Sunday, October 31, 2010

Vitamin C vs all things that are evil

Since this has been a hot topic in another post...........comment bitches...........

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Training - Squatting

Bodyweight - 245

Hip and Ass Machine - 2 sets
Calf Press - 2 sets of 20

Squats -
135 x 10
225 x 5
315 x 5
405 x 3



High Bar Pause Squats - 425x3

Adductor Machine - 90x15
Abductor Machine - stack x 25

Notes - Did not feel very good this morning.  No energy and very sluggish.  The weights didn't feel heavy but I just didn't have the speed I would like to have had on these.  Just a case of having a bit of an off day energy wise.  I do have a bit of a cold, but I've had good workouts with a cold before, so I'll just chalk it up to a down day.  Still, no grinding and the weight is easy.  A few more weeks and I will have to dig down a little.  But I'm never going to act like I conquered the world before or after a lift.  That's just not me.

I also apologize about the gym music.  I you notice I have headphones on.  I hate modern gyms now with this shit.  They play music that people at the front desk like, not shit you want to listen to to lift weights.  Die in an aids tree grease fire!

The 555x1



Friday, October 29, 2010

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff

I hate these animal people who contradict themselves in these f'n animal documentaries.  

"The shark has evolved over eleventy billion years to be the finest, most precise, perfect killing machine ever....."

37 minutes later after talking about how sharks have eaten people......

".....sometimes the shark mistakes the person as a seal, or other prey and accidentally eats them...."

NO!  This is bullshit.  Look, you can't have it both ways.  Either the shark is a perfect killing machine or a dufus killing machine that just eats everything.  The shark doesn't mistake shit.  He sees something he wants to eat on, and goes after it.  If it's tasty, well that's a bonus.  If it's an easy kill AND tasty, double bonus.  

Same for lions, crocs, and bears and shit.  Look they eat people because people taste good and they are an easy kill.  Humans are not apex predators.  Do not think because we can make tools that kill that we belong up there with those animals.  In their environment with just our body, we suck.  We can't fight off anything.  A damn house cat can tear us a new ass and have fought off burglars.  Small dogs can kill us.  We have ZERO chance in a hand to mouth/hand/paw whatever against some REAL apex predator in their environment.  The gun/spear/bow argument is bullshit.  You don't walk out into the African plains and see Rhino's making weapons.  They ARE the weapon.  We aren't shit.  People constantly overestimate their ability.  Animals eat us because we are a tasty snack, not because they are confused.

Speaking of easy kills and apex predators, I saw the latest Predator flick last weekend.  I liked it.  It is what it is right?  A flick about Predators vs People.  Seems straight forward enough.  I don't need top notch acting and some kind of bizarre twist storyline to enjoy this shit.  Adrian Brody's character actually was an intelligent guy who said everything you say while watching from home.  

"Don't go out there." 

"Leave that guy behind, we can't help him." 

I liked it.  The ending was setup perfect a second parter that I will probably like just as well.  Predator movies are a guilty pleasure for me.  

Seems like I can't ever get too far into a good training cycle without getting some kind of cold/sinus issue that derails me.  I wonder if I need to heavily supplement my diet with more antioxidants?  Seems like it wouldn't hurt at the least and could keep me a little more healthy at the most.  I am going to pick up some Emergen-C tonight and start it up.

Is there really anything worse than a brown noser at work?  Like a guy that stays stuck so far up our bosses ass if my boss took ex-lax he would get the shits too.  I'd rather stay a grunt, than move up some ladder because I kept my lips permanently affixed to some ass clowns butt cheeks.  Where I work is almost like that show Survivor sometimes.  Someone will tell you they are your buddy, only to vote you off the island.  

Don't you sometimes wish we had some of the shit you see in movies happen in real life?  Like King Kong.  You could just be working one day, look at the building and see some giant ape walking up the side of the building, holding some hot babe.  This seems like it would be a fairly entertaining break in the day.  

Diets have gotten stupid. 

Man I almost had a mangasm watching Cain Velásquez just freaking destroy that piece of garbage-cries like a bitch when he gets hit overrated Brock Lesnar.  I wonder if the same shit talkers show up for this post that showed up after the Carwin fight?  A fight that also should have been stopped by the ref.  Oh well, Lesnar's days as champ are over.  The guy has horrible stand up and doesn't like getting hit.  That's kind of a bad combination you know, for a mixed martial artist.  

I think my overall goals will be changing for the permanent very soon.   Every year that passes I care less and less about what size I am and care more about how good a shape I am in, and how my conditioning is.  Personally, I think if you are in AWESOME shape and can rock out a 600 squat, 400 bench, and 600 dead any day of the week raw, that is top shelf shit.  And by awesome shape, I mean you can GO.  Run hills all day, fight, bang it out for hours at a time, whatever.  I think this is going to be my sustainable goal.  In other words, put conditioning at the top of my list, but keep my lifts in that 6/4/6 range at all times.  This would be more like a long term goal that becomes something sustainable.  There are some variables to go through to make all of this work.  

I recruiter about a job called me today, then sent me an e-mail asking if I had any questions for her.  So I sent this........

Ok questions........

If a shark is really a perfect apex predator, then why do shark experts tell us they eat people "by mistake"?  Either he's perfect, or he makes mistakes.  Which one is it?

Why do Canadian Geese fly south for the winter to escape the cold, yet it's sometimes colder in the winter in the midwest where they fly to, than in Canada?

Did you know you can't eat 6 saltine crackers in 1 minute?  I dare you to try.  You will fail.  You can't drink.  Just eat them.  

Is this job my paycheck only or is this as a fulltime grunt?  I ask because I need health insurance for my rugrats and ball-and-chain.  And how much does that generally run per pay period?  

Speaking of pay periods, is it every week or every two?  

How much vacation and sick time do I get?  Generally I ask for a around 2000 hours of vacation time annually.  But we can negotiate.  

What is the dress code like at this place?  Is it shorts and wife beater or something less formal?  

A bonus to start would be appreciated if all goes well.  Anything under 1 million seems acceptable.  But I would like something in order to jump start getting a pad and such.  Again, negotiable.  

