Sunday, June 30, 2013

Chaos and Bang is resurrected!


Training - Back and support work

Bodyweight - 257

Barbell Rows -

add straps - 365x5,5

no starps - 315x12

Hammer Shrugs - 500x20,20
Wide Grip Lat Pulldowns - 180x10,10,10
Curl Machine - stack x 9,8

Notes - I'm going to really go hard after barbell rows the next few months.  I'd like to hit 405x10 with straps, and be able to get 3 sets of 15 without straps at 315.

Sluggish today.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Training - Pulls

Bodyweight - no clue

Stiff Legs (not elevated) -
315 x 8 sets of 8

Shrugs - 315 x 40, 40, 35, 20

Notes  - Felt awful.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

JTS video from our training at Quads - Seminar weekend

Really awesome job by the video crew that Chad brought in.  This is from the seminar weekend where we all trained at Quads.

Being well rounded

One of the reasons that I believe, and even most powerlifters believe, that strongmen are stronger isn't just because of deadlifting.  And though that's certainly a great indicator, I will say that the reason most strongmen are great pullers is because well, top level strongmen are built for pulling (duh).  Tall, long arms, strong backs.

However, one of the reasons I believe that strongmen are stronger than powerlifters is because they have to get strong in a variety of ways, using a variety of implements, and in a variety of movements.

A very prevalent thing I see in powerlifting is guys who can maximize leverages to "appear" stronger than they really are.  There's going to be people that take offense to that, but I give no shits.

You are most definitely supposed to use your leverages to move more weight, without question.  However one of the reasons that a LOT of guys end up spinning their wheels in terms of strength and muscular development over a long span is because they just keep trying to use their leverages, and stop trying to get stronger.

"Well I don't need to overhead press at a meet".  Yes, I know this, however your bench hasn't moved in a long time.  It may be that you've maxed out your leverages at this boydweight for that movement.  Or it may be, that other areas of your musculature need to get stronger in order for you to get past this plateau.  It's probably a combination of both.

Any "advanced" strength athlete should be able to clean and press their bodyweight for reps, pretty easily.  If you can't, you're either too weak to call yourself advanced, or too fat for your own good.

You should be able to do 20 bodyweight chins.  You should be able to front squat 80% of your back squat.

I've seen so many guys talk about "weak point" training and sound off on bullshit like "my lift stalls here, so I need to overload that part of the range of motion to beat that sticking point."  No man, you just need to get fucking stronger.  I've never ever seen a guy do board humping with less weight than he could bench.  That alone should tell you that you're not weaker at the transition point.  You miss at a certain weight because you're not strong enough to generate enough force out of the bottom to overcome that transition.  So simply put, get stronger.


You should be strong in any plane of pressing.  Overhead, incline, bench.

You should be strong front squatting AND back squatting.  If you squat low bar normally, do high bar squats.  It'll suck, but when you go back to low bar, you'll be even better.

You should also spend a significant portion of your offseason with no belt, no wraps trying to work up to your best set of squats, repetition wise, when you use those.

You should focus on stiff legged deadlifts and building a bigger and stronger back.  Make it a point to program your barbell rows and don't slack on your back work.

If you wanted me to tell you one secret to getting to a next level for yourself, it's to become well rounded.  You don't need to do a million movements to be well rounded.  It doesn't mean you need to have a bunch of special bars or add eleventy billion pounds of band tension to the bar.  But you should be well rounded with a barbell through multiple planes and types of movements.  This will fix "weak points" and boost your big three.  Strongmen know they can't just rely on learning leverages.  They actually have to get fucking stronger.  Think in terms of becoming a brute from top to bottom, and make it a point to get strong overall.

Clean and press, press behind the neck, incline, front squats, stiff legs, sumo pulls, block pulls, db pressing, various chin ups, all forms of rowing, curls.  Get strong with the BARBELL.  Get strong without any support on.  Get strong with dumbbells.  Put yourself in a mechanically weaker position, and when you go back to your stronger position, you'll be even better.  Then you can really focus on maximizing your strengths.  However now, you'll be well rounded and brutally strong from top to bottom.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

BBM offseason - Pressing

Bodyweight - 257

Incline Press - 350 method


225x29 PR

55 total = goal met

Flex Row - stack x 15,15,10
Hammer Shrugs - 135x50,50

Notes - I was actually still very tired but I "felt" like lifting, so I figured my time off had been enough.

The 365 single was NOT snappy, so I'm sure on a good night I have more than 225x29 in me.  I've been after 30 for a while so it felt good to hit 29 on a bad night.

Colorado Seminar upcoming in August

If you're in the Denver/Littleton area (that's Colorado for the geographically challenged) I will be doing a seminar there in August.

Check the Crossfit Littleton site for details.  $75 for 2 days.

The format is going to look like so.

Satruday -
9 a.m. - lecture
11/12 - 1:00 - lunch

1:00 - whenever - coaching for squat and deadlift

Sunday -
9 .a.m - open Q&A
11/12 - 1:00 - lunch
1:00 - whenever - coaching for bench and possibly overhead press (if I can muster up the motivation for coaching overhead)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff - Owning weights and the "real deal?"

One of the biggest fallacies about programming or peaking is that each time your roll through a cycle, the next cycle has to be programmed at a higher weight.

It's certainly an option, and a viable one yes.  However so is running the same programming cycle back to back.  If you ended the first cycle with a triple or set of five that was tough as nails to grind out, but the second time you run said cycle you destroy that triple or set of 5 with speed that is bordering on violent, did you not get stronger?

One of the basic principles of the base building model is to move heavier and heavier weights with greater and greater speed.  I unknowingly used to use this method when I was younger with great results.  I would set a certain weight in my head, and work towards that weight.  However I would make a deal with myself that I wouldn't move past that weight, until I "owned" it, i.e. could rep it effortlessly.

Lots of lifters get lost in the weight on the bar mentality, or "weight on the bar at all costs!" mentality.  Listen, I'm all for getting more weight on the bar, and at some point you have to load the bar.  Generally you want those times to be on the platform, or nearing the end of a peaking cycle.  However during the in-between times, a solid idea is to set "owned" weight goals where you destroy weights at certain rep ranges.

Find a weight you'd like to make your "everyday triple" or "everyday five".  This is a great way to keep you in a proper working max for your programming.  "Owning" weights in a certain rep range is still a good PR barometer for making progress.

Don't be afraid to repeat cycles, or "back track" a cycle a few weeks and work back up to whatever you hit near the end of it again but with greater speed.  There's so many ways to gauge strength and assess PR's.  Don't fall into the dogma of thinking just making a certain weightXreps is the only way to do that.  weightXreps@speedZ (is this fucking algebra?) is also a way to set new "PRs".

The Real Deals - 

There's always a question of credentials vs self performance when it comes to who is qualified to talk about strength training, train athletes, or write about these things.

There are a few ways to look at this.

One is that the ideas and opinions of ONLY the strongest guys matter.  This one should be thrown out and is complete horseshit.

Lots of guys are born with the ability to lift big and be strong that don't have a lot to offer in the way of knowledge. This is not debatable.  And I personally hate it when someone says or write "oh yeah, well Mr. Strong squats/deads/benches/whatever 10000000 pounds.  Can you do that?"

This is not a winning or coherent argument.  Because one guy can out lift me does not mean his knowledge is equal to mine.  It doesn't mean it's not either, but you can't use weight lifted to make an argument for knowledge base.  It's like saying because one guy has a faster car than I do that his penis must be smaller.

