Sunday, January 15, 2017


-It’s cliché, but I am digging “reverse dieting” as a superior paradigm to “bulking”, as long as training employees the same approach with volume and conditioning.

-I haven’t used a barbell, outside of car deadlift simulators, since Oct of 2015.  If I had to do it all over again, I’d have bought the Ironmind Apollon’s axle first and never got the Texas Power Bar.  Anything the TPB can do, the Axle does better.

-That said, the Texas Deadlift Bar is still legit…but I also haven’t used it since Oct of 2015.

-I have no idea what my 1 rep maxes are.  Why do so many people care about their own?

-I wish my strict press carried over better to my push press.  In truth, I need to learn how to be athletic.  At least, if I want to win.

 Image result for glenn ross strongman
Well...maybe not

-I can’t push press while facing the power rack.  I have to press facing away from it.  Weird psychological hurdle, I know, but acknowledging it is half the battle.  I could spend months fixing the issue, or seconds turning and facing the way that works.

-Why train in the morning?  Because you look awesome with a pump when you aren’t bloating with a full day’s worth of food.

-The internet is starting to embrace 5/3/1…which makes me wonder if it’s a bad program. Of course, seeing how badly people butcher the program gives me hope.

-Whenever someone complains about “swole shaming”, “fit shaming”, etc, I assume these people bring it upon themselves by being attention seeking martyrs.  If you just live your life and mind your business, people tend to leave you alone.  If you want to be acknowledged, go win something.

 Image result for 3st place
No, this doesn't count

-I love all my toys, but sometimes I find myself craving an opportunity that forces me back to basics.  Limitations breed creativity.  Reference: training while injured.

-For mobility work, I have a reverse hyper against a wall and I have to duck under the front handles to put dumbbells on the feet to weigh it down.  Talk about functional!

-Let’s come together as a community and ensure that, when we see someone doing “farmer’s walks” with dumbbells, we call it “stealing dumbbells”.  Don’t get me wrong; more people need to do conditioning, but that doesn’t count.  Your grip shouldn’t limit your conditioning.

-Putting Ironmind bars in my New York Barbell’s power rack makes me giggle.

-When someone brings up drugs in a discussion on strength, I imagine that person isn’t very strong.

-When I see people complain about the cost of a gallon of milk a day or the diet in “Building the Monolith”, I just wonder how these people eat.  This is a diet for ONE person; how do you think people feeding families manage?  Maslow’s hierarchy of needs folks.  Get your finances in order, THEN lift.  Also, how much are they spending on Starbucks, pre-workouts, video games, etc?

 Image result for starbucks coffee
Full disclosure: I've never had Starbucks before, but I'm fairly certain you could buy a week's worth of ground beef for the cost of this

-Let’s all appreciate the humor that, there is one camp arguing that natural trainees need to train more frequently than drug users to create more protein synthesis while there is ANOTHER group saying natural lifters need to train LESS frequently because they can’t recover as quickly as drug users.  Let’s also appreciate how both methods work, and for both natural and assisted lifters.  Those on drugs simply get better results faster; it’s not magic.

-I miss 2008 era Elitefts.

-I own so many jump ropes.  I buy them thinking I will use them.  Never happens.

-Muscle is not built from food alone.  Stimulus must be present.  The bulkers miss this.  If the only thing you change is food, you just get fat.

-Go get injured and learn something.

-Once I stopped considering certain things inherently bad (injuries, muscle imbalances, back rounding, inflexibility, etc) my training took off.  Somethings simply “are”, not necessarily good or bad.

-It’s weird how small guys wear clothes that are too tight while big guys wear clothes that are too big.

Image result for John Meadows
Wait: a tanktop OVER your t-shirt?  But how will people know that you are big?!

-Beginners need less plans.  Go out, have fun, push yourself, try a whole bunch of things.  Overspecializing early leads to stagnation.

-I think a lot of people want to read about lifting so they can find more excuses.  How else will they learn that their genetics, anterior pelvic tilt, low testosterone, high myostatin, etc etc are all holding them back?

-In case you missed it, Chris Duffin recently accomplished one of the most impressive deadlifting feats I’ve ever witnessed.  20x675 sumo, followed by 10x675 conventional.  I know it’s trendy to hate on the guy right now, but seriously, that’s gotta be in the top 5 deadlifts, and pulling with both stances is just nuts.

-I must have gone crazy, because I am front squatting, barbell (axle technically) rowing and pressing twice a week; all things I have sworn never to do again.  Maybe I’m operating under the premise that, if I do everything wrong, it will all work out.

-On the topic of front squatting, I picked up a cheap(ish) front squat harness off of amazon recently.  I might be using it wrong, but it’s not exactly like front squatting.  Clint Darden calls it “Viking squats”, and I can appreciate that.  The weight is a little further out in front of you compared to when the bar is resting on your clavicle, so it’s like combining the front squat and the safety squat bar.  Also makes it hell to breathe.  This, of course, means I’m a big fan of the movement, and I’m using it a lot more in my training.

Image result for viking berserker
Besides, vikings will never NOT be awesome

-You know what you can control?  How crazy you are.  People will be bigger, stronger, better, faster, and younger than you, but YOU have the power to be crazier than everyone else.  It’s not even a quality you need to develop; it’s a decision you need to make.  In many cases, crazy beats good.  However, in many cases, crazy also dies in a spectacular fashion, so be aware.

-My approach to training has pretty much boiled down to “why not?”  It’s gotten me pretty far.

-Once I started lifting weights less, I started getting much stronger.  Everyone wants to lift weights, no one wants to do bodyweight work or conditioning.

-Even I don't know what to think about the fact that I tell everyone that training method doesn't really matter but then wonder why people train so stupidly.

