28 December 2012

Tough Mudder Success

Guest Post by Abby Dix

Before a couple weeks ago,* I’d never ran more than five miles (and those five miles were on a treadmill). On a whim, I signed up for Tough Mudder with some coworkers. I knew I wasn’t ready, but at the time I had about 8 weeks to train and decided that was good enough.

Two weeks later, when I realized I hadn’t trained at all, I started panic. I didn’t lift free weights unless it was
5lb dumbbells in a cardio aerobics class and I was out of shape with my jogging too.

That’s when Peter Baker came to the rescue with excellent advice that kept me motivated and helped
me avoid injury: Keep it easy. Because I hadn’t ever tried to lift anything heavy before, I didn’t know
what I was capable of. It may sound puny, but I was shocked and amazed to learn I could sumo deadlift 60
lbs. on my first day with no problem. And over time that grew to 65, 70 and 75 pounds.

I started jogging again, but kept it easy. To keep the motivation going, I signed up for a 5k and 10k that
took place several weeks before the 12-mile, 24-obstacle Tough Mudder. I took an easy pace at both the
5k and 10k and felt fine afterward. Then the big day came, and it was fine. I was definitely exhausted
afterward and needed help over the big walls, but I did it. I survived a 12-mile, 24-obstacle Tough
Mudder---my greatest physical accomplishment to date---and I had fun doing it.

I’ve signed up for the 6-mile, 25-obstacle Savage Race in April and I fully intend to do Tough Mudder
again next year. Best of all, I feel good and I’m having fun staying in shape.

PFB's commentary: Abby, I never doubted you a moment.

Note the look of ease, not of consternation.

03 December 2012

A Squat Medley

On 19 November, I squatted 450 lbs.  I managed three singles.  That marks a 105lb increase from last year. Most of you who read this have already gotten the idea that I squat every training session and that I do a variety of squatting movements to maintain that type of consistency.

A candid shot of my girlfriend doing a back squat. 
I intend to explain to you readers out there how you can squat better and frequently to increase your squatting efforts to put up higher numbers.

 Jim Wendler wrote an article about some of the things I will cover.  Read it here. 

One of the first things you can do to vary your squat is monitor your hand placement.  You can test it, or just do it and hope for the best.  You'll want to find an optimal place to place your hands on the bar.  A lot of reliable sources say get your grip as close to your shoulders as possible.  Lots of records have also been broken with a really wide grip.  You will probably want to experiment with that one on your own to figure out whats comfortable. 

Here's a tip: using an asymmetric grip--one hand closer to your shoulder and the other not as close, in this particular instance--can help you get the level of flexibility required to attain a comfortable close grip, and might feel better if one of your elbows and shoulders is fucked up from benching too much without perorming any contraspecifics.

The same goes for a false grip.  Do which one is comfortable.  Or what tests the best.  I've heard arguments in favor of the full grip along the lines of being able to use more tension and being safer, as well as arguments in favor of the false grip saying that it is safer if you to bail from the weight.  Use the squat cage and find some spotters if you have to do that sort of thing.

The next item of import is feet placement. This can range from really fucking wide to just about shoulder with.  Your strengths and body shape will determine the best form for you to use.  You might even get away with a couple of different types.  This is a good thing, and will lead to more frequent squatting.

Test out an asymmetrical stance, too.  You might be pleasantly surprised at how good it actually feels.  It can be slight, anything like having on foot slightly in front of the other, or one foot with more of a turnout than the other. Of late, my right foot is slightly behind my left foot when I squat.

Once you have the stance width figured out, your next job is to figure out how much to rotate your feet.  Your limitations will determine this.  For some variations, more rotation will work compared to less.  Remember, there is no right or wrong.

In the above video, feet have a good bit of external rotation--not to the point where it's like Charlie Chaplin or anything--and the grip is so close it must make every large and inflexible powerlifter cringe. 

Here is the opposite--a short guy with a wider stance and wider grip who has set a record or two in the Raw United Federation.

Tony Conyers (above) is probably one of the nicest and pound for pound strongest dudes I have met.  Interestingly enough, since we talk often I ask him what his training is like.  He recently told me that he is switching his training schedule to twice a week, as opposed to the once a week program he was on.  He is doing so in preparation for Raw Unity this February.

