30 May 2009

*From Geek to Freak in... 14 years?

Recently, I have been accused of being something of which I am most certainly not, and felt as though I should post some proof to support my supposition. Which supposition, you might ask? Well, I'll tell you- I am the furthest fucking thing in the world from a genetic freak. Want proof? This is me, circa 1988:

Yup. That goofy assed kid with the crooked glasses, the pencil neck, and the horrible "Texas" map tshirt is me. Clearly, I had a small frame, wasn't muscular in any way, and hardly imposing. I was pretty much the nerdiest motherfucker you'll ever meet. Still am, except that my nerdy interior is hidden by 185 lbs of pissed off strength athlete, so you'd never expect that I'd have a badass comic book collection, or that I read more books in a week than most people read in a year. But yeah, that's me.

How'd I do it? I busted my fucking ass in the gym. I tried every fucking system you could imagine, and came to the conclusion (after spinning my wheels for a few years) that bodypart training makes no fucking sense whatsoever, arriving at very long last at the modern incarnation of ChAoS and PAIN.
After training for a week and a half with a torn tricep... bathroom pic.

What's this mean to you? You can be the weakest, nerdiest motherfucker you ever saw, with a genetic line that would make Will Farrell look like the brother of Arnold Schwarzenegger and still end up the hardest person to ever pick up a weight in your gym if you bust your ass and train like an animal.

So go do it.

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28 May 2009

*The Best Ten Bucks You'll Ever Spend

Everyone knows that good abdominal development is really an outgrowth of good diet and low bodyfat, but they feel like there's a magic bullet to badass abs anyway. Well, I can tell you this- your abs won't look good until you're lea enough to see them in the first place. Once you're there, however, there's really only one piece of equipment you'll need, and it'll cost you a mere $10.

Behold the Ab Wheel. Simple, convenient to use, and eminently portable. Additionally, it provides you with the most complete ab development possible, and will give you crazy-strong abs on top of it.

Using an ab wheel is fairly simple- you simply kneel on the floor, grasping the handles with both hands. Then, keeping your body in a straight line from your knees to your head, you roll out so that your body is fully extended in a superman position, and then return to the top. To make it harder, you can do these standing as well, but be forewarned- you will feel like you tore something the first time you try it!

Ross Enamait is the MAN when it comes to the ab wheel, so you can check out his form here. Forgive him the shitty music, please.

Get ripped!

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25 May 2009

How to Raise Your Test Levels Like a Fucking Caveman

One of the most often asked questions at Ye Olde Vitamin Shoppe is regarding that of testosterone levels, and how to raise them. I get marks coming in daily asking about Prime, Halodrol, etc., and they all want to know how to raise their test levels.
Fucking garbage.

THIS JUST IN: Steroids work. The laughably pathetic excuses for prohormones on the market these days don't work. When they DO work, they're designer steroids. Chlorodrol, Superdrol, etc... all designer steroids. They tear up your liver and give you good hardons, but they've generally got nothing on actual gear. Thus, if you want to actually jack up your test levels, lay hands on some gear from a reputable source and have at it, but save your money and leave the shit at GNC and other supplement stores on the shelves- it's bunk.

But wait, young padawan... there is a way to raise your test levels, get some GPP in, and have a hell of a good time!

FUCK! Studies have shown conclusively that ejaculations lead to marked increases in serum testosterone levels. The more you cum, the higher your test levels! (One study done on rats by the Instituto de Neuroetologia, Universidad Veracruzana, Xalapa, Ver., Mexico showed that after 2 ejaculations there was a steep rise in serum testosterone and remained higher even after 4 ejaculations in a row!)[1] Then after you lift, your test levels are elevated, so you get in your postworkout shake, or my favorite, Tri-O-Plex Chocolate Chip Cookies. When you get home, bang your girl, or your buddy's girl, rub one out, or just club a random bitch over the head and drag her into the bushes for a minute, old school flavor.
Clan of the Cave Bear Stylee...

