Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Training - Press

Bodyweight - 273

Incline Press -

405x4 PR

315 x 10,10,10,8

V-Bar Pulldowns - 4 sets of 8
Meadows Shrugs - 4 sets of 12

Notes - After yesterday's training version of "two girls one cup" I went back in today and had a nice little training session.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

6 week specialization training testimonial

No training method can work miracles but sometimes the results can be pretty awesome.

Here is one such case from a Viren Desai, whose overhead press had been stuck for a while and enlisted my help.

Viren wanted to overhead press 225 in 6 weeks. A 20 pound improvement over his best of 205. I thought his goal was a bit lofty, but doable if everything fell into place. Viren sent me this testimonial after 6 weeks of running one of my personalized programs.....



You have helped me in MANY ways. In the beginning I would read all of your posts on Facebook and read all of your articles on your site. I took in as much advice as possible.

First advice I took from you was cut down my training days, I stopped training 6 days a week and I cut it down to 3 days. I stopped having aches and I was never sluggish and dragging ass. My lifts went up, I got stronger and bigger. I felt more “fresh” going in the gym.

I stopped doing 10-12 exercises per training session. I stuck with the main lifts, squat, bench, deadlift, overhead press, barbell rows, pull-ups etc. I like volume so I would just do high volume with the main lifts. I got fucking stronger. I looked thicker. I’m happy.

I stopped having an “arm” day. I switched to doing 100 rep barbell curls once a week and I would do 100 bodyweight dips once a week. My arms are way bigger now then they were when I had an “arm” day. My bicep tendonitis went away.

Like every strength training individual, we all want huge traps and I would kill myself doing upright rows and shrugs everytime I trained. Traps did not grow. I read one of Paul’s posts and I stopped doing shrugs and upright rows for awhile. I just concentrated on doing heavy barbell rows, and my traps grew.

After seeing Paul’s training videos, I wanted to be big and strong like him. So I hit him up and I started working with him for 6 weeks. It was mainly increasing my standing strict overhead press. Before I started working with him my max was 205. My goal was to hit 225 at the end of 6 weeks, and I DID. Believe it or not, I had a 20 pound PR after 6 weeks. He was always answering my questions and he would help as much as possible during my 6 week cycle.

I still can’t thank him enough. I definitely see myself working with him again.

Thanks again Paul,



If you're interested in the 6 weeks specialization package it's located here.....

Monday, April 28, 2014

Base Building: Squat Specialization

There's something about the squat that's hard to explain in terms of how you feel about training.

I've written this many times.  If your squat is going well, training overall seems to be going well.  I'm not sure why it feels this way to me, but it does.  And I've talked to a lot of guys that reiterated that same notion.  That if their squat was moving well, then all seemed right in the world.

I don't know the reason behind this particular mindset but it seems to be very common.  Even with guys who aren't powerlifters.  Arnold said that when he couldn't squat, his thighs disappeared.  Maybe that was more of a mental thing than his thighs actually shrinking.  Regardless of that, for those of us that squat, it tends to be the barometer we use to judge in how well training is going.

With that being the case, if your squat sucks or has been sucking then the great thing about squats is that it tends to respond really well to more frequent squatting.

We'll use that as the basis for specializing in the squat.

Phase 1 - 3 weeks

Since I like to work training in phases, we'll apply that same methodology here.

The first three weeks will be squatting three times a week, using nothing more than Base Building Model I.

This looks like nothing more than the usual 5x5 type method, and there's a reason for that.  It works.  Especially if your squat sucks.

The main thing to do here is really down program the EDM because you're going to be squatting three times a week, and you don't want to end up with overuse problems.  And I've seen lots of guys that try to pull off the multiple times a week squatting stuff with aching hips and knees because of it.

So the best bet is to program your EDM more along the lines of 85% of so, of your true 1RM (1 rep max).

Here is the routine - First 3 weeks

Monday -
Squats - BBMI
Bench - maintenance work (3 x 8 @ 70%)
Chins - 5 x as many as possible

Wednesday -
Squats - BBMI
Incline - same as bench
Deadlift - 3x3 @ 70%

Friday -
Squats - BBMI
Bench - same as monday
Chest Supported Rows - 2x6 heavy, 2x12 heavy

This is pretty straight forward and simple.  Yet I'm sure someone will ask 23,403 questions about it.  Just run it AS WRITTEN.

