Sunday, August 24, 2014

I'M NO EXPERT

If you are starting a sentence with “I’m no expert”, just stop.  All you have done is effectively prefaced your statement with “do not listen to the following”.  If you have to clarify that the input you are about to provide is uniformed and derived from a lack of experience, I question why you even feel that such a contribution would be relevant, helpful, or worthwhile.  Are you contributing, or are you simply filling silence with sound?  Is what you are about to say worthwhile, or is it simply you exercising your ability to express an opinion?


At least this guy committed to something

Why do people say “I’m no expert”?  It’s to provide themselves with some manner of verbal conversation insurance.  It’s a statement that absolves one of all liability and fallibility, for they preemptively outed themselves as incompetent.  The intent is so that, when called out for the lacking value in their statement, one can default back to their preface and say “I already said I wasn’t an expert”.

There is no insurance, there is no protection, there is simply reality.  If you lack the confidence in your knowledge and experience to be able to say a statement without prefacing that you aren’t actually qualified to contribute, then you are simply unqualified to contribute.  Have some integrity, own up to your thoughts and feelings, and express your ideas as they are.  If you are assisting someone, provide them with assistance.  If you lack the tools to effectively assist someone, stand down, you are not helping here.  To coincide with David Wong’s analogy in the amazing article of 6 Hash Truths That Will Make You A Better Person, the patient is dying here, and no one cares if you are a good person, only if you can save their life.  Your intentions are meaningless here, only the outcome matters, and if your contribution cannot assist, do not provide it.


If you aren't sacking the QB, you're just in the way

I bring this up due to the massive amount of misinformation, myth, conjecture, rumor, and bullshit that is spread on a daily basis about lifting, whether it be on forums or through conversation.  Everyone feels so eager to contribute their opinion, prefacing their thoughts with the fact that they are “no expert”.  All this does is prevent real, relevant and accurate information from reaching a target audience, for a new trainee with no ability to discern reality from fantasy must sort through an enormous amount of false information to be able to gain even a small nugget of truth.  For every 1 person expounding the value of heavy squatting, there are a thousand talking about how, they are no expert but they heard squats hurt your knees/back/liver/soul, or how too much protein causes cancer, or how muscle confusion is the key to success.

You don’t need to clarify that you are “no expert”, for your results show.  If you have had no success, do not advise others on how to achieve it.  Instead, study what others who have found success have done, compare it to what you are currently doing, find out where the gaps are, and close them.  The fat person giving advice on weight loss and the weak person giving advice on lifting are simply muddying the waters, and every time they clarify how they are “no expert” it is simply laughable.  Advise only on those areas where it is painfully obvious that you are qualified to contribute.  Be an expert, and give expert advice.  Do not simply parrot the experts, or what you heard from those who have heard from the experts, or what you’re pretty sure you remember reading from somewhere from the experts.

Become an expert, such that you can start your sentences with “I am an expert”.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

DEADLIFTING WITH STRAPS: SECRETS AND TECHNIQUES

I once heard a competitor proudly declare “I haven’t used straps since high school” at a deadlift for reps event in a strongman comp.  This competitor proceeded to lose his grip in the event, while USING straps, and despite the fact that he had an over 700lb deadlift (it was an open weight comp), he lost the 405lb for reps event to two 200lbers (with myself being one of them).  By all accounts, he should have won, but because he did not have the tools necessary to implement and maximize straps, he lost.

I have already spoken to why I think deadlift with straps is superior to deadlifting without straps, but here my intention is to explain HOW to deadlift with straps.  I’ve been to 3 strongman competitions so far, and at each comp I have witnessed people missing out on getting more reps and possibly even winning events because they don’t know how to properly set up straps for deadlifting.  We try too hard to make deadlifting with straps mirror deadlifting without straps, when really we need to understand that these are two different movements, each with their own benefits and considerations.  As such, when we deadlift with straps, we must find out the best possible way to do so, in order to derive maximal benefit and obtain maximal results.

