Friday, March 30, 2007

Off to Erie in the morning...

I am off to the PL meet in Erie tomorrow morning - just cutting a little weight has me crying ;) But it will be worth it because I do not want to readjust my goals for being in the 198s!

Results on Sunday afternoon - since I am staying in Erie overnight - so i will report when I have the chance.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

We as human beings are dogmatic...


1. characterized by assertion of unproved or unprovable principles
2. of or pertaining to or characteristic of a doctrine or code of beliefs accepted as authoritative
3. relating to or involving dogma; "dogmatic writings"

dogmatic. (n.d.). WordNet® 2.1. Retrieved March 27, 2007, from website:

We as human beings are dogmatic creatures. We seek out ideas, philosophies or beliefs that resonate with us or fill some doubt or gap we feel needs an "answer". In doing so we run the risk of falling into dogma.

We want an answer. An answer to provide a path - an answer to direct us - an answer we can get behind and use - in doing so we run the risk of eliminating further growth and thought because we have already found our "answer" and our answers usually become our dogma.

"A code of beliefs accepted as authoritative"...You could insert any training philosophy here...HIT, Functional training, Bodybuilding, Kettlebells, powerlifting, olympic lifting etc....
and people associated with these philosophies will defend their beliefs (sometimes "violently"). This ususally comes from a combination of the dogmatic nature of human beings and the desire to share something that they believe in or has worked for them.

The desire to be the one with the answer and to "help" people through that answer is another very powerful human drive. (The realization that you may not have the "right" answer for a given situation is a real kick in the head.)

As a "kettlebell" guy this may seem an odd post - because I do believe in KBs (strongly) and think they can help a lot of people. But I am also a Functional Movement Screen guy, a powerlifting guy, a yoga guy etc...I guess I have several "dogmas". So how to avoid being dogmatic without falling prey to the statement below....?

If you stand for nothing - you will fall for everything.

In other words you have to have a lens through which to view and filter the world and information but you need to avoid closing the lens and only seeing what you want or what fits.

But Pavel said this, But Louie Simmons said this, But Michael Boyle said this - yes but under what context - in what set of circumstances???

There is no one answer - we must all ferment and distill information and make choices for ourselves. Stand for what you believe in but remain open to thought and progression and be willing to be wrong - make mistakes and continue to learn and grow.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Quick training today:

Squat 405 x 2, 455 x 1, 405 x 2
Bench 225 x 3,3,3
Inverted Row +#45 x 10, 8, 6

Just a prep workout for the meet this weekend - should be fun!
Fermentation and Distillation...

1. a process in which an agent causes an organic substance to break down into simpler substances
2. a state of agitation or turbulent change or development

fermentation. (n.d.). WordNet® 2.1. Retrieved March 27, 2007, from website:

the purification or concentration of a substance, the obtaining of the essence or volatile properties contained in it, or the separation of one substance from another, by such a process.

distillation. (n.d.). Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved March 27, 2007, from website:

Interested yet? Why look at fermentation and distillation? I'm glad you asked...

Fermentation - an agent that causes something to break down into simpler parts and/or a state of turbulent change or developement - or as a friend pointed out to me - it is a state of decay. But in addition to the ferementation of certain vegetables and fruits - ideas and thoughts go through fermentation.
Ideas and thoughts are fermented (information or discussion can be the agent that acts upon them or is the beginnings of the turbulent change) but if you do not come through the state of decay, breakdown and turbulence - you just have a mash of rotten pulp.

Distillation - separating one substance from another or purification or concentration of a substance - (the same friend simply referred to this as purification) - again this is not just the point where grapes truly become wine - it is the point where ideas and thoughts become something more.

Fermentation must occur but it must also continue through to distillation to become something viable and/or useful - Are your ideas fermenting and reaching distillation or are they remaining a pile of rotten mash?

What does this have to do with anything? Simplicity - simplicity is purchased at the cost of fermentation and distillation of the complex to the simple or essential elements.

Do you seek complexity or do you put complexity through the process of fermentation and distillation and seek the simple essence?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Random Thoughts - (formerly Deep Thoughts...)

