Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Week 33 Day 3


1. 7x2 Speed Squats @100kgs

2. 5/3/1- Weighted Chin-up

3. 5/3/1- Weighted Dip

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Week 33 Day 2

Active Rest Day

Week 33 Day 1


1. Snatch 3x1

2. Back Squat 5x1

3. 3x 8 One-arm Kettle-bell Shoulder Presses + 10 Second Front Lever Hold

4. 2x 10 Kroc Rows

5. 10x 6 Second Pseudo Planche Hold

6. 6 x 10 Second L-Sit

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Olympic Lifts: A Multitude of Misunderstandings Round 1

I am frustrated. It seems like everyone in the world of fitness, and every other world for that matter, is afraid of the Olympic lifts for a variety of equally absurd reasons. I am going to do a little monologue-style, self-interview in which I debunk the 5 most common misconceptions regarding the Olympic lifts and the corollary effects that they have on the human body. My answers to these questions are pretty detailed so I am going make this a five-part series (5 round fight). Round 1: Here we go . . . ding ding!

1. Complaint (misconception) #1: All of the lifters competing in the Summer Olympics look fat and out of shape. I don’t want to do the Olympic lifts because they will make me fat. I want to be cut and lean, so why would I want to incorporate the Olympic lifts into my training regimen?

Rebuttal #1:

You are absolutely right, some of the competitors that you see in the Summer Olympics do look overweight, but I have a little secret for you: IN THE SPORT OF OLYMPIC WEIGHTLIFTING THERE ARE DIFFERENT WEIGHT CLASSES! Consequently, there are weightlifters of all shapes and sizes who compete every four years in the summer games. Here are the men’s weight classes: 56 kg (123 lb), 62 kg (137 lb), 69 kg (152 lb), 77 kg (170 lb), 85 kg (187 lb), 94 kg (207 lb), 105 kg (231 lb), and over 105 kg.

The reason you think that all Olympic weightlifters are overweight is because the “main event” in Olympic weightlifting is the heavyweight class (105kg and over). The heavyweight class (I like to call it the “overweight class”) has the biggest guys, which means that they lift the most weight and set the highest records. The heavyweight class has no weight cap, so the athletes in that class get as big as they can so that they can lift more and more weight. If we were only discussing the heavyweight class I would agree with you, but there happen to be seven other weight classes which are packed full of guys who look like they are in excellent shape.

Here is a video of Rezazadeh, the best heavyweight Olympic lifter in the world:

Yeah, Rezazadeh is definitely overweight, but he is overweight for a reason. The more he weighs (while retaining mobility and agility) the more weight he can lift. Although the heavyweight lifters’ bodies look like they are completely de-conditioned, they are actually pretty amazing athletes. Check out this video of a heavyweight American weightlifter doing a high box jump and tell me that he is a bad athlete:

Here is a video of Pyrros Dimas:

If you think that Pyrros is fat you need to get your head checked out.

I have another secret for you, Mr. I-Don’t-Want-To-Do-The-Oly-Lifts-Because-I’ll-Get-Fat, the lifts themselves will do little to nothing to your body composition, unless you are completely deconditioned (in which case you will probably LOSE weight performing these multi-joint lifts regularly). Rezazadeh is overweight because he chooses to be overweight, in other words he eats way more calories than he uses up in a day. The old adage, you are what you eat, is right in this case. If you eat really big (granted that you don’t have the metabolism of a jack rabbit on crack) you will get really big. Plain and simple. So if you don’t want to get fat performing the oly lifts find out how Razezadeh eats and don’t eat like that.

Week 32 Day 7

Active Rest Day

Week 32 Day 6


1. 5x1 Band Front Squats from the bottom

2. 5x1 Front Box Squats

3. 4x3+ Weighted Chin-ups

4. 2x10+ Kroc Row

5. 6x 100 Yard Sprint + 4x 50 Yard Sprint

6. 25 Dunk Attempts

Friday, June 25, 2010

Week 32 Day 5


1. 5x1 Clean and Jerk

2. 3x3 Deadlift

3. Handstand work

4. 5x legs free rope climb

5. 3x 6 ice cream makers + 7 Good Mornings + 7 Weighted Reverse Hypers

Week 32 Day 4

Active Rest Day

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Week 32 Day 3


1. 5x2 Speed Box Squats @ 70%

2. 5x1 Standing Box Jump

3. 5x1 Stride Box Jump

4. 3x3 Weighted Dip

5. 3x3 Handstand Push-up

6. 2x10 Kroc Row w/ 100lb dumbell

7. 5x 100 meter sprint (full recovery)

