It would have been a good week to Reduce my training load as my recovery was not up to par. But with a work week planned out of town the following week with no room for training I pushed on through hitting PR's on all three lifts. PR for competition style bench, band resisted squats, and deficit deads. Not a shabby week at all for my body screaming at me to take a rest. 3 circuits Mace Swings 30lbx20 Curls 30lbx12 Bench – competition style w/side judge and press command 295x2 365x2 405x2 455x1 475x1 Bench TNG 405x6 Sling Shot 515x4 Weighted Dips 130x12,12,12,12 KB Twist Front Raise 18x20,20,20 WEDNESDAY Squats w/bands @40lbs 155+x5 265+ x5 375+ x3 485+ x3 605+ x2 715+ x2 803+ x2,2 Glute Ham Raise (elevated rear) Bw x16,16,16 THURSDAY Mace Swing x20 CIRCUIT (4 times) BW Dips x70,50,40,40 = 200 Leg Extension x20 Leg Curls x30 KB twist front raise x20 Missed Saturday as I went 4 wheeling with my son, so I trained without the team on Sunday. SUNDAY 1.5” Deficit pulls (w/100 in chain) 405x2 455+100x2 545+100x2 635+100x2 725+100x1 hook grip Bent Over Rows 495x13 Pull-ups BWx16,14,10,10
It would have been a good week to Reduce my training load as my recovery was not up to par. But with a work week planned out of town the following week with no room for training I pushed on through hitting PR's on all three lifts. PR for competition style bench, band resisted squats, and deficit deads. Not a shabby week at all for my body screaming at me to take a rest.
Mace Swings 30lbx20
Bench – competition style w/side judge and press command
KB Twist Front Raise
Squats w/bands @40lbs
Glute Ham Raise (elevated rear)
Mace Swing x20
CIRCUIT (4 times)
BW Dips x70,50,40,40 = 200
Leg Extension x20
Leg Curls x30
KB twist front raise x20
Missed Saturday as I went 4 wheeling with my son, so I trained without the team on Sunday.
1.5” Deficit pulls (w/100 in chain)
725+100x1 hook grip
Bent Over Rows
Mace Swings 30lbx20
KB Twist Front Raise
Squats w/bands @40lbs
Glute Ham Raise (elevated rear)
Mace Swing x20
CIRCUIT (4 times)
BW Dips x40
Leg Extension x20
Leg Curls x30
KB twist front raise x20
1.5” Deficit pulls (w/100 in chain)
Bent Over Rows
To make it easier to find key video's on my YouTube Channel I have broken my video's down into several different playlists.
There are a few more including PR's, Meets, and EPC Equipment.
You may also note the recent format of my video's this last year. The goal has been to improve the content to provide the viewer more information. I compile the whole week of training in one video and do a voiceover of what I'm doing and why. Yet still try and keep the video in the 3-5min range to cover the pertinent information.
I believe this to be the most detailed and transparent training log for any powerlifter of my caliber, and I encourage you to subscribe to my channel.
It also looks like for these reasons my YouTube channel is featured in the next issue of Power Magazine.
The Walk in the Park workout was devised a couple years ago that is simple workout(test) that will push you physically and mentally to your limits in 5minutes. At the time I was prepping for the “Bros vs. Pros” deadlift event. The target weight for the event was 405lbs for reps but I didn’t want to just do massive amount of deadlifts as my training methods. So the goal was to put myself in a completely fatigued state where you’re having trouble with both work capacity and firing the glutes to complete a deadlift… prior to deadlift.
The method I came up with was dubbed “The Walk in the Park” as a sarcastic phase in reference to how excruciating the workout is. It looks simple but when setup properly there isn’t much like it.
The initial goal was to do the circuit twice, which I have done but I was unable to even come close to the acceptable pace level for second circuit.
There have been several victims through the years which often involves someone lying on the floor incapable of speaking for 15-20min.
Here is a recent example below. A second example is at the bottom of this page.
The basic workout is given on the chart below. It’s a little large so that I can print it for my gym and add names to where people land.
We are being overrun with an epidemic that has become so prominent it is now just a part of everyday life. It’s an epidemic of excuses. I’m not sure where it started but it is being supported by throughout our society. Overprotective parents shielding their kids from every danger and intervening to remove obstacles from their path. A watered down competitive landscape reinforces this ego protecting and fostering mentality. On the field, in the classroom, or any numerous ‘competitive’ drills, everyone is a winner and there are no losers. You don’t need to win because you have ‘earned it’ for being special, for being you. Management seminars will teach you that everyone can succeed it’s really just the fault of the leader/company for not providing the tools for success and no responsibility lies with the individual. It’s the teacher’s fault and the students and parents hold no responsibility for the child’s education or discipline problems. The list goes on.
