Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Weekly Q&A..........

Name and a question.  

Oh and happy Birfday to me.  Today is the official Viking Stud Muffin Day...........

Monday, January 30, 2012

Training - Pressing and stuff

Incline Press-
bar x 40
135 x 15
185 x 5
225 x 4
275 x 3
315 x 9  dammit

Upright Rows - 95 x 5 sets of 20

Notes - Super tired tonight.  Still a nice 80% session and going light again getting the reps back up.  Will do this for a couple of more weeks.

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff

I was impressed with how good Rashad looked in this weekends fight against Phil Davis.  Davis is kind of a mini-Jon Jones, who yes I still think is incredibly overrated and I'm not on the bandwagon.  Nor am I in any way a Rashad Evans fan, but Rashad looks to be ascending in skill level.  I think he's going to present some real problems for Jones.  Rampage showed that another solid wrestler presents some real issues for Jones, and Machida showed that the unorthodox striking style does as well.  Rashad has a bit of both.  Rashad also KNOWS Jones better than anyone, and from everything that has ever come out, Rashad used to get the better of Jones in the sparring sessions.  Yes, I know Jones has improved since then, but sometimes those things are enough.  I think Rashad will end up taking the title from Jones.  I'm calling it now.

My birthday is tomorrow but my wife threw my party this weekend and what a party it was.  My buddy Damon brought me some awesome glasses, another buddy brought 100+ jell-o shots which were all devoured within an hour.  My friend Karissa spent 8 hours making me a cake shaped like a woman with big tittays.  Of course we ate the crotch out first.  The wife bought a fog machine which set the smoke alarms off for hours.  We didn't give a shit we were drunk.  My dog ran out the front door a few hours into the party.  apparently he was jealous and figured he needed to go get some doggie style on himself.  He showed back up the next day and slept the entire day away.  I did much of the same.  I feel very blessed to have such a great group of friends.

I really do

I'm switching my cardio up a bit.  More interval work again and less steady state.  No reason other than boredom and the fact that I think I've kinda stalled out on the steady state.  I'd have to add more or go for longer and I'm just not going to do that right now.  So I will be knocking out 15 minutes of interval training every morning.  Maybe another 15 in the evenings.  I have a couple of weeks to play with what I want to before I have to start really getting down to business.

For those that listened to me on Iron Radio I wanted to emphasize something we talked about that should really hit home.  The peak strength in 6 weeks discussion.  THAT to me, seems to be about as true as it gets. I think inadvertently I have doing that with most of my programs.  If you look at my philosophy and programming it usually falls around planning for six weeks.  Just through my own experience over and over again, 6 weeks is about right for strength gains on a repeated movement.  In other words, you're doing the same movement every week during that time.  After the 6 weeks you tend to stall, then as I noted in the podcast, you kind of fall off the cliff.  This is also why I've never bought into the 3 week-then deload bullshit.  I've often hit my best after 5-6 weeks of hard training.  After that I find the same thing every time.  Everything starts to feel heavy, then strength dips, and I need to take a break.  This is just an accepted part of strength cycling.  That's why I don't sweat bad sessions anymore.  It's to be expected.  Especially after you've had a month of kicking ass.  Realize those shitty training days as something GOOD.  Your body is letting you know it's time to rebuild and repaid and rest is needed for that.  Take that time off so it can.  Don't be a stubborn asshole about it.  If you are, you will get forced rest by the body.  After your break, start back in slowly again.  Rinse and repeat.  Works like a charm.

The other part of that is exactly why the first three weeks of the strong15 is planned around your openers.  It should be light and easy and prep you for the (drum roll) 6 hard weeks of training leading up to the meet.  After the light week you should be timed out pretty well to hit some big lifts.  Everyone who has programmed intelligently with it has hit PR's consistently in that time frame.

I am going to be transferring the blog into an actual website soon.  I want to grow it out to where I can have more content, more features, and just more shit.

It's Monday and I'm still tired from partying all weekend.  I hope everyone feels as shitty as I do.  I have the eye twitch going on again.  I need more rest and less lifting.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Squat Training Stuff

Pause Squats - 10 sets of 3 @ 315
1 Legged Calf - 5 sets of 15

Notes - Still just going light and enjoying myself.  However it doesn't mean I don't try to make even these sessions productive.  I played around with technique on the squat every set.  Always use even your light sessions to work technique, groove, breathing, walking out, anything that pertains to getting better.  Never waste a session.

Friday, January 27, 2012

IronRadio Interview........

Talking about the 80-10-10 Training Rule

Training - Wednesday night

Late on the update.

Block pulls from mid shin w/shrug - up to 585x12
Curls - 4 sets

Notes - Yup that's it.  Just fucking about until the meet prep date comes.  Then?  Srs bisnus.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

IronRadio Today......

I will be the guest on IronRadio today at 3:15 Eastern Time.  If you'd like listen to me make a fool of myself, do so.

In all seriousness, they have a great group of guys there with a shit ton of knowledge to offer.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The company that you keep.....

So it felt good to get that 405 incline this week.  That's been a goal of mine for some time, and it always feels like you just banged your first hot chic all over again when you hit a meaningful goal after this many years under the bar.

At least for a while.

One of the best and worst things about being friends with a lot of freaky strong guys is that it motivates you constantly to get better, and at the same time makes your own accomplishments feel quite meaningless at times.

Seeing Sam Byrd crush some upper 700 raw squats is incredible to watch, and at the same time makes that 660 I'd like to hit this year seem pretty paltry.

If you're not careful, you can let this kind of thinking actually fuel a negative energy into your workouts and life that bring you down, rather than make you better.  It's up to you what to decide to do with that energy, and how you let it effect you.

That's right, it's UP TO YOU.

One thing people don't often realize is that they have all the power over their own emotions.  I know that seems like a Captain Obvious statement, but you can change how you handle stress, negativity, and positive energy in this very moment.  It's not something that takes time.  You can change those things on a daily basis.  It's no one else's fault for how you act when someone has wronged you.  As a human being you get all of the power over that.

