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Guest Ido Portal

Gymnastics and bodyweight S&C - supperior to weight lifting

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bst
As a sprinter I thought I would add that I don't deadlift (traditional, I do use variations like rdl) or squat. I would also like to add that lunges and other single leg work (not pistols though) with rdls, ghrs, and hip thrusts has done way more for my sprinting then squating or deadlifting. Not saying those are bad exercises on the contra-re I felt very let down that two of my favorite exercises had to be put on the back burner to get better at sprinting.

PS Mike Boyle is one of the most successful strength coaches in the industry, I dont agree with him on some stuff but to say that the guy doesn't know what he is talking about would be like saying Coach Sommers can't tell you how to get to an iron cross. Also more and more athletes these days are utilizing more and more single leg work for sports then bilateral versions. For general strength and size in my opinion the deadlift and squat are at the top. However for athletes looking to improve sprinting/jumping (what athlete doesn't want either or both) a more tactical approach is required then just saying squat and deadlift.

There is a very robust debate in the S&C community on the efficacy of bilateral leg training for sprinting. As usual, there are those who are proponents, and those who advocate unilateral leg training only. As a matter of fact, there is still debate as to how vertical forces translate into greater horizontal velocity (debate over Weyand study). Most sprint coaches i've come into contact with still rely heavily on sprinting variations and plyos, as its impossible to replicate the forces generated by sprinting in the weight room.

Keep in mind that this debate over strength is highly relative. What is strength in one activity will not necessarily translate into strength for another. Many of these coaches have some novel ideas and training methodologies, but bear in mind that the caliber of athletes many of them are working with is very high. They're genetically gifted in regards to their sport which makes them not a very good measure of a training method for the general population. Poliquin has made this point many times (you could give them soup cans to lift and they'd grow....lol). I'm impressed when I see a coach who's had success in creating better athletes out of average or below-average individuals. Unfortunately, most of them are too busy coaching to bother writing on the internet (or likely don't really care to). Ido makes reference to Schroeder and DB (who i agree is likely a fictional character created by Korfist and Fichter), who's ideas are interesting in regards to nervous system training and power/speed (although hard to really evaluate Schroeder since he will not reveal much of his methodology). Much of their work involves static holds (of up to 3min) with the goal of achieving maximum contraction potential in a "stretched" position. Just like in gymnastics, tension is paramount, as is the ability to release that tension instantly (with the ultimate goal of maximal force absorption/re-direction).

Ido makes some great points regarding upper body training. Although I do not have very much experience with BW only training, I must say that I agree with his points. If one thinks about the difference in mechanics between BW upper body exercises and weight training, open vs closed-chain comes into play. Rings and rope aside, gymnastics exercises entail the body moving "around" the stationary limb(s) of the upper body on a stable surface. The body largely becomes a "non-conforming" object as its ability to change position makes it very difficult to stabilize. Fiber recruitment is maximal b/c of the increased leverages and greater proprioception needed. Ring work adds the element of an unstable "surface" for the arms, increasing the need for greater stabilizer and connective tissue strength. This is impossible to replicate with weights. The closest would be working with sandbags or lifting/moving another human body.

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Joshua Naterman

And training on vibro-plates.

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Sternford

This topic is way over my head but the parts I understand are fascinating

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Gregor
I used to do loads weights.... got tonnes of injuries (Tendonitis in 5 separate joints at one point). Starting doing the bodyweight static strength work.... they went away. Simple as.

Trianglechoke, does it make any difference that SLS's dont have as much lower back activation when back levers and planches are the ultimate lower back exercises....

All planches, malteses are more upper back, shoulders and pecs exercises then lower back. It doesn't transfer as much as it looks like to lower back. Mainly the problem for arching lower back is to low strength in upper portion of upper body. We normaly wan't to compensate lower strength of upper portion of upper back, shoulders and pecs wtih lower body, because we don't want to lean more forward and put the weight up.