Sure a great leader or teacher can bring about amazing things and bring about success in some challenging people. However this mentality has led to this epidemic of excuses. I call it an epidemic as it is truly a sickness that allows the rot of one’s self. One day you will wake up to the real world and realize that the world may be your oyster, but you have not earned a piece of it for just being you. Not everyone is a winner. No one is going to pave a path of success for you. You didn’t earn that promotion because you showed up on time and did what was asked of you.
The world belongs to those who have initiative, drive, and discipline. If you want to startup that business idea, win that promotion, or get that sporting record you’re going to have to wait a long time till someone paves that yellow brick road for you.
Define whether you are the person that want’s to achieve those things you have listed as your goals, or just the person that ‘says’ they want to achieve those things. Yes you can get through life just fine if you do the minimum, what is asked of you. However we are talking about going above and beyond, achieving goals outside not ‘getting fired’. This is where the excuses become even more evident.
You know what you need to be doing to accomplish your goals. What you need to do to realize what you ‘say’ you want to achieve. It may be extra training, stretching, studying, project, or a business plan but you know what it is you need to be doing. The difference between saying and doing is what you do when the going gets tough, you’re short on time, or you’re simply being weak willed and compromising.
There is lots of unused time during the day, be it your breaks, lunch, television, internet, and facebook. Be the person that is accomplishing things not someone with excuses that ‘says’ they want to accomplish things. The difference is the person that has the discipline to follow through on what is needed despite the odds. The world is your oyster but absolutely nothing is owed to you. Display your initiative, drive, and discipline and own your destiny.
Here is a little story to add some perspective to living without excuses.
Tom is a member of EPC who is a Master’s competitor in both Strongman and Powerlifitng. Both he and his son, who also trains at EPC, have always put a tremendous effort into all their workouts. Late last year I started to see Tom having to back off in his workouts. Typically if I see someone not putting in the work I will share my view with them in a quite unapologetic manner, however in this case I could see that something was amiss and I held back. As time went on Tom still continued to come into the gym, but some days he just couldn’t do much at all. In fact there were days he was relegated to just sitting there and doing gripper work, but he was still there. Just from seeing the way Tom has trained and also knowing Tom’s past battle with Colon Cancer I know he is about as tough as they come.
In sitting down with Tom to discuss his training and competition plans I discovered Tom was battling cancer once again and was enduring extensive chemo treatment. Quoting another EPC member this is “like, really bad cancer”. When most people would be lying on the couch at home feeling sorry for themself, Tom is doing what he loves. He doesn’t just say he wants to do what he wants to do; he does it, and does it with no excuses.
The picture below is of Tom who just took the platfrom this weekend after having lost 30lbs in the weeks leading up to this meet. The picture on the bottom is Tom’s son who is a tremendous athlete and an unbelievable workhorse… I wonder where he gets that from.
Tom is an inspiration, an inspiration for us all to stand up against the epidemic of excuses.
Over the weekend I competed in a powerlifting meet where I injured myself while squatting. After the injury I decided to continue with the meet even though everyone was arguing with me otherwise. In fact I didn’t have much of a rebuttal as I was lying on floor with a bag of ice over me knowing there was no real point to continuing on. My bench press would suck without any leg drive and my deadlift and total were shot for sure. There was no real evident reason for completing the meet. However I knew I had to get up and finish the meet even if I didn’t know why. In retrospect there was indeed reason behind deep desire to continue on. It comes down to living your life with discipline, and the results you achieve by doing so.
Let’s take this story back a couple months. In September I was competing, and just as in this meet my goal was in chasing the All-Time Raw Squat and All-Time Raw Total records. The day of the meet was one of the first few days of a very nasty flu followed by viral infection that ended up taking me down for well over a month, including missing a week of work as well as tons of gym time. Due to the combination of the disappointment in missing my squat goals and the sickness I ended up pulling out of the meet. Ever since I made that decision I have been disgusted with myself and the weakness of character I displayed. Sure I spent the next several days in bed sick, but there are always excuses. I showed weakness yet again this weekend when I gave up on my weight cut down to the 220 class and ended up coming in as a light 242. It may have been an aggressive cut, and by the time I made the call to call it quits it was the right call. But I was the one who didn’t set myself up correctly, or allow myself enough time to complete the cut. Once again I didn’t follow through, and once again I was disgusted with myself.