To start with, we will address how to properly set up straps in general.  I have covered this on youtube with a video titled “Straps 101”, but here I can discuss in a little more depth.



A common mistake I see is simply in putting the straps on.  There is actually a right and wrong way to do this, at least in accordance with the method I use.  The length of the straps should naturally be facing down toward your fingers, not up toward your forearm/elbow.


Not like this


Like this


 In the case of the former, it sets you up so that you can wrap the strap under the bar and get the most coverage from your initial wrap, whereas the latter folds the tie of the strap over your wrist and entails wrapping over the bar, not setting you up in a good starting position.  Also, before you go any further, put some damn chalk on your hands.  I will never understand the dichotomy that exists in peoples’ minds that it’s either straps OR chalk, but I have seen too many people NOT chalk up while using straps in comp to leave this unaddressed.  Chalks with straps will only help your grip.

The second part people tend to screw up on the set up of straps is how they wrap it around the bar.  People tend to put too little thought into this, thinking “they’re just straps”, but in reality, there is a superior way to set these up.  Most people tend to just wrap the strap around the bar in one direction, winding over and over until they run out of room.


The end result looks like this

All this really manages to do is create a brand new fat bar for you to have to grip, while the same time not really doing anything to actually help your grip on the bar.  You have wedged a bunch of cotton/leather/whatever between your hand and the bar without any real advantage in terms of gripping onto the bar.  Some folks remedy this by only wrapping around the bar once and then wedging the excess length between their middle and ring finger, squeezing as hard as they can on the excess material.  This will afford you the luxury of being able to hold onto the bar with all the strength of your middle and ring finger, but is doing very little to maximize the benefit of the strap.

In order to get the most out of the strap itself, you need to wrap in different directions.  That might sound crazy at first, but allow me to explain.  Rather than wrap the strap around the bar over and over, wrap the strap around the bar once.


Start like this


And then here

After you have gone over the bar one time in one direction, take the excess and cross over the material in the opposite direction, so that you form an “X” over the bar with the strap, and have an equal amount of material on both sides of your hand.


The transition looks like this


The end result looks like this

In setting up the strap this way, you are making it so that the strap is acting against itself, rather than against you or the bar.  The strap is now rubbing against itself, creating friction, which also means that the heavier the weight pulls against it, the greater friction it creates (I want to at this point clarify that my undergrad and masters is in Political Science with a minor in Philosophy, so if I am completely butchering science here, you must forgive me). The purpose of your hand in this instance is NOT to grip the bar or strap, but instead to simply press against the bar with the strap in between to maintain this tension.  Using this method, the strap is less of a strap and more of a handcuff, locking you to the bar, in many cases actually making bailing out impossible.  I have had instances where the bar has actually dragged me to the ground/off my feet, which sucks at that moment, but is awesome any other time you are pulling.

Even in the rare event that people manage to set up the straps correctly, the execution can still get mess up by hand placement.

To start with, do NOT use a mixed grip with straps.  It’s just pointless.  You are negating one of the primary benefits of pulling with straps, and this is pulling double overhand with ZERO loss of grip strength.  A mixed grip is great for powerlifting competitions, but you aren’t dealing with one of those when you do a strapped dead.  Instead, take advantage of the fact that you are reducing your risk of bicep injuries, can evenly space your hands, and can make yourself “longer” (ala Paul Carter’s critique of strapped double overhand, which comically enough I viewed as a positive) than you would with a mixed grip, which means shorter ROM, and therefore more reps/weight on the bar.

On the subject of getting “longer”, there are several other ways that straps can help in this endeavor that many competitors and trainees are missing out on.  With straps, you are no longer limited to the location of knurling when it comes to placing your hands on the bar.  Whereas before the smooth part of the bar would be completely off limits for a hand location on a dead, with a good set of straps you are no longer limited in this regard.  What this means for you, the user, is that you can now place your hands incredibly close together, which, if you’re a sumo puller can be a boon for really maximizing leverages, but even for a conventional lifter, with a narrow enough foot placement, you can help reduce your ROM and lower back strain.


