21 June 2010

An Exercise Got You Pussywhipped? Turn It Around! Whip Dat Exercise! BANG BANG BANG!

At some point or another, everyone hits the wall harder than the one Sarah Jessica Parker lit up face first at some point in her young life, only you'll do it in the gym.  Some lift will grind to a fucking halt, and possibly even backslide a bit, as you scramble for purchase on the muddy hill of strength training greatness.  It doesn't matter if you're Isaac, crashing face-first into a dumbbell rack while all of America mocks the living fuck out of you, or Mariusz Pudzianowski.  The shit happens to everyone.  The question, then, is what to do when that wall hits you... hopefully less catastrophically than the two aforementioned scenarios.
Against all odds, uglier than Sarah Jessica Parker.

So... what to do?  Take time off?  Keep at it?  As we all know, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.   By the same token, abandoning the gym altogether is also a ridiculous concept, which is one of the main reasons why I initially found HIT to be absurd.  Therefore, that option is abandoned as absurd on its face- Da Vinci never produced a wondrous work of art or science as the direct result of taking long breaks from creating shit- the man was instead one of the most prolific inventors and artists of all time.  Likewise, your squat's not going to go through the roof due to long layoffs and abandonment of that exercise.  You don't win a war by surrendering... and all an armistice will get you is years of annoyance, just like it has in the Korean penninsula.  I recently discovered, though an unlikely, unusual, and frankly surprising bout of introspection, that my efforts to overcome a slump in the gym fall squarely in line with those I implement to overcome a creative block in drawing or writing.  As such, I thought I'd post some suggestions from about.com in re creative block to show you what I mean.
Da Vinci- polymath, evolutionary biologist, painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, paleontologist, cartographer, botanist, writer, and the first known person to utter the phrase "I pity tha fool."
  • "What I like to do is look at my portfolios of old paintings I did back when I had inspiration. I also look at any other artwork that I left off with, and try to put myself back where I was before I'd lost my inspiration. Sometimes, I'll go back to places I used to spend a lot of time at while painting, either someplace I painted at, or just someplace I frequented that might help me get my focus back." -- Chickymoc
  • "I cut out things in magazine, so I can have some guidance when I paint." -- Nonne3
  • "Grab a few canvases and gesso or basecoat a color of acrylic paint on them in preparation. Or take some turps, dip a rag or crushed-up paper towel in it and then in raw sienna or ochre or whatever, and create a toned canvas, in preparation of painting in oils. Just this simple action somehow makes you feel that you are 'in the groove' of painting, and who knows, you just might start touching that brush to canvas and be on your way!" -- Rosie"Reading helps but continuing to try is the best way of coming out of a creative slump." -- RPBaker
  • "Try a new style or medium." -- RPBaker
  • "Hang out with other artists and watch them work, until you find yourself painting (interacting) with them, too." -- Fairygold
The singer from DEP would probably eat the children of the mullets mentioned hereafter. 

Notice that none of these people suggested taking time off from what they're stalled on, and these are people whom most mullets in the gym would likely call pussies, and just about anyone on a message board would call gay.  You can take those suggestions, however, and apply them to lifting fairly easily, so that they read:

  • "I like to review past 1rms in a bunch of different lifts.  I'll also come up with lifts I used to love doing, but haven't done in a while.  Then, I start forcing myself to do both." -- Chickymoc
  • "I read a bodybuilding magazine, realize half of the oiled-up nutbags therein are far more jacked and strong than I, and resolve to stop sucking so fucking much." -- Nonne3
  • "Grab any barbells that happen to be preloaded and laying around, and lift them, with no fucking rhyme or reason whatsoever.  Just give them hell.  It might look fucking stupid, but it could get interesting, and amusing.  Additionally, it'll be fun to annoy all of the mullets by grabbing their pissant bench weight and hang cleaning and pressing it from the bench inbetween their sets" -- RPBaker
  • "Try a new lift or rep scheme." -- RPBaker
  • "Hang out with other lifters and watch them lift, until you find yourself lifting and interacting with them, too." -- Fairygold
Clearly, this is not fucking rocket science.  If you find yourself stalled in the gym, it's probably your own fucking fault.  I get emails all the time about guys whos squats have stalled, and they've been doing the same fucking set and rep scheme for the last year.  OF COURSE IT FUCKING STALLED OUT.  There's a reason this is called Chaos and Pain- there's nothing fucking chaotic about doing the same goddamn thing every time you enter the gym.  To the kid who emailed me that he does just that- STOP IT.  I mean, for fuck's sake, try this, which I've done a couple of times with a lifting partner and found it to be amusing:
All those hours playing Warhammer are about to pay off. 