There's going to be times in your life when you are put down, rejected, made fun of, back stabbed, heart broken, and demeaned.  The power you have is that you get to decide what you are going to do with that kind of energy when it's hurled your way.

Matt Kroc has talked several times about how after he tore his quad squatting 545x10 that someone wrote on a message board "stick a fork in this guy, he's done", and how it fueled him to get better and make that guy eat his words.  Matt went on to squat 1014 at the UPA Pro-Am that year.  All fueled by those words and by that negative energy.

In your personal life, this is much more difficult.  When I was 17 my 3 year relationship with a girl I loved very much ended when she left me for someone else.  Anyone who has loved and lost, knows how deep those wounds can be.  Rather than get drunk and "fuck and forget" a bunch of women, I went into my training and playing music.  Did I cry and hurt and all those normal things a human being dose?  Yes of course I did.  There's nothing "bitch" about that.  That's just being human.  And it's healthy.

However I took time out for myself, to let those wounds heal and think about the things I would want out of my next girlfriend.  And the ways I needed to get better in order to be a better dude to her as well.  A year and a half later I met my wife.  We celebrated 15 years of marriage together this past December.

I've been told by some people I got lucky.  Maybe.  I prefer to say that I was smart.  I could have easily went into a party mode for that year in a half, banged a bunch of chics and ended up missing out on my soulmate because I was in a bad place.  All fueled by negative energy.  But I made a good choice then, and I believe that choice is a big reason why I got "lucky".

You need to accept that there are going to be people you come across in life, that aren't going to like you.  But how you view those things is entirely up to you.

One of the things you need to understand about human nature, is that people don't really reject YOU.  They reject what you give them.  This is important to understand.  Whether it be by the chic at the bar you're trying to pick up on, your boss, a friend, or whatever.  People will reject what you give them, and sometimes that means they even reject your positive energy.  And you have ZERO control over them doing that, just as they have zero control over how you handle them doing so.

Using these moments to get better, whether that's in the gym, at work, or in your personal life is what will make you a stronger human being.  A better you.  Remember the saying that hard times don't build character, they reveal it.  Make sure you use those circumstances to reveal a better man.  Not a bitter asshole that thinks the world is out to get him.

When I was younger I would often be jealous or envious of a guy that was stronger or bigger than me.  I think it's natural to covet when you have deeply embedded insecurities.  Most people won't admit to these things, which is why they constantly fail to use negative energy to their favor.  Now that I'm older and secure in the man that I am, I see someone that blows my shit away and think "god damn that's awesome!"

This is a trait I acquired over time and experience.  And one I am thankful for.

It's important to keep things in perspective as to how they apply to your life.  I have worked for 23 years to get that 405 incline.  Some guys do that in a year, and some guys never do it.  It's not really about comparing yourself to the accomplishments of others.  It's about keeping things in perspective to your own individual journey.  In lifting and in life.

Try to use those times where you feel like the Tsunami of shit has just rolled in on you, and you feel like it can't be overcome, to try and get better.  Is it hard?  God damn right it is.  But I write this not as someone preaching to you, but as a reminder to myself as much as anything.  The last three weeks in both my personal and professional life has been tremendously hard.  But I am doing my best to try and get better from these experiences.

The one thing I remind myself of is this.  No matter what, eventually the wave subsides.  And what you are left with, are your actions during those times of troubles.  Were you stout?  Did you have integrity?  Or do you look back with regret?

If it's the latter, it can often linger for a long time, and you lose out on the good shit thinking about how poorly you handled those situations.  Remember that.

Appreciate the roses.  You don't get to smell em' at your own leisure too often.  When you're having to smell the cesspool, remember that no matter what it's temporary.

It is.  I swear that it is.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pressing and a PR

Bodyweight - 238

Incline - bar x 40
135 x 15, 10
185 x 5
225 x 4
275 x 3
315 x 2
365 x 1,1
405 x 1 PR
315 x 9, 7

Upright Rows - 5 sets of 15

Notes - Been wanting this for a while.  I can honestly say this is probably the first lift I've ever really been proud of in 23 years.  I think a 405 incline, especially at under 240 pounds, is a solid lift.  Yay me.

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff

So RUM5 was this past weekend.  I watched it yesterday over the live feed.  Some really great lifting there.  Sam Byrd hit a high 700's raw squat, then went for 804.7.  However the spotter touched one side of the bar and threw him off.  So they gave him a 4th attempt at it, and he ended up getting injured in the hole (torn fascia I believe was what I heard).  Sam went out to gut it.  He just missed a 461 bench and stiff legged up a 600 dead.  Very impressive performance by Sam gutting it out like that.  It's really a shame that the guy bumped the bar on his 804.  I believe he would have had it.  Sam would have put up some kind of sick total.  Sam is starting to approach Capt. Kirk like status as a squatter IMO.  

Jacked AND strong....

Jamie Lewis also did very well.  Going 1613 (617, 369, 627) beltless at 181.  He just narrowly missed a 660 pull, which would have given him a 1646 total.  They called him high on his third squat but I thought it looked like his best squat of the three.  Either way, he still bested his best total on a day where he left a lot on the platform.  So congrats to Jamie as well.

I start my meet pre-prep this week.  Training back to 3X per week, with steady state on off days.  I totally wrecked my diet all weekend and rested more than Courtney Love has rested on Kirk Cobain's laurels.  Basically I will do some incline and db bench tonight with some bi's and tri's.  Wednesday I will do upperback and Saturday I will pause squat.  Nothing heavy, just fun (ok so I might take 405 for a ride again on incline tonight!).  I need to tighten my diet back up as I ate shit all weekend as well.  Two boxes of cereal, a whole loaf cinnamon bread, half of a lemon cake and a bunch of ice cream yesterday.