Another way is that there are "weak guys" (relatively speaking) who have lots of knowledge and science to offer, and despite their physical short comings are in fact smart dudes.  Sometimes these guys really are smart, but they will get hate from some people because they are weak, even though their information may be solid.

The other guy is the guy that claims he can make people strong as fuck, writes articles about how to "develop massive lats!" yet isn't strong himself and has no massive lats to speak of.

"Develop mind bending biceps!"......from the guy with fucking 14" pipes at 160.

160 pound guy telling me how to build big pipes.....

Lastly are the strong guys, of various levels, that also have quite a bit of knowledge to offer.  They obtained said knowledge because they know their way around the weight room pretty well.  They may also be formally educated in the strength training field as well.    

I'm sure there are other variations to this and I suppose I could go on all day about them all, but I fucking won't.

I will give my opinion about this.

Knowledge is knowledge.  It's how you present that knowledge that sets you up for criticism or not.

If you have a track record of making people stronger and better athletes, then regardless of what you look like eventually your results regarding those people will speak for itself.  You may not be some kind of outrageous physical specimen or even have a great baseline level of strength, but you have proven yourself in a field to be worthy of listening to.  I personally do not know of many or really any that fit this particular mold, but I'm sure much like unicorns and vampires, one exists somewhere.

But overall my opinion is this, there should be SOME fire where all of that smoke is coming from.  There can only be so many Dan Green's of the world, which means much like the highlander, only one.  So you do NOT have to be Dan Green.  You don't even have to play him on T.V. or stay at a Holiday Inn express.

However, I personally believe that you should have some level of strength that is "good" or appreciable by even strong(er) guys.  For heavier guys (over 2 bills but under 3) I've kind of always adhered to the 600-400-600 club in that most guys that can hit that on a constant basis are "strong" or at least have a good general baseline level of strength.

Does it have to be that?  No of course not.  The goal posts can be moved for bigger or smaller guys, within reason.  However if you're damn near three bills and only deadlift 500 then you probably have no reason telling people how to get strong, or arguing with people that are.  People who follow such "gurus" should probably just man up to the poison kool-aid stand and get to pounding shots right now.  You'll be angry at yourself in a few years for wasting so much time with people who don't have a clue.  

Of course, education and "credentials" factor into this equation however I've been around the strength training block more times than Madonna has given head at this point, and I've assure you that I don't have to be around a guy for very long to know when he's got bullshit on his breath.  Education and some letters behind your name don't mean a whole lot without application.  If you aren't strong and haven't made people strong (and we defined what that was earlier) then you probably shouldn't present yourself as a strength trainer/guru/master/jedi/wizard.  Not until one of those two things (or both) are accomplished.

This turned into a tl;dr segment.

Point is, don't judge a teacher based on a single merit.  Judge so based on the fact that he can talk the talk, walk the walk, and is well rounded in experience.  I guess I could have just written that!  DAMMIT!

Happy f'n Monday.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Don't catch that fat disease

So now obesity is officially a disease.

Fuck my life.

Why is it that people who give in to self imposed desires that have negative consequences suddenly become victims? Now the manifestations of their gluttonous and disastrous choices aren't choices at all, but rather diseases.

You're predisposed to being heavier? Yeah I get that. However what you eat is a choice. What you drink is a choice. What you decide to stick into your arm or smoke, is YOUR fucking choice.

I've dealt with this up close and personal before you decide to tell me I have no clue about such things, and I am very aware of the fact that some people are more inclined than others, to make obsessive and addictive choices. But this doesn't give them an exemption from the fact that all of it is still a god damn choice. Not a disease.

Eventually your choices led you into a physiological "need" that you can't shake. It doesn't mean you've been stricken by disease, it means that's the ramifications of your choices. The consequences of your conscious actions.

Let me also add that those of us who work our asses off through training, get blood work done, eat specific foods for months on end, don't smoke, don't drink, and live our life through training, well we never get a martyr label. We are not victims somehow. We're not stricken by a disease. That is, unless diseases also somehow encompass other traits or virtues that have severe negative connotations.

We get called obsessed or obsessive. Narcissistic. Shallow. Meatheads. Gym barbies. Freaks. I'm sure you can think of more.

Somehow, those of us that fall into those categories made choices to be that way, while all the fat people were simply stricken with disease.

"I wish I could look like you." I've heard.

You could. Oh my bad, you caught that severe case of obesity that's been going around. Those tater tots will soothe your aching soul. Continue to stuff them into your disease hole.

I'm sure someone will be offended.

More sweet ass testimonials

Paul –

finished the conditioning phase last week. Dropped 9 lbs in the 12 week period. So now I’m an ultralight 164 ( man I hope there aren’t strong winds around)…But feel good, work capacity way up.. resting heart rate down 4 beats/minute ( old guys care about that kind of shit)!, 

Did run into a problem, I have a junk ankle from HS and college sports and a few “Oops” on motorcyles over the years..Even with a brace, in the 3rd week of ¼ mile repeaters it swelled pretty bad and I must have known prior and been compensating because my opposite knee MCL flared..SO I backed off for a week , did a lot of icing, and then had a modified plan…I grabbed one of my son’s conditioning routines from college lacrosse. 100yrd sprints with 45 sec rest in between as many as you can before you can’t maintain 16.5 seconds on the 100..he had to do them in under 15 but I used the age/ability handicap.. The straight line, a new brace, running on softer turf made it all doable..I did text Usain Bolt to tell him he didn’t have to get out of bed any earlier to train as there was no threat!

Certainly the best shape I’ve been in for over 15, maybe 20 wife appreciates that!!!

Reset my everyday maxes as I crossed over into the dark side…..beltless. So another solid learning cycle..

Have a kick ass day,
Paul Heller


Hey Paul, I just wanted to quickly share my deadlift progress with you. My all-time PR was 550. I hit that about 2 years and haven't pulled over 500 since because of a bad injury from a car accident. My back had been getting stronger and 4 months ago I did 470 for 3 reps. Then I decided to try out the Strong-15. I set a goal of hitting 525 which I thought was pretty reasonably after the 470x3. Today was my test day and I crushed 525. It went up so fast I decided to give 555 a try and I crushed that too. So I set an all-time PR while the heaviest weight I lifted in training was 500x1 and 460x3. Thanks again, Paul. -- Bill Schonberger 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Staring you in the face

This past weekend, Dan Green went over to the land down under and broke his own world record in the 242 class, by going 2171 with knee wraps.

As you can see, even Animal made notation of the fact that it was with wraps.  Larry Pacifco still has the no wraps record at 242 with 2080.

I make a notation to point this out not to disparage Dan at all.  I think Dan is currently the best powerlifter walking around at the moment, and I hope he doesn't end up injured and can sustain what he's been doing the last year or so, for a very long time.

I make a notation of this because numbers in context DO matter.

Just so I don't have to type "beltless" "belted" "belt and knee wraps" etc over and over again for this article, here's how I define "raw".

Rare = no belt, no wraps.
Raw = Belt only
Medium raw = Belt and knee wraps

Then of course, you have single ply, and multiply.

I find it odd, that keeps tracks of rankings and numbers and records in appropriate fashion, yet some gym owners or lifters like to throw out numbers without adding in the context or manner in which they were done.

Don't think a walk out matters?  I promise you it does.

Getting a hand off in benching matters.  If you don't think so, unrack your own shit and see if you can press as much, and get back with me on that.