Another way to vary your squat is by varying the tool you use.   I have mentioned these before, but today I am going to talk about the safety bar.  The bottom line is that if you can handle heavy weights on the safety bar, your regular squat will go up.  The difference between your max and your safety bar max can be one or two hundred pounds.  I managed 345 for a set of one, and had to bail trying 355.  One guy at the gym who does pause squats for 800+ keeps his safety bar squats between five and six hundred lbs.  So choose cautiously when you use this tool.

The leverage of this movement will be different than your back squat, so your feet placement definitely will not be the same.  For my my safety squat stance is very narrow compared to what I did in the above video with the back squat, and sometimes my feet are turned out less than normal (but that's highly variable for me).

The other advantage to the safety bar is that since your hands are out in front of you, you can keep a comfortable arm position if your shoulders and elbows are injured.  And you also get the option of manipulating the leverage by pressing the handles so that they are continually parallel to the floor, or keeping the handles resting without your assistance, like the woman in the video.

For me, the safety bar helped out because I still get to squat, but I feel a greater emphasis on my abs and my quads which makes it a swell tool to add for variety. 

In order to maximize it for you, one idea would be to take these variations, find your stance, and do them without and with a box. There you have four different squat varieties you can do to keep your squats up for an entire week, even when it isn't "leg day."

If you intend to squat at a higher frequency, make sure you use the minimal effective amount of effort.  Squats can be taxing, and doing them daily can be too.  Going balls to the wall is not the way to go if you plan on going for daily squatting.  Using the minimal effective amount of effort will keep you to a point where you can build up to frequent squatting. 

Now, for a note on variety.  These aren't completely random exercises with no purpose.  Will the variations be different than your standard back squat? Of course.  Will the leverages, and paths of the bar be different? Of course.  Are you still squatting, despite all that? Yes? Good.  If those deviations in form will fuck you up so bad that you can't do your competition lift in practice, you might want to reevaluate your life. 

I say this because a guy at the gym saw me lifting using some Fat Gripz attachments.  He said his grip strength sucked.  I told him he might want to train his grip.  I advised him that since he had military presses left, he could try them out on his barbell military press.  He did.  His refusal to press with the Fat Gripz hinged on the fact that he 1. wouldn't abandon the false grip, 2. wouldn't do his pressing any other way than from behind his neck, and 3. wouldn't deal with a different bar path.  I am not ripping on the guy too much--I Have seen him put up some impressive numbers in competition and respect him as a lifter.  But to overlook the obvious fact that you want to fix something, and it might be different than normal, but won't make the change to do so is patently absurd and rather dogmatic to me.

There is a reason it is called variety. It is going to be a little different, yet still train the same general movement, which will better your skill set.  It will also help you get higher numbers.


07 November 2012

Deadlift still stuck? Poor you.

To be honest, in light of the crap I was physically dealing with this year I am surprised I was able to hit a 500lb deadlift, much less a 400lb deadlift.  Though at the beginning of October, my PR was only 40lbs up from the competition ten months before, I expect that to go up by another 20lbs.  If you aren't increasing your deadlift at a rate of speed your satisfied with--or at least able to deal with, if satisfaction is not possible--do something different.  Deadlift more, and deadlift with varieties and do more contraspecifics.

A deadlift is a hip hinge.  Pretty simple, right?  Yes.  There's also a shitload of ways to hinge at the hips.  Testing this sort of thing will be of great help to you, since it will allow you to hip hinge more often.

One of the first ways to get started is to test out the difference between a conventional stance and a sumo stance.  This shit is your call.  You have your own form for each, and it won't be the same as mine or anyone else's form.  The best we can agree on is that a conventional stance has a narrower distance between your feet, and your hands will be on the outside of your legs.

The sumo stance has a wide(er) stance, depending on who you are and your biomechanics.  And your arms will be inside of your legs.  If you have ever done ballet, think second position plie.

What do you do if those don't test well?  Shorten the range of motion, and see if that tests well.  You can do rack pulls, or Plateau Buster Swing Handle Deadlifts.  You can find innovative ways to further vary the heights of those lifts too.  Racks are adjustable, and you can use all sorts of size plates on your Plateau Buster.

There's Arielle and myself demonstrating these things.  She catapulted her deadlift from a mere 155 to 285 since March using this model.

Now, you might be asking yourself "I tested out all that shit, and it still won't test well. What the fuck do I do?"

