Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Training - Big Session Upperbody #1

Bodyweight - 245
Close Grip Bench - All singles paused

Cut it short because I felt something twinge in my left bicep.  Nothing major just cut it at 11.  Definitely had 15 in me.  Bench felt strong.

Chins - major suckage.  I didn't realize how sore my lats were from the rack pulls.

Seated Db Press - 110's x 12

Notes - This was one of those rare sessions that falls between an 80% and a -10%.  It started off ok but then totally went into the toilet.  That deadlift session from Sunday I think took a lot out of me.  I plan on eating a lot tonight.


  1. Hey Paul, sucks about the bicep pain man. But I had a question about squats; I was reading your series on the raw squat when I saw this:

    In the beginning I squatted with the bar high on my traps and would allow my knees to travel forward to start the movement, trying to keep my torso very erect. When the weight got heavy I would inevitably end up with my upper body doing the St. Louis arch, all bent over and low back taking a beating. Did this convince me that I was squatting all wrong? Oh heavens no, I kept doing it! Because I'm smart! (your sarcasm meter should be in the red there) Actually I just didn't have any help and was very frustrated. So I suffered through one low back strain after another. My squat poundage did not move and I was finding no benefit to this whole squat thing.

    This described my experience squatting exactly. I squat with the bar high on my traps becuase I've tried it other ways and it feels most natural. However, I also have the problem with rounding my back once the weight gets heavy or I'm repping a weight out. For example, today I did 295x9 and I started rounding after rep 7 and 9 was a clusterfuck, So basically, I want to figure out how to make my legs the limiting factor in a squat and not have it be my worry for my spinal well-being. Any suggestions or tips on how to fix this?


    P.S. I'm excited for the book, definitely gonna pick up a copy. Sorry for the essay, I'm just really passionate about lifting and when things go wrong I stress about it.

    1. A lot of that is midsection, weak abs for one, and your inability to properly maintain posture. Fact is, there is no quick fix for this. You just have to get stronger and work on your technique a bit.

      You also may be sitting back too far. For high bar guys, there shouldn't be much of a sit back, and there is some more forward knee action. For low bar guys, it's more of a sit back with almost no knee forward action.

      Also try squatting with your toes more forward if you have a flare.

      And last, that shit is just gonna happen as you get fatigued or go heavier until you just get stronger. I mean it's really that simple.

  2. Hey Paul, in the past i have been struggling with increasing my standing press... stuck at 155 like forever....

    So for the past 8 months i concentrated on my standing 1 arm DB press,which i had really good success with as i got from 75 pounds to 110 for 5 reps.

    Last night i tryed my overhead press again and well... it seemed like there was zero improvement... I don't get it. By the progress i had in the 1 arm DB i was expecting to at least have moved 20 pounds or so extra.

    What's wrong with the picture here? I suspect bar path shit.

    Should i drop the press all together and concentrate on the DB instead or that would be a stupid move?

    Thanks man.

    1. Why would you expect your standing barbell press to have moved because your 1 arm db press improved?

      Lifting is movement specific. However what I have found is that if you want carryover from 1 movement to the next, you need to make those two movements as close as possible. A 1 arm standing db press is about as far away as you can get from 1 overhead press to the next. So if you had improved say, your incline press or press behind the neck, I would be surprised if you didn't see improvement.

      My suggestion? Drop the standing overhead for about 4 weeks. Do heavy as fuck inclines, 5,4,3,2,1,1,1 1x8-12+50% set on a big day, then on the small days, a shit ton of upperback work like face pulls and bent laterals. Do this twice a week. On alternating weeks do heavy close grips, same thing, and then follow both up with seated military press for 2 sets of 6-8.

      When you get back to standing overheads, go right after it the first week. So warm up and then get right to the singles to see if you can break that 155. Bet you do.

    2. I was expecting an increase because well my shoulders have gotten a lot stronger and in theory that should be enough to get things moving.
      I'll try what you said though.

      Btw what do you think about unilateral movements for building strength/mass? Or do you think their main use is injury prevention?

    3. You got stronger in a specific movement.

    4. Not to hijack shit, but what Db pressing movements do you think have carryover to the Press, then? You do seated DB presses for high reps, so do you feel these are useful then?

      I ask because I remember you told some guy about a week back that pressing 3x a week is fine and you'd go for a clean & press, PBN (take it you prefer snatch grip PBN now) and DB presses.

    5. Yeah those are my staples. I think they tend to lend a hand to each other pretty well.

    6. Any point to doing them standing? They're a bitch to stabilize though, which is probably why you do them seated.

    7. Either way is fine. I just do em seated because I concentrate on my shoulders. not having to stabilize everything in order to press.

  3. Hey Paul,
    Just want to tell you I used a lot of what you preach in Getting Jacked and Strong-15 in my first two cycles this year and have set some decent PRs. Two weeks ago, on my final DL attempt, I pulled 490 weighing 164 at an meet to take the masters' title. That lift will ranked eleventh overall and second in the over age 60 (M3/M3) division on PL Watch's masters list. My final squat would have been a ten pound meet PR, but I pussied out and cut it an inch short.

    Thank you so much for the part you played in my success. Can't wait to get your new book. (Needless to say, I'm REALLY interested to learn the specifics of that strongman deadlift cycle.)


    1. Wow man that's fucking awesome! I'm always stoked when someone tells me about their progress using my methods. That's the whole reason I write all this shit.

  4. Set some calorie PR's tonight, Lemon cake + brownies