A belt matters, a belt and knee wraps matter, and of course single ply and multiply matter.


If you didn't listen to my interview with Capt. Kirk, he was very aware of what his belted and beltless squat PR's were, and did whole cycles based around building that beltless squat.  His best beltless work was 655x8 (fuck my life) and 800x1 (fuck my life!!!).  With a walk out of course.

Kirk told me that after 6 weeks beltless, he'd simply throw a belt on the next week, add 20 pounds to the bar (675) and do that for 5 reps easily (so the next phase of his training would start).  Kirk said he got roughly 50 pounds out of adding the belt on squats.  Maybe more.  He squatted 800x5 with a belt only.

Throwing out numbers without the context in which those numbers were done is disingenuous.

When I was in Chicago with Brandon Lilly he told me at 19 he walked out 660 with belt and knee wraps and dunked it at 219.  He did 600 without the knee wraps.

Years later, after being in gear for an extended period of time he decided to do some raw training.  Now weighing over 300 pounds, he took 650 out and went down with it and his words (more or less) got his face pushed into his crotch.  Let's put this into context.  Brandon was squatting over 1,000 pounds in gear at the time.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it for a while.

To add a little more context to this, Brandon's best geared total around that time was 2,500.

His best medium raw total is 2,204.  Without training in gear Brandon went back and did an equipped meet and hit 2,612.

Ask him of all his totals which one he feels the most proud of.  Not only that, but we've had a discussion about him going rare and hitting a certain number there (I won't say, that's all up to Brandon).  Brandon is a smart guy.  He knows he can't go 2,200-anything sans belt and knee wraps.

Jamie Lewis went 1,618 rare at 181.  1,705 with a belt.  Give or take, 75 pounds difference.

When I was at the nationals Scott Smith was pretty upset because he was going to end up taking second place to Chris Pappillion, who can't bench 425 raw, but can bench right with Scott in gear.  And Scott is a 500+ bencher.  It's because Chris knows how to work his shirt, and Scott hates it.  But raw, Scott would walk all over Chris, and Chris knows this.  But they weren't raw that day, and Chris won under a level playing field.

And this is why context matters in numbers.

See, I don't have anything against any particular style of lifting.  Rare, raw, medium raw, equipped, whatever.  I don't care.  Do what makes you happy.  What I do have a particular issue with, is for someone to throw around numbers and claiming superiority without making apple to apple comparisons.  A multiply squat of 900 isn't the same animal as a belt only 900 squat, which very very few people have ever been capable of.

Yet 900 pound squats are pretty common at multiply meets now.

How many raw-anything guys can squat 900 right now?  Very few.

So just because you're strong in gear, doesn't mean you're strong out of it.  This has to be proven.  It has to be done.  No different than Brandon getting face planted by 650 even though he was squatting 1,005 in gear.

Powerlifting, I thought, was supposed to be a representation of strength.  Not just numbers.

However, and unfortunately, in powerlifting numbers are not always a representation of strength at face value.  The manner in which those numbers are obtained DO MATTER.  I've read where some people bitch that I always label my videos or lifts "no belt/no wraps" or "close grip bench".  Well, I do because it fucking matters.  A 455 bench and a 455 close grip bench well, they aren't the same thing.  I'm very aware that I don't get style points for benching close grip in meets, however I promise you I get the respect of my peers for it.  Plus well, it looks far more bad ass.  And KK does it too, so that has to count for something.

Most of this shit is really just great big dick measuring contests.  And dick measuring contests are fine.  That's what sports are really about isn't it?  I'm more "bad ass" than you are?  Sure, let's roll with it.  But if we're going to measure dicks then make sure that when we break our rulers I want to make sure you're not using centimeters for inches, and  then claim that your 18" dong is so much longer than my measly 7" one.

"We get so much deeper inside our women because we've got 18 inches and all those guys are packing a fraction of that."

Too bad she can't tell the difference.

Eventually the wool (lambskin?) gets removed and people can see this shit for what it's worth.  At least, I hope they can.  That way, respect can be given across the board to anyone who trains, competes, and puts their dick on the measuring block.  If not, and you want to talk shit and break out the ruler, then go meet those people at doing what they do and outperform them in their arena.  Don't sing it, bring it.

Strong is strong, is strong.  If you're only strong under specific conditions then how strong are you really?

To quote Nino Brown, "money talks, and bullshit runs the marathon."

Doesn't powerlift.  Sells crack.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Meet training week 2 - pressing - Incline with 2 PR's

Bodyweight - 260

Incline -
425x1 PR

315x13 PR


Rope Pushdowns -

Flat Flyes -
30's x 20
50's x 15

Notes - Solid session.

New tanks and t-shirt pre-order and a donation to our troops!

I am now taking pre-orders for the new "Acta Non Verba - warrior the fuck up" shirts and tanks later tonight.

If you didn't read my last meet write up, the "warrior the fuck up" came from something Brandon Lilly told me after I tore my groin in warm ups. While I didn't finish with the total I wanted, I still finished that day, pulled a PR, learned a lot of lessons and made new friends.

However, the REAL warriors are our men and women that serve this nation and protect our freedoms.

So I am going to donate 10 shirts and 10 tanks. 10 soldiers will get 1 of each (so I'll be shipping a shirt and a tank to a soldier).

After you pre-order a shirt or tank, go "like" the lift-run-bang Facebook page if you haven't already. Tell me who your soldier is, what he/she means to you, what branch they are serving in, etc. The FIRST 10 IN THAT THREAD WILL BE CHOSEN.


It's not much, but it's my very small way of saying thank you to all the men and women who continue to serve.

Also, it'd be cool if you didn't tell them, so that way it could be a surprise.

Thanks errbody!

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff - Post Father's day edition

Happy belated Father's Day to all the dads out there.

For the dads that are involved and immersed in their kids lives, I think all would agree with me when I write that being a dad is the most awesome and rewarding thing that's ever happened to us in our life.  I cannot comprehend how a man could have a child and not want to be everything in that kids life.  That's your blood, your legacy.  Yet there's an epidemic going on with single mother homes now, and I am not sure why.

I'm not sure why men are freeing themselves from the responsibility of being a part of their own flesh and bloods live's.  I don't think there's a single cultural or social answer, regardless of what the media tells you, or what some study tells you.

If I had to take a shot in the dark, I would say that economic stress, family history, and education all play a part.  I think that some basic "values" also play a role.  When someone comes from a single mother home and never sees a responsible father or doesn't know what that looks like, they may be more inclined to not play that role.  Of course, this isn't the case across the board, I'm not painting with broad strokes here.

I wanted to look at two things.  Some stats on single mothers, and how fatherless homes affects the kids that came from them.

This is what I found.......

In regards to the economic (poorer families) and education part (poorer families) is what studies find in regards to unwed mothers having kids....

Nonmarital births have increased precipitously in the past forty years, especially among minorities and the poor, the groups of greatest concern. Today more than 70 percent of black children, 50 percent of Hispanic children, nearly 30 percent of white children, and 40 percent of all children are born outside marriage, assuring the persistence of poverty, wasting human potential, and raising government spending. Reducing nonmarital births and mitigating their consequences should be a top priority of the nation’s social policy

To add..........

A long-term study by researchers from Princeton and Columbia universities who've followed the lives of 5,000 children, born to married and never-married mothers in 20 urban centers, is the latest to reach that conclusion, and it sheds light on the reasons.

