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29 May 2010

If You're Not a Regular Fucking Sleeping Beauty, You Should Be

If beds came standard with one of these included, sleep deprivation wouldn't be a problem.  Viagra sales would likely plummet as well.
Much has been made of the importance of getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night by talking heads the world around, cautioning us that it's important that we do not get too much or too little sleep.  To that end, there's a whole host of products designed to stimulate just that, all of which are awesome in that they're addictive.  That was sarcasm, in case you hadn't noticed.  The fact that people so many people need sleep aids to get to sleep is a testament to how fucking unnatural our lives have become.


So, who's to blame for this clusterfuck?  It's an impressive combination of Thomas Edison, the government, shitty diet, insufficient exercise, television, the stunning panoply of prescription meds most people down all fucking day long, and a giant cloud of general suck.


Prior to the invention of the electric light bulb, people slept an average of 10-12 hours a day.  Thomas Edison, the inventor of the electric light bulb, was a workaholic who believed that sleep, and rest in general, were unnecessary, primitive, and to be championed only by the lazy.  I suppose he needed all of that extra time awake to steal as much as he possibly could from other inventors of the day, like Nikola Tesla.  In any event, he was a dick, essentially directly responsible for the modern idea that getting "too much" sleep is unhealthy, and the fact that Americans average 20% less sleep than they did in 1900.  In contrast to our modern sleep habits, Paleolithic man (who was demonstrably stronger, healthier, and essentially better in every possible way than modern man) slept from dusk until dawn, which means a little over 10 hours a night in the summer, and considerably longer in the winter.  Were this unhealthy, it's unlikely that they'd have done it.


According to Paul Chek, another factor is diet.  A teaspoon of sugar has been shown to suppress the immune system for up to 4 hours, and the resulting blood sugar crash from sugar consumption causes your body to release cortisol, which triggers glucose release from your liver stores.  (How To Eat, Move, and Be Healthy, p. 204) Given that the typical American diet contains massive amounts of sugar, it's no fucking wonder people can't sleep- how many people do you know who have some sort of dessert every night?  I'm willing to bet they suck at sleeping, between their sugar consumption and likely sedentarism.
Now you'll have trouble sleeping, too.
Having established that everyone should sleep more, which you already knew, I'll address some things most people don't seem to know.
  • napping is tremendously good for you.  Mental acuity and manual dexterity are both measurably improved in people who nap, moreso for nappers than people who use pharmacological methods to achieve complete wakefulness.  (Annals of Internal Medicine, June 6, 2006 vol. 144 no. 11 856-857)
  • having any electrical device near to your bed while sleeping can seriously fuck up your circadian rhythms.  According to Paul Chek, moving all electrical devices as far as you can from your bed should improve your quality of sleep. (How To Eat, Move, and Be Healthy, p. 205)
  • getting to sleep at or before 10:30 PM should help you sleep better, due to your body's natural release of cortisol at certain times of the day.
  • the position in which you sleep also has a direct affect on the quality of your sleep and your body's ability to align itself at rest.  Though not the best position for respiratory reasons, I sleep on my back for the sake of my back and shoulders.  When I sleep on my stomach, it throws my neck out of alignment, and fucks up my rotator cuffs horribly, because I sleep with my hands under my pillow.  Sleepin on my back prevents that, and relieves pressure on the lower back.  However you sleep, don't do it on your stomach- you will bring yourself more pain and shitty training sessions than any other position.
  • sleep in a dark, cool room.  When the broad laying next to you complains of being cold, which she invariably will, tell her 1) to shut the fuck up and deal with it, 2) go elsewhere to whine, or 3) go get a fucking blanket and keep it the hell away from you.  Misogyny is often justified.  You should, however, refrain from giving her a pair of irish sunglasses until at least her second outburst, at which point you can honestly say "I told her twice."
There it is, fuckers.  Get more sleep.  The more, the better, right?  Isn't that what the HIT jackasses blabber constantly?  Maybe if they slept more, their training wouldn't be quite so infrequent and pathetic.


Finally, for those of you out there who are alleged insomniacs- jerk off more.  There's no amount of insomnia that 10 orgasms won't cure.  Though that might seem like it's my cure for everything (I'm betting it cures cancer, by the way), here's a bit of science for the skeptics out there: "While thinking about sex might keep you up at night having it, including masturbation, is a great way to deal with insomnia. In a 2000 study of U.S. women, 32% said that in the past three months they masturbated as a way to fall asleep. Whether it’s because of the hormones and endorphins released following orgasm, the benefits of clearing your head, or the mini cardio workout, masturbation that ends in orgasm is a great way to get to sleep without pills, television, or counting sheep." (http://sexuality.about.com/od/masturbation/p/masturbation_fx.htm)
Food for thought.
On that note, it's time to rub one out and hit the hay.

24 May 2010

Train To Failure and You'll Train For Failure

One thing you will notice about the ChAoS and PAIN training methodology is that there are no "intensity multipliers", or whatever the mags are calling them these days.  CnP is notably bereft of triple-drop sets, assisted reps, forced reps, strip sets, or negatives.  In case you've ever wondered why, and even if you haven't, I'm going to tell you- I don't train to fail.
Training to failure + starvation diet = waif look?  

But wait... that's training to failure, not to fail, right?

Fucking WRONG.  Six of one or half a dozen of the other, it all adds up to the same thing- training in that manner inures you to failure.  ChAoS and PAIN's not about failure- it's about success.  After you've done 43,000 sets to failure, you're likely pretty well inured to failure in physical pursuits.  You might not give a fuck, then, if you just got fucking pinned on a bench, or you keeled over backward out of the rack (which I have seen, and it was made even more hilarious by the reasonable chance that the guy had broken his back or neck, and he was an annoying motherfucker), you failed to make weight for a competition, or you bombed out of a competition, because fuck it- you're used to failing.

FUCK ALL OF THAT.

I don't want to get used to failing to lock out a rep.  I want that to be the sort of catastrophe so epic that it's a story worth telling... one that involved bloodshed, screaming, nudity, and possibly a dragon.  If there's not two of the aforementioned involved, you fail at failing.

