31 July 2012

Squatting Like You're The CEO of the Paper Street Soap Company #2- Wipe Your Ass With The Mona Lisa

Living in an abandoned building has its drawbacks, certainly, but it also affords one a great deal of freedom.  Without rent, utilities, or insurance to pay, one enjoys massive financial freedom, though they have a far greater responsibility in terms of general upkeep of the structure in which they live- though you might be able to live there without paying, you live with the stress of operating without a safety net, and with the knowledge that the slightest slip in concentration insofar as your abode goes and you're fucked, pretty much without recourse or salvation.  They can, however, move into another shithole if the building collapses around their ears.
Fuck an a right.

An elite squatter's not unlike the fuckers in Fight Club, except for the fact that if their structure collapses, they're wholly and irreparably fucked.  Raw squatting is squatting without a safety net- without briefs, a suit, or any of the other wacky accouterments of geared squatting (I've even seen people squat wearing bench shirts), and in most cases you have to walk your happy ass out of the rack as well, ratcheting up the fear factor and difficulty of the lift even higher.  As a result, raw squatters, especially good raw squatters, have to be like a combination of two epic Batman villians- the Scarecrow, and Bane.  They have to be expert managers of fear, and they have to be willing and able to destroy every motherfucking thing in their paths to achieve their goals.

"I wanted to breathe smoke. I wanted to burn the Louvre. I'd do the Elgin Marbles with a sledgehammer and wipe my ass with the Mona Lisa. This is my world, now. This is my world, my world, and those ancient people are dead."

Interestingly, you'd think that the best squatters would, like the best deadlifters and benchers, have somewhat similar structures to their workouts.  They, however, do not- the programs of squatting's elite absolutely run the gamut from completely insane volume to minimalism so basic and scanty it'd make Frank Stella's simplest artwork seem hideously complex.  Thus, the typical admonition to avoid rote adherence to a given program is magnified when devising a squatting routine- experimentation is even more critical, as there is really no "right" way to pursue a world record... just a shitload of wrong ones and some that will work for you once you determine your ideal workload.  Thus, without further adieu, I give you the greatest squatters in history, but you can rest assured this shit isn't pretty.
Idalberto Aranda
If any of you are aware of this guy's existence, I'd be fucking stunned.  He's not a powerlifter, and never held a world record in the squat.  That, however, makes him no less our physical superior or us his bitches on that exercise.  Aranda is a little guy- 5'3", 170 lbs, and an Olympic weightlifter for the tiny, poverty-stricken island nation that has given the world nothing but lung cancer and stupid ball caps for hipsters- Cuba.  In spite of the fact that he grew up in a nation-wide ghetto off the coast of Florida, Aranda racked up some impressive finishes in world competition, and set a middleweight record in the clean and jerk in 1999.(SR)  What's truly impressive, however, is the fact that Aranda could double 638, beltless and wrapless, with dive-bombed Olympic high bar squats.

Feel unmanned?  I certainly do.  The secret behind this tiny brown motherfucker's squatting success is the Soviet Olympic weightlifting system, which has fallen out of favor in recent years in spite of the fact that it served as the basis for basically every successful Oly program since the 1950s.  In the Soviet system, youth lifters start with a three day a week program and then work their way up to six days a week of training.(Performance One)  According to a Cuban coach who studied weightlifting in Russia, "the Russians and Bulgarians were relatively equal in terms of training volume, but that the Bulgarians had more lifts in the 95-100 percent zones, while the Russians would have more lifts in the 75-80 percent intensity zone."(Poliquin)

The Soviets divided their movements into four groups, and then divided the days amongst them, mixing the first four groups, which were lower body dominant, with the last group, which is upper body dominant.:

1) Snatches
2) Cleans
3) Snatch Pulls
4) Squats
5) Jerks and Presses

A typical split would look like this, then:
Monday: 1st and 4th
Tuesday: 5th
Wednesday: 2nd and 4th
Thursday: 5th
Friday:1st, 3rd, and 4th
Saturday: 2nd and 5th

Thus, they squatted roughly 3 days a week, lifting up to three times a day depending on the period, and never did more than 6 reps.(Poltaev)

