Sunday, February 27, 2011

Training - Traps

Weight - 235

Shrugs -
225 x 20
315 x 10
405 x 5
500 x 5
585 x 5,5,5

Strip set - 500x10 -> 405 x 10 -> 315 x 10 -> 225 x 10 -> 135 x 10

Face Pulls - 2 x 30

Notes - Tired as hell.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Training - Back/Biceps

Weight - 236 pounds

T-bar Rows -
1 plate x 30
2p x 10
3p x 10
4p x 10
5p x 10
6p x 16

Pulldowns -
3 sets of 8 with the whole stack+15.  2 sets of 6 with stack+15

Ez Curl - 115 x 12

Notes - Just an ok session.  Falling into that 80% of "just getting the work in".

Random thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff

Diet and nutritional bullshit drives me crazy now.  Holy shit, the macro-partitioning dissection of food has gotten to a degree that makes me want to bitch slap about well, everyone that vomits this bullshit at me.  Leave it to bodybuilders, a narcissistic bunch of over obsessing about everything group, to take dieting and eating to a whole new level of fucking stupid these days.  If you plan on stepping onto a stage then hire one of these diet gurus.  Sure.  But the truth is, guys today don't look any more shredded than they did in the 90's.  And yet I've never seen such obsessing over carbohydrate timing and refeeds and certain particular kinds of whey and blah blah fucking blah.

The majority of dudes and chics that read my blog probably aren't going to step up on a stage, pour salad dressing all over themselves and flex in front of people.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, I actually do respect the amount of hard work and discipline that bodybuilders put into their craft.  But unless you plan on competing in a show, you do not need to worry about these OCD eating philosophies.  But even some comments on my blog have me worried.  You don't eat low carb to gain mass.  Period.  End of story.  Carbs are the fucking machine behind gaining mass.  Protein and carbs.  The repair process requires protein but the energy source used in it, is driven by carbs.  If you've ever had surgery, you might think about afterwards, how much you craved candy, cake, pasta, whatever.  That's because the body needs to heal, and it needs energy to heal.  It's too much damn work to break down fat for energy, and your body is an efficient machine.  So where is it going to get this energy?  Glycogen, the same fuel source it uses for lifting too.  Olive oil and nuts and fucking flax seed blah blah blah, yeah that's great and you need it or lack it, but a low carb diet is never going to build mass like a high carb diet will.  Fact.  FACT.

No one built mass with this as their diet staple....

If you want to lose bodyfat, just take in fewer cals than you are using each day.  Get in conditioning 3-4 times a week and get IN SHAPE.  The rest will take care of itself.  If you want to lower carbs, fine.  You will feel like shit.  If you want to lower cals overall but keep carb intake medium to high, it will still work.  Yes it will.  Getting lean is still only about calories in vs out.  That's it.  This carb hating bullshit has gotten on my last damn nerve.  I also love fat guys who are "carb sensitive".  I wonder if they have bad PMS too?

Ok enough food ranting....maybe.

I am working on a 5/4/3/2/1 back off spreadsheet with some percentages based on my own lifting over the years.  More than likely it will be a 4 week cycle that also figures in your estimated max throughout the cycle. This I find handy because I want to know if my programming is in fact making me stronger.  When you pull sub-max singles you're not always aware of that, which is why back-offs have been my bread and butter for so long.  That's where the real strength is built at I believe.  In getting REP PR's.

Ok so my elbow problems were all related to my stinkin mattress.  I guess that's what I get for keeping a mattress twice as long as you're supposed to.  Everyday the elbow gets a little better.  Here is hoping for a 405 incline and 450 bench in the next few months once I'm completely healed up.

Squatting sucks right now.  I hate that.  More than anything, when my squatting is going good I feel like everything is right in the world.  The grass is greener, the snow is whiter, the dog shit you eat at work doesn't taste as bad.  I know it's partly because I am limit my cals and because I'm dropping weight, and until I settle in this will happen, but it still doesn't make it any easier.  On a good note, my dead seems to be doing ok.  So I guess that's something.  Whatever.

Man it felt good to do some dips again this past week.  It's been a while with the elbows and all.  It's always funny how much you appreciate a lift when you can't do it for a long time because of an injury.  Maybe I should overhead press again?

Oh how I missed thee...

We sold our sleep sofa yesterday.  It was hilarious watching these two skinny dudes try to pick that thing up.  It's heavy as hell.  I finally helped them move it out.  I heard them saying they had no idea how they were going to get it up all of those apartment steps.  Dayum!

On the flip side of that, our new sofa, a sectional, was delayed so I won't get it until Monday.  This sucks ass. I had been excited all week to get that thing.  Oh well.

Watched season 2 of The Wire.  Super AWESOME.  The second season is what I was expecting from the first season.  The first season was too centric on the main plot with very little else going on around it, and it moved at a snails pace.  I loved season 2 and can't wait on season 3.  Omar has probably become my favorite character.  I expect to be the butt of many gay jokes now, pun intended.

Some more Thy Will Be Done since it was such a big hit.........

And to follow up that awesomeness, a hot babe of the week............

Keira Knightley.  I know, she doesn't fit in with the usual built/great ass/great legs type I put up, but there is something about her I find extremely intoxicating.  Maybe cause she's hot.  I bet that's it.

I'm so pissed off with this weather.  We had multiple days of 60's and 70's and then when I need to get my SRT8 serviced, I can't take it in because of the freaking snow.  I hate the midwest so freaking much.

Men, I'm going to tell you something right now.  I have watched two separate friends undergo divorces in the last couple of years.  If you don't want your woman finding some other guys dick you better be taking care of business.  And I don't just mean in the bedroom.  Women are emotional creatures and we are logical ones.  So stop trying to use logic on something that doesn't need it, or want it.  99% of the time your women doesn't want your logical solution to her problems.  She just wants to vent and talk, and get her emotions out.  If you let her do that, then she will listen to logic.  It's sad to see the people I care about go through this shit but in both cases it was the guy who didn't understand how to cater to the needs of his woman.  Men want to feel respected, and women want to feel loved.  That's the be all end all of it.  And if she doesn't feel loved, she'll find someone else to fill that void for a while.  So don't be pissed off at the guy or her when that happens.  Take a look at yourself and figure out why it is, that YOUR woman went looking else where to fulfill a need.  Beating that guys ass won't fulfill her need either in case you didn't know.  And I can tell you from experience it won't take the pain away or make you feel better either.  The only ass you should be kicking in these circumstances, is usually your own.

Front squats are coming back.  That or the strive squat on non squat days/deadlifting days.  I just feel like I need to be squatting more often right now after coming back from the injury.  I think that'll prolly happen.  Maybe even this week.

Hope all you bitches have a fun and safe weekend.

Thanks peeps.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Training - Press

Weight - 235

Incline Press -
135 x 15
185 x 5
225 x 5
275 x 5
315 x 5
225 x 15

Tit Machine - 3 sets
Upright Rows and Pushdowns - 5 sets of each

Dips - body x 30

Notes - Got a good nights sleep finally and it paid off.  Felt good tonight.  This is the first time I've inclined heavy in forever.  Still got only half as many reps as I used to get (9-10) but it's not bad for a first time out in a while.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The barbell doesn't care about snake oil

Man, it's hard for me to read particular sites sometimes with the bullshit that gets printed and passed as training information.  The reason why is because I remember being a young dude, and wanting size and strength more than anything on the face of the Earth, and really believing in some of the snake oil bullshit that got printed in the muscle comics.

Franco was prolly worth buying a muscle rag for

I don't know what the sales on magazines are anymore, but I haven't bought a muscle comic in forever.  I don't visit but a couple of lifting boards, only a few websites overall, and I know training bullshit when I smell it.

For those of you that can't, the old adage about "too good to be true" is a good rule of thumb to follow.

You want a list of things that will make you big and strong as shit, and proven to do so?

1.  Consistency over a long period under the bar

This is #1 because if you are not slinging iron on a consistent basis week in and out, nothing is ever going to stick.  Everyone knows that guy that goes in and trains hard for a few months then quits for no explanation.  I talk to people I haven't seen in forever and they will always remark "wow, you've kept on lifting weights after all these years.  That's incredible."

Why the fuck is that incredible?