A large majority of the never-married mothers had close relationships with a partner when their child was born. But by the time the child was 5, most of the fathers were gone and the child had little contact with him. As many of the mothers went on to new relationships, the children were hampered by repeated transitions that did more harm to their development.

My thoughts on this?

Five years?  Suddenly the guy just jets after 5 or less years?

That didn't make a lot of sense to me.  So I found this piece of evidence......

In both Promises I Can Keep, and Doing the Best I Can, Edin’s forthcoming book on low-income fathers co-written with Tim Nelson, most parents-to-be had been together for only a few months, or even weeks. Those relationships also tended to be emotionally distant. Expectant couples have rarely spent much time doing things together or hanging out with friends and family. Men described themselves as "associating with" the woman who would become their child’s mother, not "dating" or "seeing" her. Still, Edin and Nelson find that men are generally happy, even thrilled, when a sexual partner announces that she is expecting, and the pregnancy tends to intensify the association into a recognizable relationship—at least temporarily. Unsurprisingly, many men and women quickly find they have nothing in common and don’t even like each other.

Most couples break up within a few years.
So basically, in the poorer communities, people hook up, the chic gets preggo and then ol boy is actually pretty receptive to it.  Never mind that they don't really know each other at all.  But the bond of having a child together seems to at least hold for a little while.  However eventually, as with most things, wanes and he jets. Thus the stat for why so many of the single mothers in the poor communities had the father around the kid for 5 years or less.  

But to be fair, there appears to be three types of single moms.

First are women who were married or in committed partnerships when they had their kids, but who divorced or separated later on. They run the socio-economic gamut, from rich to poor. Second are "choice mothers," single women who planned to become mothers despite being unmarried. Choice mothers tend to be educated, in their 30s or early 40s, and financially stable. Their children are usually born via anonymous or known sperm donor, though hook ups with ex-boyfriends are not unheard of. As the term suggests, "choice mothers" distinguish themselves from the far larger third category: low-income or working-class, young, never-married mothers.

So basically, only one of the three types are a single mother by choice.  The third kind I don't get either.  You would purposely not want a father in your kids life?  This makes no sense to me.  So without getting into a fucking moral debate about it, let's deal with some stats again......

From the website thefatherlessgeneration...........
  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census) – 5 times the average.
  • 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
  • 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Center for Disease Control)
  • 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average. (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26)
  • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (National Principals Association Report)

Father Factor in Education - 
  • Fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school.
  • Children with Fathers who are involved are 40% less likely to repeat a grade in school.
  • Children with Fathers who are involved are 70% less likely to drop out of school.
  • Children with Fathers who are involved are more likely to get A’s in school.
  • Children with Fathers who are involved are more likely to enjoy school and engage in extracurricular activities.
  • 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes – 10 times the average.

Father Factor in Drug and Alcohol Abuse - 
  • Researchers at Columbia University found that children living in two-parent household with a poor relationship with their father are 68% more likely to smoke, drink, or use drugs compared to all teens in two-parent households. Teens in single mother households are at a 30% higher risk than those in two-parent households.
  • 70% of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Sept. 1988)
  • 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Fulton Co. Georgia, Texas Dept. of Correction)
Now, the largest amount of kids who come from fatherless homes tend to fall from economically challenged group, so I don't know how skewed these stats are regarding that.  However, I still wanted to show these stats because I think dads are fucking important.  And the above stats say why.

But you know what, fuck all that.  Fuck all the stats and research.  Let's get back to reality.  

Rich or poor, social status be damned, dads matter.  If you're a guy who got a woman pregnant and then failed to be a father to that kid, and that kid grows up to be a statistic you played a part in that by being estranged in that kids life.  

No blog post is going to fix any social issue we have going on in America.  Hell, I can barely fix my own problems half the time.  I think that probably goes for most of us.  However, the one thing I don't have a problem with, is sacrificing for my kids and making them priority number one in my life.  

This is the message I'd like to write, in case it even reaches a single father that has not been involved in his kids life.

It's never too late.  Ever.  

You're broke, or don't have a job.  That kid doesn't care.  He or she just wants to know dad.  They still want to have a relationship with you.  Your social or economic status or standing doesn't factor into how they will feel about you.  They won't ever judge you on what your paycheck reads.  They care more about what is written on your heart about them.    

They will love you unconditionally.  They will forgive you for not being there the years before because they will want this relationship with you so badly.  But you need to make up for that too.  Even in cases where that kid is older, that may take some time, but it will eventually happen.  Kids want to know their dad.  They want to be close with him and know that dad loves them, cares, will protect and provide the best he can for them.  

No matter what you think of yourself, they will always want you to be someone that is proud of them.  Someone that is at all the games, at all the graduations, at their wedding(s).  

Your kid won't remember the jobs you had or didn't have, they will remember the time you gave them and the love you showed them.  They will remember how you made them feel.  

If you're a dad out there and you've been estranged for a while from your blood, man up.  Seek them out, and ask for forgiveness.  Put aside the differences you may have with the mother and make all the sacrifices you need to make in your life to show them how important they are.  Pass on something better than what you had given to you.  That way next year, when Father's Day rolls around, you get a little something extra that maybe you haven't had before.  You'll never want to be without it after that.  

In closing, thanks to my dad and I hope you had a great fathers day, pops.  

Friday, June 14, 2013

-10% sessions and "who you are"

I'm writing this fresh off the worst session I've had in months.

I've had a few -10% sessions here and there over the past 6 months but this one was brutally awful.

I usually judge the rating of a session by how I feel and by how the weights move.  On this particular session, well, everything felt as off and as bad as it could feel.  I mean, squats felt atrocious.  Worse than being on the receiving end of some prison sex by inmates who chose to wear sandpaper condoms.

My legs hurt, they wouldn't cooperate, I got on my toes too much during squats even though I tried fighting that to stay on my heels.  Deadlifting felt even worse.  Everything was a grinder.  I couldn't get into a tight and strong position at the bottom.  My hernia hurt.  My right shoulder hurt like hell.  I could go on and on and on, but you get the idea.  It was just a total cluster fuck of a session.

This got me to thinking.  Not only about the dipshit trolls that took my comment about "not a 650 squatter" out of context (on purpose of course, because that's what dipshit trolls do), but about my interview with Eric Lilliebridge from a few years ago, to setting a training max.

Eric said in that interview.....

People will write to me online and be like "well what happened to your lifts? you look weaker." And I'm like no shit. There is no way you can stay at that top level forever, there is no way you can. I can't pull 800 any day of the week. I only hit that number a couple of weeks before a meet or at the meet.

I feel like this concept is lost on so many people.  People take numbers and phrases and use them at face value without any understanding of the ebb and flow of training life, and the ups and downs of training cycles and where you are at at any given time.  

So someone could show up at the gym Eric trains at, some arbitrary day, and ask him to pull 800 and he would/could fail to pull it.  Hell, I know for a fact he missed a 675 no belt deadlift, but of course the video never made it to the internet because you've never seen a video of Eric having a miss.  I know this because his dad pulled it no belt, and taunted him about said miss on the video.  

This isn't to say that Eric gets 100+ pounds out of his belt.  Not at all.  It's to say that on THAT DAY, Eric was not a 675 beltless deadlifter.  He couldn't do it. 

On his best day, his did pull 850 with a belt.

So which one is he?  

He's both.  

