Monthly Archives: July 2014

These little 10 lb weights look pitiful but we ran 10 sets and this was my last lap.
Yes that is the sun coming up behind me.
Next we did stretches. David said I looked like Elaine from Seinfeld dancing at a rave.
He is a hater.

http://youtu.be/dxuhcInZavA

Been having issues with acid reflux during training which completely sucks. Just about every set up until the last one I was fighting gagging during the lockout. On top of that I couldn’t tighten the back of the shirt up or wear a belt. So being able to hit 565 dealing with all that, I will take it.

ME Bench x1
45
95
135
185
225
275
315
Shirt 405 4 board
455 3 board
495 3 board
545 2 board
565 2 board

Close Grip Bench 60 Reps
(185×25,41,51,60)

Single Arm Overhead Grenade Ball Extensions 3×12
(70)

JM Press 6×6
(115)

EZ Bar Reverse Pressdowns 3×15
(100)

Laying Side DB External Rotations 3×10
(10)

http://youtu.be/iw_5Ad089BY

Monday, July 28

Laying Single leg curls 3xMax -WU 12.5, work 15

Hack Squat 6×6 -no weight, 25,45,work 55

Reverse Hypers Heals Together Long Strap 3×15- 45+35

X-Band Walks 20 yards x2 -Pink band

Glute Bridges 100 total

Planks 10×10 sec x3 sets

Us kids were left alone in the sandbox again today…..
Tuesday, July 29

Wide Grip Neutral Pulldowns 3×10 -WU 50,60, work 70

Rope Pressdowns 3×15 -WU 40, work 50

Single Arm DB Rows 3xMax -25, 30, work 35

Push-ups 100 total -40,30,20,20

Band Pull a parts 100 total -red band 50,50

Side Plank 10×10 3 sets – got 5 reps of the last set (an improvement over last week)

http://youtu.be/Lw8u8a0pHXw

ME Squats x1 w/chains
60
150
240
290
330
380
Briefs 420
470
510
560
Suit straps down 600
650
690
690 +80
690+160

RDL’s w/chains 4×8
135
225
315
355
+40
+80
+120

Glute Ham Raise 2 part 3×10
BW

Plank 10×10 x3

http://youtu.be/H7bRLGmNens

Normally after a meet we take a week off, then drop all the way back down to GPP training to make our base bigger. For the next 6 weeks (roughly) I will not touch a barbell, the volume will be ridiculously high, and I will probably vomit a few times. The next 2 weeks will include 4 days a week training with 6 movements (all isolation). 3 sets of each movement performed for 1 minute straight with a 1 minute rest period. Its borderline cardio….

It is done. I’ve been working towards this show since I got done with the Wounded Warrior Strongman Contest in November of last year. Yesterday was my final “tune up” per se, to run through events one last time before I deload for a week and play the mental game.

I don’t know how many athletes practice this consistently, but mentally going over events prior to competition allows me to worry about stuff on the front end. That way, if something happens on contest day, I can just bounce right back and carry on.

I’ve seen numerous potentially winning performances get completely derailed by one bad event. Once the lifter messed up once, it’s like all the fight went right out of them. Strongman can be funny like that. The problem is, you can’t give up: if your competitor screws up in a different event, you hounding every attempt might be the only way you stay in the fight to win. So slacking on any event really is unacceptable, every point makes a difference.

That said, I’ll spend much of this week poring over potential scenarios in my head: missing a log clean, dropping the farmers, etc. And then I have no fear of those happening when contest day arrives. And should, by some unfortunate chance, they do actually happen? Well, I’ll get right in after it again so I don’t lose ground. Simple as that.

Here’s what went down though:

Warmup

Log Clean and Press (clean once)

Log x5
175×3
205×10 in 60 seconds.

Farmers Walk

220×75′ no time, but slightly uphill

Conans Carry

400×75′ sweat malfunctioned my grip

Deadlift (axle)

285×2
475×1

Done.

This session is really just to fire the nervous system once more before the deload. You don’t gain strength on this day, but you can get hurt. Best to blast through it and start the recovery process appropriately.

I will have a post later this week regarding what I do on meet day, since I typically don’t cut weight for meets like others do. Otherwise, time to rest, mobilize, and get mean.

Floor Press 6×6 (245)
Meadows Rows 3×8 (45)
Wide Grip Neutral Pulldowns 3×8 (150)
Seated Facepulls 3×15 (30)
EZ Bar Reverse Curls 3×10 (20 each side)
Band Pull Aparts Series

8×2 @55%+chains (470+80)
ME Deadlift x1 +chains (135,225,315,405,495,585,615+40)
Reverse Hypers 3×15 (140)
Plate Pinch Holds 15 sec on 15 sec of max sets (left hand failed on set 6, right hand failed on set 7)

I recently saw where someone made a Facebook post asking what the point of having a strong deadlift was if you can’t run a mile and what was the purpose of being able to run, bike, and swim fast if you weren’t strong. Well, let me answer that question…Winning!

The point is to win!

