Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Training - Some Pressing

Bodyweight - 234

Incline Press -
bar x 40
135 x 12,5
185 x 4
225 x 3
275 x 2
315 x 7
225 x 18

Db Curls - 35's x 20,20,20

Notes - Just an ok session but managed to grab some vid. I've been hitting incline between 7-9 reps every week or so, and I have been hoping to catch a set of 315x10 but tonight wasn't the night even though warm ups felt good. My guess is it'll happen with a lift off where I don't spend that little extra to unrack it.

No overhead work tonight. Just didn't feel like it. Need a good nights sleep for sure.

Training - the last two days

Sunday - IT band work and mobility stuff

PVC rolling
Lunge Matrix (about 200 reps of various lunges)
Weighed Ab Wheel - 3 sets of 10 x 45

Monday -
Shrugs -
Dynamic - 225 x 5, 315 x 5,5  405 x 3, 500 x 3,3  550 x 3,3
Shrugs - 585 x 5, 635 x 5

Notes - Just wasted last night.  So tired I went negative in Call of Duty several times.  That rarely happens.  There are quite a few little bugs/colds/flu going around so I don't know if I feel run down from that or just need some rest.  Either way, I cut it all short and everything felt heavy.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Developing your raw bench - Part 1

Sometime back I did a series on developing your raw squat.  I thought maybe it was time for another article along the same lines for developing your raw bench.

My history of benching is quite strange.  My bench climbed pretty steadily for the first 6 years of my training.  By the time I was 20 or 21 I was cheat benching 405, and once did a very bouncy 435 with some assistance of the spotter (in other words, not really).  However after some separated shoulder injuries and some issues with my pecs (my left pec minor has a nasty habit of getting very inflamed from time to time) and rotator cuffs, my bench went south and didn't seem to recover until about five years ago, when I started changing some things in my training.

My standards for what a good bench press is today pretty much wipes those old "PR's" off of my history.  I now bench close grip, and hit an easy 430 with a nice pause this year at the USPF Nationals.  If the previous attempt at 418 hadn't been so slow I would have gone to 450, which I believe I was good for.  Nevertheless, a 430 close grip bench isn't world class, but it's not complete dog shit either.  I hope to hit 460 close grip this next year in competition, but at 242.

So let's get down to some of the things I did over the past few years to get my bench moving again.

Weight Gain and how it REALLY works 

Ok I want to address the weight gain issue with benching and squatting.

The squat and bench are the two lifts most effected by weight gain.  Anyone who has put on weight know this to be very true.  Gain weight, and those lifts shoot up without much special done to move them.  The reason being is not really "leverages".  I want to put this theory to rest.

Gaining weight does not increase your leverages or decrease your ROM enough so much so that you see such big leaps in a lift.  This is "broscience" essentially.  Gain 10 pounds and your bench will shoot up almost every time.  10 pounds spread across your body isn't changing the ROM enough to allow for such dramatic increases.  If it were a ROM issue, then guys doing a 1 board press would see the same kinds of differences, but they don't.  You can basically do about as much on a 1 board press as you can full ROM.  So it is NOT a leverage or ROM factor here at play that causes the increase in strumph.

 The reason for the increase is because the weight gets distributed over a larger area of mass.  It's called distributed load.

This is one of the reasons why weight gain helps those movements so much.

The fact is, gaining 5-10 pounds probably doesn't reduce your ROM in the squat or bench at all really.  But gain 10 pounds and see if your bench doesn't shoot up like crazy.  This is very simple.  The weight you were lifting now feels like a lighter load because it is spread across more mass.

The same holds true for the squat.  Your squat ROM may not change more than an inch or so with a 20 pound weight gain, but the weight is spread across a much larger area, making the load seem lighter.

This is also the reason why weight gain doesn't effect the deadlift or overhead press as much.  Especially the deadlift.  It's pulled from the floor with no myotatic reflex.  You must simply use your strength to overcome the inertia of that weight.

Distributed load is not the only factor however.

The other factor is glycogen loading and an increase in ATP from that.  Which will also be another article as to why low carb and no carb diets are inferior for strength and mass gain to diets that are more carb heavy.  But 60 years of bodybuilding has already told us this.  And in this article I'm talking about benching.  I think.

Anyway, more ATP = more contractile power.  So a larger area to distribute the load across + more contractile power = a bigger bench.

I just wanted to get out there why weight gain works so well for increasing the bench (and squat) and put to rest this "leverages" issue.  It's a theory I accepted in the past, but after choosing to exercise my brain I decided this theory of leverages really didn't make much sense, and that it must be something else.

Just wanted to get that out of the way.  So if your bench is stuck, read the rest of the article, apply that, and if it still doesn't move, just gain some weight.

Now on to some benching bullshit.........

The Power Path -

Just as in the squatting, your benching has a power path.  A path that is more optimal to move the bar through to lift more weight.  In fact, every movement does (obviously) and this is REALLY what technique is all about.  Finding out the path of least resistance is the same as finding your power path.  I just decided to use the term "power path" because typing in "path of least resistance" means typing in twice as many words.

The power path in squatting basically runs through the middle of the body.  So long as the bar stays on that path, you will have your best advantage over the weight being lifted.  The bench is similar.  The bar should travel along a center line created by the wrist and elbow joint.  This is the path a raw bencher needs to be cognitive of.

Start of the bench....not a lot of explanation needed

Bar in line with wrist - wrist in line with elbow -

Bar in the correct position....and yes my forearms are ridiculous 

In the pic above, my wrist is in line with my elbow.  It may not look like it because I use a thumbless grip and my knuckles are behind the bar, but my wrist is in fact in line with my elbow.  This is more apparent if you think of a line drawn down the bar to my elbow.  This is where I am strongest from the bottom position.

Bar and wrist behind the elbow -

not in the power path...bar is too high

Here the bar and wrist are above the elbow.  Basically what happens is your triceps must now lever the weight out of the hole as the primary movers.  This puts you at a disadvantage from a leverage standpoint.

Bar and Wrist below the elbow -

not in the power path...bar is too low

Here, as you can see, the elbow is behind the wrist.  Some guys actually do bench well this way, trying to turn it more into a decline press, but this does not work well for me.

So to drive this home, what you are looking for is to get all of your leverage points lined up with each other, to work in unison along the same angle and path.  This will, for the majority of lifters, be the strongest path they push out of.

Elbows - Like Buffalo Bill, this is all about the tuck

For years now, geared benchers have talked about tucking.  As far as I know, they weren't talking about it Buffalo Bill style, but in regards to elbows.  

Tucking the elbows is valid.  It's the DEGREE to which you tuck that you're going to have to play with.

When I first started practicing bringing the elbows in it felt odd and I felt weak pressing like this, of course.  But eventually this was one of the things that enabled my bench to start moving pain free again.  Flaring your elbows when you bench, which is what I did when I started benching, is asking for trouble.  If you are in the market for lots of cuff and pec injuries by all means keep flaring those elbows out, like this dumb shit right here.......

wrong and wrong and wrong
The best place to start with this is with the dumbbell bench press, palms facing each other.  This will allow you to move your elbows a little more freely until you kind of find that groove that feels right to you.

I will tell you this, raw benching does not require the same degree of tuckage that geared benching does.  Flaring the elbows within reason is ok.  Tucking too heavily doesn't seem to have a lot of merit for the raw bencher either from my own experience.

So you're going to have to play with this a bit to find a spot that feels comfortable AND strong for you.

Getting into position -

This is an incredibly important part of benching.  Being able to get into the same position over and over again, one that puts you in the greatest position to generate power, is paramount.  

Instead of trying to write this shit out, and having 10000000000000000000 questions, I made a god damn video.  

I hope you like my shirt.........

Here it is in action.  Take note of the fact that my elbows move in the same place for every rep.  If your elbows are moving all over the place you are shifting in and out of the power path, and are not as strong as you could be.

Here is basically what I do in this video and the outline of what I am talking about...........