The above is generally my first thought.  Then I realize that the average gym goer signs up right after January 1st and never steps foot back in the gym about 6 weeks from then.

Lifting to me is part of my life blood.  I will do it until I die.  That's not a "hardcore" thing to say, it's just part of my lifestyle.  No different than anything else in my life that is somewhat ritualistic or habitual.  It's what I do.  It's part of who I am.  It's not #1 in my life.  Not even #4 or #5 really (those are all reserved for believes and people) but it's up there.  I mean, anything top 10 in your life probably has a serious meaning to you.  And unless you decide that you are going to be consistent in your training, everything else you do won't mean shit.  Period.

Lift this about a million times and there you go

2.   Lots of food

This should be obvious but always isn't.  A surplus of food creates an anabolic/growth potential environment.  Simply put, you're not going to get bigger without a nice surplus of calories.  That's a fact.  I don't even care if you're running test/tren/anadrol/var/dbol/deca at max doses.  The calories are the vehicle for everything.

Don't think so?

Years ago the value of a calorie surplus became apparent when I had lowered cals and was dropping weight, and was weak as shit.  I couldn't hit weights at 225 that I used to could hit, and I realized that on the way UP to 240 at 225, I was a shit load stronger than I was at 225 on the way down.  Now this may seem obvious to some, but a lot of people will tell you that you need to gain weight to take advantage of leverages.  And this is true to an extent.  But when you START gaining weight, you'll find the strength increases really sky rocket compared to when your weight levels out.  In fact, you may find that you were hitting the same weights 10 pounds lighter than your weight gain goal, than when you reach it.

In other words, when I am gaining weight, I can hit all the same weights at 245 that I can at 255.  So eventually I figured out, why gain the extra 10?  No need.  On the way up the calorie surplus helps drive the strength gains like a NASCAR driver on meth.

Whether or not you decide to eat clean or dirty, it's the calories that will drive the strength and mass gains.  And for those who are jacking off to "good fats" and shit like that, it's carbs that drive mass gains.  Where do you think the energy for the muscular repair process comes from?  That kind of thing needs a quick energy source, and fats are not it.  And it's glycogen that fuels hard ass training sessions.  Not fats.  I don't care if you "enjoy" eating chicken breast with bell peppers and olive oil.  You're not going to get big or strong on those kinds or diets for the most part.  You need carbs for growth and energy.  Stop buying into the "fat cures all" bullshit that is going around now.

If you're a beanpole this is good and fine, and don't let anyone else tell you otherwise.

3.  Hard ass, balls to the wall training

Volume training is like what fats have become to this whole eating trend.  Overrated.  Volume is great at times, but at some point you're going to have to bear down and put in some bust your ass style work.  I mean heavy-high-rep squats, leg press, and deadlift, rest/pause and 50% sets on upperbody stuff and going for fucking broke on the big movements.  Doing a single and sitting around for 5 minutes might work for some strength gains here and there, but if you are looking to get over a size and strength plateau, then you will eventually have to pay the piper.  If you get big and strong and cruise through workouts, well good for you, you are in the 1% of 1% of guys that lift.  But if you aren't that guy, accept the fact that at some point you're going to have to bust your ass in a way you never have before to get shit moving forward again.

4.  Rest

You grow when you rest.  If you don't sleep enough to allow for growth, you won't.  If your priority is partying all weekend and getting blasted, then right now getting as big and strong as possible really isn't your priority.  When it is, cut that shit out and spend your weekends resting as much as possible instead of acting like a frat boy douchebag.

5.  Anabolics

This is a dirty word to some people, and salvation to others.  Anabolics are proven to get you bigger and stronger.  If you are holier than thou-steroid-users-are-as-bad-as-child-molesters person, obviously this is not an option for you.  If you are a guy that has maxed out everything he could get out of his natural potential but want to see what else is out there, then anabolics might be for you.  Proceed with caution/enter at your own risk and all that shit.  I will tell you this however, if you have low test levels you will have devisions to make (like I did with HRT) regarding what you need to do.  If you're taking your kids to their soccer game in a minivan it's a good chance you do.  Get your blood work done and make decisions from there.

Love em or hate em, they work.

If you just follow 1-4 you can go a hell of a long ways in terms of getting big and strong.  Eat a lot of food, train your ass off, give your body time to recover with good sleep and rest, then go at it again for as long as possible.  This is a proven sure fire time tested shit-thing/way of getting as big and strong as possible.

The bar or your body doesn't give two shits about some special new routine that promises 30 pounds of lean mass gain in 14 minutes.  Getting big and strong, for the less genetically blessed, is a long hard traveled road.  Either stay on it, or get the fuck off.  Fence riding doesn't have award winners.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Training - Squats

Weight - 235

Hip and Ass Machine - 2 x 50 with stack

Squats no belt/no wraps -

135 x 10
225 x 5
315 x 5
405 x 3
455 x 1
500 x 1

Notes - That was it.  To say I felt like ass tonight would be like saying Batman and Joker don't always see eye to eye.  Oh well.  It happens.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Training - Traps

Bodyweight - 236

Shrugs -
225 x 20
315 x 10
add straps -
405 x 10
500 x 5
585 x 5
635 x 3
585 x 8
500 x 10,10,10
405 x 20

Rear Delt Tit Machine - 137 x 20,15,12

Notes - Glad I waited to do this session until today.  I was shot yesterday from staying out Saturday night.  But you have to live a little sometimes.  Diet is working awesome.  Bodyfat is slowly dropping off and I'm adjusting to the low cals and energy levels are starting to come back a little bit.

Here is some more Thy Will Be Done...This is one of my faves

Sunday, February 20, 2011

8 solid metal songs for training

Anthrax - Only

James Hetfield called this the most perfect metal song ever.  There you go.

Pantera - I'm Broken

Lots to pick from out of the Pantera vault.  But I went with I'm Broken rather than Walk or 5 Minutes Alone or Cowboys From Hell.  Also, just take it from me, don't party at Phil's house.....

Metallica - For Whom The Bell Tolls

The first Metallica song I ever heard.

Slayer - Seasons in the Abyss

Everyone always picks Reign in Blood or Angel of Death.  But I like Seasons...

Meshuggah - Bleed

Balls out shit.

As I Lay Dying - Confined

The ending in this song makes me want to fight Vikings.

Thy Will Be Done - Voices Divides

I love this fairly unknown band.  I like everything I've heard by them.

Motley Crue - Shout at the Devil

The heaviest the Crue ever was, and still the best music from my youth.  I wore about a million "Shout" tapes out.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Training - Back/Biceps

Weight - 238

Db Rows - no straps
110 x 15
110 x 5
150 x 20

V-Bar Chins -
body x 5
+25 x 5
+50 x 5
+75 x 5 (video below)
body x 15,10

Ez Curls - 115 x 10

Notes - Not too bad today.  Went weighted on the chins today with limited volume.  75 x 5 was about right I think.

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff

Is there anything worse than going out for breakfast and sitting next to a whole group of 60+ year old cackling hens who are louder than the last Who concert?  Laughing about bullshit that isn't funny, talking about shit no one in the fucking world really cares about, and ruining breakfast for everyone else in the immediate area.  I like my mornings quiet and peaceful.  Yeah I know it's a public place but I thought people understood what the fuck an inside voice was.  I thought maybe it was just me, but then our waitress said "thank God those old women left."

Fuck you too!

One of the best templates I've ever used for getting big and strong is below....I will use it again more than likely real soon.....

Train 3 X a week -

Day 1 - Squat / Dead
Squat - 5/4/3/2/1, 1x10
Block or Romanian Deadlift - 2x5
Abs - 3x10

Day 2 - Bench
Bench - 5/4/3/2/1, 1x10
Db Incline or Flat Press - 2x15
Rows - 6x10
Arms - Optional

Day 3 - Squat / Dead
Deadlift - 5/4/3/2/1, 1x5
Front Squat - 1x5
Shrugs - 1x20

Day 4 - Press
Overhead or Incline Press - 2x10-15
Dips - 1x10 or bodyweight for X number of reps
Chins - same as dips
Arms - optional

This is my usual shit.  Work up to a nice single, then a back off set.  Keep the reps high on the other stuff for hypertrophy or use a shit ton of volume, like 6x6-10.

