Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff - I'm f'n tired edition

I did 30 minutes of hard weighted vest yesterday morning, then had a hard training session last night.  I'm pretty pooped today and I feel like my lunesta is still kicking my ass right now for some reason.  

For those of you that didn't listen to the podcast or haven't because it's on 4shared, one of the things we talked about was the fact that we do these things for free.  Yet some people have such a sense of entitlement that they complain about it being on 4shared, or ask when we are putting it on iTunes.

First off, we're not putting it on iTunes.  We don't like Apple or "i" shit.  So it's not happening.  

Second, it takes all of 5 seconds to sign up for 4shared.  If you "refuse to listen to it because it's on 4shared" then you can eat a bag of dicks for all I care.  Again, we take time out of our life in order to do this, put it out for free, and people still complain about the format or where it's hosted at?  

Bag of Lexington Steel dicks.  Eat on it. 

Now as far as the quality of information in that podcast?  Top notch.  Again, big thanks to Kiefer for joining us and we most definitely will have him back on.      

I put up my training session as usual last night, and several peeps asked if I could throw up a vid of Pendlay rows the next time.  No problem.  I will say that it's going to look just like the way Glenn teaches it, because well, it's a Pendlay row and he's Glenn Pendlay.  Meaning, there is zero hip movement and my back stays in a static position.  

Thus, like this.......

But since I'm in one of those fucking moods this morning, let's show what is NOT a Pendlay row......

You can clearly see the hip action involved in the video below.  This is not a Pendlay row.  

Same shit here from the same guy......notice the english used by the hips and back.....

Not even close....but at least ol boy admits that it was shit......

I don't know what this shit is, but anyone who does it should be thrown into a fucking well......

As a friend and I discussed, a 315x8 REAL Pendlay row is going to be pretty rare, and very boss.  When I say a REAL Pendlay, I mean with no hip "english".  You simply pull the bar into your upper abs and that's it.  If there is any hip english at all, it's null and void.  Sorry if people don't like "standards" but Glenn taught it that way, so that's how it goes.  Lemme give you a quick hint here what all the people who did them wrong did.  Their hips are too low.  The hips should be HIGH and you should be flat backed.  That will help curb the "english".  The hips do the same thing in this row, that they do in the deadlift.  Namely, throw the shoulders forward over the bar to give you proper leverage against the weight before you can really lift it.  If you keep the hips high enough and DO NOT DIP THEM, you'll do the row properly.  

Let me also add that why are people doing sloppy as fuck rows anyway?  The whole point of a row, is to build your rhomboids.  What happens when you get sloppy is you ask the erectors and traps to get involved, and that's what deadlifts are for.  So you short circuit the benefits of the row by turning it into a half row/half deadlift.  Just deadlift if you're going to do that shit.  Use the row for what it is for.  Building the rhomboids and mid-back.  You can't concentrate on squeezing the rhomboids and all of the back together if you go too heavy.  

I ran these up to 275 for 2 sets of 3 last night, however 225x8 felt best because I could really squeeze with it.  This felt about perfect.  Will get a vid up when I can.  I will be in Vegas next week and my schedule there is slammed so I may not even get out to a gym during that time.  We will see.

Questions, questions, questions.....I'm answering fewer of them now because there is a search function here that will find just about anything you can ask.  Also, that pesky Strength, Life, Legacy book I wrote answers about anything I can think of as well.  This pains me a bit, however I can only answer "what do you think of whole body routines?" so many times before I feel like punching an old lady in the face repeatedly.  

So an interesting conversation between me and a good friend yesterday.  He's a former high level powerlifter mind you, so know that going into this.  

Eric Spoto benches 700 in a meet, in front of a crowd of about....27 people.  "Powerlifting is a dull, boring, sport that no one really gives a shit about."  he says.  I know this already.  Most powerlifters know this already too.  

Fact is, strongman and crossfit games (yes god dammit, crossfit games) are more fun to watch, and have about eleventy billion more hot women (yes, this matters to me).  Meets are 9 hours long, boring, and fairly unspectacular, mostly comprised of fat guys not lifting very much.  I'm not slamming anyone, but that's generally the case.  

When I started writing the 365 manual, I realized that even though I compete (rarely), I'm just as happy not competing, but still want to be as strong, jacked, and boss as I can be, because that's part of who I am.  This is what kind of gave birth to the LRB/365 idea.  Most guys don't want to compete, or maybe they do, but not right now.  However it doesn't mean they don't want to look fucking awesome, be strong and in shape.  They don't want to associate with something like Crossfit however, to do that.  Your training philosophy has to speak to you as an individual and resonate with who you are as well.  Something you can identify with, and associate yourself with.  It's the "buy in" I talk about, within a training methodology.  