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Gregor

If you want some serious competitive skills you would defenitly gained with free weights and we are not talking about ordinary croses and planches...

And if you don't want weak links....

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Joshua Naterman

Yup!

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Blairbob

I've actually been wondering if the biomechanical stress of some forms of weighted SLS = the stress of FS or HBBS or LBBS or traditional DL? Yeah, it sounds wacky but here is my thoughts of maybe.

Some forms of weighted SLS are not efficient at all. Heck, most aren't. If a bar is on your back, you might be able to load it up more but that's also because you can biomechanically. Loading it FS style, means quite possible your FS rack may fail before you can load it as much as possible. Holding the weight like a trapbar DL is just not as easy as pulling the bar up the front of your body.

I'm basing this on a comparison of doing weighted SLS vs heavy DL and heavy BS. The weighted SLS seemed more stressful all in all than the heavy BS (300ish) or heavy DL(300ish).

As for the partial ROM BS (1/4s) they are basically working a similar ROM to traditional DL.

For a gymnast, if you can't keep that core stable while transmitting force, it doesn't matter how much you can load up the legs. That force from the floor during tumbling/vaulting will have to travel through to the hands or at least the shoulders (if merely performing some form of no hands flip).

I like the unilateral strength idea and Boyle is correct about the lower back being a possible weak link (especially when they FS or HBBS). However, the Bulgarian Split Squat or REFSS or whatever he likes to coin it (just call it a box lunge) is not equal or as useful as a SLS (however, it may just be best to train this somehow with the free leg hanging down instead of horizontal).

As well, the BSS/REFSS is inferior to a rear or forward lunge in teaching balance, coordination, awareness, blah-blah-blah like a SLS does.

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Longshanks

Which is the strongest exercise for the lower back in gymnastics then? Sorry if its a daft question, I'm new to all this.

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Razz

I would say some good lower back are: (Weighted) hyperextensions, reverse cranks, back lever, glute ham raise, body levers. These are not all isolation for lower back but they all work it very well, there are, of course, many more variations.

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Felipe

I think that if you want to qualify as intermediate athlete of ANY sport you should be able to perform these:

Press 1,25xBW

Bench 1,50xBW

Squat ATG 2,00xBW

Deadlift 2,25xBW

Don't be focused on the lower body hypertrophy. 2x squat is not going to make your legs explode.

After this basic strength is obtained (from weights or bw training alone) the next step is to proceed on training the movement of your sport. In case of gymnastics, maximum and dynamic strength (coach Sommer literature :D )

I personally can't train gymnastics alone for long periods. After some months I feel not supercompensating anymore. Second that, bodyweight exercise are difficult to balance in intensity.

EDIT:

after discussions (thanks to all members of the board) I'm reconsiderating my post and make it way more precise.

These are the suggested levels of strength for intermediate-advanced athletes (people who have been involved in training for more than 2 years) of sports that require strength as a main feature (like football, soccer, sprinters, throwers, martial artists, powerful gymnasts) and haven't problem on putting some mass on legs (specially harmstrings).

For upper body 1x press and 1,25x bench, lower body was correct.

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bst
I think that if you want to qualify as intermediate athlete of ANY sport you should be able to perform these:

Press 1,25xBW

Bench 1,50xBW

Squat ATG 2,00xBW

Deadlift 2,25xBW

Don't be focused on the lower body hypertrophy. 2x squat is not going to make your legs explode.

After this basic strength is obtained (from weights or bw training alone) the next step is to proceed on training the movement of your sport. In case of gymnastics, maximum and dynamic strength (coach Sommer literature :D )

I personally can't train gymnastics alone for long periods. After some months I feel not supercompensating anymore. Second that, bodyweight exercise are difficult to balance in intensity.

Again, fitness/strength/athletic ability is task-dependent. Athletes will have abilities highly-dependent upon their sport. Arbitrary standards or sets of numbers really mean very little. Bob Burnquist probably cannot hit any of those numbers, yet he's one of the greatest athletes in his sport, just to use an example.