Fear not.  One of the best alternatives is to squat.  Just in general, this is a good idea.  Its a variety of hip hinge, it makes your ass look nice, and provides more range of motion than a deadlift.

On to the subject of your spine.  A lot of people give us at the Movement a lot of grief about some of the shit that we do that looks really fucking odd.  The reason it looks so odd is because we promote moving as much and in as many ways as you can.  So applying this line of reasoning to our deadlift, we come up with cool variations to test.

Here is a good one.
This is a one handed deadlift.  Easy note is the fact that it is good for your grip.  It's also good for practicing your spinal rotation.  Since your spine is capable of it, you might want to do it.  If you have ever moved shit up flights of stairs, or picked up weird shit, this sort of thing happens.  You don't want to be that guy who shits his spine out on the slightest rotation because you deadlifted the exact same way for years and years.

Here are some other good ones too.  I am a big fan of the Jefferson lift with the eagle loops.  It is a huge confidence builder, it is asymmetric, and it gives you a feeling of picking up heavy ass weight.  You will do more in this than in your conventional or sumo stances.  It is also good for spinal rotation.  Ditto the dinnie lifts.  I can't speak much for them other than they are done on rings, which is a different way to tax the grip.  Perhaps I will try them one day when I get some rings.  The axle is also a good one to throw up in the "things to test" section, since it is close to a regular deadlift.

Adam explains the model sort of too in this one.  If you look over his video training log, you can see as he explained that all the shit he did allowed him to deadlift again.

This is not an exhaustive list of deadlift variations.  There are a lot more.  I think I have mentioned swinging a shitload of times so that it doesn't need repeating.  There are also things you can do with your hands to change it.  Use youtube, or your own creativity to figure it out.

If all this fails, test your contraspecific movements.  Some of my favorites include hanging leg raises, hanging leg raises to a tuck, sit-ups (weighted), pull-ups in an L-sit, and reverse hyper extensions.  I figured these would be most common to all of you, I didn't link a video.

On second thought, this chick is hot, so I will put a revers hyper video up.

Hopefully, these will help you if your deadlift fucking sucks.  Drop me a line and let me know.

I'm pretty sure she hinges her hips at some point in her life.

13 October 2012

Specificity, or how to get better at what you actually want to do

One of the things we strive for at The Movement is to practice specificity.  So, in the context of me, that would mean practicing the powerlifts with their cues as often as possible.  I hadn't done so at all this year because I was worried about getting out of pain.  Now, I am out of pain. So last Saturday I decided it was time to give it a go under contest conditions. I was nervous that the lack of deadlifting would have affected my total (before the mini meet, 1055) negatively--I have only pulled the way I would at a meet 26 times this year as of last night. However, I was nicely surprised.

I arrived at the Powerhouse at 9am ready to lift with a bunch of people I had never met, and a few I knew already.  Among them, several badasses and overall great dudes: Tony Conyers, Layne Norton and Jon Bernor.  The latter two I train around and with occasionally, and despite what the morons on forums say, Layne is a very approachable and knowledgeable guy.  In addition to that, he gets psyched up for lifts, so that I don't have to.

I didn't warm up, it didn't test well and all my lifts were as follows:

Squat: 380, 410, 430.
Bench: 245, 260, and a miss at 270
Deadlift: 460, 480, 500.

Though it is not the best I could have done, I am extremely proud that I added 40lbs to my deadlift and 90lbs to my squat. And a paltry five pounds to my bench.  That ups the total by 135lbs (1190 if you can't add) in just shy of ten months since the last competition.  Bodyweight this time around was 177, no cutting involved.  I think the majority of the bench problems are involving me not finding out what works, and me not enjoying the lift nearly as much as the other two.  Incidentally, due to the injury I got to really enjoy squats because that was all I could do for a while.  And once that cleared up, I got to do them with more weight.

Once I was able to deadlift again, shit got real.

One thing I will address now, is how I added 90lbs to the squat. I have talked about it before, but it still baffles some people. Since 29 September 2011 I have squatted 154 times. My max was kicking about 330 or so.  Out of the 154 times, five sessions were box squats with a cambered bar, 34, were with the safety bar to a box below parallel, 68 were with a regular bar to the same box, 32 were competition squats with no box. The rest were with the safety bar and no box. How can a human withstand all that? By stopping when it gets difficult.  No, that's not a joke. 

