Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Training - Squats

Ass and hip machine - 2 sets of 50 with the stack
Calf Press - 1 x 20 with the stack

Squats - no belt/no wraps
135 x 10
225 x 5
315 x 5
405 x 5
455 x 3
500 x 4 popped left adductor on 5th rep.

Notes - Weights felt super light.  I had at least 8 reps in me on the 500.  Maybe 10.  Went down on the 5th rep and my left adductor popped and I just dumped it.  This is one of those times that just leaves you baffled.  I felt really good, the weights felt light, fully hydrated, etc.  Nothing to explain this one except that something explainable just went wrong.  I have no idea how bad it really is.  I will know tomorrow morning.  This has not been a good year for me in terms of injuries.

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff

Was supposed to squat last night but was dog ass tired.  So I will push it off to tonight.  This feels smart right now.

Well I was not interested in the NFL season as it opened but with both the Saints and Chiefs in the playoffs, I'm pretty excited overall.

Just from a discussion standpoint on strength......

  • 400 - 300 - 500 for squat, bench, dead is a solid level of strength
  • 500 - 400 - 600 is good
  • 600 - 450 - 650 is really good
  • 700 - 500 - 700 is elite to me regardless of how much you weigh
Somehow over the past few months my insomnia has pretty much disappeared.  I can crawl in the bed at night and pass right out without much thought.  For a guy who has had insomnia his whole life, this has been a very strange thing.  I'm not complaining, just saying it's strange.

I used to think that arm work was useless.  I am rethinking that with my elbow issues.  I now think that doing arm work and forearm work is probably a great idea in terms of injury prevention.  I don't think you have to go super heavy however.  Guys doing 90 pound "curls" still make me laugh.  Lots of guys with big pipes go light and actually work the muscle on both tricep and bicep moves.  

Man I feel like crap not being able to condition because of this plantar fascitis.  

Football on a Tuesday night.  WeIrT!  

Guys remember how bad it was dealing with your GF's dad?  Well chics deal with the same shit out of our moms.  It's true.  

It kinda feels good to drop the meet mentality right now, and focus on reps again rather than singles.  I feel like breaking some rep PR's is going to push my singles up when I go back to em.  

Someone asked me about how I transitioned from DC training into powerlifting training using similar methods and split.....

Lifting 3X per week it was like so........

Day 1 - Squat/Deadlift 
Squat - 5/4/3/2/1, 1x20
Deadlift variation - stiff legs or rack deads - 1x10
Hamstring movement - 1x20-30 r/p

Day 2 - Bench
Bench - 5/4/3/2/1, 1x10
Db Bench Press - 1x20-30 r/p
Chins - 1xmax reps r/p

Day 3 - Squat/Deadlift
Front Squat - 1x5 (top set)
Deadlift - 5/4/3/2/1, 1x3 back off
Shrugs - 1x20-30 r/p

Day 4 - Press
Standing Press - 5/4/3/2/1, 1x10
Dips or Hammer Dips - 1x20-30 r/p
T-Bars or Db Rows - 1x20-30 r/p

This split is still a GREAT split.  Basic and to the point.

There is no one on the road in the morning right now.  Every has taken vacation with Christmas and New Years.  I love it.  There is nothing I hate more than morning and afternoon rush hour traffic.

I am thinking about getting some t-shirts made to sell off of here.

Someone asked me once about what you would need to weigh to hit all of the weights/reps for "What Constitutes Strong".  I am pretty sure now it's 240-250.  The chins are going to make the super HW type guys lose weight for it, however for the squats and bench you're going to need to be carrying enough mass to make those lifts happen.  I am also not going to count sumo deadlifting personally.  I think it's just an abomination of a lift.  Sorry sumo guys.  I've also just seen too many youtube vids of some 5'6" guy with long arms strapping up (gay) and pulling 500 for a 2 inch ROM for 100 reps while he has a 300 bench and 400 squat or some shit like that.  Conventional with no straps.  That's deadlifting.

Hot babe of the week.  Marzia Prince.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Training - Press

Incline Press - 135 x 20, 225 x 5 sets of 10

Chins - body x 5 sets of 5, +25 x 3 sets of 5, body x 10

Curls and Band Triceps

Notes - Just wanted to get some light work in today.  Elbow felt fine.  Didn't push it at all.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone!

It's only Christmas eve however I wanted to wish everyone a merry Christmas.  Everyone please be safe on the roads, tell those you love how much you do, and smile.  It doesn't sound like much but practice smiling as you walk into a room and notice the way people treat you when you do.  Remember, this time of year there is as much depression as joy, so try to crush as much of the depression as you can by simply smiling at others.  Doesn't sound like much, but just try it.

God bless everyone and here is to an awesome 2011.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Training - Conditioning

Tonight - 25 40 yard sprints @ 80%

Felt great.  Got some plantar fascitis in my right foot but have been using the electrostim at night on it and it feels fine.  When I run I get some pain afterwards but then run the stim on it again, and no problems.

Striking the iron...

"80% of the workouts you have are just the run of the mill kind.  10% are awesome, and 10% are going to suck ass."

I read this once, and I think it's one of the truest things I've ever read about training in general.  The longer you spend under the bar the more you will realize how true this saying is.  Most of your training life will be spent just getting the work in.  Every so often, you will have an unreal shitty day, and then every so often you will have an unreal awesome day.

The shitty days are hard to cope with mentally, however most of those can be explained away by other mitigating circumstances.

  • Lack of sleep
  • Poor nutrition
  • Stress of life
  • Women
All of these can be factors in wrecking your training.  Generally these session tend to reek havoc on our psyche and bother us for a while.  This is normal.  What you also need to get through your head is that having a down session is perfectly normal too.  It's simply part of the ebb and flow of the life cycle of training.  And sometimes everything is dialed in, and you still have a shit session.  It happens.  No biggie.

