Sunday, March 31, 2013

Improving chins

Paul,

I'd to increase my pull/chin-up number because they pretty much suck. I've tried incorporating them several times but ditched them due to bad progress. I see now that the reason I didnt progress was because I maxed out on my sets.

For chins it would like this
5
3
2

Result: 0 progress.

How would you set this up for someone with bad chinning/pull up numbers? ( Chin-ups 4-5 , Pull-ups 2, strict form ).

Thanks


I've done lots of chin programming variations, and the best one I used for myself was like so.

Week 1 - 5,4,3,2,1 - 1xamap with bodyweight
Week 2 - bodyweight only 7 set of 5-7
Week 3 - Heavy lat pulldowns - 5 x 8

Now the problem here is, you have to be able to do chin ups at a decent clip in order to do this.

So what about the guy that can do 10 in 3 sets?

Here is how I would situate this....


  • The first four weeks you will chin every day
  • 6 sets of 2 for the first 2 weeks
  • The third week, do 4 sets of 2, and 2 sets of 3
  • The fourth week, do 2 sets of 2, and 4 sets of 3
At this point, switch to chinning 3X a week, but we're going to do weighted chins.  Do this for 4 weeks.

Bodyweight for 3 sets of 2 for a warm up, then 3 singles with a 10 pound weight attached.  Afterwards, 1xamap with bodyweight only.  Always try to beat this rep set.  


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Meet Training - Week 4 - Support work

Bodyweight - 251

Cable Rows - up to stack x 15

Row Downs - up to stack x 10

Flex Machine Shrugs - 315x20

Good Mornings - up to 205x10

Decline Sit ups - 5x15

Notes - Solid.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Meet training - Week 4 - Skwats and tugs

Bodyweight - 250

Squats -
barx10,10,10
135x10
225x5
315x4
405x3
455x2
500x1

385x5,5,5,5

Deficit Deads -
315x3
425x3
455x3
515x3

notes - To say I felt like shit tonight would be like calling the Grand Canyon a ditch or say that Yoda had a hint of green to him.  Pretty much a -10% session.  Just have not felt great the last few days.  Sleep has been horrendous for 2 weeks now, so I'm chalking it up to that.

Still, even with all of that I did grab some vid tonight to show just how light I'm going.  I've still got 5 weeks to go so there's no need to worry......yet.

No seriously, this is one of the great things about programming low.  If you have a bad week early, it's not a big deal.  You can still move weights with velocity and speed.  The 515 deficit pull felt awful.  Again, I can't emphasize what an understatement that is.







"Am I too much of a noob to run the strong-15?"

I get this question a lot.  And generally I recommend guys to run the beginner program I have outlined in Strength, Life, Legacy however here is a great testimonial from a guy that, poundage wise, would fall in that novice category.  I won't lie, it makes me beam to get these e-mails.

See what the strong-15 did for him..............

Paul,

First of all, thanks for the amount of info you always put on. I just finished the first phase of LRB/365, and the results have been remarkable. I had an abdominal surgery back in July and I was out of the gym for 4 months. I wasn't jacked or strong (I lost a massive amount of weight in the previous 2 years), but I gained good muscle mass and strength that was lost in those months.

In December, I bought your book and decided to jump into LRB/365 since I noticed that I was starting to spin my wheels trying to decide what to do. I plugged 180 lbs for Squat, 155lbs for bench and 195 lb for Deadlifts. When I started I had lots of doubt if I would be able to reach those goals (even though I wanted so bad to surpass those weights).

Come today, I tested my maxes and I'm so fucking happy and astonished to see my progress coming back after all the pain and shit I took these last 8 months.

My fake meet went as follows (after warming up):
Squat: 175 lb, 190lb, 205 lb (all 3 went fast, the last one was a bit of a grind) *25 lb PR*

Bench: 155lb, 170lb, 185lb (the first 2 went well, the last one I almost missed it but I locked it) *30 lb PR*

Deads: 190lbs, 210lbs, 225lbs (all went fast as hell), but I was so fresh and not at all fatigued at this point and I said the hell with it and pulled 255 lbs for a 60lb PR from my plugged goal.

This base building/strong 15 programming is excellent. I plugged numbers I felt comfortable to hit after Phase 3, but during training I noticed I was dominating most of the time, even though I am a full time Pharmacy student and I sleep 4-6 hours most days. Nutrition definitely helped me here, especially CARBS. A friend of mine did this with me and he went 8/9, he only missed his 3rd attempt at the bench, but he was also excited with the results. We may not be close to any advanced level numbers, but we are so fucking proud of our effort and success. Thanks a lot, Paul. We owe it to you.

Best regards,

Orlando

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

More on base building type work for those that want to get strong as fuck

From an interview over at Bret Contreras...........

Just to steal some high level points..........



we don’t really need to focus on the percentages of 85% of 1RM and above; second, the sticking point is not, usually, due to muscular imbalances, as we used to think and therefore address the matter, rather it is a lack of intermuscular coordination.

So, if you want to be really strong in your squat, bench and deadlift, stop going to failure as some gurus suggest or using percentages of 90% and above like some others do (if you are able to do 6×3@90%, you either have very low neuromuscular efficiency, or your strength and recovery are artificially enhanced), rather always use strict technique, lift explosively, and avoid the loads that make the sticking point appear.

It’s been proven by eastern European powerlifters (the strongest in the IPF federation, the largest and not so geared federation in the world) that mostly explosively lifting loads between 70 and 80% of 1RM (what’s called “Zone 3” in Soviet literature or “Zone 4” in Sheiko’s own scale) with perfect technique and no sticking point gives the highest transfer for 1RM loads improvement, especially in the medium and long term.

I think that to get good results with that system in powerlifting you really have to focus on technique and sticking point avoidance, which means sacrificing the loads, especially at the beginning. That is not something Americans are usually inclined to do.


In all seriousness, I get pretty happy when I find more and more anecdotal evidence that supports paths that I find myself going down.  This just happens to be one of them, and I've had many in my training life.  

By all means, if you think that maxing out and grinding reps and weight is required then do so.  I just don't think it is anymore.  It's not me being dogmatic, it's me pointing to evidence for guys who are frustrated and want to get better.  I will continue to be "douchey" in that kind of way.  

What "works"?

So the last few days there has been a pretty big debate about speed work and Westside barbell and all of the facets surrounding training systems and whether or not certain principles have "merit" in terms of improving strength.  

I love it.  I really do.  It's good stuff.  I really love it because it's an argument between a lot of legit strong people, and not a bunch of 3 plate squatting redditors or open forum assbags.  Though I'm sure that's going on in those places as well.  

Rather than get into this debate about speed work and such. (because there are plenty enough people in it already) I am going to write the following about it all, and about every training "system" or methodology in general.  

Eventually, a training method has to bear fruit in terms of its claims.  It has to "work".  The problem is, what does "work" mean?  

Let me state that "work" to me means that when something is applied over and over again, the end result is success.  Either every time, or the great majority of the time.   For example, while lots of dietary gurus and nutritional experts argue that "a calorie isn't a calorie" and all that fucking nonsense, Weigh Watchers has been helping people lose for decades through simple calorie counting.  

I can hear all of the nutritional gurus groaning about this, and I don't give a flying fuck.  Just yesterday I overhead a conversation between two guys where one of them complimented the other on all the weight he had lost.

"110 pounds I've lost." the one guy said.  "All just following weight watchers."  

It's a pretty simple system.  And it "works".  

If you eat less, you'll lose weight.  This has been proven over and over and over and over and over.......and over and over.........and over and over.  I don't care about your god damn scientific paper and studies.  It works.  You take some food away from a fat body, and that fat body shrinks.  Yes, there are times when a person has something wrong with them physiologically that may not respond to that, however for the great majority of people, simply counting calories works.  I mean, for the love of God, even Dorian Yates stated that he counted calories, and all he had to do was dial his calorie intake down to 4400 or so from 5600 and he'd start getting into contest shape.  Yes, it's that simple.

Training isn't a lot different.  Not a whole lot of things have really changed involving the barbell in the last 60 years.  You can dig up lots of old manuals from a long time ago that have programs that look just like "scientific" programming of today.  To quote the "lunk" in the Planet Fitness commercial, it really comes back to picking things up and putting them down.  