Note the difference in bar height.  Keep in mind, the bar is at rest in these photos.  When some weight is pulling down on it, it just makes it work even better.

One other final way that straps can allow one to get longer in the dead is by allowing a trainee to pull with a thumbless grip rather than a full grip.  This may seem like madness to those used to pulling heavy deads without straps, but if you are implementing the above mentioned protocol, your straps will be doing the work, which means that your thumb isn’t really needed to maintain the hold.  Meanwhile, what your thumb IS doing in a full grip is forcing the bar to be much higher in your hands, which means that you will be forced to pull with more ROM than you need to.  By switching to a thumbless grip, the bar rests lower than the base of your thumb joint, more in alignment with the middle knuckle of your fingers, greatly reducing ROM and again eliminating back strain, adding more reps and weight to the bar.



As I have mentioned, these techniques become very valuable for winning events in competition, but they can even be valuable in training.  If we understand the strapped deadlift to be a building lift rather than a practicing lift, we can appreciate its value in making our non-strapped deadlift stronger, even if we are not practicing the identical mechanics of the non-strapped version.  We allow ourselves to get longer and remove grip from the equation of the lift, which in turn trains our bodies to get accustomed to heavier loads than when we are limited to our natural grip.  Yes, it may be the case that the weight we can lift without straps is not the same as what we can lift with straps, but if the latter allows us to make the former stronger, does it really matter how the numbers map up?  If I know I can pull 650 with straps, and as such know this means I can manage a clean 635 without straps, and in turn attempt THAT weight in competition, I continue to meet my goals, no?

Good luck using these techniques.  If I see you using them at my next competition, I will wish you luck.

Monday, August 11, 2014

THIRD STRONGMAN COMPETITION VIDEO AND WRITE UP

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFCD8PzJFgo

I have completed my third strongman competition, a level II NAS comp in Reno.  I placed around 6 of 11 competitors, which was not where I was hoping to end up.  It was an excellent opportunity to learn some lessons and grow in the sport.

I woke up exactly at 196.0, which I called from 2 months out when I started cutting which.  I was pretty proud of that, and was able to eat and drink well before I got to the weigh in, and then really up the cals before the contest.

Event 1: 200lb Axle Clean and Press (Clean once and press away).

I was excited when I saw this event, because the clean has always been the weak point in my clean and press, so with a chance to clean only once, I thought I was in a good place.  I had trained my push press for the 6 weeks before the comp, and finally managed to make some breakthroughs in technique.  Going into this, I had hit 11 reps frequently in training, with one day where I managed 13, and honestly thought 14 was going to come my way.  I did not train my axle clean at all, since I only had to do it once, and doing it training tends to torque my left wrist.

When I cleaned the weight at the comp, I saw stars for a second which took me a little while to clean before I could start pressing.  Pulled a real amateur move on the first rep and dropped it before I got the “down” command, but the judge was cool and gave me the rep anyway.  During the comp, my focus was gone for the push press technique, but upon reviewing the video, I actually was getting some decent leg drive, so I am proud of that.  That said, once I hit 10 reps, I was done, and approaching that point I kept feeling like I was going to vomit.  Upon review, I think the elevation change was the biggest factor, as I went from sea level to 4400 feet, and even at sea level my cardio seemed to be what kept going out in the push press.  I’m going to keep that lift in the rotation now, and have mapped out my training already, but in all, this event didn’t go as well as I wanted, but it wasn’t terrible.  I ended up taking 4th or 5th out of 11.


Event 2:  500lb 16” tire deadlift for reps

This should have been my event, and is where I am most disappointed in my performance.  I am certain I had the highest deadlift in the 200lb class based on my performance versus others, and after watching everyone before me struggle through this event, I knew that I needed to move fast to make the most of my ability, because it wasn’t going to be a question of IF I could make it for the full 60 seconds, but just how many reps I could get in at that time.  I noticed when I was setting up that the outer knurling of the bar was much closer to the center than bars I normally used, and so I set my grip out a bit wider than the edge of the knurling, but still close, like my stance.