God it was good to watch that 49ers team have to eat that in OT yesterday.  What a fraud of a team.  I love great defense but I hate teams that basically rely on smoke and mirrors to win games.  The Bears have done it for years.  Play the field position game, hope your defense gets a bunch of turnovers, then kind of field goal it out for the win.  Plus there is nothing worse than to watch a bust of a quarterback ride the coattails of a defense and special teams.  And I hate Harbaugh with a god damn passion.  I hope someone fucks him in the ass with an aids shovel.  Oh and I wonder if Vernon Davis cried like a bitch after the game like he did last week with that fake bullshit?  I hope someone fucks him in the ass with the same aids shovel they used on Harbaugh.

Keep crying bitch.....

I will be the guest on IronRadio this week.  I'm pretty stoked about that.  It will be Thursday at 3:14 P.M. EST.  Tune in.  I would also like to thank Jim for recommending me.

Not too much longer until the second half of the Walking Dead is back on, then Game of Thrones too.  I haven't seen anything lately, TV OR movie wise.  I'm in a total slump.  I've also been playing Skyrim too much to care.  I feel like a total nerd.

I have a few more big name interviews I am trying to run down.  Trust me much like the Efferding one you will be surprised who these people are if I can make it happen.  I'm trying.  And don't ask.

I hope everyone had a great weekend and is having a shit Monday.

Friday, January 20, 2012

You wanted the best and you got the best - Q&A with Stan Rhino Efferding

I know I'm a small time whore.  That's ok.  But if I am going to do a Q&A or interview I prefer for them to be worth going out of my small time whore way for.

This Q&A most definitely fits that bill.

If you don't know who the fuck Stan Efferding is, well............

Stan is currently preparing for the IFBB Flex Pro in a few weeks so I didn't want to take up too much of his time.

Paul:  First off thanks for doing this Q&A with me.  You've been training for a long time Stan.  Were you strong right out of the gate?  What were some of your early numbers like in lifting?

Stan:  I started lifting seriously when I got to college at age 18. I had a soccer scholarship but my coach said i needed to hit the weight room because i was small.  I weighed 145 pounds and couldn't bench press 135!!!  Even after training for 3 years I competed in a bodybuilding show when I was 21 weighing only 160lbs.  Hardly big and definitely not strong!!

Paul:  What's the difference in your training when training for a meet, and training for a bodybuilding show?

Stan:  Training for a meet means fewer total workouts per week, lots more calories and sleep and rep ranges from 2-5.  Bodybuilding prep has more training sessions, less carbs and fats and more repetitions per set 8-20.

Paul:  I know you worked with Ed Coan.  Was there anything specific that Ed helped you with that you feel like made a difference in your lifting?

Stan:  Eddie made me pause squat which gave me more confidence in the hole knowing I could slow my rep down and find parallel and then explode.

Paul:  What does your split look like when you are getting ready for a meet?  How do you spread out the three competition lifts over the training week?

Stan:  I usually train squats Monday and Chest Thursday. I'll throw in deads with squats every couple workouts. At my age I've found that less is more when training heavy and recovery is most important so my joints stay healthy going into the meet.

Paul:  Which powerlift has been the hardest for you to bring up?  And what things have you found that helped you bring that lift up the most?

Stan:  Deadlift has been the slowest to progress. I hit a 782 raw dead in 1996 and a 794 in 2010. That's frustrating!!  I don't have an answer for whats helped with the dead, I need to spend more time training it with a great coach like Mark or Eddie.

Paul:  What goals do you have left that you would like to achieve in powerlifting?

Stan:  I've always had my eye on John Cole's 2,259 at 275. Both times I tried, I got injured but fortunately still finished with a respectable total.

JJ....stop frontin man

Paul:  Why does Johnnie Jackson still refer to himself as the strongest pro bodybuilder?

Stan:  You'll have to ask Johnnie. I'll let my numbers speak for me!!


If you've followed my blog a lot you will see a lot of shit I drive home every week.  There were a lot of gems in here........

  • Stan wasn't naturally strong, but consistency over time has paid off.  His dead hasn't moved a whole lot in 14 years.  The next time you get frustrated with progress, put that into perspective.  
  • Pause squats........pause squats......pause squats.  It's like at some point people will start to get it.  
  • Stan, like most of the strongest guys I know, trains less when training for maximum strength.  Not more.  
  • Pay more attention to sleep and eat more when you're training to get strong.  Partying and eating like shit won't cut it when you're trying to get maximally strong.  
  • Stan is his strongest in his 40's.  I've said this forever.  Your strength prime is in the late 30's to mid 40's.  
  • Wanna get big?  Higher reps (8-20).  Wanna get strong?  Reps of 2-5.  Lower reps do not build mass like higher reps, though there is SOME crossover.  Higher reps do not build maximal strength, though there is some crossover.  Use the best rep range for what you are trying to accomplish.  
  • I don't know how many strong guys have to drive all of these points home before people get "it".  No secrets, just time and effort need to pass in order for things to happen.  
Best of luck to Stan at his show and many many thanks for him taking time out of his busy schedule to do this.  My man crush on him is even bigger now.  

Don't get greedy

Over the last two months I've hit some PR's.

500 x 1 pause squat
6 plate t-bar row x 20
Shrug 675 x 3
Just missed a 405 incline on a very bad night

Last night I was supposed to squat.  So I did.

315 felt like shit.

I shut it down after a few sets.  Mind doesn't want it, body doesn't want it.

Didn't bother me a bit.

One of the things you will read about from guys often, and I've done it as well, is when you have a -10% workout (where everything sucks elephant balls), and then go into a depression about it.

I do not do this anymore.  Especially after I've had weeks and weeks of solid training with a few PR's thrown in there.

In both my books I wrote about the peaks and valleys of training.  You must learn to not get too high when you're wrecking shit in the gym, and must not get too low when the gym is wrecking you.  It's all about balance.

When the pendulum swings very hard, as it has for me the last couple of months, and you're making great progress at some point you're going to overrun yourself, and your body will ask you to take a break.  If you don't listen, it will force you to take a break.

Learning to listen, and using that time to your advantage is a way of getting better.  Not worse.  Many bad workouts in a row, with a lack of enthusiasm about being in the gym is a way of your body telling you to take some rest.  You can be greedy, and try to push through it, or you can be smart and take some time off until your hunger returns, and hit more PR's shortly after.