There's not a whole lot to learn in terms of getting strong. There really isn't.  You eventually have to do more reps, do more work, or put more weight on the bar.  In the grand scheme of all that is the training holy grail, those things can't be ignored.  They matter.  

If you can squat 315x5 and go to 315x10 you got stronger.  

If you go from 315x5 to 335x5 you got stronger.  

If you go from squatting 315 for 2 sets of 5, to being able to squat 315x5x5 you got stronger.  

All of these things work.  "Work".  Work meaning, your goal was to get stronger, so you did.  

Some may say that's too primitive or basic, but that's all lifting really is.  Yes, we have fun finding new ways to find that means to an end, however if you were stuck on an island with only a barbell, a squat rack, a surplus of food and were told you'd be rescued once you had gained 50 pounds of lean muscle (granted that you are not already very advanced) you could get it done, could you not?  Sure you could.  You would figure it out.  

Do you know what you'd eventually figure out?  You'd figure out what WORKS.  

More than likely, you'd figure out what "works" are the principles listed above.  The two main ingredients involved in all of those methods or principles are very simple as well.

Time, and effort.  

I preach a lot about there not being short cuts or special routines.  Yes, a gram of tren and test a week will certainly speed up that "time" part, however the effort part still has to exist.  The same principles apply.  This is what "works" over and over again.  

So as I noted before, eventually a training protocol has to bear fruit to what it claims.  It has to show that it has been applied to meet certain results, and that the results were optimal.  Namely, the people following the methodology got bigger, stronger, faster, whatever.  This is how training "works".  Essentially the proof is in the pudding.  Anecdotal evidence will often trump scientific data if the "science" runs counter to what the real life results say.  

When I was doing lots of 100 rep sets of curls, I read debates on how 100 rep sets wouldn't work for size and that it was "broscience" and all sorts of horseshit.  Well, my arms grew and my elbows stopped hurting.  For the most part, every person that started doing them religiously found the same thing happened to them.  Though I'm sure some forum nerd would cite that some "scientific" text/notebook/study/greek tablet says that it doesn't work.  I don't care.  What I care about is finding out what will yield me results.  Lab geeks be damned.  

So back to this discussion, and this will be my only word about it.  

What "works"?  

Well apparently Louie Simmons said  “In my opinion people who don’t wear gear have no opinion. Lifters who break records with gear and then train without are always stronger.”

Listen, if you're going to come at people hard like that, then don't expect everyone to respond in kind.  To my knowledge, there isn't a single raw record held by anyone who trains strictly in the WSB manner.  The rebuttal to that would be that either "they use modified WSB" (so it's not WSB at all), or that WSB doesn't care about raw.  Well duh.  Apparently Louie doesn't even think that a Stan Efferding or a Kirk Karwoski is even worthy of having an opinion.  Nevermind that there is zero evidence that he has anyone training under him that could out total either guys best raw numbers in their respective weight classes.

Here's the deal then.  If WSB WORKED for raw lifters then eventually raw lifters would gravitate towards it because as noted, the proof shows up in the pudding.  Yet all of the elite raw lifters I know, train pretty similarly.  They manage their cycles, peak, and vary their intensity and volume.  Again, all shit that has been done for decades and has been PROVEN to "work".  

If you're going to run off at the mouth about geared lifters being stronger, or a methodology being better, then you'd better have some god damn proof of that.  You'd better show that a certain method "works" better.  Again, "works" means that the result is the same the great majority of the time, and that your guys best other guys using your methods.  

I personally think the WSB method is the preferred method for most geared lifters because it "works" in that regard.  It produces big geared numbers.  However it does not "work" for raw training.  Let me also emphasize that just because you "know this one guy..." doesn't mean shit.  Go back and read what I wrote about what "works" means.  

I don't care about "this one guy..." or about a study or a lab geek that squats three wheels that disagrees with me.  I care about what strong people say "works", and "works" over and over again.  This is really what the majority of you who want to get strong raw should care about as well.  

I will leave the mental masturbation to the forum trolls and loudmouths who post under pseudonyms.  It's what they do best.  

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Meet Training - Week 4 Pressing

Bodyweight - 250

Incline -
barx40,20
135x12,8
185x5
225x4
275x3
315x2
365x1

315x6,6,5,5,5

Rows - 4x8 with stack

notes - miserable session.  elbows and pec minors are pretty achy.

Strong-15 not just for powerlifters

As usual, I love getting these............

Paul,

I have been running the strong 15 for my lifting while I prepare for my 50 miler I'm running at the end of june. I just finished the 85% wave and just wanted to tell you that I have never felt strong or faster on my uphill climbs during my runs. Because of my focus is endurance I took a very conservative training max and decided to try a 2 day split for my lifting, rotating my press, squat, and deadlift. I can't tell you how smart that was for my recovery. After my 54321 over warmup I focus my back off sets with pause squats and deficit deads ( I use the 35's instead of 45's as it makes the ROM about an 1-1.5 more). This has been huge in correcting the tightness I've developed from years of running. All this to say thank you. I know this program was designed for guys looking to be big, strong and jacked, but your program was the best thing I could have done for my running. Thanks -- Greg

Monday, March 25, 2013

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff - Hell in a handbasket stimulant overdose weekend

I spent this past weekend in Springfield, Missouri at a USPA meet, coaching up a young lady the wife and I have become great friends with.  A few months ago her and I started talking about planning out her training cycle for this particular meet, and what kind of numbers she wanted to hit.

She's only been training for a year, and in her first meet (just a few months ago) she squatted 225, benched 115, and pulled 275 in the 148 class.  All really good numbers for someone in their first meet with less than a year of training.  She had her eyes on some state records for this fed already, and we set up her training cycle so that we'd be able to have a shot at the squat and maybe the total in that regard.  

Things were planned out well, and then the stomach bug hit and she spent the better part of 10 days trying to recover from that.  So our 6 week plan turned into a 4 week plan, and we had to regroup.  Seeing as how her bench is her weakest lift, I set up her training cycle to bench twice a week, squat twice a week (one heavy, one light), and pull once a week.

We now had 4 weeks to hit certain numbers, some of which I would be taking a bit of a chance on.  Mainly on her bench.  

Things went really well the first three weeks of the 4 week cycle.  She was destroying all of her programmed weights, and feeling fantastic.  We looked to be right on track for hitting all the numbers we had planned for the meet.  

Then the week before the meet, she told me that she had to travel out of town for her company to help open a new store, and would be doing long days of fairly hard labor to get this accomplished.  When I write long days, I mean 12 hour days of doing manual labor.  This was supposed to be her week of "deloading" essentially.  Yet, she would be travelling and doing many long days of hard work.  Definitely not ideal.

On top of this, she also told me her sleep had been in the shitter.  So the week before the meet when she should have been getting a lot of rest and getting ready to crush shit she wasn't sleeping very much, travelling, and working long hard hours.  She also missed her planned single of 125 in her last bench workout as well.  Twice.

Not good.

We all met in Springfield and the morning of the meet when I saw her she looked like death.  Another night of no sleep.  "Maybe an hour." she told me.  Add on to the fact that this meet was huge, over 75 lifters, and I knew it would be a very long day.  To the tune of 8+ hours.

She was already drinking a monster but because of nerves her appetite was in the shitter and ate very little at breakfast.  On top of this, she wanted me to be her handler at the meet, and in order to do this I needed to practice wrapping her knees.  Something I had never done before.  So I just watched a video to brush up on the technique.  We gave it a few trial runs without too many problems, however I did not feel confident about this either.



We arrived at the meet, and like all meets nothing was on time.  So this was going to push the day out even longer.    

She started drinking a NOS at this point.  I told her to "simmer down, pot roast" on the energy drinks.  I didn't want her crashing early in the day.

The goal at the meet for the squat was 242+ to beat the state record.  We had planned to open at 215 (85% of 250) however her warm ups were sluggish, nothing felt "right", so I went over to the judges table and lowered her opener to 195.

She went out and hit that fairly easily, so I notched her second attempt at 215.  I still needed to see how that moved in order to decide what to do for her third.  So here's where the knee wrap conundrum bit us.  The wraps we intended to use for the 2nd and 3rd attempts are very dense and thick.  Well again, I've never wrapped and I offered up to her to let someone else do it, but she insisted I do it.  So fuck it, we were rolling with it.



