Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Training - Legs

Bodyweight - 260

Leg Press -

2 plates per side x 20,20
3pps x 20,20
4pps x 20
5pps x 20
6pps x 20,20,20
7pps x 20,20,20

Good Mornings - 225 x 4 x 10
Calf Raises - stack x 15,15
Good Girl Machine - up to 130x12

Notes - Did not crush it.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Standing vs Seated. And this has nothing to do with taking a piss.

Seems most weeks that I post up a pressing video, be that standing or seated, I get quite a few questions as to why I do one or the other, and which one I feel is superior, more manly, less awful, whatever.

If you are a "tl;dr" asshole, I'll save you the trouble right now of having to go any further, and give you the answer.

Do both.

Mainly, do the one that you experience the best/fastest progress on, and that feels most natural.  Unless you are an aspiring strongman competitor and you need to actually do standing presses, pick the one you like best.  Why?  Because you'll do it the most, and progress on the fastest.

With that said, allow me a little preaching on this topic.

I go through periods where I do standing presses, and periods where I do seated presses.  Sometimes I like dumbbells too.  I did Klokov (snatch grip behind the neck press) presses for a while as well.

Regardless of what used to be said about me, my take on all training methodologies is to always use whatever is most beneficial to you being consistent.  DO NOT be dogmatic.

A big part of consistency, is to love your training (because you'll be better at it, and perform it more often) and to stay healthy.  If you don't find your sweet spots technique wise in the big lifts, you will inevitably hate doing them, or get injured a lot.  It's the ol trying to fit a gay mans dong into a porn stars vagina.  More often than not they just don't want to fit.

I personally HATE doing overhead work.  I think it's boring, and it offers no carryover to my bench or anything else I do.  I was always pretty good at it, and I don't need to train it much in order to progress.  I do however need to change movements, or create some serious goals in overheads or I will phase them out pretty quickly.  Because again, I hate them.

I can understand why strongmen need to love overhead work.  However for the life of me, I can't figure out why other people do.  I hate overhead pressing with the combined hate of all the black metal bands from Norway have for Christianity.  My hate blinds me to it.  Makes me cringe at the thought of having to do it.

My love for overhead pressing in human form
However I do recognize the importance of doing it.  Having strong shoulders is a damn fine thing, and I don't think anyone ever said they got worse at something because their shoulders were "just too fucking strong".

So there's that.

Back to the question of, standing or seated, as I noted I think you should do both and figure out which variation you like best, or feels most natural to you.  Not the ones that people told you that you had to do, and if you didn't that you were unmanly.  Fuck that.  Do whichever one that you can crush shit on.

If you do movements because people told you that you have to do them, or that the other variations suck or are awful, you only short change the mental and physical information you can draw upon in terms of what they could be worth to you.  Basically, you miss out on experience.

Not only that, eventually frustration/stagnation will get the better of you and you'll either relent to sucking at that movement, or you'll drop it.

So everyone loves the fucking standing press.  You're not a god damn man if you don't do it.  Sitting down to press is akin to sitting down to pee.  Whatever.

Suck my balls.

So we don't need to defend doing standing presses.  So where does that leave the seated press, you ask?

I guess Kaz wasn't a fucking man either.  He only holds the unofficial world record in the seated press (however that was figured out) with 448 for a triple.  I hope someone lets him know he needs to turn in his man card for that shit.

Apparently Ed Coan is also a member of the man-card loss club.  As his staple overhead movement was indeed the seated press behind the neck.  If he didn't lose it then, then he certainly lost it when he told me I was good for 700.

So that's Kaz and Coan.  Arguably the two strongest fuckers ever, regardless of discipline, and they both did seated presses.  So somehow, they came to the conclusion that it was ok to do those, and weren't relegated to driving a pink mini-van shortly after performing that movement.

Dorian Yates spent most of his training career doing (brace yourself!) smith machine front presses, and seated dumbbell presses.  Unfortunately, after the IFBB found this out, they stripped him of all his Olympias and castrated him.  His nuts now sit atop Castle Grayskull in He-Man land where none of this shit matters.

The final resting place for Dorian's imaginary nuts!
Apparently, the Barbarian Brothers also loved the seated press behind the neck.  While they weren't powerlifters, they were known for pushing the limits of strength and development, and became well known for it.


Apparently, Franco Columbu also liked these.......

Point is, I don't need to get into all the various kinesiology justifications for one or the other.  I hate that shit. But I will tell you is this.  In my opinion the seated press "feels" like it's a better shoulder developer.  I can really "feel" my shoulders working when I do seated presses.  When I do standing presses, I am honestly thinking more about moving the weight through space.

So just to throw out some "science" with this, the EMG studies done also point to seated presses being a better shoulder developer than the standing versions.  From an anecdotal standpoint, I'd say that "seems" correct.  Whether that will be true for everyone I can't say.  Neither can an infinite amount of studies.

But to get back to the real nut cutting, lots of big strong guys did standing presses, and lots of big strong guys did seated presses.

Mostly, I believe, they did both.  They also used the ones that they felt would make them better in the fastest manner.  They ignored the precepts that they had to do one or the other, lest they find themselves turned into a ken doll..........

Did seated presses and lost his junk.  Still seems happy....
My REAL advice, if you stayed with me this long, is to do ALL forms of overhead work, and just get fucking strong on all of them.  Period.  If you're like me, that involves creating various self imposed tricks and witchcraft in order to actually overhead press on a consistent basis.

If you aren't like me in that regard, then do what you like but keep an open mind about other variations of overhead work, that may be helpful to you in ways that a more closed off mind wouldn't imagine.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Training - Shoulders with 2 PR's

Bodyweight - 259

Press Behind the Neck -


315x3 PR
275x9 PR

Flex Machine Press - 180x20,15,12,10
Side Lateral Machine - stack x 10,10,10

Notes - Even though I had 2 PR's, they weren't authoritative.  And I prefer them to be that way.

More on limits.......

So over the weekend I made a post on the LRB Facebook page, that had a few people up in arms.

Basically, I talked about understanding your limits.  That we all have them, and in order to have a chance at moving past them, you need to know what they are.

