Monday, January 31, 2011

Squats n Milk

Many years ago Randall Strossen wrote a book called Super Squat: How to Gain 30 pounds of Muscle in 6 weeks.

Sounds good right?

Basically, you do 20 rep breathing squats, with some pullovers and drink 9 dairy farms worth of milk a day, in a nutshell.

In case you never ran across the squats n milk crew

Breathing squats are squats where you take big deep breaths between each rep in order to well, breath heavier.  Anyone who has ever done a 20 rep set of squats will tell you, this really isn't required.  The "Golden Age of Lifting" crowd will tell you that you take the big breaths to help with rib cage expansion.  Thus, why you do pullovers after the squats.  So you can make your rib cage bigger.  A bigger rib cage means a bigger frame, is the theory.

Maybe this actually does/did work for some people.  To me, I never understood the need for the big deep breaths.  When you do 20 reppers, you breathe heavy and hard enough without that shit.  The only thing I saw happening with 3 deep breaths was hyperventilating and getting light headed.  This doesn't seem like a smart mans way to squat to me.

Anyway, 10-12 years ago "squats n milk" became a mantra for all skinny "hardgainer" types.  And it became the answer to all training related riddles.

"I want big arms"

"squats n milk"

"I want a big bench"

"squats n milk"

"I want to look like Arnold"

"squats n milk"

"I want a threesome with a my girlfriend"

"squats n milk"

"Two chics at once...squats and milk man"

Basically, it was like the "Direct TV hates puppies" syndrome.

"Time Warner offers this service free.  Hundreds of dollars worth compared to Direct TV so you could be spending those hundreds on dog food.  Puppies loves dog food, therefore Direct TV hates puppies."


No, wrong.  Of course.

The idea was.  But what got lost in it, by the dogmatic, was that the simple message was "do the big lifts, eat a lot of food, work hard, and you'll get big.

No, to the dogmatic, it was literally "squats n milk".


It didn't matter if you wanted a bigger bench or bigger arms or a better deadlift or wanted to increase your overhead press.  Everything had to start with squats and milk.

I don't know if it was intellectual laziness or dumb training advice or a real belief that high rep squats and milk cured all training woes and cancer.  But shit got ridiculous.

I remember one particular message board guru who railed against me because I said you can get big and massive without doing squats and deadlifts.  He even went so far as to call me to tell me I couldn't say that.


I'm here to state, that's still a truth.  If you never cared about a big squat or deadlift, you could do all sorts of lifts and still get as big you could get, from a genetics standpoint, without ever doing them.  This is not blasphemy or sacrilege.  Lots of bodybuilders get big as hell without doing lots of squats and/or deadlifts.  In fact, many of them don't like squats or deadlifts from the fact that they don't always do the job that a bodybuilder might be looking for.  If your hams need more work then stiff legs may be the better tool.  Barbell rows and chins/pulldowns work just fine for filling out the rest of your back.  And plenty of guys have built impressive wheels laboring on a leg press instead of under a bar.

I'm not saying squats and deadlifts are overrated either.  They are still, IMO, the most economical movements you can do, and still the two best exercises in terms of demonstrating lower body and overall strength.  However it doesn't mean they are requirements for building mass.  And this kind of talk infuriated the squats n milk crew.

Just from an observational standpoint, you can't tell what kind of training philosophy someone has

I also never understand all that work for a big ribcage.  Some people say it's because you can fit more muscle on a bigger frame.  This is bunk and bullshit.  That is a genetically predetermined at birth.  Lots of guys with big frames are naturally thin, and don't fill out very well.  Anyone who has ever been around basketball players has seen some of these guys with huge frames, side wide shoulders, long clavicles, etc but these guys are walkings sticks.  And they eat like they won't live to see the next morning.  On the flip side lots of "small framed" guys carry a shit load of actual muscle.  Your frame doesn't really have anything to do with how much muscle you can or will carry.  Yeah I know, lots of really huge guys have huge wrists and ankles, etc so forth and so on.  Everyone knows that "farm boy big" dude that has like 19" wrists and baseball mits for hands.  So what?  You can't train for that either.  You got what you got.  Spending that much effort to increase your ribcage by the smallest fraction seems galactically stupid to me.  Especially when the return on your investment  isn't anything guaranteed at all.  You're probably not going to expand your ribcage.  And again, who the hell gives a fuck if you can?

From an aesthetics standpoint, there isn't anything magical about making a bigger rib cage.  A lot of that came from those old side chest shots you'd see where the guy had a big rib cage and somehow, that was impressive.  So wanted that as a look.  No one in bodybuilding gives a shit about rib cages, so I never understood the reasoning.

Not the look I am going for

So what was so magical about it?

It was really just hard work, and eating.  It doesn't really matter where the hard work comes from.  You give me pathetically skinny 10 guys, and I can force feed the shit out of them and get them big as hell in a year.  And I can do it without any of them ever back squatting or deadlifting.  I certainly sure as shit would never use a breathing squat to do it.  Some guy using a light weight to squat, so he can breath deep a whole bunch, isn't going to make half the progress of a guy that piles on as much weight as he can for medium-high reps on other leg movements like leg press or hacks or whatever.

In the end, it's really all about weight on the bar.  The rest is bullshit.

Squatting to get big arms will not work as good at building big arms if you don't bench, dip, chin, curl, row and concentrate on moving big weights there too.  You can grow a big ass upperbody without ever squatting or doing leg work.  Don't anyone tell you that's not true because everyone knows guys that have stick legs and massive upper bodies.  So which is it?

Again, a lot of it was witch craft.  The dogmatic squat n milk guys know you can build big arms without squats, however they didn't want the noobs turning into douche bag beach lifters.  Guys that walk in and bench and curl every workout.  And I find this to be noble.  I had to run an asshole out of the squat rack this past week for curling in it on my squat day.

But at the same time, taking a hard line stance or being dogmatic about something will only paint you into a corner and sooner or later you get exposed as a fraud.  Or at least your advice does.  Once you've been doing this long enough, you will know bullshit when you see it.

So do squats n milk actually work?

Sure.  For some people I suppose.  But I've never met a really massive strong guy that swore by breathing squats.  I've always heard the legend talk about some guy in a gym that did em that looked like he was a former Mr. Olympia and shit like that.  But in 21 years of doing this shit, I've never talked to a guy that impressed me physically that said he owed it all to breathing squats.  Generally it's the same shit.  Squat heavy, pull heavy, press heavy, do some fun stuff, eat a shit load of food.  That's your recipe to get as big as possible.

Milk?  Yeah, lots of us drank the shit out of some milk to build mass.  Works good.  In my teen years I relied on food for the most part.  Shakes weren't as tasty then and often bloated me up too much, allowing me not to eat as often or as much.  Now there is a whole "don't drink milk" crowd crying like bitches about how we're the only animal that drinks the milk from another animal.  Which is also bullshit, but I don't feel like ranting about that now.

Nothing wrong with milk unless you're lactose intolerant!

Now high rep squats work.  But my personal opinion is that they work better as a supplemental piece to your training.  After a hard set of 3 to 5, for example, or after some singles.  As the main stay I think they have some draw backs.

For one, I don't think that beginners or relative novices get as much out of them as they can.  Mainly because the form breaks down, they get injured a lot, they cut depth when it gets hard, and they flat out don't have the ability to train with enough intensity to get the return investment on them.  New guys need to learn the movement, get a feeling for what their groove should be like and do a lot of volume real often with it until it's all pounded into stone.

Guys who can knock out a good looking set of 315 x 5 on squats are probably advanced enough to benefit from a high rep back off set.  225x20 or something like that.  But shit like 135x20 and shit like this, I feel, is really a waste of time.

IMO high rep squats and deads are really advanced techniques that beginners and novice trainers should not be messing with.  You can make plenty enough gains doing set of 5-12 for years when you start before you need to resort to high rep sets.  I also don't think the benefit of doing sets of 20 in the squat are as great until some real weight can be thrown on the bar.  225x20 is kind of a minimum standard but really 250x20 is probably even better.  An even better thought is that you probably don't even need high rep squats until you can squat 405 balls deep without a belt.  Just my opinion.  It doesn't mean you can't throw in a high rep set here or there, but a "widow maker" with 155 pounds is pretty much laughable weak sauce.  My wife has done 135 x 20 and she's 120 pounds with an artificial hip.  So let's keep things in perspective here.