Every time I would complete a rep, the tires would bounce the bar laterally.  I was trying to move fast, so instead of setting up for each new rep, I just pulled the weight where it landed.  I was strong enough that I could pull the reps even with the bar well off center, and was starting to look like a lawn sprinkler, since my feet stayed planted and my torso would rotate with the bar.  We had an “up” command that we needed to wait on, and to me it seemed like the judge kept talking before each “up” command, which was just burning precious seconds, so I kept tuning out everything except for the words “up”.  In most cases, it was form advice or encouragement being offered, and I didn’t really want either.  Well, this bit me in the ass, because at one point he was telling me that my knee was now outside my right hand due to how the bar landed, and he wasn’t going to give me an up command until I fixed it. I waited for about 12 seconds before I realized I just wasn’t going to get an up command until I listened to him, and even then it took me a while to figure out what he was talking about.  I was way too in the zone.

Once I figured it out and addressed things, I was behind the 8 ball.  I only had 6 reps in and about 20 seconds left, so I cranked out about 10 of the fastest reps I ever managed.  I should have easily gotten the win on this one, as I wasn’t even experiencing fatigue after rep 16, but instead ended up taking 3rd behind one guy who got 20 reps and one who got 17.  This was a real heart breaker, and on top of things, because I pulled so fast and sloppy for those last 10 reps, I tore a callus off on my left ring finger.  With the next 3 events being farmers, a truck pull and stones, I hung up my hopes of placing and decided I was just in this for fun and experience.


Event 3: 230lb 2” farmers per hand, 80’ course

Filled my callus with hand santizier and super glue and got ready for this event.  My hands were a second skin of super glue, and I couldn’t get chalk to stick to them, but ultimately my downfall was grabbing the implements like an idiot.  All through out my training, I used a thumbless grip where I choked way up on the front of the implement and it worked fine.  On comp day, I grabbed the farmers with a full grip, in the hopes of keeping my callus safe.  Made it a few feet, re-opened the callus, said f**k it, grabbed it the way I knew worked, and actually made it with some decent speed.  Still finished around 8th due to the initial drop, but the recovery was decent.  Training paid off, was just an idiot.


Event 4: Semi-truck towing a pickup truck pull, 75’

Filled my callus with hand sanitizer and superglue again.  Never did this before, and trained by PUSHING my minivan up a hill, so really had no experience.  Had the right shoes at least, which really paid off.  Upon video review, I was too upright and my feet were all over the place, but I at least finished the course.  I know I wasn’t dead last, but placing wasn’t great.  Re-opened the callus at the end.

Event 5: 240lb Atlas stone over 52” bar

Last time I did stones was a year ago, but it went really well, so I came into this WAY too confident.  Goal was to one shot every stone and really make up some points here.  Tried out my new Spartan sleeves, which is also a really dumb move to try new equipment in a comp, and I paid the price for it.  Went to grab the stone, it was way slicker than my previous one, and it ripped the sleeves right off my forearm.  I now had almost no tacky aside from whatever was on the stone and what was on my hands.  Thankfully, Robert Oberst was recording my video and gave me some great tips on what to do in this situation, which was get my hands under the stone and work from there.  When I COULD pick up the stone, I could one shot it, but it was just a disaster.  Mechanical failure paired with non functioning hands and just a crummy day, and at the end, I opened up a new callus on a finger tip along with the one on my ring finger.



The biggest thing I could have had going for me was either a coach or at least a team mate.  Basically, if I had a voice I was specifically listening for in the second event, I could have fixed the issue within the span of 1 rep versus 5 or 6, and having someone with experience/access for the truck pull and stones would have given me a better placing.  I also learned to just be at peace with the stone hickies I get without the sleeves, because it’s a question of minor inconvenience versus performance.  If I DO use the sleeves again, I’m going to zip tie them rather than use laces, as I saw someone else use that strategy and it seemed successful.  Push press is coming along though, and my deadlift is still a boon.  I am also happy that I was still able to complete the contest after ripping open my hand, and will be training again in the near future with just a few minor adjustments to account for it.

