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.  


  1. >I'm talking 220+ guys that couldn't overhead press 135

    you serious

  2. Yes. Struggled with 95 pounds on seated barbell press.

    Another guy that used to come into this same gym was built like a brick shithouse. Probably 5'6" but 205 or so shredded. Super thick chest and big ass shoulders. Struggled to decline press 185 for 10.

    My friend and training partner Joey was 6'1" and 255 LEAN. Could barely squat 315 for 10 and could only bench 275 for around 8.

    I've known a ton of these types through the years. It's because they had good genetics in terms of looking the part, but never put in the work to actually BE the part.

    Ken Leistner has some similar stories about some bodybuilders.

  3. Paul,

    would love to see you write an article detailing you weight training/nutrition/conditioning "commandments." Any thoughts?

  4. As always this blog is the best on the net! I really appreciate you posting your information. I have been stuck at 220 for a long time and by reading your advice on weigh gain/loss I have been able to manipulate my weight with relative ease, regardless of the program I am using. Thanks man!

  5. With regards to deloads what would you advise in terms of 5/3/1? I have quite a physical job so I think I'd start to hit a wall in terms of fatigue in the 4/5th week if I skipped the deload. Obviously this would be about halfway through a cycle and would be inconvenient. Thanks.

  6. Jez -

    Have many days are you training a week? If you have a physical job that does matter.

    I can train twice a week and progress if I am doing all of my hills and sprints and MMA/bag/boxing work.

    Anonymous - My commandments are pretty simple.

    Lift, run, bang. Adjust accordingly.

  7. Paul...all that hate for the jets?

    Im loving it, being a Jet fan all my life and the suffering I have been through with this team the horrible dissapointments Im eating this up and as a fan base we deserve some success, as our team is the redheaded stepchild of sports in NY.

    Lest we forget how much of a douche Belldick is, aka beingour head coach for 45 min and resigning, being caught cheating, and barely being a good sport when Mangini trounced his ass while he was in NY.

    Heres to a Bears Jets superbowl!

    PS the look on Sal Palantonios face was classic in the Bart Scott interview

  8. Paul, this is my first time commenting, but I love the blog. As with anyone, there are a couple things here and there I disagree with, but overall you offer very solid, no-nonsense, no-frills advice. More people would do well to follow it.

    And you're gonna love The Wire. It takes an episode or two to figure out all the characters, but after that I was completely hooked. I have yet to watch anything close to it in quality.

    -Todd Malone

  9. MTA - As a life long Saints fan with the Chiefs as my adopted team, I feel your pain. I know the sweet taste that comes with your team getting there now, and it's hard to describe.

    The Jets are just mouthing off too much for me right now. Bart Scott has been that way since his days in Baltimore however. But he's always good for an interview. I am happy for you as a fan, so enjoy it dude.

    Todd -

    I don't pretend to know everything, or anything really, just sharing what I can.

    I'm really anxious about the wire. I've heard so much good stuff about it that I doubt I will be disappointed.

  10. 2 things - The Wire is excellent - this is coming from a Brit (mind you half of the good actors on The Wire are British ..... well 2 !)
    Coming to America is one of the best films ever - no doubt.
    I'm trying to take some of your advice and drop a few pounds (big lifts then circuit "assistance work") - we'll see how it goes.
    Great work on here as usual.

  11. Just push back from a the table a little as well and it will all come together.

  12. Paul,

    Meant to thank you for posting up that JPS article a month back. Pushed the usual 7 day rotation out to 10 days and the gains are taking off again in a very big way. Conditioning whenever there are too many consecutive 'off' days. Your comment about training rested, fast and strong is damn good advice.

    - Big (unabashed sumo practitioner)

  13. Bigs -

    It's amazing how fast the gains come when you just pay attention to recovery. Walking into the gym feeling strong and well rested results in big gains. It's a secret however, so don't tell anyone.

  14. As a Steeler fan, I am hoping that the defense shows up and Sanchez is battered and beaten. I a happy the Jets won as I think the Pats would have been MUCH harder for the Steelers!