I will not go into details about the importance of aerobic fitness and capacity in regards to strength sports nor the importance of resistance training and anaerobic abilities in regards to endurance sports. Instead, I will address the real question hidden in the post: “What is the point of being great at something, if it means you have to sacrifice something else?” And the point is  TO BE GREAT!

I have seen this question and thought towards training more than once before and I am not sure of the true underlying cause. It may be from a lack of understand of how achievement is gained or, possibly the more likely reason, because it is easier on the ego to be better than average at many things but great at none. In the second case, someone can say to a runner, “I am more muscular and stronger than you” and they can say to the lifter “I am faster and in better aerobic shape than you”. Either way, a basic understanding of how things work is needed before truly being able to answer the question.

First, the world rewards the specialists. Peyton Manning gets paid big bucks because he is an extremely good quarterback. He’s not a great public speaker nor is he qualified to run a fortune 500 company. He can’t create an ornament out of blown glass and he doesn’t know how to set up logistics for a manufacturing company. In truth, he’s not that big, fast, or strong. But, he’s extremely smart, he’s extremely accurate, and he is dedicated to being the best quarterback he can possibly be and because of that, he makes millions of dollars. The same can be said for the computer genius, the stock trader, the metal worker, and the surgeon. They are all specialists.

Second, to be good at a craft takes sacrifice. Whether time, money, relationships, health, or other possible sacrifices, something must be given for something else to be gained. In order to be a great surgeon, a person must sacrifice money in student loans, time in studying, and possibly strain the relationships of their spouse, kids, friends, or family and also probably put a big strain on their health through long surgeries and crazy hours and high amounts of stress. This same sacrifice can be said about any athlete. At the highest level, all athletics are incredibly bad for your health. An NFL Football player running head on with some of the biggest, strongest, and fastest people on earth is going to feel the repercussions of his actions later in life, but he does it anyway. A bodybuilder going through contest prep is going to place a strain on his relationships because of the time and energy requirement to compete at that level, but he does it anyway. A upcoming tennis pro is going to spend money on equipment, lessons, travel, and all the work needed to keep her body performing at the highest level, but she does it anyway. Why do they do this? Because they want to be great, they want to win.

In life there are those who feel most comfortable on the field and those who feel most comfortable in the stands. Neither is “the right” way to be, people are different. However, if you are someone who is comfortable in the stands and has never been on the field, you have not earned the right to criticize those on the field for their actions and sacrifices. There is nothing wrong with wanting to just be healthy, feel good, and be overall decent at many aspects of fitness. But if you’re never going to step on the platform, on the stage, on the field, or into whatever competitive environment and test your best against the best, keep your mouth shut and enjoy the fascinating endeavor of human performance at its highest level.

Those of use who strive for greatness understand the sacrifices we make and are willing to make them because at the end of the day, when we die, we want to look back and be able to say that we gave it everything we had. If you are scared of the future, you will never realize your potential in the present.

ME Bench x1 w/chains
45
95
135
185
225
275
315
Sling shot 365
+40
+80
+100
+120 miss

Close Grip Bench 60 Reps (185×24,44,60)

Single Arm Overhead Grenade Ball Extensions 3×12 (60)

JM Press 6×6 (105)

EZ Bar Reverse Pressdowns 3×15 (90)

Laying Side DB External Rotations 3×10 (10)

http://youtu.be/LLPoNtIgUOY

About a week and a half out from meet time now. They’ve combined the. 200 and 231 classes so now I’ll have the opportunity to go up against some heavy hitters. I’m going to have to be on point in all moving events to make a difference here. If I can avoid losing ground on the press, and not zero the deadlift, then we are looking at some potential shake up in the realm of southeastern strongman.

Also, in regards to missing posts, I’ve been out of town for a week and so have not been as good about posting workouts. Good stuff was had, including a 10 lb front squat PR, but otherwise was not eventful. Will try and catch up more this weekend if anyone needs the update.

As for the workout, I started using Alpha GPC today. It’s a bit of a nootropic, and an acetylcholine precursor, to help with focus and nervous system activation in workouts. Seemed to help, so we shall see if it keeps helping. Focus and drive has been a bit lacking in some of my workouts of late. Hoping to change all that.

Here’s what went down:

Front Squat x2

Bar x10
135×5
185×2
225×2

Belt On
275×2
315×2

Stones to 54″

230x8x1 ( 8 singles) felt blazing fast

Plank/ Bird Dog 5/4/3/2/1

Done

Back on Saturday for one last solid workout before the precontest deload. Should be interesting!

So this past Saturday 7-22-14 is when it was time to put the last 17 week training cycle to the test. Many parts of my training I doubted towards the end but it ended up being a silly doubt because the meet went extremely well for me.

During training I could not bench for nearly 8 weeks out of 17 due to tricep pain. After consulting healthcare professionals at the best gym in Memphis we were able to decrease pain which allowed me to bench and get a huge PR!

Lifts:

Squat: 570 – 605 – 615

( the way 605 felt it scared me out of attempting 625, after watching the video I definitely had 625)

Bench: 340 – 360 (miss) – 375

(Missed 360 due to the same butt raising issue. I took a gamble at going above and beyond my planned third attempt to get the total I was so hungry for). The strength was there but since I changed my “stance” on bench there was not much room for error, so I picked the right number for my attempt.