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Guest Ido Portal
I think that if you want to qualify as intermediate athlete of ANY sport you should be able to perform these:

Press 1,25xBW

Bench 1,50xBW

Squat ATG 2,00xBW

Deadlift 2,25xBW

Don't be focused on the lower body hypertrophy. 2x squat is not going to make your legs explode.

After this basic strength is obtained (from weights or bw training alone) the next step is to proceed on training the movement of your sport. In case of gymnastics, maximum and dynamic strength (coach Sommer literature :D )

I personally can't train gymnastics alone for long periods. After some months I feel not supercompensating anymore. Second that, bodyweight exercise are difficult to balance in intensity.

This is YOUR opinion, but maybe you should consider this before putting out statements like this:

1. No one in the scientific literature in the last 60 years was able to come up with exact figures for the essential lifts. And what are the essential lifts? there is no such a thing. The closest was the russian try to investigate into the various ratios between various lifts in olympic lifters, and even that is still debated heavily. There is no such thing as a base. A base can only be defined under specific circumstances like the type of sport, type of athlete, gender, age, etc, etc, etc... and even then, I am not sure of the value of it.

2. I can bring numerous examples of GOLD MEDAL OLYMPIC ATHLETES, not 'intermidiate athlese' as you say, who dont even come close to your numbers. (I can also bring examples from gymnastics and also from gymnasts who performed a triple back flip on a gymnastics floor much less jumpy than nowdays for example)

3. Your legs wont explode from doing less than double bodyweight squat? Very few bodybuilders can do that and have huge legs. That is bullshit. Actualy, I will put more faith in this phrase:

'If you want big legs, first make sure you squat double bodyweight' and not vice versa.

I will not address the dificulty to 'balance intensity' in gymnastics training as I am unfamiliar with this term.

Ido.

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Joshua Naterman
I think that if you want to qualify as intermediate athlete of ANY sport you should be able to perform these:

Press 1,25xBW

Bench 1,50xBW

Squat ATG 2,00xBW

Deadlift 2,25xBW

Don't be focused on the lower body hypertrophy. 2x squat is not going to make your legs explode.

After this basic strength is obtained (from weights or bw training alone) the next step is to proceed on training the movement of your sport. In case of gymnastics, maximum and dynamic strength (coach Sommer literature :D )

I personally can't train gymnastics alone for long periods. After some months I feel not supercompensating anymore. Second that, bodyweight exercise are difficult to balance in intensity.

FIrst off, those are definitely advanced numbers, if you want to be super ambitious and even put a category on them. I am, of course, assuming these are full range of motion with no wraps or other support equipment besides a belt, if you really feel like you need one.

Second, while everyone here knows by now that I think weight lifting is really important, it is absolutely ridiculous to try and judge an athlete by his or her lifts alone unless the athlete's sport is one of the weightlifting disciplines. Those are perhaps good numbers to determine whether someone has an advanced level of balanced maximal strength (assuming you intend to say that the lifter in question is required to perform ALL of these lifts at the specified levels) but those numbers do not show functional ability at all. They are merely the indications of a strong foundation from which a strong athlete could be built.

Some of those lifts you describe simply might require hypertrophy that could actually disadvantage an athlete in his or her sport, for example swimming or gymnastics.

While those numbers are certainly not the upper limit for most drug free people and are certainly surpassed by many powerlifters, in terms of potential development, but any one person who can accomplish ALL of those lifts is in fact an advanced lifter. In fact, I'd go so far as to say you are approaching this from something of a powerlifter's perspective, since you have shown nothing regarding abdominal strength tests, any type of upper body pulling whatsoever, grip, etc. Thus, even if these numbers somehow were a legitimate benchmark, what you have laid out would not even be close to being a complete benchmark for total athletic ability. Then there is balance, agility, etc, etc. Athletes (other than competitive lifters) must show a lot more than strength under a bar.