I have a rock solid rule- no matter what is going on in my life, I get off a bare minimum of three times a day, and more if I can. Many, many more times, if I can. I apply the same philosophy to sex that I do to lifting- more is better, and much more is MUCH better. As such, I stay lean as hell, and I fucking SWEAT testosterone.

Higher testosterone levels mean better protein synthesis, more aggression, less bodyfat, and basically make you a bigger badass. Throw on top of that the GPP you get from jerking it, or fucking, and you've got a combo made in the ninth circle of hell, a place I will undoubtedly call home one day, haha.

Grip and rip, fuckers!

As an addendum: Any time you see a test booster wherein the ads claim that it works better than ANY steroid, it's total horseshit. As such, avoid USP Labs' and Muscletech's shit like the fucking HIV.

  1. http://www.bodybuildingweb.net/blog/effect-of-ejaculation-sex-on-bodybuilding-gains/

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23 May 2009

*The Ubiquitous Question- How I Got My Traps

I have huge fucking traps. This is the topic of conversation nearly every time I discuss training with anyone, as bodybuilders tell me that they've ruined my symmetry and X-frame (hahaahaha. Fucking bodybuilders! They kill me!), and everybody else wants them.

Whenever I'm asked how I got them, I smile, and I answer the same way, every time: "Shrugs and deadlifts."

Here's where it all goes horribly wrong, as the person asking me is invariably bereft of any trapezius development, yet they will proclaim to the skies, "But I shrug and deadlift!"

No. You don't.

I shrug and deadlift. Most other people do shit that looks like it was picked up in a group fitness class on a polished wood floor while surrounded by mirrors. Shrugging happens in a heavy squat rack. Deadlifting happens in a cloud of chalk and frequently a puddle of blood.

Wanna learn how to shrug? First, let's go over what shrugging is NOT:
  1. Anything under 4 plates on a side. Shrugging with 315 is not shrugging- it's some form of odd public masturbation.
  2. Anything wherein your goal is reps, rather than weight. No one gives a fuck that you did 43 reps with 225. You're a fucking pussy. Go join a Bally's and buy all of your workout gear at International Male.
  3. A movement wherein you ROLL YOUR FUCKING SHOULDERS. Sweet mother of fuck, why in the hell would you do this? Complete development? Yeah. Sure. My cock has better development, and my infraspinatus is still intact. You're a pussy if you roll your shoulders.

So, what IS shrugging?
  1. Heavy ass weight. I work up to 10 plates on a side regularly for singles. I've got surgery for my 60% tear in my tricep and my halved bone spur on Tuesday, and yet I did 15 sets of 3 with 7 plates on a side today. That's fucking shrugging.
  2. No reps over 5. If you're doing more than 5 reps, you're doing the wrong fucking exercise. Add weight, or refer to #2 in the preceding section.
  3. Brutal, painful, and soul-crushing. It should not be something you can do while holding a conversation about Brangelina's newest addition to their brown baby collection.
Some tips:
Set the pins so that the bar rests about 4 inches below the line where your hands drop naturally. This way, you won't hit the pins on every rep, because the bar will bend. Speaking of that, make sure you use a bar that's already bent, if possible, because this destroys bars.

Use straps. No one's impressed by the fact that you did a set with no straps if you did half the reps you could with straps, and you left three of your calluses on the bar. You can't do any more useful lifting (though you know you'll just put a wad of paper towel in your hand and keep going), and you won't be killing your traps as much.

Here's the key to the whole shitteree- you're going to do an old-school and and thigh lift to get it off the pins. Instead of just doing a quarter dl, try wedging your legs underneath the bar and squatting it up, putting most of the stress on the tops of you legs, rather than your back. This will become especially key late in the workout, when your low back is fried.