On the other side of the coin is those days where you feel supremely awesome.  Stronger than ever.  Your joints feel good, the groove feels good, they aren't playing Lady GaGa on the radio, and everything is dialed in.  

I call these STI days (striking the iron).  Not to be confused with STD days, which suck.

In other words, strike the iron when it is hot.  When everything is dialed in, make something happen with it.  

False Engineering -

As lifters, we should be doing everything in our power to give ourself the best chance at succeeding.  Eating properly, resting, stretching, hydration, etc.  

However I don't think you can set yourself up for STI days.  Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason when it will occur. 

I've gone to bed early in preparation for a big squat or pull day, have a great breakfast then go train and feel like complete shit.  I've had days where I got to bed late, woke up early, felt tired as hell, no appetite, then get to the gym and tear the walls down with PR's.  

Let these days come to you naturally.  I fully believe it's a natural part of the training cycle and training life.  I also think it's a signal that the more often you are having these the more dialed in you are with your recovery to lifting balance.  

STI options (this has nothing to do with Subaru) -

When an STI is upon you, there are about three options you can choose from.  

  • Go for a rep PR
  • Do lots of volume
  • Go for a rep PR AND do lots of volume
I personally like option 3 there.  Go for your rep PR, then reduce weight and do volume until your limbs fall off.  This is for the main lift only.  I think wasting an STI day on shit that doesn't matter is like flushing a $100 bill you found down the toilet.  Senseless.  

If you ever read any of the writings from Arnold you might recall the story where he and buddy took weights into the woods and squatted for hours on end.  This isn't a bad idea on an STI day.  Squatting tends to take care of itself.  You could throw in some pause squats at the end.  

Grab some friends and make them squat with you.  No woods required.

For deadlifts you could do back off sets for sets of 3-5, then do some block deads working that weak ROM around mid-shin.  

For bench, vary your grip spacing and just bench a ton.  

Point is, use these days to hammer the main lifts.  This is also why I have usually narrowed down training to about two lifts per session.  If I am having an STI day, I can just hammer the shit out of those two staple lifts, and be good with it.  I don't have 15 more exercises to do that don't fucking matter in the grand scheme of things.

The pendulum swing...

There is a downside to STI days.  I mean besides the fact that they don't happen often enough.  

The usual downside is that they are usually followed up not too long afterwards, by a cycle of normal-bad and bad sessions.  This is common as well.  For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  

This saying applies here as well.  You may even be able to string together quite a few STI workouts at some point, but the fall off the cliff will come.  It's inevitable.  

What I recommend to avoid this as much as possible is to take an extra couple of days off after an STI session.  You'll probably feel like doing so anyway because of the soreness.  Then just get the reps in for the next few workouts, unless you feel like the iron is hot when you go back in.  Just use some calibration on how you are feeling, and go from there.  But be aware that for me, at least, it goes like this...

STI workout
average workout
shitty workout
shitty workout
WTF is going?  

So for your next session, be aware that it could just be average, and in that case don't create a bigger recovery rut by trying to go overboard with a high level of perceived intensity.  Get your reps in, break a sweat, feel good, and get out.  

Also remember that the pendulum swing for the incredibly shitty workouts is generally that a string of good workouts as usually soon to follow, granted that you are paying attention to recovery and other things.  
Take it in stride -

With anything take the good and bad with stride.  Don't feel too damn good about yourself on the STI days because you're not THAT good day in and day out, just like you're not THAT bad on the shit days.  Don't get too high or too low about these things and just stay the course.  The longer I lift the more I think that stringing together more of those "solid but unspectacular" days are the real key.  Those days are called "consistency" and they are far more valuable than random STI and shit days.

Think of it as building a wall with mortar and cinder blocks.  Let's say you need to average 100 blocks stacked a day in order to get this wall built by a certain time.  You generally hit the 100, but some days you hit 129, 130, 135.  Some days you get 86, 88, 79.  Those days balance each other out.  The real key is hitting that 100 as often as possible with fewer of the 86, 88, and 79 days mixed in.  

So take advantage of the hot iron and get after it when the time is right.  However adjust your training slightly downward afterwards if need be and get back to hitting those 100 bricks a day without the fanfare.  Be smart and be consistent.  

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Weekly Q & A

Leave a name and a question bitches!!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Elbow update

So I went and saw my orthopedic today.  He's a smart guy and I trust him.  He helped me get over the constant pec minor pain I had for years, which brought my bench back up consistently over 400.

My elbow is neither tennis nor golfers elbow.  He said the signs are troubling and that because the pain had increased before my bicep rupture he thinks they are related (I believe I wrote about that at the time).

He also said that because elbow extension causes the most severe pain, that I could be sitting on top of a triceps rupture waiting to happen.  I believe that is probably the case.

Since my pain is deep inside the elbow, we didn't do a cort shot today.  He gave me a script for a steroid and an ant inflammatory.  I will run these for the next few weeks and not bench or press heavy to see if the pain subsides.  I believe that it will.  However once again, I will probably have to push my meet out to March.  It's not worth another surgery to me to compete.  It's just not.  I will be smart about this to avoid more injuries and let this thing heal up properly.  Two torn calves, a torn adductor, two torn biceps, and a minor pec tear are enough.  I want to try and make it through 2011 surgery free.

I will keep updates on how things go over the next few weeks.  I will still train my squat and pull, and do a lot of shoulder, trap, and arm work with whatever doesn't cause pain.

Movie - The Town

I want to say thanks for those that recommended the movie The Town.

Super awesome.  Loved it.