Practice makes perfect, right?  Then why the fuck would you practice failure?  It's just fucking retarded.  Practice success with heavy fucking weights at all times, and you will achieve success with heavy fucking weights all the time.  This is one of the reasons I adhere to a strict policy of moving heavy-ass weights constantly- if you do it every fucking day, you won't fear them at any time, whether it's in competition, when you just want to walk in off the street and pull 500+ in jeans, with no fucking warmup, or you need to drag a shark out of shallow water and stab it to death with your bare fucking hands.
Possibly the only man on Earth to attack a shark in the water, drag it onto land, and stab it to death. 

There's intellectual reasoning behind my methodology as well.  Surprised?  The utilization of intensity multipliers when working out increases one's levels of cortisol significantly, which reduces one's ability to recover for future workouts, protein synthesis, and your overall health.  Additionally, training to failure reduces production of IGF-, which has a negative impact on your ability to grow and retain skeletal muscle, in addition to fucking up your strength and power.(1)  So, essentially, by training to failure, you're creating a metabolic shitshow from which you're not likely to recover prior to your next session, fucking up subsequent workouts.  Does this mean you should train less and to failure?  Not unless you enjoy being weaker, due to the reasoning I outlined above.

Thus, leave the intensity multiplies for the fuckbags in their matching workout gear rocking the sub 200 benches and 14" arms- they'll be the ones going down the rack on curls and following that up with some brutal drop sets on cable crossovers.  Shit you see in most mags is just that, and the UnderArmor crew in your gym is living proof.
Camel toe is the opposite of failure.  
Notice, however, that she's about the same size as the Auschwitz victim at the beginning of this blog.
1. Izquierdo, Mikel , Javier Ibañez, Juan José González-Badillo, Keijo Häkkinen, Nicholas A. Ratamess, William J. Kraemer, Duncan N. French, Jesus Eslava, Aritz Altadill, Xabier Asiain, and Esteban M. Gorostiaga, "Differential effects of strength training leading to failure versus not to failure on hormonal responses, strength, and muscle power gains." J Appl Physiol 100: 1647-1656, 2006. First published January 12, 2006

20 May 2010

You're STILL Doing Fucking Lateral Raises?

In this blog, I detailed the myriad marvelous means by which one can improve their mental and physical strength with the grand poohbah of upper body lifts- the Behind The Neck Push Press.  Well, fuckers, I've got another exercise for you to try, and it's another one for the fucking record books.

Behold the awesome might of the Partial Overhead Squat.

video

The form on these will be a bit tricky when you first start.  As you can see in the video, I usually have difficulty finding my mark right out the gate.  The setup, however, generally goes like this- line up the way you would for a squat, making sure that your legs are evenly spaced, slightly wider than shoulder width after you duck under it.  Then, straighten your arms as you squat deeper, locking them out fully, and stand up, pushing your head forward as you do so.  Like most lifts, this isn't fucking brain surgery, and chance of injury is basically nil due to the use of the rack.

Once you find your groove, however, this movement gets fun, and interesting, in a fucking hurry.  Additionally, I find moving the pins from set to set to add an extra level of difficulty, and makes it a bit more fun on days when you just feel like hammering away on a single exercise all day long.

For me, this exercise arose out of doing ancillary work for the BTN push press.  I had been doing BTN lockoutsin the rack, and found that as I got tired and the weight was heavy, I'd start doing what amounted to and OH squat lockout.  These were initially tremendously difficult, but I saw massive crossover for all overhead pressing movements, in addition to extra squat work.  Having made this discovery, I started working on this exercise, specifically, one a week.  Since doing so, I've noticed a dramatic increase in my comfort and skill at fully locking out and holding my BTN push presses, and have seen gradual rise in my BTN press overall weights, as well.


Why not just do the full overhead squat?  Frankly, because I don't see the point.  Clearly, I'm not a grunting, Tapout-ensconced, mouthbreathing retard, but I'm not much of a natural athlete, either.  My balance and flexibility suck, and I've always achieved any success in athletics through wild-eyed aggression and general effort, rather than natural skill.  As such, I'm wholly unsuited to something like the OH squat, which is only a hell of an exercise if you're flexible enough, and have the requisite balance to do it.  As I've not neither, and my OH squat weights are so much lower than my front and back squat weights, I've never seen the point in doing them.  It's be like doing one armed bench presses while balancing a spinning teacup on my nose.  Would it be hard?  Hell yes.  Would I ever fucking do it?  Maybe if I were going to consider thinking about doing Hercules curls supersetted with leg extensions and wanted something to occupy my time while doing so.

Should you feel it necessary to attempt full OH squats, have at it.  Personally, I'm going to continue compounding my ridiculous brute strength to no flexibility ratio and leave the full squats to Olympic weightlifters and chicks with awesome asses. 

19 May 2010

You're Overtrained, huh? The Second.

Mike Quinn stabbed a man to death with a plastic fork in 1991 after the man wrote the following on a napkin "Overtr".  Quinn mistakenly believed the man intended to write "overtraining", and took the appropriate measures to ensure that the word was never uttered, written, or thought in his presence.  As it turned out, he was writing "overtime", but Quinn, in his haste, mistook the "i" for an "r".  Quinn was acquitted after eating the jury, the judge's gavel and two small children in the courtroom, all while squatting 500 for reps.

The prevalence of the theory of overtraining is what makes it so convincing, rather than the actually experience of it.  In every magazine, on every message board, and in nearly every book on strength training, one finds multitudinous warnings about, and admonitions against, the overwhelming specter of overtraining.  The prevalence of a theory, however, is hardly evidence of its validity.

