Tuesday, March 10, 2015



-If you want to know if a person is strong, find out how many/what kind of cues they use when lifting.  I have found that strong people generally have few cues, mainly because they don’t/can’t use them.  It’s just “lift the weight”.  On the contrast, I have found that good lifters have many cues, and use a lot of techniques and advantages to lift the weight.  Every once in a while, you have a good strong lifter, like the Lilliebridges, and then it’s like someone is using cheat codes.

-On the above, my wife asked me if I could teach her how to clean and press, since she’s seen me do it on competitions and thinks its real cool looking.  I gave her an emphatic “sure”, only to realize that, actually, no, I CAN’T teach her how to clean and press.  I have no idea how to clean an axle, I just grab it real tight and try to end up standing up with it on my chest.

-Continuing the above, this may be where the stereotype of strong people being stupid originated from.  The stronger you get, the less you need to think about things, and a lot of times it gets you in trouble.  My friends always want me to help them move, but when it comes time to get crap into the house at odd angles, I’m at a lost.  I usually just force crap and it works.  On that topic, I once helped my friend move a dresser, and trying to be the man, I did it by myself with no help.  Once I got it in the house, I opened the drawers to notice that they were completely full of stuff.  I felt one part proud and two parts stupid after that.  But I was still the man.

Image result for mariusz pudzianowski grocery bags
*Artist's rendition

-This is quickly becoming a confessional, but while I’m on the topic of being inept, I have no idea how to make food for humans any more.  My wife pointed this out when she wanted me to make her a peanut butter sandwich while I was in the kitchen, and apparently I put on enough peanut butter to feed her for the rest of the week.  I now have to consciously think how much a normal human eats whenever I am tasked with making food, and even then I’ve learned it’s a safe bet to take what I think is a good amount and only use 80% of that.

-You really can’t outtrain a bad diet.  I don’t really think about nutrition, but in order to have a somewhat lowish bodyfat percentage I still have to avoid most junkfood, eat a lot of protein, almost no bread/potatoes/rice/sugar, train strongman 4 days a week, be able to deadlift 600lbs for reps on my worst day, etc etc.  I’m not even ripped.  There is no hope for people that live on fast food and do Starting Strength.  It’s just far easier to eat better and work less than to try to do what it takes to justify the Michael Phelps 10,000 calorie diet.

-I am still constantly astounded by the amount of people who ask a question online and never state what their goals are.  I am equally astounded by the amount of people who GIVE ADVICE to these people.  How can you possibly know what advice to offer without knowing what the end goal is?  Maybe there is some sort of secret internet telepathetic hivemind that I’m just not keyed in on, and there is way more being said than what is being written.

Image result for lifeguard rescuing drowning man
This seems really noble until you realize the other guy wants to drown

-I won $100 in prize money and a bunch of supplements from my last contest.  I am selling the supplements on ebay and using the combination of the two sources of income to buy a yoke.  It would be interesting to run a comparison study between how much stronger I get with the yoke versus if I had taken all the supplements instead.

-You cannot hope to maximize results and minimize risk of injury.  The two are mutually exclusive.  In turn, those who criticize the methods of successful trainees because they got injured on their journey are the same people who will just never achieve the results they desire.

-I run into so few problems with certain strongman implements due to being an uncoordinated oaf.  If you were never good at lifting to begin with, it’s kind of hard to get worse at it just because the implement is tricky.  I am already confounded by a barbell, a log seems the same to me.

-I realize what a 1 trick pony I am with ROM progression, but I have stumbled on yet another way to make it awesome.  I have attached chains directly to the bar when I perform mat pulls, and still follow the ROM progression approach.  What this does is make it so that every week, the weight gets LIGHTER while the ROM gets LARGER.  At the start of the cycle, I am pulling my absolute heaviest with my shortest ROM, as the chain is way high off the ground and doesn’t get much of a chance to deload.  The starting pull is heavy, as is the rest of the set.  Each week, more chain gets left on the ground at the start, while the end is still just as heavy as it was before.  This makes it so that I’ve actually been adding reps each week while the ROM gets heavier.  I imagine the same set-up could work with bands, but I see that really overloading the body something fierce.

-The internet powerlifting community has really turned me off from the sport.  Don’t get me wrong, the people I’ve met at meets were awesome, but online there is so much venom and arguing over the stupidest crap.  I feel like the biggest issue is that, since victory is determined by a number, far too many people have tried to make everything mathematical and quantifiable, and in doing so hope to have a “best” way to train.  In turn, anyone NOT training this way is CLEARLY an idiot and doesn’t know how to lift, regardless of their results.  I’ve seen so many kids who can’t even crack 1000lbs as a total arguing about how 5/3/1 is too low of volume, how the Sheiko percentages are wrong, how Smolov is the best program ever, etc etc.  The “blood and guts” seems to be overlooked a bunch.