-Pavel Tsastouline's "Beyond Bodybuilding" was both the best and the worst thing to happen to my training.  Same with Westside Barbell.  I bet 5/3/1 will be the same too.

-Perception of time scales with age.  When you are 5, a year takes forever, because it's a 5th of your life.  When you are 80, a year is a blip.  It's the same with training.  New trainees want to change programs every 2 weeks, because it feels like they have been doing the same thing FOREVER.  I'll realize I have been training the same way for years every once in a while.

-People up in arms about amino spiking should eat more steak.

Image result for Gigantic steak
Hard to mess up the amminos on this

-Training isn't a competition.  Rarely is this understood by non-competitors.

-I have had people tell me that I am hardcore/they admire my training/etc, and all it does is puzzle me.  How are these people training?

-People that are smaller and weaker than me have a tendency to tell me how I should train so that I can avoid injury.  They seem to be under the impression that I haven't been injured yet.  They never realize that I have been injured multiple times, and I am STILL more successful than they are.

-It gets hard and harder for me to understand strength progress.  Everyone just wants to compare numbers against time and go "look; strength!" but that tells me nothing.  Was this a skill increase?  Did the person peak?  Was there any hypertrophy?  Etc etc.  I am at the point where numbers matter less; it's a question of how much effort was applied over how much time. 


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  2. I don't think I've seen a single 5/3/1 Reddit post that doesn't get some part of the program wrong, or skip over the bits they think don't matter, or just try to cram three program's worth of ideas into one regular routine. Mention anything about jumps or throws and you'll get people saying they don't have time, don't have space, it feels silly, I want to do 5 squat variations instead, it's crazy.

    Even just bringing up conditioning seems a bit much and people freak out about ruining their'bulks' or rest days or other nonsense, there's an impressive amount of excuses and blame shifting.

    I think I just need to use my brain and stop looking. I love the info on Wendler's proper forum but the rest I can just keep myself and put in the time and life gets a whole lot simpler. Just need to remember that Internet opinions and advice don't mean anything in the end. 5 years from now, sticking to great well-rounded 5/3/1 template, I'm sure I'll be miles ahead while people still bicker about frequency and 5x5s and how you better not go near 5/3/1 until you've stalled out your precious peaked beginner strength for months and years. All those great excuses to keep them at computers and phones and not putting in simple, consistent effort into a good workout principles.

    God damn, that's a bit of a rant. Ah well, just want to say I love your blog and these posts and old Reddit commend of yours got me off that bad path over the last couple of years.

    1. Never be afraid to rant here dude, haha. Really appreciate your comment, and glad you've found the blog/my posting helpful. You're totally spot on in your observations and I think your theory is sound. I wish 5/3/1 was a thing when I first started training, and I constantly kick myself for being too stupid to latch onto it once it showed up. Once I quit thinking I new everything about training, I started getting much stronger.

      Thanks for the post!

  3. "Are you doing the throws, jumps, and conditioning though?"

    You should just get a bot made that asks that question on every single 5/3/1 post for you.

    That's weird about your lack of barbell use. Did you just realize that one day on accident?

    I nodded along to every single one of these and laughed out loud as a former wrestler who just discovered two unused jumpropes in the garage move.

    No one has ever knocked Duffin for his lifting, it's just every time the guy opens his mouth.

    I'd like to read more about Schrodinger's Cat's Strength Gains.


    1. I feel like most of my reddit commentary could be better accomplished by a bot, haha.

      And yeah, the barbell thing was totally unintentional. It was one of those things I realized while I was moving. I loaded a whole bunch of lifting gear into the truck and got to the barbells and couldn't think of the last time I had used them.

      I'm sure you and I could start a jumprope rescue center for poor neglected jumpropes. I STILL have to fight the instincts to buy one whenever I find it cheap.

      I'm most likely saved from the Duffin drama by always having my sound off when I watch videos. Maybe I should spread that idea on my next rant, haha.

      For the strength gains thing; the way I'm looking at it is that lifting weights is still just ONE tool, no matter how you do it. High reps, low reps, dropsets, HIT, etc etc, it's STILL just lifting weights. If it's the only thing you do, you limit yourself from other possible avenues of training stimulus. People don't tend to think of it, but conditioning is also more volume ALONG with something that improves the capacity to acquire more volume in the weightroom, so it's a bit of a double whammy.

      People get fixated thinking of everything in isolation, when it really all comes together at once. Realizing this went a long way for me.

    2. I gotcha. I like that idea a lot and it definitely mirrors my own experience. It's hard to put into words without writing a novel though.

    3. Definitely, and that's most likely why it's so misunderstood. It doesn't fit into a soundbite and requires a lot of experience to get figured out.

    4. what are the throws, jumps, and conditioning? legit question. thanks

  4. Nice post. Really enjoy these bullet point "rants " as well as your usual in depth blogposts.

  5. I've found with Pavel's stuff you have to pick away a lot of the information, but there's definite gold in his works. What was your takeaway from Beyond Bodybuilding?

    1. Pavel has lots of great stuff, but if you're uneducated while you read it, it can be tricky to read between the lines. For me, it was just a totally eye opening experience. Before reading it, I was just "working out", while Pavel really opened my eyes to training. It gave me a laser focus and prioritization and got me heading in a good direction. However, I took his sets of 5 way too seriously, along with his jihad on small movements for light reps and the sacroplasmic hypertrophy dichotomy, and spent a LOT of time peaking strength instead of building it.

      It was an excellent resource, and as part of a more complete library, really amazing. I still go back to it every once in a while. Besides; it gave me ROM progression, which I will always be thankful for, haha.

    2. I got my start with Pavel as well, pretty much. Also bought into it as dogma, unfortunately. Stalled on press, and never did add the volume I actually would have needed to overcome. He has some pretty neat ideas and protocols though