My deadlift went up the way it did due to the technical issues of my own form and possibly due to doing so many box squats. Compare the above to the below:

Big difference. I wish I had gotten 500 on tape, but I was busy worrying about lifting and decided to not worry about it. Rest assured, by next competition (8 December) I will add more pounds to the total and meet at least 1220 with a 520lb deadlift.

Apparently, deadlifting is popular among the women of Scotland.

05 October 2012

The Movement Strikes Again

Here is more proof that association with me and/or The Movement yields 'better.'
Still not convinced?

27 September 2012

I PR'd. Again.

This is a picture of me about to squat 405lbs.  This was the first time I had ever done so, and is 60lbs heavier than my best competition squat which was 340lbs on 10 December 2011.  After being rendered virtually useless for the first half of the year, I think this is decent progress. And since the next competition is not til December, I think I will shatter this mild milestone then too.

I did this the same way I always do. I do a shitload of box squatting with a safety bar and with a straight bar. I do infrequent amounts of squats without the box.  Why? The box tests well more often than it does not. On  27 August I managed to do two challenging singles with 375 on the box.  A month later--25 September--on the box, I did the same weight for four sets of doubles.  They were also much easier.

Actual squatting became more frequent in August.  Absolute best on that was 365 for three doubles on 21 September.  And now today. 405 for 3 singles.

Something that I tested that helped and could help you too is testing your squat stance and doing as many goddamn types you can do.  Some days squats from the bottom of the rack tested best.  Other days, it may have been the cambered bar, the safety bar or the straight bar.  And box or no box.  Something you can also test which may freak some of you out, is the amount of knee and hip flexion you use in your squat. Some days I would do a movement pattern which left me in a more upright position and with more knee flexion than normal, and other days I would flex the hips as much as I could for the movement.  Once these variables came into play, the volume took off, and apparently so did my max.

Before I conclude, I will relay a funny story. Two nights ago, while I was in the middle of my sets of doubles with 375 on the squat, my ex girlfriend was doing squats next to me in the other rack.  Yes, it is possible to remain good friends with an ex, if you aren't a retard and the ending wasn't murderous or otherwise terrible.

So we are doing our squats, and chatting and what not when up walks this short, fat, bald motherfucker wearing a Pantera shirt and most likely intoxicated.  Apparently, he was once a big time body builder, though his physique reflected nothing of the kind.  He proceeded to take his shirt off and flex.  To attempt to diffuse the situation, I ask my friend for a spot.  Now, her being 5'2, and lean does not mean she isn't strong. In four months of training starting as a novice, she can already deadlift 240lbs, and squat at least 185.  So, for spotting heavier stuff, I definitely trust her.  This guy did not trust her.  He immediately pipes in and says, "I got you, bro."  To which I said, "No, I would rather her do it."

At this point she walked away and this guy attempted to squat 375.  He claimed it was racked too high. Bummer. He then took her 175 lbs, and gave it a quarter squat, though it looked like an eighth squat.  On my next set, he then told me I needed knee wraps, which is where I lost it.

The last story was merely for humor, I hope the rest of this was useful.

15 September 2012

Dia de la Deadlift

Training was probably the most fun it has been in a while.  I can finally deadlift with regularity again, now that my pain levels are at zero and are resolved.  The form is different than before, and the other deadlift variants have helped me out a lot as well, possibly due to the inclusion of spinal rotation.  

06 September 2012

If you can't control what your child eats, you might be a fucking moron

First, read this as a primer. 

I had my friend Piers McCarney do a follow up to this, but I never posted it because I am a lazy son of a bitch.  However, this lead to a resurgence in blog interest on both of our parts.  A win for us all.  Go here to read his follow up on the subject.  Experience here is valuable, as he is a real life parent.

No worries. He is just going to be a powerlifter.

12 July 2012

My Back Story

Read this before you go further.

You will recall that I had some pain in my left leg due to some shit.  You'll be happy to know that there is no pain now.  I can even sit in the horrible chair at my job and not feel anything.  I don't sit, however.

In this post, I will share with you some shit that helped me out a lot in addition to what I wrote about in the above link.

Something I had not given a lot of thought to but decided to try was acupuncture.  If you live in the Tampa area and are generally fucked up and think it might help, go see Becky Rubright.  It is relatively inexpensive, and she will listen to you and work on you accordingly.  Since I had some ass and back pain, here is what I looked like during a session:

That is my ass, with several thin needles therein.  She stuck them in, and I didn't feel a thing, and I in fact asked her if she had even done anything yet.  The wires coming from the needles are even more awesome.  It is what they call electro-stem, and they work like jumper cables to pulsate the muscle.  It felt goddamn awesome, and the pain was immensely better after the first session.

