strength

Movin Iron…

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Mondays Training
High Box Squat-
225 x 5
245 x 5
275 x 5

Chins-
BW x A bunch

Good Mornings-
Bar x 5
95 x 5, 5, 5

This Mornings Training
Paused Bench Press-
185 x 5
195 x 4

Incline Dumbbell Press-
65 x 8
70 x 6

Chins-
BW x A Bunch

Dips-
BW x A Bunch

I’m still getting used to this training early in the morning thing. I need to get some whey or BCAA’s to take preworkout. I’m up at 5, have a client at 6, and then I train at 7. I don’t have any kind of appetite so liquid calories are going to be my friend. I also need to integrate more plyometric/explosive movements into my warm up to get my CNS fired up before I lift. It wasn’t much of an issue when I trained in the evening but in the mornings it’s a big deal. I’ll get over to the other gym tomorrow night for some deadlifting then I’ll be in Lawrence Friday and Saturday for a Sports Performance Conference.

Pistol Skwattin

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Back in my ‘Man with the Plan’ post I listed some random strength goals that I was going to accomplish throughout this year. April’s goal was 1 pistol squat on each leg.

As you can see from the video I cheated and put a plate under my heel. Overall all 4 reps were fairly ugly but I’ll take those over not being able to do any. I’m gunnin’ for that 315 paused box squat now!

De-De-Deload

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I’ve backed off the training a bit this week. The gym opened last Wednesday so I’ve been spending a ton of time there hustling up clients. My schedule is kinda messed up but I’ll do what I have to do. As of right now I can not deadlift at the gym because there is no platform or bumper plates. I’m thinking I may have to reserve one night per week to lift at my usual gym where I can squat and deadlift in the same night then bench and do all my accessory work at the gym I work at.

The only organized training I’ve done so far this week is a little bench where I hit 185 for 3 sets of 2 and then some dips and chins. Yesterday morning I did a little squatting but I didn’t have a box so I just worked up to 275 for 2 and called it good. It wasn’t exactly heavy but I was training at 7 in the morning on an empty stomach so I didn’t feel real strong to begin with.

C3D7- Deadlift Training

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Conventional DL-
135 x 3
225 x 2
275 x 1
315 x 1
365 x 1
405 x miss
405 x miss

Oly Squat-
135 x 5
185 x 5, 5

Close Grip Pulldown-
4 sets of 12

After talking to the guys I train with and because I want to compete in some strongman I decided I’m going to work back to pulling conventional on the DL. I’m actually pretty damn happy with how last night went. I’ve never pulled over 340 on the conventional DL so 365 was great. My first attempt at 405 I actually had it a couple inches off the ground but I just couldn’t finish it. I’ll be working on those and my oly squat over the next couple months. The thing I have the hardest time with is keeping my ass down at the beginning of the pull.

C3D6- Bench Training

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Wide Grip Paused Bench Press-
185 x 3
185 x 3
195 x 3
205 x 3

Axle Push Press-
175 x 1
195 x miss
195 x 1

Dead Stop Dumbbell Row-
125 x 10, 10, 10

Incline Dumbbell Press- 5 second negative
65 x 8, 8

Fat Bar Chins-
BW x 26 total reps

I was pretty damn happy last night with how I benched. I hit 225 at the meet so tripling 205 with a 1-2 second pause on my chest is a major improvement. My form is getting better each week too. I’ve had a real problem keeping my upper back tight through the entire movement but last night was much better. I didn’t originally plan on doing the axle push press but it looked like fun and it’s been a couple months since I’ve done it. I think I was hitting 195 for a couple reps when I dropped them so I’m glad I haven’t lost much on that one.

C3D5- Pistols and Conditioning

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This was Tuesdays workout.

AM:
I worked on some pistol box squats and full pistols with the TRX but I couldn’t get past parallel without just dropping on my ass when I was doing the box squats. After thinking about it for a bit I remembered what the Iron Tamer David Whitley said when he was working on getting to a full pistol squat. The problem wasn’t really a strength issue, it was more balance so he used a kettlebell as a counter balance. So I grabbed my kettlebell (30#) and since I was training in flat soled shoes I grabbed a board that’s about 3/8 of an inch thick to elevate my heel on. After doing that I went from only being able to go about half way down to a full eccentric pistol squat in about 5 minutes. Now I just need to be able to stand up lol.

PM:
Hill Sprints x 10 (approximately 25 yards)

Took yesterday (Wednesday) completely off.