That's the whole point of training.  Building a base level of strength, and then understanding the ups and downs of training.  Good days and bad days, rain or shine, sometimes who you are isn't as good or as bad as you'd like him or her to be, but that's what you are, on that given day.  It might be who you are tomorrow, or next week.  But that's why we keep training.  In order to be something more.  In that quest to be something more, sometimes we falter, or lose footing, and training progress declines. 

Is that who we are at that moments?  Yes, it indubitably is.  We can only be what we show on any given day, in any given moment.  It doesn't mean that's our best, or even our worst.  It just means in that moment, this is what our body can do.  We train to be more than that.  That's the whole purpose of training isn't it?  Because we aren't happy with what we can currently "show"....we're trying to become something more.  

My comment about "you're not a 650 squatter" got me to thinking about this a lot.  The context of that quote was pretty clear. It meant, "you're not a 650 EVERYDAY squatter" so don't program like one.  Which was the point.  If you once did something, but can't do it everyday, are you that thing? 

I think that's a great question.  

What if you had done it before, but couldn't do it on that day?  Does it still stand?  No?  Yes?  Are you what you were, or are you what you are in that present form?  I've had a million war stories told to me from guys who "used to bench...." whatever.  Even if it's true, can they do that while they are telling this war story?  Probably not, otherwise they aren't telling me what they used to could do.  

People have taken great liberties to take shots at me about saying I've claimed to have pulled 700.  I never said that I HAVE pulled 700.  

Not once.  

I said that I can.  That I will.  These are examples of me being prophetic.  Not telling a war story or belaboring that I've done something.  I haven't.....yet.  I will.  I don't care if people like me using "I can" or "I will."  It' phrases people need to learn if they are ever to believe they will accomplish that thing.  If you're using phrases like "I might" or "I will try" then you have no real belief or confidence in yourself about accomplishing that "thing".  Brandon Lilly used these same phrases to me.  "I can..." "I will..."  It's pretty common.  I'm not sure why people get up in arms about it.  Pete Rubish made the same type of quotes.  We all did.  None of us blinked an eye about it.  Self belief is a critical factor in success. 

So as I write this, I doubt I could have squatted 600 tonight.  A weight I've squatted on more than a dozen occasions in my training life.  But who was I during this training session?  Probably not a 600 beltless squatter, I can tell you that.  

Understanding who you are and where you are at in your baseline of strength, is a great way to come to grips with how to program and get better.  It may be humbling, but it's smart, and it's rewarding.  Combine this with the belief that you CAN and WILL reach your goals and that's a proper recipe for success.  

Meet training week 1 - Squats and tugs

Bodyweight - 257

Squats -


Deficit Deadlifts  -


Notes - Worst session I've had in months.  I mean a TRUE -10% session.  Hernia was hurting, legs felt awful and dead, and the 585x3 was a grinder.  I mean fuck, I just smoked 635 from a 4" deficit last Saturday.  This was an epically bad session.  A great way to start the meet cycle!  Fucking not.

Part 1 of 5 - Discussion between Brandon Lillly and myself

Link to the Juggernaut site with it is here.

Just a disclaimer, context matters.............

Obviously the trolls are out in full force over my "you're not a 650 squatter comment" on the video.

Perhaps I should have said "you're not going to program with 650" or something to that affect, or "you don't program with your best day lifts."

Either way, I really don't think that anyone who watched the video and was trying to learn something didn't understand the context of that comment.

90% of the discussion in this video was about programming, how to program, what to pick, etc. The example of the running back was even given as a parallel.

People who want to learn will listen, read, and absorb content will do so and understand context.

People who want to argue will find a reason to do so.

I made that comment sitting in the room with two world class level lifters, and they understood perfectly at what I was getting at. 

If you didn't, I just explained it.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Maximum decisions

Now that it's been a few days since the seminar ended and I've been able to digest and inhale everything from the weekend, the thing that keeps echoing in my head over and over again was Ed Coan telling someone during the Q&A segment, in regards to maxing in the gym.....

"You only have so many big attempts in you over the course of your career.  Save em all for the meet."  

Now I could start going on and on about sub max programming and not maxing in the gym, but I think I've beat that horse to death 17 or 18 times over the last year.  I think it's pretty clear that my stance on training in the 90+% range has more drawbacks than benefits.  Especially if you do it for more than about 2 weeks.  So I don't feel like writing another blog post about that shit.

Rather, I thought about how that seamlessly flowed into so many aspects of everything we do.

Generally, over the course of your life, you will end up making possibly a dozen decisions, maybe less, that have significant and long lasting consequences or rewards.  

I'm not talking about making the decision to order that Pay-Per-View rather than save the $50 or the decision to switch to a cheaper dog food for the pooch.

I'm talking about decisions that echo and reverberate throughout the days of your existence.  "Max" decisions that change the course of what your life looks like, friends you make, loves lost and found.  Things that ink themselves onto the pages of the book that is our life.  Changing jobs, moving, getting married, getting divorced, coming to grips that you have an addiction, going back to college.  Other times, it's simply the words you let slip from your tongue.  Words are impatctful and powerful, yes indeed.  Acta non verba means "deeds, not words" but make no mistake...words matter.  They can move mountains, create wars, or declare peace.  The words you say to people are a representation of who you are, and what you are about.  People can and will hate or love you based on the words that you give them.  That is also a choice they make.

Unfortunately, often times you make "max" decisions without even knowing.  The butterfly effect for small decisions can still be dramatic and life changing.

Maybe that's what having a plan or a code is really all about.  To limit the number of small decisions that have "max effort" consequences.  Even then, inevitably you're not going to be able to dodge landmines forever. People will walk into your life and events will happen that change the landscape of what you perceived as your future very quickly.  Sometimes for the good, and sometimes well, for the not so good.

However for the most part, the life we etch out looks like that way because of the decisions and choices we make.  It's hard to put the onus on yourself for everything bad that happens to you, and oh so easy to accept that it was you that caused all the happiness.  But as I get older I realize so much of the joy or bereavement that envelopes our life is indeed causation from our own actions, choices, and decisions.  So many of our choices are often driven by things we want, or to appease the selfish nature we all have inside of us.  We want things we shouldn't have, or things we don't need, but nevertheless we want them because we covet or feel entitled to them.  These are the times when we tend to make max decisions when letting go of such things would be a better answer.

I was friends with some people who had a perfectly fine house, however they couldn't pass up the chance to grab a house that had been foreclosed upon for a steal.  So they bought it as well, and rented the other home out.  A few years later when the market went under and he lost his job, they ended up losing the new big house, and had to move back into the old one.  They also lost all of their savings trying to maintain both places.  That's a high level overview however, what cost them was greed.  Not being thankful for what it was they had right in front of them.  It wasn't enough.

"This looks better, and I really WANT that!"

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

I guess overall what I'm getting at is, max attempts should be saved for the meets, and max choices should be made at appropriate times and in appropriate ways in your life.  This will always come back to ones own judgement and ability to stay true to the code you've carved out for yourself.  Eventually, over time, you'll know if that code is causing you to take max attempts at times in life when you could have spared yourself some misery.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Training - Bench

Bodyweight - 264

Close Grip -



Db Rows - 140's x 2 x 10
Band Pushdowns - 2x25
Flat Flyes - 20's x 50,50

Notes - Week 1 of meet prep for UPA meet.

Setting "PR's"

This will come up on the seminar video, but it's something I wanted to drive home in regards to building your base strength through sub max training.

I've been working with Pete Rubish for a few months now. I always thought Pete went way too heavy, and never backed off enough to allow himself to recover, do full damage at his meets.

