Thursday, April 15, 2010

Random thoughts about training, life, crap, and stuff -

Dumbbells -
If you're going to do a dumbbell movement, for the love of God at least do it FULL RANGE. And by full range I mean FULL RANGE. Don't even cut it an inch short. Almost every guy I see do db bench press or seated db press (especially this one) does some half ass range of motion. The whole point of dumbbells is to work a greater range of motion. One rule to stick with is be able to hit a minimum of 10 reps with whatever dumbbell weight you choose. Too many guys go too heavy with dumbbells then cut the range short because they couldn't leave their ego at the door.

Dexter -

Damn this is a good show. I never watch TV (especially since The Shield ended) but I finally relented and started watching this series and I love it. My only problem is that sometimes after watching it for hours I find my inner voice speaking to me in Dexter's voice, just like on the show. I gotta watch that! If you haven't watched it, do yourself a favor and start. It's about a serial killer who kills criminals as his targets. It's awesome.

This is a good show.

Straps for Elbow Tendinitis? -

I still don't use straps for anything but shrugs but a while back a guy I know and respect told me he was dealing with elbow tendinitis in both elbows, much like I do. He said for a few months he started using straps on every single exercise he did, and it went away. Apparently his theory was that we grip everything really hard on every exercise and this keeps the tendinitis flared up once it sets it. I would like to give his theory a try but I have too much cave man in me to use straps for every exercise. If you have elbow tendinitis and you're smarter than me and have less cave man in you (more than likely) try it out and see if it helps.

The workplace bathroom -

I don't know what kind of craziness goes on in the ladies room, but in the mens baffroom at my work it's like a horror show. One janitor told a story of how one night he came in to clean and he saw someone taking a crap in the stall. He called out that he had to clean but no answer. After looking more closely, he saw that it wasn't a person but shoes with pants on top of them. He opened up the stall door to see something out of a Wes Craven movie. He said it looked like someone exploded in there. Shit covered the walls, the toilet, every-thang. I still laugh thinking about it. I still wonder how they got out of the building........

Oh and let me explain this to some of you dudes. If you gotta go, and someone is in a stall you don't sit down next to him. You put at least a stall between you and him, out of baffroom respect. If you have no choice because it's the only stall left, fine. Otherwise, you wait or go someplace else to avoid this situation.

You wouldn't take the middle stall if you walked into this restroom. Got it?

Press Behind the Neck, Upright Rows, Leg Extensions -

These exercises are not the devil. A few rules should be applied to each one to be performed safely and with effectiveness. With Presses behind the neck you need to start light and stay fairly light until your shoulders are flexible enough. "Enough" means, when the exercise feels good. Before someone screams about how bad they are for your shoulders I have done these safely for 20 years and that is after a twice separated shoulder from football. The fact is, light press behind the neck keeps your shoulders healthy. Everyone raves about how great a job the shoulder dislocate exercise does at keeping/making healthy shoulders. Well the PBN is simply the barbell version of that.

Ted Arcidi did the PBN, so it's safe and not of the devil.

Upright rows are perfectly safe too. Granted, just like any exercise, they have to be done correctly. Just keep the weight under control and the reps should be smooth. Unless you have elbow tendinitis and are trying out the theory above, using straps for upright rows is just plain retarded. Why do I see guys using so much weight on upright rows they need straps? This exercise should not be done so heavy that you need to heave it up. Pull it up under control and feel your traps and delts contract, then lower under control. Good exercise if done right;bad exercise done wrong <- this can be said about every movement you do. Leg Extensions don't wreck knees, especially if you just make a few adjustments. Make sure the lever sets your shins at straight up angle. Your feet should not be behind your knees to start the movement. Move slow to the top then slow on the negative. Remember what you're trying to accomplish here. This isn't supposed to be an Olympic lift so don't treat it like one. Be smart with the shit you're doing.

Jean Claude Van Damme. His name makes me laugh just saying it. So, nuff said.

How is this not funny?

Skull Crushers -

This exercise is the devil. I used to argue with "old guys" to the hilt about this. I did TONS of skull crushers for years and years. My elbows never bothered me...........until one day. Now I can't do them EVER. I honestly believe that years and years of skull crushers destroyed my elbows. Do close grip bench and dips for triceps. Even pushdowns are a better option.