Let me also add that because of the leverages you are born with, some people may be able to do high rep squats and benefit like crazy (Tom Platz) and some people may not (tall lanky guys).

I've written plenty of beginner routines and you will never find a 20 rep squat set in my beginner routines.  There's no reason for it.  A basic 3x10 works just fine.  Why complicate shit?

You should definitely complicate your milk and add as much shit as possible to that however.  I recommend starting with a basic chocolate syrup.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Training - Back and Biceps

Weight - 238

Db Rows -
60 x 20
110 x 35 per arm

Chins - body x 5 sets of 5 parallel grip

Db Shrugs - 110's x 60

Notes - Getting ready for my birfday party so I just grabbed the 110's knocked out a set of high rep rows, some chins and shrugs.  May do some biceps tomorrow with more shrugs.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Training - Press

Bodyweight - 238 < - yes!

Incline Press - 135 x 15, 185 x 8, 225 x 20,10,5,5,5

Tit Machine - 3 sets of 10
Side Laterals and Pushdowns - 3 sets of each

Notes - Tired as shit tonight.  Elbow felt ok though.  Weight is starting to peel off finally.  I'm thinking 230 will be about right.  This diet seems to be working really really well as I can't do a lot of conditioning right now (or I could, but I hate doing cardio on machines).

Still, a bad workout is better than picking up this guy....

Lean back, and enjoy the ride

I can remember days in my youth when my relationship with lifting was nothing but pure love/hate.

I can remember days of getting on the scale after weeks of big eating, and weighing the same, and then cursing the inanimate object as if it were its fault.

I can remember being stuck on a certain number of reps with a certain weight for months on end.  Some of them still stick in my head from that time.

100 pounders in the incline db press for 8 reps

Clean and press 185 x 5

Incline Press 245 x 8

315 x 13 in the squat

I was not naturally strong at all.  I wasn't that guy that deadlifted 585 the first time he really tried it, or benched 315 after three months of lifting.  I can remember squatting 155 pounds for 8 reps and feeling like it was going to crush me.  The first time I ever bench pressed, I was 14 and I could do the bar for 8 reps.  Max.

No joke.

I was 114 pounds.  I couldn't squat the empty hack squat machine, couldn't do a chin up.

I look back now, and I'm glad that I was nothing, and came from nothing, in terms of lifting ability.  It makes me appreciate the ability I have now more than the naturally gifted, I believe.  I love to talk to other guys that came up the same way.  We generally have a lot of great stories to share and laugh about, and have often traveled the same roads.

What I am getting at here is, I am a very average guy in terms of genetics.  When you look at how my lifts have progressed by no means do anything about me scream "freak".  I've added about 100 pounds to my deadlift in the last 10 years (650ish).  About that to my squat too (635ish).  My bench was good early on, I cheated up over 400 by the time I was 20 but shoulder problems put my bench in the shitter for the better part of the last 15 years.  It's only been the last few years of getting it diagnosed properly and me figuring out how to train it properly that have put it back up over 400 consistently.

When I was younger I wanted it all right then.  I wanted to look like Arnold and be able to lift like Kaz.

I accepted long ago that I will never look like Arnold or be as strong as Kaz, and it doesn't bother me one bit.  I live in my own little lifting world where my own progress and goals and issues are my own.  I don't really care what someone else does, or get jealous of their lifts or physique.  My own path is my own, and worrying about what anyone/everyone else does doesn't effect it.  So why put any emotional energy into it?

I don't.  Not anymore.  It's useless.  Pointless.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our want of something, that we don't enjoy the journey to our destination.  Like going on a trip somewhere you are so excited to get to, you may miss all sorts of things on the way there that are incredibly interesting because you are so narrowly focused on the end destination.

If you know that you're probably going to lift for the rest of your life, then be cognitive of that.  Enjoy the journey, the progress, even when it seems like there isn't any.  It's like investing money.  Your returns may not be evident now, and sometimes you may even go backwards, but good decisions will eventually put money in the bank.

So enjoy the ride.

Chris Medina is owning it

I don't watch American Idol usually, but with them bringing in Steven Tyler as a judge it raised my interest.  Plus my girls watch it and like for me to watch it with them.

This guy was on there, and this is a guy that is owning it.  This is a man.  This is character.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

If you haven't made progress in a while.....

  • Make sure you're sleeping enough.  Sleep is the most natural form of recovery.  Remember that you dig "sleep holes".  In other words, if 8 hours is ideal and you get 6 hours one night and 8 hours the next.  You're still 2 hours in the hole.  Try to make sure that you get the full 8-9 each night.  If you don't require that much just make sure you are hitting your minimum.  Try not to use an alarm clock and go to sleep early enough that you wake up naturally at the right time.  
  • Take time off until you are itching to lift again.  I don't do planned deloads.  However if my zest for training starts to wane, I just take enough time off to recharge until I want to lift again really badly.  
  • Drink more than a gallon of water each day.  I have no idea with everything we know now, that people still don't drink enough water that lift and condition.  Keep drinking well after you are done with a training session too.  This can't be stressed enough.  Make sure to have at least 2 clear pisses within an hour after you are done.  
  • If you do take time off, when you come back, start light and don't do a bunch of shit.  One of the things that drives guys into the ground is that when they feel good, they do everything under the sun.  When the lifts start climbing, they keep trying to do everything.  Something has to give at some point.  So just pick 1 or 2 big movements per session and 1 small one, or 1 big one and 2 small ones.  Stay simple.
  • If you've been training high volume for a long time, take a week off and go high intensity for the next 6 weeks.  If you've been training high intensity for a long time, take a week off and go high volume for the next 6 weeks.  
  • Squat and deadlift on the same day.  1 heavy and 1 light, alternating each week.  I can't break these up anymore.  Everytime I have I get run into the ground.  
  • Cruise on the lifts until you feel yourself getting stronger.  This WILL happen.  This is the smart, patient mans way to train.  Steady wins the race.
  • If you are a REALLY skinny guy trying to gain weight, eat every 3 hours as much as you can.  Lots of everything.  Protein, fat, carbs, everything. 
  • If you are a fat guy be mindful of the weekends.  This is when you will tend to overeat by as much as 20%.
  • If your deadlift has been stuck and your technique is good, then get your upperback strong and jacked as hell.  Lots of t-bars, barbell, and db rows.  Shrugs, chins, and pulldowns.  Keep deadlifting, but push up your weight and reps on all of the big back movements.  
  • If you squat has been stuck follow up squatting with a really quad dominant movement like hacks, fronts, or leg press for high reps.  
  • If your bench has been stuck......gain 10 pounds.
  • Use rest/pause and concentrate on beating those total reps each week.  
  • Do some bodybuilding for a while.  Lots of powerlifters do this and come back stronger.  Probably because they just needed to get stronger in some areas that had been neglected.  Usually calves, pecs, arms, delts, etc.  This is because some powerlifters often spend too much time now worrying far too damn much about hamstrings and triceps.  Strengthen your whole body, get big everywhere.  Spend some time doing flyes, laterals, curls, forearm work, etc.  I am all for limited training but there is a time and place for bodybuilding and when you need a boost in mass and strength, do it.  
  • If you are a bodybuilder and have been stuck for a while, do some powerlifting and get stronger.  When you go back to your medium and high rep work you'll be able to handle more poundage there.  This means more mass.  Powerlifting and bodybuilding both have training ideas that lend help to one another.  
  • Pick something show up for.  A meet, a bodybuilding contest, take up a new sport, do something that makes you show up to perform.  If you haven't ever done this, it will drive your training like never before.  

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Training - Squats

Weight - 243

Hip and Ass Machine - 2 sets of 50

Pause Squats -
135 x 10
225 x 5
315 x 5,5,5
365 x 3,3,3
405 x 3,3,3

Db Shrugs - 100's x 6 sets of 20

Notes - Well that's the first real squat workout since I tore the adductor.  It's hard to explain how light 405 felt.  Almost like an empty bar.  So that tells me that my squatting strength is still there.  I know I was good for 8-10 with 500 when I tore it so I don't think it will  take my long to get back there.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Thoughts about life, training, crap and stuff

I talked with my buddy Eric Lilliebridge last night for a while.  He has hit PR's in the squat (705x5), bench (515 close grip) and deadlift (815) in the last month or so.  He told me that he had been feeling beat up and just kind of went in and did the bare minimum for a while.  Not going heavy or hard, and then he started feeling strong as shit.

Sound familiar?