Mike Kuhns
One thing I discovered while researching this post was that not one, but two midgets hold world records in the squat- Andrzej Stanaszek and Mike Kuhns.  Frankly, I think that's pretty fucking impressive, given the fact that they both appear to have achondroplasia, which I would guess would make it fucking hard to handle big poundages since their cartilage is abnormally formed.  Additionally, people with dwarfism are typically bow-legged, which would make make me thing they're generally structurally unsound for heavy squatting.  I'm not, however, an orthopedist, so I could be entirely wrong.  In any event, one of these bad little motherfuckers, Mike Kuhns, is a world record holder at 148 with a 556 lb. wrapless squat.  Thus, those amongst you without dwarfism might want to consider a different weight class if you want to smash a world record, since I'd venture to guess you'll have a hard time matching Kuhns.  Additionally, I'd bet Kuhns gets more ass than any of us, since he's rocking a surfer look and is strong as shit.

In any event, Mad Mike has a unique take on squat training, which I'd assume has to do with his dwarfism, but might suit those of you with back issues in particular- he uses belt squats to supplement his back squats.

Belt Squats – work up to x2x30, then x1x10 paused reps in the hole
(similar to a standing leg press from IronMind)
Pullovers x1x20
One-Legged Curls x3x20

Neutral Grip Dumbbell Floor Press x3x10-12
Dumbbell Tricep Extensions (laying on the floor) x3x12
(Make sure that the DBs touch the floor)
3 Exercise Circuit
Dumbbell Lateral Raises x12
Incline Flyes x12
Pushdowns  x12
(repeat 2 more times)

Deadlift – work up to 3 top sets using a 5,3,2 progression
Dumbbell Shrugs
Weighted Pullups
Dumbbell Rows
Grip Work

(this workout varies widely depending upon Raw or Equipped and where Mike is in the training cycle)
“Friday I Bench Press; this workout varies widely depending upon Raw or Equipped and where I am in the training cycle. If I’m training Raw the start of my cycle will have top set reps as high as 8. When I’m peaking its triples, doubles, and sub-max singles. If I’m training equipped, its whatever I can touch to my chest; unless I catch a workout with Niko Hulslander and Garage Ink. Niko works me hard in a shirt and helps me maximize its usage.” – Mike Kuhns

Squats – work up to 2 top sets, never completing more than 4 reps per set (Stewart)

Thus, if you've got a medical issue that "prevents" you from squatting that isn't parapalegia, suck it the fuck up.  You might think that Kuhns can hit huge weights because he doesn't have far to move them, but you're failing to take into account that even if he's got proportionate dwarfism, he's still all fucked up.  "With proportionate dwarfism, problems in growth and development often result in complications with poorly developed organs. For example, heart problems often present in Turner syndrome can have a significant effect on a child's general health. An absence of sexual maturation associated with growth hormone deficiency or Turner syndrome affects not only physical development but also social functioning."(CNN)  Thus, you've got no fucking excuse other than the fact that your mom is more of a man than you are if you're not crushing shit on the squat.

Sam Byrd
If you didn't already want to throw yourself down a well for not wrecking shop at squatting, let me give you one more reason- Sam Byrd's existence.  For those of you who've just opened your eyes for the first time and are reading this while suckling on a teat, allow me to fill you in on Byrd- he's a national-level bodybuilding competitor who happens to be the world record holder in the squat with a 782 lb wrapless 2nd attempt.  In that meet, he actually broke the world record with his opener, which has to be a first.

Byrd built his beastly squat with twice a week squat training, which is paired with the deadlift in both workouts.  Byrd cycles his training in microcycles, during which time he rotates upward from 60% of a 1RM he can hit "any day of the week regardless of how long [he's] been without training"(Byrd) to a point where he can hit 5 sets of 5 with 70% or 5x 3 with 80% of his previous 1RM in 15 minutes.  That's right- Byrd uses a Frankenstein's monster version of 5 x 5 combined with Staley's Escalating Density training.  He also mixes in bands and chains to add resistance at the bottom of his lift, which he thinks is critical for raw lifters.