For instance, in the past, people strongly believed silly bullshit like:
  •  Masturbation turned you into the main douche from the Twilight films, because it caused "pallid, bloodless countenances, hollow, sunken, and half-ghastly eyes, with a red rim around the eyelids, and black and blue circles under the eyes." Female masturbators, they believed, suffered from insanity, consumption, and flat-chestedness.   (Grant, John.  Discarded Science. p. 272-4)    These beliefs, now considered absurd, were thoroughly widespread and unchallenged in the Victorian age. 
  • That a person's character can be told from their outward appearance.  This theory, called physiognomy, was prevalent in the time of Aristotle, and gained ground during the Middle Ages.  With most of the thinking world (but not bodybuilders!), this theory bit the fucking dust after William Sheldon published Atlas of Men (1940), which separated humans into three distinct somatotypes, called mesomorphs, ectomorphs, and endomorphs.  Sound familiar?  It should.  This is the idiotic system by which every novice bodybuilder on the planet differentiates themselves, having never read the dumbass book on which this shitpile of an anti-intellectual theory is based.  Somatotyping, as a part of constitutional psychology, needs to be relegated to the intellectual dust bin with its mentally challenged parent, forthwith.  More on this idiocy here
  • Humanity is less than 10,000 years old.  Yes.  People actually believed that.  Oh wait, they STILL believe that- in May 2006, a poll showed that 44-47% of the population of the United States believes that the human races is less than 10,000 years old, in spite of literal tons of evidence to the contrary.  Oh, and 40% believe that evolution is bullshit.  (Source)
This dumb whore actually thinks the world is flat, and is on a nationally televised show.  Prevalence does not equal credibility.
Overtraining is very similar to the aforementioned cases, in that it was tremendously difficult to disabuse people of their beliefs in those theories.  People of the Victorian era truly believed that a person had a limited number of orgasms they could achieve in their lifetime, and that masturbation sapped one's strength.  Just as in the somatotyping and evolution nonsense, people actually still fucking believe this, in spite of reams of scientific evidence to the contrary.  How can one believe such bullshit, even when it's been proven to be patently, irrefutably, and categorically untrue?  Well, when that belief suits your needs by fitting into whatever idiotic worldview to which you ascribe, whether it be puritanical and anachronistic Christianity, or some ridiculous bodybuilding claptrap.

Overtraining is considered a "syndrome", and is defined as the imbalance of rest and training, wherein one's training overwhelms the body's ability to recuperate. A syndrome, so you know, is not a disease- it's a name the medical community gives to a collection of symptoms, often to sell a product.  Don't believe me?  Well, there's ADD and various amphetamines, and then there's the vibrator, which was used by doctors to treat the female Hysteria syndrome, hahahaha.
Clearly hysterical.  Luckily, I occasionally pretend to be a doctor.
The other problem posed by the ubiquitousness of the theory of overtraining is that it creates a framework our minds can use to physically affect us.  Thus, modern media is an environment designed to psychosomatically (Psychosomatic means: of, relating to, involving, or concerned with bodily symptoms caused by mental or emotional disturbance, according to Merriam Webster) inflict the physical ailments associated with overtraining on us, and they then manifest because we believe that they must.  Marketing exists to do this very thing, and is often a warped mirror reflecting back at us the worst of us.  In this case, it's a reflection of the modern American dedication to a life of ease.  An article entitled "The Rule of Repetition in Marketing" by Marty Foley illustrates this nicely:
The Rule of Repetition is very basic, yet powerful. Simply put, it means that any marketing communication is most effective when it is repeatedly brought to the attention of your target market.
Why is repetition in your marketing so important? Most prospects don't respond immediately to a single marketing communication, or perhaps even several of them. There are various reasons for this:
*Your prospects aren't familiar enough with you yet.
Repetition helps build familiarity, which in turn helps build credibility. Some prospects will start to recognize your company and products only after they've seen them over and over again. Gradually they come to recognize that your company is stable, not just another fly-by-night operation, and will eventually start to develop enough trust to start doing business with you.
When was the last time you read an article or book about training wherein overtraining was not addressed?  Probably on the 7th of never.  Thus, overtraining is like the horrible, misshapen, bloated, saggy, atrophied love child of Freddy Kreuger and the Candyman.  You talk about it enough, and read about it enough, and eventually you'll start to believe in it- at which point you're fucked.


So, the big question is "How the fuck do we break the chain?" You do it in the same way you break the cycle of samsara- you achieve enlightenment.  Just like the motherfucker at the end of every Freddy movie who realizes that the power of belief works both ways, so must you. Overtraining is complete bullshit, but staleness is the explanation for the physiological signs typically associated with high volume training.  Thus, we have to defeat our minds using whatever means necessary.  Like Deebo in Friday, we need to get mind control over that motherfucker.

..but when he leave, I be talkin' again.

If you're not training with a frequency and load that's an appreciable percentage of that with which do the Russians or Bulgarians, it's highly likely that any symptoms of overtraining you might be experiencing are psychosomatic.  Unfortunately, treatment for psychosomatic disorders, which is essentially what most symptoms of overtraining are, is not for everyone.  If you're over 45, unintelligent, have suffered from the illness for decades, or are convinced to the point of being hysterical (read, ANY H.I.T. advocate) of the reality of your "illness", treatment will be ineffective.  Treatment can be effected, however, with drug therapy, group therapy, and supportive psychotherapy.  (E. D. Wittkower, "Treatment of Psychosomatic Disorders" Can Med Assoc J. 1964 May 2; 90(18): 1055–1060)  Thus, here's your supportive psychotherapy:  STOP BEING A FUCKING PUSSY.  Drug therapy?  Take enough test boosters, stimulants, and NSAIDS as necessary to facilitate more frequent training.  As your body acclimates, you will need fewer.  As for group therapy, this blog is it.

Hypnosis is also recommended for the treatment of psychosomatic disorders, but it is unfortunately only useful for performance enhancement in untrained people.  For trained athletes, this technique only works to degrade performance... much in the way the idea of overtraining works.  (Zatsiorky, Vladimir. "Intensity of Strength Training Facts and Theory: Russian & Eastern Approach."  Biomechanics Lab at the Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, and the Central Institute of Physical Culture- Moscow, Russia.  P.11)

There is always the Barbarian Brothers method, also championed by John Parrillo and Victor Richards- eat more and sleep more so you can train more.  It worked for Vic- apparently, he used to eat 20,000-30,000 calories a day, sleep half the day, and train 3 hours a day.  He competed before GH became prevalent in bodybuilding, and walked on stage at 5'10, 330 lbs.