Deadlift: 550 – 605 – 615

These lifts form wise were probably the “worst”, as you see in my video my hips always rose which suggests I had them to low every time. This just made the weight off the floor more difficult, the second the weight left the floor I knew I had it. On this day if I got a 4th attempt I could have pulled 625.

In SPF I am now ranked 4th in totals, 3rd in full power squat, tied for 15th full power bench, and 6th in full power deadlift. I also took state records in Mississippi on every lift for my class.

Nationally (powerlifting watch) this meet got me ranked 6th overall in totals and 7th in squat

Thank you to my coach David Allen, you have taught me everything I know and guided me to these accomplishments. Thank you teammates that supported me and came out even when you were not lifting. To everyone that was cheering in my videos, THANK YOU.

Special shout out to camera woman an my client Melissa for being awesome and going above and beyond to help this team.

Floor Press 6×6 (2 minute break) (225)
Meadows Rows 3×8 (35)
Wide Grip Neutral Pulldowns 3×8 (140)
Seated Facepulls 3×15 (20)
EZ Bar Reverse Curls 3×10 (15 each side)
Band Pull Aparts Series

ME Bench x1 w/chains
45x2x10
95x2x5
135x2x3
185×3
225×1
275×1
315×1
+40
+60
+80
+100
+120

Close Grip Bench 60 Reps
185×20,35,46,60)

Single Arm Overhead Grenade Ball Extensions 3×12
50
50
50

JM Press 6×6
85

EZ Bar Reverse Pressdowns 3×15
70
70
70
80

Laying Side DB External Rotations 3×10
10
10
10

http://youtu.be/E5kO25VPPs4

I deal with muscle imbalances all day with my training and massage clients.  When people feel an ache or pain they immediately assume the point of discomfort is the problem.  What I have learned from my years of practice is that it is not usually the only problem.  When someone comes to me for massage on a specific issue I always try to look just above and just below the problem area to determine if there is a bigger issue.  While everyone knows the big “sexy” muscles like Lats, Traps, Biceps, etc. they don’t think about the little muscles that help with all the work.  Additionally people don’t think about the fascial system that runs throughout the body.  “The fascial system surrounds, infuses with, and has the potential to influence profoundly every muscle, bone, nerve, blood vessel, organ, and cell of the body.  Fascia also separates, supports, connects, and protects everything.”  

When working with massage clients it is always important for me to consider the surrounding tissue to attempt to determine the cause of a client’s complaint.  If I only work the specific “problem” area I may be able to elicit a short term period of relief, but the problem will keep returning until the root issue is found.  If a client presents with a complaint of pain in their mid traps, I will also check the stability and mobility of their scapula.  The trap may be locked in place as a protective mechanism.  I also check the client’s pectoral region.  Tightened pecs can create an anterior rotation of the shoulder region causing strain on the traps because they are being forced to work harder due to the anterior tilt.  This is similar to when you have to smile a lot more than usual.  While you may not be using more muscles to smile (this has been studied extensively, but never proven) you will notice that your face will get sore quickly from using muscles that are not used to being active for prolonged periods of time.

I have been working with a client for weeks to help alleviate his hip tightness.  A couple of weeks ago he commented that his feet were really hurting as well.  I gave him some specific stretches and exercises he should do to help his feet issues.  When I saw him next I asked how things were going, and if he had been doing the work I suggested.  He had been doing the hip work, but not the work for his feet.  He said he doesn’t need to worry about them to squat.  This is a perfect example of not looking at the bigger picture.  What many people don’t think about is that discomfort in one body part can lead to problems elsewhere in the body.  For example, if your foot is hurting you will likely change your gait putting more weight on the opposite leg.  This will likely cause a decrease in the mobility of your ankle or for you to walk with your knees more bent than usual.  From there your hips will be thrown out of alignment causing low back pain, and hip tightness.  Therefore, all of the hard work he and I are doing to open his hips is limited by his foot pain and the problems arising from said pain.  While addressing the foot pain will not immediately cure his hip immobility, it will take one more component out of the mix keeping his hips from the mobility he needs.

In short, don’t lose sight of the big picture.  Your body works as a unit, and when one thing is not working correctly it can be felt throughout your body.  Also, don’t dismiss small aches because the faster you get them fixed the easier it will be, and the less work it will likely require.

Yvonna Covington

1.  Myofascial Release – the search for excellence John F. Barnes, P.T.

2. Snopes “Does it really take more muscles to smile?”

I rarely say that I can’t finish something David throws at us but the side planks about killed us today. There were supposed to be 3 sets but he took pity on us and only made us do 2. Pure Hell.

