30 August 2012

USPA Nationals After-Action Report And CfC Meet Prep

The new logo's pimped, right?

I realize I haven't posted a motherfucking thng in the last couple of weeks, but it's for good reason- I've been spending ten to thirteen hours a day on a new ebook that grew out of the blog entries on the three powerlifts.  It's called Destroy the Opposition, and it's a total rewrite of the blogs plus a ton of new material, and it's clocking in at over 100 pages eve though it's as yet incomplete.  I'm working on a print version as well, which will be an expanded version of the ebook.  I'm not going to state unequivocally that this is pretty much the seminal work on powerlifting, but if you guys aren't blown the fuck away by it, I will be surprised.  Rereading it for edits, the thing even impresses me, and I wrote the fucking thing.  Look for Destroy The Opposition to go on sale this weekend.  It will be well worth the money you spend on it.

Still exhausted and spacey a day after weighin.

Well, by now I'd imagine the lot of you have hear that I totalled 1630 at the USPA Nationals with a 633 squat, 336 bench, and a 661 deadlift.  Since the internet buzz appears to be that my bench has fallen into the shitter, I figure I'll address that first- it hasn't.  Though I don't have a video, 375 went up easy as pie on my third attempt, as did my ass.  I didn't feel my ass leave the bench and flipped the fuck out when I was red-lighted, so you guys can settle the fuck down.  375 was an easy third- my problem is that I invariably fuck up my second attempt on bench- whether due to overexcitement, underexcitement, or what, I have no idea.  I can tell you that in that meet, the weight drifted toward my face on my second attempt, so I decided to blast the fucker up on my third.  Rather than any problem with strength, I got a little overenthusiastic with my press on my third and my form got loose.  I seem to have figured out how to prevent that going forward, which I'll address later in this writeup.
I find it hard to believe I was mistaken for an ice giant, or a giant anything, for that matter.

Karmic Beatdown For Generally Being An Asshole?
I have no idea what cosmic powers I pissed off before this meet, but they handed me an epic beatdown before this meet.  I'd not attempted to cross multiple time zones for a meet before, and have never had a problem with jet lag, so doing a meet in San Francisco seemed like no biggie.  From Birmingham, I had to fly to Atlanta and then San Francisco, then drive to San Jose.  That would have put me into San Francisco just before midnight, so I would have been in bed by 1, letting me get about 6 and a half hours blissful sleep with the AC cranked to "Arctic Circle" before starting my cut at the gym.  My flight was delayed three hours in Birmingham, however, and I then had to wait for another hour and a half (at 230 in the morning) for a rental car, so I didn't actually get into bed until 5AM.  I then overslept (of course), and frantically searched for a Ballys I never found (driving around a strange town while dehydrated and hungry is about on par with a three-pronged attach into Russia in the winter, as stupid ideas go).

As a general rule, you should always have a backup plan for making weight- having one saved my ass, sort of.  The gym to which I went after frantically searching one-way streets for the Ballys I never found was actually my first choice for a gym, but it was further away than the Ballys.  As such, I tried the Ballys first, in an effort to spare myself having to drive 20 minutes each way to another gym.  I picked a gym with a dry sauna and brought a sauna suit and a towel to drape over my head to hold in heat, which worked well for my last meet.  For some reason, this cut was far harder than my previous cuts, and I spent a hell of a lot of time out of the sauna rather than in it because I honestly felt like I was dying.  I would venture to guess it was the sleep deprivation- that always fucks with my head and moods.  In any event, I put Die Antwoord's "I Fink U Freeky" pretty much on repeat for three hours, which for whatever reason made the misery of being in the sauna and sauna suit tolerable.  I then spent 2.5 hours in the suit and the sauna sauna and believed, according to the gym scale, I was underweight.  I generally operate under the golden rule of never trusting a gym scale, so I thought being a shade under 181 would float me.  It did not.  Upon arriving at the venue, I discovered I was three tenths of a pound over.  To give you an idea of how dehydrated I was at this point, my piss was cloudy and brown.  To say I was pissed was an understatement, but I grabbed a cup for spitting and hit the bathtub.  I spat into the cup and soaked in water so hot I could just barely stand to be in the tub for 45 minutes and soaked in a hot bath, which got my weight down to 179.  I honestly have no idea how I dropped taht much weight that quickly, but I can tell you that I will be picking a gym with a hot tub if at all possible for my next cut, as that seems like a far more pleasant way to drop weight than the sauna suit/sauna combo.  The hot bath seems to do far more than a sauna, or is at least a good follow-up to a sauna.

