Monday, April 27, 2015


As part of a semi-continuing on my topic on programming, I will be providing some examples/ideas of "get tougher" workouts that I either have employed or at least drafted up for my training.  I've already written extensively on one of my original workouts (how to increase your 6rm by 9 reps), and these others are in a similar style.  Some are tested, others not, but they all operate on the same principle: generate maximal amount of misery.



Image result for Zeno philosopher
Proof that the current beard fad is SOOOO retro

The most recent addition to my training, named after Zeno of Elea, famed for his paradox describing motion being impossible.  The crux of his argument hinged upon the notion that, if we take a distance between two points, and always travel halfway between these two points (ie: between a mile we travel half a mile, then between that half mile we travel a quarter mile, etc), we will never actually reach our end destination.  This squat workout pays homage to that line of thought.

-Start out with a heavy weight (5-7rm ish).  Perform as many reps as possible.
-Take 15 deep breaths.
-Perform half as many reps as the first set (rounded up)
-Take 15 deep breaths.
-Perform half as many reps as the second set (rounded up).
-Repeat until you end up at 1 rep.
-Strip off 50-90lbs (either a 25 or a 45 per side)
-Perform as many reps as the very first set of the workout
Continue the above approach with your new weight until you reach the empty bar.

I have yet to perform the bonus misery round of this workout, but intend to once I am off season from a contest.  Will report results.  As of this moment, the current iteration of Zeno squats do an amazing job of making life suck and my entire lower body sore for most of the next week.  I'm probably getting bigger and stronger too, so I mean, that's cool.


Image result for 50 cent in zimbabwe
Ran this one a while back and was very pleased with it.  It's a drop set with a fluctuating rep scheme. It's got built in recovery while still really pushing the body, and allows one to make even small weight seem like a herculean effort.  

I started off with 455, since this meant I would have a 25 on either side. This is going to be a drop set where those plates keep coming off and going back on (hence the "drop 50").  You may need to scale as necessary, but the point is to have big plates and small plates on the bar to be able to bounce between.

455 for 5
405 for 6
365 for 5
315 for 7

Etc. Basically, anytime the 25s are on the bar, do 5 reps. Anytime they aren't, add one rep to the previous non-25s set.

Only rest as long as it takes to change plates.  With this set-up, I managed to work down to the bar for 10 reps at the end.  If you want more volume, you may consider using even more smaller plates to make shorter jumps and spend more time in the rack.  Just remember to keep bouncing back to that set of 5 in the middle.  On paper, you may think that set of 5 is going to be cake, but it's honestly just about as tortuous as everything else.  You should be barely hanging on the whole time.


Pictures are worth a thousand words.  Here is a video, so that should be like a few million.

Being that I am a mortal, I have yet to work up to this weight, but I have managed my own approach with 405 for 8, 315 for 8, 225 for 8, 135 for 8, and the bar for 8, which also sucked greatly.  You can't go wrong with squats and drop set.


A non-squat based workout, but still a decent one.  You'll need two different pressing implements to pull this off.  Choose between an axle, barbell, log, keg, sandbag, etc.  

The approach here is simple enough.  Clean and press the first implement once.  Move on to the other implement, then clean and press it once.  Go back to the original, then clean and press it twice (either clean once, or clean each rep depending on your goals).  Then go to the second and do the same.  Repeat until you are unable to increase reps or meet the previous implements rep total.

Whereas the other workouts were pretty much 1 and done, this one can be hit for a few sets.  


These are a favorite of mine to get a wicked chest pump at the end of a workout.

Execution is straight forward.

-Hit a set of dips for as many reps as possible (yes, I realize the title says push-ups, stick with me)
-As soon as you are done, drop to the floor and perform as many push-ups as possible
-As soon as you are done, perform push-ups with your hands on an elevated surface (gripping the sides of a keg or having your hands in a log works great here.  Otherwise, a barbell on the floor with some 45s loaded on either side works well, as can a squat box or a bench
-Continue getting your hands higher and higher.  A good approach is to have a bar in the powerrack and just keep moving it up with strategic pin/j-hook settings.

By the time you are done, your chest should feel absolutely nuked while you are performing some of the wimpiest looking push-ups in the world.  Bonus points if you don't lockout the reps, and just focus on pec contraction.


As the intro to this blog noted, my mind is always running, and that's where most of these workout ideas come from.  Below are some ideas that I have come up with, but have yet to test.  Use them at your own risk, and if you live through them, let me know how they worked out for you.


Image result for double double burger
I'm sorry, I should have labeled this post NSFW

As usual, start with a heavy weight (5rm ish would be ideal).  
-Squat 5 reps.
-Strip a plate (or 25 as applicable), squat 10
-Strip a plate, squat 20
Continue with this approach until 40.  Only rest as long as it takes to change plates.


Strongman: Making even front squats look cool

*Notes: I refuse to use the term "back squat" because it's as silly as saying something like "barbell bench press" or "boot shoe" or "katana sword".  So, if the below confuses you, remember that "squat" refers to a barbell on the back, while "front squat" would be a front squat.

-Squat around 5rm
-Strip weight to front squat 5rm
-Front squat for 5rm, then immediately squat for AMRAP
-Strip a plate (or 25 as applicable).  Front squat AMRAP, then immediately squat AMRAP
-Continue until death


  1. These are great. Will definitely use. Here's one of my favorites from Jamie Lewis of Chaos and Pain. His "Ironman Squat Pyramid." Basically it's 10-8-6-4-2-2-4-6-8-10, which sounds basic, but the twist is that the way back down from 2-10 is heavier than the way up. For example

    10: 135
    8: 185
    6: 225
    4: 275
    2: 315
    2: 335
    4: 315
    6: 295
    8: 275
    10: 245

    It's a ball buster, because really, it's just getting harder from your top double onward.

    You should get a fat ass tire for your strongman arsenal. There's any number of flip for distance stuff you can do then. Just don't pop a bicep.

    I also like Robert Oberst's "Run the Rack" on lateral raises or dumbbell presses. Basically any low rest, high volume stuff is going to test your pain tolerance, but I can't always gut it out for squats. Paul Carter's "fewest sets to 100 reps" is another good one.


    1. That looks awesome. I'll definitely have to use something like that. Much appreciated.

      A tire is an end dream, but at the moment I have nowhere to flip it. My neighbors are already incredibly awesome with all my nonsense, but that will just push things out of hand, haha. Once I get a decent basement or somewhere out in the boonies though, I'm definitely grabbing a tire.

      Thanks for the post.

    2. When you do--

      Flip it.
      Jump/Hop onto the close side.
      Jump/Hop to the far side.
      Step down.
      Flip it.

      Used to be an initiation workout into the old strongman group here. 10 in <60 seconds was the goal, but most people shot for <90. The jumps seem easy, but it takes its toll on you.


    3. The jumps don't even seem easy, haha. Definitely sounds brutal. I'll give it a shot next time I get access to a tire.

  2. Sorry for the off topic question, but what is the best way to get a comment from you in regards to my deadlift? I have recorded a video. Can I send you an email?

    1. No problem. I want to avoid putting my e-mail address on this blog for the time being, but if you reply with your e-mail, I will send you an e-mail to reply to. I'll delete your address off this site too for the sake of your privacy.