You have to remember something, the lull in the valley is a good thing.  It generally indicates you have run up some very productive training of late, and now the body has some recovery and repair it needs to do.  Be appreciative of the time off you need to take.  Play some video games, take your kids out to eat for some of those evenings, catch up on some movies you have been wanting to see, etc.  Point is, relax.  The gym isn't going anywhere and a bad session or two after weeks of kicking ass is NORMAL.

For the next few weeks I will probably cruise a bit then get my mind ready for meet prep.  I am revamping the strong-15 a bit and I have no doubt it will pay big dividends.

I'm also working hard on the new book.  The injury rehab and prevention section will be worth the money alone I think.  When you've fucked up as much shit as I have, and rehabbed it, you learn a lot.  So I'm pouring everything I have into these sections.

I hope everyone has a stupid good weekend.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Weekly Q & A

Leave a name and a question......

Monday, January 16, 2012

Training - Press

Bodyweight - 238

Incline Press -
bar x 40
135 x 15,10
185 x 5
225 x 4
275 x 3
315 x 2
365 x 1
385 x 1
405 x M
315 x 8,6
365 x 1
225 x 15

Dip Machine - stack x 23, 15
Curls - 3 sets

Notes - Exhausted tonight.  I fell asleep near the time I was supposed to leave for the gym, so I was late getting there.  Never really woke up and my joints are feeling a bit achy.  Shouldn't have tried the 405 tonight as even 365 felt heavy and awkward but I had it in my head that I was going to give it a ride tonight.  It's there but just not on a bad night.  Pretty much a -10% session.

The hills, and the mother fuckin valleys

So I got an e-mail this week from Georg, and so many of his questions are the same ones I remember having and ones that a lot of guys tend to send me.  Namely, stalling out, wondering why progress is slowing, and other shit.

I've been training pretty religiously for the last 10 years, mainly bodybuilding type stuff. I am 6 foot 1, currently weighing around 230-235 lbs. I have been doing 5/3/1 for eight months straight now, and this type of training has been real good for me. I've been doing squats/deads/bench and variations of those lifts ever since I first started lifting, but I never really followed a preset progression like I do now. I have always been a totally drug-free lifter, and I reached my current bodyweight about 4 years ago, and I'm still pretty happy about that, seeing that I started out as the proverbial 165lb weakling.

The Wendler-style is much closer to powerlifting than anything I've ever done before, and I've also noticed that it's made my muscles bigger(?) and more dense. BUT, after 8 months I find I am stalling, especially in the deadlift, which is getting brutally heavy. Earlier this week I pulled a 3x465lbs (week 2 of 5/3/1), something that for me is pretty good. My calculated max at the moment isn't that much higher than what I started out with, though. General fatigue has also been an issue lately, but that might also stem from me working a lot, the Norwegian winter being dark all the time, with rain and/or snow.

To get back on point here, I've been reading your 2011 post on mismatched training ideologies, which made me wonder if I'm on the right track for my goals? I'd like to get bigger and stronger, but I'd never want to end up looking like the 'typical' powerlifter with the big gut and all. I gravitated towards 5/3/1 because it seems to have the best of both worlds, pre-calculated numbers to shoot for in the main four lifts, then a more 'free' approach in the assistance lifts, allowing me to continue in the bodybuilding style I'm used to training in. Generally I've found the program to be a great way to keep me motivated, and stalling in the lifts at some point is of course to be expected. I've been thinking of doing a recalibration of my numbers in the deadlift after this cycle, I'll wait and see how the lift goes this coming Tuesday.

So, I would like to get stronger in the main lifts, but I am also interested in getting bigger. In your opinion, am I going about this the right way?


So basically Georg feels like he has been training hard, doing all the right things, but has been stuck for a while now both in terms of strength and size, and is wondering where to go from here.

To start, you need to understand that the closer you get to your genetic potential, the slower things become.  Whether that is fat loss or muscle gain or strength.  There is a ceiling to everything.  And the closer you get to that ceiling, the harder things are to come by.  In the beginning shit was easy.  You just needed to show up and you would get stronger every week.  Almost irregardless of how you trained or what you did.  Just be there.

After a decade, you've thrown a lot of shit at your body.  And there isn't a lot of room left for it to give.  

You ever see those shows about hoarders?  People that fill their house with shit?  Well think about your strength and mass levels like an empty house.  The longer you train, and the more things you do, the more "full" that house becomes.  Eventually there isn't much space left to add anything.  Then you have to actually rearrange shit to fit something in.  

Closing in on genetic potential is very much like this.  

Even with supremely gifted individuals, it's like this.  You just see that they have a better starting position.  Where Andy Bolton pulled 600 pounds the first time he walked into the gym.  Well Andy eventually pulled a grand, but Andy has been training a long fucking time now.  He won his first competition in 1991.  So he's been competing a long time, and him took him a long time to add that 400 pounds to his deadlift.  

After that let's tackle a few issues - 

The problem with the deadlift - 

Not pulling heavy enough. 

I think pulling for reps is fine, but from all of my experience the deadlift builds itself backwards from the squat and the bench press.  Sort of.  Let me explain.

You can go from benching 315x8 to 315x12 and you are GOING to have a new 1RM.  I have found that adding reps on the deadlift, doesn't always translate to a bigger 1RM.  It's hit or miss.  

If you want to pull big, pull singles and triples in the deadlift.  If you want to do some reps, do stiff legs for sets of 8-10.  

Yes I am aware that strongmen pull for reps.  But there seems to be a bigger carryover for doing repping on deadlifts if you build the 1 rep max.  But not the other way around.  Or at least not for a lot of people.  

So Georg, I'd start pulling heavier in the dead.  If you still want to run 5/3/1 just program your dead heavier so that your week of 3's and the single are heavier than you have been going, and actually pull a heavier triple or single.

As far as LOOKING as certain way, that's almost all diet.  Cardio helps too.  But if you want to look a certain way, diet is the key here.

