09 November 2011

Hail To The King #2- First You Wanna Kill Me, Now You Wanna Kiss Me. Blow.

The Background
In the aftermath of last year's foray into powerlifting, I found myself more or less crippled.  My IT band in my right leg was insanely painful, I was burned out, and I was sick of training and researching.  As such, I started doing a bunch of useless bullshit in the gym, tried 5x5, and let my diet slip into what was for me complete shit.  In late December, however, I switched to a new gym and found myself reinvigorated if for no other reason than the fact that I was embarrassed to wear a sleeveless shirt in the gym.  I started doing the jump squats of which I've grown so fond to work on hip flexibility, started mixing it up more, and gradually ramped up my training frequency.

By April I was in full swing, but was still not taking my diet all that seriously.  I tightened it down gradually, and started dieting in earnest by June.  To give you some idea of what not taking my diet seriously was, I was eating 6 meals a day of no less than 40g of protein and medium carbs with medium fat.  In spite of the loose diet, I was still having two cheat meals a week.   I kept locking it down, switching first to a four day keto run, a medium carb Friday capped with a cheat meal, and a medium to high carb weekend, and then cutting out the carbs on the weekend.  Once or twice I had two cheat meals in a week, and I kept tinkering with what would become the Apex Predator Diet (which I'll finish detailing soon).  At this point, I was doing little more than squatting and overhead pressing.

The Workout
Fuck about in the gym for 15 minutes doing whatever struck my fancy.  Often, I did some one arm deadlifts (strapless) with 155 for sets of 5.
Zercher Squats 10-20 x 1-3 (working up to a couple of ME singles).  For whatever reason I love starting the week with Zerchers.  Did them both off the pins for a lockout and out of the rack for a "full" rep.
Military Press 5-8 x 5-1
Any auxiliary shit I felt like doing

Same as Monday or not at all.
Jump Squats 5-10 x 3-1 (working up to a couple of ME singles)
Partial squats from various heights ranging from bottom position to 1/4 squat lockouts.  Did them until I got bored.
Whatever else I felt like doing, including Pendlay rows for triples.  Usually 335x3 with straps, and a couple of times 365x1-2.
Light overhead pressing, often in the form of Viking presses, 3 plates on a side for sets of 5-8.

AM Only
Fucked about with arms for 20-30 mins.  Usually did some one arm deadlifts with 155 for sets of 5 as well.

More squatting of some kind.  Occasionally Squat to press.  More often front squat partials or more zerchers.
More OH pressing of some kind.  Usually heavy on this day, BTNPPs or push press from the front.
Sometimes did Incline reverse grips on this day for triples, doubles, and singles.

AM only
Benching happened on this day or not at all.  Usually triples, sometimes singles, occasionally did a death set or two.
Usually some light arm work consisting mostly or entirely of cables, and sometimes a shitload of Curl and Press.

Longest workout of the week.  Occasionally did two a days.  Trained everything of which I could think for 2-3 hours, and usually shrugged for an hour on this day.  I like rack pulling from my knees to shrug height, and usually worked up to 8-9 plates per side for 3-5 reps.  My last shrug workout I did 5 sets of 3 with 9 plates per side.
Usually did Incline reverse grips on this day for triples, doubles, and singles.

Off or something fairly light.

To all of this I added a lot of wrist curls, occasional cable crossovers, the occasional few 30 rep sets of pullups, some curl and presses, some machine squats, and the occasional high pull workout.  I didn't deadlift once, nor did I do a single set of dips.  The reason behind the deads is a combination of "I didn't feel like it" and the fact that I discussed it with Glenn Pendlay and we thought it'd be an amusing experiment.  It was.

What I learned, training-wise...
  • take everything everyone says with a grain of salt.  There's very little training advice I've gotten over the years that's worth a shit.  Had I not abandoned the deadlift altogether, I might not have realized I've no fucking need of it at all in my training.  I need to squat heavy and often and avoid getting caught up in what other people tell me I "should" do.  Likewise for the shrug- on any forum anywhere, mediocre lifters will decry the shrug as a worthless vanity lift.  They can all eat shit.
  • Squat lockouts are fucking amazing... if they're done in combination with full-range or extra-full range versions of the same lift.  That was my problem last year, and I full rectified it by learning from my previous mistakes.  That's an often overlooked and essential part of training- adapt and overcome.  If you do the same shit day in and day out like a mindless drone, you'll suck like every other Jersey Shore watching dickbag with an OK magazine on his coffeetable.
  • Zercher squats are the shit.  I credit those, in combination with Pendlay rows and shrugs for my deadlift.