This is why I am constantly preaching about paying attention to recovery.  Why I don't adhere to a high frequency or high volume training philosophy.  Go in and stimulate strength, then rest and recover.  When you enter the gym you should FEEL strong.  This should be the case as much as possible.  If you are always feel tired, or run down, or your weights haven't been moving adjust your time off.  Squat and pull a little less.  This is for advanced guys I'm talking.  Beginner or novice guys should still be hitting the squat and dead every week in order to work technique and get the feel of heavy weights.  But once you get into the 500,600,700 for reps range, you need to factor in recovery as a big issue.

Ok so I spent Sunday watching most of the first season of The Wire.  Thus far I am underwhelmed.  It's very realistic.  But so much so, that I am often bored at times.  I feel like I'm really on a stakeout.  The pace is steady, but slow.  It never speeds up, there is never any urgency for any situation.  Again, the show is about as realistic as it gets, which also makes it boring.  I'm going to finish the first season and decide on whether or not I want to watch the second.

If you have knee pain most of it can be fixed with VMO strengthening.  The best thing I have ever found for that is to pull a sled backwards.  Get low and really push off with the heel.  Find about a 30-40 yard area to do this in.  Don't put too much weight on the sled.  Just enough to have some resistance.  You're not trying out for Worlds Strongest Man with this shit, you're just trying to strengthen the VMO.

For those that follow the NFL, here is a Brett Favre parody skit that is awesome.......

Another little thought of technique for gaining mass at a quick rate, is the rate of speed at which you do the reps.  I'm not talking super slow mind you.  I am talking about using a very slow negative, then a positive where you explode.  This was another part of DC training that I think was over-analyzed by some, and then not thought of at all by others.  I did two things with the reps...

1.  I used a very slow controlled negative.  My thought during DC training was to get the weight back to the start just so I could lower it slow again.  Generally lifting is the opposite mentally.  All you think about is making the lift.  When DC training, I turned it around.  All I thought about was getting the weight back up so I could lower it again.

2.  I always finished the set on the negative.  This can be difficult with free weights so you need to be in a rack with the safety rails up, or in a smith machine or some other machine.  I always made sure to take a long long time to finish that last negative.  As long as I could.  I did this for every set including the rest/pause ones.  This was pretty brutal.

It's never enough is it?  Now all I can think about is 600x10 on deadlifts.  That'd be pretty cool.  I mean without straps, without bullshit hitching, and without those big long rests you see most people do.  In other words, real deadlifting.  500x20 and 600x10 seem like good goals.  For some reason the 500x20 seems a lot more doable to me right now.  Maybe because I'm already good for probably 12 or so......

I am hating not being able to squat heavy right now.  This adductor is taking forever to really heal.  Some days it feels fine and others it still hurts.  I'm going to put an even bigger emphasis on stretching from here on out.

I love the song Sail On by the Commodores.  For those that have seen my random music posts might go "HUH?" but my music taste is very eclectic.  I love everything from Elton John to Alive in Chains to Killswitch Engage to Cannibal Corpse.  I have often found that musicians are like this.  People who have a very narrow scope of the music they like generally don't appreciate a lot of aspects of music.

Anyway, the best thing about this song is the melody change that happens about 3/4 of the way through the song, AND the lyrics.  It's about a guy that was treated like shit by his woman, realizes that life is too short to live in such a relationship, and moves on and decides that he just wants to have a good time and enjoy life.

That is a great attitude.  Plus a fro is cool.  Just not on me.

Want an example of figuring out this "weak point" shit?  When I had some bad deadlift workouts and I was pulling heavy, I noticed the weight would make my traps feel like they were going to tear apart.  Lots of straining up there.  So I have made it a point to do shrugs on my off days.  That's it.  5-6 sets of shrugs with 405x20 or even the 100 pound dumbbells for several sets of 20-30.  Now my speed off the floor has improved a LOT.  This has simply reinforced for me, that all the talk of needing to do a shit load of hamstring work is total bunk.  For me it is anyway.  It turns out that my upperback may need a little more work to get strong off the floor.  I have also been pushing the t-bar rows the last month or so and that seems to have helped as well.  Again, this doesn't break the laws of my training philosophy.  I didn't need to go ape shit, and do all sorts of crap in order to get stronger.  Just some shrugs and getting back to doing rows, which I have neglected for a little while.  I had been experimenting with how little I could do, and still make gains.  There is going to be a fine line there, and that fine line will vary from person to person.  So right now, it appears I need to get rowing heavy (but strict!) and shrugging.  Who knew that the deadlift needed you to have a strong back instead of a bunch of hamstring work?  I mean I'm shocked.  /sarcasm

Next I'm going to venture that strong quads are needed for squatting and strong pecs and shoulders are needed for benching.  I might be a genius!  HAH HAH!

I'm planning on a weekend mini-vacation out to Laguna Beach in a month-month and a half.  That's all.  Just sayin.

I finally broke down and bought a new bed.  We've had the same mattress for well....far too long.  I figured since I don't buy a new mattress very often I went with the 12 inch Serta memory foam.  Can't wait!  /Bart Scott

Diet Change -
Breakfast - 8 egg whites, 1 cup oatmeal

Lunch - Met-Rx w almonds or 2 tbs of peanut butter

Snack - Met-Rx w almonds or 2 tbs of peanut butter

Workout or Conditioning

Dinner - Steak, Sweet Potato, Salad

Snack - Met-Rx w almonds or 2 tbs of peanut butter

Packers vs Steelers SB.  Bored to freakin tears over this one.  If I watch, I'll pull for the Packers.  The Steelers win it too damned much.

Hot Babe of the week.......Jaime Koeppe

I was pumping gas today when I realized it's been 23 years since the best friend in my life ever Marty Cox, died.  He was killed driving his motorcycle coming home.  This guy in a truck that was driving way to fast had to swerve to miss hitting a turning car and slammed into Marty.

Marty was 18 and to this day, was the best person I ever knew.  He got me out of drugs at a young age, took me on my first date (Lisa Dulany!  I was too young to drive), took me hunting and fishing.  We shot pool together almost every night at the local pool hall.  Marty had never tasted alcohol in his life, never did any drugs.  When I started smoking weed he told me "if you're going to do that, we can't be friends." And his friendship meant more to me than getting high.  So I quit.    Marty taught me the importance of meaning what you say, and saying what you mean.  To tell your friends you love them, and to be accountable for your actions.  If you say you're going to be somewhere at 5 P.M. then you better be there.  If you're not, you explain why, and apologize for not being considerate.  Seems simple, but lots of people overlook these very "trivial" things that show respect to the people you care about.

Not a day has gone by in 23 years that I haven't thought about him and what his friendship meant to me.  Marty taught me about being good to your girlfriend, about fighting bullies, taking up for the weaker, and just flat out doing the right things even when it was the hardest decision.  I was at the hospital with his family when they pronounced him dead.  I cried non-stop for a week, and it felt like someone had shot me in the stomach.

Sometimes life seems unfair, and I don't mean because I lost a friend.  I mean because I feel selfish sometimes, because Marty was such a great human being, such a great friend but he never got to experience having kids.  I know he would have been an awesome dad.  Marty never got to get married.  I know he would have been an awesome husband.  He only ever had two girlfriends and I marveled at how much they fawned over him, and he over them.  He taught me how important it was to be true to the one you are with.  It saddens me that I was never able to stand as the best man in his wedding.  It would have been one of the biggest honors of my life.

It was only a few years ago that I could think about him and not get very emotional.  I think friendship is often taken for granted by people.  We get caught up in all of the things we want out of life, often forgetting to remember that our legacy won't be painted by the things that we acquire, but by the intangibles we leave behind.

I thank God everyday that he gave someone like Marty to me, even if only for a short while, to help mold all the good parts of me and remove a lot of the bad.  I wish everyone could have a friend like that in their life, even if it were only for a short while.  Quality always trumps quantity.  Thanks Marty, I love you brother.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Training - Back and Biceps

Weight - 245 ugh

T-bar Rows - 1 plate x 30
2 plates x 10
3 plates x 10
4 plates x 10
5 plates x 10
6 plates x 14

Chins - 6 sets of 5 bodyweight only

Ez Curls - 115 x 10

Notes - Ok workout.  Nothing great although I did beat the last t-bar row workout by 2 reps.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Training - Press

Bodyweight - 238 <- alright!

