics, bands, speed presses, and overhead presses to reveal weaknesses.
  • Implement one or two techniques at a time and track progress for 4-5 weeks before trying something new.
  • The slingshot device by Mark Bell is a convenient way to apply progressive resistance.
  • To address lateral strengthening, try lateral sled drags and assisted squats.
  • Getting stronger laterally can be achieved through lateral sled drags with high volume and low damage.
  • Strength training becomes more technical as you progress. Adding weight may not provide significant benefits.
  • Dips and deficit deadlifts can help improve strength by working on range of motion and stability.
  • Enjoy fatherhood because it goes fast. Kids and dogs are the best things in life according to Jim from Illinois.
  • Giant sets in bodybuilding consist of three to four exercises performed back to back, while circuits involve more than three exercises without rest.
  • The Smith machine is suitable for exercises like bench press, overhead press, and rows, but not ideal for squats and deadlifts.
  • Instead of using the Smith machine for squats and deadlifts, dumbbell work and unilateral movements are recommended.
  • In obstacle course racing (OCR), skill is just as important as fitness and stamina.
  • Practicing the obstacles in OCR is crucial to improve skills and reduce energy expenditure.
  • To improve grip strength for OCR, exercises like dead hangs and rice bucket training are beneficial.
  • The Maps OCR program is designed to address common challenges in OCR events.
  • Losing weight can significantly improve grip strength in OCR events due to the strength-to-weight ratio.

Weight Loss, Caloric Intake, and Training

1:17:40 - 1:42:03

  • Losing weight can improve grip strength in certain events.
  • Strength generally improves endurance, but as you advance, it may not always be the case.
  • Performance is different from overall strength and endurance improvement.
  • Improving both strength and endurance simultaneously takes longer and has a smaller margin of progress.
  • Symmetry with a cut is recommended for the next OCR event preparation.
  • Collagen protein drinks can help meet protein intake targets if food sources are insufficient.
  • Consider adding high-quality protein powder to increase protein intake.
  • Caloric maintenance and cutting have a wide variance.
  • Cravings could be due to eating too little or needing a food fix.
  • Track what you eat normally to determine your maintenance calories.
  • Avoid heavily processed foods, eat 200g of protein from whole foods, and drink a gallon of water per day to get leaner.
  • Restricting too much can lead to binging and hinder progress.
  • Eating whole foods until satisfied can lead to weight loss without feeling like dieting.
  • Hiring a trainer who listens to the podcast is recommended.
  • Tracking calories is optional but can provide a sense of safety.
  • It's okay to have varying calorie intake as long as it aligns with your goals.
  • Tracking calories can provide a sense of security, but it's not necessary for weight loss.
  • Eating a range of calories each day is natural and sustainable.
  • The focus should be on avoiding binge eating and listening to your body's hunger cues.
  • For the next 30-40 pounds of fat loss, detailed tracking is not required.
  • Stick to whole natural foods to naturally reach a healthier body weight.
  • Once you reach a certain point, then you can start counting calories and getting more specific.
  • Restricting calories too much can lead to rebounding and frustration.
  • Focus on protein intake, whole foods, hunger cues, and training hard for results.

Injury Recovery and Training Modifications

1:41:37 - 1:48:58

  • The speaker is a bikini competitor who had to drop out of a competition due to a piriformis muscle injury.
  • They have tried various treatments like physiotherapy, deep tissue massage, and acupuncture, but still experience constant pain.
  • The speaker used to train with heavy weights and low reps, but now needs advice on how to modify their training program.
  • They were diagnosed with two lower herniated discs, which may have contributed to the leg pain.
  • The speaker has started doing light band work and recently returned to the gym with lower weights.
  • They are unsure if the anabolic program is suitable for their current condition and seek recommendations.
  • The host suggests starting with the Symmetry program followed by Performance for core training and mobility improvement.
  • The host identifies the leg pain as nerve-related due to disc compression and reassures the speaker that it's not a severe condition.
  • Instead of focusing on adding more weight, the host advises slowing down reps, using pause reps, and increasing intensity for better results.
  • Addressing imbalances and building new movement patterns is crucial for stability and recovery.

Training for Aesthetics and Longevity

1:54:55 - 1:58:17

  • Adding weight to the bar can make it feel heavier and lead to better results.
  • Increasing stress on the body without increasing risk is a longevity hack.
  • Focusing on aesthetics often leads to neglecting important movements.
  • Certain movements become more important as we age or advance in fitness.
  • Doing novel exercises can yield great aesthetic results with a solid foundation.
  • Performance issues may be related to back problems.
  • The RGB Super Bundle offers expert exercise programming for body transformation.