Big Fish - Great movie in the Forrest Grump kinda mold.  Watched it with the family last night.  If you haven't seen it do so.  If you are close with your dad, don't blame me if you cry at the end.

Don't ever tell women you are going to go out, unless you're 100% committed.  I said last night "we should go out Saturday night" then this morning, I was kinda bleh about it.  Well that doesn't work, and might get your balls chopped off.  Don't even mention going out with the women unless you know for certain, and I mean FOR CERTAIN you are committed to it.

So I'm giving The Wire season 2 a chance.  First episode right off I think, is better than any episode of the first season.  The first season was just too damned slow for me.  I thought the acting was great, and everything was done top notch but the actual movement was slow as molasses.

Guys, for the love of God, if you are single and out and happen to be talking to a lady you might be interested in, don't tell how beautiful she is.  Once you do, you're done.  The suspense is gone.  There is nothing for them to be interested in you about anymore.  You've lost.  I have a friend that is really bad about doing this.  If the waitress is attractive or if we are hanging out and end up talking to a female, without fail he will tell her how attractive she is.  And without fail she has no interested in talking to him after that.  A really beautiful woman already knows that, and once you tell her that, you're just the next guy to succumb to her siren song.  Make her qualify herself to you.  If you do want to tell her that she's beautiful, do so but make her qualify herself to you after that.  "Yeah you're beautiful, but there are lots of beautiful women in here.  Tell me something that is interesting about you that has nothing to do with your looks."  Once she has to qualify herself to YOU, then you're good to go.  This advice, free of charge.

Just don't tell her how hot she is

My Siamese cat is neurotic.  He's literally like 21 or 22 years old, and that's no joke.  He was 10 when we got him, and that was 11 years ago.  So he's somewhere in that area.  But for a week now he's starting this meowing thing at 4 o'clock in the morning on the dot.  I mean, on the dot.  Meowing like crazy.  He stays down in my office and goes back and forth between there and the laundry area.  So last night I finally get up (again) and go down there.  And he takes me to the big shelves in the back of the laundry area, jumps up to the top and just looks at me.  I went back to bed.  He starts the meowing thing again at like 6.  My wife goes down and checks on him, he does the exact same thing.  I totally expect some Stephen King style shit to start happening around my house in the next few days.

I swear this guy better not start showing up at my house

If you are trying to get lean fast but are pressed for time and don't work on the weekends, train twice on Saturday and Sunday.  Lift in the morning and then get conditioning in that evening.  This works really well for people who are really busy during the week.

So I think my elbow problems were related to my old bed.  No shit.  We got the new bed and everyday the elbow feels better.  I benched with a sore elbow this past Thursday night, and usually when I do that the pain for the next two days is pretty bad.  But not this time.  I have almost no pain at all.  I hope this trend continues and that's all that it was.

I'm completely addicted to Monster right now.  I drink two or three a day, and when I'm not drinking one, I'm thinking about when I will.  Oh well, better than being addicted to meth, crack, or someone else's urine.

Better than other peoples urine.  Not that I'd know from experience.  

There is nothing new under the sun in terms of weight training, so if someone is trying to tell you that a certain program has secrets that have never been revealed.........kill that guy.

The Honey Badger doesn't give a shit..........

There is a difference in vacation and traveling.  Vacation is supposed to be about relaxation.  Traveling is where you do shit.  Don't confuse the two.

I had a guy stop me in the mall a while back to ask me what he could do, very quickly, to look like me.  "Train really hard for 20 something years".  Why do people think that there is a quick fix to this shit?  Like I had an answer as to how to quickly be 240 lean when you're a fat 220.  I don't.  That's why I said you need to enjoy the journey and not be overly concerned with the end.

I think the partial squat is one of the gayest most useless fucking things ever.  And I'm not talking about guys squatting high, I'm talking about guys putting 9000 more pounds on the bar than they could ever squat and setting it on the pins so that they move it 4 inches.  There is no carryover to this shit with ANYTHING.  Period.  Wait I'm sorry, there is.  It increases your douche-ness in the gym and your ability to look like you went full retard.  There is no "mental" factor because you've got safety rails up.  There is no carryover to the full squat because all of the inertia to overcome to actually make the lift is from the bottom to mid-lift.  So you either do it for attention (douche-ness) or because you're stupid.  Take your pick.

Hot babe of the week (two for this post I suppose) idea on who she is but I love sweaters......

There is something I have picked up on lately about alcohol drinking.  All the alpha/type A/competitive personality types I personally know, drink "drinks".  All the "regular" dudes I know, are big beer drinkers.  I train with competitive fighters and know lots of other high level lifters, and the majority I know that are highly competitive drink "drinks" when it comes to alcohol.  All of the guys I train fighting with drink vodka, rum, etc.  None of them are beer drinkers.  Pretty much all the regular joe blows I know, drink beer.  I have my reasons why I believe this is.  Personally, I think it's because a lot of guys have a lot of follower in them and to be "one of the guys" you drink beer.  The competitive types I know that do fighting and and lifting, don't give a fuck what people think and drink what they like.  Sure, some will mix in a beer here or there, but for the most part when we have parties and hang, we all drink a mixed drink of some sort.  Just an observation.

Random music post of the week.  Drowning Pool covers Rebel Yell.  I love old Billy Idol because it reminds me so much of my youth and makes me feel dirty.

If you don't have Monday off for presidents day, sucks to be you.

Otherwise I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Training - Bench

Bodyweight - 234

Close Grip Bench -
135 x 20
225 x 5
275 x 3
315 x 1
365 x 1

Incline Db Press - 100's x 20

Upright Rows and Rope Pushdowns - 5 sets of 15 for each

Notes - Felt like complete shit tonight and elbow was complaining, so I listened and cut the bench short.  Weight is dropping like a rock on this diet and lack of calories is really starting to drain my energy levels.  No sleep for two straight nights isn't helping either.


"That's a lot of weight"

"Not really.  All this shit, it's all mental."

That was the very brief conversation between myself and this very diesel dude, who was deadlifting at the base gym where I was stationed at the time.

If I had to guess now I'd say the weight on the bar was 475.  Hardly impressive from a total numbers standpoint, but I was impressed at the time because I hadn't seen a lot of deadlifting up to that point in my lifting life.

I remember his words because at the time I thought he was just sort of bragging.  You know what I mean.  Like when you hit a PR and someone compliments you and you're like "ahhh it's not that much".  You blow it off like that's the shit you've been lifting everyday for years.

Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, it didn't matter.  His words stuck with me.  And the more the years went by and the stronger I got, the more those words started to come back to me as I worked to overcome certain goals.  Like squatting 585 for the first time, deadlifting 605 for the first time, overhead pressing 225, benching over 400 again for the first time forever.

Each plate represents a new challenge.  For me, it's always been 25 and 45 pounders.  135, 185, 225, 275, 315, 365, 405, 455, 495, 545, 585, 635, etc.

The challenge, I have found, is more mental than physical.  Yeah, you actually have to be strong enough to make the lift, but often time you are and still fail.  This is a frustrating and perplexing situation isn't it?

I knew a guy that could rep 275 pretty good on bench, but would fail on 315 everytime.  He'd be getting it and then BAM, like no one was home.  Bar would stall, and he'd quit.  I knew he was good for it.  The strength was there in his body, but not his mind.  3 wheels.  He had failed before he ever laid down on the bench.

You know that feeling too.  When you put weight on the bar you have never done, and inside you know.  You know you probably aren't good for it.  Not this time.  Not the first time out.  You never feel confident from the get go.  Then of course, you fail, but you're not disappointed.  You knew you REALLY weren't ready.

That's how you know when you are ready.  When you fail, and you are in fact disappointed.  You really believed you were good for it.  But it didn't go.  That one is tougher to get over because now you question yourself.  You question your thought process.  You question if you are as strong as you thought (obviously not right?).  And now the whole session is blown.  Fuck it, I'm going home.

Lift long enough, and you will experience this.

You lift long enough and you will also experience the joy of victory in a PR.  It's a damn good feeling to be rewarding for all of those long hours in the gym with the fruits of your labor.  It's also a curse sometimes.

How so?

Success is often the biggest obstacle in achieving success.