All of the same rules apply to deadlifting. If you're using fewer than 4 plates, you might as well just be jacking off, because your traps are going fucking nowhere.
I guaranfuckingtee you Derek Poundstone shrugs heavy.

Now go shrug something heavy, and be quick about it, fuckers. Quick and brutal. No squeezing anything, no "feeling the movement". Just load up the bar and move it as far as you can as many times as you can and repeat. I guarantee you, you're going to get way more trap development out of 10 sets of 3 "shitty" reps with 6 plates than you would out of 3 sets of 20 perfect reps with 2 plates, and you'll sure as shit feel it more in the following days. Moreover, you're going to do wonders for your high pull, deadlift, and your testosterone levels.(Frye)

If you curious how often, I do pulling movements as often as humanly possible, which range from stones to logs (clean and press) to deadlifts with every kind of bar available, to shrugs and high pulls.

Be a fucking man about it.

Frye AC, Lohnes CA.  Acute testosterone and cortisol responses to high power resistance exercise.  Hum Phys (2010) 36:4 457-461.  

16 May 2009

*I'm Too Mean to Die

But apparently not mean enough to stave off injury. As I banged the everloving shit out of my elbow the other day, breaking off the massive bone spur on the tip of my elbow and apparently severing part of my triceps tendon, I am faced with a quandary- what the fuck should I do while recuperating?This is what a torn tricep looks like.

Conventional wisdom and my mom say that I should take the next month off from lifting and chill the fuck out.

Fuck that shit.

I train the way I do because I thrive on chaos and pain. I love doing insane shit, and I get hurt in the process. That's a fact of life, and I'd much rather live like that than reside in relative safety in a house in the suburbs with a wife and two kids and a white picket fence. Whether or not that's the result of the fact that no broad could tolerate me long enough to marry or simply an amusing correlation is a matter for another discussion, and fuck you for snickering.I wouldn't marry me.

So, what to do with a torn tricep? Well, for one, I'm going to make my already freakish wheels into legs that would make both Ivan Stoitsov and Tom Platz weep. For another, I'm going to develop a brutal one arm snatch and deadlift, and hope that my body compensates by making my left arm grow a little, however slightly. Though I cannot find the article now and am bored of looking, I have definitely read, more than once, that studies have shown that compensatory growth occurs when only one side of the body is trained in a unilateral fashion. I shall put that to the test and keep you posted, fuckers.
My current plan involves four leg training sessions a week, so we'll see what these fuckers look like at the end of a few weeks. For the next six or so weeks, it looks like it's going to be a steady diet of legs, traps, neck, and forearms, with some one arm pullups, deads, and snatches thrown in for good measure.

For those of you who are still wondering what ChAos and PAIN is all about, this post should pretty much sum it up.

When in doubt, TRAIN.

It's what Chuck Norris would want, goddamnit, and you don't fuck with Chuck.

chuck norris mast
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13 May 2009

*Push It To The Limit!

One training method that I have completely abandoned over the years is the concept of training to failure. I've done this for a couple of reasons, which I will outline below.

  1. If you train to failure, you will often break down the muscle to the point where you will be in a massive amount of discomfort if you try to train again in the near future. I'm talking about the employment of forced reps, drop sets, and the like, rather than simply making maximum efforts and missing the lift. As one of the keystone tenets of ChAoS and PAIN is that you train like a fucking Bulgarian, getting after it six days a week, there's no way you can really work drop sets and failure training into your workouts and keep up the same frequency of training.
  2. Because I hate cardio (and it's unnecessary), and see little reason for it, the ability to train ultra-frequently is imperative. Thus, because of the soreness that these methods cause, I would rather pass.
  3. You compete the way you train. If you fail frequently in training, you'll come to accept it as a matter of course, and will not have the same motivation in competition to succeed.
  4. I train without a training partner. When you do so, it makes no sense to try to push yourself past your absolute limit.
Alternatives to failure training are important, if you really want to kick up your intensity. Some that I use are:
  1. Partials. I love em, and you should too. They allow you to thicken and strengthen your tendons, in addition to training your mind and CNS to handle MUCH heavier loads. Thus, if you want to pile on the fucking weight at some point, busting out some partials on lifts like squats and bench press will help you immeasurably. I'm a massive fan of partial squats in particular, which I think are a fucking man-maker, in addition to just being awesome for the fact that you can be a spectacle in the gym.
    Spare us the gloves and pussy pad, please
  2. Increased training frequency. Adding in some bodyweight sessions, even on the same day as heavy training, will add to your total training volume without overly taxing your CNS or musculature.
  3. GPP. General Physical Preparation consists of strongman-style exercises like sled and chain drags, and are designed to add to your total volume while (like bodyweight exercises) taking it easy on your CNS. These exercises also typically double as cardio, for which reason I loathe them.
Now go lift something heavy. Repeatedly. But not to failure.