A smattering of stuff floating through my head today:

Big jumps - "I made a dollar - next stop 1 million!"
Doesn't make much sense does it?? But I see people all the time that achieve a PR in an exercise and they are already projecting ahead to a huge jump.
"I squatted 405! Next stop 500!"
While it is great to have a goal and to be excited and achieve what are considered milestones in your training - it is also important to keep perspective.
The next stop after 405 is 425 - 455 - 475 and many places in between - you may have an ultimate goal of 500 but if you skip what lies inbetween - you will miss a lot.

Get out and do it - pick a venue and sign up for a competition - draw up a plan of attack and train for your event. Putting yourself out there in front of other competitors and judges has many benefits and directs your training and efforts.

Learn Proper Form:
I had to not look at some of the lifters yesterday. Their DL warmups were horrible - even painful to watch. As I have said before - There is a difference between swinging the kettlebell and knowing how to perform the swing. And - There is a difference between picking a weight up off of the floor and knowing how to perform the deadlift.
Read, study and get coaching - you need outside eyes on your form.

"The Starbucks Experience":
Caught this recommendation off of Alwyn Cosgrove's blog and it is a great read. Details the guiding principles of Starbucks and how they elevated coffee to it's current status. A must read from a customer service perspective.

That should do it for now - Enjoy

Sunday, March 25, 2007

8th Annual Pittsburgh Monster Bench and DL - or - The Meet that wouldn't end...

11 hours to get through bench and DL - (90 benchers - 45 or so DLers) - a very painful LONG day of waiting.
8 Flights of bench - One platform - 5+ hours - judging was generous - Painful to say the least.

For me: Bench: 295 x 1, 320 x 1, 330 x 0 - Deadlift: 500 x 1, 555 x 1, 575 x 0

A small 5# pr on the bench and a 10# pr on the deadlift - for the length of day and weighing in heavy (due to the scale I beleive and confirmed by several others) - so they had me at 186 and lifting in the 198s. I'll take my PRs and walk away smiling.

I have an ADAU full PL meet next weekend so for that I will come in on weight and ready to go.

Friday, March 23, 2007

How do I train it all?

You don't - At least not the way you think.

Speed, power, agility, strength, flexibility, endurance - are some of the qualities we want to train.

We all know the body part splits and "areas" of the body we would like to train and add to this our list of "favorite" exercises - pull-ups, dips, bench, dead-lift, squat etc...

How to fit it all in? Like I said above - You don't.

Let me be clear here - Conjugate training (as it is defined in the US) is all about training multiple "qualities" at the same time. However, you adjust your volume for each quality you are training. Take for example a volume squat routine like the Smolov - enough volume to nearly kill most who undertake it (kidding - but not by much) - during this routine don't even think about continuing to train your dead-lift. Don't bother - accept the fact that the Smolov for your squat is a peaking routine designed to be used alone. Your dead-lift will be just fine when you return to it.

If you choice of strength endurance training is Kettlebell snatches - this will also take care of a good bit of your power and explosive training. A single drill can start to training multiple qualities. Just accept that it is true.

Simplify your training and choose 2-3 areas to focus on. Be direct with your programming choices and accept that is you want absolute strength you will be doing very little endurance work...etc....

To make it very simple:
Upper body Push/Pull
Lower body Push/Pull
Explosive exercise
Sports practice
That's it - one exercise for each area then go hit your sport or goal activity - Occasionally have a variety day to mix in some fun.

Don't complicate life more than is already handed to you.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Proper form depends on the activity...

Proper form for martial arts is not the same as proper form for powerlifting. And the proper form for testing is not the same as proper form for training...

We as human beings are dogmatic and want clear cut one size fits all answers and solutions. We also want one method to work for all situations.

Example - Your knees should never go past your toes. Says who? Try going up stairs with out letting your knees go past your toes. Watch an athlete and show me how their knees never go past their toes. We do it every day - but here are the caveats to letting the knees go past the toes.
#1 - You must display proper hip movement and stability. (ie...your glute medius and hips must do what they are supposed to do - if not the knee pays the price)
#2 - Your arch should be maintained. (if you pronate {lose your arch} everything up the chain must compensate - and your knee pays the price)
#3 - If you are going to add resistance to the "knees over the toes" movement it should be light or not at all.

We love rules and answers. Just do _____________ and all will be well - is what we are looking for in our lives.

It just ain't that simple.