A few weeks ago, Pete broke from my programming on a whim and went in and tied his best meet squat ever, at 660. He did this weighing 20 pounds less than when he hit it before. The next week, he set another PR by pulling 725x2 at only 220.

For almost 6 weeks, the heaviest I let Pete squat was 375 pounds. The heaviest I "let" him pull was 585 (he went to 615 one day I believe, without my permission).

At Quads, Pete pulled 660x2 off a 4 inch deficit on a day where most of us had not eaten very much, and were very tired.

Pete is on board now with the concept, seeing as how he's seen the proof in the pudding. He needed to see it first, but now he trusts in that the TRAINING works. He doesn't need to "test" certain weights to know they are there. He trusts in the process of getting stronger, which does not require one to constantly "test" where they are at by loading more weight on the bar.

One of the concepts we talked about at the seminar was the ability to understand that a "PR" could be many things. It could be the perfect execution of a rep at a certain weight, or it could be the bar speed at a certain weight, or it could be a certain number of sets and reps done at a certain intensity in a certain period of time (for example, doing 5x5 @ 60% in 10 minutes).

Piling on weights is not the only way to "PR". Once you sit down and decide that you're training is going to be about quality, you can figure out all sorts of ways to set PR's. Execution, time between sets, speed of reps, volume, rep PR, etc all of these things are factors that can be used to set "PR's" in without working up to an actual 1RM.

Pete is going to KILL IT at the meet (if I can keep him reigned in).

Monday, June 10, 2013

Juggernaut Seminar Recap from the LRB view

This past weekend I was privileged to be part of a seminar at Chicago Crossfit with the Juggernaut crew, headed up by Juggernaut president, Chad Wesley Kazmaier.....errrr, Smith.  Along with Chad I would be joining the Lilliebridge family (Ernie Sr., Eric, and Ernie Jr.), Brandon Lilly, Pete Rubish, Caitlyn Trout, and some guy named Ed Coan.

Separated at birth?
We started things off Friday night, where Chad asked Brandon and I do to a video interview.  It took Brandon and I about 5 minutes to actually get our "game faces on" to even start this thing because we tend to joke a lot or talk about things neither of us would prefer be caught on audio or video talking about for fear needing to retreat to a country with no extradition laws.

We didn't have a format for what we were going to discuss, so Brandon just shot from the hip and we rolled with it.  Brandon and myself both have the gift of gab, and if left just to shoot the shit we'll go on for hours and hours.  This is what we did in Chicago a month ago at the nationals, and Chad wanted us to get that on video.  So we ended up rolling with it back at the hotel room.

I realize that last sentence can be misconstrued in many, many ways.  Especially since there was a video camera involved, however I assure you that Brandon's ultimate bear masculinity is not appealing to me.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Chad said he wanted us to talk about sub-max training and how we have both sort of evolved our training methodologies to revolve around that kind of thing, and I figured we'd sort of go over that, and call it a night.  However as noted, Brandon and myself both talk a lot and B just kept transitioning into other topics.  Almost two hours later we had not only covered the sub-max training concepts, but a lot of stuff on nutrition, life, things we would tell to our younger selves, and a whole host of other topics.  Chad seemed to be pretty pleased with the outcome and said he will cut it up in chunks for the Juggernaut website.

The interesting part about this interview, was that Chad posted on the Juggernaut facebook page that it was going on, and wanted to know if anyone had anything they wanted to ask us.  Literally, Brandon and I went over everything everyone wanted to know about without knowing that was being asked.  It was quite uncanny.  I will credit Brandon for picking such good topics because he did fantastic job there.

Saturday morning Brandon and Chad did lecture, and that afternoon we broke everyone up into groups to go over squat, bench, and dead.  Eric, Brandon, and myself were assigned to coach bench.

I wanted to mainly go over getting set up properly on the bench, because I feel that just learning how to get setup properly on a solid base is something a lot of people don't know how to do, don't know TO DO, or don't do very consistently.  So we went over that with each group, trying to teach them on how to get tight on the bench, get more stress onto the upperback, and how to create leg drive.

After many hours of coaching the team left to train at legendary Quads Gym.  The gym that Coan has been at for his training life and where he trained out of for all of those championships and world records.

Quads is a very old school gym, and as soon as you pull into the parking lot you know this isn't going to be a Balley's or Planet Fitness.  There's a banner that's hanging on the outside of the gym that tells you that it was voted as one of top the 10 gyms in America by Muscle and Fitness and Muscular development.  And it lives up to that billing.

There's old, old nautilus equipment (that is still in great shape mind you), old school seated press benches (where the racks are too damn close to load one plate without the bar flipping over), a monolift, a squat rack, a deadlift area, and honestly too many pieces of equipment to name.  It was packed wall to wall with everything from Hammer Strength pullovers to a cable crossover machine that Jesus may or may not have used.  It was that old.  

Pete and I were going to do some bodybuilding work together because it was his deload week (I'm training him for his upcoming meet) so we decided to do some shoulder work to start.  I asked him if he was ok with press behind the neck and Pete was down.

The Rube and I

Neither of us had eaten very much all day and Pete was even more depleted than I was.  I told him to at least go slam a Gatorade before we got started so he would have some carbs in him.

We hammered off quite a few sets of seated presses with Pete working up to a solid 225 and I hit 315.  Afterwards Pete did 135 for 20 and then we went over to finish watching Eric pull.  Eric is in the starting week of his meet prep, and he worked up to 755x3 for deadlifts.

I could tell Pete was itching to pull, so I offered a compromise since I called the first exercise.

"You want to pull?"

"Yeah." Pete said with a smile.

"Ok, how about some deficits then?" I said.

Pete nodded.

We did some tricep work as Eric still had his bar loaded up, so we did about 150 total reps of tricep work while they tore down Eric's pull.

After that I grabbed a 4" block and put it down in the deadlift area.

We pulled 225 for a triple.  Then 315 for a double (I did this twice).  Then 405 for a single.  500 for a single, 585 for a single, the 635 for a single.  On the 635, in honor of Pete, I yelled "EASY!!!!!!!!!"

I felt pretty good about my speed as I seemed to be matching Pete's bar speed pretty well.  Pete asked me what my best pull was and I told him it was still the 655 I pulled a month earlier with the groin tear.

"Well you just killed 635 just pull 660 to get a PR.  And it will even be on a deficit."

The 635 was a pretty fast pull.  Not a "speed" pull but it was certainly easy.

Pete gathered himself to pull the 660, and right before he started Coan yelled out to him "Come on, you bitch."

This seemed to get Pete quite fired up as he pulled the 660, but it was pretty hard.  Then he pulled it again for a really gritty double.  It was a great effort on Pete's part as we were all tired and hungry as shit.

I set up to pull the 660, pulled the slack out of the bar, dropped my hips and the bar popped off the floor fast, then right at the knee it just died on me.  Brandon told me the bar was just slightly in front of me, but Ernie said he felt I was still behind the bar.  However it was Ed that really had it right, when I told him how upset I was at that miss.

 "You should be.  Because of how you missed it.  You missed it because of your approach was all wrong.  It had nothing to do with strength.  You missed it because you approached it like it was heavy.  So it was." he said, shrugging.  "The other ones, you just walked up to and ripped them off the floor.  That's all you had to do."

Pretty much nailed it.  I spent too much time preparing myself for that single, and mentally approached it like a "PR" rather than just like all the rest of the pulls.  Lifting is a technical and muscular game yes, but it's so so mental at times as well.  It reminded me of a moment a few months ago with my training partner during a deadlift workout.