  • When I lay down, I want the bar to be in line with my eyes.  
  • I grip the bar and I scoot back down towards the foot of the bench a few inches
  • I then walk my feet back and I use my toes to drive my upperback into the bench and retract my shoulders, to get as tight as possible on the bench.  You will see my body slide back towards the bar.  Keep this in mind.
  • If my setup is perfect, my eyes will be right back under the bar, my upperback will be tight into the bench.  I pretty much unrack the bar as soon as I hit this position because once the weight comes off the racks, it further stabilizes that position.  If you find that you get tight, then lose position/tightness a lot, it's probably because you're spending too much time psyching up and bullshit AFTER you are in position.  You aren't going to hold that position for a long time, so get tight as hell and unrack the weight.  If you need to mentally prepare, do it BEFORE that.    
  • From there, my legs will be in a tight position allowing me to initiate leg drive when I start the press.
  • I lower the bar, pause, then push with my legs to create the initial drive off the chest.  This is basically the same motion that I use when I setup to get under the bar.  You are drive to drive yourself back and down into the bench.  Thing about pushing your body through the bench, not just pressing the bar away from you.
This is another area where you may need to play with, to get your upperback tight into the bench and feel stable.  Learning how to initiate with leg drive is also something that will take some time.  I don't always get it right everytime either but when I do, I can ALWAYS tell because the weight flies right off the bottom.  

In part 2 I will talk about grip and hand spacing, assistance work, and some routines to help get the bench moving.  

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Training - Shrugs and arms

Weight - 235

Hammer Machine Shrugs - 
1 PPS (plate per side) x 8
2 PPS x 8
3 PPS x 8
4 PPS x 8
5 PPS x 8
6 PPS x 8
7 PPS x 8
8 PPS x 8

Cable Upright Rows - up to the stack x 12

Machine Curls - 170 x 8,3,2 r/p style
Dip Machine - stack x 20,12
Rope Extensions - 70 x 10,10

Notes - Solid 80%.  I am also working on an article about developing your raw bench and some of the ups and downs I have gone through with that lift as well.  

Friday, November 25, 2011

Training - Today - Misc

Block Deads/Shrugs -
135 x 30
225 x 10
315 x 10
405 x 10
500 x 5,5,5
585 x 5.5.5
635 x 5,5,5

Good Mornings -
225 x 5,5,5
275 x 5,5

Abduction Machine - 4 sets

Thanksgiving Day Training

Yesterday's session before eating myself into a coma -

Squats - 
135 x 10,5
225 x 5
315 x 5,5,5,5,5
405 x 1,1,1,1,1
500 x 1,1,1,1,1
550 x 1,1,1

Block Pulls mid-shin - 
315 x 3,3
405 x 3
500 x 1,1,1
585 x 1
635 x 1

Deads from Floor -
405 x 3,3,3
500 x 3,3,3

Hypers - 3 sets of 20

Notes - I cheated for about 6 hours after this.  I'm not that sore today...............yet.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving and a challenge

To all my family, friends, readers, and enemies I would like to say Happy Thanksgiving.  I hope everyone enjoys their food coma and their time with those close to them.

I also would like to issue a challenge.  

The holidays suck for a lot of people.  Many times it's a reminder of loved ones lost, loneliness, perceived failures in life or a career.  

Go out of your way to do something selfless and sacrificing.  It doesn't have to be something that would win you the Nobel Peace Prize, but something that might make that persons holiday season a little brighter, even if just for a short while.  

I've never told this story because I think when you do these things, you don't tell because it shouldn't be to glorify what you have done.  But I wanted to give an example.  

A few years ago we were having breakfast and I noticed an elderly woman who came in.  She sat in the corner of the restaurant alone.  She wore a look of hardship and grief.  I couldn't help but stare and wonder why she looked so distraught.  My wife asked me what was wrong, and I told her.  

When our waitress came back around, I told her that I wanted to buy the elderly woman's breakfast.  But she was not to tell her who did this.  She looked at me befuddled, maybe because people these days don't notice other people or even care, I have no idea.  But she said "ok".  

So I waited until she asked for her check, and saw the waitress explaining to her that someone had offered to pay.  It was an incredibly rewarding feeling to watch the sadness wash from her face and see her smile.  When she got up to leave she walked slowly to the front door, and peered all around, maybe hoping to figure out who did this for her.  But I never made eye contact.  

I can't say who got more out of that, me or her.  But for me, it always feels good to do for others, even at my own expense.  Whether that's time or money.  Unless it involves moving.  And I won't help you move.  I fucking hate moving.  I will pay for your movers before I will move anything.

I have many other stories like this, but again, this is not about propping myself up.  It's supposed to be about doing something to help out someone else.

Obviously paying for breakfast isn't a huge deal.  But at least for a moment she had one less thing to worry about in her life, and that even someone unbeknownst to her cared enough to do something nice.  

As I noted, this is not to prop myself up in any way.  What I did wasn't a big deal.  And that's the point.  Do something that is a little out of your way during the holiday season to make someone else's shitty day a not so shitty day.  Look out for someone that is less fortunate than you are.  This is what men do.  

I hope everyone stays safe and travels well.  


Oh and training the last few days -

Tuesday -
Incline Press - up to 315 x 9, 225 x 15
PBN - 185 x 5,5
Curls and Triceps

Wednesday -
Upright Rows - 115 x 5 sets of 15
Ab Roller - 3 sets of 15

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chaos and Bang

Get ready for the mother fucking Apocalypse.

You know shit is going to hit the fan when a mouthy east coast asshole trapped in the south, meets up with a mouthy southern asshole trapped in the midwest to discuss training and all things stupid on the internet.

In what is the first installment of many to come, Jamie Lewis and myself talked for a long fucking time about "What Constitutes Strong" on many levels.  You may agree or disagree.  Doesn't matter to us really.  It's our roundtable god dammit.  Jamie and I give contrasting views on this and talk about repping strength, relative strength, and elite raw totals.

East Coast Asshole

Southern Asshole

Paul:  So you wanted to talk about what truly constitutes strong, so I'll let you go first.

Jamie:  When I was reading your blog, I thought it was interesting.  I'm not sure what you were using your basis.  Was it just opinion?  What were you using?

Paul:  Well it kind of developed over a series of e-mails between me and Wendler.  The main thing we talked about was to be in strong and be in shape.  Don't just be a big fat guy that's got one rep max limit strength.  So some of the things that when we would put that together with the reason why they look like they are, is one , because it's based on elite level repping strength, and the other thing was to put certain limits in
there to where you couldn't slant things to too much for one or the other.  Like the big fat guy isn't going to do chins with 100 pounds around his waist for 10.  And on the flipside, some of those little guys that can do chins all fucking day long, well they aren't going to be able to squat and pull 500 for 20.

Jamie:  Right.

Paul:  So it was kind of designed around basically elite level repping strength, and the other thing is that what would a guy look like that could do all those things.  A guy that could squat 500 for 20, deadlift 500 for 20, do dips with 200 pounds, chins with 100 pounds, overhead press 315 strict easily, curl 185 for reps, you know I mean, what would a guy that could do all of those things look like?

Jamie:  Gotcha.

Paul:  So that's how that all got developed.

Jamie:  That's interesting.  The thing that I didn't think you took into account, that was odd, was the difference between absolute strength and relative strength.  Which I think speaks to the fact that we are looking at it from two different sides of 200 pounds.  I mean, now I am over 200 pounds, generally I've always been under 200 pounds.  I think the bigger guys always go for absolute strength, and the smaller guys go for relative strength, and there's really not a lot of crossover there.  I mean, you'd have to be very elite from a little guys standpoint to get into strength in an absolute sense.  So which do you think is more important?

Paul:  You mean like the difference between like a 400 pound guy squatting Mike 900 and like a 185 guy squatting 600?

Jamie:  Exactly.

Paul:  Well you know this as well as I do, there are two sides to that argument that you always read on the net about, and the number one is is that 900 pounds is still 900 pounds, but you know then people say that you this smaller guy has got a better coefficient.  I guess that's not something I care about.  To me strong is strong, my thinking about the whole thing.  If a guy can squat 900 he's strong, but if a guy can squat 600 at 195, he's strong too.  You know what I mean?