Of course the young, dumb, and full of cum group shows up to tell me they are going to move mountains and drink the ocean dry through a twisty straw.  It never fails.  It's always the young unaccomplished assholes that believes they will be the next Jerry Rice before he's even made it off the bench in high school.

While contrary to that, all of the really great lifters and athletes I've ever known, were generally very low key guys that understood what their limitations were, or that getting to another level would be incredibly difficult.

The weekend I was in Iowa, I talked to Eric Lilliebridge about Konstantinov's junior deadlift record of 858.  He told me a while back he wanted to break it, but he acknowledged he's running out of time and that it's going to be very tough to do.  Especially in a full meet, where the pull tends to lose some steam near the end.  Eric is a very humble guy, and while I know Eric has belief in himself that he has a chance to do this, he's very aware of how difficult that will end up being.  He doesn't just bust off "oh yeah man, that'll be no problem, that shit is in the bag."  He shakes his head and says "it'll be tough."

But this is why Eric is great.  It's the same reason why guys like Dan Green are great.  Dan's story about going to Russia is a great example of this.  He was a 600-something squatter at the time, and after watching Pozdeev out squat him by 200 pounds, he realized what the issue was.  He didn't have the quads to squat 800+.

Now if Dan wasn't the thinker that he is, and the "all balls no brains" type, he probably doesn't come to that realization.  He probably just continues to do what he had been doing all the while not understanding what his limitations were.  But Dan's a smart dude, and he changed his training in order to fix his limitations.  And eventually, he was squatting over 800 pounds.

One coach messaged me over this post and said.......

"focus on starting before concentrating on being all-American. Even all the HS kids I train now- I think it's great if they have NFL aspirations, but I'm constantly working on getting them to be the best HS football player they can be before getting caught up in the other shit."

Now don't get me wrong.  One of the main things I wrote about lately was to have an almost unhealthy belief in yourself.  However, it needs to be in the realm of REAL FUCKING LIFE too.  In other words, if you're bench pressing 315 for a max after 10 hard years of training and doing shit right, you're not going to be a 600+ bencher.

Have an undying belief that you can and will get to 335 or 350.

Setting appropriate goals is a huge part of being successful.  And it's hard to be successful when you don't even acknowledge your current abilities and limitations.  People think of limitations as such an awful word, however they ARE THERE.  They exist.  You not wanting to acknowledge they exist doesn't take them away.  In fact, the best way to conquer an existing limitation is to acknowledge it, and then plan accordingly.  Not shrug it off as if your willpower is so great that it will just fall because of your mere existence.

If you're a high school football player, and you're sitting on the bench but you want to be an All-American, then your limitation is currently sitting on the bench.  You have to get on the field first.  Then you have to dominate week in, and week out.

If you're a 400 bencher, you have to get to 425, 450, 475, etc before you bench 500.

If you've only pulled 655 then you still have a lot of work to do before you pull 700.  Even if Ed Coan said you were good for it.

Point is, understand what your limitations are so that you can have a clear and concise viewpoint of how to conquer them.  Pretending an enemy doesn't exist doesn't make it so.  It only makes you foolish.  

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Training - Big Back Day

Bodyweight - 260

Barbell Rows -

add straps - 365x8,8

no straps - 315x13

Hammer Shrugs - 500x31,23
Parallel Grip Pulldowns - stack x8,8,8

Curl Machine - 50x20,20,20

Notes - 80%er.  Felt good about the 13 reps on rows.  Once I hit 15, I'll add in a second set.  I don't feel like going up past 365 at the moment because I feel like any heavier and it'd turn into those shit rows you so often see on the you toobs.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Try things out, but trust your instincts

Years ago I spent way too much time on the internets arguing with people over methodologies and training philosophies that didn't seem to make sense to me.  You see, I argued incessantly because I just wanted so badly for them to see just how stupid all these crazy ideas were.  Of course, it was me against many and eventually I gave up hope and simply left.

Years later, as RAW lifting picked up interest, all of the things I had been arguing about, suddenly were in my favor.  Box squatting didn't make sense.  Neither did speed benches.  Not deadlifting to build your pull seemed crazier than Kathy Bates with a wooden block and a sledge hammer.

However I did indeed try those things, and well, I got weaker.

You see, I had abandoned all the things that had worked, and worked well for me, in favor of becoming a "powerlifter".

I was told so many dumb things that now, it's hard to get my head around the fact that my training soul didn't go insane from the overload of stupidity.  Even worse, is that I abandoned my instincts, and things I knew to be true because the message board mob told me those things were worthless.  And that I wasn't training in a modern or scientific way.  I didn't know that scientific REALLY meant 100mg of anadrol a day.

I was told that "periodization doesn't work for anyone but beginners".

This one still cracks me up.  Even more so when I see people write about my philosophies....

"his stuff works well, if you're an intermediate".

This is almost always from an intermediate that thinks he's advanced, mind you.

Eventually I smartened up, but I look back now and realize I wasted years doing some really stupid shit.

Who cares how much you good morning?  Oh they build both your squat and dead?  Well let me do them tirelessly.

When did bodybuilding become bad?  I thought getting bigger and jacked was awesome.  Ok don't do bodybuilding.  Apparently that will make me weak and small.

Reps are the enemy as well.  1-3 reps.  That's it.  4+ is worhtless.

Training to failure is bad?  But I had all those years when I worked up to one big set all out, and made great progress doing that.  Ok I won't do that anymore.  That sucks.  Progress is the fucking the devil.

Later I realized what a sham it all was.  Sometimes you have to get away from information in order to get smarter.  I think back to a phrase I heard once, from someone somewhere (yes, that ambiguous!), that "the best way to teach someone nothing, is to try and teach them everything."

Sometimes you get smarter by unlearning things.  By dumping the useless and simply retaining what is useful.  As Bruce Lee Roy said......

"Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own.”

Philosophical AND had the glow

The first thing I think of, every time I hear this quote, is giving cunnilingus.