I am contemplating doing another powerlifting meet before my next strongman comp, just to see how well my total has improved since my last one, but I am not at all done with strongman.  I am still enjoying every contest.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

RANDOM THOUGHTS FROM A DISEASED MIND: PART II

Early update this week.  I will be competing in Northern Nevada's Strongest Man on 9 Aug, and will post an update and video afterwards, but until then, enjoy the following.

-Autoerotic asphyxiation sounds less dirty when you call it “occlusion neck training.”

-When people emulate the greats, they tend to only emulate ONE aspect of that person.  “Dan Green does front squats, so I do front squats.”  It never crosses this persons’ mind that Dan Green is successful because he has EVERYTHING dialed in, not just front squats.  Diet, frequency, periodization, recovery, etc are all 100%.  When we talk about “optimal progress”, I wonder if you must be running optimally to make use of optimal methods.  Furthermore, if we are running sub-optimally, maybe we should instead emulate those whose lifestyle matches our more closely, and see how they have success.  It may be that certain methods actually produce BETTER results with a sub optimal lifestyle compare to using the best methods with an inferior product.  Kind of like how a tourniquet is awesome for stopping an egregious wound, but for a paper cut a bandaid works better.

-People who ask “when is the best time to workout” enjoy too much luxury.

-I have no idea where my IT band is.  If you held me at gunpoint and I had to point it out, I would get shot.

-I feel like ignorance of human anatomy results in fewer personal injuries.

-I feel like all the people that want powerlifting televised should find a way to make it interesting first.

-Bands are by far the best tool to pack in a travel bag to maximize your hotel workouts.  They can add resistance to the very light dumbbells in a hotel fitness room, and are great for push ups, good mornings, row, pull aparts, dislocations, hamstring curls, and just about anything else you can think of.

-Whenever I see someone use the terms “mirin” or “beastmode”, I know they aren’t strong.


Because time spent updating facebook about your workout is time spent NOT training

-Life on the internet: everyone weaker than me is a pussy, everyone stronger than me is a douchebag.

-I have to appreciate the irony that I started woring out to get healthy and lose weight and now I am injured, significantly heavier, and statistically prone to have a shorter lifespan.

-If given the opportunity between being stronger and being better, I always pick stronger.  Wouldn’t you?

-Whenever I hear someone say that marijuana is a good way to eat more on a bulk, I notice that person is never very big.

-Can we retire the term “permabulker” and other stupid fitness portmanteau?  Generally, our attempts to rapidly label something indicates an unwillingness to evaluate on a case by case basis, and in this instance, we forgot what the term “permanent” means.

-Someone once asked me if I follow the Paleo diet while I was drinking a diet coke.  We don’t even know what the words we use mean anymore.


No...just...just no

-I consider all of my food organic as long as it contains carbon.

-I never understood these people that blame their wrist size on their lack of results.  Talk about looking for excuses.  If you go looking for limitations, you will find them.

-The biggest issue I see with the deadlift is people trying to just stand up with the weight.  You can fix this by trying to fall backwards with it instead.

-I feel like the one thing I could do to improve all of my lifts is learn to hold my breath for longer.

-I can evaluate my RPE on deadlift day by how many blood vessesls I have broken in my upperback, chest, traps and face.

-I really want to do the ox lift, but I have no reason to.

-I remember when knee wraps were just something you wore because you were squatting heavy weight.  Now, it’s something to be ashamed of, because it’s not “really raw.”

-For f**k’s sake people, it’s “raw”, not “RAW”.  There is only 1 fed where it is all caps, and that’s because it’s an acronym for “Redeemed Among the World.”

-I notice that the people most concerned about what is “raw” tend to be those who don’t compete.

-With enough research, I can justify any action.

-I never understood how people hitched and ramped a deadlift until I started pulling 600lbs for reps.  Now, I wonder why everyone is so terrified of it.