People don't realize how long and how hard you need to diet to shed bodyfat.  It's difficult.  The body doesn't want to lose that shit.  It fights to hold into it like Whitney Houston fights to hold on to crack.  

On the flip side, if you have been spinning your wheels for some time in terms of strength and size, you have to do some shit that is hard too.  You have to make up your mind to train harder than you have trained in years.  You are going to eat more food than one of those disgusting "feeder" people.  You have to do this for a while,  and feel like complete shit.  I've never known another way.  

It's all a process.  

So to answer the overall question, how to get stronger and larger?

1.  Train hard as fuck for a while, but train accordingly.  Bust your deadlift down to heavy singles and triples

2.  Push the reps, add in some PIT (perceived intensity techniques) like strip sets and rest/pause.

3.  Take a good break when you feel burnt. 

4.  Be Patient

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday is no day of rest training

Bodyweight - 238

T-bar rows -
1 plate x 20
2 plates x 10
3 plates x 10
4 plates x 10
5 plates x 10
6 plates x 20 PR

Ab Wheel - 5 sets of 20
Upright Rows - 135 x 3 sets of 10

Notes - Felt really solid.  I have gained about 5 pounds in the last 2 months.  Bodyfat has not changed, so it's been a good pound and a half to two pounds of muscle in that time (2 pounds of mass = roughly 4.5 pounds of bodyweight with water and glycogen).  Which is just unreal for me especially.  I have no doubt that the up in frequency and paying attention to neglected movements is what has done this.  I'm very pleased with how things have gone.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Training - Squatting

Bodyweight - 238

Pause Squats -
135 x 10
225 x 3
315 x 3
365 x 3
405 x 3
455 x 3
500 x 1

Notes - That was it.  Super tired tonight and glad this week is wrapping up.  I really want to hit 500x5 in the pause squat before April.

Random Music Post

Because I picked this song on a whim for a FB conversation and I liked it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff

You're only as good as your promises.  And I continue to be disappointed in people regarding this.  You would think after almost 37 years I'd know better than to take people at their word, but I suppose I'd like to believe that there are still some good people left in their world regarding this.  I haven't found them yet.  Sometimes you have no control over situations that make you break your promises.  Like Bruce Willis in Armageddon.  But outside of being on an Asteroid in a Michael Bay film, most of us don't have a lot of extenuating circumstances that should cause us to break our promises.  Just something to think about the next time you "swear" to someone you will or won't do something.  

Gets a pass....

Meet training starts a month from today.  I'm pretty excited.  I feel healthy and good about training overall.  I also feel good about being in the 242 class.  I don't think I will eat going into this meet like I used to either.  I don't do anything at 270 that I don't do at 245-250 so there is really no need for it.  And I feel fine at 235-238 right now.  

I do know I will need a break between now and then.  I am pretty beat in terms of overall energy.  I have been training 7 days a week for the most part, for over two months now.  This is the last week of back and erector specialized training, and I will probably take a week off after this.  I will do a couple of weeks of fun stuff before the meet training starts.  My oldest daughter will also compete in this meet too.  I'm very excited about her wanting to do this with me.  She's not strong and not big, so for those of you that don't compete because you feel too weak to, take notice.  She's obviously got more stones than you do.  

The book is coming along.  This is going to be more than a training book.  Although I plan on making it as thorough as possible in regards to training.  But it's going to be kind of a mixture of thoughts about being the best man you can be, life lessons, and training.  I like to write obviously, so I'm just kind of going with it, in terms of the non-training stuff.  Even if you don't want or like these parts, I plan on really covering a lot of great shit about training.  I believe my years of injuring myself will be worth the cost alone.  I will go into all the rehab that has worked for every injury I've ever had.  And after 23 years, I've had about everything you can think of.  I do not have a timetable for when this thing will be done.  But it'll blow away my previous books by a mile.  Not that that would be incredibly difficult.  But still. 

Will make sense when the book comes out

I'm taking 405 for a ride on incline a week from this coming Monday if I feel good.  I want to go ahead and get this out of the way before I start meet training.  Hell, I might even try it next week.  I'm pretty sure it's there.  Just a mental thing at this point, but isn't that the case with all PR's?  Getting over the mental humps in training is, I think, one of the biggest obstacles in making progress.  It has been for me anyway.  There have been plenty of times when I know I'm strong enough to move a weight, but mentally was not ready.  I feel like that's starting to happen with the 405 incline now.  315x9 AFTER 365x3 pretty much nails a 405 incline.  For those that don't think that, you're stupid and haven't been lifting very long.  Yes, I'm a bit salty this morning.  

So I live in Kansas City (or there about) and we have had like half an inch of snow this year, and the 10 day forecast shows nothing but beautiful weather.  I've been here for 12 years now and I've never seen anything like this here.  It's pretty amazing.  We have some pretty shitty winters and it's been my main complaint since I moved here from Louisiana.  I hate the snow, I hate the ice.  I can deal with the cold, but the snow and ice make driving and just doing shit, fairly miserable.  Plus I do all of my cardio outside, so when the sidewalks ice over I'm not risking an injury or looking like a clown by falling down.  But I've been able to do steady state outside every morning and it's been awesome.  If it were like this every winter here, I'd be fine with staying.  But as it stands, as soon as the wife is out of school we are gonna make like a tree, and get the fuck out of here.  

I can deal with this

The Tim Tebow love is out of control.  "Did you know that Tebow passed for 316 yards?"  Is this really where we are at?  That because Tebow is a devout Christian that even his passing yards have a Christian meaning?  "No of course not Paul, but it's a neat coincidence."  No it's not.  Shut the fuck up.  I hope he throws for 31 yards and 6 interceptions against the Pats.  

As an LSU fan, I can sympathize with this regarding Bama

Jamie is supposed to be putting up the audio for Chaos and Bang Part 2.  So bug him about it and maybe he'll get it done.  Speaking of Jamie, his shit is blowing up right now and I'm happy as hell for him.  I've gotten to know Jamie pretty well over the last many months and there is more to him than the persona he presents online.  A good guy with a lot of good qualities.  He's been a good ear for me the last week or so as I've dealt with some bullshit.  That's what friends do.  That and give you a double dutch rudder.  