Everyone loves Arnold, right?  No one trains like him.  Why?  They claim it's impossible without drugs.  Well, newsflash- Arnold gained weight for competitions, because he only ran dbol during his prep.  He trained the way he did year-round, without gear, because his body was acclimated to doing so, and he ate and slept enough to facilitate proper recovery.


While we're on the subject- sleep is an important tool for preventing mental fatigue, as is the ubiquitous orgasm Sex is alleged to be the safest tranquilizer in the world. Fucking three or more times a week reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke by half. Good sex is 10 times more effective than Valium and other sedatives when it comes to providing humans sense of relief, satisfaction, fulfillment and tranquility in sleeping and in depressing moods.(Source)

The moral of this lengthy diatribe?   Overtraining is, by and large, horseshit.  Unless you've got rhabdo and you're shitting blood, it's likely you're just mentally exhausted from crushing heavy weights.  As such, TRAIN LIGHTER for a day or two, sleep more, rub a few out, and get laid.  If you're sore, eat more and drink a bucket of fucking water.  Problem solved.

16 May 2010

You're Overtrained, huh? It's All in Your Fucking Head.

I find it astonishing, and incredible, that people are so wedded to the idea that overtraining is a common affliction from which everyone on Earth with a decent physique must be suffering, or they're juicing. Actually, I take that back. The pervasive and deleterious belief that overtraining is a common training malady is undeniably rooted in the precipitous decline of the physical and intellectual fabric of the modern western male. People insist that the only way one might succeed in amateur physical pursuits is to do one of two things- 1) do LESS, or 2) take a shitload of drugs, at which point your herculean efforts are completely obviated by the fact that you've utilized a chemical shortcut. The first option simultaneous reflects and exacerbates the societal cancer of fatassedness, stupidity, and sloth with which we are constantly dogged. What, you need more time to watch reality television, so that you can see a bunch of vapid, shallow people live impossible lifestyles and then work harder at a job you detest to buy shit you can't afford, so that perhaps other shallow people will look at you and associate you with the anal barnacle they saw on tv? Sweet. The second is ridiculous for several reasons, but the bulk of which is that no matter whether you achieve your success in physical culture through use of aas or not- everyone will accuse you of using everything from insulin to steroids to GH.  As such, you might as well use gear, because either way, people will find a way to deny your success because they will believe it is impossible. They will do this because modern man always believes that his problems are everyone else's fault, and that they're none of his own doing. Therefore, the fact that they cannot compete with people who try far harder than they must inviolably and indisputably be the result of cheating on the part of the victor.

These issues are even more ridiculous given the fact that professional athletes and Olympians are considered to be driven, somehow superior, and above these criticisms and illogic.  Thus, they should be dismissed out of hand as absurd and beneath contempt, but given the omnipresent air of ignorance and stupidity driven by misinformation, a closer look is required.


Roy Benavidez- an unstoppable killing machine during the Vietnam War who was essentially shot in every single part of his body, yet carried a squad of injured soldiers to an aircraft by himself, getting progressively more injured, then hung around and called in airstrikes, even after taking grenade shrapnel and more bullets, simply because he didn't feel like fucking dying.

This brings us to the crux of the matter- the power of belief. No, I'm not referring to you religious views. They're completely immaterial, except in that should you believe yourself to be endowed with some sort of metaphysical power, you will be, simply because your mind fills your body with strength. Sgt. Rory Miller, author of what is in my opinion a seminal psychological work, Meditations on Violence, discusses at some length the fact that people will often die in violent situations because they are conditioned to do so by television. how many times in the movies have you seen a person die of a gut shot? Often, and nearly instantly. In reality, abdominal gunshot wounds can take weeks to kill you. Police officers, however, are conditioned to the belief that a gunshot will kill a person, and thus, frequently, die of otherwise survivable wounds simply because they believe they must. (pp. 61, 83)  

As it turns out, overtraining works in the very same way, though in the Eastern Bloc, they refer to this phenomenon as "staleness".  According to Zatsiorsky, "staleness" is a phenomenon that occurs due to the psychological stress that is created by continually training at near-maximal training volumes.  Doing so frequently is incredibly mentally exhausting, and this mental exhaustion, as mental issues are generally wont to do, manifests itself physically.  The symptoms of "staleness" are as follows (Zatsiorsky, Vladimir, "Intensity of Strength Training Facts and Theory Russian and Eastern Approach", p. 15):
  • decreased vigor
  • elevated anxiety and depression
  • sensation of fatigue in the morning hours and perception of effrt while lifting a fixed weight
  • high blood pressure at rest
Horribly overtrained.  Horribly.  You can tell because he's... retardedly strong and jacked, I guess.
Sound familiar?  It should, because every fucking bodybuilding rag on the planet lists these as physiological responses to physical exhaustion created by overtraining one's body.  This, my friends, is important, as it blasts a giant fucking hole into a theory that should already be on extremely tenuous logical footing in any thinking person's brain.  Additionally, it certainly fucks the "you can only train like that on steroids" bitches in their ears, unless they're going to alter their argument against steroids to the myriad positive effects of high testosterone levels on psychological well-being, which would in turn destroy their "roid rage" argument.  

We're watching a whole bullshit house of cards come crashing down on the heads of a lot of pussies, who will hopefully curl the fuck up and die now.  Unfortunately, however, as we learned in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, one of the greatest films of all time, "slandering others anonymously" is "what the internet is for", so I'm sure all of the silly little pussies talking shit on forums across the internet will continue their ill-conceived an baseless assaults on lifting to justify their next Ho-Ho and their sub-bodyweight overhead press.

Zatsiorsky's resolution is to only train with maximal or near maximal competition weights 600 times a year.  I suppose that seems reasonable, given that the Bulgarians do it 4000 times a year.  

