26 October 2011

Beat Them Like A Rented Mule, Or How To Break In Spud Straps

Before I begin what will be one of my shortest posts, I'd like to address what I consider to be a hilarious sentiment propagated around the likes of Bodyspace and other internet message boards- the idea that I promote products because I get paid to do so.  Never in the history of the human word has a theory been so easily debunked, for two reasons:

  1. I am shit poor.  Had I sponsors, you'd have Chaos and Pain t-shirts for $10 bucks apiece on sale nonstop.  I have no cash, and thus have been scrambling around trying to find a way to make the new shirts affordable.  I've got bad news- right now they're looking like $35 shirts.  I'm going to put them up on Zazzle, but I'm not happy about it.  I could give a shit about the $3 I'll make off them and tried to drop it to something like a quarter, but no dice- they have a minimum revenues of 10% of their hideous prices.
  2. No one on Earth is going to sponsor a guy who competes simply to fuck with the other lifters in a sport with which he doesn't even identify himself, nor will they sponsor someone who peppers every over-cited post with scat porn, gangbangs, tits, and more instances of "Fuck" than any 20 minute clip in Goodfellas.  It's not good game, and it's damn sure not good business.  
Clearly, I'm not in it for the money.  Whatever dreams I had about making loot died with the economy in 2008, and I don't like being in anyone's pocket.  I tell people about the things I like simply because I have a forum to do so.  The only revenue stream this site generates is a very tiny one from Amazon, and that's from people checking out my recommendations (which I greatly appreciate).

In any event, in this ATA post I mentioned that I love Spud Inc. Straps.  I discovered these while training at Marc "Spud" Bartley's gym in Columbia, SC, and fell directly in love with them.  They're eminently durable, comfortable once broken in, and I believe confer grip strength due to the fact that they make every move done with their aid a fatbar lift.  When I say durable, I mean that they're the only strap that's lasted me more than 4 months- with every other brand I've tried, they snap mid lift and I end up flat on my back with a bloodied lip right around the beginning of month three.
Spud hitting a 1024 squat.

The key to getting the most out of Spud Straps, however, is to break them in.  This is my highly unofficial and unsanctioned opinion, by the way, so if you ask Spud or Dale at SC they might tell you otherwise.  They answer the phone when you call and represent the pinnacle of avid conversationalists, so they'll doubtless regale you with tales of glory about squatting over 1000 lbs and keep you on the line for hours.  That, or they'll reply to everything in a monotone and somewhat disinterested tone.  Likely the latter, but they know their shit and are definitely good guys.

Initially, Spud Inc.Straps will appear as they do above.  Slightly shiny, very slick, possessing notable and visible ridging, and with a melted end that will tear the skin off your hands like they're Russian mobsters looking for information from some less-than-talkative Yakuza member.  You will bleed profusely from this melty bit.  As such, that's the first thing that needs to go.  
  1. Take your straps outside to the parking lot.  Rub the melted end vigorously on the roughest curb you can find until you've ground the hard edge completely off.  
  2. Then, begin systematically rubbing the surface of the straps along the curb as well, scuffing them until they're no longer shiny.  This will give them more purchase when you wrap them around the bar.
  3. (Optional) while they're looped, run your car over them a couple of times.  This will make them far less stiff, much as it would make even the hardest cock.
  4. Throw them in the washing machine with some dark clothes (what with the dirt that's now on them) or by themselves.
  5. Chalk the everloving shit out of them.  If you think they've got enough chalk on them, they don't.  Run that shit into the fibers so that they become a non-Crossfit version of a chalk bag.  The more chalk, the better your grip.  I rechalk them every three or so uses just to make sure they're good and saturated.
What well-loved straps look like.  The stain on the one on the right is blood.

As you can see, it'll take a bit of work, but it'll be a labor of love.  I could not love a human baby as much as I love those straps.  If you want some, you can get them from Spud's website.  


  1. Over the summer, a protein shake opened in my bag and spilled all over my spud straps. After they dried up , but never stopped smelling like chocolate(3 weeks), they were so much better. In summary, whey is good for straps.