Setbacks Encountered
The reason I mention these is because I get a shitload of emails about a variety of minor injuries.  People are constantly asking me what to do when training with them, and my answer is always the same- train around them.  That's what I do, and that's what any person with a scintilla of balls would do.  Sitting home on your ass will just turn you into one of the sorry motherfuckers on that godawful show Mike and Molly, and for anyone who's seen the commercials, Wilford Brimley's on his way to their house with a pair of six-guns loaded with mayonnaise bullets while riding a horse name Diabetus.

The moral of this section is that you should TRAIN AROUND INJURIES, goddamnit.  Quit yer bitchin' and man the fuck up.  To wit, here's an incomplete list of the setbacks I had from July 1st onward.
  • Exploding car shenanigans.  In early July I flipped my car while I was not wearing a setbelt.  It caught fire, and I had to punch out my driver's side window to get out.  In the process, I incurred a massive concussion, a shitload of cuts and scrapes, a ridiculously deep bruise on my left calf, and a huge high ankle sprain.  That killed a week of training for me, as it's really hard to lift while concussed (though I was back in the gym Monday, and I flipped the car Saturday), and forced me to cut out jump squats for the better part of 6 weeks because I was physically unable to perform them.  Also, this is the reason I didn't finish the blog on stone lifting, as Of Stones and Strength was in the car and was thus burned to a crisp.  To combat the lack of jump squats, I used machine squats while concussed, and then switched to top half partials and worked my way down as my range of motion improved
  • Constant pec/shoulder issues.  The reason behind my attempt at stretching was because I constantly had pec/shoulder knotting in my left pec.  That region always felt like a tear was imminent, so I did a lot of stretching and massage on the area, and then started using the TENS unit I got on my birthday.  The latter seemed to have the best effect, and I've been using it religiously all over my body for minor strains and sprains.
  • Minor tweak of my sartorius in my left leg.  This only affected me in the last two weeks of training.  It's slightly painful, but just kept me from getting super crazy in the two weeks leading up to the meet.
  • Strained lower abs.  I'm not even certain how I did this, but once you strain an ab, it takes forever to fully heal.  It still acts like a bitch from time to time.
  • Strained right bicep.  After a horrible day at work and a variety of other personal bullshit, I went into the gym and decided to go bananas on Pendlay rows.  I made them my punk bitch for the better part of 70 minutes, but once I threw on 405 for a singe my bicep loudly (audibly) told me to go fuck myself.  I iced and babied it for a a couple of weeks and it manned the fuck up.  By babied it, I mean I didn't do 120 lb hammer curls and 365 lb Pendlay rows for a while.  Instead, I did a hell of a lot more zerchers and really, really light curls to stretch it and get blood into the region so it healed faster.
  • Horribly strained right trap.  I honestly thought they were indestructible, but I managed to strain my right trap my doing shrug-and-holds with 9 plates on a side.  By this, I mean I did a triple with the weight and then held it as long as I could.  After three sets, my trap knotted up so badly I nearly passed out, and I couldn't turn my head for two days.  To fix it, I used a TENS unit, the Theracane, an ART massage, and ice.  I was shrugging again the following week, but I had a hell of a time doing anything trap related for about 8 days.  What finally fixed it was squat lockouts with 10 plates on a side- I literally crushed the knots out, and it felt fucking awesome.
Breaks Taken
Though this might come as a shock to you, there were two weeks between July and November wherein I didn't train more than 4 times in a week.  Of those, one of those weeks was a week wherein I did three days of light arm workouts and one day on which I did an hour of heavy front squatting followed by a BodyPump class.  BodyPump, incidentally, nearly killed me.  I'm no longer suited to high repetition anything.  The second of those two consisted of two days of zerchers, one light and one heavy, one day of incline reverse grip bench press and one day of fucking about on a variety of machines.  During those two weeks I relaxed my diet considerably, eating carbs every days and going out drinking a couple of times.

I found those two weeks to be a nice break, and while they weren't necessarily a deload, they were a nice slowdown.  Afterwards, I found my resolve strengthened both on dieting and exercise, and I was a fucking maniac in the gym.  Additionally. it allowed niggling injuries to heal a bit, which also helped get back at it harder.