8. 10x rim grab

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Week 32 Day 2

Active Rest Day

Monday, June 21, 2010

Week 32 Day 1


1. 5x1 Snatch

2. 3x3 Back Squat

3. 3x Band Front Lever Hold + 5 Leg Lifts + 7 weighted reverse hypers

4. 3x Legs free rope climb

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Wendler 5-3-1. . . A Plan, not a Program

I have seen a pretty significant plateau in my lifts in the gym over the course of the last six weeks or so. I came to the realization that I am no longer a novice lifter and just trying to hit max lifts everyday is not going to work anymore. I decided that I needed to be a little bit more methodical, but not too methodical. The Wendler 5-3-1 approach is the optimal way for me to overcome my various strength training plateaus, while minimizing my tendency to overanalyze everything. It is a simple and effect progressive overload programming that he created to improve his raw lifts. Jim Wendler is a formed division 1 football player and 1000 pound squatter. Needless to say, I respect and often agree with anything that he has to say regarding strength training.

I am currently wrapping up my first week on the Wendler 5-3-1 cycle. Here is how he organizes the progressive overload in the four-cycle variant of his system (he also has 6, and 12 week cycle plans):

• 1st week 3x5 65, 70, 75 (or more reps)
• 2nd week 3x3 70, 75, 85 (or more reps)
• 3rd week 5,3,1 75, 85, 90(or more weight)
• 4th week (deload week) 3x5 35, 45, 55

I am refraining myself from calling the Wendler 5-3-1 a training “program,” because Jim hates that word. He prefers to call it a plan. He believes that the word “program” is a corollary to the commercial bullsh*#@ that we see on late night infomercials that simply does not work.

I took the liberty of altering the original Wendler 5-3-1 to suite my specific goals (pull-ups and dips for bench and military press) but I am confident that Wendler would be totally fine with my tweaks to his program as long as I stick to the plan that I laid out. I am curious to see how the Wendler 5-3-1 will affect my pull-up and dip strength. My goal is to add about 30lbs to both of these movements. It might take a few Wendler cycles, but I confident that I can add a significant amount of weight to these movements over time.

Wendler keeps it simple and when it comes to programming for strength and conditioning the simple plan usually outperforms a complex one. Wendler states that his plan is a compilation of some of "the basic tenets of strength training that have stood the test of time." He is also a big fan of the ego check, with which I am in total agreement. When discussing the overzealous mindset of the average underachieving weightlifter he says, "They want to start heavy and they want to start now. This is nothing more than ego, and nothing will destroy a lifter faster, or for longer, than ego."

I am going to go with the Jim Wendler flow and see how strong I can get. Now is a perfect time to use one of my favorite Dan John quotes, “The plan is to keep the plan the plan.”

Week 31 Day 7

Active Rest Day

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Week 31 Day 6


1. 3x5 Weighted Chin-ups

2. 5x3 Band + Weighted Standing Vertical

3. 10 Rim grabs

4. 1 100 yard sprint on the minute for 10 minutes

5. 5 rim grabs

6. 10 volleyball dunks

Friday, June 18, 2010

Week 31 Day 5


1. 5x1 Clean

2. 3x5 Deadlift

3. 5 legs free rope climbs on the minute for 5 minutes

4. 3x 5 Weighted Straight Body Lifts + 10 weighted reverse hypers

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Week 31 Day 4

Active Rest Day

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Week 31 Day 3


1. 5x3 Back Squat with Bands

2. 5x3 Explosive Jumps with Bands

3. 15 Three Step Rim Grabs

4. 1 100 meter sprints on the minute for 10 minutes

5. 10 volleyball dunk attempts

Week 31 Day 2

Active Rest Day

Monday, June 14, 2010

Week 31 Day 1


1. 3x5 Back Squat

2. 3x5 Weighted Dip

3. 3 rounds of:

1) Arms only rope climb 2) Max duration L-sit on rings 3) 15 back extensions

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Week 30 Day 7

Active Rest Day

Week 30 Day 6


1. 800 meter farmer's walk w/ 35lb Dumbells and a 20lb weight vest

2. 5 standing backboard slaps with 20lb weight vest

3. 5 striding cylinder slaps with 20lbs weight vest

4. 10 tennis ball dunks

5. Short MetCon: 10x 10 Squats + 10 push-ups (all w/ 20lb weight vest)

6. 15 tennis ball dunks

7. 800 meter farmer's walk w/ 35lb Dumbells and a 20lb weight vest

Friday, June 11, 2010

Bashing the Bench Press

For some unknown reason the phrase “what do you bench?” has been cemented into the meathead vernacular. People ask this question because they think that the bench press is the best determinant of strength and in many people’s minds it is the only determinant of strength and overall fitness. This is an absurd and preposterous notion and I would like to dismantle this asinine misconception once and for all.