Incline Press -
135 x 12
185 x 8
225 x 20,10,10

Side Laterals - 35's x 3 sets of 15

Notes - In a hurry tonight because we are having company.  Did not go heavy on the pressing and just got some reps in.  Felt light and very easy.  Was hoping for 225x30 but since I have not been pressing heavy I sort of ran out of gas quickly.  I was going along just fine and then rep 18 I could feel myself losing steam.  More of an lack of pressing for weeks now kind of issue.  I am still not going to push it for a few more weeks.  Elbow felt good and when it's healed I think I can hit a 450+ close grip bench.  I'd be decently pleased with that.

Also weight dropped by 6 pounds.  The diet is working pretty well.

Here is what I have been doing.

Breakfast  - two burritos that are made up of 3 whole eggs, turkey bacon, and some cheese.  That's 3 whole eggs all told, not in 1 burrito.

Lunch - Met-Rx and 2 tbs of peanut butter

Snack - same as lunch

Dinner - Usually some lean meat and a big salad.

Snack - same as the other snack

I have used this diet another time and it works great.  Takes a few weeks to get used to, but after about two weeks the fat really starts to come off at a nice clip.

Be a real man and own it

I'm going to touch on one topic today, and it's a sensitive one.  But I am fucking appalled at this story.

This piece of shit asshole is responsible for killing 7 babies and making millions of dollars for years doing this kind of shit.  I hope this asshole that killed these helpless children gets ass raped for 10 hours a day in his fucking cell while having his head shoved in a shit filled toilet.

This is one of those days when I feel disgusted that this is the world I live in.  Where people fight over a politician getting shot, but support the slaughter of babies on a daily basis.

Fuck you.

I raised my niece when I was 17 years old until I was 20 and my parents adopted her.  Abandoned by her mother, my sister, because of drug addiction.  I love her like my own.  Taking care of the innocent and helpless is what a real man does.  Period.

So I don't give a pass to people who say "well I was young a stupid" because I was young and stupid, and knew the right thing to do was to raise my niece.

So I am going to rant a bit about us as males.

First off, don't have sex with a girl unless you're willing to raise a child.  That's right asshole.  Everytime you have sex you take the chance of getting that woman pregnant.  And if you do, man the fuck up and be a father.  Being a father is one of the greatest joys of living life.  Shunning that responsibility, abandoning that responsibility, or trying to talk that woman into an abortion makes you lower than dog shit and a fucking coward.  Period.  Guys talk about alpha male bullshit and how they run around banging women left and right, and what an alpha male that makes them.  Fuck you.

If you do get her pregnant and you don't marry her you still man the fuck up and take her to her doctors appointments.  Be there for the birth, and pour every ounce of manhood that you have into being the best father you can be.

A real man feeds his family, a real man takes care of his kids, a real man protects and provides.  Banging chics and being a self centered asshole just puts in you there with the rest of the do nothing douche bags of the world.  Guys like that are a dime a dozen and will leave no legacy behind worth remembering.

Most of our problems as a society are related to people not wanting to be responsible.  People almost always have a built in excuse for their fuck ups, rather than wanting to OWN IT.  A real man OWNS his problems, his fuck ups, his responsibilities.  A real man does not shun them, or run from them.  We all are going to make mistakes, some of them colossal.  But a pregnancy is not a mistake.  Giving up bars and drinking and chasing women to leave behind a legacy of being a good father is not a mistake.  That's what a real man does.

Any man that runs from the responsibility of raising a child that THEY helped create is a fucking coward.  And I'd gladly discuss or take that up with him fist to fucking mouth if he takes offense to that.

Yes I'm hot right now.

These kinds of stories should never be told because they should never happen.  They should never happen because men should be real men and own this shit.


That's the hand of a baby that reached out of the womb at 24 weeks.  Babies are born at 24 weeks every year and live.  I do not have a line in terms of weeks as to determine when someone can be declared a human, and who the fuck things they are so powerful that they can?


Doctors kill more people every year than guns.

I'm not going to go too far off on an anti-abortion rant because I doubt we will ever see abortion done away with.  Too many assholes scream about mythical back alley abortions will keep that from happening, and for the most part I admit I am simplifying the issue.  But it doesn't change my rant.

Abortion clinics would go out of business if every man owned up to his responsibilities.  And the world would improve 10 fold.

Real men OWN IT.  Cowards skirt the issue and run from responsibility.

Be a real man.

Rick Hoyt is a real man.........story below with video........

I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay For their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots.
But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.
Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in Marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a Wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and Pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars--all in the same day.
Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back Mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. On a bike. Makes Taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?
And what has Rick done for his father? Not much--except save his life.
This love story began in Winchester , Mass. , 43 years ago, when Rick Was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him Brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.
"He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life;'' Dick says doctors told him And his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. ``Put him in an Institution.''
But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's eyes Followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the Engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was Anything to help the boy communicate. ``No way,'' Dick says he was told. ``There's nothing going on in his brain.''
"Tell him a joke,'' Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a Lot was going on in his brain. Rigged up with a computer that allowed Him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his Head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? ``Go Bruins!'' And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the School organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, ``Dad, I want To do that.''
Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described ``porker'' who never ran More than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he Tried. ``Then it was me who was handicapped,'' Dick says. ``I was sore For two weeks.''
That day changed Rick's life. ``Dad,'' he typed, ``when we were running, It felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!''
And that sentence changed Dick's life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly Shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.
``No way,'' Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren't quite a Single runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few Years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway, then They found a way to get into the race Officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the Qualifying time for Boston the following year.
Then somebody said, ``Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?''
How's a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a bike since he Was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick Tried.
Now they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii . It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud Getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don't you Think?
Hey, Dick, why not see how you'd do on your own? ``No way,'' he says. Dick does it purely for ``the awesome feeling'' he gets seeing Rick with A cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.
This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best Time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992--only 35 minutes off the world Record, which, in case you don't keep track of these things, happens to Be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the Time.
``No question about it,'' Rick types. ``My dad is the Father of the Century.''
And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a Mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries Was 95% clogged. ``If you hadn't been in such great shape,'' One doctor told him, ``you probably would've died 15 years ago.'' So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's life.
Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass. , always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father's Day.
That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.
``The thing I'd most like,'' Rick types, ``is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once.''

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Training - Deadlift

Weight - 244

Hip and Ass Machine - 2 sets of 50 with stack

Strive Squats - 3 sets of 10 to get legs and hips warm

Deadlifts -
225 x 5
315 x 5
405 x 3
455 x 3

500 x 10 Ties PR

Calf Press - 2 sets of 20 with stack

Notes - Always nice to break or tie a PR.  If I had paused again I prolly could have pulled 11 or 12 but I don't like grinding reps and as I preached about, leave a couple in the tank.  No bullshit straps or pausing.

The Meaning of Functional Strength

If you are a lifter and have been on the intarwebs for 15 minutes you might have come across the term "functional strength".  Now I could have named my blog something "hardcore" like "Raging Iron!" or "Death Before Weakness" or "Anarchy and Torture!" or some stupid ass shit like that.  But I didn't because I wanted to redefine something.  I wanted to redefine that stupid ass term "functional strength".

The Death Skull was in the running for blog names but it lost out...

For me, the term is rooted back more than a decade ago when Dino training was a pretty big rage and dudes were doing a lot of sandbag work and odd lifting similar to strongman work in conjunction to their weight training.

At first, Dino training didn't seem like a bad idea.  Sandbag work still a valuable tool and obviously strongman event type training fits any definition of awesome.

However like most decent ideas in regards to fitness or lifting, shit eventually took a wrong turn.

Soon a lot of guys were just doing odd object lifting that had no real measurable merit.  I even made a post once about this a long time ago, where I talked about guys doing lawn mower throwing and picking up toilets.  These guys then made the claim that their strength was more "functional" than barbell strength and dumbell strength.  Which of course, is horse shit.

This was proven quite easily as a friend of mine who had been doing sandbag work invited me over one day to do it with him.  He had been doing sandbag carries and sandbag work for months and was very much looking forward to schooling me in it.  I had done ZERO.

So we pulled his two heavy sandbags into his apartment parking lot and he grabbed one in each hand and took off up and down the parking lot.  I admit, I had nothing to draw from on what was good or bad here so I was impressed with his performance.  I am big on specificity reigning king, so I thought he had me.

When it was my turn I picked up the sandbags and they were decently heavy.  I took off down the parking lot.  Down and back, down and back, down and back, down and back.  I just kept going and going, easily surpassing his number of trips and never really tiring.  Eventually I just set them down out of boredom.

