Monday, November 12, 2012

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff - PC and JDub edition

This last week, Wendler and I have been in knowledge exchange mode a lot talking about some theories that we have.  As usual, Jim and I were thinking about the same shit at the same time.  I can't tell you how often this happens.  No one would believe it.  I was going to put up a music post last week, and as I was making it, I saw Jim's feed on Facebook that he had made one.  We do this shit constantly.  But this isn't a "Jim and Paul suck each other off constantly" bit.  So I will elaborate.

Sort of.

The area that we have been discussing has been one of the most interesting topics we've talked about in a while in regards to programming.  Yes, this is a teaser for it because Jim is writing about it in his new book and I'm covering it in the new 365 manual.  I don't know if it's something that's going to jump out at you, when you read it.  However it's something that he and I feel might be one of the biggest keys and factors to constant and sustained success in the weight room.  Lots to write on about it, so expect me to really blast about it after the manual.  It also really solidifies some thinking I've had about my own philosophies and principles for some time now.  Anyway, not to tease too long about it, and I don't want to steal Jim's thunder about it either so I'll cut it there.

Boy the Pendlay row post got some action this week.  I'm not sure why that movement is so controversial (if a fucking exercise can have controversy) but I believe it's because most guys refuse to leave their ego at the door in training.  They would rather do 405 pound rows with monkey fuck form that does shit all for moving their deadlift than use 185 or so and get the benefits from it.  Dan Green and I talked about that row for a bit, and Dan pulls well over 800 and he said he can't do more than 315 with it until he starts getting the hip movement into it as well.  Think about that for a minute.  My pull is low 700's and I use 275 for a triple at best.  Dan pulls well over 800 and can't do much more than 315 before he starts to cheat it.  So some guy with a 600 or 500 pull wants to talk shit about how much he can row?

I also read where someone said Ed Coan did cheat rows.  He did not.  He did very strict rows that you can see in his video, and Pendlay also talked about Ed doing very strict rows.  I'm not saying Ed NEVER raised his back any at all, but I've read over and over again that one of most impressive things about Ed, was his ability to row heavy as hell (over 500) without his back ever coming up from parallel.

So if Ed Coan, who is stronger than YOU, "only" used 500......well I'm not sure what justification you have for doing 400+ pound rows.  But it's your life, so do what makes you happy and brings you rainbows and unicorns.

Look people write about leaving your ego at the door all the time, but most do NOT DO IT.  I've written about this many times.  If a guy can deadlift 600 as a max, he wants to deadlift 600 every time he walks into the gym.  How many times have you read on a message board..."I pulled 600 last week, went in today and missed it.  Couldn't even get it to the knees."

Well duh, shit head.  I'm writing about this in the manual as well and why this shit is a big reason for lack of progressing.  It also ties in with the previous statement about what Wendler and I have been going over.  Are you in the gym to get stronger, bigger, and better or there to "show off" what you can do?  I still can't, for the life of me, figure out why guys max in the gym.  It makes no sense to me.  Even worse, guys taking maxes right before a meet.  I'm not sure if anyone watched the Backyard Meet of the Century, but there were a lot of misses, and I know some of those guys went too heavy in their meet prep.  You don't need to hit in training what your goal is at the meet, in order to be good for it.  I feel like this is a "lost art" of training that was a mainstay from the guys in the old school days.  Those guys didn't max out in training.  They knew that's what the meet/competition was for.  They used the gym to build muscle and strength.  Not their ego.

I'm not saying the guys that missed at that meet train with their ego, and I know it's very tempting to want to KNOW that you are capable of hitting a certain number at the meet, however once you get into grinders and max lifts, you only have so many of those in you over a certain period of time (generally 2 weeks on the front and back end of training).

Your programming is the most important part of your actual training plan, and this is something many trainees put very little thought into.  Then when they fail, they blame the routine or the "philosophy" or whatever, when hey, no one did your programming but you!  You have to own that.

Remember what you are in the gym for.  It's to build strength, not perform strength demonstrations.  Every time you need to get "outwardly psyched" for a set, think of your recovery gauge as taking a hit.  So that means, fewer ass kicking sessions right after this.  What I am getting at is, when you have a +10% session, expect a drop and some -10% sessions right after, or at the very least some very poor 80%ers.  This is the ebb and flow of training progress.  Something I have preached about for a long time, is to stack up tons and tons of 80%ers with as few -10%ers as possible, and training progress will be great.  A +10% session is always a bonus, but there is a pendulum swing with it, and you will have to pay the piper, i.e. some shitty workouts thereafter.