Relationships -

Find a woman who will like you for who you are. Imma use the saying my momma told me after my girlfriend of three years left me for another guy...."honey if the relationship is right, you shouldn't have to work at it all the time." Truer words were never spoken. That girl and I, we fought every day and I was miserable but didn't realize it until I got over her. Then I was glad she left. A couple of years later I met my wife, who I have been with for 15 years now. She liked me for who I was, and that's not easy. Be with someone who likes you, and wants to be with you, and that you want to be with as well (obviously). If you fight all the time, shit isn't going to work. If someone cheats, let em go. If you're going to stay with them, don't bring it up. If you stay with someone who cheated and bring it up all the time, then you are lame and need to have a tall glass of shut-the-hell-up juice. So either leave em, or stay with them but don't bring it up ever again. There is no reason to do so if you decided to stick it out. And getting revenge never works and you just end up screwing yourself somehow. Trust me on this one. This stuff is as simple as lifting but we can't get it right most of the time either.

Squatting -

Quit squatting high. I can't take it. I'd rather watch someone do rock bottom smith machine squats with a 10 on each side than someone do 800 even an inch above parallel. Why? Because that inch is the breakover point in the squat. That's where you lose that leverage advantage and lots of guys avoid that extra inch like the plague. When I hear about guys "reaching for depth" or asking "did I hit depth?" I do a facepalm. Just plant your hamstrings on your calves and you won't have to ask these questions. Don't cut squats high, and stop trying to justify high squats on video when everyone can tell they are high. If you sunk it deep, everyone can tell. So leave no doubt. Thank you.

Second, if you're a raw squatter train your quads for a bigger squat. All of this "posterior chain" (man I hate that term) crap is just that for raw squatters. You don't believe me? Ask Scott Yard. In raw squatting, quads are king. Not hamstrings and glutes. Captain Kirk and Tom Platz and every other legendary "raw" squatter isn't known for their hams and glutes but their quads.

Raw squats build your quads. So build your quads for a bigger raw squat. This is simple.

Music -

I haven't heard anything new I like in so long it's depressing. I like everything too from Slayer to Sade. Look, there's a time for bleeding from the ears and metal and broken axes stuff like that, and there's a time to romance a woman. You can't romance a chic to Cannibal Corpse. If you think you can, you're probably on your way to prison. I played music for 2o+ years. If I hear something and I like it, I like it. I don't care about genre (outside of country which I detest). Any recommendations you may have feel free and I will listen to them and give an opinion.........

Bastardizing templates and routines -

Stop mixing shit together and calling it hybrid routines. This isn't like a Reece's commercial where the dude with some peanut butter bumps into the guy with a chocolate bar and they find out it's two great tastes that taste great together. If you're going to do a WSB template, you can't do doggcrapp with it, or mix 5/3/1 or anything else in and still use the name "westside" in it, because it's not that anymore. I don't even care if what you do works. Mixing principles just means it's something else. It's not a "hybrid" anything, it's just what you concocted. After I ran doggcrapp for a couple of years I decided to use some of the principles that worked well for me into my powerlifting stuff. I hated calling it "doggcrapp for powerlifting" though because Dante didn't write the program or "approve" the program. It was mine. I should have called it Paulscrapp for powerlifting but I wasn't clever enough at the time I suppose. Either way, if you mix two programs and it works, good for you. Everyone needs to be their own scientist. Just stop calling it hybrid routines. Make up your own name. Because once you change the principles of a template or program, you inevitably changed some of the key components that made it a program that had a name associated with it to begin with. Here is a solution. Just call it "you-first-name-bad-ass-routine". Done.

Stacking doggcrapp on top of westside on top of 5/3/1 isn't like this...


Anderson Silva needs to be fed to some heavyweights if he thinks he's that badass. I've heard both sides of it. That Anderson is a punk (which I believe, this is his third fight in a row with this crap) and that Dana White and UFC are to blame for not giving him what he wants. Fine, make him fight heavyweights like Carwin and Lesnar and Mir and Cain V. That will put an end to this crap.

Ask forgiveness before permission...............but only after consistency -

If you think something might work, try it. I have screwed over every training program and template out there at some point playing around with it. Generally I would do things to the letter. If it worked I would milk it. Once it stopped, I would play with it. Look be your own scientist. Just don't stray too far. What I mean by that is, I fully understand after all of these years there are some tried and true concepts about lifting that will not change. Do the basics, add weight or reps at every opportunity, and condition a few times a week. But I see guys asking questions like "would it be ok if I did a super set of this stuff after I do my squats?" My response is always the same. "Why would you do that?" You should be able to answer that question when you write out your routine. WHY are you doing this movement, why this many reps, why this much weight. Then you can experiment, and KNOW whether or not something works for you. After all of these years I have figured out that prepping my nervous system with over-warm ups is the bees knees for me. I get the best of both worlds, fast singles, and my reps feel easy.