-I am constantly amazed at how many ways there are to cheat that aren’t actually against the rules.

-I genuinely miss long distance running, but I don’t miss weighing 150lbs.

-Married people don’t need foam rollers.

-People that comment on the background music in a lifting video most likely aren’t strong.

-The notion of an internet “form check” is already silly, but the biggest issue is that self appointed experts only point out what is wrong with the form, never why it is happening.  It’s not a question of “constructive criticism versus hating”, it’s about criticism versus observation.  Anyone can see that someone’s back is rounding, telling that person it’s because their feet are too far apart is how we fix the problem.

-I constantly see the comment that 5/3/1 has “slow progression”, while Starting Strength has fast progression.  Programs don’t make progress, that’s up to the lifter. If I manage 8 reps of 240 on my 5s week, and then manage 8 reps of 260 on my 3s week, that’s 20lbs of progress in a week.  Everyone is too busy looking at the program on paper that they forget the human element.

-When supplement companies mention that in one of their studies they had a placebo control group, do you wonder if they snicker on the inside?


When the placebo and the supplement share the same active ingredients, it invalidates the study

-I own wrestling shoes and don’t wrestle.  I own rock climbing shoes and don’t rock climb.  I own running shoes and don’t run.  A strongman gear bag is like a Sphinx riddle.

-When I started training for my first strongman comp, I spend way more time and money at Home Depot than I did at any lifting place.

-Powerlifting gear companies taken themselves too seriously.  “Titan Centurion”, “Metal Viking”, “Inzer Leviathan”, it’s just comical.  I would be the first to buy a red squat suit with black polka dots called “The Ladybug.”  Metal at least took a step in the right direction with their fluorescent orange “Jack” line.

-Bodyfat percentage is such a worthless number.  No one believes anyone’s number, regardless of source, and everyone knows for a FACT what each percentage looks like.  A mirror and a little bit of honestly goes a long way.

-On the topic of mirrors, I haven’t had one in the gym in over 7 years, and my technique has improved greatly in that time.  Be real, the mirror isn’t for “checking form”, it’s for looking at yourself.  It can also really mess with your squat mechanics, so learn to look past the mirror.

-I once came up with a program where you trained the concentric of a movement on one day and the eccentric on another.  No idea if it would work, but the real question is, would it be considered full ROM training?

-Among all other lifting tomes, one must read “The Prince” to really understand how to make progress.

-What happens if you do reverse band work with chains?


"This should do the trick"

-I found that replacing my movements with harder variations (ie: replacing deads with deficit deads, replacing squats with safety squat bar squats) made me really good at lifting less weight.

-I haven’t done a good morning since I stopped training “Westside”.  They’re good movements too, I just haven’t needed them in my training.  That said, I find that a lot of peoples’ “chain suspended good mornings” look a lot like my chain suspended squats.

-On the topic of good mornings, try doing one at a commercial gym and time how long it takes someone to “correct” your squat form.

-The internet is rife with people mocking trainees in the gym performing perfectly legitimate lifts, just because they weren’t in “Starting Strength.”  Try doing a continental clean and watch it blow peoples’ minds.

-My nieces think I do Olympic lifting, my parents think I do Ironmans, my office thinks I do Tough Man, but above all, my wife thinks I’m hot.

-I find most peoples’ issues in the gym stem from passive aggressiveness.

-They call it a “drug test”, but they aren’t testing the drugs.  They’re testing the urine FOR drugs.  However, “Urine Tested Powerlifting Federation” sounds absolutely terrible.


The results of frequent drug testing

-I would be very interested in these statistics: Number of people running “Starting Strength” compared to number of people that read the book and the success rate of those who read the book versus those that did not.  Mainly because, from my observations, I have yet to see someone who did not read “Super Squats” succeed on the 20 Rep Squat program.

-On the above, I know a statistic that would sadden me: Number of people who bought “Starting Strength” versus those that pirated it.

-When Brandon Lily injured both of his knees, everyone wanted to know why it happened.  Multiple theories existed, ranging from overtraining, undertraining, bad form, etc.  I saw very few people considering the idea that it was the 700lbs on his back that caused the injury.