Look, you don't get good at knowing how to give a woman cunnilingus because of a pamphlet, or a routine from "Barbra" that you read about in Woman's World.  You do what you know, and see how she responds to those things.  You find the things she likes, and you figure out how to "massage" your cunnilingus "routine" so that it works, and works well.

Might help her lose 15 pounds, but will not help you bring her to climax

If you're truly lost, you ask her to tell you what to do.  When you have a fight over something insignificant and break up, you try out that shit she taught you on the next gal.  Rinse and repeat this process, and narrow down your skills until you keep what is awesome, and throw out what doesn't seem to work more times than not. and develop your own style as you go.

Even if you read in a magazine that you're skills are all wrong, or someone on a cunnilingus message board tells you that your methods are scientific enough, you keep doing what brings her the "O" face.

The learning process generally has an upwards curve, then a downwards curve.  But not because a loss of information, but because too much useless information gained.  I hear from so many intermediates each week that are confused as fuck about what to do, just to get bigger and stronger.  Even worse, are the stories you hear from advanced guys, who abandoned everything they knew that got them bigger and stronger, because they thought there was a better way.

It's fine to try things out, and have an open mind.  In fact, I tell most guys that ask me if "something will work" "try it."  Or they will ask if "do you think it will be ok if I do X,Y, and B?  Instead of X,Y, and Z?"  I often respond, "If that's what you think will get you to your goals faster."

Remember this, everything is JUST A GUIDELINE.  Percentages, routines, methods, all that shit.  It's just guidelines.  There is no holy grail.  There is no perfect routine, or perfect percentage.  You're never going to find one thing you're going to for the entirety of your training life.  As your strength and muscular develop evolves, your ideas need to evolve as well.  This doesn't mean you need new ones, but you may need to massage what you do for a while in a different way.  You don't have to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Just rinse it off a bit.

I want people to ask questions, but I also want them to THINK.  Have an open mind but have a good bullshit filter.  Try things out, but trust your instincts.  If what you are currently doing isn't making you have an "O" face in the gym over weeks or months, then I suggest you find a new way to lick it.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Brandon Lilly and myself - Part 5 - sub max training

From the JTS website..........

Nice testimonial


I found your page last July and I am really thankful that I did. Up until last summer I had adopted the "Fat Powerlifter" mentality. I figured if I lifted heavy and ate McDonald's on a somewhat regular basis, it would make me super jacked and tan. The results? After doing this for a year I was the fattest I had ever been, my strength had made marginal gains AT BEST, my lipid profile took a big dive (my HDL was <15!!!) and the constant heavy lifting had developed stress fractures in both of my arms along the length of my ulna bones.
Ever since I adopted your mentality of being strong while not being a fat sack of ass at the same time, my body has made a complete 180. My body composition has improved dramatically by decreasing my overall bodyfat by more than 7%. My strength is better now than it ever has been in my entire life by training in the 70-85% range. My lipid profiles are now not only back to normal, but they are better than they have been in a while (HDL is back up to 55mg/dL). Oh yeah, and my stress fractures are gone now despite the fact I can lift heavier weight.
Thanks again, I hope you keep doing what you are doing so you can help others in the same way you have helped me.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Training - Close Grips

Bodyweight - 260

Close Grip Bench -

365x8 all paused PR
315x10 all paused

Hammer Shrugs - 500x30,20
Pec Deck - 180x12,12
Poundstone Curls - barx100

Notes - Another PR.  Awesome.

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff - UPA meet edition

No, I didn't compete this weekend.  But I thought about it on a whim.  More on that later.

I went up to Dubuque, Iowa to support my buddy Pete Rubish who had been training (sort of) for this meet, and to meet my friend, and great lifter, Pam Bosko.

View from my room

I've done Pete's programming for a few months now, and when Pete was actually eating food things were going marvelous.  Then Pete decided he wanted to do an MMA fight and try to cut all the way down to 198.    Needless to say, when you're doing MMA 3 hours a day on a keto strength gains are not going to be optimal.  Top that off with a case of the flu a little more than a week ago and well, there was pretty much no way Pete was going to hit what we had planned for him to hit months ago.

Pete showed up at 224, cut his 4 pounds and made weight at 220.  Since he hadn't lifted in a few weeks, we were not sure what we'd be looking to hit that day, and said we would play things by ear in warm ups.

Pam was also having to cut, so unfortunately she had to sit and watch me eat and drink while she had......air.

Pam was still quite delightful for someone who had not eaten or drank anything all day, and she took great joy in the fact that a fish fly landed right in my spinach dip as I was about to take a bite.  If you don't know what a fish fly is, they are disgusting little fucking bugs that swarm that area (apparently).  Normally, I would have just removed it, and continued eating, however for some reason these god damn bugs really grossed me out.  Pam laughed hysterically as I asked the waiter to remove it.  Upon reflection I really feel like he should have offered to take care of of that for me, since I didn't get to finish it, but I guess that's part of the risk of eating outside while surrounded by a cloud of fishfly.


That evening I went to eat with Pete and his dad, the Lilliebridge family, and Bill Carpenter and his family.  Bill is the head honcho at UPA, and runs these meets.  Just to get ahead of myself a little bit, it's an amazing venue.  You lift on a stage with a big screen behind it.  When squats are done and everyone has to wait on benching, they replay all the squats on the big screen.  It's really awesome because everyone knows that meets can be long and boring, but not in this case.  I wasn't aware of a single misload all day, and it may have been the smoothest meet I've ever attended.  I plan on doing a meet in this venue soon.

Pete opened with 500 on squats and said it felt good.  So we went to 551 for his second.  It too was pretty fast, so I called 611 for his third.  I think that was about as perfect of a call as I could have made, because if one of those god damn fishfly had landed on the bar, Pete might not get it.  Either way, good lift, and Pete was 3 for 3 on squats.

For bench, we opened at 280.  It was super easy, and Pete had hit 335 in training a few weeks before, however I really failed to take into account how much all the other factors came into play, and called for 330.  Pete missed it on his second and third, though it was much closer on his third than second.  Mostly because of his mental approach.  Pete definitely has a mental block when it comes to benching, but I think a whole offseason of working on his benching and building some confidence in it will rectify that.