Bring some dice to the gym.  If you've got umpteen-sided RPG dice, definitely bring one of them and a 6 sided die, or you can bring a couple regular run of the mill 6 siders- I don't care.  Bring two.  for each lift, roll 1 die to determine the order.  Assuming you have less than 5 lifts, just roll it a couple of times to get your first two lifts, and then arrange the rest arbitrarily... by alphabetical order or something.  Once you've got that done, do the following:
  • Roll one of the RPG dice or both regular ones.  Whatever number comes up will be your sets.  If you dislike the number, roll again.  You don't need to be a slave to the dice.
  • Roll one or both of the 6 siders to get your number of reps.
  • Repeat for each successive exercise.
If that's too convoluted for you, just pick a different set and rep scheme.  If you're doing 9x4, go to 15x1, or 6x5, or 10x3, or do a couple of sets of 100.  You can also modify the exercise.  Go from BTNs to OH Squat lockouts, or front press... go from back squat to front squat... from deadlifts to cleans... you get the idea.  Whatever you do, don't keep doing what you're doing, since it's obviously not working. Get fucking crazy, and make that shit happen... even if you have to wear a wolf mask while you lift to do so.

It worked for Benny Podda.


  1. Do lifts have armour saves?

  2. I like how you translated those painting quotes into lifting quotes well done, also I thought the wolf mask was mandatory for CnP? HAHAHAHA

  3. Hahaha. By the way, sorry about the links. Blogger's fucking up, but when it unfucks itself, I'll change the color scheme.

    And I think only a 600+ squat has armor saves.

  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squat_%28Warhammer_40,000%29

    They don't fuck around.

  5. ... did you REALLY play warhammer? That games makes you fat, and celibate to boot.

  6. I guess guys in the NFL have it all wrong as well as professional fighters. What makes your blog so special is that you are really serious about this bs.

  7. when you stall, sometimes the smartest thing you can do is to REDUCE the load a little (i.e. deload) and build back up to crush your old PR.

    Another thing you can try is to identify a sticking point in the lift and work hard resolving that.

  8. Rant- What's this magical universal program? You've got to be the dumbest motherfucker on Earth, and you constant post completely unsubstantiated bullshit. Are you even aware of how to construct an argument? An argument consists of a supposition (in your case one that's invariably false, like the idea that all NFL players follow the same program) and then back that claim with supporting facts.

    Manveet- I'll agree that the deload's sometimes useful, but it's not invariably so.

  9. *constantly.

    Additionally, if you look at a list of lifters who were successful over a lengthy periood of time, they invariably attribute that success to consistency in the gym, not long layoffs.

  10. When any of you douchebags gets 30 plus years of training under you belt then come talk to me about your ideas about recovery and plateaus.

  11. Jesus, sounds like this Rant guy needs a few beers and some testosterone.
    Anyway, thanks to your blog I'm going to start squatting in a Michael Myers mask.

  12. Dick Cheney
    Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter

  13. Rant-

    Your 30 years of training has amounted to a workout routine that consists of light kettlebell swings and the sun salutation pose. There are people in walkers with more vigorous workout regimens.

    By the way, genius, google a guy of whom you might have heard- Ray Lewis- and check out the length of his off-season. To save you time, he has none.

  14. To Mike Myers-

    You're making me miss the days of yore, wearing a hockey mask and work gloves for pitting at hardcore shows, haha.

  15. Wow I never really payed rant any mind until I went and looked at his blog just now. He seems mad at EVERYTHING with no rhyme or reason to it all just angry. He doesn't seem to have his own side that he defends instead he just yells and screams about everything most likely stuff he's no longer able to perform. Thirty years huh? And this is the best you can do bitch about a blog constantly? I would understand if he had something worth saying, or was some how very successful and famous for his advice, but he dose not and doubt very much him being very successful with the shit I've read. The only reason I know of him is cause of how much he seems to post on you blog. An act of desperation maybe? I am looking forward to the bat shit crazy old coot response he's going to give me. Maybe insult my intelligence, my inability to spell, my bad grammar, or maybe just the content of the message in general. He'll probably just say how I don't know shit cause I'm not a lifter or an "old pro" like him. The worst he could do is not respond to me at all. Which really wouldn't be so bad. And if you must know why I remain anonymous its cause I don't blog cause I have nothing that important to say like C&P does, and I don't like to RANT like some people seem to do about nothing and everything all at once. And plus I don't need some fucking weird old man hounding me on a blog, my e-mail, or my facebook. I've also noticed there is no way to comment on Rants post. Guess he wants to keep living in his little fantasy of I'm right and the rest of you are wrong. It looks like the retarded cousin of this blog check it out if not only to have a good hard laugh.