"I've been stuck at X weight on X lift for years now..."

That's a phrase that has been muttered many a times to me.  One I've said to myself many times in my head.

Often times, after we achieve a PR we spend a great deal of time patting ourself on the back on accomplishing said goal.  Then feel lost in our training for the next few...I dunno, months.  Then we wake up and realize we haven't been training as hard as we were.  We aren't making the kind of progress we were before.  And that maybe, we've become complacent.  We are satisfied with what we have accomplished.  And if that is a lifetime goal, then that is actually all well and good.  But if it's not, and nothing has changed in a very long while and no progress has been made, yet your log reads back to you that you have indeed been at the gym, then maybe it's time for a cold splash of water on your face.

Find a stronger gym -

If there is one thing I think a lot of guys struggle with, it's seeing weights moved they have a mental block on.  When you are preparing to squat something you've never seen anyone squat before, it can be a daunting task. It might not even be that much, depending on where you train.  If you've been at a YMCA this whole time where the clientèle is mostly seniors who do exercises that can only be described as sexual maneuvers on a lat pulldown machine, then a 315 squat could seem daunting.  If you're at a place that is filled with high level competitive powerlifters, getting past these mental hurdles will be much easier.  Seeing these things accomplished can often times take a big mental edge off.

"It can be done!"

Ever notice that often when someone breaks a record that people said could never be broken, it's broken about 10 times right after that in quick fashion?

Someone just had to prove it could be done.

A stronger gym is always a great way to get over mental hurdles.  Find guys that can help you with technique flaws, push you to do more, work harder, and get better.  It's hard to explain what an environment can do for people in terms of getting better.  Especially if you have a competitive fire.

Wait until a STI day -

Ok so you've got a progression cycle all planned out, and it's time to check the new max.  But you don't feel it.  You know it's not going to be there.

What to do?


Scrap the session, and work back two weeks or so and see if you have a "strike the iron" day when shit is feeling right.

Bust enough REP PR's to solidify your confidence -

I've used this one a lot.  And it does work.  When you bust enough rep PR's what will happen is, you will become very sure of exactly what you are capable of.  Then wait until a day when you feel good about testing, and go for it.  It's almost always there.
Busting a rep PR is mentally easier because you are generally using a weight you have handled before.  Once you get enough of those down the hatch, you can be positively sure that a new 1RM PR is in you.  Then just wait for a good time.

Last but not least......

Watch these Eagles throw goats off of cliffs.  No, this doesn't have shit to do with lifting but I thought it was cool......

Weekly Q & A.......

You guys know the drill.  Leave a NAME and question......


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Training - Deadlift

Bodyweight - 238

Hip and Ass Machine #2 - 2 sets of 50 reps

Deadlifts no belt -
225 x 5,5
315 x 5
425 x 5
475 x 3
535 x 5

Shrugs - 405 x 25

Leg Press - stack x 8

Notes - Felt ok.  For not getting in a lot of calories at the moment my strength seems to be doing ok.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff

Well Fedor, you had a great run, but everyones time eventually comes to an end.  You are still going to go down as the GOAT.  Don't really care what anyone else says.  I'll be pulling for Overeem for the rest of the Grand Prix.

Greatest MMA fighter of all time

Is it required that if you own a Prius that you have an Obama bumper sticker on it?  I swear every single time I see a Prius it has an Obama bumper sticker on the back.

Ok so here are the movie reviews from the weekend.........

GI Joe - Watched this on family night with the kids.  I'll just say this, it passed XXX as the worst big budget movie I've ever seen.  I laughed the whole time at how unreal stupid it was.

The Wolfman - The one with Anthony Hopkins and Benicio Del Toro.  Ok this movie got shit reviews but I thought it was solid.  I mean, it's a werewolf movie.  Hopkins and Del Toro were solid as expected.  As was Agent Smith.  Speaking of which, every time I see Agent Smith in a movie I expect him to say "Mr. Anderson"...and then do some unreal shit.

"Mr. Anderson...I'm about to do some unreal shit"

If you haven't been doing a lot of foam rolling don't do the PVC thing first.  You will die.  Start with the normal foam roller and wear that thing out until it's bent.  Then go to the PVC pipe.

Great weather all week and you damn well better believe that I'm going to take advantage of it and get some conditioning in outside.  I have been loving the boxing and getting back to a lot of my martial arts shit.  But there is nothing better than being outside and doing hills or sprints.  I do plan on adding in more and more of the boxing and MMA work and then running hills maybe once a week.  Just to give my legs a break.

So I put my money where my mouth is.  I bought Egyptian cotton sheets for V-day which showed up Saturday actually.  I have a new king sized bed coming tomorrow.  I plan on making the magic happen on it for at least 8 minutes tomorrow night.  I'm some kind of stud let me tell you.

99% of the shit you worry about, never comes to fruition.  I heard this once, and thought about it.  And it did not seem true.  Then I started thinking about it more when I was worrying, and found out that it was.  Keep this phrase in mind the next time worry is overcoming your life.

Dieting sucks.  At first.  The longer I go on a "diet" (cut cals) and don't cheat, the easier it becomes and the more focused I become.  The first week or so, I can't be strict for shit.  I hate those weeks because you are hungry and see no results.  But as I start to bear down and really commit, the easier it becomes and the faster I see shit happen.  So if you do decide to cut calories keep this in mind.  Find something tangible you can attach yourself to.  Like a picture of a certain bodyfat % you'd like to hit, and don't let anything distract you.  The first few weeks will suck the worst, but hunker down and man the fuck up and do what you gotta do.  After a few weeks you'll feel better actually and the results will start coming faster.

I have this chic I have known for a while that is coming to see me this week because her tissue is in such bad shape.  She has refused to take any time off, has ignored tale tell signs of major injuries coming, and now she has no choice but to take time off and do a lot of restorative work.  Look man, taking a week off and spending lots of time on the foam roller and stretching will not hurt you.  It will only help you.  Don't be dogmatic about  your training or so obsessed that you ignore the signs that you need time off or need to do something to fix some issues.

Babe of the week.........

Denise Malini
I like Call of Duty Black ops better than any of the other Call of Dutys.  I'll tell you why....

1.  N00b tubes aren't so powerful.  I got so sick of the game starting and hearing 22 n00b tubes going off.  Then the explosive lands really far away and kills the shit out of you.  People don't use em a lot in Black Ops because they aren't so powerful.

2.  Sniper rifles don't work as well.  They are harder to shoot.  Which is how it should be.  Being a sniper is hard.  Not everyone should be able to do it and be good at it.

3.  No Juggernaut.

4.  No stopping power.

5.  No martyrdom (also pronounced "marty-dom" by the uneducated kids that play)

They got a lot of good shit right with this one, and patch it frequently to avoid hacks.  It isn't as "pretty" as Modern Warfare or MW2 but the game play has been far superior to me.  Nice job guys.

Man, marriage is what you make of it.  Eventually your significant other is going to reveal traits about them that you weren't aware of, or are new based on new circumstances.  Marriage can be a bitch sometimes, and it can be hard.  It's also worth working on if you are really serious about spending your life with that one person.  It also means knowing WHEN to say shit, and what shit you should never say.  2010 was one of the hardest years of my marriage in 16 years but we made it through it and are better than ever.  And it's very rewarding to put the time in and be rewarded for it.  I love you babe!

If you plan on doing a bulk whether dirty or clean add calories in slow or you are going to feel like shit and gain a butt load of fat weight.  Second, be LEAN when you start a weight gain.  If you are above 10% bodyfat you got no reason "bulking".  If you get really lean first, the body will do a better job of not getting you fat when you start increasing calories because it's used to being in fat burning mode.  Thus the first few weeks of the calorie surplus will get utilized better in the recovery process and less in the "create a big fat ass" process.  So if the goal is 4200 calories, plan on eating that for say two weeks then cutting back again.  So to set that up go something like this...

week 1 - 3200
week 2 - 3400
week 3 - 3600
week 4 - 3800
week 5 - 4000
week 6 and week 7- 4200 
week 8 - 2500
week 9 - start over at week 1

This is a smart way to "bulk" and not get overly fat.  You don't need a giant surplus of calories all the time to  get bigger.  You need it when the body needs it for recovery.  If you are mass building you will know when that is if you pay attention to when you are sleepy and tired as hell, and hungry as shit.  Eat good clean foods and get lots of sleep.  It will reward you significantly.  If you don't want to count calories, just eat what the fuck you want and get ugly.  Bam.