She went to pull 175, and it was stapled to the floor.  I mean, wouldn't budge.  Not an inch.  This is a light weight for her.  I lit into her about it, and she then got focused and ripped it off the floor like it was nothing.

Rather than tap into that "rage" for the 660, all I really needed to do was walk up, and pull it.  I was really disappointed that I missed a weight I should have pulled rather easily, but there are good days and bad ones.  There are times to tap deep into yourself for what you need, and times when you need to just approach the bar in a workman like manner, and do your shit.

This was one of those times.

This was a great learning experience, and I will remember to keep it in pocket for the next time.  I will also not be so hard on myself for a miss that came after a very long day, on very little food.  That probably didn't help a whole lot.

I also wanted to say congrats to Brandon for hitting a 545 bench, which was a PR for his current bodyweight, of "300" which no one believes, and one of which he tried to prove by using a faulty scale.  

I also caught him in this position a lot at the seminar.....

Sunday morning we all gathered at 9 a.m. for the Q&A segment of the seminar.  I think Brandon and I ended up talking more than anyone else on the panel (surprise), but everyone had so many gems and so much knowledge to offer that I felt like I was a member of the audience learning along with everyone else.  I also won't lie in that it felt surreal to be sitting next to Ed Coan fielding questions along with him.  I imagine I wasn't alone in this feeling.  Even Ernie Sr. posted up pics of the book Ed's autographed for him.  Everyone is still in awe of Ed and what he has accomplished, but more than that, it's Ed's humility that will astonish you.  There are so many egos and big shots in all sports, and of course even powerlifting.  With some of them you'd think that THEY had done what Ed had accomplished, yet Ed is very unassuming, and unbelievably kind and considerate.  

After the session I told Ed it was an honor for me to sit next to him and his response to that was, "no no, you know as much as anyone sitting up there."  And that's Ed.  He told me how shitty my miss was, and then paid me a compliment on my knowledge.  I will say this about Ed as I've gotten to know him, he's VERY straight when he speaks to you.  Low key, but you always get that he's not going to bullshit you about anything.  So don't ask him a question unless you REALLY want the answer.

I also got an eye roll out of Ed when I said during the Q&A, that Kirk was the best squatter of all time, which everyone thought was quite funny.

After the lunch break we had one more group to go through, and this time Brandon, Eric, and myself taught more as a team to finish up on bench.  I wanted to combine the things B had been going over with his bench group from the previous day, with what I had been going over because I felt it would be a good combination of techniques.

I met a lot of people that told me they follow my blog and read my stuff, and though I'm still learning to deal with people telling me this, I am beyond words at how appreciative I am of when I hear it.  I just don't always know how to handle it other than to say "thank you", and honesty be honored that someone would take the time out to read my work.  Especially enough to come tell me they read it on a regular basis, and how much they have learned from all the writing I've done.  I really, really appreciate that.  More than I could ever express in words.

In closing I want to say that it was one of the most memorable weekends of my life in so many ways.  I learned so much myself, and got to live and be part of an experience I never thought possible just a few years ago.  I do not feel as though I am some "big shot" or take myself seriously because of it.  More than anything, I am humbled that I've been able to do something well enough that someone would ask me to be part of such an event.

I do not feel "proud"....I feel honored.

I feel honored that Chad would ask me to participate.  Thank you for extending yourself to me so that I could be a part of this thing.

I feel honored to have sat next to the Michael Jordan of powerlifting for a morning, answering questions with him.

I feel honored to have been part of a group that all was there, and gave their time to help and educate people that love and live our little sub culture of strength sports.  There was a camaraderie among this group that I felt enveloped the whole event more like family.  That's one of the things that I do love about powerlifting and strength sports.  There are a lot of genuine people involved in it that give their time, effort, money, and knowledge so that others may get better from it.  Yes, there are detractors, backstabbers, and the such that exist as well, however none of those people were present at Crossfit Chicago on this day.

On this day, we were all just lifters, trying to help each other out.  Now if we could only get life to echo that sentiment as often as we would like.  What a "seminar" that would be.

Also, Eric HATES that my calves are bigger than his......

Friday, June 7, 2013

In Chicago for the Juggernaut seminar

Will try to get some pics and updates when I can.  The seminar starts tomorrow and runs through Sunday with Myself, Brandon Lilly, Chad Wesley Smith, Ed Coan, Pete Rubish, Caitlyn Trout, and Corey Hayes.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The devil most certainly is in the details

So many people get so swallowed up in the tiniest and most insignificant details of training and diet.  It drives me nuts.  I mean nuts.

If you're a powerlifter, you need to go in and bench, squat, and deadlift pretty often.  Perfect your technique, do some "bodybuidling" here and there.

If you're a bodybuilder you need to bring up the bodyparts that keep you from winning, add mass, correct the things that caused you to fail at your last show.

If you're a strongman you need to get better at the events that kept you from taking home the gold.

And for all three, you generally just need to get bigger and stronger, overall.  This requires actually doing the lifts.  Quite a bit, and figuring out how to best use your leverages in them, and simply put..."get stronger".

There is generally not one thing that you're going to do that is going to put you "over the top".  Whether you decide to do flyes on the pec deck or db flyes is of really no consequence in your training.  I've watched threads on message boards go on and on and on about whether or not you're supposed to look down or straight ahead or up during a squat.  Who gives a shit?  You're squatting.  If I look down and I squat, I just did a squat.  If I look up and squat, I just did a squat.  I know, it's mind blowing shit isn't it?

"Don't tuck, that's for geared guys."

"No it's not, raw guys tuck too."

I feel like I'm reading a conversation between Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs and another serial killer friend he has that also likes to play hide the sausage.

"You gotta train your lockout."

"Find your weak points."

Man if you're pulling 3 or 4 plates you don't need to worry about a god damn lock out or weak points, you need to worry about the fact that you're just really fucking weak and need to get stronger.  These conversations are silly enough as is.  They are even more silly when it involves guys that benches 275 but thinks board presses will fix his shit.

I'm not saying figuring out technique nuances about training don't matter.  My video on not getting your arms under the bar in the squat has obviously helped a lot of guys that were having elbow pain from this.  But I learned that from being under the bar, not discussing how I should squat all day long with bros at the gym or on a board.  It came from trial and error.  You know, how all the guys got strong from decades ago before the interwebs took hold of what we call training and broke its spine.

So few people "just train" now because they are fixated on a method, rather than a result.

Any novice or intermediate trainee that has read articles or watched videos from every advanced guy on the planet, hears the same thing.

Time, consistency, effort,'s not a rah rah speech or Tony Robbins clinic for lifting weights.  Eventually, all of us that developed thick callouses on our hands and enough injuries to "brag" about, came to the understanding that ultimate goal we have for ourselves may take a while to reach.  That "shit...I'm really not going to be Bill Kazmaier by this time next year!  Or ever!"

Sure, there are some guys who find success faster than others, but they are also going to ceiling out faster as well.  After 25 years, I feel like I'm just entering my best years.  Also after 25 years I have figured out that there's a lot left I still have to learn.  The biggest reason that is, is because my mind is far more open now, but I have a better filter on what I'm going to allow into it.

When you think you've got everything figured out, you really don't know shit.  And when you think you don't know shit, you probably have a nugget or two of knowledge to offer.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Training - Press

Bodyweight - 261

Close Grip Paused Bench -
barx100 total


Flex Row -
stack x 6 sets of 10

Notes - Total -10% session.  Every set felt like death and hell rolled up into shit smeared burrito.  There.  