Don't bump the weights AT ALL the first three weeks.  Concentrate on bar speed, and reducing time between sets.  If you program your EDM correctly during this time, everything should be flying by week 3 like an empty bar.

Phase 2 -

Same EDM for phase 2, but the volume increases.  As that happens, we will adjust the frequency to twice a week back squatting, and once a week front squatting using model I.

Monday -
Squats - BBM2
Bench - maintenance work (3 x 8 @ 70%)
Chins - 5 x as many as possible

Wednesday -
Front Squats - BBMI
Incline - same as bench
Deadlift - 3x3 @ 70%

Friday -
Squats - BBM2
Bench - same as monday
Chest Supported Rows - 2x6 heavy, 2x12 heavy

Phase 3 -

The last phase we will throw a bit of a curve ball in this in order to develop the quads a bit more.  After 6 weeks of squatting more often than usual, we now want to transition into actually doing a little bit of quad specialization work for the purpose of helping the squat.

Phase 3 you can drag out for 4-6 weeks total if you find everything going really well.  Just deload when you get to the point where you dread squatting.  Which could happen after the three weeks of phase 3 is over.  But if not, just run it until you feel you've milked it for all it's worth.

Monday -
Squats - BBMIII with fatigue singles working up to EDM after work sets.
Bench - maintenance work (3 x 8 @ 70%)
Chins - 5 x as many as possible

Wednesday -
Front Squats - BBMI
Incline - same as bench
Deadlift - 3x3 @ 70%

Friday -
Hack Squats - warm up, then 5 sets of 8 with the same weight.  Pick something that makes it difficult to get all 5 sets of 8 in with.
Bench - same as monday
Chest Supported Rows - 2x6 heavy, 2x12 heavy

Notes -

As you can see, the other lifts are pretty much put in maintenance mode.  You will be pressing three times during the week however this should always be light and crisp for the most part.  Remember, you're doing this to improve your squat.  Not the other lifts.  Don't be surprised if after you get back to "normal" training that they take a big jump though.  I've seen this happen over and over again with "maintenance training".

The entire 9 weeks should be focused on speed and explosiveness.  The models will take care of the intensity and workload.  So once again, make sure to play it safe in regards to picking your EDM.

If you desire to test, then take a week off, then go in and test.  However you should have gotten a good idea about improvement by using the fatigue singles the last three weeks. If your programmed EDM is just ridiculous and you really desire to test, then do so.

Yes you can run this in back to back cycles, but I'd advise taking a week off in between.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Deadlift Rx

Regardless of the macho bravado you read on the internet about "genetics being an excuse", it's a very real thing that your genes and the leverages will play a role in determining your strength ceiling, and overall ability as an athlete.

This is an undeniable truth.

Now let's be clear about something; there's nothing you can do to change your genes.  So bitching about them doesn't serve a whole lot of purpose.  But your leverages DO matter.  Anyone that tells you otherwise is a poster child for mental poverty in regards to lifting intelligence.

If you do have poor leverages in regards to a particular lift, then you're really left with one option.  And the best thing about that is, it's a great option.

Get stronger, and train the lift.

Ok so that's really two options.  So let me expound on that.

Get stronger, train the lift - 

The deadlift, for the longest, was my worst lift.  I won't say it's my best lift, but I no longer feel like it's my red headed step child.  I'm not cursing the living shit out of it weekly and tea bagging the bar after a miss.

Over the last few years, as I was developing Base Building, I finally started to understand a few things about how to make the deadlift move for me.

From a musculature standpoint, I needed to shore up a few areas that played a direct part in the pull.  The first one was simply to build stronger legs, and the second was to get my upperback as and hamstrings as strong as possible.

You need strong legs to be fast off the floor.  And I was slow as a snail going through peanut butter off the floor.

Now you will often read or hear that you should pull from a deficit in order to get stronger off the floor.  But after doing that for a very long time, I didn't find that my speed off the floor was any better.  It wasn't worse, it just wasn't better.

When I actually applied some critical thinking to that as a remedy, I realized that pulling from a big deficit didn't make a whole lot of sense.

Speed off the floor comes from knee extension.  The start off the floor is sort of a "push" by the legs.  In other words, your quads are really the muscles you need to get stronger in order to facilitate more drive off the floor.  So there are two issues with pulling from a large deficit have in regards to building speed from the floor, or building the deadlift in general.