I wrapped the first knee with no problems, then for some reason the second wrap just didn't get very tight and she kept going "that's not tight enough, it's loose, it's loose." but they were calling her to come squat.  So I told her "it doesn't fucking matter you gotta go, you gotta go."  But she kept saying "Paul, it's not tight enough."

She would tell me later she had this vision of her walking out to squat and it coming completely undone and just unraveling down her leg.  I admit, that would have been funny in retrospect, but not at that particular moment.

So she went out, and nailed it pretty easy.  For her third, I decided not to go for the 245-250 because the truth is, at the end of the day, the total is the most important part.  With the situation I had been dealt, I knew we could still have a good day with many PR's if I picked her attempts correctly.  If I tried to get greedy, she would have a really bad day, and well, I didn't want that.  We'll just leave it at that.



So for her last attempt we went with 237.  I managed to not fuck up the knee wrap this time, and she went out and nailed it.  Would she have been good for more than 242?  Probably.  However it's hard to look a good PR in the mouth on a bad day.  So we took it and then waited around so long that Jesus came back twice before everyone was done squatting and the bench only douchers flight was done.

We warmed up on bench and she downed some Jacked, and another NOS.  I started to worry more about her having a heart attack than missing a lift at this point.  But she assured me she was fine.



We had to play with her bench setup, hand spacing, and breathing.  But she was still doing far too much thinking during all of this rather than it all being natural and second nature.  We were able to get some cues down that seemed to help a little, but bench was going to be very hit and miss.

I opted to open with 110.  She went out and hit that with no problem.  Now the second attempt was the tricky one.  It was 126.  A weight she had missed in her last bench workout twice, and missed in her previous meet as well.  I could already see the fatigue on her face so I was concerned that if she missed it the first time, she'd just BARELY miss it, but spend too much energy to hit it on the third.  But she went out and hit it.  So we went with 132 for her third.  However she did this really strange thing on the descent and let the bar hover about half an inch over her chest for a few seconds before she touched (as if she were wearing an invisible bench shirt), then on the press got totally out of the groove and missed it.  I think the strength was there for it, but the technique was just way off.  Still, chalk up another meet PR with her second attempt.

After the bench attempt she told me she had taken some stimulant pill/supplement she brought before benching as well.  She was pretty wild eyed at this point and I checked her pulse.  It was racing something awful.  I told her to cut the stims out, but she told me that she was exhausted and was worried that her deadlift would suck because she could barely move at this point.




It took many hours for all of the benching to be done, and my trainee looked like the walking dead.  When they let us know we needing to start warming up for deadlifts, she asked me "should I take another pill, or drink more Jacked/NOS/Monster/5 Hour Energy?"  I felt her pulse again, and it was still racing very fast, but her face was one of extreme fatigue.  I thought for a second, and made my decision.

"Neither." I said.  "Let's do sugar."

"Sugar?" she said.

"Yeah, sugar."

I told the wife to run to a store and get some doughnuts.



You see, she hadn't eaten much all day because of the nerves.  I tried to make her but all of the stims had just destroyed her appetite.  At this point, I knew her body was already stimulated as much as any drink or pill was going to stimulate it, so any more would have been a waste.  What she needed was "rush" of something else.  I knew I could get a sugar high going that would probably be sustainable through all of her deadlift attempts, and just ingesting some food, even junk, would help tremendously.  That was my theory anyway.

So while Tiff was gone to fetch the doughnuts we started her warm ups.

She pulled 135, and it looked like a damn near max.  No shit.  I was very concerned at this point.  However I refused to let that show.

"How'd that feel?" I said with a smile.

"Heavy." she said, with a smile that was turned very upside down.

"We'll just keep doing some warm ups until it gets better.  No worries."

So she pulled 135 again, and it looked very hard.

"Better!" I said, lying my ass off.

She still looked tremendously unhappy.  But I kept having her pull 135.  I know this trick.  You can start priming the body a bit, even when it's not happy about it.  Again, I wrote about this before in using extended warm ups when you're having a bad day.

Eventually 135 starting moving pretty good.  So we went to 155 and repeated this.  Eventually we went to 185, but that too looked like a near max.

"I gotta go change her opener." I thought to myself.  I had set it at 237 but I had this awful vision of her missing her opener and then walking over to me and castrating me on the spot.  I would not care for that.

Thankfully Tiff returned at this point and I literally started shoving the doughnuts in her mouth.  Sure enough within about 10 minutes or so, her color got better and she pulled 185 with a bit more velocity.

"Let's do 205." I said.

She pulled it with about the same force that she pulled her last 185.  Then we tried it again, and it moved even better.

"Hmmmmmmm" I thought.

She was fourth in the first flight of deadlifting so I had her pull her last 205 when the first lifter went.  This gave us just 3-4 minutes before she would pull her opener.  It worked out perfect.

The doughnuts and sugar kicked in and she went out and smoked her 237.



"What for my second?" she asked me.

I told her not to worry about it.  That she was not to look at any of her attempts.  She agreed with that, and I walked over to the judges table and marked her down for 260.  I had a planned strategy for her pull.  I knew I wanted a PR for her 3rd attempt, so I split the difference between her opener and second attempt.  I didn't want her grinding out her second.  I wanted to save as much in the tank for her third.

She went out and pulled that 260 very solidly, just as I expected.

For her third, I put her down at 280.  This would give her a 5 pound PR.  This would still be a PR.  But as I started replaying her attempts in my mind, I felt like she might have a little more than 280 in her, and the fact that I knew she'd be a bear if she only pulled 280 persuaded me to change that attempt.  I went back over the judges table and changed it.  286.  Not a lot more, but on a day where she was lifting on 1 hour of sleep, her system tapped out from stimulants, running on sugar fumes, and would pull her last deadlift more than 8 hours after her first squat, I felt like it would be a victory.

After a short pep talk from me, she hit the platform.  The lift stuck at first, then it started to move, and eventually she ground it to lock out.  Boom.

For the first time all day, she smiled a bit.  She walked over and embraced me.  This was much better than the option of castration.  For me anyway.



She would walk away with a 650 total.  35 pounds more than she totaled in her last meet.  Another PR.

I was very very proud of her effort and mental fortitude.  And although quite fussy most of the day, she never questioned anything I advised.  I really do think that not destroying her in training paid big dividends on meet day.  She wasn't able to properly rest her deload week, so if she had been grinding out damn near max squats and deads that week, I can't imagine the kind of recovery hole she would have been trying to get out of on top of everything else.

I'm also proud of the teamwork that the wife and I had.  Tiff got all of her food and water, and was an unbelievable help in it all.  We will be helping her for a meet in July as well.  So here is hoping that we can avoid all of the messes that didn't give us the day we wanted in some ways, but so much better than expected in many others.

Nothing great in life comes easy.  I want to write about her, she was great on a day when things couldn't have been much more difficult.  

Friday, March 22, 2013

When life shits on you, stay the course


Life sometimes takes a shit on you.

There, let's get the knowledge bombs out of the way early.

The past week and a half was not made up of beautiful hotel rooms filled with hot women giving me long and superlative blowjobs.

Life is not always this pleasant 

This is by no means a pity party or cry fest.  Everyone has weeks like this.  Where life just decides that well, "I've been nice to you long enough at this juncture and I think it's about time I drop some tremendous shits on you."

It happens.  It's going to happen.  There is no periodization involved in life.  You wake up, and live it, and make decisions every day about how you're going to deal with whatever is thrown at you.  Sometimes you make a "good job" decision and sometimes you make a "well, that'll hurt later" decision.

Or sometimes you just wake up to things that are going to wreck your shit for a while, and you don't have a lot of control over that.  If your mom/dad/spouse/child/best friend gets killed you're going to be thrown into the emotional abyss and it's perfectly ok to take your time to mourn out of that.

For those of us that are lifers, we generally still want to train.  It gives us an outlet or a reprieve from the onslaught.  However I have found at times, that I couldn't concentrate on training when something was weighing very heavily on me.  The past week or so was very much like that.  I still had good training sessions, however my thoughts were generally someplace else.