I need all of these questions answered! 

Men might have trouble saying "I love you" but women can't say "I'm sorry."  A woman would rather be duct taped and have a bat shoved up her butt and lit on fire than say I'm sorry.  I had a woman accuse me of lying to her a week ago.  When she went to another source and found out it was truthful, rather than come back and apologize to me, she just refused to speak with me.  This kind of behavior doesn't make any sense at all.  It's not like I was going to rub it in her face.  A simply "Hey my bad" is all I was asking for.  We all make mistakes and being able to say "I'm sorry" shows you have character and integrity.  Don't be a first class asshole and refuse to tell people you have wrong that you are sorry for it.  

It's been a week now since I put Dozer down and it still hurts pretty much the same.  I miss my buddy everyday and still do things that make me think he's still here.  If I go out for conditioning and come home I hesitate to knock on the door because he would always bark so viciously when someone knocked on the door.  I still tell the kids to "let Dozer inside" if I hear Buster scratching at the back door, wanting in.  I look for him to be looking for me through the front glass door when I pull up in the afternoons.  When I go downstairs into the office I keep waiting to hear him come down the stairs to sit at my feet.  I am thankful for the 10 years of awesomeness that Dozer gave me, but I don't love the heartache that comes with loving something you have lost so much.  

Quote of the week - "Never lie to someone you trust and never trust someone who lies to you."  

Hottie of the week - Ava Cowan

Thank God it's Friday!!!!!!!  Everyone be safe and have a great weekend!!!!!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Training - Bench

Bodyweight - 248

Close Grip Bench - bar x 50
135 x 10
225 x 5
295 x 3

315 x 1
335 x 1
375 x 1

335 x 8

Wide Grip Bench - 275 x 15

Side Laterals - 30's x 5 sets of 12

Db Curls/Overhead Rope Extensions - 3 rounds of each

Notes - Elbows were just killing me tonight so I pulled the elbow wraps out and used em.  This helped a lot but I really need to figure out why this keeps happening.  I moved my hands out on my squat.  I'm not sure what the culprit is at this point but I'll have to figure something out because every week it gets worse again.  Sucks ass.

I got video of the 335x8 close grip and 275x15 wide grip.  But my camera woman did not stand in the right place for the 335x8 so not sure if it warrants being put up.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Training - Deadlift

Bodyweight - 245 pounds

bar x 30
135 x 10
225 x 3
315 x 3
405 x 3

455 x 1
500 x 1
515 x 1
550 x 1

515 x 3

Shrugs - 315 x 30,30

Pulldowns - stack + 15 x 10

Notes - Super tired tonight.  Have some allergies and sinus stuff going on and have not been sleeping good.  The deads were all easy but I just didn't have a lot of juice tonight.  Hope to get in bed early tonight and get a good nights sleep.

Weekly Q & A

I apologize for not having a Q & A lately.  With Dozer passing and a bunch of other personal issues I have been more flaky than usual.

Remember to please leave a name!


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Training - Squatting

Weight - 245

Hip and Ass Machine - 2 sets
Calf Press - 2 sets of 20

Squats - low bar, no belt/no wraps
135 x 10
225 x 5
315 x 5
405 x 3

475 x 1
500 x 1
535 x 1
475 x 5

Pause Squats - 405 x 5

Adductor Machine - 90 x 15
Abductor Machine - stack x 22

Notes - Got some video today and will try to get some as I go along.  As you can see these squats all looked like warm ups and that is how the first few weeks of meet prep should look.  There is no grinding reps, or psyching up really.  Personally I think screaming around and stomping like a gorilla on meth is a waste of physical and mental energy, but to each his own.  I try to focus mentally on what I have to do and make sure everything is tight.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Ode to Dozer - I love you buddy

Today I had to have my best dog ever put down.  My bullmastiff Dozer.  I had him for 10 years and he was so awesome that he came down with cancer during cancer awareness month.

I have so many awesome stories about Doz.

I drove 4 hours to pick him up as a puppy.  When I arrived the guy showed me his litter, which had been stricken with some kind of virus.  He had the meds from the vet, but told me he had another pup who was a bit older, but really good looking that I could have if I wanted.  He took me to a barn and opened the door and out ran this incredibly handsome guy.  I knew that was my guy.

We used to leave him at home or in a kennel when we went on vacation.  Everytime we did this he threw a fit in some way.

The first time we left him in a kennel, we brought his bed with him so he'd be comfy.  He loved that bed.  But he got so ticked off about being in a kennel that he tore it to pieces and pissed all over it.  Another time we left him at the house, and let the neighbor come check on him twice a day.  Upon returning from our trip, he walked into our bedroom in the middle of the night and took a giant shit on the floor.  Like "take that for leaving me here alone!"

So we decided to leave him at a friends house, so he'd have plenty of attention.  He proceeded to piss all over their house and then climb the wood pile in the back, jump over the fence and go MIA.  He was found at the dog catchers.  The guy working there was sitting on 24 hours and was going to take him home with him if no one came to claim him.  Thankfully the people we left him with called and picked his Shawshank escaping ass up.

After that we started taking him on vacation with us.  We even took him to a powerlifting meet once.  He took a shit in the hotel room while we were gone (you seeing a pattern here?) and kept sitting on my wifes luggage.  She was afraid he was going to shit on her luggage so we put him in the bathroom.  That night something woke us up and we opened the bathroom door to find him chattering his teeth so loud it could be heard through the walls.  The floor was tile and he was cold.

Once I grabbed some chocolate chip cookies and milk and sat them on the coffee table.  At that moment one of my girls got into something she wasn't supposed to and I went to get onto her.  After I sent her to her room I went to piss and heard him lapping something up.  I returned to the living room to find him drinking my glass of milk.  Apparently he needed it to wash down my chocolate chip cookies that he had just eaten.

He loved people and would lean on anyone that came in like "pet me pet me pet me!"  But he was VERY protective of my girls and if anyone tried to come into the fence he would go stark raving mad.  He could be scary as shit in those moments, and I loved it.  I knew he would give his life to protect my girls.  He loved them very much and would follow them all around the backyard, nearing getting to far from them.