1.  Deficit deadlifts don't build quad strength.  

This is a very "duh" kind of statement, but sometimes common sense is lost in lifting.  I mean, you've never heard a bodybuilder say..."My quads are lacking.  I'm going to do high deficit deadlifts."

Not once.

If the quads contribute to speed off the floor, then you need to be building stronger quads to fix that issue.  Well, as noted, no one has ever done deficit deadlifts to build their quads.  You do squats, pause squats, front squats, leg press, etc to build your quads.

From a muscular perspective, a large deficit in the deadlift actually tends to tax the erectors and hamstrings over a greater ROM.  If you don't think so, watch someone do a high deficit pull and notice that the hips get very high from the start.  This means the brunt of the load is being moved by the glutes, hams, and erectors.  This is a great option if you have a weak low back and hamstrings AND can hold a neutral spine throughout the movement.

So for the guys that did find that high deficit pulls helped their speed off the floor, it's very likely that their erectors may have needed to come up a bit.  If your erectors are lacking, every part of the deadlift is going to feel slow, weak, and like shit.

So the remedy to fixing my speed off the floor was simply to get stronger legs.  Seemed pretty simple.  I fixed this by going back to high bar work, doing more front squats, including hack squats into my rotation, and even leg pressing from time to time.  Generally speaking my rotation of the movements looked something like this....

Workout 1 -
high bar squats - Base Building Model I or III
high bar pause squats - fatigue singles  

Workout 2 -
Front Squats - Base Building Model I
Leg Press - 3-4 x 20

Workout 3 -
Hack Squats - 5 sets of 8+

2.  The mechanics from a large deficit are too different to offer significant carryover from the floor.

Getting into position to pull from a large deficit isn't anything like getting into position when you pull off the floor.

When the mechanics change too much in a variation of the movement there tends to be less carryover to the main movement.  This is why guys that use double overhand strapped up deadlifts are doing a disservice to their progress IF they pull with a mixed grip.  It doesn't seem like much, but when you pull with straps and double overhand, you can get longer in the pull than with a mixed grip, and the torso itself isn't in the same mechanical position either.

If you are using a deficit it should be for the purpose of making the pull a little longer, so that the muscles involved in pulling have to do more work, and are at a slight disadvantage.  But not in a way that significantly changes the mechanics of how you pull from the floor.

So I incorporated pulling while standing on a 45 pound plate.  Basically, a 1" deficit.  Doesn't seem like much, but it's enough to make the deadlift slightly harder without causing me to change the mechanics of my pull.  This is how I actually train my deadlift now.  I never pull from the floor until the meet.

The other area I needed to strengthen was my upperback, and hamstrings.

For months I labored over barbell rows.  And I did notice that getting stronger on these did in fact help my deadlift.  But there came a point of diminishing returns.

Once I was doing sets of 405 for reps and 365 for high rep back off sets, I realized that going heavier on them simply meant my form had to loosen up.  And I didn't really want to start doing "monkey fucking a football" rows, or that awful shit you see where the guy is virtually upright and essentially doing bent arm shrugs, but calling it a row.  I wanted to use the barbell rows to strengthen my upperback, i.e. rhomboids and middle trapezious.  Not my upper traps.

So I milked everything I could out of barbell rows, and then realized that I had a far better option that hit both the hamstrings and the upperback very, very hard.

And that was deficit stiff legged deadlifts.

Deficit stiff legs destroyed my hams and upperback to a magnificent degree.  And the other great part is that I would be pulling the bar in a path that was somewhat similar to that of my conventional deadlift.  So I would be strengthening the muscles required in the pull in a movement pattern that had far more correlation to the deadlift than barbell rows, or good mornings.

I ended up hitting these with sets of 5-8, but sometimes even doing a heavy double or triple on them because well, that was fun.  

Let the pull come to you - 

This was probably the single biggest factor in my deadlift improving.

I had to really learn how to let the pull come to me, when it was ready.

If you're not a natural deadlifter, or if it's the most difficult movement for you to improve, then the worst thing you can try to do is force it.  The reason why is because the erectors are slow to recover, and pounding the shit out of heavy deadlifts on a frequency basis tends to do nothing but take more than it gives.

The cycle I would go through when I was training the deadlift often looked like this....