Jamie:  Yeah.

Paul:  But I do think probably for your smaller guys, your 198 guys, 181 guys, I don't know Jamie I see a lot of fucking strong gusy at that weight now.

Jamie:  Yeah, you know I'd rather see Lamar Gant pull 700 pounds, or whatever it was he pulled 680 whatever, I'd much rather see that than see fucking fat ass Jeff Lewis wheezing his fat ass onto a platform and uh, barely even be able to get into position to fucking squat.  Then easing down with 1000 pounds and somehow magically making it move.  But why do I care?  I don't know the fuck the guy weighs, what
does he weigh like 460 pounds, and he's disgusting to look at.  I think it's more impressive that he's not dead than it is that he squats a 1000 pounds.   He has fucking cellulite on his face.

Paul:  Yeah and you know thing about it is that this kind of ties back into...

Jamie:  Yeah, the whole thing of what you were saying....

Paul:  Yeah it's the same thing.  You know Jim said this and wrote this over and over again that when he squatted 1000 pounds, the only fucking thing he was good for, was waddling up to a monolift and squatting 1000 pounds.  That he couldn't walk down the street for five minutes without having to stop.  When you get to that point, my personal opinion is your strength is fucking uselsss.  It's not worth, it is not worth a god damn thing.  As soon as a guy becomes oxygen deprived how strong is he really?

Jamie:  Yeah.

Paul:  If a guy has to fight two guys off and throws four punches and is exhausted how strong is he at that point?

Jamie:  You make a good point there.

Paul:  If a guy can bench press 600 pounds but he can't raise his arms, what the fuck good does it do?

Jamie:  That's why with me it comes back to, the relative strength again because once a guy gets much over 300 pounds he's not good for much.  I mean look at Marius Pudzianowski, the guy is strong as all fucking hell, but he got tapped out by Ricco Rodriguez of all people.  He just laid on him and he couldn't breathe and he was like "I'm done."  He did take two fights in two weeks but still, there's no way in hell Marius pudzianowski should lose a fight like that.

Still too big for MMA

Paul:  You know that's the funny thing about MMA is that they have kind of proven over time now that the bigger you get, even if you're lean like Mario is or, like say Brock Lesnar was a 265 pounds is too much mass to carry around for the for your body to oxygenate.  Once you get that big it doesn't really there's no such thing really being shape even if you're lean, from an MMA perspective.  You can't fight, five five-minute rounds at 270 pounds lean.  Your body just cannot oxygenate that much mass.  That's why you see the heavy weight guys now like JDS when they're like 238 to 240 pounds at 6' 3".

Jamie:  Coleman did make it in UFC when UFC had unlimited rounds.  That one fight with what's his name when he got knocked out because he was just too exhausted to raise his hands.  That was the only time he really failed, and at that point just about anyone would be exhausted.

Paul:  And it's interesting that you bring up Mario's because he's a freak in every sense in the way, in terms of strength and conditioning even with the conditioning aspect right.

Jamie:  Yeah he swims like 3 hours a day or something.

Paul:  Right, I heard he can run like 10 7-minute miles or some shit.  But once he gets in a situation like that fighting is totally different, and like I said you can't power that much mass and your strength becomes fairly uselss, especially strength without technique.  You can get a little guy that's got great technique that can often beat a bigger guy doesn't know how to properly use his leverage.  Now saying within reason, like you can stick a 245 pound guy on a buck-45 pound and there are things the buck-45 guy can't overcome.  So yeah I think from what we have talked about, I would personally prefer to see a guy that's 220 or 242 or less, 198 when anyone whatever, in shape like you did recently at 181 which was awesome, congrats by the way...

Jamie:  Thanks man.

Paul:  Especially you and I are both raw zealots, you probably get the same shit I get at meets like "you don't have a belt?  you don't have knee wraps?"   I've not put a belt on in, 15 years or something.  So back on topic, I prefer to see guys that stay in shape and get strong over guys that just gain massive amounts of weight to move a single. But I come from an athletic background and not like a pure powerlifting background so I think that changes how you view things.

Jamie:  So that takes me back to my initial point, I'm not sure how you came up with the numbers, I mean I know through your conversation with Wendler.  I guess I would have gone with more of a.....bodyweight you know, bodyweight percentage than just static numbers.  I mean 200 pound dips, that's impressive yes.  But I can do you know, with 3 plates I don't know how many reps I can do, I get bored after 12.  And I'm not a particularly good bencher.  But in high school the only thing I did was weighted dips and weighted calf raises.  So I'm just a damn good dipper.  So for me I know Jim thinks 200x10 is ridiculous but that's average to me.  But 315x20 on the bench I think is, just retarded.  I think the most I ever did was 315x9 and it was, magical and bizarre and I think I got up and left the gym after that because I thought something bad was going to happen.

Paul:  I think I've done 315x16 or 17 on close grip bench, I can't remember and I done that several times.  So what I noticed was that most of the guys I know that were 500 benchers could always hit 315 for about 20 to 22 reps.  So I tossed that up to Jim and whupped out with the "squatting and deadlifting 500 for 20, that's elite level repping strength and I kind of thought that was ridiculous.   You know 500x20 to pull and squat is pretty fucking bananas.

Jamie:  I've done 20 reps with 500 on rest/pause sets of deadlifts but I've never tried to bother with squats.

Paul:  I think my best squat beltless is 500x8, I don't think I've ever hit 10, but I may have.  I'm a decent chinner and I've done 100 for three of 265.

Jamie:  I've done 2 plates for 6 or 7.  But again for me, it comes back to the bodyweight thing.

Paul:  Yes I think that's where it kind of balances out like you said the dipping for 10 you could 200x10, and the pulling you may be close to it but in the squatting with would give you trouble, and you might need to gain 10 quality pounds, and that would put you up closer to 215 or 220 right?

Jamie:  Yeah, right.

(at this point Jamie and I ventured way off converstaion about weight gain and weight loss, which can/will be transcribed for another blog post)

Paul:  So now I will ask you then, I don't know if you have worked on these but if you have, what are your relative strength percentages?  Doesn't matter, 1 rep max, repping whatever.  What do you consider elite level strength?

Jamie:  I'd say double bodyweight bench, which I would have hit this past week but my shoulder is jacked up and I'm embarrassed I'm not hitting more than that, but anyway.  Double bodyweight bench, 1.5 times on strict press, 3 times bodyweight squat, 3 times bodyweight deadlift.  And then in terms of chins and dips, I haven't given it much thought but maybe for most people 1.5 bodyweight for reps.  It'd be sick to do double bodyweight for reps.  But from my perspective, but I take a very different view than most and why I don't consider myself a powerlifter, but I think if you are going to call yourself strong you need to be strong at everything.  If someone came to the gym and said "here's 6 random exercises, we're going to have a competition on these exercises" well you could just smash the shit out of everyone on those 6 exercises.  If you want to call yourself strong, you have to do that.  And those are my favorite kind of meets.  Ironsport does those and they are my favorite.  I love that shit. They will just make up some nonsense like "get a weight to your shoulder anyway you can and, put it over your head."  We just have random competitions.  That kind of shit is fun, and that gives you a far better test of real strength than just doing three lifts that you have practiced to the point of where, it has become more of a technique lift than just being really fucking strong.  Especially when you start throwing in gear on but we could have a whole different conversation about that.

Paul:  What you're really talking about too, is something I lean a lot more towards now, you said it earlier you don't really consider yourself a powerlifter and I don't either.  But I think that's another reason why we even though our training mythologies and philosophies are different, but our mentality about approaching training is really similar.  And I feel like, well if you're going to be strong, then strong is fucking strong.  It's probably another reason why you and I are both zealots about not wearing belts and knee wraps and shit like that because I have a term, what I call you're "walking around strength".  You should be fucking strong walking around all the time.  I do believe in meet peaking, but the truth is like if your walk into the gym and you're like "oh I pulled 700 at my last meet" but you can't walk into the gym and pull 585 on any given day there's something fucking wrong there.