July 15, Day 2

Wide Grip Neutral Pulldowns 3×10 -WU 40,50, work 60

Rope Pressdowns 3×15 (lean forward, back straight, elbows lock) -Work 40

Single Arm DB Rows 3xMax -WU 15, work 20 x15,25 x13, 25 x 12

Push-ups 100 total. 20,20,20,20, 10,10

Band Pull a parts 100 total 30,30,20,20

Side Plank 10×10 3 sets (NOT!)

http://youtu.be/Y6Hv8sT4bPU

 

end of training cycle 1 for meeee…once again, i neglected to check which bar I was using, so this is a 55lb bar in all videos.  I noticed after my first set that should have been 217, i bumped it up to what I thought was 225 because I hate messing around with small plates, and wound up at 235.  Also: I know I goodmorning the shit out of my squats.  I’ll work on it.  Annie Gunshow will be hitting NBS soon…stay posted on that, I suppose.  Im going to try and get all the secrets to a great mohawk from Christian, and hopefully come home with a better squat.

 

Anyway SQUATZ

warmup sets

5x235lbs

3x245lbs

3×270

5×10 Conventional Deadlifts

Glute Ham Raises

Glute Bridges superset with banded hip abduction

Single leg RDL

 

Since Jeff and Liz were going to be out of town I let David have the week off and I ran at the park with my pup, Teddy, for a change. Running sucks! I am glad to be back in the gym.
I need to work on getting deeper in the hack squat. I really struggled when I got down there.

New Work Out-Day 1

Laying Single leg curls 3xMax -WU 5, 10, 12.5,15 (6 reps)

Hack Squat 6×6 -WU no weight, 25, work 45

Reverse Hypers Heals Together Long Strap 3×15 -WU 25, work 45

X-Band Walks 20 yards x2 -small black band

Glute Bridges 100 total 60 + 40

Planks 10×10 sec x3 sets

http://youtu.be/wswQHAbKIs4

ME Squats x1 w/chains (box squats
60x2x5
150x2x5
240x2x2
330×1
380×1
420×1
470×1
510×1
+40 chains
+80 chains

RDL’s w/chains 4×8
315
+40
+80
+120

Glute Ham Raise 2 part 3×10
BW
BW
BW

Plank 10×10 x2

http://youtu.be/UsN_Z-rlxow

Trained speed squats and deadlifts today. Speed squats were a bear since I tried my hand at a circa max again. This smoked my back, I did not tension the bands enough so there was to much slack in the hole and a boat load of tension at top. This caused me to loosen up in the whole and retighten through my ascent and my back did not like it. Deadlifts went perfectly, after working with coach David Allen last week his cues were loud and clear. Trained with teammate Mil-Spec Strength (B-Mac) and we crushed our openers. 8 days out from a long overdue meet for myself, I am very excited. I am on track for a water cut as well waking up at 187 so 6 lbs won’t be to bad (I still hate water cutting and how I feel after)

-Speed Squats: EliteFTS Strong,Average, and another big ass band) with 150lbs straight weight.
-deadlifts: 405 – 495 – 550
-paused Deads 2×4: 405
– banded hip thrusts

Depth Drops into box jump, 2 boxes 8×1
ME NCL Deadlift x1 (135,225,315,405,suit straps down 495, straps up 585,635,655,675 miss, grip)
Heels Together toes out reverse hypers 3×15 (65 each side)
DB Shrugs 4×20 (
Seated Band Curls 3×1 min (1 min break) (light)

Jennifer competed in her first figure competition this past June. I sat her down for interview to check out what she thought about the whole process. Take a listen to what she had to say…

 

I would like to take a moment and put some data into perspective for the 3 people that follow my logs. When I started training out of NBS fitness I was ignorant to the fitness industry. After roughly 8 months of training I decided to attempt my first competition. David dieted me down from 190lbs to 165lbs in attempts to get my elite total. As a side note, I would not recommend anyone do this for their first meet unless your lifts are solid enough to not be effected by the weight drop. During my weight loss I had the opportunity to get a DEXA scan, a very accurate way to measure body fat. At 170lbs my body fat was 11%, I then did a water cut and competed in the 165lb weight class and hit an elite total of 1340lbs. I then requested David to put weight on me the most efficient way possible. David guided me to a training weight of 192lbs which I have trained at for the past year and a half. I had the opportunity to get another DEXA scan in class today. I am now 20lbs heavier (190lbs) with a body fat of 9% and attempting to chase a 1600lb total in the 181lb weight class. You will not find another facility anywhere else in the Memphis area having potential results like this, nor the individuals with the education and training environment to make it possible.

20140710-144642-53202339.jpg

20140710-144644-53204055.jpg

Second time in the shirt this cycle. Really happy with today’s progress. I had a bit more in me but was tired from all the sets, plus had some sinus shit going on that made me keep gagging while trying to bench. Game plan was 550 at the meet but now I’m thinking I will probably need more than that to touch.

ME NCL Bench x2 (45,95,135,185,225,275,315,shirt on to three board 405, 455,475,495,515,535)
Close Grip Floor Press 60 reps (185×20,33,44,54,60)
Overhead V Bar Tricep Extensions 3×10 (70)
Elbow Out Incline Tricep Extensions 6×6 (50)
Single Arm Cable Pressdowns 3×15 (70)
Band Pull a Part Super Series 3×10 each

http://youtu.be/TEauDs-KcV8

Closing in on the Refuge Barbell competition. Slowly but surely making progress to get there. Grip is getting better (which is scary), and my hip extension and thoracic extension with stones is getting stronger and more efficient.