1.  Train the deadlift hard and heavy
2.  Watch it go up very quickly
3.  Get excited
4.  ???
5.  No profit.  I would find that my pull would stagnate very quickly after the initial progress, and often go backwards from there.

Once I realized that the deadlift did not like being bossed around, I backed way off, and concentrated on pulling sub-maximally with lots of explosiveness.  Once I figured this out, I watched my deadlift move up on a consistent basis without that regression period that often crept in when I was pulling heavy all the time.

I realized that pulling fast and explosive triples from the small deficit paid huge dividends for me.  I would test a semi heavy deadlift every few months when I was "feeling it", and without fail my pull had gone up significantly.  I went from pulling triples with 585, to pulling triples at 635.  My next goal is pulling triples at 675.  

Not only that, I wasn't constantly frustrated at the lack of progress in my pull because I was rarely testing it.  I was training it heavy enough so that it moved, but not so heavy that recovery started to overlap supercompensation.  Which was my problem when I was squatting AND pulling heavy every single week.


1.  Get stronger off the floor by getting stronger legs.  Do this with high bar work, hacks, and fronts.
2.  Don't pull from a deficit that is too high.  Use a small deficit to train the lift.  Stand on a plate.
3.  Get stronger hamstrings and an upperback using stiff legged deadlifts.
4.  Don't train the pull heavy very often.  Test your double or triple every few months.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Training - Bench with a PR and a camera man gaff

Bodyweight - 274 - cleaned up the diet A LOT and down quite a bit.  Feel better.

Bench - close grip

465x1 PR
365 x 4 sets of 8.  Volume PR

Hammer Row - 4 sets of 12 @ 3 plates
MEadows Shrugs - 100's x 4 x 12

Notes - Well the pec is just about back to 100%.  I say about because I still had "some" tightness it in tonight.  Despite that, everything was flying so I figured what the hell, hit a small PR and do my volume work.

So I hit the 465 very easily with a pause and the camera man walks over and tells me "I think I messed up."

Cue the cold chills.

He fucked up and only ended up taping the lockout essentially.


Oh well.  Back to my volume rep work, which I hit a PR on tonight with 365 for 4 sets of 8 VERY easily.  That was nice.  All fast and crisp.  And long pauses on the 8th rep of each set.

Overall a great night, but still irritated about that camera work.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Kansas City seminar

Well I'm coming home.

Errrr, well I guess I didn't leave this time.

Along with Mike Israetel of RP and Alex Viada aka Freak of Freaks and owner of Complete Human Performance, we will be doing a two day seminar at I35 Crossfit in Overland Park, Kansas.

The link to register is here.  

DO NOT MISS THIS!  We are going to cover everything from strength training to bodybuilding to nutrition to conditioning!

It's going to be awesome.

Training Mentality - Part 1 - The difference between goals, and ideas

Every seminar I've ever done I've stood in front of a room of people and asked all of them what their goals were.

And every single time I've heard virtually the same answers.

"To get stronger."

This is pretty much what I expect people to say.  I mean, I don't think anyone attends my seminars or reads my writing to improve their ability to double dutch or become awesome at paint by numbers.

The problem is, getting stronger is not really a goal.

It's an idea.

Goals are specific.  They entail planning and are exact in nature.

"I want to squat 500 6 months from now."

That's a goal.

Now that a goal is realized, plans can be made.  All the details can be ironed out as how to make that happen.

Ideas are the wellspring from which goals come from.  The originating point.  After all, someone has to have an epiphany or moment of clarity to start the entire process of figuring out what it is they want.  But if the idea doesn't transcend into something more specific then we end up becoming a vessel that is simple floating aimlessly in the water.

People generally wander through life with all sorts of ideas.  And because those ideas never manifest themselves into anything more than casual thoughts or mental glances, nothing ever becomes of them.  Or at least, their idea is never fully realized.

People perform this same ritual with careers, relationships, and all sorts of endeavors and undertakings.

"I want a job."
"I want a relationship."
"I want a house."
"I want a car."
"I want a dog."
"I want to be thinner."
"I want to be muscular."
"I want to be strong."

These things are not goals.  They are just casual ideas about the things you'd like to have in your life.  They are only as meaningful as the follow through that envelopes them after the thought.  They can only become something more than an idea if the person with the idea applies something tangible to them.

"I want to be stronger - I want to squat 500 pounds."

But by when?