Short and sweet for a Monday, in which I am off work.  I know it was yesterday, but thanks to all the Vets for their time and service.


  1. I really never understood this concept until I started reading your work, including Strength Life Legacy, and now I am making excellent progress without constantly injuring myself. Thanks Paul.

  2. This would explain a few things in my current training. Change is in the air. No showing off; I train in my basement. Just doing it wrong. Read both editions of Wendler's 3/5/1 this weekend. Revelatory on what I'm doing wrong. That last paragraph speaks to how I feel, and explains why. Thanks.

  3. Replies
    1. It's more like a manual. Middle of december more than likely. I need it out before the first of the year.

    2. If i understand it right it is a manual al year round?

    3. Start it 1st of Jan and run it the whole year.

    4. Will buy it when you have it out.

  4. Paul, i'm giving your pressing combinations a try (splitting press singles and back offs up on different days with incline, etc), and I'll let you know how it goes.

    doing lots if strict rowing too. 115X10x6sets today.

    It's always tough to leave ego at the door. When some bro wants to work in on the squat and starts quarter squatting, the little red guy on my shoulder shouts "big time this clown!"but I try to remember "bills, don't demonstrate."

    Thanks for keeping me on the straight and narrow.

  5. Paul i gutta a quick ? For general pressing strength. I worked out at home now and my basement has like a very short ceiling less than seven foot. Like if i jump I'll hit my head im only five eight... I wanted to ask i love standing presses but i can't lock out with the plates getting inn the way. What should i do add my assistance or second press movement. Incline, seated military, or maybe a klokov can make it without hitting the ceiling. What would you do?

    1. I press in a similar type basement which is why I use 25's and 10's

    2. I have the same problem with my basement. I can't even use 25's. So I have been overhead pressing on my knees for years. I don't know if most would recommend it, but it works for me.

  6. Damn, Coan was jacked. I don't know why that always surprises me. WTF happened to powerlifting? When did more and more fat guys start taking over?

    1. I wonder this sometimes aswell. Coan, Captain Kirk, Doug Young, Ted Arcidi, Kaz...these guys were about as big and thick as human beings could physically get but were generally lean as hell to boot.

      When did looking like those guys stop being cool? It's not like the fat guys are getting a trade-off in terms of vastly greater strength, either. Go figure!

  7. Paul are you going to put your Lifer series in you the new book? I loved the series and would like to have a hard copy of it in one of your books. I know it's already on the for free on your blog, but, I feel obligated to pay for your effort and knowledge.

  8. Paul, I'm sorry but you're just wrong here.

    Here's a clip I uploaded from Coan's deadlift training video.
    If you're going to claim someone did "X", then at least make
    sure you're not talking out your ass.

    "Rowing is heavy and violent, not light and exact. Move some iron." - Ed Coan
    (From "Ed Coan - The Man, The Myth, The Method" (his training book)

    1. I stand corrected, as the other times and other things I've read from Ed is that he was strict on his rows.

      The thing that may be applied here is that Ed may have done strict rows before, and sloppy rows later, or sloppy rows before and strict rows later.

      From his "2500 and beyond" routine


      Regular deadlifts or S-L Deadlifts 8 sets of 2-8 reps

      Bent-over Rows 2 sets of 8-10 reps

      (Coan does these with 485 for 8 strict reps - "no problem.")

      Pulley Rows 2 sets of 8-10 reps

      Pulldowns 2 sets of 8-10 reps

      Hammer Strength Back Machine (alternating which Hammer machine he utilizes)

      2 sets of 8-10 reps

      Rear Delt raises 2 sets of 10-12 reps

      Marty Gallagher wrote that Ed did his rows "STRICT". And Marty was actually there. So before you proceed with telling me I'm talking out of my ass because of one video, I don't think that video covers Ed's entire training fucking life.

      Like I said, if you guys want to do sloppy rows because otherwise your ego takes a massive fucking hit go ahead. But really, doesn't that video also just prove my point that if Coan is doing sloppy rows with 405 and his deadlift was 900, what the fuck are you doing sloppy rows with 405 for?

      so thanks for putting it up.