After we were done we sat on the curb and my friend revealed to me that he thought because he had been training for these sandbags for months, that he would easily best me.  I admitted I thought so too.  However his barbell and dumbbell strength were far below what mine were, and I was still doing sprints and such a few times a week, so my conditioning wasn't bad either.  My barbell and dumbbell strength along with my conditioning easily carried me past him, even though I was not accustomed to said event.  I didn't need to do lawn mower throws and pick up toilets or sand bags in order to be able to apply my strength to the situation.  My strength and conditioning enabled me to do so.

Fatigue will make cowards of us all

About a year ago Jim Wendler and I kicked off this e-mail discussion that ended up lasting for about 700 replies between the two of us.  The theme of the training talk centered around getting as strong as possible while being in as good a shape as possible, conditioning wise, and the ebb and flow of how that could happen and the balance of it all.  Of course, between training talk was talk of music, women, and shit Jim sent me that is indescribable and not work safe.

Wendler is not work safe

Jim has talked openly about his transformation from gear whore to where he is now, and the fact that he realized that he squatted a grand and that all it was good for, was walking up to the platform and squatting it.  He was fat, out of shape, and felt like shit.  His 1000 pound squat was not functional in any other aspect of his life.

Now other fat powerlifters will say it was, because it served the purpose of squatting a grand.  Which is what he wanted to do.  In that regard, yes, it was functional.  To the rest of his life?  No.  To a REAL sport?  No.  It was useless except for geared powerlifting.  As far as he and I were concerned, it wasn't functional at all.

A few years before Jim and I had this conversation I was out of shape as well.  For the first time my wife had asked me to gain sympathy weight with our third child, and boy did I.  I quit all conditioning work I was doing, started eating chocolate chip cookies like Armageddon was around the corner, and soon I was hovering around 280.  I was out of shape, and not very strong.  The heavier I got, the worse I felt.  The worse I felt, the less I wanted to do.  In other words, I got lazy (imagine that!  a fat lazy person!).

I hated it.  I hated feeling like shit.  So after the baby was born, I cleaned up the diet again, started walking, and after I felt good enough started sprinting again.

Eventually I dropped back down to 230 and felt really good again.  I got back into martial arts and realized, just as Jim did, that having strength that was only good on a platform didn't mean a whole lot to me since well, that wasn't that big of a part of my life.  And being out of shape and feeling like shit wasn't worth any total to me.

So the phrase "fatigue will make cowards out of us all" rang loudly in my ears.  This applies across everything from athletic events to defending yourself or your loved ones.  It won't matter if you can bench press 600 pounds to the 175 pound guy that will whip your ass into oblivion because you're gassed after throwing 3 punches that he easily dodged.  Your 700 squat won't matter to that running back that still feels fresh in the 4th quarter when your fat ass is gassed and can barely get off the field.

Your strength is not applicable when you are a sad sack of shit conditioning wise, if you ever need it for more than a second or two.  The 500 pound highly conditioning squatter is stronger than the 700 pound fatigued squatter in a head to head athletic competition.

Strength, without the ability of application of said strength, is about as useful as tits on a boar.  Again, my definition of application means more than picking something up one time or waddling up to the squat rack.  If you run 2 hills and throw the fuck up, who cares what you squat?  You don't squat that shit while you're blowing chunks do you?

With that said, you don't have to be a marathon runner.  Strength is still 1a and conditioning 1b.  If you take a highly conditioned weak guy, and make him stronger he will get faster.  This has been proven countless times.  It's a true reversal of the other problem.  A guy that is muscularly weak, relatively speaking, demands more from the aerobic capacity of his body.  When he gets stronger, moving his mass through space becomes easier, thus he/she gets faster and the demands on the aerobic system are lessened as well.

Your strength and conditioning methods should work hand in hand, as a complimentary mechanism to each other.  There is always going to be a pendulum swing in one way or the other, depending on your goals.  You can't be in peak condition and also be at your strongest that you are capable of, and vice versa.  So you have to decide where the happy medium is, if having the best of both worlds is your goal.  This will vary from individual to individual.

What Constitutes Strong

When Jim and I came up with the standards for "What Constitutes Strong" I wasn't surprised to see that the butthurt about those standards was even stronger.

Those standards were put in place because of the regarding bit above.  We talked about being able to squat 500 for 20 and pull 500 for 20 while also being able to chin with 100 extra pounds for reps, because all of those things require you to be in shape.  So of course the fat guys complained about the high reps and the chins and the skinny weak guys brought up strength to bodyweight ratio.

We didn't give two shits about either.

It was our standards and we liked em for what they represented.  Can you imagine what the guy that could squat 500 for 20 and deadlift the same, that could also chin with 100, dip with 200, and clean and press 315 would look like?

He'd be lean and massive as hell.  And his conditioning would be top notch.  So the numbers were picked were not arbitrary.  They were by design.  They served a purpose.  They were functional because of the conditioning aspect that would be taken into account into reaching them.

Functionally Strong

So when I say functional strength, I don't really care about standing in one spot and moving something heavy.  This is great, and I am not downplaying it as a FEAT of strength.  But I am more impressed with a Vernon Davis or a Georges St. Pierre.  Guys who are strong, but apply that strength to a skill that also requires a great degree of conditioning.

This is what being functionally strong is to me.  No lawn mowers or toilets required.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff

Had a discussion about training philosophies earlier this week and I want to expound  a little on what I've talked about before and some of the reasons behind it.

Planned Deloads - I don't believe in them.  As I've mentioned before, lifting heavy is a very mental issue for me and when I take weight off the bar it messes with me mentally.  Second, why do you have a planned deload built in?  This is how I view training.  The more consistent you can be in your training, and the more weeks you can stack together of productive consistent training, the faster progress will be and the faster you will arrive at your goals.  To me, a planned deload is a throw away week.  "I'm going to train hard for 2 or 3 weeks then take a week off."  Yes I understand the concept behind it, but I don't buy it.  Sorry.  I also trust my instincts on these things after more than 2 decades of this crap and my opinion is, to train hard enough to illicit strength/size gains then recover.  Recovery doesn't have anything to do with sore muscles either.  That's a whole nuther discussion.

Leaving two reps in the tank - For the big lifts, this has been like finding the holy grail for me at this point in my training life.  I used to grind lifts and go all out on every exercise.  Now I save at least a rep, but usually two, in the tank for the big lifts.  Bench I might get closer to failure however it's not difficult to recover from a hard bench set.  Either way, I like to feel better after a workout, not beat down.  This has been a good motto to live by as well.

On the flip side of that, if you're a young guy and are craving size and wanting to fill out your frame then go ballz out.  Train as intensely as possible.  I've done both high volume and high intensity and I can say without a doubt that high intensity coupled with medium to high reps will put size on a skeleton.  Especially combined with a lot of quality food.  The problem is, most people don't like or want to train this way.

So when you stack it all together what I am getting at is this...

  • Train hard, but leave a few reps in the tank on the big lifts.  Allow room for progression there.
  • Stack together as many quality training weeks as possible.  
  • When it's time to "deload" don't plan it.  Just take some time off.  If your training is dialed in then this shouldn't happen that often.  
  • Figuring out your recovery threshold will take some time.
  • Everyone is different so all of these variables means different things to each person.  
It's been great to catch up on movies again.  I go through phases where I don't watch shit for a long time and then I find that I have missed a bunch of stuff and I want to catch up on.  I have The Wire coming on Netflix and everyone keeps telling me how awesome it is.  This could be dangerous because there are 5 seasons and when I get into a show like that I will stay up day and night watching it.

I saw this interview with Bart Scott last night.  Man I couldn't stop laughing.  


With that said, I hope the Steelers pound the Jets so hard in the ass that afterwards you couldn't bottom them out with Shaq's arm.  Rex Ryan is a douche and so is Dirty Sanchez.  

I think I'm being smarter than ever in regards to dealing with my injuries.  I'm not running on my plantar fascitis, I'm not pressing heavy on my elbow (Kroc's recent tricep tear scared the hell out of me as well), and I am just squatting light on my adductor.  In years past I would plow through this shit.  This time I'm doing what is right and rehabbing correctly.  

Since I have off for Martin Luther The King Day, I feel it's only appropriate that I put up a video dedicated to him.  