Training - Deadlift

Weight - 244

Light Squats - 135,225,315 all 1 set of 5

Deadlifts -
225 x 3
315 x 3
425 x 5
475 x 3
535 x 5

Shrugs - 315 x 25,25,25

Notes - Feeling just kinda "meh" tonight.  Was wanting 535x8 but don't think it was in the cards so I just cut it out at 5.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Training - Bench

Close Grip Bench -
135 x 12
225 x 5
295 x 5
335 x 3
370 x 1
No down sets.  Elbow is killing me.

Pipes and Upright Rows - 8 sets for each

Notes - Getting my cortisone shot Tuesday.  Hoping that will let me train pain free for a while in prep for this meet.  It's frustrating because I was hitting 335x10 a few weeks ago, and the weight still feels light in my hands however it's so painful to press I doubt I could do more than 6 or 7 right now.

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff

Wendler preaches gospel

I've seen guys talking about doing interval training in the morning before they eat.  This is great.....if you want to cannibalize the shit out of yourself.  Sprinting and intervals aren't a lot different than lifting.  So do em after you've had a few meals in.  Not only that but you'll feel better.  

I have talked to two different competitive bodybuilders about doing cardio in the morning vs night and both told me they couldn't tell a damn bit of difference in terms of the condition they got in.  It's still all about calories in vs out.  It's better to get the extra rest than get up early and still be tired.  Get some meals in, get more sleep in, do the conditioning and shit later in the day.  

I don't know which is worse, not being able to get out and do my conditioning as much as I want because winter is here, or the way people drive in the winter, even when there is no snow or ice on the roads.  The cold itself cannot force you off the road.  

2010 was not a good year for me on a lot of personal and professional levels.  But already I feel like there is a turn around going on and I hope it continues.  Sometimes you have to weather the shit storm in order to appreciate everything else around you.  The problem is, because you have no clue when the shitstorm is going to end, it's hard to keep a positive attitude.  For example when you don't get that promotion you have been working your ass off for, just remember that it may not mean you are never going to get it.  It just may mean that your boss is testing how you will react to not getting it.  Stay professional and put your nose back down and get to it.  This has never hurt anyone.  Acting like a first rate ass clown has and always will though.  Trust me.  I have learned that first hand.  

I think in another month or so I might be ready for a new dog.  My birfday is in late January.  Maybe then.  I don't know yet.  We'll see bro.

For the love of God, I have to write this every few months.  Be with someone who WANTS to be with you.  I have had a couple of close friends the last few weeks confide in me that they have been miserable for a long while with their significant other.  Look, exhaust your resources but at some point you have to look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are with someone who wants to be with you and you are both wanting to meet each others needs.  If not, move on.  Yes it sounds simple, because in a lot of ways it is.  Don't waste decades of the only life you get trying to make shit work that is headed to hell in a handbasket.  Just let it go.  

The training shit I read about now, wow.  Some of it just....I don't know anymore.  I was watching a video the other day of the guys that train Troy Polamalu out in California.  It's Marv Marinnovich and his training lab out there that he trains with.  Anyway, if it doesn't sound familiar, it's the same group that trained bust Adam Archuleta and made him a first round pick based on his 40 time and vertical essentially.  Nevermind the guy sucked ass as a football player.  In the video one of the trainer talks about how all the strongest weight lifters they had come through there sucked at football and were injured all the time.  And that they didn't have their guys like heavy weights.....


So lemme see, weren't good football players and were injured all the time.  Oh you mean kinda like ADAM ARCHULETA you douche bag?  Troy Polamalu hasn't exactly been some kind of NFL ironman either.  8 seasons he's been playing now and he's only played a full season 4 times.  He could sit out the rest of the season starting this Sunday.  So what's that again?  Your bullshit retarded way of training makes you an awesome athlete and less injury prone?  BULL SHIT.  This is the kind of thing that some idiot watches then runs around telling everyone how lifting weights makes you a poor athlete or injury prone.  Reggie White lifting weights like a mad man and is the greatest defensive lineman of all time.  Jerry Rice lived in the gym.  So do lots of guys.  Tony Mandarich was an injured bust but Bill Romanowski, I don't know if he ever missed any time.  There really is no rhyme or reason why some guys can play forever and never get injured, and some guys are made of glass.  Guys trying to sell snake oil should be treated like witch doctors and avoided.  No one has any training program out there that will magically make you a better athlete.  A lot of hard work in the weight room and practicing your craft is a tried and true formula.  Everything else has too many variables you can't account for.

I'll say it again.  If you haven't been making a lot of progress lately and need a change, try two days a week with 2-3 days of conditioning of some kind.  I managed to keep training through the flu/stomach virus with proper programming on the 5/3/1 template.  

I still haven't seen inception..............I think I'm the only person I know that hasn't.  

Go out of your way to be nice to someone today.  I mean, go out of your way.  Even though it's the holiday season a lot of people are down.  Suicide rates are highest this time of year and a lot of people are down in the shitter.  Try not to be so concerned about your own wants and wishes and do something nice for a total stranger.  A free pay-it-forward if you will.  



Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lessons Learned Part II - Comfort is your enemy

I had a conversation a while back with a guy I have helped with training quite a bit over the years.  He expressed to me his frustration with his lack of strength increases in the past few years.

"I don't know why my strength hasn't moved.  I can't even get back to where I was before, like two years ago."

"Maybe you're at your ceiling for strength right now because of your size?"

"Well I don't want to get fat."

"You don't have to get fat, but you will have to add SOME fat in order to get bigger.  Getting bigger requires a calorie surplus."

"Ok then tell me what to do."

I proceeded to iron out a plan I knew would work.  He fought me every step of the way.

"I want to do the powerlifts too."

"No.  Take a break from them for a while.  We're building mass.  We can use similar movements to do that."

"I don't want to eat the way you describe.  I don't feel good eating like that."

"No one feels good eating like that.  But it's part of the process."

"Well I'm just going to add a lot of extra olive oil instead of doing that."

"Well that won't work.  There is a reason why mass gaining diets do better with more carbs."