I told Pete he needed to forget about the two bench misses, because his best lift was yet to come, and he needed to refocus.  Lots of times guys miss at meets, and aren't able to let go of the miss, and it mind fucks them right into the next lift.  You have to be able to put a miss or a bad lift behind you quickly in a meet, or that negative energy can carry right over and snowball the rest of the way.

Fortunately, Pete was able to do that.  He opened at 600 on pulls, then went 650, and 683.  A 7 for 9 day, which he had never come close to before, 1574 raw at 220, under shitty training conditions.  I was upset at myself for not picking 300 for his second attempt on bench, and know we could have gone 1600 or so if I had managed that a little better.  Either way, Pete seemed pleased with the day and I was happy for him and impressed with his efforts.  Regardless of all the videos you've seen of Pete, in person he's as mellow and subdued as anyone I've ever known.  Not only that, but he's genuine in character and who he is, and what he's about.  I will be working with Pete the whole offseason after his MMA fight in prep for RUM, and I have no doubt he can get close to 1900 @ 242, if not exceed it.  I'm excited about it.

I'd like to give mega props to Ernie Lillirbdrige Jr. who had a nice day on a badly torn hamstring, and pulled a very easy 755 with it.  He told me it only hurt to set it down, and not to pull.  Either way, Ernie is the man and I have nothing but mad respect for him.  Great, great lifter and an even better man.

As usual, every time I see Eric Lilliebridge he wants to compare calves or arms or some bodypart.  Eric was even bigger now than he was in Chicago.  He said he was 283 but he looked every bit of 290.  Still, his calves are smaller than mine and it pisses him off to no end.  Especially since I do not really train mine, and he's been slaving away at his trying to catch up.

Still winning this particular matchup
Saturday evening Ernie Lilliebridge Sr., a man I have tremendous respect for in every way, told me I should do the push/pull for Sunday.  I seriously thought about it, however I wanted to be able to leave by noon or shortly after to get home and see my training partner, who I hadn't seen in over a week since she was gone to camp.  Otherwise, I'm pretty sure I would have.

Pam lifted on Sunday, and went 3 for 3 on squats, hitting her goal of 347 on her third.  She missed her second and third bench (there is a pattern here!).  I left after her last bench and she texted me later to let me know she went 2 of 3 on pulls, and because her second was so easy, she actually jumped past her third planned attempt for an even bigger PR, but just missed it.  She still totaled 919 and won best lifter.  Huge congrats to Pammie for that.

As usual, it was great seeing the Lilliebridges, Pete, and finally Pam.  I also got to meet Marshall Johnson who had a 2500+ day, and is a very nice dude and incredibly personable.

Overall I had a great weekend, but I was mega happy to get home and see my training partner, and little ladies.  If you want to be part of a real special experience as a lifter, do one of these UPA meets.  It's an awesome time.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Off to Iowa - UPA meet

I'm off to Iowa for the UPA meet this weekend.  I will be there to support Pete Rubish, who I helped the last few months with his training while he dieted down into a stick and got the flu (that he just got over).

Nevertheless, Pete will still be competing and I'm sure he'll lay it all out there.  I also can't wait to meet some more people who I've only had the experience of talking to online.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Father time follow up.......

....from another Paul, who wrote to me regarding the Father time article the other day.  I thought this was pretty awesome.

I’m guessing at 52, about to be 53 in 10 days that I don’t exactly represent the bulk of your followers! But your thoughts on Father time are something that I am, because of age and experiences well aware of.

A few thoughts: people need to get over the fact that skills and max abilities decay more and more rapidly as we age…in other words…Father Time is the all time heavyweight UNDEFEATED steal your phrase…Death is winning!

People need to come to grips with the simple fact the time is finite. Not to fear it, but to embrace every ounce of every breath out of the time we have. I lift because I can and enjoy it. It’s my own experiment to see for how long and how much my body will roll…One of the interesting things that happens to most everyone as we age is our “comfort zone” begins to shrink. We want to venture out less, things we used do, now spark a little bit anxiety “will I get hurt” ..”I might die doing that”!..lifting for me is just one way to push back against Father time and those shrinking walls..doing a “young” mans LRB 365 is my way of giving Father Time the finger.

To me there are two phases all people pass through at various points in their life. There is the destination phase . Typically in our 20 and 30s we are destination driven..for some its 300lb bench for others 700lb pull! Almost every aspect of your life at that point is destination driven.. The focus is on the end result. As we age, we enter a different stage, no less exciting actually, just different and I call it the journeymen phase..In my 50’s I’m a journeymen who looks for experience and joy of the journey wherever that leads.. sometimes it’s a PR but mostly it’s the satisfaction of merely pushing back against Father time…and to that end…

On August 31st I have a date with destiny…I challenged my 20 year old college athlete son to 100 yard sprint …I will not win unless he is abducted by aliens, I no longer have the right to believe I will win as he’ll be waiting for me in the car by the time I finish..I will do it to experience the joy of the moment.. to share a laugh with my boy, to take some trash talk as my punishment and to show him I still can live life……. just with a different focus!

Have an awesome freakin’ day

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tank and tees are arriving....

And I'm biased, but I think they look bad ass.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Father time

Insomnia ridden evening already, but I wanted to share something.

I got a message from an old friend. I say old because, well, we go back a few years and well, he's getting older.

He tells me that he's still playing rec soccer and lifting. But that he's really feeling his age now. He's getting out run by kids he was smoking just a few years ago. He says his joints hurt, and he feels he's just not recovering as fast. Is there a "supplement" he can take to fix this.

I told him, that getting slower and losing ground to the "young pups" is an evolutionary part of life. It happens to all of us. No matter how much we never want to be an "I used to...", all of us that hand in there long enough will be.

I've written about so many "I used to" guys. "I used to bench 500, but then I was cattle prodded for 27 straight hours in a barn one evening and after that my left arm never worked quit right again."

Everyone and anyone who lifts long enough, runs into guys who tell "war stories" about what they used to do, or what they used to be.