The last year we got him a buddy.  A bull terrier named Buster and they played constantly.  Dozer would let Buster "win" most of the time when they played, but if Buster ever overstepped his bounds Dozer would still let him know who the "big dog" was.

It's going to take a long time to get over not having my doz-man around.  I have lived in this house for 11 years, and 10 of them had my big man in it.  When he was put down today I put my hand on his side and felt him take his last breaths.  I kissed his head and told him I loved him one last time.  I am forever thankful for the 10 years that my buddy was with me.

If you believe in dog heaven, then Dozer is in it, and I can tell you that it is improved by his presence there....

I love you Dozer, rest in peace.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Training - Bench

Bodyweight - 245

Db Curls - 30's x 20
Cuff Work - 2 sets

Close Grip Bench -
135 x 20
185 x 5
225 x 5
Paused Benches -
315 x 1
345 x 1
365 x 1
335 x 5

Wide Grip Bench - 275 x 15

Incline - 225 x 10

Side Laterals - 25's x 10, 30's x 10, 35's x 10, 40's x 10

Overhead Tricep Extensions - up to 80 x 10

Notes  Good, solid session.  All the benches were easy and fast.  I'm right on pace.

Raw Powerlifting - Deadlifting

Ok now it's time to talk about tugging stuff up around your crotchal region.  Yes I'm talking about the deadlift.  What else would I be talking about?

Ok deadlift training, in terms of how to use your percentages, go a bit different than how I plan for squats and bench.  The reason why is, you have no myotatic reflex to start the movement.  This is one reason why calculations don't always work as well for the deadlift as they do the bench and squat.  Case in point, a lot of time the reps that follow the first rep seem easier than the initial one.  That's because you do in fact get some of that myotatic reflex on the follow up reps.  Especially if you go touch n' go style.  So where 405x10 in the squat or bench pretty much always puts you in the 520-525 range, 405x10 in the deadlift probably means a lot less than that.  That has been my experience and generally the experience of guys I have talked to about this.  You can do reps with something closer to your 1RM in the dead than you can the squat and bench.  

Therefore, I like to set the training max percentage a little higher in the dead than the squat and bench.  Usually 95% for a double at the end of the cycle seems to be about right.  

Second, unlike the squat, I feel like the dead generally needs a little bit of help from assistance work.  Yes the dead will build itself just fine, and you certainly can't go wrong with just pulling but some chins, shrugs, and rows thrown in there seem to help.  I have not found that adding a lot of hamstring work to my training to help my deadlift as much.  I do know this has helped a lot of guys but it just doesn't seem to be the case for me.  I've done stiff legs with 500 for reps, good mornings with 455 for reps and all sorts of other things for hams to strengthen them and my dead never budged.  It wasn't until I just started focusing on pulling from the floor and from blocks that my deadlift started to move at a good clip.  

And speaking of pulling from blocks, what I am referring to here is not deficit deadlifts where you stand on something, but rather where you put the plates on short blocks, so that the bar is at mid-shin or so, and pull from there.  To me, pulling from this height is actually harder than pulling from the floor.  The weight feels more "dead" than usual, and there is less quad involvement.  When I have pulled from a deficit I have noticed that I can really bend down and get my quads involved.  This is not something I get much use from because when I pull from the floor, it doesn't feel the same.  I always feel as if my low back and upperback are the weak links.  So pulling from blocks made my low back do a lot more work, and get a lot stronger.  This actually made pulling from the floor feel easier for me.  

So also unlike the bench and squat, I feel like the dead does need some assistance plugged in to cover some weak links because the posterior of the body seems to need a little more work.  However what kind of work you choose to plug in there, will need to be determined by you.  

I don't add lower back work into my routines generally because if you are squatting and pulling heavy each week the low back gets a ton of work.  The low back also takes longer to recover than most bodyparts, so adding in low back work has never been part of my philosophy.  

So let's get down to looking at the cycle.

Training Max = 95% of real max or second attempt for the meet

Week 1 - 80% x 1 65%x2x5
Week 2 - 85% x 1 70%x2x5
Week 3 - 88% x 1 75%x2x5
Week 4 - 90% x 1 80%x2x3
Week 5 - 92% x 1 85%x2x3
Week 6 - 95% x 1 90%x2x3
Week 7 - 97% x 1 93%x2x3
Week 8 - 100% x 2
Week 9 - deload 70% x 5
Week 10 - meet

Notes on this training cycle -

What to do after deads?  

One way to do things is to pick something for hamstrings, lats, and upperback and do 2-4 sets for each for around 8-12 reps.  So you could do leg curls, chins, then db rows.  Another option is to do the block deadlifts like I mentioned above for a set of 10 or 2-3 sets of 5.  The weight on the block deads could easily be what you did for your back off sets to keep things simple.  As I noted, I don't notice any kind of bump in my deadlift from extra hamstring training therefore I don't do any.  It will be up to you to figure out if your hamstrings are holding you back.  

Why do I set up these cycles this way?

I had a few questions like that.  I like to set it up this way because the singles give you practice at what you will do for the meet.  The back off sets are the actual strength builders.  Then you need to test where you are at in week 8 for the meet.  This is my own philosophy.  Some may think my percentages are low, however I have found that using higher percentages tends to either make me peak too fast, or burn out and hit a wall too fast.  I like to feel confident in everything I lift.  This way, come meet day I haven't missed weights and have an idea of what I am at.  Knowing this also gives you confidence on the platform. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Training - Deadlift

Weight - 245 pounds

Deadlifts - stiff legs to warm up - bar x 40, 135 x 10
Deads - 225 x 5, 315 x 3, 405 x 1, 455 x 1, 500 x 1, 515 x 1, 500 x 3,3

All of these were smoked.  Super fast, super light.  I am confident in my bicep again.  Thanks to Matt Kroc for the words about it this week.  Mentally that gave me a boost.

