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.


  1. I appreciate you sharing that, Paul. Between a death in my family yesterday and some friend issues, that's something I needed to hear right now.

  2. Sorry to hear about the loss Chad. :(

  3. 1. The Commodores are awesome.

    2. Try cossack squats to stretch the adductors.

    3. Losing people you are close to is rough. Sorry to hear about your friend. I don't know what I would do if I lost a friend like that.

  4. The Commodores are awesome J. You gotta have something to listen to to romance a woman with too. If your chic gets turned on by listening to Slayer, well she's prolly batshit crazy and you better watch your junk.

    cossack squats are exactly what I do.

  5. Nice writeup about your friend.

  6. Yes, touching stuff about your friend Marty Cox. Sounds like he was a real good guy, and had a big influence on some of your early life decisions Paul.

  7. He did Geoff. Like I said, best guy I have ever known.

  8. Paul,
    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR POSTING THIS!! You have no idea what it means for me to know that Marty has been thought about and not forgotten!!!I have posted this link on my notes page on facebook and posted a note about the blog with 2 pictures.
    You are an angel. It just really blessed me to read this and let it soak in that my brother meant SO MUCH to you!!!
    God Bless,

  9. As I noted Sherrel, I don't think a day has gone by since he was killed that I don't think about him, and what a friend he was to me. Marty was a very special human being and once in a lifetime friend.

    I'm glad I was able to benefit from his wisdom and love and will always remember the life lessons he taught me.

    Thanks for posting it Sherrel. :)