Jamie:  I completely agree with that.  I also will take that step further and say walking around strength doesn't mean you need 45 minutes of warming up, prehab, rehab to pull a weight off the floor.  And I randomly used 515 as an example of this in the gym one day with a powerlifter that wasn't particualry strong.  Who had spent at least an hour fucking about warming up.  And he had only gotten to 415.  And I was like "slap another 100 pounds on that thing and let's do a rep."  And he was like "I'm not going to do a rep without warming up to that.  And I just grabbed a 45 and slapped one on each side and ripped it off the floor in my t-shirt and jeans and was like "there."  You don't need all this dicking about in the gym, it's retarded.  Just pull the god damn weight.  And if you can't pull 515 off the fucking floor you probably shouldn't be powerlifting anyway.  And the guy was like a 242 and I was 180.  

Strongman means being fucking strong at everything

Paul:  Well I know some guys that are mechically disadvantaged for a lift, but if you're if you're squatting you 700 and you can't pull 500 off the floor that's an issue.

Jamie:  Well I don't understand some peoples motivation for competing, because if you're at 242, and you can't pull 500 very easily off the floor why are you in a competition.

Paul:  I'm a pretty shitty deadlifter and 500 is a speed pull for me too.  The deadlift has been the bane of my lifting existance.  I plan on pulling 700 in the next year, and now you're pulling out these fucking 3X bodyweight numbers so now I gotta pull 725 at 242 you fucking asshole.

Jamie:  (laughs) What do you think about that then?  If you were to give a relative strength number, where would you go with that?

Paul:  I think all the ones you said is pretty much what I have always thought from a relative standpoint as well.  3x pull, 3x bodyweight squat, that's elite strength.  I think a double bodyweight bench is elite, if you're a 200 pounder and you bench 400 you're strong I don't give a shit what anyone says.  For overhead work I feel a little different.  If you can stand, and clean 300 off the floor and press it overhead, I think that's strong.  I agree with you on the relative strength numbers but for some things I think that strong is strong.  If you can clean 315 off the floor, and strict press it overhead, that's strong.  I think the bodyweight thing plays a lot less of a factor in overhead stuff than in benching.

Jamie:  With the strict press.  I think the strict press....jerking is more of a violent push press.  I'll agree with you more when talking about a strict press, because you'll see some of these little Chinese gusy putting 600 pounds over their head.  To hold 600 over head in a lock when you're 148 pounds is just unbelievable.

Paul:  That comes back to the thing that I think, sometimes there is just strong period.  I think your Jeff Lewis example is like that extreme version were now we have, you get guys that are 350+ pounds, and you wrote about this and it was interesting.  You said anytime you're a really big giant guy like that, people expect you to be strong.  If you're 400 pounds you gotta pick something up, well why can't you pick that up?  You should be able to.

Jamie:  Yeah if you can't get your 400 pounds off the couch you damn well better be able to pick that up.  And if you get that fat, frankly you should just hide in your house.  You're an embarrassment.  No one gives a shit how strong you are.  No one wants to look at you.  I really think their trophy should be a bullet in the eyeball, but that's just me.  I'm not a nice guy.

Jamie has a huge man crush on Jeff Lewis

Paul:  Well we obviously have an obesity problem in America, and the one thing I don't get is, why doesn't that obesity issue apply to alot of these lifters too?  We have lifters that are just as obese as these people who don't lift at all.

Jamie:  And you know at least we're seeing a trend towards not doing that anymore.  I don't know why the fuck that started.  Because if you look at guys in the 60's and 70's they were not tanks waddling around.  Even in the early 80's Ernie Frantz was ripped, Ed Coan was ripped, and then something happened in the 90's and everyone said "we're just going to get fat."  And they stopped bathing and...I just can't even begin to understand that mentality.  They try to justify it as your leverages are better but there's no physics behind that whatsoever, and also your circulation is reduced, so even if it was biomechanically more effecient, you're reducing the efficiency of your entire system by making yourself fat.

Paul:  Well that's something we've both talked about in that there is a point of diminishing returns with weight gain.  And that's why I always tell people to get lean before they gain weight.  Because once the fat gain gets going it's like a runaway train and the fat just pours on.  But back on point, I think both of us, how we lean more is like strongman type stuff.

Jamie:  Exactly.

Paul:  If you're a strongman, you know, you better be strong as god damn on everything.  You can't just show up and be good at two fucking things and expect to win.  And it's a different kind of training and mindset.  And something we talked about earlier, with the relative strength is the conditioning thing.  Now, if you look at most of top strongmen they look like they're in pretty good shape, not all of em but most of em.

Jamie:  Yup, Poundstone, Haorld Haugen. Mariuz, even Phil Phister managed to get around the block and get a salad.

Paul:  And the guy from Texas whose name escapes me.......Travis Ortameyer.  He got in really good shape this past year because he figured out the conditioning aspect of it was something that was holding him back I believe.

Jamie:  Well the WSM competition has become like an endurance thing more than a strength thing, eveyrone is running all over the fucking place.

Paul:  Which is why a lot of guys say that the Strongman at the Arnold is a better indicator because there's not as much endurance based stuff.

Elite standards for RAW

Paul:  So talk to me about what you think about the classifications for being raw elite.  There are a few different ones, so which ones are you talking about?  The one I use are the old USPF standards.  I will have to look it up but I know for 242 it's 1890.

Jamie:  Which one is this?

Paul:  The old USPF standards.

Jamie:  I'm looking at the raw unity ones.  Those make sense to me.  The 100% raw are nonsense to me.

Paul:  So you think the 100% raw and AAU suck.

Jamie:  The raw unity ones make sense, the elite cut off is 1609 for 181.  So 1857 for 242 for you.

Paul:  Yeah and the ones I go by are even higher.  It's the old USPF standard.  181 is actually 1642 and 1890 for 242.

Jamie:  And that makes much more sense.  And I don't udnerstand how a guy can even train for the sport and classify himself as elite with the other ones.  But these make much more sense to me.

Paul:  For me, I know anything over 1800 at 242 and anything over 1900 at 275 is great.

Jamie:  Yeah.

Paul:  And for you, anything over 1600 at 181 is phenomenal.  So kind of a general ballpark, 1700 for 198, at 220 1750, 1800 for 242, and 1900 for 275.  2000+ for 308 and over.  And I think that most of these are going to fall in that ballpark of needing the relative strength percentages that we talked about before.

At this point Jamie and I talked about how Ed Coan was built like a mailbox, and how funny it is that people take pro-hormones but still claim to be natural.

More roundtable discussions will be coming......

Doesn't have shit to do with this discussion but so what?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Training - Errr....traps again

Bodyweight - 235

Dynamic Shrugs
225 x 3,3
315 x 3,3,3
405 x 3,3
500 x 5
585 x 3,3

Regular Shrugs - 635 x 3

Dynamic Shrugs -
500 x 5,5

Regular Shrugs - 500 x 17

Ab Wheel - 2 x 15
Neckage - 90 pounds x 17

Notes - Solid session.  80%er all the way.  Notice how I've gone from week 1 to where 500 on the dynamics were slow for sets of 3, to where now 500 for sets of 5 are explosive.  This comes also from pushing the regular shrugs and just doing the movement again.  The 635 for a triple tonight was super easy.

Also, the first roundtable installment is finished but I have to do some final touch ups on it.  Look for it tomorrow.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pre-fucked diet dieting - How to take advantage of your Thanksgiving massacre

It's the week of Thanksgiving.

That means pain-in-the-ass in-laws for most married people, other peoples asshole kids running around, going back and forth between families and houses to make everyone happy, and intentionally sabotaging your diet.

A picture of bullshit

Fear not comrades (see how I worked some Russian into Thanksgiving for no reason at all?), I can at least present you with a way to work that intentional carb-coma into your diet that will work in your favor.  Especially if you have been busting ass and working hard to rid your body of that shitty extra layer of adipose that you have been duped into believing you need for lifting big weights (which is a whole different article).