Some times you can turn the shit storms off long enough for training, and some times you can't.  My suggestion when this happens is to do your best to NOT deviate from your diet and training.  Some folks will have no problem with this, and some will struggle with it mightily.

The main reason I suggest sticking to your plan is because after the shit storm clears, and the sunshine and BJ's come back out, if you totally derailed your shit you're going to feel pretty disgusted with yourself for allowing the train to come off the rails.  I have seen this time and time again.  If there is one thing you can do to help speed the transition back into "happy time" it's knowing you were able to stay the course when things were difficult.  Will it be hard?  Of course it will.  If it is something that is going to be life changing, then trying to maintain a semblance of consistency in some area in your life, will in fact help keep some satisfaction and balance in there.

A counterbalance to the shit storms


One of the best things about programming low like I've been talking about so much lately, is that even when you're feeling shitty you can still get the required work in, and know that you're still inching forward in that particular area of your life.  I'm not saying it will eliminate the problems of whatever you are going through, however just knowing you have something in your life that is moving in a positive direction can be helpful when you will like everything else is coming down around you.

Besides, emerging from one of life's resurrections jacked and tan is never a bad thing.

For those of you that are struggling to stay the course right now, put your chin down and go to work and know that eventually these struggles will pass.  Make sure you haven't done something you'll be disappointed in yourself over when they do.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Meet training week 3 - Skwats and tugs

Bodyweight - 250

Skwats -
barx20,10
135x10
225x5
315x4
405x3
425x2
465x1

385 x 4 sets of 5
high bar pause squats 385 x 2 x 5

Deficit Deads -
315x3
425x3
455x3
500x3

Stiff Legs - 225x20

notes - felt crappy this session.  quad was super tight and I felt very forward the whole session.

365 Q&A today

On the LRB Facebook page.

If you mustache me a question.......

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff - It's too damn early edition

The worlds strongest librarian - 

So I'm giving a book plug for my buddy Josh Hanagarne.  The link to his site is here. 

This is not another training book.  Josh suffered from severe Tourettes, grew up a devout Mormon, and later found lifting.  Which helped him throttle his disorder.  Josh is a really good dude and has been helping me along the way with possibly getting some work published, so please check his book out and give him some support.


LRB geared methodologies - 

So I'm venturing into the dark side.

I know what you're saying, I did that a few years ago.

No, no, no.  I'm talking about geared powerlifting.  Well, I'm not venturing into it personally.  I am however helping a good friend out with his geared training.

My buddy Zane Geeting, who shares many philosophical traits with me on training and such things is running a training block that we designed to get him to his best.

Go follow Zane's training log here.  He's going to talk about the different blocks and what we are doing as he goes along.  I think it will be a very interesting journey.

Shirts - 

So I was able to work a new deal with my distributor and I'm going to be getting more XL's in soon, and I will be able to lower the price.  So if you read this, hold off on buying a shirt for a little bit, because the price is going to drop.

............I should be sleeping right now.  I'm writing this at 5:45.

My bench session last night was tough and I was tired afterwards, however my sleep has not been good for the last week and a half.   Though it hasn't really caught up with me in training yet, I know it eventually will.  Even my lunesta isn't helping right now, as I wake up at around 3:45 a.m and am wide awake.  It's not unusual for me to have bouts like this, I'm just not happy about it while trying to getting ready for this meet.

Speaking of which, my training partner, all 119 pounds of her at 5'9" and 14, smoked a 90 pound bench last night.  Super proud of her.  She wanted to go heavier but I told her no.  That if she had a miss it would really mess with training.  She listened, and then proceeded to do 10 sets of 8 with 65 pounds, with a pause on the last rep of every set.

I've been thinking about writing total beginners book, because I get SO many questions from noobs every week.  I know how frustrating it can be to sweat every detail and feel overwhelmed in the weight room because you think you have to get everything right.  I'm not sure about it, but it's been tossed around in my coconut lately.

I don't have a ton to go over right now.  Training is going good, eating is solid, conditioning is solid, I feel good overall.  I'm probably jinxing myself by writing that somehow.

I will also be in Springfield, MO this weekend to support a trainee I have been helping.  It's early so I can't remember the meet federation, but if you happen to be reading this and are going to be there, come say hello.

Out!






Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Meet training week 3 - Bench

Bodyweight - 247

Close Grip Pause Bench -
barx50,20
135x15
225x5
275x4
315x3
365x2
405x1

365x3,3,3

315x8,8,8

Incline Db Press -
110's x 8
150's x 4  just too fucking tired after all the benching.  Didn't feel heavy, just ran out of gas after the 3 reps.  You'll see on the vid.

Flex Row - stack x 8,8,8

Notes - Really solid session.  I got some vids this time so you can get an idea of the bar speed I'm getting on all of my sets.  Nothing is heavy.  All fast and crisp.





Strength, Life, Legacy on sale in paperback

99% of the questions I get each week are answered in Strength, Life, Legacy.  I swear it.  

I write it so you can read it.  It's all in there.  

Another awesome testimonial



Paul, just wanted you to know that today was my "test day". I programmed Strong 15 for a 405 squat, 250 bench, and 405 dead. I have been lifting for about a year now and am still learning the ropes. I decided to massage your stuff and add a little more reps to the big lifts and moved my goals a little during the 9 weeks. Today I hit an easy 405 on the squat. I actually had to check the plates to make sure I added correctly. Blasted a very easy 275 on bench and pulled 435. To say I was stoked would be an understatement!

I know I didn't follow your plan to a T but using your philosophies as a base line gave me the insight I needed to get it done. A year ago I was a skinny fat 6-2, 185#. Today, I am a much much harder 200lbs and feel 10 times better.

I truly appreciate your blog and what you stand for. Thank you so much for your honest, no nonsense approach.

Jason Stewart

Monday, March 18, 2013

Base building part 10 - Peaking

Peaking -

I get called dogmatic at times.  This makes me laugh hysterically.

If I use my own search engine and do an exact search for "works for you" and I find three pages of me writing, basically that you have to find things that work for you, and stick with them.  Make them part of your OWN training philosophy.

I don't really care what anyone writes or says about me, one of the biggest themes I constantly harp on is to be your own scientist in the gym.  Experiment and find out what resonates with your training soul.  This is because you're going to do the things you enjoy doing, and get very good at them.  This generally makes for far more productive training cycles, and also plays into consistency.

So for those that have said, written, farted, whatever, that I'm dogmatic.  Fuck you.  There.  How about that?

One philosophy of training idea that I refuse to budge on, however, is strength peaking.  It's been proven over...and over...and over...and over again.  All of the strongest raw lifters I know, and I mean 500+ benchers, 800+ squatters and pullers, will all tell you that they can't lift those weights year round.  They have to peak in order to be able to hit those kinds of weights.  If you do not believe in peaking that's fine.  My guess is, you've been stuck at around the same max weights for a very long time.  Every guy that I know, even the strong ones, that train at damn near max poundages all the time, don't improve a whole lot year after year.

I used to train this way, and while I feel that every guy has to go through those trials and learning, eventually you reach a level where there is a point of diminishing returns.  The body is not going to stay at peak strength levels year around.  I don't care who told you they can, or they have, or whatever.  They don't.  They generally short change themselves by training above that 90+% intensity range all of the time, and fail to improve very much once they get there.  If you're hitting a 550 squat in the gym, and you hit 560 at the meet....uhhhhh how good was your training?  Not very.

Base building into peaking - 

One of the things that starting dawning on me was that training should seamlessly lead right into a peaking cycle, without a lot of the ups and downs that happens with high intensity training.  I'm not talking about Mike Mentzer here either.  I'm talking training stupid heavy all of the time.

One of the reasons I think a lot of guys fight against the base building philosophy is because it can be very boring at times.  For example last Thursday I just destroyed everything I had programmed for me in the squat and dead session.  Now, if you're a guy that just goes all out on those days, which I used to, you slap on 90-100 more pounds and go to town, so you can be the big shot at the gym.  However I've really come to an understanding of just how much fatigue those type of sessions cause, and the steep curve of recovery the body must climb out of.  To me, it's not worth it anymore to give in to the +10% session, only to have days or weeks of sub par training sessions for a single good workout.  That runs counter to the method of applying consistency.