Sure, they can train around the clock, because that's their job.  That's the next argument against high training volume, isn't it?  Invariably, they fall to that- people who train like that have no lives, they have no other interests, they have have no kids, no wives, no other interests, no blah blah bullshit.  You know what those arguments are?  A tacit admission that the real reason that people refuse the efficacy of high-volume, high intensity training is because they don't fucking want to train like that.  As such, they don't want others to do so either, as it further degrades their personal opinions of themselves.  

An aside you can skip if you want:
An amusing outgrowth of of this mindset is the recent suggestion by the mental health community that exercise might be addictive.  That's just fucking dandy.  I'm sure they're simply pissed off that they massive amounts of psychotropic drugs and estrogen the government has already put or allowed in the drinking water haven't made us into the sheeple that the government wants- we're not weak and complacent enough for them yet.  Perhaps they;ll start restricting the amount we're allowed to enter the gym soon, so that our neo-fascist nanny state can save us from ourselves, and all of the fat motherfuckers populating mall food courts and buffets will once more feel good about themselves.  There's no such thing as an exercise addiction, and even if there was, our sorry fucking medical establishment is hardly the crack team of exercise experts qualified to make that diagnosis.  Certainly, there are crazy people for exercise far too much, without eating enough, in the wrong way.  They suck, and they've probably been driven crazy from the knowledge that shit only appears to be getting worse, rather than better.  Throw into the mix the estrogen poisoning, refined white sugar, too much television, a society allegedly predicated upon free expression that suppresses it whenever possible and such a profound dedication to mediocrity that the mind would be boggled by it if it were not in a stupor from the blandness of the phenomenon, and you've got a recipe for disaster.
Up next, I'll cover methods to circumvent this mental fatigue, condemn those who continue to assert the existence of overtraining, and explain why we should abandon the theory altogether and start enslaving the weak.
.

13 May 2010

Step Right Up! Test Your Retard Strength With the Fast Curl and Press

Recently, one of my online detractors hilariously complimented me while attempting to denigrate my methodology.  When asked what he thought of me, personally (since he's seen me a couple of times in the gym), he stated that: "but for the most part the way he trains would be good for a side show at the circus. he is basically all show no go."  Yes, I know- it makes no fucking sense.  If I was fit for a circus sideshow, I'd be at the very least all "go".  In any event, it got me to thinking about one of my recent favorite lifts:  the reverse grip clean and press, also known as the fast curl and press.

I first read about this lift in an article about John Grimek.  In "THE WEIGHTLIFTING EXPLOITS OF JOHN C. GRIMEK" by John D. Fair, Fair describes a weightlifting competition between Grimek and a Swedish stevedore/fisherman in San Francisco during a western exhibition tour in 1940.  The stevedore's name was Karl Norberg, and he decided that although Grimek was roundly considered the strongest man on Earth at that point, he would challenge Grimek to a strength competition.  To get his stevedore job, Norberg "reached down and picked up two-100 pound bags of sugar," according to a 1965 account by Vern Weaver, "and proceeded to press them overhead several times with ridiculous ease".... during the job interview.  Norberg was the consummate fucking badass, by the way, and was photographed benching 380 when he was 69, and reportedly benched 300 well into his 80s.  When Grimek came to town, here's what happened:

"John Grimek tells me the naturally strongest man he ever met was in San Francisco. Two months ago Grimek was giving an exhibition at the Golden Gate City's Central Y. He announced that he was about to press 270 pounds. While getting set for his attempt there was a commotion in the audience. Several fellows shouted out that they had a man with them who could press more than Grimek. Grimek asked the man to come up to the stage. He was a little reluctant at first but the man's friends urged him to have it out with our "Mr. America."

He was Karl Norberg, a 48 year old fisherman, and a very rugged individual. Grimek agreed to go first and press 240, which he did with absurd ease. Norberg took the 240 but with his hands in the palms out position, like in a regular curl! With very slight effort he fast curled the 240 to his chest! (At this point his palms would be facing in.) He continental pressed this poundage. There was a deafening applause and some of the crowd shouted for Grimek to try a press in that fashion. Without hesitating Grimek made a fast regular curl with the 240 and military pressed it! More deafening applause. Norberg asked for 250. The exhibition that Grimek was to give was turning into a contest. Norberg curled and continental pressed 250. Then 260! Grimek took his next attempt with 270 pounds which he likewise curled and military pressed. Norberg told John that 255 was the most he had ever lifted but he wanted to try that 270. Grimek says that it was incredible the ease with which he fast curled 270 to his shoulders but in pressing it he had great difficulty, there was considerable back-bending, leg bending and jerking but he made it.

John then took 280 which he curled and pressed to terrific applause. The audience shouted for the fisherman to take a turn, his friends wanted him to retire in view of his age, but Norberg was enjoying the contest and got set for a try at 280. He made a wonderful try but failed to curl the weight."

After reading this story, I (naturally) had to try this lift.  I figured that it suits me, given the fact that I employ a hell of a lot of retard strength and not much skill in quick lifts, and discovered that it's a great way to change the angles on a push/pull lift to make it appreciably different from other lifts, and further develop my retard strength, making me more suitable for circus sideshows, impromptu public tests of strength, and increasing my overall bad motherfucker quotient.

I was not disappointed.  The lift has recently improved my wrist flexibility dramatically, and given me something fun to do when I just feel like manhandling the fuck out of a loaded barbell.

The form?  You've got to be fucking kidding me.  Grab the bar and put the fucking thing overhead.  I use my regular clean grip width, but take a curl grip.  I then grip and rip, with no dip under the bar, to get the bar to my chest, and push press it overhead.  Behold the exercise in motion, and the raw power that caused me to rip my shorts on my warmup set, haha:


video

Next time you're in the gym and want to do something a little different, give this evil bitch a try.   It'll definitely carry over into your BTN strength, give you a little extra bicep work (which may be one reason my arms are filling out a bit more recently), and are generally fucking ridiculous.

12 May 2010

Baddest Motherfuckers Ever #14- Bruce "I Dare You to Enter the Dragon, Motherfucker" Lee


Yet another Baddest Motherfuckers entry about a non-strength athlete!? Horrors! Not so, my friend.  Bruce Lee was the motherfucking man, and there's something to be learned from his training. The  Bulgarians have maintained for years that form follows function, and it's a philosophy with which both Bruce Lee and myself agree. Bruce Lee trained for strength and power, from which he believed both speed and form would follow, and guess what? The motherfucker was correct.