I fully realize I won’t likely pull reps with 645 come contest day, so I’m focusing on working hard to make sure I get points in the other events. I can afford a less than stellar performance there if I kill it in all the other events. That said, I know my competition will be top notch there, so one slip up can mean the difference between victory and last place. But that level of competition is what it’s all about. There’s no pride to be gained from winning small local shows. You gotta go big to win big.

Anyways, here’s what all went down:

Ok…plan for today:

Pre-workout:
a. Dynamic Warm up/Mobility- 10 minutes
b. Jump Rope- 30 work/10s rest x4
c. High Knees- each leg forward/out/across body x10
d. Speed Ladder- icky shuffle x3
e. Seated Box Jump- ~80% x10

Lifts:
a. Stones to 54″ (to box)

230×2
260×2 in 15 s
260×2 in 10 s
260×2 in 12 s but starting off the mat

b. SSB Anderson Squat (2-3″ above parallel)

155×2
245×2
295×2
335×2
385×2 @9.5

335×2
335×2 left quad tendon hurting at this point.

c. Farmers- 200# x max distance without dropping. 2 minute rest.

200×150′
200×150′
200×120′ right hand gave out first

d1. Reverse Hyper

90x2x12

d2. Pulldown Abs

80x2x10

Done. Will be back on Thursday for more. Should be able to get in some work Saturday morning before we leave for the airport. Then, vacation!

All this week will be me attempting my openers. The way our program is set up I will have done my openers 3 times prior to the meet. Our coach always said, ” you should be able to hit your opener on your worst lifting day, or even if you feel sick”.

Squats: last warm up 530 – opener 570
Paused squats 2×4: 420
Tons of stretching and mobility.

Usually Saturdays our team does a upper dynamic effort bench. I have been battling triceps issues this while cycle and DE Bench is one of the movements the elicited more pain. So I replaced them with just a heavy 5×5 to lock in form.
Last week you may recall me complaining of my butt lifting, and the changes I made to try and help with little success as all my lifts were slow. Well I tweaked some things and wanted to get as close to my setup as I have been this whole cycle. By things I tweaked I mean the size of my singlet (lol). All I needed was a singlet that was not skin tight and my butt stayed “on” the pad.

Bench 5×5: 255
Seated Rope Tri. Ext.: 60
Low Row Holds: 80/side
Planks

Today was a day for a lot of semi-firsts. I put my suit on for the first time since March, used a straight bar for the first time since then, and worked out of the monolift for the first time since then.

I switched from an ace suit with jack briefs to ace suit with ace briefs and let me tell you there is a big difference in how it feels. The ace on ace is extremely difficult to move in and I struggled to open up my hips and get down. I really felt locked up well above parallel. So I definitely need to get more time in them to get used to them. Overall I was happy with the day. I took 690 for 2 with straps down (not to depth) which I will take. After several more weeks of getting used to the gear, straps up, and wraps, it should make for a pretty good squat.

ME NCL Squat x2 (135,225,275,315,365,briefs 405,455,495,545,suit straps down 585,635,675(690)
2 count Paused Front Squat 3×8 (225)
Round Back Hypers on GHR 3×15 (30)
Plank 10×10

http://youtu.be/WUvlxqGPtZ0

Core Training: Revised and Revisited

By John Taylor Weglicki, PT, DPT

Every gym rat and personal trainer has a different outlook on how to train the core musculature. There are countless gadgets and gimmicks on how to get six pack abs. 6 Minute Abs, Ab Rollers, those freaky looking ab chairs, all of them have selling points, and virtually all of them are useless for the strength athlete. Luckily, this article is not going to focus on those. As strength athletes, form follows function, and a six pack is useless if it can’t support heavy weight in such sports. This article spawned out of a need to seek the truth, so to speak: to find the diamond in the rough. There are articles everywhere on what works and what doesn’t, but very little of it has any scientific support.

Recently, I was lucky enough to speak with Benjamin Lee, a gentleman who works with Dr. Stuart McGill, whom many of you will recognize as the “spine guy.” McGill practically wrote the book on the biomechanics of the spine, and his work is very highly regarded in the field of physical therapy and rehabilitation in general. Lee has done some groundbreaking work of his own with comparisons of results of core strengthening protocols in training and non-training subjects, and the results have proven useful not only in my own training, but in that of many of my training partners and clients as well. But before we get into the good stuff, I feel like it’s a good idea to review the anatomy first.

Anatomy and Potential

With regards to the trunk musculature commonly referred to as “abs” and ignoring those muscles of the low back for now (that’s a whole different article), we see 4 primary muscle groups: Rectus Abdominus, External Oblique, Internal Oblique, Transverse Abdominus. The rectus is those muscles you typically see in the fabled “six pack”. Their function primarily is trunk flexion. The external obliques perform lateral flexion. The internal obliques and transverse abdominus primarily perform rotation and lateral flexion. All four groups are paramount in bracing the trunk when performing heavy movements under load. As such, training these groups as “anti- movers” is a significantly better use of training time for the strength athlete.