Music post of the week........

Since it's Valentines Day and all........(thanks to Spewie for this idea)

Be true to yourself and the ones you love.  Be willing to die to save them, and kill to protect them.  That's really the whole ball of wax to me.  That's the real deal.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Training - Traps

Shrugs -
135 x 30
225 x 20
315 x 10
405 x 8
500 x 5
585 x 5,5,5,5,5
635 x 3
585 x 5
500 x 15

1 arm db shrugs - 150 x 20

Notes - Was feeling good so I ran with it.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Training - Back/Biceps

Weight - 238 pounds

Db Rows - 110 x 15, 150 x 20 ( no straps),  150 x 15 (added straps)

V-Bar Chins - body x 5 sets of 7

Db Curls - 30's x 30

Notes - Was pretty tired.  Pleased with the db rows on the second set as my grip isn't too far off what I'd get fresh with straps more than likely, but it still needs a lot of work.

5 x 5 and all the fuss

I get a lot of 5 x 5 questions, what I think about it, can it be used to get bigger and stronger and how it fares with other programs, etc so forth and so on.

If you don't know what 5 x 5 is (I don't know how you couldn't) just Google MadCow 5x5 or Reg Park 5 x 5 or whatever.

I wonder if Reg ate mad cows?

Anyway, most people love the 5 x 5 programs, but it does have it's detractors.  Like almost any and every program it has its strong points, and it has short comings.  I will go over what I think the strong and weak points of 5 x 5 training is.  Mainly I'm talking about the MadCow version.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Strong Points of this kind of training -

Big, Proven Movements - I think one thing that should jump right out is that the main focus on the big, time tested movements.  Look, if you get strong on the exercises listed above, you're going to be strong everywhere top to bottom.  This is one of the cores of my own training philosophy.  You don't need a lot of shit to get as big and as strong as possible.  5 x 5 isn't about assistance or weak point bullshit.  It's about getting strong on the basics.  I know that mantra has been repeated about eleventy billion times but it can never be overstated.  Squat, Deadlift, Bench, Press, Chin, Dip, Row.  That's the entire arsenal.  And 5 x 5 covers most of that.

Focus on Strength - Your training should always be focused on getting stronger.  Not "training for looks".  Not much else to say on this topic.  I don't even care if you are a bodybuilder.  The guys who won the Olympia more than any other, were guys whose training foundation was based around powerbuilding type training.  Arnold, Franco, Lee Haney, Dorian, Coleman, etc.

You know this douchebag has never ran a strength oriented program

A Progression Scheme - 5 x 5 doesn't leave you dwindling in the wind with just some sets and reps thrown out there.  There are spreadsheets for both the intermediate and advanced versions.  Whether or not you like the progression scheme is a different story.  At least it gives you one.  And it actually works well if you program conservatively.

Great after a layoff - The two times that I have run 5 x 5 have both been after layoffs and it worked beautifully in getting me back to a good level of strength quickly.  Once was after an injury and the other time was after my appendix ruptured.  Both times it worked really well.

Short Comings of 5 x 5 -

Rigidity - Rigidity is a real word.  I had a DBA (database administrator) use it on me one time, and I thought he made it up.  It's real.

Anyway, the rigidness of the program means that it's not really a "philosophy" of training, but a program.  And if you have read my articles you know what I say about programs compared to philosophies.  A program is like bottled water, a philosophy is like a well.  One you can only drink from short term, the other forever.  5 x 5 is a program, and because this program limits the entire rep range on the big movements to 5 reps, it will indeed have limits on the potential of what it can do.  That potential will vary from person to person.  However sets of 5 are not the be all end all of strength training no matter what some fat out of shape tub of shit on a message board tells you.  You know who I'm talking about...

"Oh I only do singles and the highest my tubby ass goes to is 5"

"I don't go over 5 reps and look at how jacked I am"

Do not listen to this fat ass about training.  Training in a big rep range over the course of your training life will be required if you want to maximize your potential.  Period.  Especially if you are not built for a lift, or need hypertrophy in certain areas.  Even Kirk Karwoski who lived and breathed sets of 5 for building his squat (he was built to squat more than maybe any other human that lived), did high rep squats at times.

Overuse - Some guys get worn down more easily than others.  And pressing three times a week, squatting three times a week may beat some guys up worse than others.  I cannot train that way.  I could when I was detrained and was not moving heavy weights, but when I am at a decent level of strength (for me) I would lose strength at a fairly rapid clip training this way.  This will vary from person to person.  Also don't underestimate the mental side of how repetitive this kind of training is.  In the end, if you don't enjoy training a certain way, you won't get the most out of it.  And some guys simply don't want to squat and press three times a week and then row or clean twice a week.

Generic Application - 5 x 5 isn't really a bodybuilding program, nor a powerlifting program.  It's a general program made to get a guy bigger and stronger.  This is good...and bad.  If your general goal is just to get bigger and stronger, then it can work great.  If you have short comings somewhere, whether that be a certain lift or a certain bodypart you want to develop this is not your program.

For example, if you looked at my deadlift programs, I had to vary my rep scheme, volume, frequency, get certain bodyparts stronger and train from different angles (heights) in order to make my deadlift move.  This kind of generic program wouldn't be something I would look to to move my deadlift if it had been stuck for a long at my present bodyweight and overall strength level.  For a guy that needs to get bigger and stronger, this program would probably make his deadlift (and everything else) move.  But for an advanced guy it might not.

What 5 x 5 IS and IS NOT -

5 x 5 is a great overall program is a guy is looking to gain mass and strength, especially if he's coming off a layoff or injury, or hasn't built up a solid foundation over a long period.  I think advanced guys too can benefit from a cycle of it if they have gotten stupid with too much lifting variation (board presses, floor press, foam this, bands and chains that, box squats from 1 million heights except anything below parallel).

It is also just a program.  And all programs have short comings because over the course of your training life, you're going to have to change some things in terms of volume, sets, and reps.  The big movements can always stay the same, however at different times the body needs different stimulus in terms of both perceived intensity and bar intensity (% of your max) to get you through plateaus.  5 x 5 could be a program that actually does that, for a period of time.  However like all "programs" it will have a lifespan on "gains" or productiveness.

So is 5 x 5 good or bad?  Yes and no.  It depends on you as a lifter, and what your goal is, and where you are at in your training life.  When I ran it after surgery I ran it the whole 9 weeks and came out feeling great on the other side.  Naturally I went to start another cycle and by week 3 I hated that damn program like Luke Skywalker hated the Empire.

Like any "program" use the application of it wisely and know when it's time to change gears.  This may mean you run it many times in a row.  If you keep getting bigger and stronger from it, milk that shit till its dry.  If not, sail on.  It's possible you may use it again with success later.  

Thursday, February 10, 2011

So I broke down and went ahead and registered my domain.

Is there anything more functional than lift-run-bang?

I think not.

Training - Press

Bodyweight - 235

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

Tit Machine - 3 sets

Upright rows - 115 x 5 sets of 10

Pushdowns and Overhead Extensions - 6 sets all told

Notes - Felt ok tonight.  Incline is holding steady around the 18-20 rep range, which is quite pathetic seeing how at one time I had a 400+ incline.  But until the elbow is fully healed I guess this will have to do.

5 Squatting Programs That Work

So after the deadlift article someone asked about squats.

Well I thought later that although all I have ever done to increase the squat is the squat itself, I've used some pretty different methods to boost it.

Here are some I had good success with.

1.  10 sets of 10 method
This is NOT GVT.  This is one I used for about 6 months and it worked really well to help my groove.  It's brutal volume but it works great for size, and after you transition off of it to some singles work you should see a big bump in strength.
Basically you do 10 sets of 10 until you are at a place where you want to stop or that feels maximal.  However the jumps have to be smallish.  If you're not at 10 sets, do back down sets until you are at 10.  Here is how mine would usually go.

Plan on being sore as shit for the next 5 days or so.  Then get ready to do it again a few days later.