It is simply not ok to become comfortable with not following through on commitments, just like it’s not ok to become comfortable with loosing. You don’t want to become that guy that always gets walked on. The guy that loosing just becomes a way of life and is the norm you come to expect. In that same thread you certainly don’t ever want it to become the norm to not follow through on what you commit to. I have established my success in my life, in the gym, on the platform, and in business around doing what I say I’m going to do. I don’t care if I can’t walk. It’s not time to lie down and let this become the pattern I live my life by. I am not continuing down this slippery slope. It’s time to drag myself over to the bench press and say “Fuck You!” to everyone telling me to lie back on the floor with my garbage bag of ice. Let’s get this on. I may not be winning, breaking records, or even setting PR’s, but God Damn it I’m finishing what I started!!!
Living your life with discipline creates success. You may not see it every day, but by making your actions becomes practice you don’t even have to think about it when the hard decisions in life approach you. In fact you may not even recognize that you actually even had a decision in the matter. When you’re knocked down, the sooner you get back up the less it will affect you in the future.
Here is another video from a meet several years ago. In this meet I dropped 630lbs on my face with a shirted bench press. Everyone was ready to run me to the hospital, and just like this time it was a given that I wasn’t finishing the meet. And just like this time I had to piss and moan and get confrontational to say, “No, not only am I continuing on I want my third attempt, AND I want the weight increased to 650lbs!” You’ll even notice that the 650 wasn’t filmed as no one would turn my camera on for me. My wrist and elbow may have bothered me for close to a year after that meet; but I’ll tell you what didn’t bother me, and that was fear of the bar. After taking a dump like I did at that meet I needed to get back under that bar and immediately WON. Otherwise I would have let fear and doubt get the best of me every time I got under the bar for who knows how long.
You don’t make difficult or hard calls out of the blue, you make them out of practice. And practice comes from discipline of action. To be a champion, to achieve what you are fully capable of, you must have and display that discipline every day. That’s the discipline to follow through on your commitments, the discipline to continuously push yourself and see what you have the potential of achieving.
There is no ‘Participation Award For Life’ so don’t be that man that becomes comfortable with not winning, not following through, and not seeing what you are capable of.
In October of 2010 I tore both the Sternal and Clavicular head of my left pec off their attachment to the humerus. This required surgery and installation of 3 titanium studs followed by rehab. Since that time I have continued to receive multiple emails, Facebook messages, and YouTube questions due to my rapid recovery prompting me to put this piece together. The typical recovery takes 12 months before getting a full release to train heavy, along with the caveat that you will never be 100% again. In the process I’m sharing with you here I had regained mobility within a matter of weeks and had progressed enough that I was training to compete at a powerlifting meet at 6 months. At 9 months I was in competition setting not only a personal record for a total but also landing a Top10 All-Time Powerlifting total. Given the standard rehab process and the experiences of other lifters this was a significant achievement.
The primary content of this article is the video series itself. It is important to note that there is significant risk of re-injury if you pursue these aggressive methods without the proper knowledge or supervision. If you choose to take that risk you can significantly reduce your overall recovery time, yield greater long term recovery, and develop a cascade of other injury due to overcompensation patterns.
With my current knowledge and resources I would take a little bit different approach in regards to the specific details of my recovery. However the overall process would still center on the same core concepts:
· Mobility and Range of Motion
o Begin mobilizing the area and work on regaining your range of motion as soon as possible. But stay inside the pain threshold and listen to your body. Every day try to take it a little further. Find a great therapist or other practitioner that can assist you with mobility drills.
· Work the Movement Patterns
o Begin utilizing and working the muscle through the movement patterns it is used in. Find a great therapist or other practitioner that can assist you with proper movement patterns.
· Recovery Methods
o I spoke extensively about the use of Super Cissus in this video series due to its documented acceleration of bone and tendon healing as well as its other properties. I feel it was an intergral part of my fast healing process.
o Also incorporate other recover methods such as foam rolling, trigger point, active release, deep tissue, graston, or stecco fascial to name a few. (I used nearly all of them and then some)
· Stay Active
o Train what you can, you will be surprised how even training one side of the body will help you retain your strength and power overall.