"Well I know what works for me."

"Which is why your lifts haven't moved in over two years and you're still the same size?"

Eventually, he relented (sort of) and said he would do what I outlined for him.  However he sent me an update this week telling me that he didn't do the training I outlined for him because it wasn't "satisfying" to him.

He wanted to do snatches and squats and didn't want to do high rep leg pressing or some of the rest/pause work I outlined for him.  He didn't like it.  It wasn't comforting.

No shit Sherlock?  Why do you think those are the things I told you to do?




You ask me to help you because what you have done has failed, then when I help, you shit all over what I tell you to do.  Why?  Because I am asking you to move out of your comfort zone.  And the reason you haven't gotten any bigger or stronger in the last two years, is because you've spent too much time in that fucking comfort zone.  So why in the hell don't you think you have progressed?  It's called being lazy.

Some might laugh at the fact that I call a guy that is competing lazy, but it's in the context of being a competitive lifter.  No different than Randy Moss not running his route at full speed.  Just because he's out there, doesn't mean he sometimes isn't lazy.

Just because you are in the gym doesn't mean you aren't being lazy with your training.

So said lifter above will continue to toil about in mediocrity until he wakes up and realizes what he's been doing isn't working, and the shit he doesn't want to do is probably the shit he needs to do for the next 6-12 months.

This mantra can only be used in conjunction with the "why am I doing what I'm doing?" question.  If you are on a wobble board doing split squats you should have a real solid reason for doing that shit, and right now.....I can't think of one.

I should never see you standing on a damn swiss ball squatting.  There is no solid answer for "why am I doing this shit?" in that scenario.

Getting out of mental and physical comfort zones -

So how will you know when it's time to do shit you don't want to do?  


Roam about in your own personal mediocrity until you can't take it anymore.  That's when you will be ready.  

At some point you have to look in the mirror and say "enough is enough, I'll do whatever it takes.  I will eat until I hurt each day.  I will do rest/pause leg presses for 50 reps until I can't walk.  I will do drop sets on dumbbell bench presses until my arms and chest is rubber."

At some point, you are going to have to evaluate why you suck.  You might not be strong enough because you aren't big enough.  And the reason for that is because you don't eat enough.  Every skinny guy I know thinks he eats a ton and usually doesn't eat jackshit.  If I tell them how to eat, they complain like a bitch and never do it most of the time.  Again, this is something out of their comfort zone.

You might not be training hard enough.  Maybe you're one of those volume guys, that thinks everything can be fixed with more sets.  Or maybe you're a low set guy, who hasn't done enough volume.  Maybe you're an "ab" guy.  You don't want to lose your abs because you are too vain right now.  Only you can answer that.

If you're a fat guy and are tired of feeling and looking like shit, start with walking.  Push back from the table and cut out carbs at night.  After a few weeks add some sprints and cut off carbs after lunch.  Take the stairs at work and park in the back of the parking lot when you go to the store.  Eating less is going to be uncomfortable.  STFU and deal with it.

All of these things are related to mental and physical comfort zones in your training.  If your training progress has sucked ass for the past year or past two years, what have you been doing?  And why are you continuing to do it?

Make a List -

Another easy way to get out of your comfort zone is to make a list of the 10 compound exercises you hate to do, and the ones you love to do.

Now spend the next 6 months getting strong as shit on the ones you hate.  You can't include any of the ones you love.  Period.

"But my bench will go down!"

So what?  Are you going to quit training after this?  If so it doesn't matter anyway your bench will go down when you quit too.

You have to be smart about the list too.  You can't include the swiss ball squat that was mentioned above.

It's not always about doing the opposite of what you have been doing, but about doing the things you don't always want to do.  At some point, to make your body go to the next level you will have to ask it to do some things it doesn't want to do.  That means you are going to have to do some things you don't want to do.

Or just keep doing the same thing, and toil about in mediocrity.

Be honest about your fears -

This is really what keeps people in their comfort zone.


It drives everything.  Fear will keep you from doing 20 rep squats.

Fear will keep you from eating until you hurt.  Then doing it again 2-3 hours later.

Fear works hand in hand with comfort.  They are best friends.  Fear is what makes your hands shake when you add that extra 45 to the end of the bar that you've never done before.  Fear is why that guy needs 2 or 3 minutes before he unracks the bar for that top set of squats.  And fear is what makes him rack it early when he knows he had a lot more reps left in him.

So you need to be honest about your fears to overcome them.  If your fear is losing your abs, you already know that.  You want to get bigger and you know that you have to ad some calories to do that.  You also know that you will gain some fat to gain mass.  But the fear of not looking quite as good keeps you in that comfort zone.

Fear of losing strength is what keeps the fat guy from pushing away from the table.  Even though he knows he would die of a fucking heart attack in 7.3 seconds if he took off into a sprint.  But his bench is kicking ass right now, and he doesn't want to mess with that.  So he eats another plate.

These fears keep us dangling in that comfort zone.  I know about these fears because I too have experienced them.  So have most of you.  But you aren't honest about them.  Not face to face with people.  It's these internal fears that keep us from becoming better than we are.  We fear sacrifice because it's easier to tow the line of status quo.

But there is a good fear.  A fear that drives you from that comfort zone faster than a car load of fat chics drives to a Justin Timberlake concert.

It's the fear of failure.

But that fear can't exist without having something to fail at.  And you can, and will still fail, if you don't ask yourself the right questions that I talked about in part I.

"Why am I doing this?"

If you don't have an answer you will keep failing, no matter how much you want to avoid failing.  Having a reason behind doing what you are doing, and why you are doing it are the biggest questions you will ask yourself not only in lifting but in life.

So make em count.