To address all those who may be wondering, I have nothing against training the abdominal region with various crunches and movements. However, training those muscles strictly for hypertrophy does not necessarily equal stronger muscles. For instance, if you train the abs exclusively with crunch movements, how then will you respond under a heavy squat when you attempt to maximally engage those muscles? If all you’ve trained them for is flexion, I imagine you’ll likely be folded up under that squat. Not exactly the success for which we are looking. So what’s a lifter to do you may ask? That’s where Lee’s work comes in to play.

Gains, Gains, Gains

Lee saw great potential in the use of isometric movements to brace the core musculature, and subsequently strengthen the area to respond better to the pressures of protecting the spine under load. Per his research:

  • “Traditionally, dynamic movements such as flexion, lateral bending and twisting core exercise maneuvers are used in training programs; an approach consistent with training the distal limbs where muscular effort is mostly devoted to creating motion. However, knowledge of the functional anatomy of core musculature and spine injury mechanisms questions the use of these types of exercises. Alternative core exercises make use of isometric postures and static bracing to create muscular activation while minimizing spine loads and injury mechanisms linked with movement.” (Lee, 2014)

And as such, Lee posed the following questions in regards to “typical” core training:

  1.  Isometric core exercises are reported to help some people who have low back pain. Is there a short lasting ‘enhanced stiffness’ after performing these exercises?
  2. Core training regimens use Isometric and Dynamic core exercises to enhance core bracing properties. Is one method superior to the other in terms of enhancing core stiffness?
  3.  If adaptations to core stiffness can be achieved with core exercise, do these adaptations differ between beginners and trained individuals? (Lee, 2014)

What Does It All Mean?

While investigating these questions, Lee discovered some surprising information regarding the use of isometrics in training core musculature, particularly through exercises such as planks, side bridges, and bird dogs.

  • “Enhancements in core stiffness are thought to subsequently enhance traits such as load bearing ability, pain management and athletic function. The results of short term training give insight into how a short training session performed prior to a load bearing task can make the task safer and easier to perform. The results of long term training show that Isometric training performed over a long duration may induce more permanent enhancements to stiffness and core function.” (Lee, 2014)

Despite some variance secondary to smaller sample sizes and individual response to the training, I think the results speak for themselves: short duration isometrics can be useful prior to sessions (as part of a lifter’s warm up) to establish stiffness in preparation for heavy loads. You can also perform the isometrics as part of a more long term core strengthening program to facilitate more permanent carryover to trunk stiffness and stability, and thus, a healthier spine.

Lay It All Out There

So, this entire discovery is great; now let’s turn it into results:

Pre-workout Plan
*Note: all exercises performed in similar fashion, flexing abs and active glute(s) as HARD AS POSSIBLE for entire duration of each rep*
2-3 Rounds, choose Bird Dog, or Plank: 10 seconds on/5 seconds off

Long Term Plan (choose ONE per training day)

  1.  10s on/5s off Planks, perform 2-3 rounds of 10 reps. Rest 1-2 minutes between rounds.
  2. 10s on/ 5s off Bird Dogs, 2-3 rounds of 10 reps. Rest 1-2 minutes between rounds.
  3.  10s on/5s off Side Bridges. Start from knees if too difficult with legs extended. 2 rounds of 10 on each side.
  4.  Russian Death Protocol (if you hate yourself) 10s/5s for the following: 10 reps, 9 reps, 8 reps… all the way to 1 rep. 1-2 mins rest between number rounds. I recommend only using this one in the offseason, and even then, sparingly. It will hurt.

Now go forth, lift heavy, and destroy PR’s.

Taylor Weglicki, PT, DPT

Well, events day wouldn’t be complete without a few mishaps and blunders. Today was no different. Multiple wtf fails with the log, and accidentally loading the stone to higher heights than necessary rounded out my day. Otherwise, I’d say it went fine.

My grip will do well with some recovery and healing when the deload comes. As for my pressing shenanigans, I seem to have gotten in the habit of pressing up instead of up and back. As a result, I’m not getting under the implement appropriately. If I’m hitting triples with 245, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t hit a single with 265.

I did, however, take note of my nutrition, and I appear to be eating less calories on a daily basis than previously intended. Will have to remedy that because I guarantee that is affecting my recovery. That’s what I get for not eating breakfast I suppose.

Anyways, here’s the video. And what all went down.

Warmups with agility and jumps

Events:
a. Log Clean+Press

135×3
175×1
205×1
235×1
265×0 x3

Singles every 90s

235×5

b. Farmers Walk

200×30′
250×30′
270×30′
220×160′

c. Stones to 52″ platform

230×3
300×3 @8.5
265×3 @9

Spent. Time to eeeaaaattt.

