Sunday, December 13, 2015


I constantly observe trainees asking if something is normal.  Examples include:

“When I bench, I feel a strain in my wrist.  Is this normal?”

“After deadlifts, I feel sore in my lower back.  Is this normal?”

“I get really hungry after a workout.  Is this normal?”

Image result for squats on a bosu ball
After my training sessions, I feel like a jackass.  Is this normal?

Who cares?  What does it matter if something is or is not normal?  It’s reality!  It’s the only reality you can experience, barring the use of hallucinogenics or astral projection.  You can only experience what you can experience, and the experience everyone ELSE is having has no impact on your existence.

But furthermore, why concern yourself if something is normal?  Normalcy is NOT the goal of training.  Observe normalcy around you: it’s mediocrity at best.  The status quo is abhorrent, with the majority of people on the planet being fat and weak.  Why would you HOPE that what you’re experiencing coincides with what these people experience?  Wouldn’t you pray for the opposite?  Wouldn’t you wish with all of your might that you’re the outlier, in the hopes that one day you could build something of yourself to be proud of?

Image result for Strongman pulling a plane
Does this seem normal to you?

Be a freak.  Jim Wendler spoke to this really well on a forum where someone brought up the idiocy that is “lifting ratios”.  The crux of his comment was that it’s stupid for someone to worry about their ratios.  If a dude can bench 900lbs but “only” squat 900lbs, why worry about making his bench weaker so that it’s inline with some sort of “golden ratio” of powerlifts?  Why not instead just be the craziest bencher to ever walk the earth?  Why not take PRIDE in our differences, rather than be ashamed and quickly try to assimilate with the masses?

You will get nowhere if you’re constantly trying to make your own experiences match those of others.  Successful trainees are NOT normal.  That’s what makes them successful.  In one of my many streams of thought, I documented the time I drank a gallon of water at a meeting in an hour, and the looks of shock and concern I receive from my co-workers.  What I did was NOT normal, and it blew their minds, and it was something I had grown accustomed to.  It was my “normal”, and it’s due to the fact that my sense of normalcy is so fundamentally warped because I try my hardest to exist outside of the low standards that have been set.

 Image result for Adam Richman man vs food
Wait...this isn't normal?

Again, it’s not about being “better”, but different.  It’s silly to place a great value on one’s ability to move heavy things better than others, and doing so will not make you “better” necessarily, but it sure as hell will make you different.  You want to be abnormal.  Be a freak, be a mutant, be “other”, just strive to avoid normalcy.

And no, this isn’t about “non-conformity”, or any other high school drama.   It’s not being different simply for the sake of being different; it’s understanding that reaching your goals NECESSITATES being different.  Mike Tuchscherer was once asked if it bothered him that so many people make stupid comments about how big he is wherever he goes, and his response was right on the money: “If I didn’t want to be this strong, I wouldn’t be this big.”  Achieving success necessitates being different.

Winning isn't normal...that's why there is only 1 first place

Stop comparing yourself to others and quit worrying about if you’re abnormal.  Embrace what you are, understand this journey you are on, and make yourself the 100% that YOU can be.  We have no ability to influence our genetics, but we damn sure can work as hard as humanly possible in order to maximize ourselves and become as different from normal as possible.

Get on it.   


  1. Appreciate your content.
    Would love some insight on your earlier training before R.O.M(especially on pressing) if you have the time

    1. Thanks for reading dude.

      If you ever REALLY want to dive deep into my training history, here is my training log, maintained dutifully since 2004, haha.

      But for a quick overview...

      When I first started any means of resistance training at 14, I was like most teenagers and just wanted a big chest and arms, so I did bench and curls everyday. I also thought doing a lot of push-ups was cool, and worked my way up to 200 push-ups before bed everynight. Even though this was really stupid, I have a feeling that it gave me a TON of work capacity to play with when it comes to the upperbody press, and gave me a somewhat disproportionate start to my training. I could max 275 on the bench as a college Frosh at a bodyweight of about 175, and I hadn't touch a squat or a deadlift in my life at that point.

      In college, now that I had access to a full weight room, I decided to try to max out on every machine there, because again, that sounded really cool. They had a seated shoulder press machine that I was really keen on moving some weight with, and so I spent a lot of time on that. I think it helped that I had dislocated my shoulder in high school and gotten surgery on it, so I was fixated on trying to really strengthen the shoulder. Still wasn't doing ANY barbell overhead pressing at this point, just all machines or benching. Again, too much focus on pressing, not enough on pulling.

      Someone eventually turned me on to Westside for Skinny Bastards template 1, and I started running that, but even then, overhead pressing with a barbell didn't enter my mind. I did some bradford presses I think, but most my focus was on my bench. By this point, I had a 330lb touch and go bench at about 185-190lbs, and was just starting to understand squatting and deadlifting.

      I then got a copy of Pavel's "Beyond Bodybuilding" and finally started overhead pressing with a barbell. My very first go at it was 135lbs for an easy 5x5, and I would regularly work up to around 170-185 for 5x5 before resetting or picking a new movement.

      I bounced around between Pavel and "Westside" for a few years, with probably my biggest gains on strict pressing coming from when I was running a westside style approach where strict press was one of the 4 ME movements I would rotate. Got up to a 235lb strict press at a bodyweight of around 210 while still really having no idea what I was doing. Got a video of it here.

      God that was forever ago, haha. I think I might've got up to 240 at one point.

      From there, it's been a lot of bouncing around. Losing a good amount of weight, gaining some of it back, finding new sports, at one point no longer doing any strict pressing and then coming back to it, etc. Somewhere between a Pavel and Westside run I did 20 rep squats with dips and overhead press as my 2 pressing movements too, haha.

      This was a fun trip down memory lane, but I have no idea if I answered your question. Let me know if I can provide anything more specific.

  2. Much appreciated. I think you indirectly answered the question. I'm seeing that what worked for you was simply showing up and pressing something consistently for years on end. I was looking for some magic program but this just reaffirmed that the best way to get strong is time. Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks man. Time really is the only real trick. I would say about the only thing to really take away from me is the sheer volume of pressing I'd do in my training. Although I guess I do the same for pulling. Volume is good, haha.

  3. btw, I was the one who asked the question lol.Don;t know why it didn't show my name.