Train for strength.  Period.  When I was younger I didn't fully understand how important this was.  It doesn't matter if you are a bodybuilder or MMArtist or rugby guy.  Training for strength should be at the top of your training priorities list.  I've had guys ask me if it's gay to train for looks.  Yes, it fucking is.  Form without function is Jersey Shore douche bag feaux-hawk hair bullshit.  Strength has real life application across the board in every physical activity you do.  If you get bigger through volume and light weight bullshit, you will not have functional strength.  And what is that?  The ability apply your strength in a real world situation.  I have known some jacked dudes that couldn't do 5 chin ups or squat 350.  I'm talking 220+ guys that couldn't overhead press 135.  Yes, I have known quite a few of these guys.  Make your function create your form.  Get strong, get in shape, and eat 2 or 3 solid meals a day with a few healthy snacks.  It's really that simple.  

Short and sweet today.  As noted, I'm off so I'm going to play some Black Ops and probably train later today.  

Sunday, January 16, 2011

P.M. Training

Barbell Shrugs - 225 x 20, 315 x 20, 405 x 20,20,20,20,20,20 = 120 total

Decline Sit Ups - 5 sets of 20

Notes - Just a little PM session since I haven't been able to do my conditioning.  I am going to start training everyday more than likely for a while to really push my conditioning up through fast paced lifting.  I did this session in about 25 minutes.  Moving super fast.  

Training - Squats

Weight - 244

So I went in today and squatted just because I felt like it.

Strive Squat Machine - 5 sets of 20 up to the whole stack

Pause Squats -
155 x 5
245 x 5
300 x 5 sets of 3  These felt good.  Adductor is doing better.

Db Shrugs - 6 sets of 20 with the 100's

Notes - Felt good man.  The adductor is healing up.  I think I might be able to squat heavy again in 3-4 weeks.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Training - Back and Biceps

Weight - 244

Low Cable Rows - half stack x 20, stack x 20, stack+45 x 12

Lat Pulldowns - stack + 15 x 10,8

Rear Delt Machine - Half Stack x 12,10

Seated Db curls - 50's x 3 sets of 10

Notes - I apologize for using so many machines.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Training - Stuff???

Weight - 244

Pec Deck - 4 sets from 20 down to 8
Bench Press Machine - 4 sets down to 6 reps with stack
Upright Rows - up to 135 x 10
rope pushdowns - 4 sets of 10

Notes - Did this workout late last night.  Tired as shit.  Tried to do some overhead db press but it still feels a little achy in that elbow.  I'm not doing anything that bothers that elbow.  I am going to let it completely heal up before I start free weight pressing back in.  When I do, it will be slowly.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Making your strong points...stronger II - Strong from the bottom up

My soapbox on "weak point" training and the bullshit that surrounds it, is that it shouldn't be about training muscles but movement patterns.  And that movement pattern has to essentially be the movement itself or strengthen the pattern at the weakest position.  This is why doing more work on the main lift is generally the best "assistance" work.  Not only that, if you are going to gear your training towards getting stronger and overcoming weaknesses, train them in the least favorable positions.  This is also why I don't call this style of training "weak point" training because that particular term has become focused around making muscle groups stronger for the most part.  And, most people have no idea how to train weak points.

Geared powerlifting methodologies towards training the top part of the movement is generally a complete waste of time for raw guys.  Maximizing top portions of a lift are great for guys who wear supportive equipment that gets you out of the hole or through natural sticking points.  However for guys who don't wear it, it's fairly useless.  Above parallel box squats, 3-5 board presses, etc.  Not really good for anything as far as the majority of raw lifters are concerned.

And let's not get into the whole "CNS" bullshit.  You can't "train your CNS" nor is your CNS concerned with lifting weights.  I've written plenty about this before.  It's "bro science", i.e. bullshit.

The theory behind this version of weak point training is, you need to train these portions of the movement because it makes you stronger in them.  For example I see raw guys doing board presses to strengthen their lockout. 


The majority of guys miss a bench prior to lock out.  So then they say "well I use a 1-board or 2-board to strengthen that area."  

This misses the mark too.  Because of the myotatic reflex when you lower to a board, you're still benefiting from the reflex action in that range.  The range you should be worried about getting stronger in, is right there at the chest, the start of the movement.  The stronger you are off the CHEST, means the more force you will be able to apply through the rest of the range of motion.  In other words, you overcome the sticking point because you are stronger at the area that generates the most momentum to overcome the worst leverage point, i.e. where the transition from chest to triceps take over and then the lockout.  If you can't generate enough momentum for the triceps to finish the movement, it won't matter how strong your lockout is, you will still fail.  

Don't think so?

Ever had someone spot you on bench, and as the weight slows and you know you aren't going to make the lift?  Do they have to pull on the bar hard for you to finish, or can they can do something as little as touch the bar with a finger and you can finish the lockout?  Generally it's the latter.  That slight amount of extra momentum is all that was required.  How much was it?  Not much.  But without that momentum you fail to make the lift.  So generating more force from the very bottom of the lift with greater velocity is what actually powers you through the "sticking points" or "weak points".  Not training at the actual "weak point" itself, like the lockout or training the lockout itself.  

The only caveat with this is the deadlift.  With the deadlift, there is very little myotatic reflex because you are pulling from a dead stop obviously.  Second, when you work the deadlift from angles below the knee, like at mid-shin when you pull off of blocks, the angle of the knee, back, and hip are less favorable than when pulling a regular deadlift off the floor.  This is why for a lot of people they actually pull less weight at the mid-shin height than from the floor.  Pulling right below the knee puts the body back into a more favorable position, and most guys can pull more from there than they can from mid-shin or off the floor.  But that's still a good area to pull from.

A lot of guys think that pulling off of a deficit will immediately carry over to pulling from the floor.  They are generally surprised when it doesn't happen right away.  I found that I was able to get a lot of squatting type motion involved in pulling off of a box, i.e. standing on it.  So when I went back to the floor, the movement felt awkward and I got very little out of it.  I wasn't any stronger in my regular deadlift.

When I pulled from heights where the weight felt more "dead", like at mid-shin, I got immediate carryover to my floor pulls.  Again, the harder the assistance movement was, the easier the main movement became.  The more force you can generate from the hardest portion of the movement, the easier you will glide through the "weak points".

Essentially, you just have to get stronger.  There are no short cuts, no weak point training, no shit like that.  You just have to get stronger in do it with specific means in mind.  Specificity will always reign king no matter what anyone tells you, so make sure when you train to get stronger in the hardest portion of the lift, you use the lift itself or a variation that makes it harder from the start.

Squats -
Pause Squats

Bench -
Paused Bench

T-Shirt Benches - I stole this from Bill Gillespie.  Bring the bar down slowly and touch your t-shirt with the bar as lightly as possible.  Then press it back up fast.  You should barely graze your t-shirt.  This will make you work hard off the chest.

Cambered Bar Benches

Deadlifts -
Block Deadlifts and all pulls below the knees

You notice that the main lifts are listed first?  That's because they should always be the staple, no matter what.  The work you do after that should be enough to strengthen the main lift.  That's it.  That's all.  2 sets of pause squats for 3-5 reps after 8-10 sets of squatting should be enough.  If you want to run a cycle of pause squats only, make it a max of 4 weeks or so.  I've done this with good results.

For bench, always pause the first rep.  Then as your back off sets do 2-3 sets of 5 pausing every rep.  The next week do the cambered bar for 2x5, then the next week do the t-shirt benches for 2-3x5.  Rotate back to the paused benches for 2-3 sets of 5 the next week.

For deads I would pull from a specific height after your regular pulls, or alternate them out.  So pull from the floor for all of your main sets, then pull from a height for 2 sets of 5-8 following that.  Or pull from the floor one week, then from mid-shin or right below the knee the next.  Scott Yard has figured this out to a science.

That's it.  Yes it works.  It's simple and that's why it works.  You don't need special bars or chains or bands or foam or any shit like that.  Train the main lift in a way that makes it harder than the competition lift.  Get strong as a Cape Buffalo in those areas.  Then the main lift is cake.  And then, you can have your cake and lift it too.

:::ba donk splash!:::

Be sure to tip your waiter. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Training - Stiff Legs and misc

weight - 245

Stiff Leg Deadlifts -
bar x 20
135 x 10
225 x 8
315 x 5
365 x 3

405 x 15

Leg Curls - 3 sets of 10

Superset - Glute Bridges/Glute Kickbacks - 3 rounds of 20/15

Notes - Was supposed to do stiff legs last night but was beat.  So I just put it off till tonight and had a decent little session.  Could have done 18-20 with the 405 but just had "15" as a number in my mind when I started so I killed it at that.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Road

Just watched it.  Holy crap that was depressing.  Really well done though.