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JoeS
I think that if you want to qualify as intermediate athlete of ANY sport you should be able to perform these:

Press 1,25xBW

Bench 1,50xBW

Squat ATG 2,00xBW

Deadlift 2,25xBW

Don't be focused on the lower body hypertrophy. 2x squat is not going to make your legs explode.

After this basic strength is obtained (from weights or bw training alone) the next step is to proceed on training the movement of your sport. In case of gymnastics, maximum and dynamic strength (coach Sommer literature :D )

I personally can't train gymnastics alone for long periods. After some months I feel not supercompensating anymore. Second that, bodyweight exercise are difficult to balance in intensity.

These numbers might be necessary for power sports like rugby or wrestling, but no way can the average athlete in other sports match those numbers. I'm sure Roger Federer can't even do half that. Can it give you an advantage to be that strong? Probably, but its not necessary. Skill in your specific sport is MUCH more important.

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Joshua Naterman

The strength, given high levels of development in skill and speed, can certainly be what pushes an athlete ahead of the rest in his or her field, but even in "power sports" strength itself is less important than explosive capability. A wrestler doesn't need to be able to squat or deadlift his opponent, he needs to be able to powerclean his opponent. Felipe chose the least athletically relevant lifts, besides what I am assuming is a shoulder press when he says "press," as his criteria for judgement. Those criteria do not evaluate real-world athletic ability at all.

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griffdrc
A wrestler doesn't need to be able to squat or deadlift his opponent, he needs to be able to powerclean his opponent.

no... this is not true... a wrestler needs the technique to take their opponent down...

i think people are missing the boat... increases in strength don't (necessarily) transfer to increase sport performance... i've seen study after study try to link strength training to increased athletic performance... i have yet to see a study conclusively show increased strength leads to increased sport performance...

technique is the most important component to sport... it is skill specific

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Blairbob

An athlete who can overhead press 1.25BW can probably bench press better than 1.5BW.

A BW OHP is damn good, but if you're gonna OHP 1.25xBW, then they should be bench pressing 1.75xBW or 2x.

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Felipe

Oh, I've started an interesting debating about weight standards, good.

Again, fitness/strength/athletic ability is task-dependent. Athletes will have abilities highly-dependent upon their sport. Arbitrary standards or sets of numbers really mean very little. Bob Burnquist probably cannot hit any of those numbers, yet he's one of the greatest athletes in his sport, just to use an example.

Yes, they're quite arbitrary and yes Bob Burnquist is an amazing athlete. But how would you evaluate an athlete of any sport with weights?

1-2) It's all my very personal opinion, maturating from studying Rippetoe and Kurz literature, plus reading sites like Stronglifts, Rosstraining, Crossfit.

But still a large number of sports (gymnastics included) require lots of strength. In fact only aerobic, bodyweight ruled and precision sports don't need so much of it:

energy_systems_sports.jpg

3) Oh well, few bodybuilders work their legs in the right way and it's very likely we didn't see so many perform this feat of strength.

Why don't you simply watch the very massive legs of chinese national team gymnasts, who I remember are required to do 2xBW squat.

ChineseMen08TeamCliveBrunskillGETTY82265585.jpg

Or Mingyong 2,6x bench? Or Coach Sommer's pupil 3xBW dead? Or Coach Sakamoto hundreds of bw hspu (which are basically shoulder presses)?

Are they superior or inferior athletes?

-I've used balance as an incorrect verb, sorry for my poor english. I was trying to write how much difficult it is for me to adjust the intensity of some exercises.

1) They are not so advanced. As even you wrote, and can see from this site http://records.powerlifting.org/world/? ... =M&age=sen they are not even half the record. Now I'm not saying that there is a right, proportional ammount of weight in exercise to lift to the be a professional athlete, but they can be assumed like good references. They can be obtained in 2 years or even less if you are already trained.

2) I never wrote that they are the only parameter to judge an athete: aerobic, flexibility, coordination, speed, power, technical abilities are all very specific and the exercises I wrote about were intended like the ones a very strong athlete can perform with weight (without technical problems like the ones of a clean) since the discussion was about BW vs W.