-On the above, the internet strongman community has been awesome to interact with.  I imagine the lack of federations helps, along with the fact that there are very few “wrong” ways to strongman.  In a sport about moving the weight any which way you can, where all gear is allowed and no one cares if people use steroids and no one is judging your form, it seems like there is a lot more freedom in programming and communication.  Part of me wonders if there is a lesson here for those that want to “unify powerlifting”.

Image result for strongman fridge carry
Go ahead and tell me how to periodize this

-If you have more posts per year on a forum than your powerlifting total, you probably should post less and lift more.

-I find that, the more successful I become, the less credit people give my advice.  The other day I was accused of having superior genetics, and I just laughed and laughed.

-Every time someone is willing to listen to my advice, they ask me for help on something I have NO idea on.  Getting ripped, prepping for a bodybuilding contest, Olympic lifts, the list goes on.  I wouldn’t come to me with these kind of questions.

-I think I have figured out a pretty decent approach to strongman training for me.  My plan breaks down like this.

Day 1
Bench and assistance work

Day 2
Heavy squat variation and cleans

Day 3
Overhead and carries

Day 4
Deadlifts, farmers/yoke and light squats

Fill in assistance work as needed, program as desired.  May have to flesh this out more if it becomes successful.

-No one seems to appreciate when I say "nose tork" to the question of "What pre-workout do you use?"

-I used to get upset at people for "not doing the program".  Now, I get upset at people for trying so hard to follow the program that they are doing things that prevent them from getting bigger and stronger.

-I am baffled at how many non-Planet Fitness members are upset about Planet Fitness' policies.  I am not a member of the Girl Scouts, their cookie sales based policies do not concern me.

Image result for girl scouts selling cookies
And don't get me started on the uniform colors

-George Leeman pulled 875ish completely raw with a hook grip the other day.  The internet STILL insists that he doesn't know how to train.  I can only imagine how inhumanly strong he would be if he "trained right".

-I do farmer's walks with straps.  I am fairly certain one day I will be struck by lightning while doing them.

-"Ditch the straps to get a stronger grip", said no one with a strong grip ever.


  1. Someone responded with that 5/3/1 is insufficient volume to me last month when I suggested it to someone. It's like talking points are handed out to the most hardcore forum dwellers every so often.

    1. Yup. I'm honestly baffled at how willing people are to critique a program before even attempting it, along with the notion that all people will respond the exact same way. An idea just gets spread and soon becomes accepted as fact.

      Jamie Lewis of Chaos and Pain had a great series about how Powerlifting isn't a fun run, and it talked a lot of how the openness of the sport is ruining it. Lot of really strong points that talked on this topic.

  2. I think that what you are witnessing is the apex of the strongman community and I hope it stays that way.

    Fringe groups uncontaminated by mainstream idiocy and trend hopping have an essence about them that makes belonging to them worthwhile.

    I used to hate it when I found a small community of people who found a family in our shared love of fringe bands. Once the bands broke into mainstream I found myself turned off by the new fans and left the hive of followers even though the music meant everything to me.

    I will never train strongman because my goals are different but I have great respect for displays of strength achieved in the sport.

    1. I think you've identified another valuable point. It is most likely a combination of the factors. Even though powerlifting is still a relatively young sport, strongman is an even more recent sport, especially in it's current organized and structured form. Powerlifting seems to have gone through all of it's necessary growing pains to the point that it is now accessible to many, while strongman just recently became something of a structured activity.

      I also imagine availability in general plays a big part of it. Pretty much anyone can be a powerlifter, all you need is a barbell, a rack and a bench. It makes the sport too relatable, and therefore everyone is allowed to have an opinion on the matter. Strongman requires unique equipment/training, to the point that the average Joe can't really contribute much to the discussion.

      It's probably similar to how everyone has an opinion on politics, not so much on nuclear physics, haha.

    2. Good point in regards to equipment accessibility. Consequently, a lot of people call themselves "powerlifters" just because they train that way, not because they compete in anything.

    3. Absolutely true, and it's incredibly frustrating. Every activity is rife with posers. "Fighters" who don't fight, "powerlifters" who don't powerlift, "bodybuilders" who don't bodybuild, etc. Everyone wants a title.

    4. Yep.

      And just because they train that way, they give themselves the self-appointed task of demonising other training approaches and nit picking on form. I have immense respect for people with high totals in lifts. I also find they are silently respected in the gym and least inclined to show off or correct others. In other words with the least to prove.

      I am guessing that the rule of thumb in picking up a keg is either you !$÷× yourself up or you don't and provided you don't all good.

      This makes the discussion and or raging debates on the process (form) superfluous to the actual outcome.

  3. Replies
    1. Much appreciated Will. Thanks for reading!