Intentional Glycogen Depletion - 

Even if you have been eating "right" which means limiting carbs after lunch and only using low glycemic carbs (or if you have been doing a keto or paleo style diet) when you do eat carbs, you will need to take the next few days a step further and deplete carbs as much as possible.

You will also need to get your ass out of bed early this week and go on a steady state walk for about 30-45 minutes first thing in the morning, with only coffee or water as your beverage.

Drop any HIIT or interval work for the week.  I've touched on this before but doing interval work isn't really any different than lifting.  Treat it as such.  You don't lift on an empty stomach or without having some kind of fuel ahead of time.  Treat interval work the same way.  Doing anaerobic work after fasting is an awesome way to self-cannibalize muscle tissue.

This isn't the week to worry about pushing the conditioning envelope.  This is about using a carb super compensation effect for the day of Thanksgiving so that it works in your favor, and you can pig out as much as possible.

So let me lay out the 3 days of pre-Thanksgiving training so you can go full belly blast Turkey day and end up looking better after it.

Diet and Training Mon, Tue, Wed - 

A.M. 30-45 minute walk at a crisp pace

Breakfast - 5 whole eggs and bacon or sausage

Lunch - Shake in water with peanut butter

Snack - Shake in water only

Training - Train as usual

Post-Training - Shake in Water

Meal - Steak or Dark Meat chicken or Repeat Breakfast

Before Bed - 20-30 minute steady state walk

Snack - Shake in water again if need be

Repeat the above for three days.  You don't have to push the envelope as far as weights go either.  Get in, get some work in, and get out.

Thanksgiving Day - 

Wake up early enough to do your steady state.  Yes I know, this day may feel jam packed but 20-30 minutes out first thing in the morning isn't that big of a fucking deal.  Excuses are for pussies.

Post-steady state, have a shake.  Wait another 2 hours or so, then have another shake and get your workout in.  Try to make this session as long and as hard as possible.  I don't mean you have to lift heavy as possible, I mean train as hard as possible.  Reduce rest time between sets, go to failure, do some strip and drop sets, and drag this shit out as long as possible.  Or you can just pick a big lift and do as many fucking sets as possible.  I try to train for about 90-120 minutes.  Usually it's squats, and I just squat and squat and squat and squat.  

If you time shit up correctly, you should go hit the shower and be ready to eat within an hour or so.  At that point, destroy anything and everything you can for the next 4 hours.  I mean hit it hard.  Steal shit off granny's plate, tell the creepy uncle who went to prison 2 times to get bent, that you're carb deficient and he better get his ass in line behind you less he wants to get shived.........again.

My advice is to hit the carbs first.  Get some turkey of course, but you want to shovel in the carbs and as much of them as possible.  All the cranberry sauce you can muster.  All of the brown sugar coated sweet potatoes you want.  Pumpkin pie?  Eat a whole one.  Eat a whole apple one too.  That's totally 'Merican in every way.

Now go lay down and pass the fuck out.

A carb coma to be proud of

You should nap for an hour or so and wake up and pound the protein.  As much as you can.

I also suggest digestive enzymes during this time as your stomach will fucking hurt and you will fucking fart all over the god damn room for the next 8-13 hours.

The Day After.........

The day after spend the first half of the day fasting.  Your leptin levels will be high and you want to take advantage of this by having a big negative caloric intake.  After lunch resume "normal" eating.  You may look or feel bloated or puffy as hell.  This is normal.  Don't fret.  You could also just look really fucking awesome if you carb depleted heavily enough.  Usually I find I am a bit bloated however.

The day after the day after........

I usually wake up feeling pretty damn sexy on this day.  I have a nice fullness and the bloat is gone.  It's too bad that the weather always sucks here in the midwest during this time.  Otherwise I'd be running around in a banana hammock on this day asking people for directions.

Anyway this is the little routine I have come up with after several years of knowing I want to eat as much as I want during the holidays but not get fatter.  It works extremely well so use it your advantage.  Everyone of you should come out of the winter looking like a jacked fucking mongrel beast that is ready to fight and fuck his way to awesome.  Not like a big tub of shit that bleeds eggnog.

Mmmmm, eggnog.  

Training the last two days...........

Saturday -

Weight - 237

Shrugs with pin pulls - worked up to 500 for 5 sets of 5 but after 2 hours of sleep and drinking the night before, I was just garbage.  Went to pull 585 but it might as well have been 1 gazillion pounds.

Today -

Hammer Shrugs - 7 plates x 8 -> strip to 5 plates per side x 8 -> strip to 4 plates per side x 8
Low Cable rows - 3 sets of 8 with a LOT of squeezing on the positive
V-Bar Pulldowns - 100 x 2 sets of 10, same as low cable rows
Low Back Machine - 4 sets of 10.  Low back has been feeling kinda weakish, not stable so I wanted to get some erector work in.

Notes - Today was ok.  Yesterday sucked ass.  Two more weeks for this asshole dieting and trap specialization.  The traps seem to be responding pretty well, but this week I am going to try and push the weight a lot more.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Q&A.........

Leave a name and a question.

Still working on the transcribing for the roundtable between Jamie and myself.  Hope to be done with it this weekend.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Training - Squats and Pulls

Bodyweight - 232

warm up - good girl machine and some leg ext

Squats - beltless of course
135 x 10
225 x 5
315 x 4
405 x 3
455 x 2
500 x 1
405 x 5

Speed Pulls - 315 x 3 sets of 3
405 x 3 singles

Glute Ham - 5 sets of 8-10
Good Girl and Bad Girl Machines - 2 sets of 20 each.

Notes - IT band is killing me.  Not overly concerned.  When I stop all this crazy conditioning it will get better.  But I do need to actually be diligent about the pipe rolling and some more 1 legged work to get it back in check.  This was a nice 80%er.  The 500 was easy even with the IT band in bad shape.

Random Music Post

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Overhead Pressing Conundrum

Before I start writing on this, let's get this out of the way.

I'm good naturally, at overhead pressing.  I've done a strict overhead clean and press of 275x3.  225x10 on many occasions, both standing and behind the neck.  I've done the 120 pound dumbbell's for 12+ on a bunch of occasions.  Other than the 275 triple though, I can't tell you what all my bests are because the truth is, I don't give a shit.

Standing, seated, behind the neck, it doesn't matter.  This lift has always come easier to me than any other.  Most people are good at a lift, and exploit that shit like Johnnie Cochran exploited the legal system.

I'm quite the opposite.  I hate shit I am naturally good at, and get bored with.  I love to do shit I am not good at. Like deadlifting.  So with the overhead stuff, I never kept track of all my PR's because I didn't and don't care about them.  I'd like to hit 315 strict overhead at around 250 but if I don't, oh well.

Let me also add in that "overhead work" is not jumping under a fucking bar to me.  That's something else.  Overhead work and overhead pressing means you pressed the fucking bar over your head.  You didn't jump under it.  Talking about what a strong overhead guy you are when you're really just jumping under the bar is being a transvestite

With that said, I will talk a little about why I think overhead work is easier for me, and some things I have done to improve it while I did care about overhead pressing.