Maybe. I guess it depends on if you're trying to hold on to your youth or not. It's not easy coming to terms with your own mortality. Swallowing the bitter truth that life has an up slope, and then a down slope. And that we struggle so long to climb to the crest of it, then are never fully aware of when you were at the top.

"I remember when I could bench 500, and squat 700. I remember when I won that bodybuilding show a few months later. I guess I didn't appreciate those moments as well as I could have."

Then we struggle so badly on the other side of the slope, to slow the descent as much as we can. We dig our heels in and throw a fit the whole way down.

"No, no, no! I'm not ready to be past my prime! I don't want to accept this!"

But it will happen. It happens to everyone. All of us. Senses dull, reactions slow, recovering takes so much longer.

There are things that can be done to slow that descent, yes. However a slow descent is still a descent. You are regressing.

I've read some articles lately about how to keep getting better, or how to improve after you've put in so many long and difficult years under the bar. And it's nice. It's nice to read. However no one likes to acknowledge that eventually the cold wind of father time will chill your bones and numb your courage. I've know it. I've seen it. Men become weary of the affirmation that their body, and even their mind, just isn't what it used to be.

Eventually, that cold wind whisks all of us away. And I wonder, if when that happens, that I will look back and be content with all of the things I've done. All of the ways I've loved people. Will I live with regret over not knowing when I was at the pinnacle, and not appreciating it enough, or will I smile knowing I simply survived the journey? I don't know. Maybe it will be all of those things.

Enjoy life today. Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow may never come. If you're not as fast as you once were, it doesn't mean you have to hang up the cleats, it just means you may have to accept your role as a lesser player than you once were. If you're ok with that, and you still love it....then play.

The acceptance of the inevitable is a beautiful thing. Now I don't need worry about those goals I chased so long enough. I can chase something new, something different. I can pour my life into something challenge and rewarding in a different way, rather than trying so desperately to hold onto something that has slipped away from me. Mainly, myself. "I" slipped away. The person I knew in the weight room, on the athletic field.......he's gone.

And when it's gone, say it has. Then decide why you are going to do the new things that give you happiness and pursue that with the same vigor you slang the iron for all of those decades. You don't have to quit lifting, but you do have to understand the body is not going to cooperate with what the heart and mind often want so badly still.

Sometimes acceptance sucks. So when you do, try to do it through a straw. Handling a little suck at a time is a lot easier than trying to fit it in your mouth all at once.

Training - Deficit Pulls

Bodyweight - 258

Deficit Pulls -



Leg Press -

Hammer Shrugs - 315x50,50

Notes - Fairly solid session.  The sets of 545 could have been sets of 8 but I programmed for 6, and strength is climbing so it's all good.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Patience and Belief - My article at JTS

This article sums up the answer(s) to so many of the questions I get every week.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Training - Press

Training - Bodyweight 257 (been eating "clean")

Incline Press -



Hammer Shrugs - 225x60,60,60,60
Pushdowns - 5x20
Upright Rows - 90x10,10,10
Calf Raises - stack x 10,10,10

Notes - Felt weak and slow. 80%.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Milking it for all it's worth

Everything you ever do in training, will end up having a point of diminishing returns.  Everything.  

If you think of training as an empty cup, and you think of the method(s) you plan on using to fill that cup with, eventually too much of anything one thing, especially done for too long, will just spill over and become useless.  This happens when either something has already done its job, or is taking more than it can give back.

Volume for the sake of it is pointless.  Do enough work to stimulate strength/growth and then give the body room to breathe so it can benefit for it.  When all of those extra sets and reps simply eat into recovery and cause a deeper fatigue curve, then volume is taking away more than it can give.

Training past failure (forced reps, then forced negatives) is incredibly hard on recovery, and honestly, there's no point in it.  Again, a case of taking more than it gives back.

Then there are things like chins, rows, curls, shrugs, etc in your repertoire that are simply going to be maxed out in terms of usefulness in their ability to make you better at everything else, or carryover to the big movements.  Most auxiliary movements have much smaller ceilings than the bigger lifts, so even if there is carryover from improving a lagging muscle group, once that area catches up, that movement has done its job.

Remember that your support work should do a few things....

1.  Improve the main lift
2.  Keep you injury free
3.  Build muscle mass

That's pretty much the whole ball of wax.  

Believe it or not, you can usually the eyeball test on a lot of guys to determine what they need to do.  In every single case?  Of course not, there's always going to be an anomaly.  

However technique aside, it's not hard to figure out if a guy can't squat for shit and has shit quad development to go with it, that he may need to get on that.  

If a dude can't bench and his arms and shoulders suck, well he should focus on building those areas up.  

If a guy can't pull for shit and his upperback isn't well developed then he'll need to build a strong and massive back.  

These are not hard concepts obviously but they are missed by some because they are constantly trying to figure out the lifts, which they should be.  But then they lose sight of the fact that the actual muscles do in fact, do the lifting.  

So guys should be focused on increasing muscle mass, obviously, and so of course that means filling out their frame with movements that help the big lifts.  These things go hand in hand.  

However what I see a lot of, are guys not always understanding when a lift or movement has outlived its usefulness, or isn't the dragon you should be chasing any longer.

If your main lift starts improving shortly after the addition of a new movement to support it, then progress on that assistance movement and keep it in so long as the primary movement is improving as well.

So if you add in dips, and progress from 75x10 to 100x10 pounds on dips, and your bench started improving as well, keep the dips in so long as you're seeing progress on the bench.  It's possible the dips improved something muscularly that was lacking in the bench.  However once that area is strengthened, there  will come a point where dips outlive their usefulness, and you may need to focus on something else.  Getting stronger at overheads, or incline, etc.

Rows are a great example of this.  I've been busting hump on barbell rows for a little while now, and I definitely feel it is helping my pull.  However once I can do semi strict rows with 405 for 6,8,10 whatever....I have a pretty good guess that trying to move up to 425, or 455 is just going to turn into a shit show of a movement and probably not benefit my pull at all.  I could be wrong, it's just a guess.  However 405 pound strict barbell rows is pretty strong.  So I don't feel like I'll need to get much heavier than that.  I would simply need to be able to move it with more control.  