Movement wise, there were quite a few things I did as well.  I ordered and Ironmind Rolling Thunder deadlift handle, and a Plateau Buster Swing Handle  for more variety.

For whatever reason, heavy partials with the form used here--left foot externally rotated about 45 degrees, right foot straight and my head to the right--tested extremely well compared to something more symmetrical, and they also resolved a fuckload of pain after each training session.  This particular video filmed 11 July is a 100lb PR on the first go around with it, wherein I hit 504lbs, somewhere around the end of may. In addition to that, using the Buster for one handed deadlifts resolved a fuckload of pain and tested well a lot too. 
Form is not much different than described above, other than that when I lifted with my right hand, looking down tested better than looking to the right.  Same goes for the rolling thunder deadlift handle. 
Same form.  More pain resolution, and because of the emphasis on grip training during those months, my masturbation sessions are way better than they used to be. One other aspect that lead me to resolve pain recently and hit better PRs in my bench and squat was taking the Smarter Strength course with Adam Glass.  During the course work, the material we discussed gave me the ideas to question things, like my stance.  Which is how I developed the fucked up, asymmetric stance you see in my first video of me lifting 604 on the buster.  This stance, derived from the course work, led me to be able to squat pain free, hit 25lbs more than my competition max on a parallel box for some singles, and eventually resolve the pain to where I can squat with a symmetrical stance again.. Which I did today, and managed to hit 335 on the Safety Squat Bar to a parallel box.  Last PR in that lift was 40lbs lighter on the Fourth of July for some singles.  It might not sound like much, but for me, to be able to squat symmetrically, sit cross legged, sit on a floor with my legs fully straight and experience no back pain means a fuck of a lot to me.  If you are fucked up and in pain, take the course if he offers it again. Good round table discussions, and a good way to get to know yourself and learn more about human movement. In addition to that, bench pressing has been testing well near daily, due to the course material and the focus on contra specific movements.  In short, the more contraspecificity you train, the better off you will be.  And likewise, I hit a pullup PR with 110 lbs strapped on to me the other day, for a few singles.  And lastly, I started tracking my body fat percentage with an omron.  Here are my latest measurements.
You can see the leaner me in the latest video (first one) compared to others on my youtube.
Lots of recent ups, a few downsides include not competing as often as I wanted to.  But the SPF Outlaw meet is coming back around in December.  I predict a fucking awesome showing.

18 May 2012

Something for the women folk

Something for the Women Folk:
a guest post from Talia VanDoran

From liftbigeatbig.com, Talia engages in half of my site's namesake.

Being a big fan of "bigger is better," I've been seriously lifting weights since 2008 and I have intentions to continue exploring the strength arena by training and competing in strongwoman shows. Existing as a woman in this world of testosterone is no easy task. I'm a tattooed Martha Stewart that loves the hell out of strength sports. You've got to have balls to hang and the brawn to back it up.

Using equipment for lifting and coping with insecurity in the gym environment are two big issues that most women deal with at one point or another.

Bench shirt or not, Kara is probably stronger than you.
I get asked a lot why I wear a weight belt in the gym. No, it's not because it looks cute or matches my shoes. It's because I lift heavy shit and it serves to allow to me to lift heavy shit safely. You should never be embarrassed to wear a belt and it doesn't make you more badass to go without one. It really depends on the lifter and as a woman it doesn't make me weaker because I choose to use this piece of equipment. You should start using your belt when you feel you need it. As a powerlifter, it's a good idea to wear the gear that you will be competing in. I wear a belt at meets, therefore I train with my belt. Sometimes I wear it while warming up and sometimes I put it on when I get to a heavy working weight. I wear a belt because it makes me feel good and strong. I wear it because it makes me feel safe under load and all I care about is moving weight effectively and efficiently. It's pretty simple. Not to mention that it IS cute and does, in fact, match my shoes. Boom!