The bench press is a poor determinant of absolute strength for a couple of reasons. First of all, the movement covers an extremely small range of motion and engages a very limited amounted of muscles in the body. Check out this video ( of the 2006 world record bench press. Sure the guy lifts over 1000 lbs, but watch the path of the bar. How far do you think this enormous dude pushed the bar in order to lock it out? At most I would guess that big Gene pushed the bar 12 inches in order to complete the lift. You move a dumbbell more when you do bicep curls. The only movement I can think of that covers a smaller range of motion is the calf raise. Don’t even get me started on the calf raise (it makes the bench press look like the pinnacle of fitness). Now check out this video of Pyrros Dimas ( setting the 85kg class world record in the clean+jerk in the 1996 Olympics. He transmits a jump to the bar, moves the weight from the ground to fully extended over his head, and completes a full front squat out of necessity in the process. Pyrros is 5’11 and his arms are pretty damn short, so let’s just say that with his arms fully extended over his head he is moving the bar 7 feet. This means that Pyrros is moving the bar through 7 times the range of motion that Gene moved the bar in his bench press. Pyrros weighs about 180 lbs and lifted 468 lbs over his head. Let’s be nice and say that Gene weighs 300 lbs (he is probably closer to 350, meaning that he is twice as heavy as Pyrros) and he moved 1000 lbs 12 inches. Which athlete would you rather be? Of course you would rather be Pyrros, so maybe your training regimen should look a little bit more like his does and a little bit less like big fat (I get winded walking down the street) Gene’s training regimen looks like.

The second reason why the bench press is a poor determinant of absolute strength is that it is performed while lying down, which consequently minimizes full body muscle recruitment. The fact that the bench press is performed lying down also lessens the neurological demands of the lift. Maybe this is a good thing, because the meatheads who live and die by the bench press need to save up all of the mental energy that they can so that they can properly blend dozens of protein shakes and remember how to turn the TV on and off.

In my mind, the universal admiration of the bench press in gyms throughout the country stands alone as the most glaring fitness-related paradox to date. If one were to stand at the doorway of a Gold’s Gym and randomly ask 10 guys what movements their workout would include, I can guarantee that more than 5 of those guys will be benching in their workout.

I have absolutely no idea why the bench press is such a revered movement and why almost every guy who works out at a normal gym bench presses at least once a week. More often then not these guys who plan on benching during their workout at Gold’s Gym are going to bench without anyone spotting. This is just insane to me. The bench press is far and away the most dangerous lift that anyone can perform. If one fails a bench press the weight is headed straight for the lifter’s sternum, clavicle, and possibly his neck. Check out this article ( about Stephon Johnson a USC running back who “lost control of the bar” when benching. The bar crushed his throat and larynx. These types of injuries just do not happen in lifts that are done while standing because the athlete can simply drop the bar with no ill effects.

So if you want to move a bar 12 inches, perforate your larynx, and not improve as an athlete, then be my guest: bench up a storm. But if you want to improve as an athlete and move external weight a respectable distance, you should probably consider implementing the clean+jerk, snatch and back squat into your training regimen.

Week 30 Day 5


1. 5x1 Split Jerk

2. 3x5 Weighted Dips

3. 2x legs free rope ascents

4. 5x 100 yard sprints

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Week 30 Day 4


1. 3x5 Deadlift

2. 3x3 Ascending Depth Jumps

3. 25 Rim Grabs

4. 5x3 Straight Body Lifts

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Week 30 Day 3

Active Rest Day

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Week 30 Day 2


1. 5x1 Clean

2. 3x5 Weighted Chin-up

3. 3x3 Handstand Push-up

4.100 yards sprint on the minute for 10 minutes

Monday, June 7, 2010

Week 30 Day 1

Active Rest Day

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Week 29 Day 7


1. 3x5 Fast Backsquats

2. 5x1 Standing High Box Jump

3. 5x1 Running High Box Jump

4. DB Olympic Complex

Complete for time:
3-2-1 of
Dumbell power clean 60/40lb
Dumbell power clean, one arm 30/20lb
Dumbell power clean, one arm 30/20lb
Dumbell squat clean 60/40lb
Dumbell squat clean, one arm 30/20lb
Dumbell squat clean, one arm 30/20lb
Dumbell push jerk 60/40lb
Dumbell push jerk, one arm 30/20lb
Dumbell push jerk, one arm 30/20lb
Dumbell split jerk 60/40lb
Dumbell split jerk, one arm 30/20lb
Dumbell split jerk, one arm 30/20lb
Dumbell snatch 60/40lb
Dumbell snatch, one arm 30/20lb
Dumbell snatch, one arm 30/20lb
Dumbell split snatch 60/40lb
Dumbell split snatch, one arm 30/20lb
Dumbell split snatch, one arm 30/20lb

Saturday, June 5, 2010

NBA Players Are Weak!