  16. Yo I'm tired of whatever h8r keeps posting that dumb joke about Dick cheney. Dick Cheney was a fucking loser, riding his dad's coattails all the way to the white house and wouldn't have even gotten the popular vote if his name wasn't attached to George W. Bush's, and we all know that that guy is a fucking retard. Hahaha. To wit. Quit h8in on Chaos and Pain's dad, he never did shit to any of yall, so I don't know why your grilling him like he got some dog in this fight. If your son was half as badass as Chaos and Pain, you'd be legit proud as hell of him even if he's not that tall. How do I know??? I'm the fucking Asian Chaos and Pain, and both of my parents constantly tell me that they're proud of me and my accomplishments. And my dad comes from a society where its considered a sin to express emotion, so think about how must proud he's gotta be on the INSIDE.


    P.S. Rant, if this is true and all this h8ing is actually you posting anonymously then (1) you're a fucking pussy for posting anonymously and (2) you're a fucking joke of a human being who can't lift shit and instead cries in the fucking mirror about how he could have been a contender. Like Marlon Brando but with a vagina. Hahahaha. Take that, pussy. You say that C&Ps dad is Dick Cheney, your dad is Marla Brando. Hahahahahaha Fucking owned.

    (But if that shit wasn't you, Rant, no h8 intended.)

  17. Dracoy, you are as much of a fake as Rant.
    Didn't one of the guys recently offer to fuck your mother?
    How did that turn out?

  18. Guys I don't ever use sock puppets. Rant is Rant and not anybody else. You guys are right I need to focus and quit being so cheesed off at everything. When you get to my age you're tolerance level goes way down. In a few short years I will be the disheveled old coot sitting on a park bench screaming at passersby. In the meantime I think I will take up power bodybuilding like C&P and let my gay flag fly. Why shouldn’t I look good and be strong. What do you guys think of this routine:

    DAY 1: Squat Day - along with Barbell Rows and Bicep Curls
    DAY 2: Day Off
    DAY 3: Bench Day - along with Seated Dumbbell Press and Lying Tricep Extensions
    DAY 4: Day Off
    DAY 5: Deadlift Day - along with Dumbbell Shrugs and Standing Calf Raises

  19. You're already a disheveled old coot sitting on a park bench screaming at passersby.

  20. Rant--

    I'm a teacher. First thing's first: learn how to use a contraction. I can't take a guy seriously who doesn't know the difference between "your" and "you're". You dumb fuckface.

    Secondly: Because I'm a teacher, I have lots of time on my hands. Know what I'm going to do? Two-a-days. No fewer than nine total lifts a week. And guess what: I can't do push exercises right now (anything with chest or shoulders) and I'm still going to be the most productive motherfucker in my gym.

    Thirdly: It's quite evident that you have Aspberger's Syndrome. You're a high-functioning autistic, and as such, we should all lay off. You have OCD tendencies--obviated by the fact you're an alchie--and you need to get that taken care of, Rain Main.

    Finally: nobody reads your shit, nobody takes you seriously. You're not intelligent, coherent or entertaining. You're not tough, and you played the foosball at a junior college. Your lifting program is laughable and your entire gimmick is played.

    Here's my personal challenge to you: Post some pictures of yourself, which will give you a semblance of credibility. I'm certain you have traps like Bill Goldberg and arms like Hulk Hogan. After that, post empirical evidence that Jamie's theories don't work.

    Until then, hang on deez nuts. I'm going back to the gym to kill some 585 deadlifts...for reps. Pussy.

  21. yo jamie I got an eca question. I've been taking the stack 20/200/200 mg, once a day pre-workout for 3 weeks. I'm thinking about taking it 3 or 4 times a day till august and then tapering it off that month, by cutting out a quarter of the dose every week.

    If you could suggest a different dose pattern I'd be game for that too.

    Theres too much opposing bullshit on the internet about the stack. Some people take it 2 weeks on 2 off, some take it consistently for years, some say it will burn out your adrenals and leave you an immunologically castrated state, others say its harmless and a lot of hype is generated about its ill-effects. Some say aspirin is evil, others say it is essential. I'm caught between bro-science, fda bullshit and a hard place. I could use some help, and you seem to give some pretty straight up advice.

  22. I actually answered this in ridiculous detail in this blog: http://chaosandpain.blogspot.com/2009/11/ask-asshole-4.html. If you have any more questions, shoot me an email.

  23. Is my pc displaying the whole website: I went looking for the "forum" section, I'm not seeing it. (could be getting filtered out, who knows..)
    Also, is Justin still around?

  24. The forum is on www.chaosandpain.com, not this blogspot version.

    Justin is usually on the forum, I think he maintains www.chaosandpain.com

  25. I'm not sure I would call passing out due to valsalva after 3 weeks of lifting a stall in a lift.

    Also, lifting for 30 years makes you nothing more than a guy who has lifted for 30 years. It's not a VFW. Nobody cares how long you've been wasting your time in a gym. Nobody even cares about your results. Lift for yourself, and, if the notion strikes you, get stronger.

  26. Isaac- Stop quibbling. That's the best video in the history of forever.

  27. I've never heard of a lifting strategy using rpg dice before, but I'm gonna have to try that for the hell of it if nothing else.