As a lady lifter, I have had to overcome insecurity issues in the gym and in competition. While I may not lift as much as the mirror monkey standing next to me, I deserve to be there just as much as he does. I used to be nervous to approach the dumbbell rack or any equipment in the gym. I would even go to the gym during hours I knew were empty so that I could train anxiety free. I got over that shit pretty fast when I woke up and grew some! Fake it till ya make it, ladies! Act like you know the deal. Act like you belong there and if you have a question ask it. There is no harm in getting information. Man up and take charge of your training and don't be a shrinking violet in the gym. That makes you look WEAK. Yes, it can be intimidating. Use that Internet thing and do some research before you take on a workout routine. Know what the equipment you need looks like and watch instructional videos that show you how to use it (make sure it's coming from a reputable source). Even better is finding someone who has more experience and a good knowledge base in strength to show you the ropes. Choose wisely and do some research when seeking a coach/training partner. Confidence comes with time and being open to learning without fear. It's ok to feel stupid/silly, but realize that it's part of how you learn. Suck it up buttercup and DO WORK!

Talia is a competitive powerlifter living in Nashville, TN and a sponsored athlete with Chaos and Pain. She also lifts in the Southern Powerlifting Federation, and she could probably kick your ass.

04 May 2012

May 4th Training

Intensity PRs on damn near every movement here.

01 May 2012

You're all a bunch of fucking morons

Before I delve into this, read this rousing discussion on marketing I had with some facebook friends.  They also happen to be people I personally know as well.  I don't know why I point that out, but it seems to mean more than arguing with random internet strangers.

Sorry for the layout of the pictures. It should be easy to make sense of what was said, however.  I also am aware I made several linguistic errors, for which I apologize.  And now a word on marketing.

If marketing is done correctly, I believe it should be the utmost of sleaze and fear inducing. Even if the product is useful, it still has to appeal to the psychology of a large group of people.

Here's a personal example of how marketing affected me.  I read Adam's blog (www.adamtglass.com) and said to myself, "This gym movement thing is kind of neat.  Adam looks younger, healthier and generally happier.  He still is pretty laconic and terse, but some things never change."  And then I didn't act.  At the time, I was making OK progress, I think.  I have no way of knowing, as I didn't keep a log--training, food, or for my measurements.  So I kept on doing a fuck load of kettlebell swings and military presses and looking like shit.  I kept reading Adam's blog.  I kept seeing these wonderful quotes from Frankie Faires, and Adam, along with Will Williams saying things like, "If you follow anything but your body, you will break your body," and Adam's brusque statements that amounted to, "Sure, follow a program.  It might fuck you up, though."

So, in November of 2010, I dropped the 70 dollars to have a thirty minute coaching call with Adam. It lasted a few hours, and I learned a lot and started tracking the shit I was doing in the gym. I started seeing the results.  Next, I got into Met Flex, from Mike T Nelson.  Here's how this is still turning out:

I started off with a 40 inch waist, and now it is 34 inches.  One goal is to compete at 165, with minimal to no cutting.  Looks like I am doing pretty well (there's still more to come).  What is the point of this?

I can't speak for other movement members, but the marketing pummeled me into the ground before I finally got involved with it.  And I am glad I did.  I had a lot of questions, they got answered and I am better today, despite the fact that sleazy marketing marketed something utterly useful to me.

Now, as far as the food business goes they do sleazy marketing all the time.  And they do it well.

Here is a laundry list of ingredients in a box of Pop Tarts (one of my favorites):

What a wonderful product. Now, here's a good marketing ploy:

Holy shit, seven goddamn vitamins and minerals.  Yes, people fall for this.  And people feed it to their kids.  And like I said, I fucking love the damn things too.  And if you're a parent, I don't give a rat's ass what you say, you can decide if your kid eats this in your presence.  And if you don't know better, you can use the Google machine to learn what the hell these ingredients are, and about how insulin works and how it relates to diabetes.  You don't HAVE to listen to the awesome TV commercials and radio ads.Even if Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in it.

In the original facebook discussion, I said one option is to get rid of your TV.  Or at least, use it for Net Flix and DVD watching.  My house mates and I haven't watched a show on TV in god knows how long, and I couldn't tell you a fucking thing about any of the contemporary commercials out there, and I am probably better for it.  And if you do have a TV, and children, do you not control what they watch and what you watch? Food for thought if you don't want to get suckered into a marketing ploy.

As far as the product itself goes, what makes a food healthy or unhealthy?  I like to think my response to it does.  I think Frankie made that statement. But it's a true statement. How do you determine that? I perform a ROM test in the form of a toe touch.  I also write shit down.  What dictates what will test well?  Usually the amount I move around in a day.