"I want to be stronger- I want to squat 500 pounds in 6 months."

How will this get accomplished?

"I want to be stronger - I want to squat 500 pounds in 6 months - I will train 4 days a week in order to accomplish this."

Now said person has to actually get their ass in the gym and implement this plan.  Otherwise, all of this planning in regards to the goal, just becomes an idea again.  Without the tangible part, i.e. "the work", then it's just a thought.

Ideas are what we cling to when we're not ready to let something evolve into something greater.  That's why you meet those people who say shit like "I'd love to be in shape...." and the rest of their words are mumbled and usually you pick up something to the effect of "too busy..." or "I love doughnuts...".

I do love a good doughnut, though.

Mmmmmmm, doughnuts......

Where was I?

Oh yeah, ideas and goals.

Your training brain will always be tossing around various ideas.  It's imperative that you explore those ideas and ruminate on them to decipher what is truly meaningful to you, and toss the rest.  And when you do that, you can easily narrow down all the factors that have to happen in order to make that idea a possibility.

And that is how we arrive at goals.  That is how we end up seeing not only the big picture, but all of the minute details that must be adhered to in order for the big picture to arrive.

However making the big picture arrive cannot happen without "the work".  Without that, you just become the aimless vessel again.

If you want something to be "motivated" about, then tap into your ideas, and then let them develop into the things you NEED.

Which leads us to part 2..............which right now, is just an idea.  But I will write it later!  :)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The slave and the master

I've written more and more about "the journey" lately.

That is, the undertaking of being on this path of trying to achieve goals and wish fulfillment in regards to lifting.

Mainly because, I feel like so many significant goals that I've had are finally within reach.  I won't write about them because I've really found that not doing so tends to keep me far more focused.  But another strange thing has happened as I've gotten closer to them.

I've become more patient in the attainment of them.  Almost apathetic to it.

I no longer obsess over them.  I let shit training sessions go far more easily, and I don't ruminate on every nuance of training trying to decipher what I need to change in order to make things happen faster.

I've developed a greater sense of of learning how to let something come to me, rather than trying force something that's not there.

I'm no longer a slave to feeling like shit because things aren't where I want them to be at this moment.

I know my task is to put the work in.  Put HARD work in, and that I will eventually see these things come to fruition.

I think the single hardest thing about training is learning that concept.  Finding that balance between wanting more, but not letting it enslave you.  Once you become a slave to something, whether you like it or not, your will is taken away.  Your options are limited.  As badly as you may want "freedom", it won't arrive until you take the shackles off.

The worst part is, this slavery is self inflicted.  When we want something so badly that it envelopes us wholly and then we often discard logic and sound reasoning.

All those months spent "training" to get stronger now turn into session after session of "testing" to see if "it's there".

All those months or years you were on the job just kicking ass turns into kissing ass because you feel that promotion is within reach, and that puckering up might move things along faster.

One of the hardest feelings to fight off in life and in training, is when something seems so close to happening, and you just need to "stay the course".  To just keeping doing the work that brought you there.  To stay within that masters domain.  Now that we find ourselves right on top of it, we stop paying attention to the little details that brought us to this place.  We begin to disregard the method and the vehicle that got us here.

Then we begin to toil around for lengthy periods, or even lose ground, because we stopped doing all the things that got us so close to the crest.  And we begin to feel frustrated.  That's when we start to lose ground, and we begin to doubt ourselves.  Confidence wanes and we start to second guess and question what we thought we knew.  What we thought worked, and what we thought was efficient.

Consciously we may not have even seen the change in ideology happen.  The evolution of it may have been so gradual that we may believe nothing we were doing really changed at all.  We can't understand how it is that things had been going so well, that suddenly it has all come crashing down.

Once our eagerness gets the best of us, we often make hasty and foolish choices in order to obtain what it is we long for.  And when that happens, we enslave ourselves to that thing.  We lose patience.  We get tired of waiting.

And the shackles get thrown on.

Liberation can only arrive when you decide that you don't give a fuck about the number, and that putting the work in is, was, and will always be what it's about.

"The work" is always going to be what it's about.  Because without it, there can't be an end goal.  There can't be an arrival.

There's a difference in a "chase" and a "journey".

There's a difference in being a "slave" and a "master".

The slave is constantly chasing his freedom.  The master is free because he's just walking the path.