So many guys choose training "styles" also based on who or what that training style is associated with.  In the 90's I was a huge Dorian Yates fan, so I trained very much like him.  I made great progress that way too, and I really identified with the things Dorian had to say about training.  Eventually over time, I developed all of the things that worked best for me.  Not just because the application of said training methods worked for me, but because I identified with the "attitude" behind training that way.  

So to come back around to all of this, I had to put yet another meet aside.  In the past, I would go into a funk about this because I still love to compete.  This time however, I went right into a training plan for the things I could do while my leg heals and had zero funk about it.  This is a lesson I constantly preach to myself, but don't always apply it as well as I'd like to.  This time, I did.  So I'm not competing, but I'm still hell bent on getting better and hitting some goals before I do.  I've had periods of laziness in my training the last year or so, but I feel invigorated again and I have no doubt you're going to see a much bigger, better, and stronger PC in the next year.  And that's what LRB/365 is all about.  

Let me add that if you don't have a weighted vest, go get one.  Best thing I've done in forever in regards to conditioning.  Easy on the joints and you will work, son.  Mine is only 40 pounds.  When you're 250, 40 pounds is enough.  30 minutes at a solid clip is nothing to sneeze at.  Going up hills becomes very interesting again.  I should have picked one up a long time ago.  It will be a mainstay in the 365 manual so if you can't find one, get a backpack and throw some weights in it.  Not as ideal, but it will still work.

Oh yeah, and speaking of powerlifting I have a client that went 9/9 with 4 world records this past weekend at the 100% raw meet in Vegas.  I also have a strongman competitor who put his wife on my program and she hit a 50 pound PR in the squat, and PR's in the bench and dead.  If you're not getting stronger......bullet to the chest.  

I need some caffeine.....


  1. Any suggestions on weighted vests?

    1. I got mine at Dicks Sporting goods. It's the 40 pound one. Around $110.

  2. Thanks for the awesome post! I am new to Pendlay rows but I have seen all variations of rows at my local gym. Many looking basically like a fat monkey humping the bar (as shown above). Thanks for confirming that lighter is the way to go. Rowing 135 always felt a ton better. I am able to stay parallel to the ground. Your point that being able to pull it tight and contract, really resonated with me. Anytime I have ventured to higher weights was in the name of building thickness to the back. In reality, a tight squeeze with good form would be what would build a thick back not a 200 lb jackass humping the bar.

    Thanks! I've totally adjusted my mindset. Plugging in lifts that I can actually achieve and just loving hitting the weights again. And guess what...... they are moving in the right direction!


  3. Playing devils advocate here. but Glenn also teaches a slight heave to the row too he doesnt encourage a ton of it but he has said several time a small amount of hip (like the guys first video) is fine. I have went to the muscle driver facility in SC and watched his lifters train just about all of them train the P-row as a strength movement not a feel the muscle movement. FWIW to others out there.

    Coach Steel also recommends a row with a little heave to help build the deadlift. I agree people quickly turn it into a crappy movement most of the time. But lots of great deadlifters use a small heave in their rows (Mike Tuscherer has suggested them and used them as well)

    Its a row at the end of the day both forms produce results not all will agree with each other.

    1. The problem with what you're saying Pat, is that 99% of guys don't have a coach to oversee their training, and that "slight amount of hip movement" ends up turning into something more later.

      Second, I don't recall the row being in any strongman or powerlifting meet, so using it as a "strength movement" and not knowing how to feel your rhomboids work again, is pretty pointless. Just do the fucking deadlift if that's the case.

      I've never seen a good case for shitty, heaved rows. Ever. Use the row to work the mid back, use the deadlift for the "strength movement."

    2. Woa man, calm down sir. I didnt say I wanted to burn your house down I just posted a comment based on my own experience and the words of two trusted coaches.

      My buddies Lascek's (dude who runs 70sbig.com ) lifters he coaches do p-rows with a slight heave and most of them end up placing or winning in national comps for the USAPL. Two of them compete in both strongman and powerlifting.

      a bagillion ways to skin the cat brother. thats all im sayin'

    3. To add even more to this....the devils advocate position you're presenting here is exactly the opposite of what I preach about support and assistance work.

      What is support work for? To build the musculature involved in the main lift.

      You use a lift to build a lift.

      You use a support movement to build the musculature involved in that lift.

      If you cannot "feel" that musculature working in that lift, how do you know what it's doing? Anyone who has been to a good physical therapist can tell you what happens when they put you into a position where your weaker muscles need to work. Your body will mechanically do everything it can to keep those muscles from working, and try to switch the load off to whatever is stronger. This is how you DON'T fix weak muscular areas.

      When you don't leave your ego at the door on a movement that is support work, you aren't doing yourself a lot of good. If you're rowing with 405 but can't deadlift 800, what good is it doing you?