  2. Thanks man. It's much appreciated. I tried doing dumbbell rows in mine yesterday and it was not happening. I did roll my 150lb plate over them and that helped a bit, but they'll be meeting my car in the morning.

  3. Alright Jamie,

    When you going to be hitting us with the next part on the evolution of your diet? Thought it was awesome, and I await it with all the giddiness of a child on Christmas Eve.

    Also, just out of curiosity given that you mentioned IF, what is your opinion on Berkhan's preference for reverse pyramid sets? I'd always assumed that as long as you were lifting heavy and your diet was tight enough, sets and reps were somewhat irrelevant, within reason.

  4. Jamie, I would like to see a post on IF and Berkhan's training preference.

    Berkhan trains minimally and that combined with his IF obviously works very well for him. I'm curious if it's possible to get and stay as lean as he is if you were to train a lot more. I've been squatting almost every day of the week (every day I lift, I squat - it's my preworkout). It'd imagine you could get fairly lean, looking at elite weightlifters that are training a lot more than even I am.

  5. i am obviously a pussy compared to many of you. i have never had anything heavy enough or done enough reps for my grip to fail me. i will keep using my CoCs and keep my reps low. maybe someday i will need straps and turn to these.

  6. @Bobby- it's coming. I'd say it's about half written. That series is fairly research intensive, so I'm trying to balance my training with actually getting some blog posts out there for you guys right now.

    @Imperator- I've had one planned for a while. The diet series plays into it a decent amount, but I generally like to try something before I really pass judgement. I'm leery of losing my hard fought muscle, though, so fear's constraining my efforts a bit. I might give it a try for a couple of months over the winter and see what happens, but I really do not enjoy PSMFs like the V-diet, so 'm pretty sure I'd hate the shit out of IF and drop it in short order.

  7. Hey C&P,

    just done some research and there seems to be no concession on the use of whey and the amount of water that needs to be drunk (that is in kidney patients who are 5% of my training population).

    Which led me to a wider research to find some sort of concensus in normal training populations.

    Have any anecdotal evidence as to how much water you drink?

    Thanks alot

    1. 5 clear urinations per day, 2 after training.

  8. Are you asking for optimal water consumption levels? I can do some research, but I'd venture to guess it varies from person to person.

  9. Any thoughts of offering advertising space for sale?
    Ur blog kicks ass its sad you cant make more money from it.

  10. Hey CP,

    no I've already done the research (thanks to uni I have complete access to pubmed and about 30 journals). I just wanted anecdotal evidence on how much water you consume to not blow your kidney's out. If you even consider it at all.

    It greatly depends, but there seems to be some consistent evidence about the rate of excrettion. Just asking around.

    Cheers and thanks for considering it!

  11. Hey Jamie
    Just a thought, maybe you could post your training logs every couple of weeks, I think it would be interesting to see what kinda of stuff you are doing everyday.

  12. I don't keep any kind of training logs, so that'll likely not happen. The closest you'll get is when I occasionally post the types of workouts I'm doing. My workouts wouldn't do any of you much good, however, as there's very little in the way of rhyme or reason to them outside of "heavy" and "squat". Additionally, I tried keeping a training log, against both my personal preference and my better judgement when the chaosandpain site got launched and discovered that I was trying to put up big numbers that I'd not be ashamed to post online rather than getting in good workouts.

    I truly despise training logs.

  13. CJ- Nope. I had google ads set up initially, but they got nixed due to the porn. As I never made any money off them, I highly doubt I'd make any off of solicited ads- I don't actually get enough pageviews to make it worthwhile. Certainly, I've probably captured 100% of my key demographic (violent, vulgar, weightlifting nerds) to get my 2000 visits a day, but that doesn't translate to much in the way of revenue from clickthroughs and page impressions. I'd have to appeal to a much wider audience for that, and I've no interest in producing different [read: shittier] content to capture a wider audience. I do this for fun- it was never meant to be a business. I leave that to the guys who don't know what they're fucking talking about, or who want to dilute their message.

  14. I like keeping a training log, actually. It helps me remember what I did the day before.

  15. Ok Thanks for response.
    Random question do your tattoos ever get distorted due to changes in your body weight?

    Fucken awesome sight btw.

  16. Not that I've noticed, and thanks.

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