Comfort can kiss my ass.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Training - Squats

Weight - 242
Week of 5's - just get the reps in (thank God)

Hip and Ass Machine - 2 sets of 50
Calf Press - stack x 20 x 20

Squats -
135 x 10
225 x 5
345 x 5
405 x 5
455 x 5
405 x 5

Pause Squats - 345 x 5 5 second pauses

Leg Curls - 3 sets of 10

Notes - Super tired tonight so I was glad it was a "just get the reps in night".  As before however, everything was light and fast so I'm real happy with how conservative I programmed.  This let me train through the flu and some nights of being tired and still hit all my weights and reps.  Next week the intensity gets bumped back up again.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Random Music Post of the Week

Training - Bench

Weight - 244

Close Grip Bench -
135 x 10
225 x 5
255 x 5
295 x 5
335 x 5
295 x 10

T-bars (in corner) -
1 plate, 2 plates, 3 plates, 4 plates, 5 plates, 6 plates all x 10 reps

Notes - Brutally shitty training session.  Just did the reps on bench and a back off set of 10 with 295.  Elbow is still hurting and now pec minor is getting tender again.  It's like I can never catch a break.  Oh well.  I'm just going to chalk this one up to one of those crappy days under the bar.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Training - Deadlift

Weight - 245

Week 5's of 5/3/1
Deads -
135 x 5
225 x 5
315 x 5
365 x 5
425 x 5
475 x 5
425 x 5

Stiff Legs - 365 x 8

Band Pull Aparts - 2 x 20

Notes - A few here.

First off, this was good programming by me.  I spent all day Tuesday and part of the day Wednesday shitting and throwing up with either the flu or a stomach virus.  I was able to walk into the gym tonight and still hit all my reps up and down the week of 5's ladder.

This was HARD yes.  But hard mentally.  I felt tired and fatigued.  However the weights were still easy.  This is pretty much verbatim what Jim said your programming should be.  That you should be able to hit the minimum reps even if you are sick.  I could have done 12 with 475 tonight as the set of 5 was super fast.

So that worked well.  I have a feeling in a couple of weeks when I have to pull 535 for reps it will go really well.

If you notice as I worked back down the ladder I did the last set, 365, as stiff legs.  Why do leg curls when I can go ahead and add a couple of reps to that set and still hit the hams?  Seems like good training economy to me.  On my perceived intensity weeks I will not use this, and only do the top set, after which I will do leg curls.

Every Other Week Squatting and Deadlifting - By JPS

Every Other Week Squatting and Deadlifting 
John Sanchez (a.k.a. Mr. Bigbutt) 

Sanchez’ Rationale for Infrequent Training… 

Do not perform a squat workout on one day and a deadlift workout on another day during the same week. Read this again. It is not a typo. This is the one thing that will save your adrenal glands, regain your manhood, and earn you some semblance of respect on the platform. 

Squat one week and do deads the next. Continue to alternate. Once every 14 days is all most (natural) people need for good gains with either lift. If you're juicing, try staggering your squat and dead workouts every 5 days instead of every 7. This will mean you squat and deadlift only once every 10 days. 

Do not yield to the temptation of throwing in a few "light" squats on your deadlift day. Do deadlifts only! This approach will preserve your knees for many more years to come. Likewise, do not perform extra "pulling" movements on your squat day. Keep your workouts simple and to the point. Eliminate any excess baggage. 
The only assistance I recommend is heavy hamstring work. 

Training only 2 days per week doesn't diminish the quality or frequency of your muscle growth stimulus. You are still hitting all pertinent muscle groups involved in the powerlifts once every seven days. If that seems like too long an interval for you, I suggest going to a once every 5 or 6 day routine. Even once every 4 days would work better than the popular twice every 7 days approach that most people adopt. Most conventional routines will have you squat, bench, and deadlift heavy once per week. With this approach you are working lower body heavy (squat/dead) twice in a 7-day period, although most you will usually only bench heavy and then go lighter the second time around. 

With the twice every 7 day approach that some people use, the most significant shortcoming is impaired progress on the squat and dead due to incomplete muscular recovery. 72-96 hours is not always enough recovery time for lifters, especially non-druggies. Both of these lifts have many prime movers in common, yet a lot of people will give one lift 96 hours of recovery while the other only gets 72. Why not throw an extra day in there and give both lower body movements an equal 96 hours? 

I actually developed this approach years ago when I was competing and quickly realized how much better I performed. I then got even braver and tried going from once every 4 days to once every 5. This approach worked even better for me. Today, I go once every 7 because all of my steroid-dealing cronies are either dead, in jail, or born again naturals. 

Note: Sanchez was a 1980s powerlifter. He deadlifted 775 @ 220 back in 1985 “juiced to the gills” (his own words). He claims to currently be capable of a 700 raw pull “any day of the week” (again, his own words). He is retired and also says he is drug free since 1988. He deadlifts twice a month on alternating Saturdays. 

Sanchez on cycling… 

I train heavy 90% of the time. Lately, that means the top set is a heavy triple, occasionally 4-5 but only with deads. If I get a triple with my target weight, I'll bump it up 20 the next time I DL and go for 2. I'll then stick with the weight until I can get a solid triple. This may take 2-3 workouts. Figure on 26 deadlift workouts per year. If I add 20 pounds every 3 workouts that adds up to at least 160 pounds improvement. Of course, there's no way in hell I'm going to improve like clockwork every 3 workouts to the tune of 20 pounds each time! Hell, I couldn't even do that on the juice! Here’s the reality. Whenever I go stale, I reduce the poundage considerably and cycle back up 20 pounds per workout until I'm once again hitting PR’s. I have improved 100 pounds in a year like this, but I was also gaining weight - A BIG HELP. I wouldn't cycle for a meet while using any pre-conceived time frames or peaking rep-set schemes. When healthy, I'm always within a few workouts of a true max single. 