Block Deads (below the knee) - 500x10 (straps, double overhand)

Shrugs - 315x30, 405x10, 315x30

Pulldowns - stack + 15 x 14

Cybex Row - stack x 10

Notes - Great session.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

How to NOT bomb at your meet and add to your total

If you remember, I wrote that I had a couple of guys I was helping out in terms of meet preparation a while back.

Well one of my guys lifted yesterday, and he bombed for the most part.  

This was very frustrating for me because he hit all of the lifts he needed to in the gym, however some of the things I needed him to do, he did not do.  And on meet day, I left it in his hands for what to use on his openers, second, and third attempts.  Obviously this was a mistake.  

To start, I believe in hitting all your lifts when prepping for a meet.  I think you should be able to hit every lift that you write out.  At the same time, this is tricky because you also must MUST grind some lifts at some point during the cycle.  Because you're going to grind some lifts at the meet more than likely, AND those grinding reps are great strength builders.  You just can't overdo it on them through a cycle.  

So I will start with that.  

At various points in the cycle the plan would call for my guy to hit a triple.  He would inform me the next day that he knew he was supposed to do a triple with it, but that the double was hard so he just racked it after the double.  This shits on the program.  I setup a double or a triple for a reason through a cycle.  Sometimes it will be hard, and sometimes it won't.  But if I need for you to do a triple, you have to at least attempt it.  If you do fail, it's not the end of the world.  It's better to fail in the gym than on the platform.

As far as attempts go, your opener should essentially be your last warm up.  I don't know how much more clear I can make that.  You don't take near PR attempts on your opener.  Your opener should account for something going wrong.  In one meet I did, I opened with a mere 315 on bench.  315,365,405 was the plan.  On my first attempt the bar popped out of my hands (I use a thumbless grip) and the bar fell on my chest.  I've never had that happen in more than a decade of thumbless benching.  I took 315 again for my second, and it was fine. 

The problem?  

315 was too light.  It shot up too  fast after the pause and right out of my hands.  Unlucky for me, I just went to 365 after that because I was nervous at that point.  Of course it was an easy lift, and I left frustrated because I knew I left 40+ pounds on the platform.  However, I at least didn't miss a lift.  To me, missing a lift on your 1st or 2nd attempt is just atrocious planning.  

Your first attempt should be something you could do if you came down with the flu on the day of the meet.  Ask yourself that question.  You should be able to do it with the flu, while a retarded monkey does a somersault over the top of you.  It should be that much of a sure thing.  At one meet, I was in fact, sick as hell.  I was on two antibiotics, sudafed, and mucinex.   I had lost at least 15 pounds over the course of the previous two weeks and weighed in at a mere 217.  I hadn't squatted in a month and when I did last it was 315.  I opened with 455 because that is a weight I can squat on my death bed.  I went to 500 after that and made that.  I went to 550 and tore my adductor off when I went into the hole on my third.  

I still benched after that and opened with 315 and made it, despite the fact that I couldn't breathe, couldn't walk, and was in incredible pain.  This is how easy your openers should be.  This is not a "look at how tough I am" story.  This is an example of how to pick openers, and second attempts.  

Your second attempt should be a small PR.  5 pounds, 10 pounds.  It could be more if you're more on the novice side.  Your third should be a big PR if it's there.  I have heard guys say that if you don't miss on your third then you didn't go heavy enough, and this is flat out retarded.  Your plan should be to be successful.  Why the fuck would I train my ass off for several months, spend money to travel, get a hotel room, eat and plan everything to miss a lift?  It's one of the dumbest things I've ever read in regards to powerlifting.  If you do miss but it's a legit attempt, fine.  But don't miss because you're being stupid.  

This shit is not complicated.  Yet every meet I've been to, I see guys opening OPENING with shit they miss.  How on Earth can you be so stupid as to open with something you miss?  Guys, leave your fucking ego at the door.  Be smart about this shit.  Or don't, and do stupid shit.  If you have missed on an opener then you failed to live in reality with your own abilities.  And I don't care how advanced you are, or how many meets you've done.  That's stupid beyond comprehension.  It's either that, or you have a mental block at competition time.  I've seen that too.  That's just something you have to overcome on your own somehow.  Sometimes a guy misses a lift or two, then his confidence goes into the shitter.  You have to learn how to overcome that and go after it for the next lift.  

So when you arrive on meet day, you should know what you want to hit on each attempt.  However the only one that should be set in stone, is your opener.  If your opener feels heavy and you are having an off day, then a PR may not be in store for you on your second attempt.  Try something you know you should be good for on your second, then the small PR on the third.  Again, this is smart planning.  I've seen guys "wake up" after a couple of attempts and hit PR's when they thought they were having an off day.  

Some may scoff at the 5-10 pound PR rule.  But think of it like this.  If you add 10 pounds on each lift, that's 30 pounds on your total.  If you compete three times that year you've added 90 pounds on your total.  In two years that's almost 200 pounds on your total.  So you've gone from a 1400 guy to a 1580 guy.  And that's a hell of a big difference. 

NFL teams don't do training camp, pre-season, and practice through the week to fail in the 4th quarter.  MMA guys don't spend months on end to lose in the last round.  Don't be a dumbass and train, only to fail on your attempts because of poor planning.  

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Training - Squats

Weight - 245

Hip and Ass Machine - 2 sets
Calf Press - 2 sets

Squats - no belt/no wraps

135 x 10
225 x 5
315 x 5
405 x 3


465 x 5

High Bar Pause Squats - 405 x 3

Adductor Machine - 90 x 15
Abductor Machine - stack x 20
Calf Press - stack x 20

Notes - Ok session.  Weights felt light but didn't have a ton of energy.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Raw Powerlifting - Bench Press

Obviously after the squat you have the American lift.  The bench press.  I call it the American lift because American's seem to be obsessed with it, compared to other countries, where big squats and pulls are more revered.  

Same as the squat, I am going to assume you have ironed out technical problems in your bench.  If not, do that first obviously.  

The cycle for the bench is going to look the same as the squat for the most part.  That's because from a physiological standpoint both the bench and squat take advantage of the myotatic reflex.  This is why squatting and benching rep numbers, generally do pretty well in terms of 1RM calculators.  It's also why you can run similar cycles for both in terms of numbers.  