Other key points include setting aside the time and potentially money to invest in this being a primary focus. You need to be working on recovery every single day and multiple times a day. You will be pushing the limits of potentially re-injuring the area so you MUST connect with and listen to your body. On recovery methods I am also a big proponent of Concentric Only training and wrote an article on this before that is a worthy read.
Due to the extensive number of video’s I will only embed a few of them. The rest will be linked.
The original injury was done by just being stupid and playing around. After a 2 hour bench press workout I decided I would attempt and iron cross… after never having done one before.
Week 26 Bench pressing with Slingshot http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBw1bfG4mco
Here are some excerpts of how I trained just one side of body or didn’t let my arm being in a sling hold me back. Mind you these methods are bordering on the side of ‘stupid’ in on some occasions… but it does dive home the point of don’t let anything stand in your way. I was squatting and doing 1-arm deadlifts just days/weeks after surgery
500x6 No arm squat http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXeCeP6E8Ok
One arm deadlifts in a sling http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amcCSan08g0
Tire flips only weeks out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-vT1uIxgFc
And finally my meet at 9 months post surgery. That 1008lb squat took a significant toll on my pec otherwise I believe I would have benched in the low to mid 700’s at this meet.
Here is a recent interview I did with MuscleLabsTV
For anyone that would like to peruse my training over the last 3 months, here are the direct links to the detailed writeups and video's:
I always hear how people want to get “In shape”, and while I have a general fuzzy idea what that could entail it is not something that is in anyway clearly defined, and certainly not measureable. If you are unable to accurately define or measure it then you will not be able to develop a plan to lead you to your goal. Without a clear definition it is hard not only to follow a path, that path could be the wrong one. The first step for me is changing the name. I’ll skip using some of the common terms such as ‘conditioning’, ‘cardio’, ‘General Physical Preparedness’, or ‘functional modalities’ as well. My definition begins with using the term Work Capacity as that establishes a clearer picture of what it is I would like to improve, my ability to do work.
The following story demonstrates that this focus on terminology/definition leads to bigger issues beyond simple semantics. Last summer I was asked for the help by the coach of a team sport to develop some programs to improve the performance for his athletes on the field. The root of his request was that he did not know if his conditioning drills would actually net increased performance in the game. He then proceeded to detail how he and the other coaches he knew measured if their athletes were going to see improvements. This common practice was based around the fact that improved cardiovascular health as measured by Heart Rate would = improved performance on the field. The test was to get their athletes heart rate up and then measure how long it took return to specific range.
While I suppose an argument could be made that there is some logic behind this approach, I’m going to stick with saying this approach is straight lunacy. As a coach and as an athlete I could care less what my heart rate is doing, well as long as it’s still ‘doing’ I suppose. What I care about is if I am accomplishing more in my event. Does it really matter if one person’s heart is racing at 140bpm and another’s at 120bpm if they are both accomplishing the same thing? In the end the measureable is the result of the total work they put in during the game.
The whole measuring heart rate = cardiovascular health = improved performance is simply wrong and could lead to a dissertation on Correlation does not imply Causation to argue that point. Clear definitions and ability to accurately measure progress towards that definition are required.
Setting aside the whole correlation vs. causation argument aside, this method is also a complete failure for another reason. The Heart Rate approach only analyzed a measure the cardiovascular system when there are many systems affecting total work output. These other systems affecting work output include cardiovascular, metabolic, neurohumoral, neuromuscular, and sensorimotor. It is possible with today’s technology to go about measuring all these systems independently, however quite expensive and certainly not realistic for this setting. Without being able to measure all these systems that affect work capacity you have to go back to the basics and measuring the OUTPUT of all these systems.
First you must understand what it is that you are measuring. As established at the beginning of this article it is Work Capacity, and work capacity is simply the total amount of work that can be done in a given timeframe. If the work capacity goes up the athlete will be able to get more punches in during a fight, get more pedal rotations on the bike during the race, or be able to increase the number of kettlebell swings. These are the important things to a coach, trainer, and athlete. These are the things that WIN.
With a definition you now need to develop a way of determining if you are improving work capacity without expensive, time consuming, or unavailable testing. This leaves you with the most straightforward and accurate way possible of simply measuring the work capacity itself. Develop training programs where both the work output and the time are measured, and then you can determine if improvements are made. More importantly another factor comes into play here as well that no testing will determine. This factor is the athletes the amount of psychological conditioning the athlete is prepared to push themself, which can be influenced by you as the athlete or coach.