It's hump day.  Hope everyone is doing something unusual and awesome with their week.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Training - Traps and shit

Weight - 237

Below the knee block pulls with Shrug -
225 x 10,5
315 x 8
405 x 5
500 x 5,5
585 x 5
635 x 5,5
585 x 10

Hypers - body x 5 sets of 12

Notes - More exhausted than Peter North after a 50 chic gang bang.  No sleep last night, and food intake is low. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Training - Press and Row

Bodyweight - 240  bad eating over the weekend

Incline Press -
bar x 40
135 x 12
185 x 5
225 x 4
275 x 3
315 x 2
365 x 3
315 x 9
225 x 12

Cable Rows -
stack x 20, 15, 12, 10

Machine Curls - 2 sets

Notes - Tied two PR's with 365 x 3 and 315 x 9 on incline.  Going to take 405 for a ride in two weeks I think.

More on the 2012 SPPC challenge + weekly Q&A

Some tips I have for those of you that will in fact do this for the full year.  Also, the Q&A......leave a name and a question!!!!!!!

  • If you said you were going to do it, do it.  No excuses.  No bullshit.  You're only as good as your word.  If you get injured, rehab it and still do what you can.  But dig down for 12 months and do it.
  • You will stall.  Don't be a bitch about it.  Expect it.  However if you don't get overzealous with your programming, you should not stall often.  If you do stall, go back to phase 1 (there's no way you should be stalling in phase 1 ever!) of that planned cycle and do it again.  
  • Take some of the quarter blocks (3 month period) and cruise on the squat, push, pull and push the movements you can substitute HARD.  This will give you a mental break from worrying about the big 3.  Try to set some PR's on the assistance.  
  • Take another block and push the conditioning while cruising on the big lifts if you are out of shape.  Don't do this out of the gate.  Wait until you feel like you are ready for this.  Still keep it to 20 minutes, but try to get in more work in that same 20 minute time frame.  
  • Take your recovery days serious.  This is the time you do stuff to feel good and not get burnt.  Do some fun stuff, take a good walk, stretch, foam roll, and sleep extra if you can.  This is why the two recovery days work well on the weekend.  Make sure you work on the rotator cuffs and stretch the hip flexors and piriformis as much as possible.  
  • Don't underestimate the factor of sleep.  Again, get extra on the weekends if you can.  There's generally no reason you can't if you really plan for it.  
  • If  you are after mass, make sure you are below the bodyfat threshold (15% max) before you start eating big.  Then limit the big eating to 1 block.  So you'll get 3 months of "mass building" eating before you need to reevaluate where you are.  Don't turn into a fucking glutton.  Quality over quantity.  
  • You can still run this program if you are preparing for a meet.  It is, after all, based around the squat, bench, and deadlift.  
Now ask away whores.  And I hope all of you are having terrible fucking Monday's.  Mine sucks.  So should yours!!!!    >:-[  

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Training - Back and stuff

Bodyweight - 238

Cable Rows -
2 warm up sets
stack - 1x15
stack + 8 of those little weight additions - 1x15
stack + 8 of those little weight additions + 2 25's  - 1 x 9

Rear Delt Machine - 5 sets of 10
Ab Wheel - 5 sets of 10
Pipes - 4-5 sets

Notes - Not bad.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Training - Squats and shit

Pause Squats -
135 x 5,5
225 x 5
315 x 3
335 x 3
365 x 3
405 x 3
455 x 2
500 x 1 PR
405 x 3

Lunges - 3 sets of 20

Notes - Shouldn't have done the 500 for the pause squat PR, but fuck it.  My low back is shot right now.  When I started squatting I could tell it wasn't recovered.  So I'm tight as fuck now.  Will take a couple of days of working it to get it back to normal.  Oh well.  The 500 was easy too.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Training - Shrugs and shit

Bodyweight - 235

Rack pulls below the knee with shrug -
225 x 10,5
315 x 5
405 x 5
500 x 5,5
585 x 5
635 x 5
675 x 3 <- PR
585 x 11 <- PR

Hypers - body x 10, +50x15, +75x12
Some 1-armed row machine - stack x 12

Notes - A +10% session even though I did not feel supremely awesome.  I pulled the 675 rather easily and was surprised at how easy I did the triple at that weight.  I could have easily done 5.  In fact everything felt fast and easy.  I am hoping for that 705 below the knee rack pull in coming weeks.  

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Your Challenge - 2012 - Squat Push Pull Condition for 1 year

The continuation of my article about Superman can't be Batman is this.

I challenge anyone reading this, whose progress has sucked, is frustrated, hasn't made any gains in a while, and is a chronic routine changer to get aboard the bandwagon for the next 12 fucking months and do this.

Three times a week.  You will do a squat, a push, and a pull each workout.

Two days a week you will condition.

Two days a week you will work on mobility and do prehab.

Yup, this is nothing more than three full body sessions, madcow, starr, rippetoe, what the fuck ever you want to call it.

However I am going to change some things up, as I see fit.

The Q&A will be available each week to make adjustments.  But they can't be wholesale changes to the routine unless you have a legit disability to perform one of the movements.  Then we'll work it out.

Before you start you must state your goals for the next 12 months, and what your PR's in the big 3 are.

I want you to look at this in 4, 3-month phases.  We will use the strong15 spreadsheet in terms of programming the big3.  I will show you how to split this out in the routine.


Day 1 - 
Squats - cycle - DO NOT do the pause squats today
Push - Overhead Work - Seated/Standing/PBN/Db Press - You will pick one of the 4 for each 3 month block. - Including warm ups you will go 10,8,6,5,5,5   The 5,5,5 can be with the same weight or up to a top set.  I don't care.  Just pick a version and stick with it for each 3 month block.
Pull - Use the back off sets of deadlifts from the strong15 here.