With that said, there are some differences, obviously.  I think the squat builds itself just fine.  I think the bench, for a lot of guys, needs some extra work.  How much extra is really up to you to find out.  I personally can do some incline and some shoulders after bench and do really well with that.  I know other guys who need a lot of volume on bench and in their assistance work, and I know guys who bench a buttload, and just do bench only.

So how do you find out how much extra you need?

This may sound strange, but I have personally found for the most part that beginners and advanced guys need a similar amount.  At first people may want to balk at that, but they need the same amount for two different reasons.  

You take a beginner and put him on bench and incline, and he'll do really well with just that.  That's because he can do some volume and just learning the lifts, he makes great progress.  Learning the lifts is enough.

Once a guy has been lifting for a long while, and establishes a good base level of strength, he will get to a point where stagnation and plateaus become very common, and are very frustrating,  What I have found in these cases is that focusing on basic progression and few exercises isn't always the best solution.  I take guys like this and have them train a little more like bodybuilders, put some mass on them, and without fail I see their lifts start to move again.  That guy that has been neglecting shoulder work from different angles, flyes, bicep work, so forth and so on, gets a bump from strengthening all of those neglected areas.  And over the next few years of working hard on this, their strength moves up another level.  At this point a lot of guys find they do really well again, by dropping back to just a couple of movements and focusing on the basics again with progression.  This is because an advanced guy can focus better than a new or intermediate guy, and because of the weights he's moving, recovery becomes a factor.  Most really strong guys don't use a ton of volume.  If you look across the board at the strongest guys, most of them pyramid up to 1 top set, then might do some back offs.  Sure there are exceptions like Brian Siders, but you know what I say about exceptions......

So with that said, I also see a lot of skinny, weak-ass dudes who do flyes and curls and pushdowns and shit from day 1 and yet they are skinny and weak.  Those guys missed the boat.  Start off with the basics, and when you're in the 300 bench, 400 squat, 500 dead range, add in some things to improve strength in other movement planes.  

So now that that is all out there, let's look at the cycle.......

Training Max = 93% of Real Max

Week 1 - 80% x 1, 70%xmax reps
Week 2 - 85% x 1, 75%xmax reps
Week 3 - 90% x 1, 80%xmax reps
Week 4 - 93% x 1, 85%xmax reps
Week 5 - 95% x 1, 85%xmax reps
Week 6 - 98% x 1, 90%xmax reps
Week 7 - 100% x 3 
Week 8 - Deload - 70% x 5
Week 9 - Meet, 100% x 1, 110% x 1 - third attempt go nuts

Same as the squat, the 100% in week 7 is really 93% of what you are shooting for on your second attempt at the meet.  On the set for max reps just go to failure or a rep shy of it.  

Now here comes the questions about what to do after.  Reference the beginning of the article.  Personally if I had to give a cookie cutter answer, I would say to do 1-2 sets of incline press or military press for 8-12 reps just shy of failure, then do some seated db press or side laterals not too heavy with moderate reps.  If you want to do some tricep work after that, do something elbow friendly.  Rope pushdowns seem to fit this description fairly well.

That's it.  If you really want to up your bench, gain 10 pounds.  Bodyweight gain really makes the bench take off for the majority of people.  Guys with t-rex arms are usually great pressers.  If you have long ass gorilla arms I suggest you focus on pec and delt work more than most guys.  If you're the t-rex guy, you can probably get away with just benching a lot.  

The "do upperback work to increase your bench" stuff has gotten retarded.  Yes, you need to do upperback work but doing a shit ton of upperback work is not going to be the difference in you having a moderate bench and a great bench.  Your chest, delts, and triceps still are the prime movers in benching.  Work those.  A big reason for the lat and upperback work for benching is because of bench shirts.  Guys that talking about having to "pull the bar down" with their lats are guys wearing shirts.  I've never had a problem getting even an empty bar to touch my chest.  Gravity seems to bring it right down just fine.  Don't train like an equipped guy if you are raw by the way.  Train your chest, shoulders, and triceps for benching.  Not your back.  Lifting has gotten weird over the years with this kind of nonsensical bullshit.  

Deadlift is next.......     

Training - Bench

Bodyweight - 245

Close Grip Bench -
95 x 20
135 x 10
225 x 5
275 x 3
315 x 1
335 x 1
355 x 1

315 x 5

Wide Grip Bench - 275 x 5 (elbow really hurting here)

Incline Press - 225 x 15,12

Incline Flyes - 40's x 12,12

Side Laterals - 40's x 10,10

Notes - Trained at home.  Pec tendon on left side feels iffy.  Right elbow had some pain today but I think it's the weather honestly.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Training - Deadlift

Weight - 245 pounds

Deads -

135 x 5
225 x 5
315 x 5
405 x 1
455 x 1
475 x 1,1,1,1,1

405 x 5,5

Notes - That was it for tonight. I am running a low grade fever and feeling all around atrocious. There is some kind of 24 hour bug going around so I can only guess that's what it is. 475 moved fast even though I was nervous with my bicep and feeling very under the weather.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The 7 rules of good nutrition

This one can never be restated enough IMO....