Spoilers be ahead.........

Totally destroyed me at the end where he went to tell his dad goodbye for the last time.  I was ok up until that point then had a total collapse.  LOL

I completely recommend this flick.

Training - Squatting

Squats - 5 sets of 10 with 225.

Still just rehabbing the adductor.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff

One thing I did in my early years that worked well was to just train to failure, and when I could hit a certain number of reps with a certain weight, add more weight the next time.  I did this for years and I credit it for building most of the mass I built early on.  So for example if you are going to do incline press, you do your warm ups then do 1 top set of 6-8 reps. When you can get 8 with that weight, add enough weight to limit you to 5-6 reps again.  Stay with that until you can get 8.  It's progression in a very simple form but it does in fact work.

Baboons are big on kidnapping and often steal other mothers babies.  Just thought you'd like to know in case you're ever around baboons and happen to have a baby of your own with you.  Be careful.

will steal your shit!

The Thor movie is coming out and I was wondering how much weight that skinny actor would gain to play the part of Thor.  I found his response interesting........
"I put on a lot of weight — I put on about 20 pounds at one point. It was purely eating, eating, eating, working out and working out, trying to sleep as much as you can — that's the other third of the equation. The eating was the biggest thing"

Solid advice.  Something I have preached over and over again.  If you are a skinny guy and want to gain mass, eat and eat and eat and eat.  If you are not a skinny guy and you want to be a certain size, get in shape FIRST.  Then chase the lean mass and bodybuilder stuff.  There is a two fold problem with both of these people.  The fat guy doesn't want to lose any "size" or strength while his calories are low.  Tough shit.  It will happen eventually.  It really all depends on how much you have to lose, and how fat you are.  

The other person is the skinny guy with abs.  If you want more mass, quit worry about your freakin abs for the love of God.  It's the same bullshit as the fat guy, just on the opposite end.  Look at the big picture and what you are after long term.  

It's really that simple.

I know guys that love training philosophies more than training.  The more thought provoking the training methodology the more erect they get.  Doesn't matter if it's witchcraft or not or doesn't really work, they just like complicated programs.  The more jargon involved, the better it is. 

Look, squat and pull once a week or every other week consistently, press and pull once or twice a week, focus on simple progression and be patient.  

Back off sets have been king with me forever.  Work up to something in the 3-5 rep range that still moves at a solid pace, no straining.  Then take off a plate or a 25 or whatever, and rep it out.  That's your assistance work for your main lift.  If you want to get bigger or want to work a certain "muscle group" pick a second exercise and work the muscle.  Don't move the weight.  There is a difference.  Making the muscle work isn't the same as moving the weight.  Don't confuse the two.  One has to do with hypertrophy and the other has to do with strength, in layman terms.  So benching is about moving the weight.  If you want to have a bigger chest, go do some flyes or pec-deck or incline db.  But leave the ego out, pick a weight that lets you work the muscle.  In other words, FEEL the muscle group moving the weight.  Go look at the mass gains made by Shelby Starnes in the last year.  He did that with machines and focusing on the muscle doing the work.  Know your battles and how to win them.

I love the new As I Lay Dying CD.  Well, it's not really new, but the last one they made.  Solid work.

solid work on last album

Your training log is important.  I mean duh.  Check it before each training session and see what you need to hit.  Seems simple enough but lots of guys walk into the gym with no idea as to what they need to hit for that workout.

I am not anti-supplement, but I am not really pro-supplement either.  With that said, if you want a simple fat loss diet that works well, drink 4 MRP's a day and eat two solid meals.  I usually go with breakfast and dinner, then have 4 MRP's with two tablespoons of peanut butter with each.  This WORKS.  Buy 80 packs, don't cheat, and run it for 20 days.  You will be leaner.

I hate the snow.  It snowed all night and will snow 5 inches over the next day.  Snow serves no purpose other than to drive a virtual javelin into my taint.  That's how much I hate it.

You know why this Snow Leopard is pissed off?  Yeah, because of the snow!

If you sustain an injury, after the pain subsides enough for you to train again use THAT movement to rehab it. If it's an overuse injury DO NOT use that movement.  Simple enough, right?

I love people who do shit like say "don't drink milk, we aren't meant to drink it" then inject test and GH and all sorts of other things into their body in LARGE amounts.  Quite comical.

Drink this.  It's fine.  Unless you're lactose intolerant that is.

Ok let's just get this out there right now.  The Incredible Hulk is the strongest super hero in either Marvel or DC.  Yes I know Red Hulk beat him, however Hulk smartened up and beat him later.

Hulk is strongest!  

Even with all of the injuries and shit right now, I'm very motivated.  I think pushing too hard all year trying to get ready for meets and top single eventually took a toll on me physically and mentally.  Feels good to get back to doing some reps and worrying about how sexy I look, i.e. eating better and doing more conditioning.

Quick movie reviews........

The Hurt Locker - Solid, however it lost some momentum at about the 3/4 of the way spot.

Alpha Dog - Solid as well, and Timberlake was actually really good in it like a lot of people told me.  Sad fucking story, and retarded what people will resort to to make a point or make people "respect" them.

Swingers - I know this was supposed to be a good movie but I couldn't even finish it.  Lame and boring.

Coming up..........The Road and Whiteout.

Hot Babe of the Week!

Bernadett Matassa!

Got nothing left but to pull for the Packers and Pats.  Enjoy your week bitches.  

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Training - Cleans and stuff

Power Cleans -
135 x 3 sets of 5
185 x 2 sets of 5

235 x 10 singles with 10 seconds in between each single.  <- this was fun

Bodyweight Squats - 10 squats for 10 seconds with 10 seconds between each set

Ab Roller - 3 sets of 10

Guess it was 10's today.  I did this for fun and some conditioning since it snowed all night.  And because my adductor is still hurting from when I injured it almost two weeks ago.  I will keep doing light stuff to get it better.  In the meantime the elbow is feeling really good.  No pain at all right now.  So I won't start pressing heavy again for maybe another 3-4 weeks just to give it even more time to heal up.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Training - Back/Biceps

Ok with everything beat to hell I have gone back to my good ol standby of squat/dead 1 day, pushing 1 day, and back/bi work on the other day.  This has been my fave split forever and a day anyway.

Today - Weight 246

T-bars -
1 plate x 20
2 plates x 10
3 plates x 10
4 plates x 10
5 plates x 10
6 plates x 12

Chins -
body x 5
+25 x 5,5
+100 x almost 1

Ez Curl - 115 x 8

Notes - Not a bad session.  Pretty productive and I felt good.  I haven't done chins in a while so it's time to start doing them.  My PR with 100 is 3 reps.  I still haven't beat Wendler....but it's coming Jim.  It's coming.

Videos added.  I apologize for the music.  I was training with two hot chics and they don't like the usual shit I listen to when training.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Making your strong points...stronger

One train of thought for years now in athletic training and powerlifting, etc is to concentrate on your weak points.

In theory this sounds great.  You attack whatever area is holding you back, make it stronger, and then like magic your lifts/performance improves.

It sounds great in theory, but in reality it doesn't always work that way.

First off, most guys don't know how to diagnose what their weak points really are.  They just assume because they have read a thousand times that they have weak hamstrings/glutes/triceps/vastus medialis whatever, that those are the areas they should be hitting.

I fell into this trap as well.  I read that hell, you don't really need quads for squatting.  It's all hips and hamstrings and glutes.  Who knew that you didn't needs quads for squatting????  Shit, all this time I thought that squats would put quads on a skeleton.  Now I know!

So I quit doing quad work, did box squats instead.  After all, if you want to know what your squat is just add 90 pounds or whatever to what you can box squat, and there you go.  Seems easy enough!

Oh except that quads are king for squats.  Anyone that tells you quads are useless for squatting should immediately be ignored and never listened to again.  Period.

When I went back to squatting, I couldn't squat the Sunday paper.  Sheesh, maybe because my quads had weakened because I lived on the box like a retarded monkey for 6 months, all the while expecting my raw squat to improve?  Yeah, that was smart.