      Vince Urbank - 900+ pound deadlifter. uses 135 pounds for his rows.

      Andy Bolton - uses seated rows so he can concentrate on the back during the concentric phase.

      Eric Lilliebridge - Uses 315-335 pounds for his barbell rows.....and I quote "After my deadlift I will do bent rows. Those have helped a lot too, with my lock out. I won't do a lot of sets, like maybe 3 heavy sets of like 12 to 15 reps. I don't do that swing form. I keep it real strict. Guys who are just swinging the weight, they aren't really doing anthing, you're just kidding yourself you know?"

      The row is not a "strength movement". It's a movement to build your back, no different than a pulldown or a flye or a leg extension. It's support work. Treat it as such. So when in doubt, go lighter on it.

    4. dont disagree with any of that. Not sure where I posted I do disagree with that. I was taking more of a middle of the road approach and say both can work depending on your goal.

    5. I'm not dogmatic about training, but there is a right way to do things, and a wrong way. I just haven't ever heard a single good reason for doing sloppy or cheated rows.

      And if you're going to coach something one way, then don't coach it a different way. If Glenn is coaching to do the row that 1 way in the video, then the other video's are clearly wrong and there's no reason to coach it at all.

    6. BTW Pat, did you bother watching the video with Pendlay above? He clearly talks about how the hip angle has to stay the same and does not change. I'm not saying that some people at his gym don't fuck it up, because I'm sure they do, but he makes mention of this more than once. He also makes note of the low back being arched (which it is not in the two videos below that, which is why I listed them).

      I have the feeling your one of those guys that likes to argue for the same of arguing, sometimes.

  4. Dudes with beards explaining shit is always legit!

  5. Hey Paul. I was going through some of your old posts looking for nutrition stuff. I noticed that your wife used to have a recipe blog. Since all of us guys eat a lot of food, do you think you could throw up a recipe here and there. Thanks. Love your books.

    1. Absolutely. She can cook her ass off. I can have her do so.

  6. Apple's QuickTime has been annoying the shit out of me lately. I'm trying to get a look at some training videos from my iPhone now on my laptop. Not as easy as it should be. That fucking phone will be getting the boot the next time my contract gets renewed. /End Rant.

    I've added inverted rows to my bench sessions for the last couple of months. I'm doing them for sets of 10-12, just bodyweight, where I try to hammer my chest into the bar, get a good squeeze in the back and then back down. I tried with added chains for a couple of weeks but I was only fooling myself and so went back to bodyweight to get the right 'feel' as you got with rowing 225.

    Keep up the good work. Looking forward to the podcast on iTunes...
    (Sarcasm, lest anyone not spot it).

    1. Exactly what I'm trying to get at. Rowing is to build the rhomboids and lats (to a lesser degree). What happens when you are going so heavy that you need to initiate the hip movement is that you are now not able to make the targeted muscles work as hard, and the load is switched to traps and erectors.

      The row is NOT a "strength movement" no more than the barbell curl is.

      The row really isn't doing anything a lot different than the bent lateral or face pull is. It's similar mechanics and you're really going after the same "area". But with the row you want to be able to squeeze the rhomboids and mid-back together back there. If you row properly and SQUEEZE it should almost get "cramped" back there. People just fuck rows up, so they don't know any better.

  7. Thoughts on Yates rows? I just started messing around with them. Some reps I really feel them in the lower lats, some reps I screw up and feel just about nothing.

    1. Yeah that's what they are good for. The lower lats. But again, you have to get the angle right, and learn how to "feel" the contraction. Just because a movement can used with big weight doesn't mean it should be, or is as effective with bigger weights.

  8. Interested to see you post a video of your Pendlay's. Also would be good to see Jamie's form as I read he is big on Pendlay's with real heavy weight.

    I love the Pendlay's and if the bar isn't hitting my upper abs fast with my torso parallel to the floor, then I know I am using too much weight. For me it is all about how hard/fast I can get the bar to hit my upper abs.

    1. I thin that's still missing it. You want to focus on the contraction here, not bar speed. Squeezing the back together as hard as possible. Not worrying about the bar through space.

  9. What's your diet like?

  10. High, High-Rep Training Article for you Good Sir:


  11. yo man I found a good vid of some nice strict rows for you haha:


  12. why are all jacked strong motherfuckers bald. does it contribute to bad-assery? or is it like an unwritten rule - if you pull over 500 for reps...you must be bald.
    anyway - good shit man, i seen this kid doing pendlay rows with the 10lb bumper plates, slamming the bar on the floor after every rep...this reminded me of that douche. good day sir!

  13. For what its worth, the guy doing 405*6 on the pendlay row, is a real big poster over at T-Bag nation. Glad I quit going there.