Conflicting advice is everywhere, and you’re stuck in the middle. You wonder whether anyone out there even knows what they’re talking about, or whether the experts will ever reach a consensus on anything. You start to wonder whether you’ll need a degree in nutritional biochemistry before you can lose that stubborn abdominal fat.
So what’s the deal? Why so much confusion? Why does one expert suggest that high protein is best for everyone, while another expert suggests high carb and yet another expert suggests high fat? Besides, what exactly do high protein, high carb, and high fat really mean? And why are other experts telling us that food choices should be based on our "metabolic type," our "blood type," or our "ancestry"?
One expert says to eat like a Neanderthal and another says eat like a Visigoth, or perhaps a Viking. But while searching for nutritional Valhalla, most people just get lost and eat like a Modern American—and end up looking more Sumo than Samurai.
These days, we have a cacophony of expertise: lots of confusing noise from the experts drowning out the signal of truth.
On the surface, it appears as if today’s nutrition technology is quite advanced. After all, we have at our disposal more nutrition information than ever before. More money is being spent on nutrition research than in any time in history. Every day, impressive strides are being made in the field. Dozens of nutrition experts are rising to prominence. Yet simultaneously we’re witnessing a steadily increasing rate of obesity, an increase in nutrition-related illness (Diabetes, CVD, and Syndrome X), and an increase in nutrition-related mortality.
Part of the problem is that much of the information hasn’t reached the people who need it. Part of the problem is that even when it does reach those people, they often don’t use it. And certainly, the problem is multifactorial—there are probably many more reasons than I can list here.
How much more information do we need?
But the curious thing is that many people try to solve the problem by seeking out more information. They know it all and still want more. If there’s one thing of which I am absolutely convinced, it’s that a lack of good nutrition information isn’t what prevents us from reaching our goals. We already know everything we need to know. Sometimes the real problem isn’t too little information but too much.
All the fundamental principles you need to achieve good health and optimal body composition are out there already, and have been for years. Unfortunately, with 500 experts for every fundamental principle, and very little money to be made from repeating other people’s ideas, experts must continually emphasize the small (and often relatively unimportant) differences between their diet/eating plans and the diet/eating plans of all the other experts out there.
In the world of advertising and marketing, this is called "differentiation." By highlighting the small distinctions and dimming out the large similarities between their program and all the others, they’re jostling for your next nutritional dollar.
Now, and let me be clear on this, I’m not accusing nutrition experts of quackery.
Yes, some programs are utter crap. Those are generally quite easy to pick out and don’t merit discussion here. But most experts do know what they are talking about, can get results, and wholeheartedly believe in what they’re doing. Many of the differences between them are theoretical and not practical, and on the fundamentals they generally agree completely.
It’s all good — sorta
In fact, many of the mainstream programs out there, if not most of them, will work. To what extent they work, and for how long, varies. As long as a program is internally consistent, follows a few basic nutritional tenets, and as long as you adhere to it consistently, without hesitation, and without mixing principles haphazardly taken from other programs, you’ll get some results. It’s that simple, and that hard (as you can see, results depend as much on psychology as on biochemistry).
But if you’re like most people, you’ll first survey all the most often discussed programs before deciding which to follow. And in this appraisal, you’ll get confused, lost, and then do the inevitable. That’s right, you’ll revert back to your old, ineffectual nutrition habits.
Instead of parsing out the similarities between all the successful plans out there, the common principles that affect positive, long-term change, you get thrown off the trail by the stench of the steaming piles of detail.
The Atkins program works for all patients under the direct care of the Atkins team—as long as patients follow it. The Zone program works for all patients under the direct care of the Sears team —as long as they follow it. The Pritkin Diet works for all patients under the care of the Pritkin team— as long as they follow it.
Yet, not all three plans are identical. How, then, can they all get impressive improvements in health and body composition? Well, either each team somehow magically draws the specific patient subpopulations most in need of their plan (doubtful) or each system possesses some basic fundamental principles that are more important than the ratios of protein to carbs to fats.
The 7 Rules of Good Nutrition
Here’s my take on it. I call these principles, "The 7 Rules of Good Nutrition."
These aren’t the newest techniques from the latest cutting-edge plan. Rather, they are simple, time-tested, no nonsense habits that you need to get into when designing a good eating program.
1. Eat every 2-3 hours, no matter what. You should eat between 5-8 meals per day.
2. Eat complete (containing all the essential amino acids), lean protein with each meal.
3. Eat fruits and/or vegetables with each food meal.
4. Ensure that your carbohydrate intake comes from fruits and vegetables. Exception: workout and post-workout drinks and meals.
5. Ensure that 25-35% of your energy intake comes from fat, with your fat intake split equally between saturates (e.g. animal fat), monounsaturates (e.g., olive oil), and polyunsaturates (e.g. flax oil, salmon oil).
6. Drink only non-calorie containing beverages, the best choices being water and green tea.
7. Eat mostly whole foods (except workout and post-workout drinks).
So what about calories, or macronutrient ratios, or any number of other things that I’ve covered in other articles? The short answer is that if you aren’t already practicing the above-mentioned habits, and by practicing them I mean putting them to use over 90% of the time (i.e., no more than 4 meals out of an average 42 meals per week violate any of those rules), everything else is pretty pointless.
Moreover, many people can achieve the health and the body composition they desire following these 7 rules alone. No kidding! In fact, with some of my clients I spend the first few months just supervising their adherence to these 7 rules—an effective but costly way to learn them.
If you’ve reached the 90% threshold, you may need a bit more individualization beyond the 7 rules. If so, search around on this site. Many of these little tricks can be found in my many articles published right here. But before looking for them, before assuming you’re ready for individualization; make sure you’ve truly mastered the 7 rules. Then, while keeping the 7 rules as the consistent foundation, tweak away.
Of course, if you want a complete guide to doing this yourself, I strongly recommend you pick up a copy of Precision Nutrition, where I'll show you in great detail exactly what to do.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Training - Squatting

Weight - 244 pounds

Ass and Hip Machine - 2 sets of 50
Calf Press - 3 sets of 20

Squats no belt/nowraps -
135 x 10
225 x 5
315 x 5
405 x 3
455 x 1
475 x 1
445 x 5

High Bar Pause Squats -
365 x 5,5

Abductor and Adduction Machine - 4 sets of 12-20

Notes - Smoke show today and that feels good.  Usually my first week of squatting I am a little out of groove but today felt awesome.  Everything was super light and fast.  And yeah it's light but generally the first week I don't feel in the groove of things and everything feels heavier than it should.  So I am happy with 1 week down.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Raw Powerlifting - Squatting

Squatting -

Ok so I'm totally not going into the mechanics of the squat or addressing your squat problems with this.  I wrote a multi-parter for that.  I'm going to assume you feel comfortable with your squat technique and just want to know how to setup a squat cycle to get ready for a meet.