One of the things I like so much about base building and the philosophy around it, is that you are basically in an acclimation phase year round.  Never detrained, and never more than a few weeks out from peak strength.  This is ideal for everyone regardless of whether you are an athlete, powerlifting, fighter, whatever.

So how have I been programming lately to meet these needs?  That's a long fucking article, but we'll start with the true "offseason."

Offseason - 

This could be a many part article all in one but I am going to condense it for now.

Your offseason should be spent doing things to get bigger, and improve muscular areas that help increase your lifts.  Basically, it's bodybuilding.

Now you can run the big-15 to do that, and that's what I did for the better part of my training life.  However as we get older and more tread gets taken off the tires, we have to change these things in order to make our training still work for us, without killing us.

This past offseason I knew I needed to bring my quads up.  So tons of leg extensions with high volume, then high volume fronts.  Generally done at 225-275 pounds for sets of 5 for 5-10 sets all depending on how I felt.  This allowed me to hit a super easy 405 front while my leg was still not 100%.

Later when I had less pain in my quad/hip I added squats back in.  Now I'm pretty much back to 100%, though I still get some tenderness in the right quad the day after squats and pulls.  No biggie at this point though.

You should be spending your offseason working movements that are harder and more difficult than the main lifts.  For example, if you squat low bar go high bar.  Do front squats.  Do pause squats.  For deadlifts, pull off of a deficit or pull sumo for a while.  Pull off blocks every few weeks as well.  For bench, lots of pause benches and db work or cambered bar bench to increase the ROM.  If you bench wider, go close grip a lot.

Base building into peaking - 

We're going to use the strong-15 short cycle in order to peak, with a 4 week acclimation phase in front of it.

So....

Weeks 1 - 4 acclimation base building -
Squats -
week 1 - 65% x1  60% 4x5
week 2 - 68% x1  60% 4x5
week 3 - 70% x1  60% 4x5
week 4 - 75% x1  60% 4x5
week 5 - start strong-15 short cycle

Deadlifts - done after squats
week 1 - 1x3 for each intensity 55% 60% 65% 70%
week 2 - 1x3 for each intensity 55% 60% 65% 70%
week 3 - 1x3 for each intensity 55% 60% 65% 70%
week 4 - 1x3 for each intensity 55% 60% 65% 70%
week 5 - start strong-15 short cycle

Bench -
week 1 - 80%x1  70%  3x8  60% 2x10
week 2 - 80%x1  70%  3x8  60% 2x10
week 3 - 85%x1  80%  3x3  70% 2x8
week 4 - 85%x1  80%  3x3  70% 2x8
week 5 - start strong-15 short cycle

Weeks 5 - 9 strong-15 short cycle - Base the short cycle around hitting 90% in the final week, of what your goal is.

The point of this 4 week phase is to work on being more explosive with your reps, and trying to get that work done in less time.  This means you will be essentially increasing your work capacity without actually doing more work.  Some may want to argue that point, but I don't care.  You don't have to actually do more work, to be capable of doing more work.  The point is to be able to get the same amount of work done in less time, or with less effort (i.e. doing the 4 sets of 5 is "easier" every week).

As you can see, the overwarm up method in the strong-15 method is still there, ramping each week.  You have 2 options from there.  Either run the cycle as is, meaning you base the cycle off of your actual goal, or scale it back so that you hit 90% of your goal in week 9.  In the latter scenario, you won't program the short cycle actually based on what you're going to hit at the meet, or peak for.  This leads me to believe that I will probably rework the short cycle in the future a bit, so to make it slightly more effective.  Because as everyone has found, programming lighter tends to allow for a much steeper supercompensation curve.

My current bench cycle doesn't look exactly like this because I have to incline every other week to keep my shoulder healthy.  But that is the gist of it.



Saturday, March 16, 2013

Meet Training - Week 2 - Support work

Bodyweight - 247

Cable rows - up to the stack x 15
V-Bar Row Downs - up to the stack x 8
Flex Machine Seated Shrugs - up to 365x12
Good Mornings - 155 x 4 sets of 10
Decline Sit ups - 4x15

Notes - Tired as heck.  But it's just assistance so who cares?  Need to do some good girl/bad girl work too.  Will get that in tomorrow.

Friday, March 15, 2013

2002 - 2013 - Before and after

Since someone asked me if I had any pics from the days I was training to go back into the military.............


Lessons learned...lessons lost

Life reminds us of our past on a pretty regular basis, in the form of our actions related to things that can affect our present, and possibly our future.

Bad jobs, bad friendships, bad romances, and bad experiences in general tend to leave the most profound of all the emotional baggage we live with.

The scorned woman will tell you with supreme vivacity and recount to you every detail about the time she was cheated on.  She will seldom talk about all the times someone was entirely faithful to her.

The bitter man will speak with fervor about the friend who betrayed him, but ask him to speak of all the times others gave him support in the neediest of times, and he's far more absent minded and lukewarm.

People often say or write that our past shapes us, and makes us who we are.  What does it say about the scorned and the bitter, that the things in the past they cling to the most, and the most awful of things that happened to them?



I suppose you could chalk it up to self preservation.  In order to fully trust someone, you must make yourself vulnerable to them.  This is often the hardest hurdle for people to overcome in life because the things in our past that we cling to.  People often refer to emotional wounds or bad past experiences as "scars" however I think "scabs" would be more appropriate.  Scars are the reminders left with us in regards to wounds that occurred.  But a scab.......

scab
/skab/

Noun

A dry, rough protective crust that forms over a cut or wound during healing.


A scab is something that is protective over a wound, that is not completely healed.  The scabs of our life are the things we do to protect ourselves from getting wounded in the same way again.  We instinctively avoid the emotional pain associated with trusting someone or giving in to someone because you know what, "this one time this person I loved and trusted did this to me, so never again....."

 The lesson learned from that scab, is not to trust.  Not to love.  Not to be vulnerable, and not to forgive.

The lesson lost is that we are here to love.  To forgive.  To make ourselves vulnerable so that we can do those things wholly, and with little regret.  

The lesson lost, is that we are here to hurt also.  The pain of being human and being vulnerable  is reminded to us through learning these lessons.  

The longer you seal yourself off from those things the more empty and hollow your life becomes, and it will not protect you forever.  Solitude will not keep you eternally safe.  Eventually loneliness will get the better of you, and you will yearn harder for that space to be filled than the temporary shelter of solitude.  

A good friend, a wonderful companion, someone to share the most significant moments in your life with...that is what you will miss  Someone that, over time, will erase the scabs of the past and allow you to let go of being afraid to be vulnerable.  But in order to allow that to happen, you must allow someone (or some thing) to actually do that.

If you want no better example of that, contrast the lessons learned and lost in the relationships we have with people, and with our pets.  

Think of the best dog you ever owned, and lost.  You don't think of betrayal or mistrust.  You don't think of how he or she may have cheated on you, by wanting so badly to be petted by other people that came over to visit.  You never questioned their loyalty to you because of that.  You knew that their adoration and dedication to you, was unwavering.  When they passed away, you missed them.  You cried and hurt and went through all the things that reminds us of mortality and just how temporal things in this world can be.

You probably eventually owned another dog.  You may have loved it just as much as the previous one.  

Losing the one dog, didn't keep you from owning and loving another dog.  You still know that one day, you'll lose this new pup as well.  That cycle of love and grief will again be put into play.  But no scab ever forms.  The lasting thing, the lasting lesson, was the companionship, love, and time you were able to share together.  



This is because you always feel deserving of that love.  That time.  That loyalty.  You give those things to the pup, and they are returned right back to you ten fold.  Unconditionally.  We generally don't shy away from ever owning another dog or growing close to it because we afraid of loss (though it does happen, I still haven't gotten a new pup since Dozer died, but I will eventually).  We embrace that feeling because the time we get with them, and the experiences we share, either outweighs the pain of losing them, or we deem the pain worth it.  

With people, we have trouble admitting such things unless we lose someone because their time is up, and not because they walked away from us.  When that happens, it puts so many things back into perspective.  Good friends that pass away make you realize the value and importance of understanding and learning the lessons of friendship.  

The love a good parent has for their kids.  The lessons learned of being a great mother or father.  

The love shared in a lasting marriage or romance.  The lessons learned in what it is to give your heart to someone, and have that reciprocated.  