So on 3 April, I went to work and stood for ten hours, because I opt not to sit anymore.  After words I hit the gym.  Here's what I ate that day before and after the gym:

  • Lo-Carb Monster
  • 2 chicken legs, 2 chicken thighs, grilled for lunch along with a chocolate chip cookie, all from a local place called Gladstone's Chicken.
  • Pre-workout- Monster Expresso (Yes I spelled it correctly, that's the way they spell it).  Postwork out I had a glazed donut and some coffee.  
  • Dinner I had a .81lb Ribeye steak with 8 Brussels sprouts along with a plain Tbls. of coconut oil. 
Here's what I did at the gym.  For me, it was a high volume day.
 7 April, I didn't lift or do much of anything besides go to work at the music store.  My meal for the day was as follows: 4 whole eggs, and two patties of sausage.

I also think it's important to note that you can respond to shit foods better and without incident as long as you eat a shitload of real food too.  For instance, in the above examples, the eggs, sausage, and ribeye steak the Brussels Sprouts were all organic, and grass fed, and whatever the fuck is popular amongst hippies and fitness elite*, currently.  The chicken from Gladstone's and the cookie, probably not as high quality as what I make at home.  Those are my thoughts and experiences with finding a plan that works for you.  Test your damn food. Deviate sometimes.  And don't be dogmatic.  You don't want to end up like the guy on Married with Children who was so healthy that when he hung out with Peg Bundy and ate Bon-Bons and started smoking he died due to the sudden rush of shit in his system.

So if you find yourself falling for food marketing, you probably must have stumbled here by accident.  But to blame the marketeers solely for a nation of fat bastards is erroneous.  As consumers--you know, those of us who buy the shit that is being marketed to us--our only responsibility is to decide what is good for us, and what is not (as well as our children, if you have any).  I would go so far as to say that if we don't know something, our responsibility also lies in the questioning of the producer of the product.  And if it's an honest maker of an honest product, the answers should be straightforward, and not dodgy.  If they can't or won't provide you with the answers you need, reevaluate your decision. I also don't think you're all morons.  I just used the title to get your attention.  Like a good marketeer.

There's been a lack of fine ass women of late on here.  Had to fix it.
 *You'll note the sarcasm here.  Also note that the ones worth their salt and the ones who suck have similar marketing formats.  Because, after all, marketing is sleazy and should be in order to work.

19 April 2012

Sometimes you gotta fuck with a fattie, a guest post by Adam T. Glass.

Shown for size comparison a 3", 2.5", 2",and a standard 1 & 1/8" barbell

 Editor's note: After a few years meandering around the DD forums, Adam gave me my first instructions on the Gym Movement protocol.  Needless to say, a coaching call was 70 bucks well spent.  Check his other links out at the end and improve your life greatly.

You like to deadlift? Then you need to pull with a fatbar!

I like that Peter Fucking Baker named his blog Death metal and Deadlifting. That shit makes a lot of sense to me.
If you love to pull big weight on a bar, then you know how key a strong grip is. Unless you are one of these wimps using straps. Stop with the excuses, ditch the straps.
One question I am often asked is "I want to do grip training, so what should I do?"
The first answer is almost always the same--if you train with a fat bar you will probably not need much else, except of course for the motor miracle of pinch lifting.

The fat bar, and why it's awesome

Barbells are great. They allow you to lift a lot of weight in a huge variety of ways. They are common to find and easy to use, so if you know how to use one you can probably get a workout in at nearly any gym. One minor problem with a barbell is that it really doesn't tax the hands that much, unless you use a ton of weight for a given movement. Even then, the tight fist grip is not doing much for the fingers and almost nothing for the thumb.
Fat bars (also known as "Axle") allow you to train the grip and wrist while doing your favorite motions. It's getting two for one; you do your goal movements and you get more finger and thumb strength.

I own a number of different sized bars, which allows me to test and find the best diameter for a given movement. Naturally I think you should too.  At base level you can use an axle for anything you would use a barbell for, assuming you can hang on to it. The only limit is your imagination. The steak and potato lift is the Double Over Hand Axle Deadlift, where both hands are forward with no hook grip. This taxes the power of the hands to the maximum.  