Your're totally right that, depending on the sport, training strength would be a waste of time or even diametral to your goals, but in most of it strength matters.

BTW

abdominal and grip strength are both tested in the deadlift (if you can't use the first or latter you can't perform even a x2 deadlift); I mean all of it for one athlete; press is shoulder press; they are only for pure strenght evaluation.

Yes that's true, the fact is OHP is so better than BP, that one should put much intensity on the first instead of the latter.

I'm sure that one thing is differently distribuited in all people and not covered but my speculations: the strength/weight ratio. For me (64kg) these goals are relatively easy, and I undestand that for a 100kg person it can be harder to reach them.

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Joshua Naterman
A wrestler doesn't need to be able to squat or deadlift his opponent, he needs to be able to powerclean his opponent.

no... this is not true... a wrestler needs the technique to take their opponent down...

i think people are missing the boat... increases in strength don't (necessarily) transfer to increase sport performance... i've seen study after study try to link strength training to increased athletic performance... i have yet to see a study conclusively show increased strength leads to increased sport performance...

technique is the most important component to sport... it is skill specific

I totally agree Griff, I'm just saying that in terms of the actual lift that most approximates the type of strength expression a wrestler exhibits, the olympic lifts are much closer than the squat or deadlift, as is the case for many athletes.

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Joshua Naterman

Felipe:

You are approaching the (now) debate from a lifter's viewpoint. In order to get your numbers anywhere near as high as the powerlifting records you need to put in so much specific work with so little outside work that you end up hamstringing yourself, so to speak. If an athlete in most sports were to try to specifically attain those numbers, they would be unable to play the sports effectively. One of the few exceptions is American football, where most plays take less than 20 seconds, with players constantly entering and leaving the field, giving effective rest time, leaving that one sport as one of the few that can truly devote that much of their focus to the lifting due to the nature of the sport in its modern incarnation. When my father played in the 50's, there was no offense or defense team, everyone played both ways. The only thing that changed when there was a turnover was who had the ball. In THAT sport, those lifting goals would be counter-productive to the athletes. Even in football, where I am pretty sure we can agree you will find the athletes with the most ability in the weight room, you will be hard pressed to find an athlete that can meet the goals you have set forth.

The adaptations caused by the weight training would cause a muscle fiber distribution that is unfavorable to most sports. At least with current training modalities. I will be honest. I do think that it is possible to have nearly those levels of strength, at LEAST, and still not have to worry about unfavorable adaptations. But to reach beyond them, or even quite TO them in some cases, is simply not going to work for the athlete. So to call them intermediate for anyone but a powerlifter is both unreasonable and heavily biased. Those ARE absolutely intermediate numbers for a powerlifter.

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shiftedShapes
If you want some serious competitive skills you would defenitly gained with free weights and we are not talking about ordinary croses and planches...

And if you don't want weak links....

I agree. There is no way that anyone is strong enough to train exercises that hit the full range of motion with just bodyweight exercises. This is especially true for those of us who are not quite as strong.

Ido would you recommend that people do not train overhead flyes until they are strong enough to do inverted cross pulls? Or rear lateral raises until they can do lever to victorian pulls (oh that's right that has never been done).

I think working just bodyweight exercises will lead to muscular imbalances as many of the smaller muscle groups cannot be targeted properly. I would guess that this makes injuries more likely, and also compromises training progress. More importantly to me it is philosophically repugnant to have biased development. I would preffer to achieve what you would call uniform self-dominance.

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Neal Winkler
If you want some serious competitive skills you would defenitly gained with free weights and we are not talking about ordinary croses and planches...

And if you don't want weak links....

I agree. There is no way that anyone is strong enough to train exercises that hit the full range of motion with just bodyweight exercises. This is especially true for those of us who are not quite as strong.