When we think of the loss of these people in our life, or these relationships, we know how important these lessons are to learn.  



Life is not short.  It's the longest thing you will ever do.  It's up to you to decide if the lessons learned will be the ones that caused scabs, or if those will be your lessons lost.  In the end, you will only receive the lessons, love, and friendship that you believe you deserve.  

To the people in my life that love me unconditionally, that give me friendship and support even when I feel like I don't always deserve it....thank you.  

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Meet training - Week 2 - Squats and tugs and what to do with +10% session

Bodyweight - 249

Squats -

barx20,10
135x10
225x5
315x4
385x3
405x2
445x1

385x5,5 low bar

High Bar Pause Squats - 385x5,5

Deficit Deads -
315x3
425x3
455x3
500x3

225x20

Notes - Does anything look different?  Any PR's set?  Nope.  Anything worth mentioning on paper?  Note.  However the deficit triple at 500 was so fast I almost fell backwards off the block.

What you wouldn't see was how fast everything moved.  I felt phresh, because I have not been killing myself. Yes it's just week 2, however I actually want to stay phresh the entire 9 weeks going into this meet.  I might take something semi heavy the last week or two, however I will do as little grinding as possible.

Military Fitness Preparation

I have hesitated on writing this for a long time for a few reasons.

1.  I have not trained guys going into the military.

I feel like in order to really write or speak intelligently on a subject you need more than self application.  I mean, just because you masturbate doesn't mean you're an expert in the art of handjobs.

2.  When I was training for reenlistment, my paperwork to get back in fell through (because I was prior service and as many know, the military is strange about windows of who it is letting in at the time, and why).

So I never got to actually apply the almost-year of training I put in to get ready to at least try to get into a high speed unit.

But I'm going to write it anyway because I've been asked so many times.

Let me preface this by saying, the reason all of this happened is because like many Americans, after 9/11 I desired to serve my country again.  It's really that simple.  However because everyone was enlisting at the time, or reenlisting, the military was being pretty picky about the prior service it was letting back in.  Regardless of branch (I know, I tried them all except the Navy.  I had no wants to do 6 months of mandatory sea duty).

I am drawing a lot from memory because this was a long time ago, but I will do the best I can.

When I started adjusting my training, the guy I got a lot of my stuff from was Stew Smith.  Former Navy SEAL who is also a strength and conditioning specialist.  So if you REALLY want to read how to train for this shit, he's the guy you should go check out.

My training took place over about 10 months or so.  During that time I believe I dropped from around 230 or so, to 198-202.  I was incredibly lean.  I remember being able to wear size 28 jeans, if that tells you anything.

Lifting - 

I pared my lifting back to just a few movements.  I'm talking actual free weights here.  Namely.....

1.  Squats
2.  Clean and press
3.  Deadlifts
4.  Incline

I remember doing 315x30 for squats, and clean and press with 135 for what seemed like a day, non stop.  I remember doing lots of sets of 225 on incline for reps.  I can remember deadlifting but I'm not sure how pathetic it was, or how I trained it.  I do remember doing a lot of supersets of deadlifts and stiff legs.  That was so much fun!

That was the mainstay of my free weight work.  The rest of my training was really centered around bodyweight work.

1.  Lunges
2.  Chins (more than you can ever imagine)
3.  Push ups (more than you can ever imagine)
4.  Sit-ups (more than you can ever imagine)
5.  Dips (about what you could imagine)

In the morning, as soon as I rolled out of bed I hit the floor and did as many push ups as I could.  Then without stopping, as many sit ups as I could.  I would eat breakfast, and repeat this before I left for work.  At work, after lunch I would walk around the entire complex that I worked at.  It was more than a mile and I tried to walk it as fast as possible in dress shoes.  Some would say "ouch" but my mentality at the time was that the more uncomfortable I was, the better.

As soon as I got home, as many push ups and sit ups as I could hit were done.  Then I'd lift.  I can't remember what my split was, but I do remember doing the calisthenics pyramid circuit that I've outlined here many times.


Lunges - 5,10,15,20,25,20,15,10,5
Push Ups - 5,10,15,20,25,20,15,10,5
Sit Ups - 5,10,15,20,25,20,15,10,5
Dips - 5,10,15,20,25,20,15,10,5
Chins - 3,6,9,12,15,12,9,6,3
Flutter Kicks - 5,10,15,20,25,20,15,10,5

I would do a round, then rest for 1 minute.  Then do the next ladder.  So forth and so on.

I pretty much just spent all of my time, or as much as I could, doing chins, push ups, and sits ups, as far as training went.  I remember being able to do 120+ push ups in two minutes (which was my goal), and 100+ sit-ups.  I wanted to be able to destroy the graduation standards so that even if I got a bit detrained early (which I read can happen) I'd still be in good shape.

Running, swimming, and shit - 

When I first started running, well, it was fucking sad.  I don't think I could make it a mile without having to walk.  So I did what I always do when I want to get better at something.  I read and apply, until I find what works.

The two things I knew I could do was walk (hur hur hur), and sprint.

So I started running/walking for time.  Every Saturday I would do 30 minutes.  I didn't care how far I got, I just did 30 minutes.  Some jogging, some walking.  One other day of the week, I (tried) to run the mile.  Then another day of the week, I'd do my usual sprints, or hills.

The great thing about getting into shape is, the body responds very fast.  I remember very soon being able to run the mile easily, and then my "job/walk" was all jog for 45 minutes, then eventually 90 minutes.  I ended up adding in a day where I would run 3 miles, end up at the community pool, swim 500 meters, then jog another mile home.  This alternated the day where I would run the mile.  Yes, I kept the mile run in.  I tried to run it as hard as possible every week.  Eventually I broke into the 6:00-something time.  Which for a 5'11" 200 pounder I felt like wasn't too awful.

On Saturdays I eventually added in a swimming session to the afternoon as well.  Generally 500-2000 meters.  I also practiced my 50 meter underwater swims.  I know, not entirely smart but hey, you do what you gotta do.

I also took my sprint days to the track.  I would do 12 1/4 mile sprints in 90 seconds, with two minutes of rest in between.  This REALLY took my running to a new level.  On the weekend run for time I ran much longer at a faster pace.  Pretty simple, it's all about progression right?

I think by the end my schedule looked something like this......

Monday - mile run or run with swim

Wednesday - track

Saturday - run for time, then swim in the afternoon

I trained every day, pretty much all day long.  I was also fortunate to have a job I hated that sucked the life out of me.  It's much harder to go home and train after a day of stress on the job.  To me, this wasn't a bad thing.  It was a good thing.  I knew that no matter how bad my day was, it'd be 10X harder at the indoc course.  So on the days I felt shittiest, I generally had the most motivation.

That's my round up about training for the military.  Again, most of the stuff that I incorporated came from Stew Smith, and then I tweaked as I went along.

I do remember this.  I got in such shape that I literally could not make myself tired or winded.  I tried everything possible to do so, but couldn't.  I remember doing 100 non stop bodyweight squats, then sprinting half a mile about as fast as I could, resting for 30 seconds, and doing it again.  It's pretty amazing what the body will eventually turn into when you keep pushing it further and further along.

I have no idea if this is ideal for anyone, but it's basically what I did.  I wish anyone enlisting the military the best of luck and my advice is to prepare to destroy all of the physical fitness tests.  NOT meet the stop standard, but destroy it.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Old dudes setting PR's

Old dudes setting PR's. Awesome.

Notice how once he stopped fucking maxing out, he got stronger? I know, it's alien concept to some but actually training to get stronger doesn't require strength demonstrations. I know, it's fucking weird and shit..........

=========================================

Paul,

Just wanted to say thanks. I set a pr of 340 lbs. in the squat last night. My previous best was 325 lbs. (set last November). I was one of those guys that kept training the squat above 90%. Since November, I couldn't get past 315. I would struggle with that weight most of the time. My typical squat workout was : bar x20, bar x20, 135 x5, 185 x3, 225 x1, 275 x1, then anywhere up to 315 x1. Quite a few of these workouts, the 275 x1 would almost bury me and I would call it quits for the day.