In the beginning

Barbells and weights at the turn of the 20th century were not like the ones of today. Materials were not the same, manufacturing processes were not as advanced. Many of the barbells and dumbbells of the time had thicker handles because thin ones were not sturdy enough. Most people didn't have a choice, either lift the thick handled weight or stare at it like a lame ass.

The sad decline....

As body building got more popular, a lot of gyms moved away from thick bars. Most people training for general fitness in the average gym do not think about hand strength, and certainly do not wonder why the bar is not harder to lift from where it already is. Fat bars declined nation wide, while wimpy hands increased by no less than 6,130%.

The upswing....

Strongman sport uses the Axle bar for the clean and press, deadlifting, and other generally awesome activities. Other lifting federations such as the radically bad ass USAWA use fat bars in both 2" and 3" sizes for a variety of lifts. It looked like we were on the brink of destruction, and then it all got better....

A 2" diameter bar shown in reverse curl position for hand placement

The epic return

Grip Sport, the pinnacle of human motor ability and talent. Your newest obsession, assuming you get started on it as I have directed. Could there be anything more awesome than picking things up then putting them down? I think not.
The overhand deadlift becomes a standard event in more and more contests due to the ease of judging and wide spread availability of equipment. The awesome increased more and more, as fat bars popped up all across the country. I have no doubt this will turn the whole economy situation around and likely bring about a new age of knowledge and wisdom.

The fat bar and you

More and more people are getting in to fat bar lifting with popular pieces of equipment such as the ingenious "FatGripz" “Manus grips” "Grip4orce" and “Iron Bull T250” handles which can attach to any piece of gym equipment to get your hands back into the game. For many people that is going to be more than enough additional grip work just by adding those to their rows and pulling movements. I can't think of a $40 dollar investment for equipment which will be a higher pay off to your strength than one of these things.
For the serious lifters out there, you are going to want to get a real axle. Before you buy anything, measure your hands. Take a tape measure and start it at your middle finger tip. You will measure from the tip to the crease of your wrist. I am assuming you have measured a few other things from the tip before and will figure this one out.
I have no doubt that immediately after measuring you will want to know what the average is, so you can tell all your friends how you are bigger than average...
The average hand is between 7.5 and 7.75 inches.

If your hands are under 8" a 2 inch diameter barbell will work well. This size axle will probably allow your middle finger to almost or just touch the thumb when you gorilla grip it, preventing you from hooking it but still allowing decent friction.If your hands are between 8" and 8.75" a 2.5" diameter bar will likely be a better fit. I do not know of anyone who makes them, but they are really easy to have fabricated using standard size fence post materials. You don't even need special skills to make one, you can simply cut a piece of stock to the size of your barbell (from inside collar to inside collar) and unscrew the sleeves to slide it on. It takes two Allen wrenches and less than 60 seconds to do. You will figure it out....
If your hands are over 8.75" inches you have seriously huge hands. I am guessing you are either like a 6'8" tall man or an inbred mutant with enormously disproportionate features. Are you finding your evenings get fucked up with all those villagers chasing you with torches and pitch forks? You will be able to hook a 2" diameter bar and easily handle a 3" axle. If you get in to grip training you will probably be good at it.

On the market there are a few companies who sell axles. In my opinion the best ones are made by Submit Strength Equipment, who were formally known as Swagger strength and the classic Ironmind Apollo's axle. If you have been reading my page for a while you will know I have been using an SSE axle for several years and I really like it.

I had my friend Joe Tebbe fabricate a 3" diameter axle for me recently. I dig it. It's been humbling to deadlift with, you'd be surprised at how hard it is to lift a mere 240 lbs with it. I have included some photos holding the axles to show you how it changes hand position. Since you are now wondering, my hands are 7 & 7/8" long, but I'm sure you have known for a while I am bigger than average.

God damn dick jokes in a grip article. Priceless humor.

3" diameter axle held in reverse curl position.  You can see it leaves a huge gap in the hand position, making it an exceptionally challenging bar to lift with.

So here's the deal

Fat bars = more hand strength. Fat bars = more wrist strength. Fat bars = more PR's for you, which in turn brings more muscle, less fat, and more awesome.
In math there is the transitive property. It states that if A =B, and B= C, than A = C. To this end Fat bars = Awesome.
Be well

Adam Glass is one of the best grip athletes in the world. Want to learn about grip strength? Visit
www.industrialstrengthgrip.com/ and check out his training blog at www.adamtglass.com