-I enjoy competing in strongman more than I do in powerlifting, but I enjoy training for powerlifting more than I do for strongman.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

RANDOM THOUGHTS FROM A DISEASED MIND: PART I

Been locked away and bored at work the past few days.  Took the time to write down any thoughts as they came to me and present them here in their unedited, stream of consciousness form.  Here you can get an idea of the inner workings of my infected mind.  I was originally just going to post this in one shot, but when I finished typing it up it was over 3000 words, and it's unreasonable to expect people to read that much insanity in one shot, so I've broken it into two parts.  The second will be posted later.

-Don’t buy junk, won’t eat junk.

-I have never heard a strong person say the phrase “bad form.”

-Weak people focus on form, strong people focus on technique.

-I should have bought elbow sleeves years ago.  For the first time in years, my elbows are pain free.

-There is plenty of time to get stuff done when you get up at 0430.

-Not everyone who trains at 0500 is strong, but everyone who is strong at one point had to train at 0500.

-There is a direct relationship between how much water I drink and how painfree my hamstrings are.  Whenever I pull a hamstring, I drink more water and the pain goes away.

-If you read something with the intent of being offended and getting upset, you will.

-Taco Bell is still the best pre-workout supplement.

-Slamball tabata slams are an awesome conditioning exercise.  Hits everything, is an opportunity to get explosive, and requires minimal equipment.

-I started eating blueberries daily, just because I wanted to eat more fruit and it seemed like a good source.  Despite a lot of carb demonizing, I’m not putting on any weight.


This doesn't count

-I find it interesting that so many people speak out against touch and go deads because it will “make you weak off the floor”, but whenever I pull a max effort deadlift the bar leaves the floor very quickly and gets stuck right around my knees.

-I have never seen an instance of lower back rounding that was fixed by making the lower back stronger.  It is almost always a set-up issue, and as a result, easily remedied.  The same tends to hold true with most technique issues.

-I only ever tend to see small and weak people champion the idea that size and strength of an individual is irrelevant to that person’s ability to know how to become bigger and stronger.  I also tend to see big and strong people question the validity of that idea.

-When you make an argument, see who supports you.  If you don’t want to end up like those people, you will need to change what you think.

-I find it bizarre how many people will defend a program they either never ran or never personally experienced success with.

-The reason a reverse hyper costs two thousand dollars is because that’s how much it is worth.

-I apparently have developed a strategy of intentionally eating garbage carbs during my off season so that my body adjusts to this input while still maintaining my normal walk around weight.  This is basically an intentional dietary weak point, and once I need to cut weight for a comp, I just eliminate the junk and lose weight pretty effortlessly.

-I bought some beef protein powder, wondering how they managed to make it not taste like shredded beef jerky.  The answer: they didn’t.

-I find it funny when people who say “watching that made my back hurt” give advice on back health.  If you experience back pain from watching a video, your back is in terrible shape.

-The “never lift with a round back” crew has never seen atlas stone loading before.  I thought we did all this weight training in order to get our lower backs stronger so that it could do stuff like this.


"Bad form.  Better deload down to a pebble and start over."

-Whenever I need to change my clothes in a car, I question my decision to weigh 200lbs.

-I love abbreviated training, but these days, I suggest 5/3/1 or crossfit a bunch because I don’t think most trainees can successfully run such simple programs.  We all have ADD and a fear of losing our abs.

-One of my biggest regrets regarding training is never running Korte’s 3x3.

-I was really unsatisfied with the spud inc deadlift belt.  Its primary selling point was also its weakness to me.  The belt is very supple, but in turn, I don’t get any support from it.  My super stuff Inzer 13mm lever belt is still my go to.

-Reverse band squats are the perfect way to get stronger while rehabbing a hamstring injury.