  • Always press the barbell with a thumbless grip.  I can't believe it when I still see people overhead pressing with their thumb around the bar.  When you wrap your thumb around the bar, the bar gets more out in front of you.  When you go thumbless, the bar gets closer to your center of gravity.  Giving you a better power path.  
  • Do all kinds of pressing.  Do clean and press, seated press, db press both seated and standing, viking press, and even machine pressing.  The point is to get your shoulders strong regardless of the leverages allowed or not allowed by your torso.  
  • Be aware of upperback work.  Unlike the bullshit that perpetuates the internet about needing lat work for a bigger bench (this is also full fucking retard), you do need to be aware that your upperback plays a huge role in overhead work.  Your traps and rhomboids do a lot of work to stabilize the shoulder girdle, and your lower back works as the foundation where you are pressing from.  If you don't think so, do standing overhead work with a sore or fatigued lower back and see how shitty you press.  Also, the easier your clean is, the easier the press will be.  This is a fact.
  • Work your rear delts a lot.  That is, unless you want to look like a fucking hunchback.  Guys that do too much benching and overhead work at the expense of their rear delts always end up with lat syndrome, and the palms of their hands usually face them.  This is an injury waiting to happen.  Don't be one of these assclowns.
  •  Bring your grip in.  The wider the grip the harder it is to get off the bottom.  Yes, the lockout becomes easier, but not much.  Remember that weight gain isn't as huge a factor in overhead pressing as say, the bench.  So you want to rocket that shit off the bottom as fast as possible, past the sticking point before lockout.  
  • On the contrast, for pressing behind the neck, take your grip out WIIIIDDDEEE.  If you press behind the neck wide, your shoulders should be fine.  Here is another myth, that press behind the neck is bad for your shoulders.  Bull and shit.  If you can't do press behind the neck your shoulders are already fucked up.  What's funny is, one of the exercises used to rehab shitty shoulders is shoulder dislocates.  Well the motion isn't a lot different than what you do in a press behind the neck.  The reason lots of guys can't do press behind the neck is because their rotators are tight.  PBN will let you know if you need to take care of this problem.  
  • Overhead twice a week.  The shoulders can take a lot of work.  There are a million ways to program for this.  One heavy day and one light day, or two heavy days but with different movements.  
  • Use the incline bench.  Lots of strongmen love the incline bench and there is a reason for this.  Think of it like an overloaded overhead press.  My incline is usually not very far behind my bench.  This is also why I think I am a naturally good overhead presser.  I promise you if you improve your incline your overhead press will go up.  
  • Do standing french presses.  This was my staple in my younger years but my elbows can't handle it now.  Not because of this exercises, but just because my elbows are old and fucked up.  These also have a nice direct carryover to the standing overhead press.  
  • Get good at cleaning and pressing heavy ass singles, doubles, and triples.  I personally think that more than any other movement, reps generate less progress for the overhead standing press than any other lift I do.  When I've done 225 for reps easily it was during times when I was pushing the heavy singles or triples up.  Doing standing press for like 12-15 reps isn't even like the same movement.  

Lastly, be patient.  For some guys the overhead press goes up agonizingly slow.  If that's you, just prioritize it for a while (6+ months) and go from there.  Slow and steady wins the race.

Training - Press

This was my training last night.

Weight - 236

Incline Press -
bar x 30
135 x 10,5
185 x 5
225 x 4
275 x 3
315 x 7
225 x 15

Seated Db Press - 100's x 10

Db Curls and Calf Raises - 4 sets of each

Notes - Really solid session.  Just taking it easy right now on these days since I am training more often and still doing a lot of conditioning.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chaos and Paining for a good cause

Jamie hit me up to see if I wanted to repost his blog post about these Paleo snacks.  The money goes to charity for kids living in Camden, NJ.

Seeing how I've been cutting carbs after lunch and I hate the fucking hell out of shakes now, I have been looking for a lower carb snack in the afternoon.  I will be buying some of these snacks to do that.

Here is the blog post.........


And here is the site.....


For those that try the snacks out, let me know what you think.  I will probably try a bit of everything.  Neither Jamie or I are getting any kickbacks on this deal.  It's for a good cause, and even heathens like me and Jamie try to do something good once every 5 years or so.

Strong-15 Reloaded

Now that it's been long enough, I'm starting to get a lot of positive feedback about the programs, and mainly the strong-15 program.  Lots of guys are starting to hit PR's and learn a little bit about proper programming in order to make that happen.  

But there is always room for improvement.  

So over the next few months I will be writing a reloaded version of the Strong-15.  

Some of the things I will be covering.........

Using the strong-15 with a hypertrophy phase
Using a block deadlift phase
Squatting and Pulling on the same day 
My squat sucks
My bench sucks
My deadlift sucks
Factoring in pre-hab work
Assistance exercises 
Conditioning during pre-meet phases

.....and a bunch of other shit.  

This will not be done for a while because as usual, I will not tell you about something unless I have tried it out myself.  The block deadlift phase is something I have already started programming and I absolutely believe it's going to kick ass.  For us shitty deadlifters I feel like this will help get over that deadlifting hump.  

I have no idea when this will be completed but expect it maybe sometime after my next meet.  Where I intend to go 1800 beltless at 242.  

Stay tuned.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Training - Errr....traps again

Bodyweight - 234

Dynamic Shrugs -
135 x 5,5
225 x 5,5
315 x 3,3
405 x 3,3
500 x 3,3,3

Regular Shrugs - 605 x 3, 500 x 15

Dynamic Shrugs - 405 x 5,5

Ab Wheel - 2 x 15
Neck Flexion - 1 plate x 20, 2 plates x 15

Notes - Tired and took forever to get going.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff

My hands are fucking destroyed from all of the shrugs yesterday.  I mean they are trashed.  I ripped two callouses off and the other ones don't feel so hot either.  Not really bitching, just more or less stating that if you plan on doing 20+ sets of shrugs, know you're going to deal with some torn up hands.

Man I gotta make sure I never bet on UFC fights.  I still say that some ring rust played a part in that fight, but JDS just looks like a beast right now.  His hands are really fast and his take down defense is very good.  I don't think he's going to be able to start like that with Overeem however.

beasting right now

Jamie Lewis and I are doing a roundtable discussion today.  I can't find any good audio to text software so if anyone has an ideas, let me know.  If I can't hit on any, then you'll just have to be patient until we get the whole thing transcribed.  Either way, it should be a great discussion.  Jamie and I have completely different training methods but similar mental approaches about training.  

Should be interesting!

I have eaten way too much shit over the last 3 days.  I gotta clean everything up starting today.  No excuses.

Been pushing sled on Sundays and I can tell ya, it's god damn brutal.

After this yoke phase, I am going to go into a strength and mass phase for a while, then start some meet prep.  I will be competing in the 242's.  No more 275's for me.  I am not giving up my conditioning anymore.  I'd rather be in condition and total 1600-something than be out of shape and total 1800+.  It just isn't worth it to me.  Besides, I think I can still go 1750 or more totally raw at 242 anyway.  I just need to get leaner.  "Leaner Paul?  That doesn't make any sense."  Sure it does.  All part of the plan.

Modern Warfare 3 is awesome so far.  If there are any 360 gamers on here, I'm PLCJ58.  Send me a friend request.  I'm pretty beast (if my connection isn't 3 bar!) so don't worry.  I usually have two other dudes I game with most of the time.

Can't wait for some Thanksgiving!  I love Thanksgiving food.  I can eat a mound of dressing and that cranberry sauce.  I'm drinking a pumpkin flavored coffee right now, and it's fucking yummo.

Lot of good reports are starting to pour in about the strong-15 program for guys.  Lots of guys kicking ass with it, for meets and just to get stronger.  I think I am going to tinker with it so that it has an option for a block deadlift phase with speed pulls.  But before I do I will actually run it myself.  I am positive with all of the block pulls I have done in the past I can work in a programmed block deadlift phase with great results.  I will probably do this for my next meet.

I also think I may work in an offseason version of the strong-15 so that you can focus on hypertrophy blocks with it as well.  So after a meet, you would run the LRB template, the strong-15 hypertrophy template, then go into meet prep.  Before I recommended the big-15 but the strong-15 is getting such strong reviews that I may just focus on perfecting that for a while.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Training - Shrug Insanity

Bodyweight - 234

Shrugs (pulling the start from mid-shin) -
135 x 20
225 x 10
315 x 5
405 x 5
500 x 15 sets of 5
585 x 5 sets of 5
500 x 5 sets of 8

Upright Rows - 115 x 3 sets of 10

Machine Dips - stack x 13,7,3 rest/pause style
Machine Curls - 155 x 8,3,2 rest/pause style

Notes - A solid 80%er.  Felt good as hell.

More PR stories......