Incline Bench 6×6 (235 3 min break)
Single Arm DB Rows 4×8 (90)
Single Arm Pulldowns 3×12 (70)
Facepulls 3×15 (70)
Seated Alternating Curls 6×8 (40)
Fat Grip Single Arm Overhead Tricep Extension 3×12 (25)
Stair Master 10 min


Alright…today was my first day training events. Jesus pete this stuff takes forever! Luckily most of my favorite gym friends were doing rad shit when I got there and it pumped me up for the day. Anyway..I did the following

Axle Clean and Press (worked up to 125, comp weight)
Yoke Walk (worked up to 385)
Farmers Walk (@150 per hand)
Tire flips (pretty light tire @300)

I hadnt worked with an axle in too long. That will for sure be an adjustment. The strength is there to move it around, but I found myself today with it getting a hair in front of me if I wasnt 100% focused.

Yoke walk: Ha..simply put,I have get stronger with this. I also need to regulate my breathing somehow.  Also, something that got me as a runner and now is getting me on moving events is my tendency for my foot stroke to cross over one another. Absolutely the worst for stability so I will have to work on this.

Farmers walk: not bad!

Tire flips: a little light for me to really identify what I need work on in the moment. This is where video footage is pretty important.

Originally I wanted to start today continuing my circa max. I also wanted to train with my coach and team member David Allen to help me with some form issues deadlifting.
One of our Advanced lifters (Tee Cummins) had the monolift tied up squatting huge weight so I was in a power rack with bands. Un racking and walking that tension out killed my shoulders so I bailed and headed to the deadlift area. David gave me a few cues and it was all I needed, ended up having great pulls today (probably cause I saved my hips and energy from not speed squatting).

http://youtu.be/7ODoP_gpn0Q

Today was a crap show. Last weeks benching went so well and then I was informed my but was raising. This week was dedicated to hitting all attempts without butt raising. Let’s just say that was not as easy as I thought. All my attempts were “touch and go’s”. This also aggregated my triceps the most in about a month so it was a lose lose today.

Sorry no video today.

Depth Drops into box jump, 2 boxes 6×1
ME NCL Deadlift x2 w/chains (sumo off 1 mat 135,225,315,405,suit on straps down 495,585,+40, +80
Heels Together toes out reverse hypers 3×15 (55 each side)
DB Shrugs 3×20 (80)
Seated Band Curls 3×1 min (1 min break) (light)

http://youtu.be/455VBHVT4bY

We concentrated on upper body this last 4 weeks which, for me, is a lesson in baby steps. With lower body I can make bigger increases in weight as the weeks progress but it doesn’t work that way for upper body. Often a 5 lb jump is huge for me and moving from a 15 lb dumb bell to the next available size of 20 lbs is just too much. Damned skinny arms!
Looking forward to a week of conditioning coming up and then back to the weights.
Happy 4th!

Friday 7/4/14 (chest, shoulders, triceps, grip)

A1: DB Bench flys 2-3 warm ups, 3×10 12

A2: Incline Hammer Bench 2-3 warm ups, 3 count pause and contraction 3×8 30

Seated Side Raises 2-3 warmups, 3×10, w/max partials 10

Seated DB Cleans 2-3 warm ups, 3 drop sets 7

Laying DB Single Arm Cross Body Extensions w/band 2 count contraction 3×10 12

Incline EZ Bar Skullies 2-3 warm ups, 3×12, drop set 25, drop 10 max Friday (chest, shoulders, triceps, grip)

20140704-100747-36467436.jpg

Fun day in the gym.  Kinda played around a bit, had all my favorite training friends with me. Aside from getting my own workout in, I got to make my friend Jared hold his 425 raw bench for 5 seconds while I got distracted during bench command duties.

A1)Bench

warm up sets

135×3

145×3

155×1

140×5

B1)Bent over rows

135x2x8

155x2x8

Incline Bench

95x4x10

C1)Flys 4×15

C2)Chest Supported Underhand Grip T-Bar Rows 4×8

D1) rear delt destroyer set (in video)
E1) Assisted Dips, hard squeeze at top

*Then spent some time messing around with 150/hand farmers walk. Felt good, but I will keep all my events on one day from now on.*

Work has been kicking my butt lately. The gym is growing and so have my responsibilities. I train around 30-35 hours a week and do another 30-40 hours a week of gym owner stuff. So I was worn out today from the get go. I got to take a little nap before my training session, turned the volume up to a level where conversation can’t take place, and ended having a great workout. I’ve been trying to build my lockout up a bunch and have been doing a ton of tricep work, looks like its paying off.

ME NCL Bench x2 raw w/chains (95,135,185,225,slingshot 275,315, +40, +80, +120
Close Grip Floor Press 60 reps (185 17,33,45,54,60)
Overhead V Bar Tricep Extensions 3×10 (160)
Elbow Out Incline Tricep Extensions 6×6 (45)
Single Arm Cable Pressdowns 3×15 (60)
Band Pull a Part Super Series 3×10 each (mini)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bl9gZg8eyJA

Best surprise of my Tuesday? Finding out it’s deadlift day. I’ve been itching for another go at this for a while now. I feel like my deadlift is progressing and that I’ve got more in me than my numbers show. I mean hell, if I can pick 290# a hand and walk 45′ I don’t see why I shouldn’t pull somewhere in the mid 500s. Guess we will just have to wait and see.

At any rate, things are improving. Good to see. I’m ready to bring it to the contest for sure.