It's the same with good mornings.  I found a long time ago that doing good mornings with 185-225 pounds was far more productive than doing them with 455 for reps.  With the lighter weight, I could get deeper in ROM, and really FEEL what they were supposed to be doing.  Anyone that's doing good mornings with more than they can squat, aren't doing good mornings.  They are doing something else, or they suffer from some serious quad deficiency syndrome.  But even in this case, there will be a point where I'd either have to move up heavier in good mornings, do more work, or change something in order to milk more out of that movement.  Eventually, doing them will simply serve as maintenance work for good mornings.  There won't be any more carryover or usefulness in terms of what it is providing.  

The 100 rep curls are another great example of this.  I used those to help with elbow pain, and create some bicep growth.  Eventually working up to 200 reps on them.  However I found that simply staying with a set of 100 just a couple of times a week did the job, and worrying about progressing on these didn't seem to offer a lot in the way of extra benefits.  

It's up to you to be cognizant of this with the movements you pick to help get you better.  It's another great reason why I don't do a lot of different things at one time.  You can't always tell what's helping your ailment if you're taking a thousand medications.  

Pick a movement to help your main movement to help the main movement, and progress on it and milk it as long as you can (and as long as it's helping the main movement).  The main thing to have in mind about it is, know what strong is, in relation to it.  So if you can do lunges with 315x10, well, you don't have a quad or glute weakness.  If you can overhead press 315 for reps, it's possible your shoulders are already strong.  If you can do rows with 400 for reps without monkey fucking the bar, that's pretty solid.  Understand you can overrun the usefulness of a movement, that way you can drop it and work on finding something more productive to implement.  

Everyone have a kick ass Friday, and epic weekend.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Regular (sloppy) barbell rows

This is the "regular" barbell row, that is a bit sloppier. Now, this is about as sloppy as I deem "ok" in terms of rowing. Anything sloppier than this and you're just monkey humping the fucking bar, and fooling yourself. That's just how I view it. In fact, I'd even say these are a bit too sloppy for my own taste, however I didn't even get my usual set of 12 here, so I was a little weaker than usual this time, and had more monkey humping than I would like.

What I have been doing is working up to 365xmax reps for 2 sets, with straps, then a down set with 315 no straps. This is not hook gripped.

The barbell row is probably your best deadlift assistance movement because the relation of the bar to your body, how you start the movement, and the muscles it works. If throw in light GM's for hams you've pretty much got all of your bases covered in terms of deadlift assistance.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Check out the LRB store!

In order to make shopping a more pleasurable experience I finally got a store up and running.  I hope you enjoy it, and that it fucking works.

Link is at the top of the page.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

You complete me

Training and eating, over a long period of time has to have a "completeness" to it.

If you get trapped into a particular mindset, or dogma, then you're going to eventually sell yourself short somehow.

For powerlifters, they often shun "bodybuilding" because it's "stupid" and "no one cares how big my biceps are when I lift X amount".

Bodybuilders will often say shit like "no one cares how much I lift when I'm on stage."

Technically, that's true. However understanding how all training methodologies can help you is a trait we should all learn how to develop.

I spent the first decade of my training mainly doing bodybuilding style work. And while my absolute level of strength was never developed, one of the reasons I feel like I am just hitting my peak in terms of strength is because of all the years I put in to build muscle mass. So the last 8+ years have really been spent training more for absolute strength, and developing my technique.

As a result of that, when I go back to doing big compound movements for reps, I move more weight for more reps. I also train "bodyparts".

This is not an ugly word.

People need to get out of this mindset that bodypart training is a bad thing. When Dan Green decided his squat sucked, he realized it sucked because his quads weren't big enough. So he grew his quads using hacks and front squats, and guess what? His squat grew with them.

A smart lifter knows that powerlifting and bodybuilding can indeed compliment each other.

Train for strength AND muscular development. This means not persecuting a training style or method. Bodybuilders have this whole "mass" thing figured out. Powerfliters and strongmen have this whole "strength" thing figured out. Instead of being close minded or dogmatic about one because you think it's "silly", take what is useful from it to get better.

Just because you decide to do some bodybuilding doesn't mean you have to slather salad dressing all over yourself and pose in a banana hammock. Just because you decide to do some powerlifting doesn't mean you have to wear a beanie and get fat.

Focus on the paradigm that makes up those training methods and how they would benefit you in the long run. Then if you decide to slather on the Italian dressing or sport the beanie, you'll be ready.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Training - Overhead work

Bodyweight - 260

Press behind the neck -



Shrugs - 585x10,10
Curl Machine - stackx13
Pushdowns - whatever x 20

Notes - Felt like shit.  Elbows were hurting and just felt crappy.  Oh well.

Thoughts about life, crap, training and stuff - Monday not so much going on edition

Base Building book - 

One of the downfalls of most programming schemes or routines, even my own to a degree, is that they all assume that each lift needs to be treated with equal attention, or programmed similarly.

One of the cool things I will be going over in base building will be the ability to manipulate programming inside of the "routine" so that each lift is getting attention and intensity based on how it is performing.  Individually I mean.

What I am getting at here is, a 5x5 on squat may not be what you need on bench.  You will program bench differently than you do squats, and deadlifts.  Not only that, you'll have the ability to change programming during the cycle based on the feedback you are getting from your training.

I also feel like the new split, which I dubbed the "zenith" will address the problem most guys have when their pull gets heavy enough that they can't pull each week without stalling.

In the zenith each lift is given a certain amount of priority each week, and that waves over the course of the month.  The squat and press wave similarly, and the deadlift waves completely different.  There is also a fourth component, back work, that gets waved in all by itself at times.  I will address why in the manual.

Either way, I won't say any of this is new, but it is "different".  I would say there be a combining of concepts in this book that I haven't really seen in other places, and I think everyone knows I'm not one for hyperbole.  So I'm pretty excited about getting it out there.