Day 2 - 
1-Legged Squats/Lunges/1-Legged Leg Press - Ok so this is not quite a squat, but 1-legged work is invaluable.  5 sets of 10 here.  What I recommend is to do 2 sets of 10 for warm ups, then add weight for the last 3 sets of 10.  Do not ignore 1 legged work.  It's invaluable for injury prevention.  And hard.
Push - Bench - cycle including the back off sets
Pull - Db Rows/Cable Rows/T-bar Rows/Weighted Chins - including warm ups, 10,8,6,5,5,5.  Same principles concerning day 1 of overhead pressing.  Pick a row/chin for 3 months and go after it.


Day 3 -
Pause Squats - cycle (so you will use the back off sets of pause squats in the strong15 spreadsheet here or the "test" set)
Push - Incline Press/Incline Db Press/Db Bench Press/Hammer Strength Press - including warm ups 10,8,6,5,5,5  You get the idea.
Pull - Deadlift - use the strong15 spreadsheet here and work up to the single for the day.

Conditioning - 
2X a week.
Hills/Sprints/Prowler/Car Pushing/Sledge Hammer/Bag Work - 20 minutes.
You do not need to kill yourself here.  Just think about "getting in shape".  If you are out of shape, take it easy the first few weeks until you start feeling better.  Remember, you have 12 months.  Don't kill yourself the first two fucking weeks trying to be a hero.
Abs - Ab wheel or decline sit ups - 3 sets of 10-20  Do this after the conditioning.


Restoration - 
2X a week
Steady state - 30 minutes
Foam or PVC roll - IT band, quads, upper and lower back.
Stretching - hams, IT band, hip flexors, rotator cuff
Injury Prevention - curls, rotator cuff, calf raises, - 2-3 sets of 20 for each

You will be training everyday.  If you miss a day, don't sweat it, but try not to miss a day.  If you do.  Just make it up on the next day you can.  If you get sick, train through it unless it's the flu or a chest cold.  Then take the time off.  If you have a cold or whatever, nut the fuck up and train.

Every three months pick a new movement if it is an option.  Try to set some new PR's on the sets of 5 with that movement near the end of each training phase.

Cycling -

This is NOT complicated.

You will program like you want to hit a LITTLE PR every 3 months.  You will not actually hit that weight.  You will eventually hit it on a following cycle, but it will be lighter than you anticipated.  You will only hit 93% of it.  You need to use some calibration here.  If you SMOKE the 93% you know you are good for what you programmed for.  If the 93% crushes your ass, then you overestimated what you were capable of.

Breaking it down a little more -

On Monday you will squat the programmed 5,4,3,2,1,1,1 with no back offs.
On Monday you will deadlift with the back off sets.  This is 2x5, or 2x3, or 1x8 (if you have the strong15 you know what I'm talking about).

On Wednesday you will do the bench cycle INCLUDING the back off sets.

On Friday you will do the pause squat or back off squat set that is programmed.
On Friday you will do the 5,4,3,2,1,1,1 for the deadlift that is programmed.

Notes - Do not ask me "can I add...."  The answer is no.  Squat, push, pull, condition, rehab and mobility.  I have given some options above.  But I want the focus to be on progression, conditioning, and staying injury free.

I will be making a new tab on the main page for this post.

Notes - 

  • FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT OVERESTIMATE YOUR MAX.  If you do, your training will fail.  The weights should be OWNED every week.  This will build confidence and help you tweak technique as well.  At some point the weights will get heavy, and this is a must and a need.  It will happen.  But you can run a flying 40 faster than you can from a dead stop.  Start off light in order to get a flying start towards your goal.
  • Clean up your diet.  Most of you know what this means.  I don't feel like being a dietitian about this.  Cut the shit out.  Eat lots of quality protein, fats, and carbs.  Reduce carbs if you know you need to drop some flab.  Add some in pre and post workout if you want to gain mass without excess fat.  
  • Yes, you're deadlifting twice a week.  Spare me the CNS bullshit.  It's just that.  Bullshit.  One deadlift session is heavier, one is light.  Same for squats.  Once you get in shape you'll be surprised at how much work you can do.    
  • I'll have to repeat it because some won't listen.  Don't kill yourself on the conditioning work.  20 minutes of intervals twice a week, with two days of steady state will get you into solid shape.  MMA fighting shape?  No.  But it will give you a base in case that's something you wanted to transition into.  
  • Own this shit, and own your fuck ups.  If you have been flopping around every few months from routine to routine dig down for once in your life, and do 12 months of nothing put squat, push, pull.  I have covered, not smothered, the other issues enough so that you should be able to stay injury free, get into condition, and have some variety in your training.  Don't be a wanker about this.  Make a commitment to lifting heavy iron on the basics for 1 fucking year, and sticking to a program.  If you're not better from top to bottom after that 12 months I'll send you a free shirt or something.  
  • This kind of training is not new, but it works and works well.  From noobs to advanced guys, it has something to offer.  If you are a noob you get a whole fucking year to build a solid base.  If you're an advanced guy that has been stuck or piddling around, wondering what the fuck to do, now may be a  good time to go back to the roots.  If you're coming off an injury or a long layoff, this kind of training is especially money.  I know it was for me.  
  • Make yourself accountable for 1 fucking year of this.  It's not that difficult.  If you know you're going to lift weights until you have no teeth and are shitting your pants without knowledge of it, a year is nothing.  And you'll be better off for it.  

Monday, January 2, 2012

Training - Pressing and shit

Weight - 235

Incline -
bar x 40
135 x 12,5
185 x 5
225 x 4
275 x 3
315 x 3
365 x 2
385 x 1
315 x 7
225 x 10

Ok so 4 hours of sleep.  I knew what would happen here.  For the heavy stuff I seem to be ok on lower reps, but on my back off sets they really fucking tank.  This has always been the case.  If I had had more sleep last night, I think 405 would have been doable today, even on a bad day.  I am going to take a run at a 365 triple again in the next few weeks.  Then I'll sink 405.