If you take a simple kettlebell swing an athlete can show increased work capacity with the following methods:
- Doing the same number of swings in a shorter time
- Doing same swing in the same time with increased weight
- Doing more swings in the same amount of time.
- Extending the number of swing
- Extending the amount of time the can maintain that swing rate
It is imperative that you pic drills that not only mimic the sport but the Work Capacity can be measured just as the kettlebell bell swing is measured above. These measures are all different ways of measuring the two variables:
Looking at it from an athletic perspective you would need to setup these tests/drills in a manner that mimics the performance events in:
- Interval Frequency
If you keep these rules in mind you should be able to develop effective training method(s) and understanding the impact to the athletes work capacity. Improved work capacity should have a direct impact on performance in their given sport when setup correctly.
Below is an unmatched feat of strength and conditioning developed through these very methods.
There are three things to employ to achieve results that will separate you from the culture of mediocrity that we live in today. While it’s only thee simple steps the majority of the populace are unable to utilize them because it fly’s against the instant gratification and entitlement that is prevalent today. Separate yourself from this mediocrity and enjoy the real gratification of achieving goals that most can only dream of. These three simple steps are to operate with vision, consistency, and hard work in regards to achieving your goals.
While I’ve spoken to some of these concepts previously, a recent reflection on my progress in my lifting career motivated me to spend a little time extrapolating on this approach. Everyone wants to start at the last step in the process. They see something they would like to achieve, get motivated, and pounce straight to putting in the hard work (more on the supposed hard work later) to achieve that goal. Absolutely, you must bust your ass to achieve your goals. However everyone wants the results in the present, in the ‘now’, and after a few months or even a few years feel they have earned it. Frustration sets in when this doesn’t happen and eventually the goal is replaced with another one. Another goal that is also pursued with the same limited foresight or half-baked approach. Jumping straight to the end of the process and focusing just on the hard work leads to goal ADD. If you don’t see this in yourself, then just look at those around you and it will be easy identify. Doing the hard work is only relevant if it is put in place in a consistent manner, over time, and toward a specific outcome.
The first step is to create a vision. A vision goes beyond a simple daydream about the success you would like to have. A daydream certainly isn’t going to separate you from the mediocre masses. This dream must be flushed out to become a vision. Not to sound like a self-help guru but you must believe that you can achieve that success. More importantly you must believe you can live the life that will lead to that success. By believing you can live that path you must have also already defined what that path is and what those steps are to achieve that success. Without that belief it’s easy to veer off the path when road bumps are inevitably encountered. Generating a real vision will prepare you for the long road ahead and keep you motivated while you see the small wins over time, and not the big instant payout. Taking this step already separates you from the pack, but it is still only the preparation phase.
Consistency is certainly not a difficult concept to understand but this is the attribute that is the true nugget of achieve exceptional results. You must pound away day after day sometimes making progress so small it is invisible and not measured in days, weeks, or months but years or decades. Sure there are people that see great success early on. It’s easy to look at and see yourself as one of these ‘instant success’ stories that are prevalent due to some of the opportunities presented in our technological age we live in. However these instant successes are dwarfed by the failures of those that hung their hopes on a similar path. It’s those little wins and obstacles overcome as you consistently hammer away at the path towards your vision that are the cornerstone of success, not picking the winning lottery ticket.
With focused and consistent efforts it’s time to put in the work, the Hard Work, of achieving your goals. This is the day in day out year after year grind of grappling for every last inch of movement forwards. When life stands up in the way with new challenges it’s not dropping your goals, its figure out a path that still incorporates your vision. The mediocre masses belief in hard work is all too often really just going through the motions. With your vision in place and the path defined it’s time to ask yourself if you are truly putting everything you have into achieving that vision. Don’t take this approach lightly, doing the hard work is an all or nothing deal. Either separate yourself from the pack and challenge yourself like you never have before, or join the mediocre masses of sheep around you.
I have applied these concepts to my career, financial goals, being a father and husband, as well as my ‘hobbies’. It is one of these hobbies, strength training specifically, that I was recently reflecting on that provided the impetus for sitting down to finish this article. The progress is highly visual, measureable, spans decades, and yet the short term progress is difficult to measure. Although I admittedly have above average genetics, I didn’t ‘win the lottery’ with top tier genetics. Also note that I am not saying I have actually reached the goal and vision I have for myself, just a quick visual on where the path has brought me so far...