Realistic Goals - 

This is going to be the dead horse that I constantly beat.  You have to set a realistic goal to hit at the meet, and you have to know what kind of time frame you will need to plan for to hit that goal.  If your goal is 50 pounds on your current squat and you are currently near peak strength, then set aside a realistic time frame to do that in.  That could be more than a year.  Who knows?  You know your body, how long you have been training, and how well you respond to certain stimulus.  

So I am going to use a fairly novice guy with a 300 squat for example and set him up a cycle for hitting 320 raw.

The first thing I'm going to do is use the 93% training rule.  Base the training max on 93% of what the real max or what you want to hit at the meet.  This keeps the cycle conservative so that you don't burn out too early, but move enough weight to get stronger, especially towards the end of the cycle where you want to be peaking in strength.

320 * 93% = 300 rounded down

300 = 100% of the training max

300 is also the weight we need to triple in order to be prepared for that 320 single.  The lifters current max. 

Week 1 - 80% x 1, 70%x2x5, Pause Squats - 60% 2x5
Week 2 - 85% x 1, 75%x2x5, Pause Squats - 65% 2x5
Week 3 - 90% x 1, 80%x2x5, Pause Squats - 70% 2x5
Week 4 - 93% x 1, 85%x2x3, Pause Squats - 75% 2x5
Week 5 - 95% x 1, 85%x2x5, Pause Squats - 75% 2x5
Week 6 - 98% x 1, 90%x2x3, Pause Squats - 80% 2x3
Week 7 - 100% x 3 
Week 8 - Deload - 70% x 5
Week 9 - Meet, 100% x 1, 110% x 1 - third attempt go nuts

This puts our meet lifter hitting 300 on his first attempt and roughly 320 on his second.  

This is one way you can set up a peaking cycle.  If you wanted to run it out longer, you could find more splits in the percentages like adding a week of 83% and 88%.  That would make it a 11 week cycle total.  You could also reduce some weeks and run 6, if you had already come off a meet or were already close to peak strength.  Just start at the meet and work your way back 6 weeks.  Some guys take a week off after a meet, and some guys go right back at it.  All up to you.

Notes - 

Don't peak too early.  This is where you hit PR's in the gym several weeks out before the meet.  No way you will hold it for that long.  In my opinion there is about a week gap on each side of the meet that you have where you are going to have a good shot at your goal.  So move easy weights the first few weeks, and don't miss anything in training.  If you are looking at weights you've never hit before by the time week 5 rolls around, you planned too high on your cycle.  

Assistance work - 

To me, pause squats beat everything else hands down for squat assistance work.  If you want to throw in some leg press or lunges after that, just be mindful of how it effects your squatting.  In other words, if your leg press is going up but your squat isn't moving, then you are leg pressing for nothing.  Remember the key is to find movements that will help the main lift.  That's what REAL weak point training is.  And at various times, various lifts are going to help the main lift.  So stick with 1 main movement after the big lift that you intend to really get after.  If after three weeks you haven't seen anything good happen, switch it out for something else.  If you don't want to do any assistance work, that's cool.  The squat is the one lift that most people agree moves itself just fine.

The pause squats should be explosive and fast for a few weeks.  Make sure you concentrate on staying tight in the hole and exploding out.  These should not be grinders.  They should get difficult in the last few weeks.  

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Training - Bench

Bodyweight - 244

Warm up - shoulder dislocates, db curls, cuff stretching

Close Grip Bench -
bar x 40
135 x 15
225 x 5
275 x 3
315 x 1
295 x 5,5

Wide Grip Bench - 265 x 5

Incline - 245 x 5,5

Db Side Laterals -
30's x 12
35's x 10
40's x 10
35's x 10
30's x 10

Rope Pushdowns -
45 x 20
60 x 15

Notes - Good first session to start things off.  Everything was super light and felt just right for the beginning of a meet cycle.  Got a good feeling about this one.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Training for Raw Powerlifting

I always thought that training for powerlifting seemed easy enough, and straight forward.  

At the competition you squat, then bench, then deadlift.  Pretty straight forward.  Seemed to me that in order to get ready for such an event I would need to squat, bench, and deadlift and get as strong on those as I could.  

Apparently, I was wrong.  

I didn't know I had to breakdown every weakpoint in each lift, get bands and chains, worry about various "types" of training days, buy a bunch of strange looking bars, buy boards from the hardware store, and all sorts of other shit.  I thought I could just focus on getting strong on the 3 lifts then show up the day of the meet and see how I did.

Oh wait, I CAN do that.  

The internet has been both a blessing and curse to lifting.  Lifters get to read and learn about various methodologies, but then they usually bastardize and rape each one of them mercilessly.  This is, in my opinion, some of the dumbest shit I see on the net.  Westside/5x5 "hybrid" routines and shit like this make me shake my head.  There is no such thing.  Once you take two methodologies and combine them, it's not a "hybrid" it's just a training abortion.  

Most systems are put together because all of the components fit together to work in conjuction with one another.  Once you mix them together you don't have a "hybrid" you just have a cluster fuck of a training program with no reason behind why you are doing what you are doing.

This is the kind of thing that has caused younger lifters (either in age or in lifting experience) to wander from program to program.  They are looking for that holy grail of a training program.  The one that will turn them into a combination of Arnold meets Mariusz overnight. 

This is also why guys run around from board to board asking for powerlifting routines, when setting up a basic powerlifting routine should be damn simple.  Here, let me show you...

You're going to squat

You're going to bench

You're going to deadlift

Do something to supplement each one........OR DON'T!  

The following seem to be the most common questions regarding training for raw powerlifting.....

1.  "What about assistance exercises?"

This is pretty much the most common one.  This one usually is followed up by a board "guru" who tells said lifter to pick assistance work based on "weak points".  This is hogwash.  

The majority of raw guys are going to have sticking points in the same spots.  For the squat it's coming out of the hole, for the bench it's usually 3-4 inches off of the chest, and for the deadlift around midshin to below the knee.  Yes, there are variations that some guys have but that's going to be ball park for most guys.  The deadlift is the one I see with the most variation here, with some guys missing at lockout instead of below the knee somewhere.  