Here’s what went down

Warmup with agility stuff

Deadlifts

135×5
225×2
275×1
315×1
365×2
405×2
455×2
475×2

455×1
455×1
455×1

SSB Squats

65×6
155×6
205×6
245×6
295×6

Farmers Walks

200×140′
200×140′

Done

There was more work that I had to do but I was so spent and my low back was spasming. Sometimes you just have to know when to take a break. Will be back in to smash weights on Friday morning. Going to hang out as my wife races Thursday night instead of training. Hoping she will throw down something fancy and fast. We shall see.

Nothing much to say in terms of this workout. Feeling a little worn down and exhausted, but that’s to be expected. Just have to keep driving on. About a month out from Refuge at this point, and I’m looking forward to going up and mixing it up with the best. Should provide a very nice litmus test for where I’m at.

Here’s what went down.

Band pull Aparts

Mini x25
Mini x25

Face Pulls

50x4x15

DB Preacher Curls

15x3x10 with 5s negative

Grenade Cable Curls

30x3x10

Band Good Mornings

Green x3x10

Reverse Hypers

90x2x20

McGill Planks

10s/5s for 15 reps.

Done

In and out. Quick and dirty. And back for more this week.

photoToday was a day that I kinda BRO-ed out and did a lot of little things that I think help but often get left out before the big lifts take so much outa me.  No video, because this was pretty lame-sauce.  Still a fun day.

A1)5×10 Wide grip Pullups:  this is something I do to make sure im not getting too fat.  I don’t care a whole lot about how much I weigh, but if I cant knock out 10 WG pullups with full extension at the bottom and chest to bar at top, Im too damn fat.  Today they actually felt pretty good.  I encourage adopting some sorta pull up standard.  Its normal to gain some LBs after a show, but jesus Christ practice some self discipline.  And while Im ranting on this, I really mean full range of motion.  I don’t care if I sound like a prick here, the next time I see someone doing weighted pullups on the top half of the movement, or unweighted even, im going to puke.  I guess the same goes for the baby motion that’s the bottom of the pull up only.  /rant (sorry I had to get that off my chest)

B1) 5×15 weighted pushups (45lb plate)
B2) 5×10 neutral grip rows with a pause at the chest
B3)Front Plate raises (45lb plate) 5×12

C1)  DB pullovers 4×12
C2) Cable machine rear delt flys 4×30

D1)  Tricep pushups
D2) Lean away laterals 4×20

E1) Tricep dips 4×20 (holy volume!)
E2) Curls for da girls 4×20

DIET!
Oh! So I really tracked my macros the last two days here..i had been eye balling it.  Looks like right now im right at
Protein:150g
Fat: 60g
Carb: 360g
Right around 2600 calories a day.  Up 6lbs from stage weight and kinda holdin there the last few days (a few days ago I ate Mexican food and ice cream so I had an additional two pounds clinging on that day)

Another thing I think maybe I’ll hammer on: Has everyone heard “you aren’t going to gain bodyfat from one cheat meal”?  Can we go ahead and all agree that’s bogus?

Okay, I’ll quit being a brat now. 🙂

Okkkaaaaay….so about today.  I was kind of all outta whack.  The saga with my lost car keys continues as I find out it will cost SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS to get a new one.  I’m willing to look a little harder before I do that.  Anyway, I got to the gym pretty late and was a little mentally checked out.  I somehow didn’t notice that I grabbed the Mastodon bar.  How did I overlook that and not feel it? No idea.  I just assumed that everything was a little harder because I was having a crap day.  So my lifts are all 15lbs heavier than what I thought I was doing.  And as normal, I goodmorning-ed these.  Not too sure if I should really worry about it.  probably, though.

Warm up: Defrancos Agile 8/ some squatsies/lunges

Working Squat sets: 210×5/240×3/250×2<—these were slow as christmas.

Volume work: worked up to 225 for 5×10

SSB good mornings / GHD

—Ice cream sammich—

 

 

Reverse band 3rd attempt squat day! I have never attempted these before so the outcome was quite comical. Warm ups mechanically was smooth but had a nagging pain in my medial quads. I thought I was going to have to cut my session short. Once the knee wraps were slapped I was good to go, my adrenaline was so high I think it numbed the pain. My opener actually moved slower than my 2nd attempt. My reverse band adventure took about 10 min to hear suggestions by several people on how to set up the bands and what weight to use. I ended up listening to my coach (which ended up being to much tension). I used ElieteFTS Light bands with a carabiner clip slapped 650 on the bar and went for a ride. I was so pumped and expected a lot of weight and generated maximal force out of the hole and shot up so fast the weight felt like 500lbs. Oh well, lesson learned.

– Reverse band 3rd attempts: 330×2 – 380×2 – 420 – 470 – 530? – 570 – 605 – 650 rev bands
– paused squats 3×4: 400lbs

ME NCL Squat x2 raw w/chains (cambered bar 135,225,275,315,365,briefs 405,455,495,545(565), +80 chains, +160 chains)
2 count Paused Front Squat 3×8 (205)
Round Back Hypers on GHR 3×15 (15)
Planks 10x10sec, 5 sec break

http://youtu.be/WqsN5fVO6YA