90% simply means, "training to near max failure every workout.” Whether one does singles, doubles, triples, etc. doesn't matter. My top sets in nearly every workout are gut-busters. This is obviously pretty tough on one’s recovery and helps explain why I keep my workouts short, simple, and infrequent. It also explains why I reduce poundage considerably whenever I go "stale" and need a break from this type of routine. Having trained for over 22 years now, I've got a pretty good sense of my body's limitations. This random approach to one’s training poundage (in contrast to a systematic cycling approach) is purely instinctive, and not really appropriate for inexperienced lifters. Newer lifters would probably be better off cycling poundage in the more traditional style. 

Sanchez’s Workout… 

SATURDAYS: (alternating each week) 

Workout A: 
Leg curls (2 legged) 

Workout B: 
Deadlift (always come to a COMPLETE STOP between reps) 
Leg Curls (1 legged) 

SUNDAYS: (alternating each week) 

Workout A: 
Flat Bench 
T-Bars (wide grip) 
Dumbbell Laterals (1 armed) 
Chins (wide grip) 
DB Presses 
DB Curls 

Workout B: 
Incline Bench 
T-Bars (narrow grip) 
Dumbbell Laterals (2 armed) 
Chins (narrow grip) 
JM Presses 
BB Curls 

Notice the complete absence of supplemental quad work. I have always used a moderate stance squat. In the old days I would do leg extensions but only for looks. I can squat just as well now as I ever did without all that extra shit. 

If I HAD to recommend any single leg exercise for a sumo deadlift, it would be the FRONT SQUAT. Fronts hit my upper back like no other exercise and of course develop the quads much more than regular power squats. In the old days, I would do them right after deads and would work up to 500+. I didn't use them much, however, as I easily overtrain my back. Today, I avoid them completely. 

T-Bar rows are done on one of those machines where your back is supported. I don't recommend anything in terms of auxiliary back work where you are taxing the low back. This would preclude the use of low cable rows, unsupported t-bars, bent over rows, stiff-legged deads, etc. I feel like your erectors get PLENTY of work from plain old squats and deads. Chins are an ideal lat exercise for this very reason. 

I do dumbbell work strictly for the tarp-delt area - just a personal preference. surgs are okay for tarps, but I prefer compound movements. I can hit my tarps and the delts with the laterals. Don't fool yourself into thinking that surgs will help a weak DL lockout. T-bars are better. It's your mid tarps and rhomboids you want stronger for a nice deadlift finish. 

The most important thing to remember when working out is that LESS IS MORE. 

Other Elements of the Workout… 

I forgot to mention some other specifics about my long ago training, some of which may relate strongly to the so-called "HIT" method of powerlifting. 

1. I always pyramided my warm-ups, then hit one, maybe two, top work sets. Never did back-off, cool-down, or pump-up sets. 

2. I always went to total concentric failure on my top sets. Didn't worry about eccentrics, partials, pauses, or any other lifting permutations. 

3. I didn't cycle my lifts by starting light after a meet. I would just pick up where I last left off (sans equipment); with higher reps instead of singles or doubles, but these sets would be max effort to failure. 

4. The farther off the meet, the longer I would continually push my limits. This could go on for several weeks or several months, until I felt burned out or got injured. At this point I would back off somewhat and give myself a few weeks to rest with relatively easy weights. (I've been in this mode now for the past 12 years...) 

5. Over time I did less and less assistance work. Towards the end (1987 – ‘88, I did little more than leg curls and calf work to supplement my deads and squats. Extra upper body stuff included mainly chins, dips, and rows. 

6. In keeping with the short and brief concept that is common to HIT, my workouts rarely used to take more than an hour. Today, it takes me an hour alone just to wipe my ass off between sets (weak sphincters).... 

7. I did resort to doubles and singles as a meet approached, but I favored 5's during the off-season. 

8. Typically, I would gear up maybe a month or two prior to a meet. I used to hate gear. Most of the time, I lifted with just a belt. 

9. My gear was mostly worn out hand-me down junk from James Cash. I had an old Elite suit that I used both to squat and deadlift. I got maybe another 25 lbs. from that for both lifts. The wraps were something 
they used back in the early 80's and gave me around 50 or so on the squat. I used a very early type Inzer shirt in my last couple of meets and got maybe 20 lbs. from it. 

10. Drugs drugs drugs! Eight and a half years of hypertension, elevated LDLs, liver enzymes, and tender kidneys. This is also the main reason why I was so injury-prone. It happens to most druggies eventually, especially if their electrolyte levels get fucked up. Tendons need good electrolyte levels to keep from cramping up and avulsing from bony attachments during max efforts. I am always being facetious when talking about steroids. I wouldn't encourage my worst enemy to take them. They are the stuff of illusions! I used them for 8-1/2 years. The shitty thing about juicing is the "ball and chain" relationship you'll always have with your dealer, plus the constant need to cycle your lifts up and down like a yo-yo when your strength levels change from cleaning out. I not only had to cycle my drugs in the old days, but I had to BUDGET for them as well, and all for about a 10% advantage. In retrospect, it’s definitely not worth it.

Development of the Program… 

Back in the days when my lifts truly mattered (1980 – ‘8 , I figured out that (for me at least) training a lot LESS yielded much MORE in terms of results. Initially, I started out in 1977 as a bodybuilding wannabe and employed a Weideresque "bomb and blitz" routine that would have done Arnold proud, but I hadn't yet discovered the joys of ANABOLICS and quickly became overtrained. 

After meeting James Cash in 1980, I learned how to train like a powerlifter from one of the best and quickly adapted my approach. Cash was not an innovator by any means, but employed a standard overload progression that a lot of guys found useful back in the late 70's and early 80's. My own powerlifting schedule initially employed the common 7 day framework that most lifters still adhere to: squat and deadlift once a week, bench twice a week, and throw in a healthy amount of assistance work for good measure. I was usually in the gym 4-5 days each week. This routine lasted about a year after which I entered my first meet in 1981 at 198 and went mid 1600s. 