Warning: This post might be controversial.

NBA players are weak. There I said it. Although, NBA players are often considered the best athletes on the planet I have come to the conclusion that NBA players lack full body relative strength. I came to this conclusion after I watched the NBA Pre-Draft Combine on TV.

You are probably wondering how I determined this. I’m going to give you a hint: I am not basing this upon their lackluster numbers in the max rep 185lb bench press test which every NBA player drafted into the league must complete (although their numbers are pretty embarrassing). Before the 2007 draft Kevin Durant, the future rookie of the year, completed a measly three reps.

This might surprise you, but the strength-based metric that I am using to determine the relative strength of the future NBA players in the 2010 NBA Pre-Draft Combine was the standing vertical leap. The standing vertical leap, in my opinion, is one of the best tests of absolute relative strength and force production (along with the clean, backsquat and deadlift). The standing vertical leap is an excellent determinant of absolute strength because it measures how much force an athlete can produce against the floor in order to eventually explode off the ground as high as possible.

In the 2010 NBA Pre-draft combine the average standing vertical was about 28 inches. To put this in perspective, the last time I measured my standing vertical it was 28 inches (that was about 6 weeks ago and I am confident that I have gained an inch or two since then). So basically, I have a better standing vertical than the average participant in the 2010 NBA Pre-draft combine and my vertical is not very impressive. If I were to say this out of context, I would sound like a crazy person, but in reality it is true.

Many of the linemen in the NFL combine, all of whom weigh more than 300 pounds jumped higher in the standing vertical, than did the average NBA prospect. For example John Wall (6’4” 195lbs), who will be the first pick in the NBA Draft later this summer jumped 28 inches in his standing vertical test and Bruce Campbell (6’6’’ 315lbs), on offensive tackle, now a member of the Oakland Raiders, jumped 32 inches high in his standing vertical test a few months ago in the NFL combine.

How is it possible that a gargantuan 315lb offensive lineman could out jump a wiry NBA combo guard, who happened to be the best player in college basketball last year? What does all of this mean?

It means that Bruce Campbell is strong and John Wall is not. It means that NFL players lift weights regularly (with a plan and a goal in mind) and NBA players do not. It means that NFL players are strong and NBA players are weak!
To me the standing vertical leap test determines how much intelligent training an athlete has done. All variations of the deadlift, squat, clean, and snatch, include a closing and opening of the hip. It is no mystery why these lifts translate so well into the standing vertical (hint: jumping = a closing and opening of the hip).

All of this being said I do not want to downplay the immense athleticism that the average NBA player possesses. The average NBA player is 6’7’’, runs the floor like a gazelle and can change directions extremely quickly. And many NBA players can jump, but normally they can only truly elevate from a running start. When a player has a running start it minimizes the strength element of the jump and turns it into a more technical movement and since basketball players jump around all day they are constantly reinforcing good jumping technique from a running start (this is only true for the basketball players who jump the right way naturally—these athletes are often called natural leapers).

Although most NBA players are great athletes, and many of them can jump very high from a running start, they have shown year in and year out in the NBA Pre-Draft Combine that they lack absolute strength through their poor performance in the standing vertical jump.

Week 29 Day 6

Active rest day

Friday, June 4, 2010

Week 29 Day 5


1. 5 on 5 pick up basketball

Thursday, June 3, 2010

New PR!

I hit a nice PR today on my weighted dips. I successfully completed a dip with 108lbs of extra weight attached to my body. My previous PR was 93lbs.

Week 29 Day 4

Workout #1:

1. 5x1 Clean

2. 5x1 Back Squat

3. 5x1 Dip

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Week 29 Day 3

Basketball Workout:

1.400 shots

2.3x UNLV sprints

3.Hard Moves off the dribble

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Week 29 Day 2

Workout #1:

1. 7x1 Deadlift

2. 7x1 Chin-up

Basketball Workout:

1. 400 Shots

2. 2x Championship Sprints

3. 5x Hard Dribble weave through chairs

Week 29 Day 1

Rest Day

Week 28 Day 7

Rest Day