It's funny that when you stop caring about forcing things to happen, and just care about putting the work in, that it all eventually comes about.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Moving weights and making muscles work

Most people don't seem to understand the difference between moving weights through space, and make the muscle do the work.

These are two very different concepts, but applied correctly will really pay dividends.

Movements like squats and deadlifts are about moving weight through space. Same for most pressing movements. Especially barbell pressing.

However for movements like pulldowns, rows, db chest presses, flyes, laterals, leg curls, etc those are "making the muscle do the work" movements.

There's no point in trying to do extremely heavy laterals. The whole point of the movement is to build the side delts. If you start cheating the weight because you're going too heavy, the traps and other areas of the upperback end up getting too heavily involved.

Remember why you are using a certain movement, and what you are using it for.

In all reality, the same applies for rows as well. Why would you do doubles and triples in a row? You're trying to build your back.

Understanding these concepts will help you to not only get stronger, but grow larger. When you watch very experienced bodybuilders they have a distinct connection with making the muscle do work. That's a significant part of why they grow massive. Because they understand the ol "mind muscle" connection, and actually concentrate on the eccentric and concentric portions of the movement.

Be powerful and explosive when moving weight through space. But be controlled in your movements when trying to make a particular muscle do the work.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Traveling to Tucson - Day 1

Friday - April 11th, 2014

I hate flying.

Not because of a fear of crashing or some shit like that.  Just because of the monotony that is air travel, and the reminder of the incompetence of most people.  I'm working hard on being a kinder, gentler Paul but air travel really tests the limits of that for me more times than not.

For example, why the fuck when the plane stops does it take everyone so long to get their carry-on bag, and walk off?  I don't understand this at all.

You reach above you, grab a bag, walk off the plane.  But without fail I'm always sitting there for 10-20 minutes.  It reminds me of when traffic on the interstate has come to a crawl, and you're stuck for half an hour and when you finally get to what's holding up traffic it's like a Volvo on the side of the road with the emergency flashers on.

What would be a great thing for the airlines would be for them to let people that don't have a carry-on, to get off first.  That'd be great.  I really wish they'd work that in there.

I also rarely if ever sit next to someone interesting on a flight.  By interesting I mean someone that can or will even hold a conversation.  Not that we have to bond or hold hands, but if I'm sitting by you for over 2 hours then having a chat to pass the time doesn't seem like it would be an insurmountable chore.  Then I get reminded of how socially awkward some people can be, and I put my headphones back in and close my eyes.

You also don't know in this day and age who will be sneaking photos of you at the airport.  Funny, and maybe slightly creepy, someone took a pic of me at the airport and then sent it to a friend.  Well, that friend knows me, and sent me said photo.

Apparently she liked my airport attire.

I arrived in Tucson and met Danny Sawaya, the owner of Tucson Evolution with a couple of his sidekicks; Chris and "Panda".

I was starving and borderline hangry so we went straight from the airport to an all you can eat sushi joint that did in fact have some tremendously good sushi.  I think I ate 7 rolls, but skipped on the 8th one because the look and the smell of the scallops did not sit well with my "don't eat that shit" meter, and I passed.

I was supposed to do a podcast with Chris and Panda after, however I was pretty exhausted after they were kind enough to reschedule it.

Looking forward to this seminar and working with people this weekend.  Now if I could just shake this recent bout of insomnia I'd feel even better.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

No Belt Deficit Deadlift - 705x1

Bodyweight - 280

High Bar Pause Squats -

Deficit Deadlifts -

Notes - Guess that's that.

Even more importantly, I had the shits the night before, and felt terrible.  I could have waited another few weeks when my training cycle allows me to pull heavier, but honestly...and this isn't my style, I wanted to get this shit out of the way.  I've had enough of it.

Suns out, guns out! New tanks!

Well it's warm weather now, so that means you should be sporting all sorts of gainz from this past winter.

It's time to show that biz off in a tank.  Luckily I have a new one, and it's pretty boss.....

These are $20, and I am taking PRE-ORDERS starting today.  I will do pre-orders for a week.

Go to the store to grab yours.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Some Base Building FAQs and questions answered

As the questions and comments pour in, I see some guys that must not read the Base Building manual very well, or just latched hold of certain parts and ran with it.

So I'm going to go over a few things here that keep coming up.

1.  "Paul, I did squat Model I and did it in under 12 minutes.  I need to add weight right?