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12 May 2009

*To Do Reps, or Not to Do Reps? That is the Question.

Oh my.

Anyone who knows me knows that I look at a set of 12 in the same way most people would look at a three mile run- unpleasant as hell, horrifyingly boring, and yet, not all that difficult. I've trained with every possible set and rep scheme, ranging from 100+ reps to pure singles, and everything in between. I find myself, however, tending toward the extremes, doing 20+ reps when going light (usually on bodyweight exercises), and then sticking to 1-3 reps on everything else.
If you have to do high reps and low weight to get ripped, someone needs to inform this Bulgarian he's fucking up.
When loading weights for sets of 1-3 reps, I typically keep my poundages between 90-100% of my 1RM (one repetition maximum), and never drop below 85% of my 1RM. Why, you might ask? Wouldn't that fry my CNS(central nervous system)? Would that be *gasp* OVERTRAINING?

The simple answer is no. Not at all. And fuck you for using that word in my presence.

The Bulgarians are notorious for stomping throats and breaking hearts in Olympic lifting competitions, and have dominated that sport for decades. Over the last 40 years, their workloads and workout volumes have increased exponentially, to the point where they now train 6 days a week, for 6-8 hours a day. They split their workouts, like Louie Simmons' Westside program, into speed and power sessions, but fully 70% of their workouts are conducted with poundages at 80% or more of their 1RM. (1)

Well, wait a minute, you might be saying. You do single-only workouts all the time! the Bulgarians only max on 1.05% of all of the total lifts, and only train at 90%-100% of their 1RM 7% of the time. Well, yes, my grasshopper, but I don't do the Bulgarian routine. No one with a job or life outside of Bulgaria does that routine. I merely posted their workout volume to show you that the human body can take a hell of a lot more punishment than Hany Rambod or Joe Weider seem to think, even in the face of empirical and anecdotal evidence to the contrary.
Bulgarian Olympic Weightlifter Ivan Stoitsov doesn't look overtrained to me.
So, we know you can get strong and muscular doing low reps. I highly recommend cutting rest times down on low rep sets to increase hypertrophy (hypertrophy is increased as the muscles must recruit more muscle fibers to combat fatigue) and to stay lean. I like this method immensely, especially given the fact that people who take long rests often stand around jawing far more than they lift, which is annoying and pointless. Is this method ideal? Science says no. For me, I'd rather go into the gym and lift brutal amounts of weight than fuck around on a cable machine doing triple drops for 6 sets of 12, but that's a matter of motivation for me. I know that if I go into the gym and REALLY get after it, I will either grow or die trying. Thus, I suggest you try the low rep method, shooting for 20-30 reps per exercise, and see where you stand after 3 months. If you're not considerably stronger and more muscular, I will eat my fucking shoes.
Throwing a 242 lb stone over a high bar might seem like reps, but it's really singles with REALLY short rests.

1) Zatsiorsky, Vladimir M. Science and Practice of Strength Training. Champaign: Human Kinetics, 1995. p.97.

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