I changed my routine after this and experimented with an 8-day, then a 10-day framework around which to schedule my workouts. Ultimately, I settled upon a routine like this: 

Every 5th day I would either squat or deadlift. This meant I only squatted and deadlifted 3 times per month. I did the same with my bench, choosing to alternate the flat bench with incline every 5th day. I didn't change up my assistance work much, but spread it out over the 10-day framework. So now, instead of training in the gym 4-5 days out of 7, I was training 4-5 out of 10. Lots more rest and recuperation = nice gains. 

My next meet was just 5 months after the first and saw another 75 lbs. on my total, including my first 700 squat and deadlift. This was back in 1982 at around 210-lbs. bodyweight. I took a hiatus from serious training for a few years after this due to several injuries but returned to competition in 1985 at my first Texas meet. I squatted 711 (missed 750) and pulled 775 at 217 bodyweight. I went elite in this, my 3rd meet. 

Injuries continued to plague me, as did bomb-outs, in subsequent meets, and my swan song was in 1988, where I finally put together a total at 242 and went elite in that class as well. I also hit a 755 (missed 777) squat and just missed 804 in the dead. Today, at age 43, I am living in a nursing home and can barely walk. Ha ha... 

Sanchez on nutrition… 

Eat 250 grams per day of quality protein. If you can stomach it, try chum salmon (cheaper from the can). Lots of omega-3s and 70+ grams of protein per 15-ounce serving. 

Take one good multivitamin/mineral supplement, lots of vitamin C (work up to several grams), and glucosamine HCL for the cartilage. 

Q: How can one watch their fat composition eating 250 grams of protein a day? 

A: Fat is not the enemy. There are good and bad fats. Fats from saltwater fish are rich in omega-3s and have many positive benefits, including cardiovascular protection due to different prostaglandins, lowering of cholesterol, and protection against the stress of overtraining. To illustrate the power of omega 3 fatty acids, I once switched off my customary diet of daily canned mackerel (full of omega-3 rich fats and protein) for a period of one month. Instead, I ate only albacore solid white tuna in spring water (virtually fat free). In addition, I carefully maintained the other components of my diet, with no other changes. 

Total cholesterol before switching: 125 

Total cholesterol 30 days after switching: 176 

More importantly, HDL to total Cholesterol ratio was up from 2.4 (less than 1/2 risk) to 2.9 (3/4s risk). Though I had reduced my daily fat intake nearly 20 grams per day, look at the difference. 

Sanchez on creatine… 

Actually, I've got nothing against the was working great for me for several weeks. I'd gained over 10 pounds bodyweight with 15 grams per day. I was very pleased with the strength gains I'd experienced, UNTIL the day I avulsed my semimembranosus hamstring with 635. I was not dehydrated at the time. My legs, however, were in full extension and I was essentially stiff-legging the damn weight up with the bar at knee level - big mistake. Had I not been using creatine, the strength of my hamstring contractions would not have exceeded the tensile strength in their tendinous attachments. The semimembranosus tendon would therefore have not avulsed and I would simply have stood there with the bar not moving (like has happened many times before in training when one gets "stuck"), until I decided enough was enough and set the bar down. 

Sanchez on GMs and SLDLs… 

This current fascination among powerlifters with good-mornings and SLDL's is a mystery to me. Of course, Ed Coan's SLDLs with 700 lbs. might have some people convinced its a good supplementary exercise. 

I remember reading how Bruce Randall bulked up to 400 lbs. BW back in the early 60's and was doing good-mornings with 600 lbs. (but could only squat around 750). He was considered something of an oddball; however, especially when you consider that he later reduced down to 195 to win the Mr. America title. (What a waste of 205 lbs. of perfectly good fat...) 

But seriously, I tend not to do ANY low back work aside from REGULAR squatting and deadlifting. Hamstring work is always on one of them pretty leg curl machines. 

Some people may feel that the spinal erectors need tons of supplemental work in order to progress ones squat/dead, but I disagree. As for hamstring stimulation from SLDLs, you'll get plenty from just the regular deads, plus you won't trash your erectors in the process. 

The notion of enhancing a weak start off the floor with SLDLs is probably wishful thinking, too. You'd be better off doing DLs off a block, plus building up your quads, especially with front squats. 

If you're actually experiencing muscle cramps in your low back then maybe creatine is to blame. That shit has the potential to throw off your electrolyte balances. Consider a good cal-mag supplement and/or potassium gluconate tab. 

Sanchez on Weight Gain… 

Gluttony is the last refuge of the defeated. In other words, if you ain't shit at 242, why not try 275 or 308? You CAN'T HELP BUT GET STRONGER! His sacredness PAUL ANDERSON squatted only around 675 @ 275, and a whopping 1200+ @ 390. Extra girth around the middle helps your squat and bench! You're young, FORGET THE CARDIOVASCULAR COMPLICATIONS! 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff

So as most of you know my elbows have been a problem for a while.  Well a few days I got some good bands and went through a whole routine of pushdowns with lots of pronation, overhead triceps with it, and band curls with lots of supination.  I then did upright rows with my hands turned over.  Three days later?  Elbow pain almost completely gone.  I have figured out over the last few weeks that it's just a tendon problem and that it needs to get stretched out.  Then my pain lessens considerably.  The other factor is that I can't bench reps without elbow wraps.  I banged out 315x10 close grip easily last week and could have done 12-15 if not for the pain limiting me.  Which puts me squarely in that 450 close grip range I know I should be in.  I am going to spend a lot of time working the pushdowns with a ton of pronation and the supination on curls to see if I can help it out even more.  I may try to get a video up of what I am doing to see if it helps any of you guys with elbow pain out as well.