The strong-15 short cycle gets a bit of a revamp too (mainly for the pull), and you'll see how to seamlessly flow from BB work to the short cycle.  It's what I have been doing with Pete Rubish and some other guys as well.  Pete is in the process of cutting down to 198 so I don't expect his lifts to be at some kind of all time high.  We've been having to make adjustments as we go.  I still expect a solid showing from him however.

Store - 

I'm about to launch a new store that way you can order shirts of different sizes and such without making multiple orders.  It looks pretty bad ass so I'm very excited about getting it up soon.

best shirt I've seen in a while

Podcast -

No podcast last night, however we will resume next week with a guest.  That'd be the ridiculously strong and intelligent Jay Nera.

True story - 

This is completely true. So much so, I thought for a minute I might be on candid camera.

Yesterday as I was leaving the gym, the little dude behind the counter told me "man, I hope I can be as big as you one day." I asked him how long he had been lifting, and got to know him a little bit.

I told him I had been training for 25 years, and assured him that I was no genetic marvel. That I had put in a lot of hard work and many years of frustration to get where I was. I told him that I too still have a lot of goals left to conquer, and that I don't feel like we are ever happy with where we are at.

He agreed, and thanked me for taking time out to talk with him. And then as I was about to walk away from the counter, he literally said this to me..........

"What kind of protein you use, bro?"
Anderson Silva got KTFO - 

I don't need to belabor this forever because I did on facebook over the weekend.  However let me say all things catch up with you karma wise, and Anderson Silva finally got caught.  Literally.  In the mouth.  By someones fist.

You always need to respect your opponent.  Always.  Anderson was not "bored", he did not throw the fight.  That's fucking nonsense.  He lacked respect for Weidman, and felt like he could intimidate him.  All it did, was piss Chris off.

But back to the whole "he threw the fight" bullshit.

Guys in MMA don't throw fights by getting KO'd.  Ok?  They get subbed and tap.  That's throwing a fight.  It's clear he took that shot right on the jaw, his eyes rolled back in his head, and his knees wobbled.

His post fight speech further backs up his arrogance in that he blew it off.  "Meh, I don't care about a rematch.  Meh....meh, nag.  I got other things to do."

Anderson's streak was important to him.  I'm sure the shock of getting knocked the fuck out was a part of him blowing that off.  There will be a rematch.  And if I had to bet money on it, I'd bet on Silva.  He won't treat Wiedman like a paper tiger again.  He'll come in focused and fight his best fight.  If anything, this loss could spur Anderson on to fighting some of his best fights again.  Or, it could be done.  I'll cover my ass on both sides that way I don't look wrong later.  See what I did there?

Brazil and beheadings - 

Speaking of Brazil and Brazilians......apparently a fight at a soccer game broke out, and a ref got into a scuffle with a player, then stabbed him.  The fans thought this to be shenanigans of unacceptable proportions, and proceeded to corner said ref, stone him to death, and behead him.  Placing his head on a stake in the middle of the soccer field.

Brazilians know how to party!

Training - 

Training is going awesome, well, except for not being able to squat.  My knee is still in bad shape and I have a doc appt this week to get it looked at.  I've never had a knee problem in my life, and I think this is more tendinitis related than anything serious.

Over the last couple of months I've hit incline press 425x1, 365x8, 225x29.  I hit a close grip bench of 365x7.5 last week, and two weeks before that I hit 275x8 in the press behind the neck.

So pressing is going very well, pulling is just now starting to come back after taking a short dip from the weekend of the seminar where I missed that 660 from a deficit.

Also.........this is fucking awesome.  If you like Job For A Cowboy (and you should!) that's their guitarist Tony Sannicandro rocking some LRB wear!  YES!

Thanks Tony!

I hope everyone is having a superlative Monday and kicks ass all fucking week.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Training - Support work for legs and back

Bodyweight - we won't talk about this......

Good Mornings -

Leg Press -

Barbell Shrugs - 225x50,50,50,50
Cable Rows - stack x 10,10,10

Notes - Felt good.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A real simple diet that works

Make a list of foods you will allow yourself to eat. They should all be quality foods. I don't care what "diet" you choose, just pick quality foods. I think we all know that fast food and processed shit isn't quality, before all the comedians weigh in.

Everyday, you're allowed to eat as much from the quality food list that you want.

See how long you can stay on your "diet" without deviating from it.

If/when you blow it, reward yourself with a day of what you want. Then try to beat that previous streak.

So if you went 91 days before you cheated, then try to beat that 91 days after you binge for a day on what you want.

Again, do not starve yourself. Eat as much quality food as you want. It just has to be clean, quality food.

I will bet you money that if you can stick to this for an extended period you'll be amazed at the results.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Training - Close Grips

Bodyweight - 257

Close Grip Bench all paused -

365x7 and a half

Hammer Shrugs - 500x23
Curl Machine -  50% set stack x 10-3
Dip Machine - stack x 15,10

Notes - Felt good.  Everything I thought of implementing a while back has been done so, and what a difference it is already making.  One of the great things about having all of these years in experience is you really learn from your mistakes, and changing out some of the things I did in my meet prep is already paying off.  Namely, more overhead work (even though I'm not weak there), lighter on incline (the 350 method), and then not benching very often.

Feels good man.

Maximize your time, limit your options....comfort, sacrifices

Every few years some new dieting approach comes around and people start raving about it or believe they have finally found that magic bullet, but food is food, and eating is eating. I personally think that eating is the most simple part of the progress paradigm because it's pretty simple. If you want to get bigger, eat more. If you want to get leaner, eat less. Yes, that's a very simplistic way to view it but that's really the case.

It's the same with training. Here's some new method. It's the be all end all because it's so incredibly complex and you need to kill a level 9 ice wizard and sacrifice his body to the iron gods in order to comprehend it.

It's snake oil, and bullshit.

Prisoners get jacked as shit in prison eating garbage food with limited time for training each week. They maximize the time they do have in the weight room, and eat what they can. As far as I know, prisoners aren't online debating furiously about whether or not a diet or training system works. They don't have a lot of options so far as eating goes, and they just fucking train hard when they have a chance.