In case you're curious, neither of these were planned as slowdowns, but happened as part of the natural course of life- I went on a couple of staycations and found that I wanted to do other things than lift the entire time, like sleep and fuck.

Had this been my staycation, it would have been more like "found that I wanted to do other things than lift the entire time, like fuck and fuck.  

In the final installment of this series, I'll detail the week of the meet, including my weight cut, which fucking sucked, what I did in the gym that week, and the meet itself.  If you guys want the final installment of the Predator Diet series first, let me know in the comments.


  1. We want the rest of the predator diet

  2. and we want to know which porn sites you subscribe to?

  3. The rest of the predator diet would be great. Dieting has always been my achilles heel.

  4. Just want to know how you flipped your goddam car haha. Meet report, how's Stevey P doing?

  5. Predator diet and Meet Report. I'm bored at work.

  6. Also a close up of the tattoo on your delt, never seen anything like it.

  7. Meet report!

    A close-up of your tatoo would be sweet.

    And maybe an instrucional video on how flip cars.

    In all seriousness I'm happy you came out of the accident 'okay' (if you catch my drift) and stronger and thougher than ever. Respect man.

  8. Predator diet. As much as I'm curious to hear about your prep for the meet, I'd rather the diet series was rounded off first, as it's been fucking awesome.

    Make it happen man.

  9. Predator Diet! And once again congrats on the meet.

  10. Jamie I noticed you didn't do nearly as much back work/rowing as pressing/squatting. What do you think of the popular 2/3 push/pull ratio advocated by a lot of strength coaches?

  11. Alexandro- I think that's in place because people are fucking obsessed with benching. Additionally, the Zercher's really more of a pull than a push, so I'm not sure that's entirely accurate. In any event, I'll agree with their recommendations for most people. I'm not, however, most people.

    Thanks for the bit about the accident. It was me being fucking reckless and stupid, and I don't advise it. Plus, I lost an awesome brand new car and had to replace it with something far less awesome.

    Matt- I don't subscribe to any, really. If you want awesome tit pics, though, hit up nuts.co.uk. That's where I get half my pics.

    Tuplad- I designed it a couple of years ago. I'll blog about it in the near future.

  12. Having switched to a basically all vertical (squatting and pressing overhead) regimen a few weeks ago, this is a huge relief to see. I've always through that not deadlifting is the best way to get a bigger deadlift, and I suspect my bench can do fine without benching too.

    Congratulations again on the result...keep stomping ass.

  13. Congrats Jamie! I found this blog few weeks ago, and it's been interesting and educating. I like your presentations of past strongmen very enlightening! Also, more about your predator diet.

    Cheers from Finland!

  14. What was your rational for choosing/dropping the exercises? What pushed you to stick with some exercises (against conventionality) so long and drop everyday ones like the deadlift?

    Not spurring a debate, just want to see your thought process.

  15. Do you think the Zercher's are helping your deadlift?

  16. Jamie, congratulations on the awesomeness. In the past you've mocked Pendlay rows. How long have you been doing them, and what made you start? Would you post a video?

  17. 3rd week back on CnP. Traps ridiculously sore every morning.

    What do?

  18. Red- I'll cover that in the upcoming blog.
    Imperator- Yes.
    Ornimegalonx- I mocked Pendlay rows with the way Rippetoe marks do them in mind. I do them correctly- ultra-heavy, ultra-explosive, and ultra-violent. That light weight "feel the rep" shit is both wrong and offensive to the progenitor of the exercise.
    The Verb- Suck it up.

  19. Reckless driving? Whatever, I know your surroundings. Bet a deer was involved! It's always a spec op retard deer in that damn state suicide jumping at the newest car they can find haha!

  20. Cool Trash Talk shirt.

    Hit me up with en email-address to send your articles on rehab too. I'm too stupid to figure it out.

  21. thats what I was hoping you would say :D

  22. Kitano- I flipped my car in the ghetto and apparently walked away from the flaming wreck of my car for about a mile and a half, berating crack heads and ghetto thugs the entire way. The cops were amazed that I wasn't robbed or shot, but I can imagine that I'd not get robbed or shot in the ghetto even if I weren't covered in blood after climbing out of a flaming wreck of a car and screaming at everyone around me to shut the fuck up. Moral of the story- use your fucking gps if you have one and don't go to the ghetto.

    Thanos- chaos_and_pain@yahoo.com

  23. Glad you're not dead.

  24. Yeah, I am interest in hearing more about your predator diet

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