"The impressive physique that Lee developed was a byproduct, or effect, of his primary concern. Leaping eight feet in the air to kick out a light bulb (as he did in the movies Marlowe and The Way of the Dragon) or landing a punch that was initiated from three feet away in five-hundredths of a second, were attributes of power and speed respectively, that Bruce Lee had worked long and hard in the diligent training of his body to obtain. The fact that he created an extraordinary suit of muscles as well was nice, but was never the primary objective behind his training."(Art of Expressing the Human Body, 21)

Still unconvinced? Dr. Michael Yessis, Professor Emeritus at California State University Fullerton is considered to be the foremost expert on Russian weightlifting, and has stated that "world class weightlifters can out-do world class sprinters for the first 5-10 meters. Also, some had better absolute verticals but especially in relation to their size as for example Alexeyev. This does not apply to all weightlifters, only the better ones" (http://www.elitetrack.com/forums/viewthread/7841/), although this information is in dispute due to a lack of citation to back it. Based on his position as clinical advisor to the American Running Association and his close relationship with Yuri Verkhoshansky, I'm inclined to believe him, especially in that it supports most of my suppositions about training.

His lifting credentials are somewhat sparse, though his incredible strength is evident in his incredible array of non-lifting physical feats. According to the man, myth, legend, and greatest human ever, Chuck Norris, Lee was "was pound for pound one of the strongest men in the world (AOETHB, 22). According to Wikipedia, Lee was literally the love child of Superman and Godzilla, with the body of Brad Pitt in Fight Club. There, they list the following, citing John Little's "Art", "How Did Bruce Lee Get Those Washboard Abs" by Jack Seal, "Bruce Lee: Two Finger Pushup" published by Maniac World, "Words of the Dragon: Interviews 1958-1973" by John Little, and "Lethal Physique" by John Little:

Lee's striking speed from three feet with his hands down by his side reached five hundredths of a second.
  • Lee could take in one arm a 75 lb barbell from a standing position with the barbell held flush against his chest and slowly stick his arms out locking them, holding the barbell there for 20 seconds 
  • Lee's combat movements were at times too fast to be captured on film for clear slow motion replay using the traditional 24 frames per second of that era, so many scenes were shot in 32 frames per second for better clarity.
  • In a speed demontration, Lee could snatch a dime off a person's open palm before they could close it, and leave a penny behind.
  • Lee would hold an elevated v-sit position for 30 minutes or longer.
  • Lee could throw grains of rice up into the air and then catch them in mid-flight using chopsticks.
  • Lee could thrust his fingers through unopened cans of Coca-Cola. (This was when soft drinks cans were made of steel much thicker than today's aluminum cans).
  • Lee performed one-hand push-ups using only the thumb and index finger.
  • Lee performed 50 reps of one-arm chin-ups.
  • Lee could break wooden boards 6 inches (15 cm) thick.
  • Lee could cause a 200-lb (90.72 kg) bag to fly towards and thump the ceiling with a sidekick.
  • Lee performed a sidekick while training with James Coburn and broke a 150 lb (68 kg) punching bag.
  • In a move that has been dubbed "Dragon Flag", Lee could perform leg lifts with only his shoulder blades resting on the edge of a bench and suspend his legs and torso horizontal midair.

Clearly, the guy could do some impressive shit. In my mind, however, it was Lee's mindset that was the most brutal thing about him. Fuck kicking a huge guy across the room... the following is what he said to a friend:

When running with a student who was much older than Lee at a 6.5 mile pace, the guy said he couldn't go any further than three miles, or he'd "be liable to have a heart attack and die." Bruce's reply? "Then die." Later, Bruce explained his response: "if you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it'll spread over into the rest of your life. It'll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. Ther are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level." (AOETHB, 23)

That, my friends, is what it's all a-fucking-bout. Fuck the hokey pokey. In the words of the great Ivan Drago, Lee pretty much fucking Russianed up and said, "if he dies, he dies." His lifting regimen was just as insane.

The man is acknowledged for being an innovator and experimenter in fighting, as Jeet Kune Do makes a fairly good case for being the modern predecessor to MMA, and is likely integral in the formulation of MMA's training styles.  He, however, didn't end his experimentation there, as he was extremely knowledgeable about exercise science and a variety of training methodologies, and he experimented wildly with them to find the ultimate weight training style.  Lee believed that weight raining was integral to the development of speed, as he saw speed as a byproduct of strength and power.  Like his fighting style, he utilized aspects of a wide array of methodologies to find what worked for him, and his work remained unfinished at his death, we do know, however, that Lee trained "instinctively" (AOETHB, 22), which meant that he pretty much trained around the clock, be it lifting, running, kung fu, kickboxing, or grappling with the legendary badass Gene LeBell. He also incorporated some wacky old-school shit like the one arm clean and press, and used a wide variety of programs ranging from circuit training on free weights to the same on machine, to full body routines, to doing all sorts of crazy bullshit involving a weightlifting apparatus resumbling a bow, called a Bull Worker.

According to Tom Bleeker, his experimentation didn't end there, as he stacked multiple steroids steroids for long periods of time, cortisone for pain, and diuretics for definition. (Unsettled Matters, 45, 55, 95, 96 ) Additionally, used protein supplements, and used a TENS unit while he slept to get more muscular stimulus in while he slept.

As for training, he might be most famous for his use of the precursor to circuit training, known as PHA.  PHA (Peripheral Heart Action) consists of lifting in a circuit, whereby you alternate upper and lower body lifts. This system, "developed by Dr Arthur Steinhaus, and popularised by bodybuilder Bob Gajda... [is] often confused with circuit training, [though] the goals are somewhat different.  In PHA, trainees seek to keep the blood flowing strongly through the body, throughout the entire workout. The smaller muscles around the heart are worked on first, followed by the larger muscles around the body's periphery.  Although the basic structure of a PHA workout is similar to that used in Circuit Training, there is a key difference in approach. In PHA, exercises are selected that will enable the trainer to pump blood to the extreme ends of the body, aiding overall circulation and seeking to reduce a build-up of lactic acid.