I suppose that's a real way of looking at things isn't it? Once you stop giving yourself options you have to actually DECIDE what it is you are going to do.

Maximize your time in the weight room. Train hard, train fast, get as much work done in as little time as possible. Stop training like a lazy bitch and make yourself squeeze as much work as you can into a single hour.

Stop giving yourself so many options in the kitchen. Make a list of foods to eat, buy those foods, and those foods only. And I mean nothing outside of that.

So there is the lesson. Maximize your training time, limit your food options. There. Boom. Progress awaits you.

Goals, sacrifices, and comfort - 

One of the things that Brandon Lilly and I talked about in the last video was making sacrifices in order to see your goals come to fruition.

Brandon made note of the fact that people tell him that they can't afford grass fed beef, organic food, and the like. The he gets pictures on Monday of them partying over the weekend.

Obviously the sacrificing of their partying and drinking isn't worth giving up for eating more quality food.

One of the most prominent themes of my writing/coaching/speaking whatever, is that figuring out what you want is EASY. In mere seconds you can spout off all the thing you'd love have a change in regarding your life.

The hard part is deciding what you will SACRIFICE in order to have those things.

You may not need to turn yourself into a recluse in order to see your lifting/fitness/strength aspirations come true. However if your desire is to really become the "elite" version of yourself you need to be honest with how much time, energy, and effort you're putting into becoming "elite". By elite, I mean really fulfilling your own potential to its complete capacity.

Once people start asking people to sacrifice, and I mean REALLY sacrifice, the first thing they do is start trying to rationalize with themselves as to why they don't need to give up certain things in order to move ahead. But if you start looking at the habits of champions, you will see that aside from their God given ability, they have a drive and a focus that is unparalleled in becoming their zenith, and were willing to sacrifice everything in order to reach those goals.

Write your goals down, then write down what you think you might have to sacrifice in order to achieve them. You see, the goal setting is easy. It's the proverbial laying of heads on the chopping block that gets to be difficult.

The truth is, most of us DON'T sacrifice like we need to because we find a comfort zone and settle into it.

And comfort is the enemy of progress. As I wrote before regarding don't forge a strong will and resolve by catering to the comforting natures within yourself. You do so, by asking yourself to be uncomfortable often enough so that comfort eventually finds its way into those places.

You want to achieve all those things that make you feel awesome inside?

Get uncomfortable and start making the necessary sacrifices.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Training - Deadlifts

Bodyweight - 255

Deficit Deads -

585x3,3 tore callous....fuck

Leg Press - 500x20,20,20,20

Notes - Tore my callous off on the second set of 585x3.  Was going to do another set and even some back off work because I felt pretty good but no dice.

Leg press did NOT hurt the quad so I will do those until the knee/quad stops hurting and then resume shit.

Let me also say that since I have not been able to squat I definitely feel much weaker off the floor than when I do.  Something that I've said for a while is if you want to get stronger off the floor you need more quads.  Well, this just confirms that notion.  My speed off the floor while it may not have looked much different than before, didn't feel anywhere near as powerful.  Hopefully the leg pressing will at least get SOME of that back.

Change is inevitable

One of the reasons so many guys have argued against sub max training is because they may have gotten strong training in a max effort method their whole training life.  That's awesome.  However most of the time these same guys haven't made progress in years in years.

One of the hardest concepts to accept in your training life, is that what got you to one point, may not be what you need to get to the next level.

"But I got strong like that!"

I understand this.  However, if you're honest with yourself, and very little progress has been seen for months or even years, then it's time to understand that the dragon you are chasing is never going to be caught using that same net.

You're going to need to train sub maximally at times.  Then at other times you are going to need to push for rep PRs.  Then at other times you're going to need to work heavier.  Then other times maybe do bodybuilding work.

You have to keep an open mind about these things and understand that all of these things end up complimenting each other in getting you to the next level of a better, bigger, stronger YOU.

I remember talking to this one dude who balked at my suggestion that he do some bodybuilding because the fact was, his base of actual muscle mass really wasn't very good.  It's been years since we had this talk and his strength really hasn't changed all that much since then.  Meanwhile, I've put in a ton of work to improve muscle mass in between meets, and my rep PR's have been coming left and right for some time now.

I credit that to moving back and forth from doing sub max basebuilding work, and chasing rep PR's with the big-15 model, 350 method, 100 rep work, so forth and so on.

Dave Tate recently wrote that guys ask how to get big and strong, and that the best way to do that, is to focus on one or the other and chase that one thing very hard.  Trying to do both at the same time can be a bit of a wash because the results will end up landing you somewhere in the middle.  I've heard the arguments of "well you can do low heavy work on your main stuff, then do bodybuilding for your assistance."

I've been down that road, and I'm sorry but it just doesn't work as well as training for a single specific purpose.  If you need to gain muscle, train for it.  Don't keep trying to improve your best double or triple in something.  Put your energy into big reps on the big lifts.

You also need to get your head into the fact that you need to get stronger on other big lifts, and stop doing so many "supplement" movements that are fucking easy.

All the god damn band pull aparts in the world aren't going to build you a big ass back.  If you're suffering from quad deficiency syndrome, then you may have to venture outside of doing some triples on the squat and put in some time with 15-20 rep sets, front squats, hacks, etc. You can only skirt around the issue for so long until you need to work up the courage to ask that pretty girl to dance.

Once you get bigger, you can then transition into getting back to improving movements.  The same holds true for guys that want to get bigger, but haven't gained any size for a while.  You may need to shift gears and train for strength for a while, so that way you can eventually transition back to reps, and hit heavier weights for more reps than what you are capable of now.

Once people get a bit of success they tend to think that's the be all end all of training programs and have trouble making adjustments because they can't get their head around the fact that the body will eventually catch up to what you are doing, and you need to shift gears.  At least for a while.  You don't have to completely abandon something that worked for you.  You just may need to set it aside for later when it will become more useful again.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Training - Pressing

Bodyweight - 255

Press Behind the Neck -

275x8 PR?

Hammer Shrugs - 135x60,60,50,50
Pushdowns - stackx15

Notes - I think that 275x8 is a PR.