Proper form for Martial Arts will entail "tucking the hips under" (think Tai Chi, Qigong etc...) but proper form for a power-lifting back squat will entail sitting back into the hips (sticking the butt out) and maintaining a lumbar curve. Each has it's place depending on the goal.

Proper form for testing the deep squat is with the toes straight ahead. Once you can show me that - Proper form for the weighted squat is with the toes having a slight turn out (15-30 degrees depending on the individual). Toes straight ahead under load will push you against your limits for your hips - not a great idea. Once you show me full range of motion in the testing - you can work with the turn out to provide a little buffer.
Hip mechanics, pull of the hip flexors etc...dictate that this his how we operate under load.

So - are you trying to transfer "proper form" for one activity into a hard and fast "rule" that you are applying to all things - or do you recognize that proper form is dependant on the activity and goal?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Mental Health day:

A quick workout and a Mental Health day today -
Deadlift - worked up to 475 x 2, 515 x 1
Inverted Row #100 x 5,5,5
Bench 275 x 2,2
A little triceps work and done - I have a Push/pull meet this Saturday and then I am going to hit an ADAU PL meet in Erie, PA so it should be an interesting week and a half.

Mental Health day - I bonked - crashed - or whatever you want to call it and had to unplug for the rest of the day. These are what I refer to as mental health days - days where - for your sanity - you need to unplug and breath deep and chill a bit.

I caught Rif's blog wondering where the bloggers have gone and we are still out here - I have a new scheme for getting my blog going each day so we will see how that works out.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Quick training today...

Squats 365 x 2, 405 x 2, 455 x 2, 485 x 1, 405 x 2

Felt pretty good today so pushed just a bit - push/pull meet this weekend and perhaps a full meet the following weekend (Rif will love that).

Finally a day off today so back at it tomorrow.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Some great articles out there...

On -

Check out Christian Thibaudeau's article on the "Science of High-Threshold Motor Recruitment for Hypertrophy" - While most of you know that I am not interested in hypertrophy - this article has some great information in it and is based on keeping strength and size equal - not producing "non-functional hypertrophy".

Chris Shugart has a good article - "The Big Picture Seminar..." relating the basics from a workshop he taught in Boston covering some nutritional and training principles - good tips and some good quotes.

On - Dr. John Bernardi has a great interview with Eric Cressey about the deadlift -
and I found a Mike Robertson article "Precision Pulling" on - another good deadlift article.

Ordered Christian Thibaudeau's book and am finishing several others at the moment - Mike Boyle's Designing Strength Training Programs and Facilities, Trigger Point Therapy Manual by Claire Davies and tons of articles...

The learning continues...

Great things professionally as well - very busy and will be posting a travel schedule soon as I am booking up for the year and trying to keep moving on my projects.

I am in San Diego this weekend and taking a day off on Monday so enjoy the articles I listed above and have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Training Today...

Deadlifts - 405 x 2,2,2,2 495 x 1, 405 x 2

Inverted Rows 100# x 3,3,3,3,3

Bench (paused) 275 x 1,1,1,1,1

Triceps work - 4 or 5 sets of overhead rope triceps extensions

Deadlifts felt very strong and quick - my last pulling before next weekends push/pull meet.

I'll post a more complete blog tomorrow with some recommendations for some articles to check out.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Today's training:

Not what I planned but this is what happened:

Squat - alternating sets of 405 and 455
405 x 2, 455 x 1, 405 x 2, 455 x 1, 405 x 2, 455 x 1

Bench - 315 x 1
then board presses
3 board 345 x 2 (had some help on these)
4 board 365 x 2 negatives
5 board 365 x 2
5 board 385 x 2 (1 solid - 1 with help)
3 board 335 x 2 (with help)

My legs felt like lead today - planned on hitting doubles but singles were the order of the day. And I discovered today that I have no triceps! Board presses killed me! I did squeak out a good rep at 385 but otherwise I discovered that I need A LOT of triceps work.

This pretty much indicates that I have squeezed every bit I can out of the squat - time to cycle back to 70% for a week or two and work my way back up.

Some days you just work through the workout.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Squats tomorrow and finally got my links up...

With some help from Rif I finally have my site linked to a few other blogs etc...