C3D4- Squat Training

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Paused Box Squat-
225 x 3
245 x 3
265 x 3

Floor RDL-
205 x 6
225 x 4
235 x 4
245 x 4
225 x 8

Face Pull-
7 x 10
8 x 10, 10, 10

EZ Bar Curl-
125 x 5, 5, 5

BB Rollout-
Knees x 3
Feet x 3, 3

I was happy with how the squatting went. When I started this cycle I was hoping to attempt around 300 for a single on the 3rd week and it’s working out well. On the rollouts I didn’t get a full layout when I was on my feet. I just rolled out to a push up position and back. I’m not nearly strong enough to roll all the way out and come back so I’ll keep working those for awhile.

Magic Bullets and the Big Picture

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Ever since we started researching diet, exercise, and health we’ve always tried to find the one thing that will answer most, if not all of our problems. That’s why we every month we end up demonizing one particular nutrient or training method and blame a whole host of problems on them.

Over the years we’ve demonized fat, squats, and all other kinds of stuff. We’ve also tried taking a single nutrient or training method and painted them as the end-all-be-all of fitness and health.

Guess what, it’s all wrong.

We spend so much time breaking everything down and trying to find the one element of each that is either causing all the problems or creating all the benefits that we forget one important aspect:

The Sum is Greater than the Whole of It’s Parts

There is a reason that a man made antioxidant supplement doesn’t work nearly as well as actually eating a large variety of high quality fruits and veggies. It’s not about one single cog, it’s about how it works with the rest of the machine. Even though we’ve been making and researching supplements for the past 20+ years, we’re still rank amateurs compared to mother nature. Weighing and measuring poor quality food will get you far less results than focusing on eating the highest quality, highest nutrient per calorie foods.

That’s why leg pressing is an incredibly poor substitute for squats and the lat pulldown and the pec dec are poor substitutes for chins/pull ups and dips/push ups. They may use the same muscles, but the hormonal response, adaptive response, and calorie expenditure for each exercise are COMPLETELY different. If you want to build a great body with just machines you’re going to need to spend a couple grand and invest hours upon hours in the gym to get there. Conversely you can spend a fraction of that time and money to build an even better body (in my opinion) with some simple tools like barbells, body weight, and sandbags and focusing on big movements like squats, deadlifts, cleans, pull ups/chins, push ups/dips, and loaded carries.

What’s the point of looking good if you are still weak and not able to perform when it counts? Put down the psuedo-foods and step away from the pseudo-fitness machines and opt for more organic fruits, veggies, meats and fats then kick your fitness into overdrive with some squats, dips, pull ups and sled dragging!  There are no magic bullets or shortcuts.  It’s time to do the work!

C3D3- Bench

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Wide Grip Paused Bench Press-
185 x 5
185 x 4
175 x 4

Fat Bar Kroc Row-
90 x 10 each arm
90 x 10 each arm

Kroc Row-
135 x 12 each arm

Flat DB Press- 5 sec negative each rep
65 x 8
55 x 5, 3

DB Front Raise- Thumbs Up
10 x 10
25 x 10
25 x 10

Chins/Pull Ups-
50 total reps done throughout training session

I was pretty pissed that I didn’t press any better than I did but after thinking about it I can’t be to angry. First of all I only bench 225 at the meet. This was primarily because I’ve always benched with a fairly close grip and I have never trained with any type of pause. Last night I not only brought my grip out 4-5 inches, I also held a 2 second pause on my chest so I can’t really expect to be pressing well right now.

For the past couple years I’ve had some issues with my left shoulder whenever I bench press. It doesn’t matter if I’m using dumbbells or a bar either. It doesn’t hurt, but I just hit a point where my shoulder has no power and I end up having to flare my elbow way out to try and finish it with my triceps. This really jacks up my form and limits my progress. What started this all was I lost control of a dumbbell while I was incline pressing and I basically externally rotated my shoulder with a 90# dumbbell in my hand. I saw an ortho who said that I didn’t have any type of damage to the shoulder, I’ve just never really got back to where I was. I really think that I jacked up my front delt as well as the biceps tendon that wraps up over the shoulder. They’re not damaged, they’re just damn weak so I need to build those up before I’m going to get a good press. I may even play around with some reverse grip overhead pressing and some neutral grip overhead pressing to build that area up.

C3/D2- Single Leg Training

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This was just a quick workout I got in over my lunch break yesterday.

Single Leg Squat off Step:
2nd Stair x 5 each leg
3rd Stair x 2 each leg x 3 sets

Single Leg Parallel Box Squat:
BW x 3 each
BW x 3 each

Sled Drag:
85 lbs x 3 trips

The third stair is a little below parallel. I’m getting better at controlling it all the way to the bottom but I don’t have much pop out of the bottom of it yet. Only a couple weeks till I try my pistols so I need to get crackin!