I have scaled back my routine a ton and boy do I feel better.  I wrote about this recently but I wanted to bring it up again.  When your training is dialed in from a recovery standpoint you should....

- Feel better after you are done training than when you started.
- Feel energetic most of of the time.
- Feel strong at the majority of the workouts, able to move your weights with good speed.
- Sleep better at night.
- Not dread training.

Obviously the balance here is about intensity (perceived and actual), volume, and frequency.  I feel great now training twice a week again and doing conditioning 2-3 times a week.  This feels optimal to me.  That could change in the future, or not.  Every few years I find myself doing less and less and I keep getting stronger.  A powerlifter known as JPS wrote about this very same thing (more on that in a future post).

Starship Troopers, wow.  I didn't realize what a steaming pile of shit this movie was until I saw it again a few weeks ago.  I hadn't seen it since it came out, and I was in my early 20's.  I remember thinking it wasn't that bad at the time, but ho-boy, now?  That thing is absolute stir fried garbage.  The main guy trying to act like a tough guy was brutally funny.  It's like if Adam Lambert were trying to play a Navy Seal.  I'm just not buying it.  Denise Richards was hot though, there is no denying that but her eyebrows were pretty burly.  Don't ask why I noticed but I have a thing for great eyebrows.  I watched the whole movie BTW.  I couldn't stop laughing at how ridiculous it all was.  So I suppose I was entertained.

It's coming up on Christmas and I want to give a plug to Matt Wilson and his tie shop based out of Tennessee.  Having a couple of quality ties is important in your alpha male wardrobe, I don't care what anyone says.  If you don't believe me ask the ladies.  Being able to dress well, and not like a 17 year old who reads Metal Edge all day, is important.  So get a good tie from Matt.  If you need help ask a pretty lady to help you pick one out.  That's a good pick up line too.  Print the pages out and ask them to pick one out.  After it works you can thank Matt for getting a date if you're savvy enough to pull that off.

Winter is here dammit, and I'm not happy about it.  It won't be long before I don't feel like running in the ice and snow and I will be back to do circuits and/or treadmill sprints for conditioning and I hate that.

I have never published my bucket scale for rating women so here it is in full detail.

Let me explain the bucket scale first and how it came to be.  The 1-10 scale is flawed.  Why?  Because the truth is, if a chic is a 2 or a 4, it doesn't matter.  She's not attractive.  Right?  So why bother?  Second, if a chic is an 8 or 9, she's hot.  Why the need for the differentiation?  So here it is, in full detail......

0 - aka The Death Bucket
This is where the 1-10 scale is also flawed.  The death bucket is a small bucket.  Reserved for only the ugliest of the horrifying.  No amount of alcohol or darkness in the world can overcome a death bucket.  It's called the death bucket because if someone put a gun to your only son and said "mate with that women or your son dies" you would retort with something like "I can have more" or "I will see you in heaven Jr."  You thought it meant you'd rather die than hit it?  Oh no, I'm not going to make it that easy.  Remember, this is a small bucket.  You might only run across a few TRUE death buckets in your lifetime.

1 - 4 - aka The Armageddon Bucket
This is reserved for women you would in fact mate with.....but only to repopulate the Earth after the Apocalypse.  A weak Armageddon bucket would be someone who would be close to death bucket status, while a strong Armageddon bucket would be someone you wouldn't be seen with in public, but wouldn't mind procreating with while no one was looking.  This bucket is decent sized.

5 - 6 - aka The Kansas Bucket
This is probably the largest bucket.  This is reserved for just plain jane.  Like the planes of Kansas.  Just......whatever.

7 - aka The Mall Bucket.
This is where dating based on looks starts.  How do you know if she's cute/hot/pretty?  Ask yourself "would I kiss her in the mall?" where people will see, and judge my standards?  If so, she is at least a Mall Bucket.  This is good.  This is reserved for "yeah she's cute" kind of girls.  You can also have strong and weak malls.  Like if she is just cute enough, she would be a weak mall.  So like your local shitty small town small.  If she's a strong mall, that's Mall of America.  Attitude matters a lot with Mall buckets.  If she's just cute enough, but she has a total bitch attitude, she could in fact drop into the Kansas bucket based on that.  If she's a strong mall and is awesome to be around, she could jump up a bucket.  Which would be......

8 - 9 - aka The $16 Whiskey Bucket
I got this name because when I was in Cali with a couple of buddies, one offered to get the first two rounds.  My other buddy then proceeded to order a whiskey that was $16 for a single.  First off, I never buy a girl a drink, but if I were the type to do so and she wanted a $16 single, she'd have to fall within this bucket to get it.  This is reserved for super hot women.  Top to bottom, everything is top shelf material and quality.

10 - aka The Salome bucket
This bucket is the opposite of the death bucket in terms of looks.  So it too, is very very small.  Only reserved for the hottest women you will ever see.  Generally, like a death bucket, you might only ever see a few of these in your lifetime in person.  It's the kind of women that takes your breath away, that makes your heart beat faster just upon gazing at her.  The kind of women that if she told you to cut the head off a guy so she could dance with it on a platter, you would (you can't already be a sociopath/psychopath either.  It flaws the scale).

11 - aka The Personal Bucket
So this scale goes to 11 (Spinal Tap reference).  There really is no 11, however I give it an 11 because I think the personal bucket is the best bucket ever.  This is reserved for the women you see or know, that you know your friends might not think she is very attractive, however she really makes your meat loaf.  She creams your Twinkie, she floats your boat, and does all of those other cliches to you as well.  I think these are the best because she does something just to you (that you know of, she could be someone else's personal bucket as well).  You know she probably falls in the Kansas Bucket or weak mall (which isn't bad), and could even fall in the Armageddon Bucket if judged by all your buddies.  However you don't care.  You like her for reasons that don't make complete sense to you.