Interestingly, Byrd prefers to use "rep maxes rather than heavy singles because its less taxing" and "less intimidating. Confidence is key in this sport, as with pretty much anything else in life."  He's a great deal more confident with a "5 rep max for a new PR than a 1 rep for a new PR" and finds that rep max calculators are spot on for him, so he uses http://www.joeskopec.com/repmax.html to calculate his rep maxes. Thus, he uses his 3 or 5 rep max to determine his 1RM and then resets to 60% based on the new max.   At that point, he does the following:
"If I start a new wave, which I am likely to do because, as I said, I avoid they heavy stuff as long as possible, then I take the next 3 weeks and wave 60% for 5x5 the first week, 70% 3x5 (plus a set at 60%x5 on the way up) on the second week, and then 80% for 5x3reps (with 60% and 70% both done for 5 on the way up. Remember all these sets are done with CAT- 100% effort on every single rep- all should be fast and explosive, no grinders. If you are grinding at all or slowing down then you tried to progress too fast. I do add a belt for 80%, but nothing less than that.
The fourth week ill rest, then take then finally take the rep max or repeat one more time before the rep max. I prefer this way because I like to do my rep max with about 80% and I like to feel it on my back a time or two before I have to max out my reps with it. Again, its a confidence thing. After all those weeks crushing weights confidence is pretty high. Ive performed hundreds of explosive powerful reps and not one single miss or grinder any where. By the time i get ready to max I'm ready to test the limits. Once I test, I reset my max and either begin again or change things up to add some variety- maybe a few weeks of chained singles the last 4 weeks before a meet."(Byrd)
Byrd's two days a week are: 
Main Squat Day:  He uses the aforementioned progression followed by some form of deadlift, usually a SLDL or similar set/rep for speed pulls, such as SLDLs for 3x10reps or 5-6 x 5 or speed pulls with 6-8x3 reps at 60% with 1 minute rest between sets. Thereafter, he does glute ham raises for 3-4 sets of 10-15, then abs and upper back work.

Front Squat and Rack Pull Day:  Both are done heavy and without rep max percentages as a guide.
Front Squats- 3x5 with a weight on which he fails on his 15th rep.  He goes to total failure on the last set, and raises the weight when he can get 8.

Rack pulls (just below the knee)- Sets of 5 until he can no longer get 5, then a heavy set of 3.

Like I said, this shit isn't pretty- it's all over the place.  I'm not posting these workouts as a guideline- I'm posting them so you know there are no guidelines but those you make for yourself.  Dislike 1RMs?  Do 5s.  Want to squat everyday?  There's nothing that says you can't- Bev Francis did and crushed everyone in her wake in the 80s.

The future is yours- fuck the past.
Behold the past.
     Byrd, Sam.  Sam Byrd's answer to question about raw squat progression.  EliteFTS.  http://asp.elitefts.net/qa/default.asp?qid=170557&tid=
     CNN.  Dwarfism.  CNN Health.  http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/library/dwarfism/DS01012.html
     Poliquin, Charles.  Understanding Russian Weightlifting Methods.  http://www.charlespoliquin.com/ArticlesMultimedia/Articles/Article/637/Understanding_Russian_Weightlifting_Methods.aspx
     Poltaev, Petr.  The Russian Approach to Planning An Olympic Weightlifting Program. Strength and Conditioning.  February 1995.  http://physiqueconsultant.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/The-Russian-Approach-to-Planning-a-Weightlifting-Program.pdf
     Stewart, Brady.  Mike Kuhns Powerlifting Program B4P.  http://ironauthority.com/mike-kuhns-powerlifting-program-b4p/


  1. I never thought I'd see Frank Stella mentioned on CnP.

  2. americans 0/24 weightlifting medals
    canada 1/24 WOOT!

    1. She squatted 110kg when she was 13.

    2. she also trains at home by herself and her husband is her bitch lol.

  3. Those North Koreans are cleaning up in the weightlifting. I'm just looking forward to the 105kgs so i can jerk furiously over Klokov.

    1. praise the glorious leader, the leader is great...
      must be for 3x bw CnJ

  4. I've seen Aranda before. Best squats ever.



  5. 105Kg weightlifting on Monday, who you got?

    1. Akkaev by 10kgs...at least

    2. Still going with Klokov. Posted the highest entry total and looks more manly which clearly makes him a favourite.

    3. Shit

      And double shit

  6. Akkaev and Klokov are both out, fucking sucks.

  7. Wow that completely fucking blows! When are sporting federations going to stop being pussies and just let athletes do whatever fucking drugs they like?

  8. Sam Byrd isn't holding on to the bar in the last picture.