Although I haven't used the LRB template, I borrowed the ideas of a 5-4-3-2-1-1-1 progression and bi-weekly DL sessions and finally achieved a DL PR at 46 (after about a 12 year drought of "fuck this, I'll just do a few token pulls every month"). Okay- pulled 510 at 180 lbs. Terrible- but great for me. Plus, I now know that I might be able to do more on a fixed plan. 

I know that 5-4-3-2-1 is not a recent invention but it worked like a MF as an intermediate scheme for me. Taught me a lot about progression. 


Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank a Veteran Day

It is the VETERAN, not the preacher,
who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the VETERAN, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the VETERAN, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the VETERAN, not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the VETERAN, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the VETERAN, not the politician,
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the VETERAN,
who salutes the Flag,
It is the veteran,
who serves under the Flag

Training - Squats

Bodyweight - 228

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

That was it.  Not going heavy on squats right now anyway.  Just cruising along.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Training - Traps

Last night - Upright Rows - 65 pounds x 8 sets of 20
Swiss Ball Crunch - 5 sets of 20

Will squat later today.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Training - Pressing shit

Bodyweight - 232

Seated PBN -
bar x 20, 20
135 x 12,12
155 x 5,5
185 x 12,12,5,5

Incline Press -
135 x 10
185 x 10
225 x 12

Db Curls - 35's x 4 sets of 20

Notes - Just taking it easy and light on the pressing stuff.  The goal right now is to keep getting leaner and working the yoke.

Weekly Q & A

You know the drill.  Leave a name and a question......

Monday, November 7, 2011

Training - Errr....traps

Bodyweight - 235

Dynamic Shrugs -
135 x 5,5
225 x 5,5
315 x 3,3
405 x 3,3
500 x 3,3,3

Shrugs - 500 x 5, 585 x 5

Dynamic Shrugs -
405 x 5,5

Neck Crunches - 45 x 20,20,20
Ab Wheel - 3 sets of 10
1 Legged Calf - 3 sets of 20

Notes - With the dynamic shrugs, you can't go as heavy as normal shrugs if you do them right with a good ROM.  I really dip down to the knees then explode as hard up as I can.  500 didn't move as fast as I wanted so I will stay there until next week and see if the speed improves.

Felt great tonight.  The time off was good for me.

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff

The new X-Men movie sat at my house all week and I never watched it.  Not that I didn't want to, it was just one of those weeks where every damn night something was going on.  Shit, I guess I will just buy it.  Then I will eventually get around to watching it.

Hold on to your fucking porn hats, Jamie Lewis and I are going to be doing a roundtable type discussion real soon that will be shared across both our blogs.  If you don't read Jamie's blog you should.  We have different ideas about training, and that's a good thing.  Variety is the spice of sex......errr life and stuff.  Anyway, it's always good to see both sides of the training paradigm and that's probably a lot of what we will be covering.

Game of the Century (LSU vs Bama) was a great defensive battle but man, do these things get built into something they aren't?  We are truly in a super hype age.  Game of the century?  Really?  Now days if something is good we want it to be great; if it's great we want it to be epic.  Why can't we let it just unfold and be what it is?

The shit going on with Jon Jones reminds me of that so much.  That he's some kind of second coming in terms of MMA fighters.  I still haven't seen the guy tested, and some may say that's because he's so good but I don't believe that.  What I mean is, what happens when he gets rocked, or his reach isn't working?  What happens then?  We don't know.  As much as I dislike Anderson Silva, all of those questions have been answered about him.  Jon Jones?  No.  The hype machine is too much.

Staying in fighting, I can't wait for JDS and Cain.  Man I haven't had so much trouble picking a fight EVER.  I see these guys pretty equal but I think that Cain is probably the better overall guy.  So if I HAD to pick, I'd go with Cain.

The layoff I had the last week plus has REALLY done me good.  I feel mentally hungry again for the first time in a few weeks to lift.  My conditioning is strong right now.  I did 2 hours of sled yesterday and felt fine.  Never lost my breath.  Your conditioning level plays such a huge role in recovery.  When you are in shape you can get in so much work in the weight room.  Now I just have to be better about my sleep.  I'm working on that.

The Walking Dead season 2 has been spectacular.

Dexter has really picked up too.

My elbow has been feeling achy again for no apparent reason.  Maybe bitching at me for the lay off.

Speaking of the Alabama/LSU game, I went out with the wife and a couple of friends.  And one of them decided he would pull for Alabama just to be a pain in my ass.  Don't you just love friends like that?  Actually we had a great time and I got to yell in his face, loudly, when LSU kicked that game winning field goal.  That was fun.

Busy out the ass today so just a quick and dirty one.

Hope everyone is having a rat shit filled Monday.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Bodypart Specialization - Trap Specialization

For many years now I have obsessed over my trap size, or lack of.  Yes I know, some of you may say my traps aren't that bad.  But I don't care because I have body dysmorphia.  So kiss my ass.

Anyway, for any of you that would like to join me in increasing the yoke/trap size, here is the routine I will be doing for the next 4 weeks.   

Mondays - 
Barbell Shrugs  - 10+ sets of 3 to a top triple

Tuesdays - Pressing
Press Behind the Neck - 3 x 6-8 moderate
Incline Press - 2 x 5 moderate
Curls - 4 x 20 light

Wednesday - 
Upright Rows - 8 x 20 

Thursday - Lower Body
Squats - 3x5 moderate
Speed Deads - 3x3 uh, it's speed deads so it's light
Saturday - 
Seated Camberbed Bar Shrugs - 5x5 same weight all sets
Upright Rows - 5x10 heavier than Wednesday to a top set

Proper Programming

One of the reasons that I, you, and every other guy gets stuck in a rut for long periods of time is because of the inability to know when to change things that are no longer working.

You keep plugging away at singles for too damn long.

You keep doing high rep shit too long.

You do low volume too long.

You do high volume too long.

You run your conditioning phase out too long and get too skinny.

You drag a bulking phase out and get too fucking fat.

I've done all these (waves hand around at the list).

One of the reasons this happens is because training and programming has no phase.  And you have no goals.

I have to write/repeat this a lot but, what in the hell are you going into the gym for?  If you can't answer that, then sit down and figure shit out.

Second, not every template covers everything perfectly.  Especially depending on what you need.

Now I don't mean you're a god damn special snowflake and you need a special template.  What I am saying is, you may need to get in shape, so you will need to adjust how often you're lifting to maintain as much strength as possible.  Or maybe you need to get bigger so you need to adjust your volume and reps.

Your training programming should be centered around what YOU need in this given time.  But you need to be self aware enough of that, to make the proper changes.

So I'm going to talk about the three main templates/programs I pimp here, and why/when they should be implemented into your training phase.

Let me be clear here, any of these templates can be used to get bigger, stronger, whatever.  But some work a little better than others to do certain things.

LRB Template -

Best Time To Use - Offseason
Best for (in order) - Shoring up weak muscular areas / Prehab / Hypertrophy / Strength and Conditioning Mix

The LRB to me, is the best overall template to use to get in shape, maintain or build some strength, and take care of pesky ass problems that won't go away.  You should prioritize oft injured areas during this time, and shore up all of your muscular weak points.  You should also use this time to get your fat ass into shape and get leaner.

Remember, the "offseason", meaning the time of year you are not training for some type of competition, should be used to coast a bit, but fix some issues as well.  Now if you are a bodybuilder, your offseason is a little different.  That's when you make your money, but I'm referring to competitive athletes or strength athletes here.

So use this time to get in a lot of steady state cardio, some hard interval training, shore up any injured areas or areas you commonly get injured in, while trying to maintain as much strength as possible, or even add to the foundation a bit.


Best Time to Use - Anytime you need get bigger / Pre-Meet cycles
Best For (in order) - Building Mass / Building Strength

My bread and butter for years, in terms of building mass, was doing an over warm-up, then blasting a ton of reps with back off sets.  The only thing that even came close to this was DoggCrapp training.

Obviously the best time to run a mass gaining phase is when, well, you need to gain mass.