2.  The Elevator Method
This is with a fixed weight.  I recommend being conservative at first.  You're going to work up to a set of 10, then back down.  Staring at 1 rep.  I would usually pick 365,385, or 405.
1 rep
2 reps
3 reps
4 reps
5 reps
6 reps
7 reps
8 reps
9 reps
10 reps
9 reps
8 reps
.....all the way back down to 1.  Again, do not go heavy here.  The point is to hammer volume on these.  Expect more major soreness.

3.  3x1-5-10-15
This one has been my bread and butter for a while.  Three progressively heavier singles followed by a back off set.  You then have weight goals you want to hit for 5 reps, 10 reps, and 15 reps.  So it might look like so...
warm up sets,
3 progressively heavier singles
back off set shooting for 5 (let's pretend 500)

same as previous week but shooting for 10 on back off set with a lighter weight (say 475)

week 3
same as previous week but shooting for 15 (say 425)

I would pick weights that I wanted to hit and never waiver from them until I hit them.  Just bump the singles slightly so that the back offs become a smaller % of my 1 rep max, thus hopefully I am getting stronger and able to hit the rep goals more easily.

4.  5/4/3/2/1 - 1x8
Similar to the last one, but slightly different (duh).  After your warm ups, just go 5/4/3/2/1 progressively heavier, then the back off of 1x8.  I usually would use whatever I did for the set of 3 or 4 for the back off.  Just something to keep in mind.  This one is nice because it makes you think about every jump.

5.  20 rep squats
This is NOT breathing squats.  This is just good ol high rep squatting.  This shit works.  Period.  It will make your legs bigger and stronger, but I really only advise this for guys who have a decent level of squatting already.  Kind of a baseline I have in mind is that you should be able to hit 250x20 before you get serious about high reps carrying over.  I just don't see 150x20 being worth a shit to worry about.  You'd be better off using any of the programs above to get to a good foundation of squatting strength.

These are actual programs I have ran with success.  Not shit I made up and wrote on the net.  If you want to be fair to one, use it for 10-12 weeks and go hard after it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Clean eating for mass

I'm going to "borrow" (another word for steal) these meals from the very smart Chris Aceto.  This is a great clean eating menu for mass.  I will provide a link to the article for those that need more calories, or if you want to turn it into more of a fat loss plan, it talks about that as well.  Great article and I have always liked Aceto's stuff.;col1


* 4-6 egg whites with 2 whole eggs
* 1 serving Cream of Wheat cereal
* 1 banana
525 calories, 38 g protein, 59 g carbs, 15 g fat


* 6-9 oz. extra-lean ground beef
* 2 cups pasta
* 3/4 cup broccoll
700 calories, 60 g protein, 83 g carbs, 13 g fat

THE PERFECT PRETRAINING SNACK (One hour before training)
* 1 cup fat-free cottage cheese
* 4 slices rye toast with 2 Tbsp. grape jam
532 calories, 35 g protein, 89 g carbs, 4 g fat


* Whey-protein shake (two scoops mixed with water)
* 1 cup rlce with 4 Tbsp. raisins
549 calories, 45 g protein, 91 g carbs, 2 g fat

dinner -
* 1 chicken breast (7-9 oz.)
* 1 yam
* 1 cup peas, corn and carrots
603 calories, 69 g protein, 61 g carbs, 7 g fa


Turkey sandwich with:

* 2 slices whole-grain bread
* 2-3 slices fat-free cheese
* 3-4 slices deli turkey breast
* Mustard and fat-free mayo
316 calories, 36 g protein, 34 g carbs, 4 g fat

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Training - Squats

Weight - 238

Ass Machine - 2 sets of 50
Calf Press - stack x 20,20

Squats - no belt/no wraps
135 x 10
225 x 5
315 x 5
405 x 5
455 x 1
405 x 10,5
225 x 10,10,10

Stretching - lots of it

Notes - Well not terrible for not squatting any real weight over the last 6 weeks or so since the injury (or however long it's been).  Squatting felt out of groove of course and sloppy, so it'll take a few weeks before I'm moving any real weight again.  So I apologize up front for squatting sissy weights.  Gimme a few weeks.

It's 2011......

What the hell are you going to accomplish this year?

Be a better husband, father, and friend

7% bodyfat

640 squat no belt/no wraps

455 close grip bench

675 deadlift

chins with 100 x 6

improve conditioning

What about you?  What are your goals?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Thoughts about life, training, crap and stuff

Congrats to the Packers and their fans.

They should have issued a warning to all the women in the Arlington area that Ben Roethlisberger might be in a bad mood last night.

Right now I'm more concerned about shedding as much bodyfat as possible.  I am doing this by eating less, and doing more conditioning.  I know, it's a crazy concept but it's working.  I'm now generally sitting at the 238-240 range rather than the 245-248 range.  I'm not as concerned about where my strength levels are at the moment because you're not going to shed bodyfat and improve conditioning and get stronger on a limited calorie diet.  Remember to keep things in perspective.

I saw some interesting movies over the last week.  Out of my norm on some of them.

Undisputed III - Ok, sounds like a total steamer.  B-movie without a big budget.  As I'm watching it however, I keep thinking to myself "this dialog isn't that bad."  It wasn't cheesy, the plot wasn't stupid for what the movie was about, and the acting wasn't that bad.  Overall, I came away pretty impressed, and wondered if I was losing my mind.  So I looked it up and it got good reviews across the board.  If you want a decent popcorn martial arts flick, I highly recommend it.   I was also jealous of Scott Adkins conditioning level.

Fast and Furious - Meh.  Predictable and boring actually.  Vin Deisel also looks like he barely lifts anymore to me.  Apparently making 10's of millions of dollars takes away some peoples desire to lift hard anymore.

Restrepo - A documentary about a squad in Afghanistan.  I heard it was good.  Maybe it was my mood that evening but I just couldn't get into it.

Edge of Darkness - Loved it.  I don't care about Gibson's wacky personal life BS.  I watch his movies to be entertained and I really liked this one.

The A-Team - Pleasantly surprised.  Again, if you're in the mood for a really good popcorn action flick, this one delivers.

Was talking with a buddy the other night, who is an exceptionally strong guy, but got there by doing a lot of low rep work and is now starting to do high rep work to fill out, and become more muscular all over.  This kind of takes me back to the whole "What Constitutes Strong" standard.  You take two guys, all things being completely equal.  And you train them until they can squat 700, bench 500, and deadlift 800 but one guy does it using singles, double, and triples and the other guy gets there using sets of 8-15 and the higher rep guy is going to look far more beastly than the lower rep guy.  If you simply want to be strong, that can easily be accomplished by sticking to a program of singles, doubles, and triples.  If you want to be strong and look strong, you better have some rep work in there and do some bodybuilding.

Worst Super Bowl halftime ever.  I kept wishing that Slash would punch out Fergie and then sodomize the rest of the Black Eyed Peas with his guitar.

Ok so I see the trailer for Captain America and I see that it's skinny Chris Evans that has bulked up for the role.  He looks like he gained 30 pounds at least, and he's lean.  In no time flat you have these sites that are running "Chris Evans Captain America Workout" bullshit.  They don't really know what he did, they just take shots in the dark.  Every time an actor gets himself in better shape these pop up all over the place.  Here, here's what he did.

He lifted weights
He ate some food
He got in "shape" (conditioning)
He coulda done some gear (optional)

There ya go.  I expect my check in the fuckin mail for releasing all the secrets of the stars training programs!

What a shitty card for UFC 126.  On paper it looked good, but failed to deliver.  I see Shogun blazing through Jon Jones.  I know people get all up on a fighter when he wins like Jones has, but he still really hasn't fought anyone, and Shogun is going to put an ass whuppin on him IMO.  I also see GSP handling Silva.  Some may scoff at that, but Silva has shown he has a real problem with guys who can take him down.  GSP will be able to do that, and control him on the ground.

Enjoy it, because Shogun is coming...

I've been doing boxing for my primary conditioning source this winter and am loving it right now.  I do around 20-30 minutes of 2 or 3 minute rounds.  I usually do heavy bag work or boxing mixed in with hill sprints but not as often as I'd like, because I love hill sprints and regular sprints so much.  However I'm going to do more of it from here on out.