Ido would you recommend that people do not train overhead flyes until they are strong enough to do inverted cross pulls? Or rear lateral raises until they can do lever to victorian pulls (oh that's right that has never been done).

I think working just bodyweight exercises will lead to muscular imbalances as many of the smaller muscle groups cannot be targeted properly. I would guess that this makes injuries more likely, and also compromises training progress. More importantly to me it is philosophically repugnant to have biased development. I would preffer to achieve what you would call uniform self-dominance.

Ido has stated before that weights for helping weak links is fine. But his point with the thread is that as gymnastics has no peer as the main stimulus for upper body training.

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Gregor

And so if pecs muscle is staying behind, then doing a bench press is not improving a weakest link???? :mrgreen:

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Guest Ido Portal
And so if pecs muscle is staying behind, then doing a bench press is not improving a weakest link???? :mrgreen:

Gregor, for solving a weak link in the pecs I think a bench press is a poor choice of a solution. It is a multi joint movement and the pecs are not even going through the whole possible stretch to contraction ROM. If one truly has a weak link in the chest area, first you should realy get a professional evaluation of your situation, it can be a serratus weakness for example hiding as a pec weakness, or a pec minor issue and so on. To perform weak link correction or in a better term structural balance one should do more than use this poor aproach: 'I feel my chest is weak - bench press works the chest - hence - I should bench press'.

Ido has stated before that weights for helping weak links is fine. But his point with the thread is that as gymnastics has no peer as the main stimulus for upper body training.

Correct.

Ido would you recommend that people do not train overhead flyes until they are strong enough to do inverted cross pulls? Or rear lateral raises until they can do lever to victorian pulls (oh that's right that has never been done).

Where did you see me say that? I am sorry, the fact that you are unable to create an optimal and balanced program with body weight strength and conditioning does not mean it cannot be done. Educate yourself on the subject. No body says you need a 1:1 ratio between two antagonistic movements, actualy, it is usualy quite impossible and represents for me simplistic thinking.

There is no way that anyone is strong enough to train exercises that hit the full range of motion with just bodyweight exercises.

Another absurd claim. Again, if you dont know how to, that does not mean it cant be done. Anything in bodyweight strength and conditioning is scalable and can be brought to lower levels of intensity. Nobody says you have to use your whole bodyweight in each exercise selection you make, a fraction of it is enough in some cases.

But how would you evaluate an athlete of any sport with weights?

You dont.

Why don't you simply watch the very massive legs of chinese national team gymnasts, who I remember are required to do 2xBW squat.

First I am quite unsure this is a real requirement in the chinese team. I have heard differently from local coaches in Israel. Second, why do you take example on the effect of squatting from gymnasts who are weighing 50-60 kg and *may* have performed very few squats in their lives, if at all? Let us go to the average joe and people who specilize on squatting.

Does anyone debate the fact that a 80 Kg avarage joe in the age of 25 who will take his ATG (as you prescribed) to 160 Kg will not induce serious hypertrophy in his legs??

Or Mingyong 2,6x bench? Or sommer's pupil 3xBW dead? Or coach sakamoto hundreds of bw hspu (which are basically shoulder presses)?

Are they superior or inferior athletes?

I didnt say otherwise or made a claim in this matter, (that strength doesnt help in sports... ridicolous claim you are accusing me of making..) I was commenting on the uselessness of your 'standarts'. Of course strong athletes in all sports do exist, nobody said otherwise.

I will put this out there to sum up:

Before you make claims, direct people and post threads with exact numbers and a 'bullet proof' methodolegy on how to get 'there', be humble. Say you dont know. Because nobody knows. Direct towards the literature, back up with your own personal experience and always make sure the other side understands - nobody holds the gospel truth.

The problem is that most of the 'helping readers' on this forum are also comming from the same background - other 'helpers' and websites with claims of the gospel truth from here and to the roof.

You will notice a lot of the true professionals will give you a direction and a hand in how you should educate yourself and start to research the matter or even experiment, but will not give you any magic pills.

That is my two sheqels,

Ido.

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