A few weeks ago the wife and I were in the gym and we knew we had to go to Sam's that afternoon for our big grocery shopping for the month. That's usually a few hours of shopping, loading stuff up, unpacking it from the car, storing it, etc. It's fairly exhausting. She was supposed to do legs that day but told me "I don't want to feel beat down when we go to Sam's so I'm going to take it easy and do some leg extensions and leg curls and maybe some light leg presses." The next Saturday when she did legs she had an awesome squat workout. "I'm going to do that every week. One light leg workout and then go heavy. I think that really works!"

Music to my ears. She finally stopped trying to be hand held by me and listened to something her body was telling her. And she benefited greatly from it. Instead of asking me if it would be ok to go easy that day, she just did it. Now I'm not saying to try out 14 new things or say that a training philosophy is shit because you have 1 bad workout. I'm saying the opposite. You need to be consistent with ONE THING long enough to know that when you make a small change whether or not it has a positive or negative effect on what you're doing. This is how you become successful at making things work FOR YOU.

The Karate Kid -

You know I'm going to see the new one. If you don't know why, search my blog..............

Dieting and Gaining weight solutions -

If you want an easy solution to gaining weight and dieting here it is. Diet first, and base your diet around 3 meals a day and 2 or 3 shakes. When it's time to gain weight don't change a thing except add in half a gallon of skim milk a day to start. Stay there until you aren't gaining any weight, then go to a full gallon a day. Lactose intolerant? I guess you could use soy but that seems gross. Try my article on gaining mass and the use of PBnJ. If you are allergic to peanut butter AND milk, suicide seems like a good option to me (yes this is a joke, I don't want to be sued like Ozzy and Judas Priest because some skinny kid realizes he'll never look like Branch Warren because he can't eat peanut butter and drink milk).

I don't want to end up like Rob because you were allergic to peanut butter and milk ok?

The NFL Draft -

I'll be watching. Even with my team winning the SB this year football, for some reason, has lost some of it's luster for me these days. I can't explain why or put my finger on it, I just care less about it and more about things that really matter in my life. This seems like a good thing. The more years I get away from having played, the less I care. I suppose that's it.

Deadlift and shoulders -

Your shoulders should be over in front of the bar when you start a deadlift. Not behind it. This was a big "cue" for me in fixing issues with my (crappy but not AS crappy) deadlift. Try this article if you need more (don't pay attention to the fact that crossfit is in the link this is a great article for deadlifters to read).

Comments are welcome...


  1. Love this article....I laughed my head off! :)

  2. This is greatness, dude! Lot of stuff to say, and quite entertaining all the way. Not easy to do.

    BTW, I just started having some tendonitis, and I don't recall it ever being a problem. I don't lift heavy, but since I'm approaching 50, I guess there's something to the aging thing--though I'll fight it the whole f'ing way.

    Your comments about shrugs got my attention, because I can correlate the elbow issues around the time I began doing the shrugs (even though the weight was pretty light). Hmmm...

    Bert (posted as "anonymous," because he's too lazy to go find his google pwd)

  3. PS...believe it or not, what probably caused the biggest problem for the elbows was an extreme amount of leaf raking for a realtor bud trying to get a couple houses ready.

    You'd think something that "light" wouldn't cause such havoc, but it seemed to. So mine isn't the warrior wounds from mega-weight lifts like yourself, which I'd at least be able to take some pride in!


  4. I think people would be amazed at what really causes injuries. The wife had both shoulders hurting at 1 time and we couldn't get it to stop no matter what. Somehow we eventually figured out it was our worn out crappy mattress. We bought a serta memory foam thingee and in a week and a half her shoulders were fine.

  5. New music:

    Lamb of God, Devildriver, Machine Head

    All 3 of these bands are getting better each album (so far).

  6. thanks Justin. I like some stuff from each of those guys. I will check out their newest stuff.

  7. Paul, remember you from the early HG RT days (didn't post much, so you won't me). Good to see you're still around and still going at it hard. Enjoyed this piece, and agree about the NFL thing - means a lot less to me than 'the things that matter' as I get older. But I do use those guys as motivation - the running backs especially. Just absolute studs in my book. A weekly reminder of why I train - will never play like they do, but I sure as hell can work at looking almost as good - big, lean, athletic. Sweet blog, keep it going. Regards, Rob

  8. I do remember a Rob from the HGRT. didn't you go out and train with Chuck Miller and Mike Willis one weekend?

  9. Nope, not the Rob you're thinking of. I'm from Australia, never been to the States. Cheers, Rob