As an example, here is a 'typical' PHA workout. Note that the exercises alternate between focusing on upper and lower body muscle groups, with different areas being worked each time. These exercises would collectively comprise one cycle, with 5-6 cycles generally being performed. The resistance of each exercise is increased for each new cycle.
  • Standing Overhead Press
  • Squat
  • Lat Pulldown
  • Standing Calf Raise
  • Push-up
  • Abdominal Crunch

Each exercise is performed for 10-12 repetitions, with the trainee moving directly onto the next exercise at the culmination." (http://straighttothebar.com/forums/entry.php?282-A-Brief-History-of-Circuit-Training-and-Peripheral-Heart-Action-(PHA))

He also trained on a Marcy Circuit Trainer while doing PHA. In December of 1972 he purchased "a nine station Marcy Circuit Trainer, which was shipped to him in Hong Kong and set up in the following month.  This enabled Lee to take full advantage of the Circuit Training approach, with 30-60 sec bouts on each of the following stations" (straighttothebar):
  • bench press
  • lat pull-down
  • two high pulleys
  • two low pulleys
  • an isometric rack
  • roman chair
  • shoulder press
  • chinning bar
  • leg press"
Additionally, he did another full-body barbell workout John Little called the "Lethal Physique" Bodybuilding Program, which is odd because Lee trained for strength, speed, and power, not aesthetics, which is the goal of bodybuilding. That aside, this workout was the obvious byproduct of the fact that Lee read a lot of old-school physique culture books (it was reported that he owned a very dog-eared copy of Eugen Sandow's Strength and How to Obtain It) consisted of:
  • Clean & Press
  • Squats
  • Pullovers
  • Bench Presses
  • Good Mornings
  • Barbell Curls
Over the course of his career, Lee gained between 20 and 30 lbs, in spite of the fact that he was training literally around the fucking clock, on a tremendously small frame.  According to the website Divine Wind, Lee weighed 155 in the scenes in Game of Death (1973), where he busted a pretty sick lat spread in the opening credits.  Given that he started at a bodyweight around 125-130 in the mid-1960's, those are pretty fucking impressive gains.  The moral of this story?  Provided you are consistent, and you don't care if your training partners drop the fuck dead in the midst of a workout, gains will be had.  Just stay away from Hashish- that shit had Bruce looking like an old-school Michael Jackson right before he permanently fucked off.

05 May 2010

ChAoS and PAIN T-Shirts... It's On Motherfuckers

Thanks to this silly motherfucker who nearly killed himself deadlifting, we have a ChAoS and PAIN tshirt.  As soon as they're printed, I'll let you guys know how to grab them.   In the meantime, give me some idea in the comments as to what size you guys want, so I have some picture of the ratio of mediums to larges to extra-larges I should be ordering.

03 May 2010

Deconstructing the Idiotic Mythos of the Perfection of the Bodypart Split Workout, Take Two, Because It Was Brought To My Attention I Failed to Address the Title

It's no secret that I find bodypart training systems to be, at best, barely useful.  I wouldn't say that they're detrimental to one's physique, as that would be absurd, but the cultish adherence to this nonsensical exercise physiology dogma is tremendously disconcerting, as it is hardly the only way to go.  Much of the criticism people have with my training philosophy stems from the fact that they're incapable of differentiating between clever marketing gimmicks and actual exercise science, so allow me to drop some knowledge on you motherfuckers.

I won't rehash the debate between bodypart training advocates and full-body routine advocates, because one look no further than any online messageboard for interminable disputes between advocates of a double split, bodypart, and full-body workout, which are invariably rife with opinions and bereft of science, bodypart advocates relying instead upon opinions spoon-fed to them by Joe Weider (though they're wholly ignorant of this fact, and just about anything else that could rightly be construed as fact), and full-body guys yammering on endlessly about "natural training" and other assorted poppycock and bullshit.

Most bodybuilding authors will contend, however, that bodypart splits are ideal for building and "shaping" muscle and a physique in general, and scoff at the idea that someone could become "hyooge" by adhering to anything but a bodypart split.  This is their contention, despite the fact that full body routines span the entire history of weightlifting, and even upper/lower splits and the like are still utilized by some of the biggest, strongest people on the planet, like powerlifters and strongmen.  They are idiots, and anyone who parrots their logically and historically unsound nonsense is doubly so, for lacking the ability to see through their obvious lies and blatant disregard for facts staring them straight in the fucking face.
Kroc's not actually jacked- that's an optical illusion.
Having given my unvarnished opinion of these pundits, I'll add the following- I hate the bodypart split for three reasons.  One, my favorite exercises don't fit into them- BTN push presses hit legs, and BTN partials REALLY hit legs when they become OH squat lockouts in the rack; clean and presses hit everything, as do fast curl and presses, snatches, and all of the one arm goodness I love.  Two, what happens if you can't train for a day?  Do you move all of your exercises back a day and throw off your whole schedule?  What if your gym is randomly closed?  You could, ostensibly, go multiple weeks without training a given bodypart due to the fact that you couldn't make it to the gym on certain days.  Finally, they're based on bullshit exercises that people claim isolate certain muscles, only because they're fucking morons with no knowledge of physiology.  Furthermore, if any exercise actually comes close to isolating a muscle, it's likely on a machine, and thus is probably not worth doing.

There's my take.  The debate has raged for some time between the two sides, however, and it's got a shitload of history.  For those uneducated fuckers out there, and you are legion, here's the deal:  bodybuilding in its modern form was founded by two guys who took opposing sides in this debate, a debate about bodybuilding in general, and which seedy underbelly of the sport they'd represent, Bob Hoffman and Joe Weider.  One could argue that the debate actually goes back further than that, and I'll touch on that at the end, but for all intents and purposes, this debate begins here.