There is a very easy way to go about picking assistance exercises to help the main lift.  Just pick an exercise and as you progress on it, does the main lift move up with it?  If so, it's fixing something.  If not, drop it and try something else.  

The truth is the whole "fixing weak spots" is bunk.  People will tell you if your lock out sucks to do shit like close grips or board work, but it actually doesn't usually work.  Wendler talked about this here...

I found the very same issue.  I worked up to 425+ on close grips and my lockout was in the proverbial shitter.  Yet I see tons of guys talking about how you should do close grips and tricep work and boards and shit to improve your lockout.  Why?  If you are raw more than likely your sticking point is 3-5 inches off of your chest.  So why are you doing lockout work anyway?  I've never seen a raw guy miss a bench at a meet because he couldn't lock out the last few inches.  Common sense.

Same for things like locking out your deadlift.  I did rack deadlifts working up to 800+ pounds but it never helped my lockout or even my deadlift for that matter.  Not when I pulled above the knee anyway.  I did find that mid-shin pulling helped tremendously, i.e. I got strong when pulling from there and I noticed my regular deadlift went up.  This is how you work assistance to improve "weak points".  Because the fact is, you really don't know where your weak points are, and even some guru probably can't tell you.  Sad but true.

The point is, especially about assistance work, is to cover it, not smother it.  The meat and potatoes of your training should in fact be the big 3.  I won't and never will waiver from that.  Especially when you are in the weeks of preparing for the meet.  If you want to mess around with things when you are not preparing to compete, have fun.  But during a planned meet cycle doing the powerlifts themselves should be what your training is all about.  

2.  "Should I hit my numbers I'm going for at the meet in the gym?"

Personally, I say no.  The meet is for PR's.  Not the gym.  And this is coming from a guy who has never hit his PR's on the platform (that is going to change however).  Know what you need to hit in order to be good enough to have a realistic shot at a number.  So you know if you hit a double or triple with a certain weight, you're going to be good for X amount as far as a top single goes.

3.  "How should I setup a routine?"

Well aside from doing the squat, bench, and deadlift you should write down a realistic goal for what you want to hit at the meet, then you should decide how long it would realistically take for you to train to hit that.  The two key words in those sentences are "realistic".  If you have been training for 10 years and your best bench ever is 300 pounds, then don't plan on hitting 350 or 400 at the meet ok?  If you are close to 300 at the moment, setup a plan for 8-12 weeks to hit 310.  Set a plan up that allows you to succeed rather than fail.  

I remember seeing a kid at a meet in Oklahoma who drove from Jersey just to bench.  Bench only!  I asked him what he was going to open with and he said "365".  I asked him what his best bench ever was.  He said "365".  I was flabbergasted.  

"Dude you need to go tell them you want to change your opener." I told him.  I had three other guys behind me telling him the same thing.

He shook his head like we were idiots.

"No, it's fine.  You'll see."

He missed 365 all three times.  I wish I could go back in time to laugh in that guys face for a second time when he missed that third bench attempt.  Don't be a dipshit or fool yourself about what you are capable of.  The "no limits, I can do anything" crowd are just as big a bunch of dumbasses as the hardgainer microloading train two-times-a-month crowd.  In fact I find them even more annoying.  Don't fail because you set yourself up for failure by being stupid and egotistical.  Set yourself up for success through smart planning and putting your ego aside.  The people who do that surpass the "I can do anything" crowd more often than not.  

In part II I will talk about setting up a squat cycle, assistance movements, and other things related to raw squatting.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Training - Deadlift

Weight - 242 pounds

Warm up - glute bridges

Deadlifts -

135 x 10
225 x 5
315 x 3

415 x 15 singles @ 60 seconds between singles

Stiff Legs - 315 x 5 x 5

T-bar rows -
3 plates x 10
4 plates x 10

V-Bar Chins -
body x 10 x 8

Db Shrugs - 110's x 20

Notes - Brutally hard session.  Will try to keep this up for about 3 or 4 weeks then taper the assistance work off.

Deadlift Training Tonight

Tonight I will pull and do deadlift assistance work.  Expect to see more than just my usual deadlift/chin type routine.  This is because with my bicep still only 3 months out from surgery I will pull light and do a lot of upper back/hamstring/trap work to make up for it.  So more than likely my routine is going to look something like this...

Deadlifts - singles @ 65%
Stiff Legs - 2x5
T-bar Rows - 2x8
V-Bar Chins - 2x8-10
Db. Shrugs - 2x20

After 4 or 5 weeks I think my confidence in my arm will be better and I will drop everything but the stiff legs and chins more than likely.  Don't expect to see anything impressive poundage wise (not that you would ever see anything impressive out of my pulling anyway, but I digress...).

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Meet Training Starts This Week

Well starting Tuesday night I will begin training for the UPA meet in December.  It looks like I will have a training partner for this one so I will see how that goes.  Second, my deadlift training will be tricky because I still don't have a lot of confidence in my bicep so I decided to run the old WSB periodization scheme.  I just don't feel mentally ready to start pulling 550+ off the floor right now.

The good news is  I feel rested and my joints feel good.  I would like to hit 1700+ raw at this meet, but truthfully I just need to show up healthy and get it done.  The last several meets I have planned things have not gone well so I am going to play it conservative for the first few weeks and then push things a bit as I start to feel more confident.

So worse case scenario I know I SHOULD be good for 600/405/600 and best case something like 635/435/640.  So my goal will be to hit the 1605 on my second attempts and then have a shot at the 1700+ on my thirds.

So off we go.......

Friday, October 1, 2010


Last night -

Hip and Ass Machine - 2 sets of 50

Squats - 135 x 10, 225 x 5, 315 x 5, 405 x 1, 425 x 1, 455 x 1, 405 x 5

Deadlifts - 225 x 5, 315 x 5, 405 x 1 x 1 x 1

Shrugs - 315 x 20 x 20

Notes - 233 pounds so I am feeling good about being able to eat a little starting next week.  This was just a light session before I start training for the meet as of next week.