Around Christmas, I bought LRB-365. I really wanted to beat my previous max in the squat. I started the week after New Year's. I programmed in 340 lbs. (maybe too ambitious) and got to work, following the program exactly as you laid it out. Well, 9 weeks later, I squatted 340 lbs. I've got to tell you, at 52 years old, I didn't think I would be breaking any records, I am so pumped now. I'm thinking of running the LRB short cycle and programming a modest 345 lbs. and seeing how that goes.

So, thanks Paul for all your hard work and getting the information out. You've given me inspiration to keep training and not to give up on my goals.

Brian Foley

LRB shirt appreciation day

Just thought I'd post up some pics of peeps donning their LRB shirts.

Maybe I need to come up with some LRB boy shorts......with "BANG" on the butt.  I think this seems like a great idea.











Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Meet Training - Week 2 - Pressing

Bodyweight - 250

Incline Press -
barx50,20
135x10
185x5
225x4
275x3
315x2
365x2

315x5,5,5,5,5,5,5,8

Db Bench Press - 110's x 8, 150's x 8

Flex Machine Rows - 8 sets of 8-12

notes - I thought this was going to be a complete shit fest because I felt awful before I got to the gym, but I ended up feeling pretty good once the clangin and bangin started.

Monday, March 11, 2013

365 Testimonial

I fucking love getting these.  I swear it never gets old, and I always feel like a kid in a condom store.  Totally confused and weirded out.

I'm just kidding, of course.  A huge thanks to Tom for writing in but more importantly, way to kick ass and do shit right, Tom.  Congrats on the massive PR.

Hi Paul,
I just wanted to drop you a message saying thanks! Last year I bought and devoured strength-life-legacy, so when I saw you wrote LRB 365 I snapped it up instantly.

With the new year I was excited to run the LRB 365 program. Initially I had no idea what to program for my lifts as I had not approached a 1RM for anything except squatting in over a year. While I tried to program conservatively, hindsight being 20-20 I could have dropped the poundage a bit further.

Anyway, I'm elated to say that I blew away all my expectations in testing today! I programmed for 465 on the deadlift and ended up pulling 500! I've never really tested before, so I wasn't sure if I should attempt the other lifts in the same session or not. In the end I went with "go for it" and hit my programming goals of 410 squat and 270 bench easily, but I was too tired to attempt anything further. Once I started second-guessing myself as I started to tire, I think I killed it for me. Doesn't matter though; I'm super happy with my results.

As an aside, in my free time I'm a juggler and acrobat. With all the progress I've been making, my troupe had an old-school, leopard print, strongman costume made for me. It's pretty crazy to see what hard work and dedication -- what simply not missing a workout or lift for 3 months, will do. And, speaking as a former fat-kid, it's totally awesome to be able to move and lift anything and in anyway I choose. Never noticed how much I couldn't do until I found out what I was capable of. Being able to be a base for four other people to hang off of is fucking awesome. (www.detroitcircus.info if you're curious; I'm the fire breather)



So basically, I just wanted to say thanks for all the knowledge and inspiration you've given. Looking forward to the conditioning cycle coming up for the spring! And, after today's results, I'm definitely going to check a meet this year.


Thanks again!


-Tom Joseph

Base building part 9 - Consistency trumps all - section B


Over-training or under-recovering?

Managing fatigue is basically what people talk about when they speak of "over-training", which would really be better described as "under recovering".  I think it's too hard to identify how much work is too much for each person, however everyone should have an idea of the amount of time they will need off between certain kinds of training sessions (because all  training sessions are not equal), how to eat properly in order to facilitate recovery, and how much sleep they should be getting.

When you just say "fuck you" to the weights


Yes, eating and sleeping are a part of managing recovery and fatigue, however your body has limited reserves for everything in regards to overcoming brutally hard training sessions.  You can't just train for hours on end, day in and day out without also accounting for the bodies need to recover from said training.  Ignoring this facet of training is dumb and ignorant.  If recovery is a part of training, yet you can't really put a finger on all of the things you do to help aid recovery, then is it REALLY a part of your programming and training methodology?

All of these things play a part in the fatigue/recovery/supercompensation curve -

Sleeping
Eating
Stress management outside of the gym (seriously, if all you do is train, eat, and sleep your stress levels are pretty low in comparison to working a stressful job, dealing with crazy women and bananas children and/or teens)
Volume
Frequency
Intensity

So using that same model, how do you design programming and create a training philosophy that creates productive training CONSISTENTLY?

A few ways.

It's you, not the training system - Whether you use any of my training methodologies or 5/3/1 or whatever you use, you have to remember that you are using a method.  The method still requires you to massage it to fit your needs.  You can't just grab a routine or a training system or programming, and run with it and expect it to meet every need you have, and fulfill all of your dirty little fantasies.  If it does, lucky you.  More than likely however, just like internet surfing for porn, you'll need to dick around for a little while before you find something that suits your fancy.

Think of it like this.  Smolov has been proven to work great for guys who want to get a quick jump in their squat.  Or has it?  I've read tons of times where guys wrote that they tried Smolov, and that it causes injuries or they started missing lifts and got too crispy on it.

So Smolov didn't work for them, right?

Wrong.  They programmed incorrectly for that template.  I know this, because I did it myself.  You do not plug in a TRUE MAX for Smolov.  You plug in an everyday max (sound familiar?) to use it with.  You're not supposed to be setting rep PR's with Smolov.  If you were trying to do that, then you used the training system incorrectly.  This applies to every training system and method out there.  Without proper application from you, it will not be efficient.  Consistency and production with be poor because of YOUR poor efficiency 

Stop maxing - The best way to take your strength levels to a halt, is to start grinding weights, and maxing all the time.

Everyone knows that guy in the gym that works up to a REAL MAX every week on bench.......for a year (years?).  I've seen this for over 2 decades.  This guy exists in every gym in America, and shows up at around 6 P.M. or so, every Monday.  Wearing his t-shirt that he cut the sides completely out of, and after talking up his "bros" for a while he flops down on the bench.  He warms up for a few sets, then with his feet dancing all over place, he eventually hits a max...with the same fucking weight he hit the week before. Then he does a bunch of incline, decline, cable crossovers, and curls in the cable crossover machine where he can hit the double bi pose.

He never gets any better because he's not really strength training.  He's strength demonstrating.  As noted in the article that Dr. Yessis wrote for elitefts that I linked last week, there are strength benefits up and down the intensity board.  From 50% to 100%.  However the 70-80% tends to be a pretty sweet zone for the great majority of guys, pretty much without exception, yet the 90+% seems to be the one most strength athletes in America abuse.  There's really no reason to be taking attempts at 1 rep maxes in the gym.  It doesn't build strength, and I thought the purpose of strength training was well, to do that very thing.  For those that want to argue that point, if all it took was doing max, or damn near max singles to get stronger, then just line up a powerlifting meet every weekend and you'll total bigger at each and every one.  You know this won't happen, because it doesn't work that way.

I know some guys don't like this, but that's really how it is.  When you're not very strong maybe you can max every week for a while and get better.  Eventually however, that has a cap to it, and the body will give you a very big "fuck you" in regards to getting better using that method.

Stop getting injured - 
This one seems easy.  Or at least, easier said than done.  The longer you can stay healthy, the longer the "unbroken chain" of training cycles becomes.  You can do this more easily, by again working in intensity zones that are less hazardous the majority of the time, that still get you mack truck strong.  This may sound like "pussy talk" to some, but that's the problem with the mentality of most guys these days.  They feel like if the bar isn't loaded to the ends, then training isn't productive.  It's just not the case, and by no means is this a "Hardgainer" type mentality. I believe that brutally hard training has a time and place.  However, that has to be managed properly through a training cycle, or over time, lest you end up needing to take time off.  What happens when you have to do that?  Progress is set back a bit, and you end up having to "rev up" again over a few weeks just to find your baseline again.  Why do that, when it might be possible to avoid lay offs and injury by training in zones your body willing to, for long periods at a time?

no idea what Jamie Koeppe has to do with what I wrote  but you're not really complaining are you?


The essential key in "consistency" is simply to keep training in a productive fashion.  Well, injuries are generally the main cause in the halting of productive training.  That, and layoffs from general "I need a break".  If you can cut both of those out, and still be productive, then you're really on to something.