-It’s such an odd era we live in where someone getting injured somehow invalidates their training methods.  I thought it was inevitable that anyone competing at the highest levels was going to get injured.  It’s simply a part of pushing the body to the limits.  I question how successful those that always avoid injury will manage to be.  It is the ability to recover from injuries and keep on pushing that makes a champion, not the ability to never get injured.

-Poptarts are the perfect competition day snack.

-If I treated my bench as seriously as I treated my deadlift, I might actually get somewhere.

-Everyone should read “Powerlifting Basics: Texas Style” at least once a year.

-Planet Fitness has committed no crimes.  They are very clear that they are not a gym.  Going there and breaking their rules only validates the stereotypes they have about you.

-I remember back when the “1,000lb Club” was for 1,000lb squatters.

-I have noticed that those who are fixated on what is and is not possible for natural trainees tend to be unimpressive, while those that think anything is possible seem to be doing alright.

-The best thing I ever did for my deadlift was stop deadlifting.

-The best thing I ever did for my physique was 5/3/1.

-3 reasons to lift: practice the lift, test the lift, and build the lift.

-I find it odd how, as gear becomes less popular, the sumo deadlift seems to be getting MORE popular.

-The sumo deadlift and conventional deadlift are NOT interchangeable.  They are different movements with different emphasis.  The only thing they have in common is their name, and if you had never heard of either movement and saw someone performing them in the gym, it would be obvious that they train different things.  People that try to train one like the other are ignoring this fact.  If your program calls for conventional deadlifts, it does so intentionally for the desired training effect of this movement, and swapping in sumos negates this.  And don’t get me started on the trap bar.

-If my deadlift ever stalls, I’m going to fix that with top down deadlifts.  It seems like the future of deadlift training to me.

-I think we as a people would have more success in our training if none of the movements had names.

-I don’t understand stories of people that sit in chairs for 8-9 hours a day in office jobs.  I’ve worked those jobs before, and I got up and moved around about every 20 minutes or so.  Somehow, I don’t need to foam roll and stretch before I lift.

-What is up with these kids making fitness memes and spouting off the same repetitive punchlines when they have achieved nothing?  The internet is too accepting.  Back in the day, you shut the f**k up until you had paid your dues.

-I don’t get the crossfit hate.  Crossfit has done nothing negative to me, but meanwhile, bumper plates, GHRs, decent bars, kettlebells and prowlers are everywhere.

-Ever notice how the people that want powerlifting to be unified want it unified under the STRICTEST ruleset?  If the goal is unity, you would want the loosest rules to prevent exclusion.  Multiply, monolifts and high squats is unity, mandatory raw is eugenics.


You want unity?  Learn to love this.

-I honestly hope powerlifting never gets unified.  Every weekend, I can find a meet within driving distance of me.  Tell me someone would willingly host a meet in Minot North Dakota under a big unified fed.  Meanwhile, with a million small feds, you’re sure to find a local enthusiast somewhere who just wants to put on a meet and share their love for the sport.

-How come everyone flips out about powerlifting gear in powerlifting, but no one seems to care when it’s in strongman?

-What’s up with people going to health and fitness clubs and then being upset that they aren’t gyms?  McDonald’s wasn’t lying to you when they refused to serve you steak.

-Competing was the best thing I ever did for my progress.  It helps me prioritize my training, knowing when to push and when to hold back.  Putting myself out there makes me want to get better and find ways to do it.  When all I ever did was train, I was way too happy to just spin my wheels.

-What is up with people needing to get angry and psyched up just to train?  What are you going to have left when it comes time to really shine?

-I know everyone says abs are made in the kitchen, but when my abs get bigger, it takes less to make them stand out.

-Clint Darden’s youtube channel getting deleted is one of the greatest tragedies to ever happen to lifting.

-It amazes me the things people are willing to spend money on versus the things they will pirate.  In an ideal world, people would buy books on lifting and steal pre-workout supplements.

-Steve Colescott of elitefts had the perfect put down.  Someone said they would do anything to train at elitefts, and he told them there were 7 Learn To Train Seminars this person could have attended at any time, so clearly he didn’t mean what he said.  Dreams dream, doers do.