Tomorrow is squat day - Looking forward to getting under the bar and hitting some good squats then I will get a chance to hit some board presses with some of the other PLers in the gym.

My blog has been a bit inconsistent lately because I have been having stretches where I work a month at a time or more with out a day off and trying to travel and keep up with other products and get things taken care of so I can work on the book and other stuff...oh yeah and then there's that whole "trying" to have life thing that gets in the way ;)

Work is funny to me - if I fail at something work wise it will not be for lack of effort or lack of time spent - I am willing to work many hours if I feel it is needed. However, I also try to keep in mind a great saying -

"Work so that you can live - Do not live to work."

So easy to say - So hard to do - especially when you have moved and are trying to establish multiple businesses at the same time. But we try.....

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Thursday's Training:

Deadlift - alternating sets of 405 and 495
405 x 2, 495 x 2, 405 x 2, 495 x 2, 405 x 2, 495 x 2

Inverted Rows +#100 x 5,5,5

Bench (paused) 295 x 2,2,2

A good day of training - the doubles at 495 were the easiest they have been so I feel good about those and the bench was solid.

I will have a chance to hit some board presses on Monday so i will squat and then meet up with some of the guys to hit the board presses - This will be my first go at the board presses so I will report back on what I find.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


I actually love and hate soreness. I love it because it is that primitive indication of work performed. I hate it because it hurts everytime I move!! ;)

And I do not look at it as a sign of progress - it is just an indication of work performed that was either higher in volume or intensity or an infrequent stimulus that the body chooses not to adapt to because it doesn't happen often enough.

What do I look to as an indication of progress - getting stronger of course!!

My squats have fallen into this category - squatting once a week is leaving me sore after each Monday. But my dead-lift and squat and bench are all moving the correct direction so I guess I will put up with some soreness for now.

When I was squatting 3 x week on the modified pre-RSR I got very sore at the beginning but after that would only get mild feelings of soreness after a workout where I pushed very hard and even then it wasn't soreness like at the beginning. Your body adapts to the stress you put it under and progress in strength is the indicator of progress - soreness just is.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Training today:

Squats 405 x 5,5,5

Inverted row 100# x 5, 115# x 5, 100# x 5

Bench 315 x 1,1, 2 (forced rep on the second rep)

Felt good today and decided to do 5's for cardio ;)
Bench is coming along and the inverted rows/bench rows are feeling good.

There is a good crew of powerlifters at the gym on Monday night (bench night) and a few guys I think I am going to be able to lift with and get a bump from being around.

That's it - foam roller, stretch, eat - KBs tomorrow.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

A thought for the day:

Can you control your own body?

Push-ups, pull-ups, inverted rows, headstands, bridges, handstands, handstand push-ups, single leg deadlifts, single leg squats, split squats, airborne lunges, jump rope, toe touch, joint mobility drills, tumbling, and the list goes on...

The more I work with people the more I am amazed by people's disconnect with their own bodies - they cannot feel where they are in space and cannot effectively move their own body. Yet these are the people looking for machine based routines or people on a constant variety program or cardio only programs.

Breathing and movement are essential to life and form the foundation for an exercise program.

So - can you control your own body?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Training today and a Question....

Semi-sumo - 425 x 2, 475 x 1, 515 x 1
Conventional - 515 x 1,1,1 425 x 2

Inverted Rows +100# x 5,5,5

Bench 275 x 2,2,2 (paused)

DL felt good - Big sumo DL PR - previously 455 stopped me cold on the sumo style DL so hitting 515 is very nice and continuing to pull conventional singles with some speed was really nice.
Bench was good - speed with pauses - felt solid and very good.

I am in a bit of uncharted territory right now with some great progress in my training. My frequency has come down to two powerlifting days a week but my intensity on those days is very good. Now to hit two Kb days to round out the program and maybe get another boost.

And the Question...

When designing your next training protocol ask yourself this question: What is the least I can do and still make progress?

I'll let you stew on that for a moment or two....

Don't look for the ragged edge (except 3-4 times/training cycles a year) - yes this is a training modality to be used but not all the time.
If you have injuries or a history of working yourself into trouble - find out how little you can do and progress in the direction you want to progress.

Perhaps a very different perspective for you but one that may just change your direction and get you some progress.
Just something to think about...

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