But I always have to emphasize this.  If you are not LEAN enough to start a mass building phase, then get leaner FIRST.  I have written about this a million times so I'm not going to rehash everything here.  If you aren't 10% or below in bodyfat, you have no reason to be shoveling endless amounts of calories into your mouth and "bulking".  Don't "bulk".  Gain quality mass.  Get lean first to do this.

Also, I like to use this phase before I go into a meet cycle.  This works really well.  Run a 6 week phase of to failure back off sets, take a week or so off, then get into a meet phase.  Which brings me to.....


Best Time to Use - Meet cycles
Best For (in order) - Gaining Strumph / Strength Peaking 

This one is easy.  Plan out around 11 weeks before the meet to run this cycle.  Three, three-week phases based around your opener, second, and third attempt.  Every third week is a testing phase.  

This is as simple as it gets.  

Conclusion - 

Know your role and understand where you are in terms of training phases.  You need to be self aware enough to understand the changes you need to make in order to move to a new level.  It just so happens these three phases approach things in the order I think you should be working towards.

LRB Phase - Get leaner / Shore up muscular imbalances / Maintain strength built or add some to it

Big-15 Phase - Get bigger / Gain lean mass / Build Strength 

Strong-15 - Get stronger / Peak for competition 

Post-Competition - Figure out where you need improvement and go back into the LRB phase

Rinse and repeat.  

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Awesome pic of the week

This is on my FB but it's too good not to share here..........click to enlarge and read it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Training - Squatting

Bodyweight - 233

Workout - A pure, unadulterated -10% in every way.  Won't even post it here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Common sense doesn't always win out

Some 8-10 years ago when the intarwebs was newish, the training craze by the "smart" mo'fuckas was to do box squats and not deadlift.  Of course, this was to make your squat better (wtf?) and well, don't deadlift to build a big deadlift.

Uh yeah, right.

I remember engaging in serious interweb warfare over this bullshit.  Argument after argument ensued.  I didn't give a fuck.  None of it made any god damn sense to me.

"The box squat does the opposite of what actually happens in a raw squat."

"You're a fucking retard Paul Carter.  Over 1 million 1000-pound squatters all base their heavy training around box squats."

"Yeah, they are all heavily geared squatters."

"You're a retard.  I win."

The discussions really weren't from for that at times.

This box squatting looks acceptable to me.

The deadlift one wasn't quite so simple.  There were quite a few good pullers who didn't pull much, but I was still kinda new at figuring out this powerlifting thing so I didn't understand that some guys can do this, and build a good/great deadlift, but most guys CANNOT.  If you don't think so, drop in on a UK powerlifting board for a while.  Most of those guys out pull the American guys on a fairly consistent basis, and laugh about the fact that so many of the equipped American powerlifters have bigger benches than deadlift.  This is a sad fucking thing.  Yes it is.

And what's the difference?  Those guys train the deadlift.

Not training the deadlift to get better at the deadlift is like saying you're going to ride a fucking unicycle to get awesome at driving F-1 race cars.

There are still people who try to argue the box squat thing.  For the life of me, I can't figure out why.  It's not even about "well I added X amount to my squat by box squatting."  No you didn't.  Yes, I wrote that.  No you did not.  If you get on a box and never do a free squat, and neglect quad work, your raw squat will not improve.  If it does, it just means you were probably weak to begin with, so any work at all would have done something.  That, or you are/were taking a bullload of shit.  And no, I'm not going with the "you only win because you juiced" line.  I'm saying the box squat unloads the quads at the bottom.  The OPPOSITE is required in a raw squat.  So you got better at doing 1 thing, by doing the opposite?   Uhhhhhhh.......no.

Now after all my struggles I see so many "name" guys writing this very shit, and it's like "oh wow, yeah what a shocking fucking revelation.  I'm so glad you pointed out how dumb that is!  My training has been going nowhere!"

Months and months ago I had a guy approach me in the gym about improving his bench.  He wanted to know what he could do to become a stronger bencher.

"Bench." I told him.

"But how will that, you know, make my bench go up?"

I stood in amazement at the amount of dumbassery that was in living form in front of me.

"Well, you bench, and add more weight.  Then repeat that until you can do more than you do now."

"Makes sense."

Me benching to get better at....benching...
The next argument was always "well can you lift as much as this guy?  Because he overhead presses more than you bench."

Suck my left testicle.

Mike Singletary was a great, great middle linebacker.  One of the best ever.

He couldn't carry Bill Belichick's jock strap with a bulldozer in terms of being a coach.

The internet is famous for this fucking garbage.  And the "oh yeah, well you outlift him."

Could play.   Couldn't coach.

Being stronger than a guy, doesn't make you smarter about training.  There are lots of highly paid strength and conditioning coaches out there, that kick ass at their job, that can't lift shit.  Most great coaches, whether it be MMA or football or whatever, weren't great at that sport.  Things that come naturally to people generally also means they don't have to learn as much.  This isn't an "always" kind of thing, but it's a pretty good rule of thumb.

On the flip side of that, a guy HAS to have SOME success in lifting, training, whatever himself.  He doesn't have to be Kaz for the love of God, but you want to see that at some point the principles he talks about were applied to himself, and they worked.  The degree may vary depending on genes and drugs, but damn there should be SOMETHING there.

It was using common sense that allowed me to get over pulling/tearing my adductors every few months by you know, strengthening my fucking adductors!  I know, it's crazy shit I tell ya but it worked.

Same for my elbow.  I finally started curling again.  Wow, months later, my elbow pain is almost completely gone.  Again, who fucking knew?  I was told by everyone that curls were only for bodybuilders.  And I hated curling, so I won't lie.  I chose to believe I didn't need it.  Then when that link in the chain broke down, I had to eat some humility.  It tastes much better now.

If you train long enough, you should end up developing a bullshit meter about training methodologies.  Doing things that make no god damn sense just because some strong guy tells you to, is dumb.  He should have a reason for saying why you should do that, and it should make sense.  Like saying "the deadlift needs lots of hamstring and glute work."

There are certain training methodologies that do this to me....

No man, the fucking deadlift is a god damn BACK exercise.  Johnnie Jackson is an 800+ puller and is completely void of hamstrings.  But his back looks like something out of a comic book.  If your deadlift sucks, then you need to deadlift and you need to do shit to make your back stronger than the smell of cat piss in an alley.

Bench?  Again, it's amazing with the "new movement" that people are figuring out that getting your shoulders strong as fuck tends to make your bench go up too!  No way!  The strong guys in the 70's and 80's never did this!  Oh wait, they did!  We've know this for decades!

Triceps for benching is god damn overrated.  Do some close grips after you bench, but get strong as hell on your overhead work WHILE working the bench and you will see carryover.  For MOST people anyway.  Gain some weight and watch what happens to your bench.  Do some flyes to protect the ol pecs.  And do pause benches to get stronger off the chest.

Your gym work should make sense.  This is a big pet peeve of mine.  I ask people all the time "why are you doing that?" and 9 out of 10 times the answer is "uhhhh....well...uhhhh".

Shut the fuck up.

Have a reason.  Have some common sense.  Don't waste any time in the gym doing something, and you don't know WHY you are doing it.  Make your work HARDER.  Not easier.  The better you get at doing something the hard way, the better you're going to get PERIOD.  My wife gets mad as hell because everything I do, she tells me, "is way too fucking hard!  Why do you make it harder?"

Carry that attitude in.

Pause squats are hard.  Regular squatting gets easier.

Pause bench is hard.  Touch n go gets easier.

Mid-shin and below the knee deadlifts are a pain in the ass.  The pull from the floor gets easier.

Overhead pressing is tough as hell.  Deal with it do it.

Anything you do in the gym that you suck nuts at, stop sucking nuts at it.  This requires you to leave your ego at the door, but you should have been doing that anyway.  You're not in there to impress douche bags that cut the sides out of their shirts.  If you are, you've already lost.

If your training has been sucking balls, I suggest you reevaluate if you have been using common sense, and doing things as hard as fucking possible.  If not, check yourself and starting tomorrow, do work.

I have sprints to run and a Monster to drink.