    Strength is #1. No doubt about long as it is functional strength and you can run hills, carry shit for distance, etc. without dying. Being able to bench 1000 or squat 1000 and not walk across the gym or up a flight of steps without stopping is BULLSHIT strength. That is just as bad as not being able to overhead press 135 or squat 350. Despite my training to lose weight now (down to 215...goal is under 200) and the crazy amount of cardio and circuits I do, I still train for strength twice a week: squat/deadlift, bench, pull-ups in the 5-3-1 set-up similar to what you laid out recently. Strength is king!

    Training for looks ala Jersey Shore? Hey, if that is your thing, cool. Go do it. But remember, your ticker has to pump blood through that 250 pounds of muscle...lean or not. This means you gas quicker...this means when the zombies attack, they are eating the muscled up dudes quicker cause they will be easier to catch...


  15. Fuckin zombies.....

    I'm actually going to write about that term "functional strength" soon Rick.

  16. Functional Strength will be awesome coming from you. Too many weinies have wrote about it, and when you read it they are squatting with a sandbag on a stability ball...what the fuck???

    My opinion is you get strong in the weight pit, you get functional on the field. Meaning: you need to run hills, carry 100-pound bags for distance, clean and press a 135 pound stone as many times as you can in 30 minutes, carry 6-8' logs on your shoulders as you walk through the woods (stepping over and around fallen limbs, brush, etc.), do weight room circuits, hit heavy bags, stretch, roll a bit, etc.

    I know you like to do circuits some times Paul, here is what I did yesterday:

    -Squat: 225 x10
    -Pull-ups: x10, all from dead hang.
    -Deadlifts: 255 x10 on 2" smooth solid axle: x10
    -Plyo-push ups: x10
    -20 second sprint on 10% grade treadmill, 8mph.

    Average time was 2 mins, 25 seconds. Rest 2 minutes, repeat 5 times total.

    Finish with 5 sets of 5 kneeling jumps holding a 25 pound sandbag and 5 sets of windshield wipers.

    My lungs are still burning. Afterwards 4 cords of redoak fire wood showed up. So, I spent the next 2 hours hauling loads from the pile to my garage via wheelbarrow and stacking it. It was about 17 degrees and I was soaked through my hoodie and jacket. I wondered how a 1000 pound squatter would have done working to keep their family warm...


  17. He would have combusted Rick. That's hard work.

  18. Paul,

    I've been following your blog for a few months now and enjoying it - good stuff.

    I've been training about 15 months (45 y/o now) and by the time my initial beginner gains were done I was chubby and feeling sluggish. Your hammering away on the importance of good conditioning helped me decide to shift my focus for a while to conditioning and slow fat loss. I've dialed in a sustainable schedule that's working for me, including hill sprints 2x/8 days and maintenance lifting 2x/8 days, and I'm feeling great. I'm going from 210 to 180-185, another 12 pounds to go and I can start progressing on strength again, this time with conditioning built into the schedule. (I'm far from strong, but even I can press 135.)

    It's valuable to hear the perspectives of someone who's been training for so much longer, just wanted to say thanks.

    I look forward to hearing your take on the Wire. I've watched it twice through, on DVD, and loved it. I lost some sleep though since I had trouble turning it off, so watch out.

    Mike O.

  19. Mike - Great to hear stories like this. Keep up the good work.

    And I don't mind losing sleep over a show if it's really good. I actually enjoy that a lot. Vegging out in the bed most of the weekend even on less sleep can be very good for me.

  20. Just a note, Paul, to let you know that I am super glad I found your blog. Keep up the great work, your approach is simple, but amazingly a breath of fresh air in training!

  21. Thanks man. Better than a methane filled room I suppose.

    Thanks for the compliments john!

  22. Training 6 days a week at the moment but it's essentially 3/4 sessions split into halves. I found that doing shorter but more frequent sessions allows me to stay fresher. Probably only training for 20-25 mins a day.

  23. Yup I'm down with that. In and out in 15-20 each day can feel really good and get you in better condition fast.

  24. i've read your posts that recovery is not just a matter of sore muscles, that fatigue isn't down to cns, not planning deloads, etc. how about some more on issues like fatigue and recovery? thanks.