I know this guy, totally whupped.  Won't go out to eat at places his woman doesn't like.  Watches chic flicks. Listens to her music.  Has never been with any other woman but her, and never been in a fight.  How much could you ever know about YOURSELF if your entire existence revolves around catering to another person?  I'm not saying you shouldn't be the best husband you can be.  You should.  But a relationship should be a partnership.  There should be a give and take to it.  Your woman should respect that too.  You get one go round.  Make it count.  Dedicating your entire life to catering to the whims and wants of another person is a dog shit existence.  I want to experience as much as I can with my wife, however I have things outside of her that I love to do and experience and she wants that.  And vice versa.  Because part of living is finding out who you are, and having unique experiences that speak to you.  If your entire life is worshiping the ground someone else walks on, I feel sorry for you.  It's very unmanly and unbecoming.  If you are whipped, and you know it, please seek help or pray for an intervention for guys who are p-whipped.

If you are watching this shit to please your girl, someone should be waiting to have an intervention on your behalf

Everytime I am behind someone that is driving like dogshit, they are on their cell.  WITHOUT FAIL!  Everytime.  100%!  I got bluetooth in my car, so it's no different than having a passenger.  When I was in Cali they have a law you can't drive and be on the phone and I wish that shit would pass everywhere.  I've almost been hit a dozen times by people on the phone that were not paying attention, that would veer into my lane.  For the love of God, how did people get by before cell phones?  Somehow we all managed.  If you don't have a douche bag phone (bluetooth ear piece) or BT in your car, just wait.  For the rest of us, please just wait.  Thank you.

Just a reminder......

1.  Weights are to get stronger/bigger
2.  Conditioning is to get you in shape and supplement bodyfat loss
3.  Eat more to gain mass, less to lose bodyfat.

Again, I expect my check in the mail for giving up all of these fitness secrets.

Speaking of fitness secrets, trainers never cease to amaze me with not only the shit they have their clients do, but the shit they do.  Why does every trainer do their own workouts on some kind of balloon/ball/see-saw?  See the point above.  Be in the gym to either get stronger, or get in better condition.  Use the proper tools to do both.  Doing side plank trunk twists with a kettlebell on top of a swiss ball that is balancing on a wobble board is fucking full retard.


Seriously guys, manscape.  Nothing I hate worse than walking into the shitter and seeing 14" long pubes all over the place.  It's 2011.  Not 1974.  Get some clippers, manscape your shit.  Hair makes you stink, traps in bacteria, and is just generally overall nasty.  If you didn't know you were supposed to manscape, now you know.

Valentines day is coming up.  You want to give her a great present?  Don't get candy or flowers, whatever.  Get some new sheets, satin or Egyptian cotton and bang it out like you never have before on em.  Seriously.  Do the candles, some dirty music, whatever ambiance you need.  Give her a night to remember so in case you're not together next year on Valentines, and she's with someone else, all she'll think is "hmmmm last year ol boy was banging it out like he was a porn star and all this bitch got me was some chocolate.  Shit."  Think ahead guys.  Always thinks ahead.

Egyptian Cotton for Valentines Day

I get asked about calf work.  I have good calves now.  How?  Walking around at 270-280 for two years.  After I dieted back down, they just stayed.  I did the same kind of calf work I always did, but being heavy for that long made my calves grow.  The work I did just kept em.  Now they are 18+ inches and I rarely do calf work and they stay.  So if your calves suck, bulk up to fat guy status and stay that way for a couple of years.  Everyone knows that fat ball coach who has awesome calves right?  There you go.



Sunday, February 6, 2011

Training - Traps

Shrugs -
315 x 20
405 x 20, 20
500 x 10,10
315 x 40

Band Pull Aparts - 2x20

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Training - Back and Biceps

Weight - 240

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 15

Pulldowns - stack + 15 x 4 sets of 8

Ez Curl - 115 x 10

Notes - Quick, nice little session.  When I hit 6 plates x 20 on the t-bar I will add another plate.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Adding 100 pounds to my deadlift

So for all of you crappy deadlifters out there such as myself, I'm going to write about how I took my deadlift from the 550 range to it's current 650-660 range over the last few years, and put into a program you can use combining some of the methodologies I used to get there.  So I hope you enjoy benefiting from my mistakes.

Let me preface this shit, just like I did with my series about raw squatting, that if you are some natural deadlifter you may not get anything out of this article.  Or you may.  

Let me add that unlike my squat article, it is not about technique.  If you want a good place to start in regards to that, go look up Rippetoe's simple cues for setting up, and then play with it from there.  For those that are internet lazy here they are.....

1.  Cut your feet in half with the bar (so the bar should be in the middle of your foot)
2.  Reach down and grab the bar
3.  Bend at the knee until your shin is up against the bar
4.  Drop the hips a little, get the chest out, and then pull (I added this part, as I do feel the hips are slightly high if you don't drop them there)

You will have to play with the above to find your own sweet spots.  Me personally, I need the bar a little more in front of me than that.  I also do not drag the bar up my shins like some do.  

Now, what I'm going to do here is actually outline a 12 month plan to increase the deadlift for those that have been stuck in a rut.  I will give the splits I used and the programs I meshed together to make this all happen.

Assuming your technique isn't the biggest issue, this program should add a lot to your deadlift if you follow it to the letter.    

So let's do this.

First 12 weeks - Bastardizing Gillingham

This is the program I used to get past pulling in that 550-585 range.  I made some modifications to it to suit me and what I felt needed to be changed based on my own experiences.  In Brad's program he has you pulling from a different rack height each week, starting above the knee.  I dropped the above the knee pulls because there is ZERO carryover to the floor.  I also added in a week of pulling standing on blocks, and substituted out the speed pulls (which I feel are kind of worthless) for stiff legs.  So you'll get the benefit of my own fuck ups and learning.

This is how this program is now laid out.

Day 1 - Deadlift
Front Squats - up to a top set of 5
Deadlift variation
Chins - 5 sets
Abs - 5 sets

Day 2 - Bench

Day 3 - Squat
Squats - usually up to a solid single, then 5x5 or I would run a 5/4/3/2/1, then a back off set of 8-10

Week 1 - Block Deadlifts - pull up to a max single from below the knee
Week 2 - Stiff Legs - up to a top set of 5
Week 3 - Block Deadlifts - pull up to a max single from mid-shin
Week 4 - Stiff Legs - up to a top set of 5
Week 5 - Deficit Deadlifts - pull up to a max single standing on a SMALL deficit
Week 6 - Stiff Legs - up to a top set of 5

The key here is on the first 6 weeks, don't go crazy on the top single.  You want to beat all of those top singles on the second go around.  Same for the stiff legs.  You want to start light and add weight over the 12 weeks until the last week you're pulling a true max set of 5.

Don't shy away from the fronts.  Push them hard.  As for chins, mix it up.  It's up assistance work so don't overthink this shit and worry about what to do there.  Just chin dammit.

This brought me out of that 550-585 range and up to 605-615 pretty consistently.

12 weeks - 3X53

The next 12 weeks you will actually go back to the floor, and start pulling singles with 2 back off sets afterwards.  I would do 3 singles, then I would do 2 back off sets.  For the first few weeks I would do 2 sets of 5, then as my singles got heavier I would drop that to triples.

Now I'm going to spell this out early.  I did not use percentages here.  I would outline what I wanted to hit over the next few weeks, and go conservative.  It's always best to leave some in the tank, and hit all of your lifts.  I cannot emphasize that enough.  Don't ruin your progress or psyche by missing lifts.  Train in a way that sets you up for success.

With that said this is the split.

Day 1 - Back and Biceps

Day 2 - Pressing and or chest/shoulders/triceps

Day 3 - Squat and Deadlift
Squats - 5/4/3/2/1 or 3x1
Deadlift -
Squat Machine or Leg Press - 1x20-30 all out

This is what I did for deadlifts.