The other part of not getting injured is doing things like 1 legged work, mobility work, and appropriate prehab work.  Curls, split squat, supermans, cuff work, etc and of course the 100 rep sets to push a ton of blood through an area.

Stack up 80% sessions, avoid +10% and -10% sessions  "emotionally" -  If you don't know what all this means, it's my grading system for how the training session went.  A 80% session means it was a solid.  You got the work in and things got done.   A -10% session means it was atrocious.  A +10% session means you felt like you could single handily destroy a Viking horde with a baby rattle and fat kindergarten pencil as your only weapons.

It's hard to keep things in check on a +10% day.  When every weight feels light, and you feel strong as hell.  You always want to do more sets, more reps, more weight.  The issue with this, is that you ALWAYS pay for that from a fatigue standpoint.  In other words, your body has ramped to that +10% day, because recovery has been in place, and the body is in supercompensation mode.  Basically that means your training is working.  Or at least it is on that day.  But what did I write about not thinking of training in terms of being in a vacuum?

KK has been consistently awesome for a while now


If you REALLY track your 80% +10% and -10% days on a spreadsheet, you would see (most of you) that after a +10% day you're going to have a lot of really low level 80% days and some -10%'s thrown in there.

People don't account for the steeper recovery curve that comes with a +10% session, and you really kick your own ass.  What I have come to the conclusion of is this.  The +10% session are generally the result of all of the really solid 80% session you have been doing via not killing yourself.  It's almost like a mini-peak.  Then like any peak, you tend to fall off a bit.

So what's the answer here?  Bar speed.

If you want to take advantage of the +10% session then don't vary the volume or intensity.  Simply work on being more explosive that day.  Yes, that is boring and sucks because you don't get to load the bar up and impress all the bros and ladies at the gym.   However, the next week you also aren't feeling like an assclown because you can barely eek out a few reps with 80% of that.

Conclusion - 

Consistency is really something that is made up of a lot of other factors.  Even more than I can touch on here.  However what we're really trying to define it as, is something you do in a productive manner over a long period of time.

Productivity meaning, getting better....stronger.  And you don't need to test 1RM's in order to know that you got stronger.

Your training also doesn't have to beat the living shit out of you, nor will you be able to maintain that kind of training pace over a long period of time.

If guys from decades ago could put together 12, 16, 20+ week training cycles that were productive then there's really no reason you can't either.  It's because they understand that there was a whole picture to be seen, and that single workouts didn't exist in a vacuum or "win the war".  That getting better slowly, over a long period built a better and more solid foundation.  And that's exactly what base building is.

Good sleep
Great diet
Adjusting volume, frequency, and intensity to meet YOUR needs (enough to grow and get stronger from, but also train frequently enough at a high level to further progress)
Managing outside the gym stress levels
Prehab work

Add all of these up together in order to put together long training cycles that require little to no layoff time.

Up next - 

Next up, Imma talk about how a base building cycle can run right into a peaking cycle.  This is what I am currently doing for the Nationals in May.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Training - Assistance/Support work

Bodyweight - 248

Cable Rows - up to stack x 12
Row Downs - up to stack x 8
Flex Machine Shrugs - triple drop - 365x8 - 275x8 - 185x8  This machine is fucking HEAVY.
Good Mornings - 155 x 4 sets of 10
Decline Sit Ups - 3x15 up to a whopping 10 pound plate behind the head
Twisty Machine - 2x10

Notes - I've got this intensity and volume thing for support work really nailed down.  I don't get psyched or get too "up" for any of it.  I make sure I make the actual muscles do work, and I don't sacrifice form to move more weight.  God I sound like a fucking douche article from a Muscle rag.  But seriously, I've dialed the intensity WAY back on assistance.  Why the fuck people go super heavy on this shit boggles my mind now.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff - Friday juice edition

Talked to my best buddy Pegg last night for a while.  He's always very quotable and in regards to some shit I've been dealing with, he told me "at some point you have to decide if the juice is worth the squeeze."  

Indeed.

Ok for everyone starting phase 2 of 365, it's 100 rep curls and any tricep work you want.  I realize I wasn't specific in that section however that's probably because I don't think some tricep isolation work will make or break the program.  Just do 5x20 with something.  There.  Happy?

Don't expect my training log to look exciting for quite a few weeks.  I sat down for weeks to figure out how to work in the base building methodology to the strong-15 and I finally got it all figured out, and I'm pretty excited about it.  As always, I will not promote or sell something that I have not done.  I refuse to sell a methodology that I haven't put into practice myself.  I think this is a big reason why so many guys and gals that end up running my programs have such great success.  It's been applied and works, especially when you apply it with the principles I've outlined, and not with your ego.

Oh in case you didn't know, I am doing the USPF Nationals in Chicago the weekend of May 10th-12th.  I will be there all weekend for the most part.  If you read LRB or have bought any of my stuff, for the love of God, come say hi and let me shake your hand.

Anyway back to my training log, don't expect to see anything special.  I will be concentrating on being more explosive with the bitch weights I am using for at least another three weeks.  Last nights squats were fast and explosive however I know they can be better.  I also fucked up by not doing all of my back offs high bar, since I dropped fronts now.  I need the quad work and that's what the high bar work is for.  I do all of the over warm ups low bar however.  Best of both worlds.

I'm 248 here but don't let that fool you, I'm really 250 99% of the time.  


The same with pulls.  They will be done on a small deficit (just a 45 pound plate), around the 70% range for as fast as I can.  I will say I have not pulled after squats in a while.  I forgot just how tiring it is, but also how much more confident you are if you can rip certain weights off the floor AFTER lots of squatting.  I meant to do hypers last night after the pulls as well however I forgot a lot of things for last night, so I guess it was just par for course.

I haven't been logging it, but almost every morning I do a small session with 20 minutes of steady state.

Here is what I do and maybe you can see why -

Monday - optional for an a.m. session, if so generally upright rows, triceps, biceps
Tuesday - Bench - on bench days this is literally just bench and maybe some rows.  The next week it's incline and that's it.
Wendseady - a.m. upright rows, triceps, biceps
Thursday - Squat and pull - Squat and pull only.  Maybe some hypers.
Friday - a.m. good girl and bad girl machine, calves
Saturday - Back and Hams - This is generally Cable rows, Rowdowns (yes rowdowns god dammit), shrugs, and Good Mornings.
Sunday - a.m. rear delts, abs, obliques, and whatever else I need.  I might throw in some leg curls here.

Quality food list - 

If you haven't "liked" the LRB facebook page I generally update it with shit weekly that doesn't always go on here because well, it's easier.

For example my quality food list..........


My current quality food list, since I've been asked about it quite a bit this week -

free range whole eggs
coconut oil
organic butter
organic chicken and beef, wild caught salmon
white and sweet potatoes
oatmeal
nut butters
almonds
cottage cheese
organic frozen berries
jasmine rice
ezekiel bread
organic jelly
broccoli
asparagus

supps -
whey protein iso and casein hydro
vitargo
animal paks

Stimulants - 

I don't use any stims for preworkout. Maybe a monster now and then, but I think stims can keep fatigue levels masked and fuck with recovery, inhibiting a certain amount of fatigue awareness. This is totally my opinion and I have zero science behind it, nor can I think of a way to prove that with science.

I just think that if you can't get it done with your nutrition something must be off, i.e. you're not managing your fatigue levels correctly with your training volume/frequency.



Who would want this shirt?


I have no idea if I'd really sell it because I can just hear the whining from the feminist crew (don't be sexist....bitches hate that!).  It was a comment on my Facebook page from Larry Brown and I thought it was hilarious.  It was based on a comment related to Alistair Overeem.


Lastly, some Friday "motivation" about life -


What someone else thinks you can or can't do or accomplish is completely fucking irrelevant in your life. They have no power or control over that.

If you want to invite devastation into your life and live a hollow existence, then go ahead and base your goals on proving other people wrong. If you win, it will never taste as sweet as you expected it to taste. If you lose, the bitterness will be worse than you could have ever imagined.

Live within yourself, design your own world, and the aspirations you have for it. Stop living through heroes and ghosts and become whatever it is YOU desire most in life. Never compromise your vision or deter from your path because someone else tells you "you can't".

The only thing you CAN'T do, is see your goals and needs come to fruition when you're wasting time trying to prove others wrong.