Well, I don't know because the point wasn't to just rush through the set.  It's not about an egg timer.  It's about being able to get the work in, but making sure that EVERY SET IS EXPLOSIVE.

If you got all 5+ sets in, in under 15 minutes, but the last set or two was a grinder, then no.  You don't need to move up in weight.

The other part that irks me about this is that people are still the boat here, in that all they are focused on is JUST adding weight to the bar.  And yes, at some point that trumps all.  We are trying to get stronger right?  But the method here, the principles that make the method, has more than one moving part.

You need to be able to do all of the work efficiently.  That means getting the work in quickly, but explosively for every set.

2.  "I did Model I for bench, but I couldn't get all the sets and reps in, so I lowered the weight and finished."

Where did I write to do that????

I didn't.

You need to go ahead and get all of the volume in, and then over time you should be able to do all 5 sets of 8 on bench.

So if you went from doing 3 sets of 8, then got in a set of 6, then 4, to where you could do all 5 sets of 8, are you stronger?


Don't take weight off the bar.  If you're setting your EDM correctly then Model I on bench may not be 100% doable at first.  This is OK.  THIS IS OOOO KKKKK.

When I developed Model I, I wasn't always able to get all 5 sets of 8 in.  On bad days, I would often feel things going into the tank fast after that third set.  When I got to where all 5 sets of 8 was pretty easy, I saw a HUGE increase in my bench.

Volume PR's are STILL PR's.  Be able to do more work with a given workload means that strength did increase.  Being able to EASILY do more work with a given workload means strength increased dramatically.  Stop making it all about weight on the bar as a measuring stick for progress.  There are many ways to measure this in training.

3.  "My bench didn't move much on Model I."

Try Model II or III, which includes a back off set of as many as possible.  I don't need to do this anymore now as I've found it to be a little bit counterproductive for me at this point.  I tend to use incline and press behind the neck for my rep work now.

4.  "I only have 14 weeks until my meet.  What should I do?"

This is in the book.  Run the short cycle for the last 5 weeks, and then whatever is left over time wise before that 5 weeks, do base building.

5.  "Will base building work while losing fat?"

YES!  And very well because you're not going to be trying to set rep PR's, and it forces you to move your EDM as your strength levels move.  Some guys don't lose a lot of strength when dieting, or they don't diet long enough to see that overall effect take place.  For those that do, the great thing about base building is that you don't have to walk in the gym and feel defeated as strength drops because you can't move the weights you were moving weeks and weeks before.  Just move your EDM, and reprogram.

6.  "My lifts are X, Y, and Z....should I use Base Building?"

If you have to ask if your lifts are high enough to use it, then they probably aren't.  I have written for a while that a beginners training strength is such a fast moving target that it's hard to nail down programming based on intensities.  If your numbers are relatively small, or you're a real novice, there are programs in the manual that will get you stronger and explain these things.

There's a big difference in a guy using 165 for his sets of squats, and a guy using 385 for his sets of squats.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Training - Bench, and an incredible story about my spotter

The last time I put up a video it was about my spotter, and what an awful job he did, and how I took the blame for that being the case.

This time, I have a story about my spotter, but it's a story of survival.

About 8 years ago I was training at another gym in my area, and struck up a conversation with a fellow lifter.  Older gentleman, who was in awesome shape, not just for his age but for any age.

He introduced himself as Kevin and we chatted a bit in between sets, about the usual gym and lifting bullshit.  I got to know Kevin on a "gym basis" and we'd ask each other how training and diet was going, etc when we saw each other.  One day Kevin asked me a question about anabolics and I was curious as to why he would be asking me, as I was completely natty at the time.

Kevin went on to tell me that he had been diagnosed with HIV back in the mid 80's.  I was stunned, as Kevin was in impeccable condition, with quite a fair amount of muscle mass.  Kev went on to tell me that it was anabolics that had kept his life quality high for all these years, and was the one thing that had kept him from wasting away into nothing.

Kevin told me that it wasn't until he got on testosterone and anavar that he stopped dwindling down to skin and bones, and if not for those drugs he can't imagine how bad life would be each day.

I ended up changing gyms later, and then once more (long story) to where I am now, at Gold's.  Well today, as I was benching I happened to look over and saw that sure enough, it was Kevin.  Still kicking, and still training hard.