Machine Rows - up to the stack x 10
Machine Dips - stack x 25
Machine Curls - 155 x 10

Notes - 80%er....kind of.  Lack of sleep always kills my repping on the down sets.  Oh well.

Batman can't be Superman

One of the things I hear/read from guys that don't lift weights, concerning athletes today, is that they are somehow bigger and stronger because of advances in weight training.

I generally have to explain to these turds that there really have been no advances in weight training since the barbell was invented.  They generally argue with me that "of course we've made advances" then tell me about all these fancy machines and training ideas that guys use.  That they saw some training footage of some freak athlete where he was doing some shit with electrodes strapped to his testicles and big rubber bands around his ankles while being chased by a mountain goat.

This is FML dumb...

Somehow, this is the reason that we have these freak athletes today.  This is what training has "evolved" into.


In 2001 Adam Archuleta was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the first round of the NFL Draft.  Adam had been trained by an asshat named Jay Schroeder, who had some very "interesting" training methods.  He did shit like drop Archuleta from 6 or 7 feet in the air, made him catch weights, do reps with super light weights as fast as possible, and all sorts of bananas dumb shit.  

The result?  

Archuleta bench pressed 225 31 times at the NFL combine.  He ran a 4.42 and jumped 39 inches.  The bench press was an all time combine best for a safety.  And he only weighed 211 pounds.  

So the Rams took him in the first round, and he signed a 5-year contract worth 7 million, with 3 million up front.  


Oh wait............

Over the next 5 years Archuleta managed to play in all 16 games one time.  It was also the only year he had a decent statistical season, which doesn't mean he played well, just that his numbers on paper looked ok.  

After his 5 years of shit play in St. Louis were over, he signed with the Redskins.  Owned by the dumbest owner in all of the NFL, now that Al Davis is dead (or is he?), Dan Synder paid him 10 million dollars in signing bonus, and something like 30 million overall.  

For what?  

Basically, because of "potential" based off his first round draft pick status.  That's all I can figure because they guy couldn't play a fucking lick when he was with the Rams.  

He played 1 year in Washington.  Yes.  1.  Uno.  He started 7 games.  

Then Chicago signed him.  And he sucked there too.  

The guy was constantly out of position, took poor angles, couldn't read offenses, and for all his "timed" speed the guy was slow as fuck on the field.  Because he lacked FOOTBALL ABILITY.  And for all his time spent in a groovy new-age training environment created to "replicate the collisions on the field", he managed to play a whole 16 game season 1-time in his career.  Nothing he did inside those "weight rooms" made him a better football player.  Not at the NFL level anyway.  

The whole thing seemed like a gag to me after it was all over.  Let's prop up this unorthodox training method, show how these guys took this kid from 170 pounds to 211 over a few years, had him moving X amount of weight, jumping X high, and running 4.4 40's.  He did win PAC-10 defensive player of the year his senior year.  But the PAC-10 is a pussy conference, and everybody knows it.  So who cares?

Anyway, the talk of these unique training methods was all over the net at the time.  I thought these guys did a great job of building up Archuleta as some kind of Superman.  But he was really just Batman.  He wasn't Ronnie Lott, even though he could outrun Lott and certainly outlift him.  And no amount of training and being dropped from heights and catching fat bars was going to make him a better player.  No training "guru" had an answer for that.  Archuleta could have spent those years with just about any solid trainer and ended up with the same results.  The guy was obviously gifted in the weight room.  I don't believe for a second that that particular training, was the reason he boasted the numbers he did.  The ability was already there.  He should have spent all that time working with a coach that could teach him how to read offenses.  A guy that runs a 4.8 gets to the ball faster if he breaks down the play quicker, than a 4.3 guy who has no idea what he's looking at.

The anti-Archuleta
What I'm REALLY getting at with all of this, is that there are no training systems that can make you something you are not.

There are no training gurus or training styles that can turn you into something outside of your genetic ceiling.  Guys who preach the "I don't believe in limits" stuff make me laugh.  They are most often the guys who fail the most, because they don't evolve their training to fit what their body can or can't do.  They have trouble admitting they can't do something.  And when you can't admit a weakness, then you will fail to address it.

Guys also often don't prioritize properly.  If you want to get in shape and lose fat, then make THAT a priority.  Don't worry about setting PR's in the bench or squat when you know you will be doing sprints and limiting food.  This is dumb.

If you're a football player, get stronger on the basics, and spend the rest of your time practicing football.

If you're an MMA guy, get stronger on the basics, and spend the rest of your time practicing your crafts.

This is not a difficult philosophy to understand.

More Chronic Routine Changers -

One of the things that CONSTANTLY runs the course of the net is program and routine hopping by guys that think the reason why they have stalled is because their routine sucks.  And it very well could.  But more often than not it's just that guys don't put in enough time doing the things that have been proven to work over time, in order to get better.

If you took the next year out, and just squatted, pressed, and pulled as heavy as possible, and did a ton of conditioning with mobility work with a tight as fuck diet, what do you think would happen?  Would you be better off or worse off than if you did a bunch of routine changing every other month, worrying about bands and bar speed and shit like that?  We all know the answer.

So why do guys, who aren't even at the 300/400/500 level move around from routine to routine more than guys that are strong?

Lack of patience - 
There are no magical training routines.  There are no gurus that have secret answers.

Lack of understanding -
Squat, press, pull, condition.  That's really all there is to this whole thing.  Regulating volume, intensity, and frequency are all individual things that you need to figure out.  Some guys do great with high and some guys do great with low.

Find your sweet spot in terms of these three things and you'll make the fastest progress of your life.   

There are no training secrets, or training gurus that can turn you into something you can't be.  So stick with the things that have been tried and true for decades and train like your life depends on it for the next year.  You won't be dissatisfied with the results.  


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Training - Back and stuff

Bodyweight - 235

Cable Rows -
stack x 8 sets of 12

Ab Wheel - bodyweight x10,10 +45 x 10

Hypers - body x 10, +50x15,15  +75 x 10

Notes - Sweet session.