I was told it was weak hamstrings that were holding my deadlift back.  Well I'm a shitty deadlifter, and I was willing to sell my soul to the devil to deadlift more than 600.  I was pulling a measly 5-something at the time, despite the fact that I was decently strong in most other areas.  After months of busting hump at good mornings and eventually working up to 425 and 455 for reps, I went back to deadlifting, and low and behold I couldn't get 500 off the floor.

Let me spell something out that most guys don't really talk about or will argue with you to the hilt about.

Weak point training is bullshit.  It's a complete myth.

If you don't wear equipment, your weak points are always going to be your weak points in relation to your strong ones.  Duh.  Sounds straight forward, however just search for "weak points" and "powerlifting" on Google and see the kind of bullshit that gets spewed by some people.

If you want to get stronger...get stronger.

Weak point training is fools gold.

Pick 6-8 compound exercise that get you stronger from top to bottom and get stronger on them.

Deadlifts and Deadlifts off of boxes
Rows of various kinds
Chins of various grips
Overhead Pressing of various kinds

When you can squat 500x20 the truth is, you don't have weak points.  Sure, something could be weak relative to something else, but I don't know of anyone who squats 500x20 that is going to benefit from worrying about other bullshit.  Do you?  No.

There isn't any special weak point training that is going to take your lifts up to elite status.  When you look at the strongest raw guys they do basic shit and go after the main lifts.  Some may say they are at the top because of genetics, and I completely believe that to be true.  However I also think there is a reason why those guys rise to the top as well.  They attack the basics for long periods at a time and don't worry about bullshit like bands and dynamic workouts and foam and all sorts of other witchcraft and horseshit.

I know and understand the frustration that comes with a lack of progress.  The problem there is, is that most guys need something in the way of gains to at least make them believe in a program or theory.  They aren't patient.  I had to learn this lesson as well.

What finally got my dead up to the 650 range?

Deadlift and pulling from mid-shin.  Basic shit.

My squat?  I've always loved squatting so just sticking with the squat got it up over 600, no belts no wraps.

After my pec minor issues were resolved my bench went right back up into the 400's simply because I could bench again.  If my elbow heals up I know I will hit 450 this year close grip if I can stay injury free.

I don't do anything to work weak points, because that would take away from the time and effort I put into trying to get stronger on the big lifts.  You can't be good at everything, so get really awesome at a few things.  Make your strong points even stronger, and the rest will take care of itself.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Awesome business opportunity

I have a great business idea.  Tell me if you think it's legal or illegal.....

I am going to sell t-shirts.  You go to my t-shirt site, and pick out the t-shirt you like.  A hot chic will deliver this $500 t-shirt to your house where she may or may not have sex with you (up to her after you give her the $500 for the purchase of the t-shirt).

No returns.  If you want another "t-shirt" just order a new one.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Thoughts about life, training, crap and stuff

Rick Hussey of Big Iron Gym passed away this past week.  I'm not a gear whore nor do I appreciate or like geared lifting, however Rick made sure his guys got strong without gear as well and used some very basic, proven training methods up there.  So I always appreciated the things he did.  He will be missed throughout the powerlifting community.

The 'Reem tore through the K-1 tourney.  That guy is pretty much unstoppable at whatever it is he decides he wants to do.  And he's a self made guy.  He's not a guy that was tearing through MMA at the beginning of his career.  He's gotten better throughout it.  I really don't care about the roid accusations.  Everyone from Sonnen to Carwin to Sherk uses.  I don't care.  It doesn't bother me and never has.  When Wandy was tearing through Pride I loved it.  I didn't care or give two shits whether or not the guy was juicing.  Good for him, and bad for people who look down on guys who will do anything to compete at the pinnacle of their sport.  Especially when you are entertained by it.  It's not like guys can just take shit, then not train or show up for camp or do all of the things required to still be the best.  If anything, I have found that guys that use are usually the hardest workers and most dedicated to their craft.  That's because they will do anything to be the best.  It's the naturally gifted that tend to be the laziest it seems.

Fly Like a G6 - Worst fucking song I've ever heard and easily the worst song of 2010.  For me, possibly all time.  For the life of my I can't figure out how or why people will to listen/buy this shit.  

Hot cocoa mixed in with coffee = delight

Playoffs are here.  Suck it Raiders, Broncos, and Vikings.  I also hate the Falcons but somehow they ended up as the #1 seed in the NFC.  I don't think they will make it to the big dance however.  And the playoff seeding has to change.  I don't care what anyone says.  You should never be blessed with a home playoff game with a losing record.  This is just absurd.  And people can say it's knee jerk, but it's not.  We've had plenty of years where teams with 10-6 and 11-5 records sat at home while 8-8 teams made it in.  That's stupid and ridiculous.  This is a simply solution.  You need to win your division with a better than .500 record. If you are 8-8 or worse and a division winner, you do not qualify for the playoffs and a team from another division that would have been the last wild card slot, and everyone that was below that division winner moves up one.  Easy.

I have been thinking lately about trying some strongman stuff.  Just for a change of pace and fun.  Strongman kind of incorporates strength in with endurance (well, the WSM stuff does) which is really more of my cup of tea.  We'll see.  I think it would be fun.

Back in movie watching mode again!  Some quick reviews.......

The Town - Awesome.  See it.

The Story of Anvil - Very well done, and very depressing if you are a music guy.  Depressing if you aren't too.  God bless those guys.

Inception - Finally saw it.  Wasn't as good as everyone made it out to be, and didn't need to watch it 10 times, but it was incredible solid and worth a watch.

Some interesting discussion I've had this week on muscular development vs strength.  Matt Kroc touched on this a few weeks back as well.  Look, if you want to get bigger, get bigger.  You need to decide if that is the goal.  If it is, you can't be a powerlifter first.  Powerlifting is NOT the best way to get as big as you can get.  It's just not.  I've done every style of training you can think of, and good ol bodybuilding wins out on the hypertrophy front.  There is a reason that bodybuilders train the way that they do.  Training to failure in a medium rep range as heavy as you can wins.  Period.  This isn't even a discussion anymore.  If you want to get big really fast, that's the best path.  Conversation over.  If you want to get as strong as you can in the 1 rep max mold, lots of singles, doubles, triples, and some 5's will work.  However you aren't going to get a lot bigger training this way.  Especially in comparison to the other way.  Food is still the main driver.  However if you are training low rep for power and strength and eating a shit load, you're just going to get fat as hell.  Training high rep/high intensity/high frequency will get you the biggest in the fastest possibly manner.  Training the big 3 once per week with low reps is not the best way to get as huge as possible.  So remember what you are training for.  With that said, training for strength will give you SOME size, and training for growth will give you some maximal strength.  Doing 1 for the other isn't optimal however.  So train accordingly.

Those of you who don't spank your kids...shame on you bitches.  Is there anything worse than spoiled rotten ass kid running around in a store, talking shit to his parents, acting like a complete ass hat?  No, and it's your fault.  Spankings go a long ways.  And don't argue, you won't convince me otherwise.

I wrote a novel two years ago.  Am now working on part II.  I love to write (duh) and I have had all of these stories in my head since I was a kid.  My wife, bless her, talked me into writing the first one a few years ago and it was the best thing I ever did for myself.  It's been a great outlet for me.

I am getting my first tat.  I'm not sure when, but it's going to happen.  It will be big too.  If I'm going to get a tat, I'm not getting no little shit that no one can see.  I am thinking on my forehead.  I'm kidding.  Something across the shoulder/back/chest wrap around region.

Anyone who reads my blog and likes it please click on the google adsense like crazy.

I'm really toying with this shirt idea.  To sell some t-shirts but I want to get something cool done.  I will wait until I can pour more time into it.

I think I'm more beat up overall right now than I've ever been.  It's not because of anything I've done wrong really, it just comes with the territory.  I have plantar fascitis which just jumped up on me.  I didn't increase my running suddenly or anything like that.  I blew out my adductor on a squat day where I felt just fine.  My elbow tendinitis has been going on for years.  So.....I can't run....can't squat or pull heavy.....can't press.  That pretty much covers the training bases.  Agitated?  Yes.  Depressed?  No.  I will rehab the adductor, as I have many times.  I am being good to my elbow because I want to bench 450 in the next year, and being stupid won't let that happen.  I have dealt with plantar fascitis before, so I know with some rest it will eventually go away.  Don't let these kinds of things ruin your everyday life.  Anytime you have a pendulum swing in one direction, it swings just as hard back the other way.  I have found this to be true over and over again.  So I don't sweat it that much.

I hope everyone had a happy and safe new years!