I went over to him and gave him the required bro hug and asked him how he was doing.  Kevin had lost a lot of weight since I last saw him, but his spirits were still high.  He told me that he wasn't sure if that was me because he thought no way in hell I had gotten that big since the last time he saw me.

I grabbed Kevin on the way out of the gym and asked him if he would be open to doing a video interview in the next couple of weeks to talk about living with HIV/AIDS for almost 30 years now, and how anabolics played a part in his life.  So stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, 365x8.  Pec is slowly getting better.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Training for the time constrained lifter

For lots of dudes that sling the iron there will be times throughout life where getting into the gym 3-5 times a week may not be a possibility.

Even worse, there may be times where you can't get in very often, and are limited by time.

Lots of guys fear that they will lose strength and size if they can only get into the gym twice a week.  But understanding your current level of development can help you design a program that will at least maintain what you have built, and that's better than regression.

For guys that have a lot of years under the bar, and a very solid base, often time they get stronger on less frequency.  It's pretty common for guys to actually limit their progress by training too often.  So it's not surprising to me when I hear of a guy that already has good strength numbers, to get stronger when he's forced to reduce his time in the gym for a while.

The other conundrum is when someone is forced to squeeze their training session down in regards to time spent in the gym.

For people that are running into these issues, here are some solutions I present.  

Beginner to Intermediate Level Twice a week - 

For the guy that is just finding his way, we're going to squat and press twice one week.  The next week there will be a deadlift and "back" day, before squatting and pressing again.

Day 1 -
Squat - warm up, then 5 sets of 8 in less than 20 minutes.
Bench Press - warm up, then 5 sets of 8 in less than 20 minutes.

Day 2 -
Squat - same as day 1
Incline Press - 350 method

Week 2 -

Day 1 (to start the following week)
Deadlift - 5 sets of 3 work up to a "crisp" triple
Chin Ups - As many as you can do in 20 minutes (try to beat this total each time this workout rolls around)

Day 2 - start cycle over

Notes - For most guys that are in the novice to intermediate stages, it won't take long for them to reach a weight they can settle on for 5 sets of 8 in the squat and bench.  I don't have a % for you here because the rate a beginner-novice gain strength at is fairly quickly, so setting an EDM can be tricky.  Just work up to something you can do a moderately easy set of 8 with, and keep the rest times to a minimum.

All in all, these sessions should be doable in under an hour if you're really getting after it and not fucking around trying to spot the hot chick doing lateral raises.  She doesn't need a spot.  So just do your work, and get out of there.

Advanced Level Twice a week - 

For the dude with a solid base of strength, he's probably smart enough to adjust his training to meet the "limited time/limited frequency" problem.  However, if I were in such position here is what I would do...

Day 1 - Squat
Squat - Base Building Model III

Day 2 - Bench
Bench Press - Base Building Model III
Kroc Rows - 1x30

Week 2 -

Day 1 - Deadlifts
Front Squats - as a warm up, 3 x 5 light and explosive
Deadlifts - Base Building Model III

Day 2 - Incline
Incline Press - 350 method
Pulldowns - 350 method

Week 3 - start cycle over

Filling in the gaps - 

Lifters of all levels will still need to "fill in the muscular gaps" as I like to say.  In other words, you'll still need to do some movements outside of the big stuff to be a little well rounded in your musculature, and help to avoid injury.

A very easy way to do this is to purchase some dumbbells and do some dumbbell work at home between the big stuff.  Along with that, some bodyweight movements will even things out.

Some movements you can do to put the icing on the cake...

Db side or bent laterals - 100 total reps
Db Curls - 100 total reps
Split Squats - 100 total reps
Db Leg Curls - 100 total reps
Db Skulls - 100 total reps

As you can see, there is a common theme here.  That is, lots of dumbbell work.

I kid.

Just pick one from the group and get the 100 reps in as fast as possible.  This shouldn't take more than a few minutes unless you decided to go crazy heavy on the dumbbells, and that's not the idea here.

Conclusion - 

These are pretty straight forward and simple solutions for someone that is pressed for time in the gym, and can't get in there more than twice a week.  Getting these sessions in will most likely keep you on track until your schedule clears so that more time or days of the week can be devoted to lifting.  But don't be surprised if you actually get stronger.  Lots of guys overestimate just how much time is needed to get stronger.  So long as you're working hard and eating well, progress should not be halted because of a time constraint.