Lesson:  Be really careful about doing meets that require you to cross multiple time zones in places with which you're not familiar and in which you have little or no support structure.

This recomp was a bit haphazard, as I had a college buddy come visit from San Fran I hadn't seen in years.  I basically spent the next 6 hours drinking as much liquid as I could and eating pizza, Cinnamon Life, and burgers at hourly intervals, attempting to get as much in the way of carbohydrates, salt, and water into my system as possible.  I was too tired to really care that much, however, and was so full the entire time that I really didn't do all that I should have to recomp.  I was in bed by 930PM and asleep within minutes, and slept so hard I really didn't continue to rehydrate overnight.  As such, I was still really dehydrated in the morning.  Additionally, I couldn't find shit for breakfast worth eating and had to travel 30 minutes to Walmart in search of deadlift socks (which I'd forgotten) an hour before the meet.  Incidentally, soccer socks work perfectly as deadlifting socks, so if you find yourself without yours, they're cheap as hell and available wherever you can find sporting goods.
Apparently, I am not the only person who thinks Cinnamon Life springs forth from heaven and descends to Earth by sliding down rainbows into gilded pots.

Lesson:  Pretty much the same fucking thing as the previous bit.

The Meet:
The meet went, by and large, about how I expected.  My walkouts all felt shaky (which they were), so I went light on my third to avoid missing an attempt there.  I set a PR with my second, but I figured I might as well split the difference on my third and put up an impressive number.  The bench was a bit of a debacle, but I made up for it on the deadlift.  I was so bored by the deadlift that I really had no interest in lifting.  I warmed up with 225, 405, and 545, then pulled my first attempt.  In my next meet, I'm hoping that ingesting enough stimulants to kill a small horse will reignite my flagging interest in the meet.  When i say I was bored, I mean I left the venue after every flight because being there was driving me slowly insane.  I actually missed the medal ceremony (where I was declared the Best lifter) because I was eating Mexican... mostly because I couldn't stand to watch any more lifting.

Lesson:  Powerlifting meets are fucking boring.  Ritalin would probably be a good idea for the deadlift.
Round-back like a motherfucker, but I got it, and by all accounts it went up easy.  My C7 would dispute that, however.

Prior to the meet, I thought I had strained a trap, which thought was odd.  My upper back was killing me throughout the meet, particularly on and around my C7, which is the vertebra that sticks out the most in your upper back.  As it happens, I'd incurred a clay-shoveler's fracture on that vertebra, which means that my traps were ripping chunks of bone off my spine every time I lifted.  I laid off shrugging for a few weeks, as that seemed to be the culprit.  It seems to be fully healed, and I shrugged 855 for 4x5 and then 1x8 the other day, so I'm stronger than ever.  I am, however, amused at myself for putting up PRs with a fractured vertebra.  Next time you're thinking about making excuses and pussying out, bear that in mind.
Blurry, but you get the idea.  I was going for the Bronson pose in honor of our esteemed trapariffic crackhead.

What I'm Doing To Prepare For The Clash For Cash
Basically, my training over the last year has been a long test to see how much punishment my body can take while determining my best form on the three lifts.  It can take a tremendous beating, it seems, provided i don't do the few things that really annoy it.  Thus, I have made the following changes to my workouts:
  • Use a monkey/suicide grip on the squat.  Paul Carter from Lift-Run-Bang tipped me off to the fact taht hooking my thumbs under the bar on the squat was both unnecessary and counter-productive.  I was putting way too much pressure on my brachialis to hold the bar in place, as hooking my thumb under the bar transfered a great deal of the weight down my forarms and into my elbows.  As the brachialis is what rotates your lower arm at the elbow, that's what was taking all of the strain.  Since I rolled out all of the knots and quit that shit, I'm pain free in my upper arms and able to train the squat far more.  As such, I've been squatting between 3 and 5 times a week since.
  • Get a liftoff for reverse grip benching.  In addition to the knotting in my brachialis, I was getting huge, deep, Russiand Nesting Doll-style knots in my biceps.  I couldn't figure out what the problem was until I got them out, then tried to unrack 315 myself and felt them knot up immediately.  Thus, I've only reverse gripped twice in the last two months, once from the bottom position off the pics, and the other with a spotter.  In the latter, I got an easy single with 385 and a couple of very near misses with 405 after a hell of a lot of benching.  Additionally, I've been close-grip benching two or three times a week and doing weighted dips once to strengthen my triceps further.
  • Training more and heavier.  I've come to the realization that the lighter, small workouts that I had been doing were better suited to morning workouts, and have been training twice a day almost every day, doing light shit in the morning and heavy shit in the evening, 6-7 days a week.  As such, I'm leaner and stronger than ever.  My only issue with this level of frequency is that it's mentally exhausting, but I just force myself through it and keep going.  It has, however, caused me to scour the internet for ever more brutal music to get me through my lifts.  Die Antwoord being the exception to that rule, obviously.
Since you guys are always asking for my workouts, I'll share what I've done thus far this week.  Of late, I'm spending between one and a half and two and a half hours a day in the gym.