Week 1 - Deads - warm up, 3x1 to a top single, then 2x5 back off sets
Week 2 - same as week 1
Week 3 - same as week 1
Week 4 - 2x3 for the back offs.  You should have hit a pretty good top single this week.
Week 5 - Reduce weight for the top single.  Go back to about where you were in week 3.  2x5 for back offs
Week 6 - 3x1, 2x5 back offs
Week 7 - 3x1, 2x3 back offs
Week 8 - 3x1, 2x3 back offs
Week 9 - Reduce top single again.  Back to about week 7.  1x5 back off.  Close the distance on the back off to the single.
Week 10 - 3x1, 1x3 back off (close the distance)
Week 11 - 3x1, 1x3 back off (close the distance)
Week 12 - 3x1, 1x3 back off (close the distance)

The singles are ASCENDING.  So 405, 455, 495, etc.

Ok because I know everyone is going to ask about back offs I want to make this clear.  On the back offs, the first 6-8 weeks you should be taking a lot of weight off for the back offs.  They should feel fast and easy.  You should be slowly closing the distance between your top single and back off set through the whole cycle.

So this cycle is part instinct, and part planning.  Plan out 4 week blocks at a time.  You're going to reduce weight in the 5th and 9th week a bit.  The reason why for this is because the deadlift has a habit of running up real fast, then stalling, then falling off.  Anyone who has pulled long enough knows this pattern.  I don't know why it does that, but it seems to be pretty common.  This is NOT a deload.  And in fact, your back off sets should still be climbing during that time.  Again, do not overthink this shit.  Your back off sets should ascend from the start of the program to the end.  The singles will go in a wave.  By the end you should be pulling a triple that isn't too far off the top single you pulled for that day.

So in case you aren't following, the real meat and potatoes here, are the back off sets.  That's where the strength is built.  So start light, ascend slowly, and look to be pulling a PR triple by the end if possible.  Again, don't miss any lifts.  There is no set percentage between what your single and back offs should be.  Be your own scientist in this regard.

I will give a few examples though.

If I pulled 535 for a single, I'd pull something like 455x5
If I pulled 605-615 I'd pull 500-550 range for 5

So 60-100 pounds was generally my range.  The back offs should be good.  They should not beat the shit out of you.

The Final 12 Weeks - Resurrection of JPS via 5/3/1

 After I tore my bicep pulling 635 (which was actually my final warm up that night.  I know 650+ was in the bag) I went back on the road to recovery.  At first I thought I needed to split up my squats and deads to get back to pulling heavy again, but once the lifts started to climb again, I quickly ground myself into the dirt and everything stalled.  I talked about this in another article.

Wendler and I had talked a lot about splitting up squats and deads all together and I got back on the bandwagon and did that.  This is where I am at now, using 5/3/1 with a bit of modification (not bastardization!) to make it more effective for me.

Split -

Day 1 - squat or deadlift (alternate each week) + hamstring work or quad movement

Day 2 - chest/shoulders/triceps

Day 3 - back and biceps

Day 4 - traps

In this scheme you will pull every other week.  Do not fret this shit.  Your dead will be fine.  You're going to concentrate heavily on upperback work on the back and biceps day, and you get a day just for traps.  I will explain this later.

The 5/3/1 layout -
The way 5/3/1 is setup for squats and deads in this phase is like so.

Week 1 - week of 3's   On the top set you rep it out.  Leaving 1-2 reps in the tank.

Week 3 - week of 5's  I run the ladder.  Meaning I do 5 sets of 5.  65% 75% 85% 75% 65%  all x 5

Week 5 - 5/3/1 week  On the top set rep it out again.  Leave 1-2 reps in the tank.

Week 7 - start over

During this period I have/had pushed the reps.  This was not something I did a lot of before, so hitting PR's in reps became my priority.

One thing I hear people talk about is "your squat will make your deadlift go up.  So just worry about your squat and pull whenever."

This was not the case for me and never has been.  My squat has climbed slow and steady for years now, all the while my deadlift sucked ass.  Over the past few months I have poured a lot of work into rows and heavy chins and shrugs again and my pulling took another jump.

Now I've always done chins and rows and shrugs but I have really hunkered down on increasing the shit out of my row the last few months, and doing a lot of volume on shrugs on a side day.  The shrug day wasn't meant to help my deadlift to be honest.  I started doing it out of fun and vanity (who doesn't want giant traps?).  But then I started to notice, that off the floor I felt tight and explosive.  On heavier weights my traps no longer felt like they were going to rip off.  There was definitely something to it.

So what happened was, I would do a heavy t-bar or db row with heavy chins or pulldowns, then the next day I would do heavy shrugs for high volume.  Basically it looked like this...

Back/Bicep Day
t-bar rows - 6-8 sets of 10-20 reps to a top set (usually 6 plates x 12-15)
chins or pulldowns - up to a top double or triple on chins, or heavy pulldowns for sets of 8
some bicep work

Traps Day
Barbell Shrugs - 5-8 sets of 20 with 405-455


Db Shrugs - 6-8 sets of 20-50 with 100's

For traps this isn't that barely-get-my-shoulders-raised bullshit.  I shrugged and squeezed the traps in.  More like bodybuilder work where you want to actually make the muscle work.  Lots of guys with no traps do that cheating shrugging.  I've done it too, working up to 605-650 for some shitty reps, and nothing happened with my deadlift.  When I pulled weight off, and went with a tight squeeze that was controlled, my traps got a lot stronger, and I could feel them do a much better job of helping support the deadlift.

What I figured out was, the traps actually play a bigger part off the floor than people realize.  Don't think so?  Look at deadlift pics where guys are pulling just a few inches off the floor.  Their traps are contracting all out.  So for me, this whole "work your hamstrings to get strong off the floor" never worked.  I've done good mornings with 425 for deep reps and my deadlift didn't do shit.  Nothing from a lower body standpoint ever helped my deadlift move.

The rhomboids are the key to a strong lock out.  So all of the rows will give your lock out a real boost.  The lats also work in a contracting and supporting role from the floor.  If you don't think so, pull a lat then try to deadlift and see where it hurts the most.  Right from the floor.

So the final piece of this puzzle (for now) was for me to build my back from top to bottom.  My traps and lats for strength off of the floor, and my rhomboids to help with the lockout.

Dissecting some of the problems -

Most know that my stance on assistance work is to use the main lift and volume for it.  Cover, not smother.  I feel that that the squat and bench actually do a really good job of building themselves.  With bench you can throw in an incline or military press after, and that can be the bread and butter of an entire great pressing program.  Squatting, well, you just need to squat for a long time and that lift really builds itself.

However the dead is a different animal.  The dead doesn't have a myotatic reflex for one.  So there is no rebound.  And because of this, the deadlift needs to erectors, lats, rhomboids, traps, and hams to all be strong however the deadlift itself doesn't always do the greatest job in the world of getting those areas as strong as they need to be, in order to increase the lift.  This was the issue when I got to the 550-585 area.  The dead itself wasn't doing a great job of making me stronger.  When I went to the rack pulls, I got stronger from top to bottom in the various ranges of the movement, then when I went back to the floor I was now stronger through each portion, and I pulled PR's.

So if you need stronger lats and rhomboids, then the chins and rows are better tools at doing that really.  However, you can't just get stronger there, and stop pulling.  Then start pulling and expect the deadlift to have increased.  You still need to pull.

Which leads me to my other issue.  This whole "increase your deadlift by not deadlifting" bullshit.  Look, no one ever won Wimbledon by not practicing tennis.  No one ever won the Super Bowl without watching film and practicing and coaching in preparation for it.   And if you're a shitty deadlifter, you're never going to be a really good deadlifter by following such a stupid mantra or program.  You have to pull.  All the best pullers in the world pull, regardless of their leverages.  Andy Bolton, Konstantinovs, Benni, etc.  They all spend a lot of time with their hands connected to the bar.  And those guys are built to pull.  So if you aren't built to pull, what makes you think that not pulling is going to make you a better deadlifter?  I also do not care about the guy that says "well I took my deadlift from X to X by not pulling".  Don't give a flying fuck.  Good that it worked for you, however the MAJORITY of guys will have to pull to, you know, to make that lift better.

You need to be smart about pulling however, and smart about how you program.  And lucky for me over the past couple of years I have done more of that, than in the years before.

I'm dumb I guess, but eventually I get it.

I hope you guys benefit from this article.  I know the dead has been the most frustrating thing in the world for me in terms of lifting for years now.  So I identify very quickly with guys who are frustrated with their poor deadlifting.