On one side, we had Bob Hoffman, a multiple medal winner in WW1 who was apparently a physical specimen his entire life.  Later, Hoffman went on to found York Barbell, where he promoted full body routines based on Olympic lifts, and sponsored a number of the athletes we recognize as greats from that era, like Bob Bednarski.  Hoffman basically funded the US Olympic Weightlifting program himself, and was a one-man army against the Communist juggernaut of that era.  Though he basically hated bodybuilding, he recognized its utility in merchandising, so he started promoting bodybuilding in Muscular Development (which is in my opinion the only extant bodybuilding mag worth a shit).  Hoffman's bodybuilding competitions also reflected his appreciation of strength athletes, and blended weightlifting and bodybuilding to make what would seem in retrospect to be a far more respectable sport.  He, however, was one of the earliest proponents of steroid use (he had to be, as the Russians were leaps and bounds ahead of us in the use of AAS in strength sports), and he was constantly plagued by accusations that his athletes were nothing but the products of drugs.  This, of course, was retarded, but natural lifters will generally blame physical success on steroids whenever they can, blithely ignoring the herculean efforts of the athletes to bolster their own self-worth.  Hoffman, obviously, promoted what could be seen as the basic, time-honored, full body routine favored by strength athletes since weights began being lifted.  That's right- full-body routines predate steroids by hundreds of years, and have been shown, definitively, to work for natural lifters.  Testosterone was only released as a synthetic form, methyltestosterone, in the late 1940's and early 1950's- this means that people were getting jacked on full-body workouts long before that, and will continue to do so until the last real men die off, which scientists predict will occur within the next ten years.  Thereafter, it will only be eunuchs, metrosexuals, and other assorted pussies.
 Lightweight Weightlifter
On the other side, we had Joe Weider. Weider was not the burly badass that Hoffman was.  On the contrary, Weider was a money-grubbing, mustachioed, possibly homosexual Jewish Canadian who published his first homoerotic muscle worship magazine at the age of 17.  Yes, I cast a lot of aspersions in that sentence.  Make of them what you will- Alexander the Great loved the cock, but he didn't turn Macedonian warfare into naked pattycake- he killed motherfuckers.  Weider, on the other hand, published magazines like "Adonis" and "Body Beutiful" and was instrumental in the removal of weightlifting from bodybuilding.  Clearly, gay men are going to be fans of bodybuilding, as it's oily, mostly naked men flexing, so it was probably unnecessary for Weider to strive mightily to remove the last vestiges of manliness from the sport, but he did.  At the same time, he promoted a style of exercise that was a direct counterpoint to Hoffman's- the bodypart split.

 Lightweight bodybuilder

"Split and Double Split Systems of Training  - While it wasn't invented by Joe Weider, more credit should be given to him for this principle. To explain this system, it must be said that bodybuilding throughout the 1930s through the 1950s relied on a typical weightlifting schedule of three workouts per week (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, to be exact) and the whole body was to be worked out each session, with one to three sets of only one exercise per bodypart. While there were other muscle magazine publishers around, it was Weider who started publishing the need to break the whole body workout perception and urged bodybuilders to split the bodyparts into two or three sessions and workout two or three times per week. This radically changed one's workout routine to 4-6 workouts per week. A short time later, the "Double Split" principle was created, where the bodybuilder (before a major contest) would divide the bodyparts even further, and workout two times a day, leading to a volume of 9-12 workouts per week. This unheard-of concept stemmed from the theory that one can devote more exercises and sets to a bodypart, thereby creating better mass and shape since it's worked from many angles." (Wikipedia)

Frankly, this was not really "unheard-of" as there's really nothing new under the sun, and I'm completely certain that lifters had dabbled with routines like this prior to Weider, Weider's relentless promotion of this type of routine was certainly unheard of.  Hoffman and Weider battled through their magazines for decades, but in the end it was Weider who won the war.  Various pundits have attributed Hoffman's demise and Weider's success to a variety of things, but that's not really the point at issue- their routines are.  It basically boils down to function vs. form, and the sport that ultimately became modern bodybuilding turned its backs on function as they embraced form, and modern trainees came to ape their forebears in their criticism of full-body routines without realizing that the opinions they hold are the outgrowth of a marketing war, rather than any sort of factual basis.  Thus, you have natural trainees who believe that full body routines will invariably lead to "overtraining", because anyone who uses a full body routine HAS to be using steroids.  Had Hoffman one, these internet fucktards would likely assert that anyone doing bodypart schemes was a shallow, intellectually, spiritually, and physically weak homo.  Yes, I know, Hoffman should have won that battle, as it seems he was likely right, haha.  The real shame here is that Weider affirmed the belief most people have that homosexuality confers physical weakness, which is likely untrue, as some studies have shown that homosexuals have higher natural test levels, and that most homosexuals had higher than normal prenatal test levels. Irony is a motherfucker.

For those curious about the history of the bodybuilding vs. weightlifting debate, the author of Muscle, Smoke, and Mirrors asserts that it began with George Jowett and Alan Calvert, two mail order program magnates of the very early 20th Century.  Jowett was a strongman, weightlifter, and blacksmith, and based his programs on weightlifting, while Calvert promoted high rep training and "strict form". Neither really managed to grab the market completely, in the way Weider did, but Calvert seemed to have to make concessions to weightlifting and strongman in the same way Hoffman had to with bodybuilding thereafter.  Calvert did say, in defense of his program, that "for every one man who wants to be as strong as Sandow, I'll show you a hundred who want to look like him."  Sad, but true.

The first bodybuilder in the modern sense, i.e. a guy who stands around mostly naked, posing and being weak as a kitten, was Bobby Pandour, to my knowledge.  Pandour started out as a gymnast and later promoted lifting only 10 lb dumbbells for hundreds of reps, then flexing a shitload.  Before you get too impressed, he was only 160 lbs, and dropped dead at the age of 38.  Yay repetition lifting.

So, who's to say which is better?  I'm betting on the tradition, here, rather than slick marketing.  Whichever side you choose, however, go against the grain know your shit before you start blabbering on like you know what the fuck you're talking about.