Chicago bound this week.....again

I will be in Chicago, again, this weekend as part of the Juggernaut Strength Systems seminar along with Chad Wesley Smith, Brandon Lilly, Eric Lilliebridge, Stan Efferding, Ed Coan. and Pete Rubish.

If you didn't know about it you can register here.

If you are going to be there, please say hi.  I always enjoy meeting anyone that reads my mundane garbage.

Monday, June 3, 2013

This made my morning.......

And this people, is why I write what I do. Why I put so much into this, and why I love it so much. I've had many months of stress in my life, and I wear that shit on my sleeve, so it's no secret. I share it because, I feel like we all have battles, struggles, and valleys we walk through. That we dread.

But when I get e-mails like this, it really makes my day. No, I didn't cure cancer, or save a dog trapped in an icy river, but I'm not a doctor or a guy near an icy river that a dog just fell in.

Either way, it made my morning, and I hope YOU grok the lesson he learned in proper programming and get better from it as well.



I found your site through Jamie's blog about 8 months ago. I'd been lifting for about six years, but never deadlifted, using the excuse that I didn't want to hurt my back, especially after a pretty serious back injury on the ranch when I was twelve.

After reading your articles, I decided that I needed to man up and start working on it. I began deadlifting on November 14, 2012. I worked up to 2x 225. I suddenly realized that I wasn't nearly as strong as I thought I was. I re-read Strength Life and Legacy, failed to 'grok' what you were saying, and then lifted heavy (90% of my max) constantly. I slowly clawed my way to a single of 315 by the end of January. Then, while deploying to Afghanistan, I caught the virus from hell, and was sick for three weeks straight, and lost 10 lbs.

During that time, I decided to actually try the programming that I'd been reading from you. Upon getting here to Afghanistan, I started running a slight variation of the Strong-15, and hit 385 in late March. I reset, and hoped to be repping 405 by the end of the deployment. About a week ago, I was feeling pretty good and went for 405, a little prematurely for what at was programmed, but nailed three reps. I was pumped, and decided to rest for a week, and see what my 1RM was, with a goal of 410.

June 1st I hit the bar, and even though 365 felt heavy initially, I threw my faith in the fact that I'd pulled more previously, and that I should be able to make 410 for at least one. I hammered my way through, and ended up pulling 425! it was rough, but at that point I was fired up, and feeling good about my ability to pull it. Did I mention the temperature was 104 degrees?

This thing got long, but I wanted to say thank you for your blog and hard work writing. In the course of 8 months, I've gone from a 225 deadlift to 425, and just overall feel stronger in everything. Not to mention that I've been doing combat patrols for three months of that.

Thanks for all your hard work, and your strength of character as well. You've helped me make some awesome strides, and truly 'grok' strength development.

Semper fi,


Sunday, June 2, 2013

More post meet thoughts

So it's been a few weeks since the meet, and unlike usual, I did not take any time off after the meet.  I resumed squatting pretty much the week after the meet, and immediately I could tell what happened AFTER I squatted that 611 with the groin tear.

The blood polling 10 days post meet from my "fake" groin tear

I shifted most of the weight to the left leg, and especially onto that knee area because I knew I could not push my knees out to expose my groin very much.  My left knee still hurts a bit, but nothing I can't tolerate and it is getting better weekly.

Unlike in years past, I took no break from training after the meet.

I went right back into training and back into looking to break some rep PR's.

In that time I've hit the following PR's....

Incline Press -
225x30 PR
315x"13" god damn spotter touched it but I'll call the 13
365x8...probably had 9 in me

Db Bench Press -

Pause Squat -
500x3 easy

Front Squat -
455x1 easy (Dan Green told me I must triple 500 so well, that's the goal now)

I also did 545x3 from a 4 inch deficit after the front squats as well.  But this only ties a PR.

My weight is fluctuating between 258 and 268 pounds.  Yes, that big of a difference mainly because of carb intake.  If I REALLY pound the carbs for a couple of days I'll push right up against 268.  When I back off of them, I creep back down to 258-260 in a few days.

I am obviously not fat at this weight.........

My lifts feel good, and my groin is healing very well.

Obviously there has been a lot of stink made about what I was supposed to hit at this meet, and what actually happened.  That's fine.  I will put my shit out there, and the weak minded can talk about me all they want.

The goals were 650-450-700.  1800 no belt at 242.  That was the goal.  Instead it was a measly 611-418-655.  These were obviously not maxes and I did a piss poor job of picking my attempts, but it's in the books now and there's nothing I can do.

However post meet, I feel more enthusiastic than ever.  I came to the conclusion that even on a bad day, my training carried me to a 1686 total.  Just picking better attempts (633-430-675) would have netted me a 1738 total with a badly torn groin, on a very bad day.  That's a top 25 raw total at 242 with no belt.  I do believe on a good day with everything lined up right (which is generally what happens when someone hits their best totals) something close to 1800, or the 1800 would have been there.

So instead of leaving the meet bummed out and discouraged, I actually left with a sense of enthusiasm.  That my training worked very well, and that the ideas I had put into place paid off.

I don't think I'll do the 242's again, but I'm not ruling it out.  I will see what happens over the next few months with my weight gain.  If my weight stays in this same 258 depleted area, I will cut to 242.  If it continues to rise I will go to the 275's.  I never thought that I'd write that because the goal has always been to just be a 242'er very lean.  However I feel fine about where my conditioning level is at, I've got this whole backloading thing down really well now, and my lifts are rising at a rapid pace.

Some thoughts about why all of this is......

All of those months and months of volume finally caught up with me.  In a good way, I mean.  I started eating more, not a lot, just more good quality good, and my bodyweight just jumped quickly.  Nothing else changed.  The base building work really cemented another layer onto the foundation, and that will get phased back into training in a few weeks/months.

Why wait?

Because everything has a point of diminishing returns in training.  You can only add so much volume, or, you can only break so many rep PR's before something needs to change.  This was a great conversation that Brandon Lilly and I had at dinner that evening.  That you can only ride a particular horse for so long until something has to change.

The base building work with volume and lower intensities will work tremendously to build mass and foundation strength.  But for a meet, you need to peak, and then afterwards you need to address what you need to change in order to take the next step.

Right now, for me, that means getting back to hitting some rep PR's WITH some of the base building methodologies built into it.  The reason for rep PR's is because reps build MASS.  And I need more of it to get to where I want to be from a strength standpoint.  I flat out just need to get bigger.  So either I will grow into the 275's, or become an even bigger 242.  I still really want to hit the beltless 1800 @ 242 so that may play a factor.

I've said for a while now, that after a meet, if you have enough time you need to spend it training to get bigger.  So that's basically what I am doing.  However this will not be a "bulk".  I will work for rep PR's, and let the backloading do whatever it does.  If I get fatter, I'll adjust.  If I am not gaining at a fast enough clip, I'll adjust.  But I really think I've got it down now and so I have quite a few months to keep adjusting things until I get closer to where I want to be.

My backloading process is simple, and I will go over it in a later post.  My training is still big-15 based with some base building work mixed in.

I'm still hard at work on the book, and it's basically going to really outline how to use this whole training paradigm for yourself, so that you keep moving forward both in the muscular size area to compliment bigger and bigger totals/weights.

Thanks to everyone who has been supporting me lately.  I love and appreciate you.