Saturday AM
20 minutes of arms, doing sets of 50-100.  I was bored.

Saturday PM
Pendlay rows: 15x3x365, 3x2x385

Sunday AM
Klokov press: 5x10x135, 3x5x185

Sunday PM
Close Grip Bench Press(Paused): 1x3x135, 225, 315.  10x1x365
We did random other shit but I've forgotten what.

Monday AM
15 minutes with 80 lbs of weighted vests ( I wear 2 of them at once) on the treadmill, walking and reading.
15 minutes pullups and dips

Monday PM
Bottom Position Squat, 2" above parallel
1x1x 315, 405, 495, 585, 8x1x675, 1x2x675
Standing Hamstring curls 6 x 8-15
Standing Calf Raise with the stack (~600 lbs) 4x15

Tuesday AM
Same as Monday

Tuesday PM
Shrugs: 1x20x405, 495. 1x10x585, 675, 765.  4x5x855.  1x8x855.
Pullups: 6x5x90lbs. 4x15x unweighted
Pushdowns: 3x25

Wednesday AM
Weight vest on the treadmill 20 mins

Wednesday PM
An hour and 30 minutes of Klokov presses with 135 for sets of 10, mostly.
20 minutes of standing wrist curls with 135
(I didn't bother counting sets and reps)

Thursday AM
Weighted vests on teadmill 20 mins
Ab Wheel with weighted vests, 3x12

I've not yet decided what I'm doing tonight, but it'll likely be jump squats with 495 for singles.

Hopefully, that will tide you guys over while I finish up the ebook.  If that isn't enough, perhaps this will push it over the top:


  1. Hey Jamie- what do you use to roll out the knots?

  2. The book cover looks awesome. Will you ship it internationally?

    1. I actually thought the photo over he CnP logo is pretty lame. Looks like the work of a 14 year old getting to use Photoshop.

      Anyway, +1 for you question since I'm also outside USA.

  3. Yeah, but I don't have a timeline on the print edition.

  4. http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=9b6_1346289184
    benching lolz

  5. W/r/t using the hot bath for cutting, that seems to be a popular way for mma fighters to cut weight, though they rub some sort of vaseline-like ointment all over their bodies before they get in the water.

  6. An aside:
    Do you avoid protein powders containing soy lecithin - even if it only make around 0,5% of it?
    7kg a month, in my case, would proceed to 35g of soy lecithin.

    1. I get asked this question a lot- you guys seem to really fixate on minutiae. No, I don't bother trying to avoid it, as soy lecithin's in so many products that it's nearly possible to avoid. That said, I do avoid soy-based products, but soy lecithin's not a base for anything- it's just an emulsifier. Insofar as I've seen, estrogenic effects occur at 400mg/day, so I think 35 mg a month will have little to no effect.

    2. It's 35 grams not milligrams, giving you more than 1000 mg a day from protein powder alone. If estrogenic effects occur at 400mg/day I'm fucked.

  7. Please tell me that's not your gf...

    What is your walking around weight? Will you move up to 198 in the near-medium future or do you still feel that cutting is worth the shittyness? Book sounds awesome, nice work man.

    1. That's not my girlfriend, haha. My gf will be making her powerlifting debut at the CfC after switching from oly to PL about two months ago. She'll be the little brown chick in the new CnP shirt in any pics you happen to see.

    2. ... and I don't have any plans to move up in classes. I walk around at about 195-7 when carb depleted and 205ish on Saturdays (after my Friday carb-up). I'd have to put on a considerable amount of weight and strength to dominate 198s, and Ryan Celli's bench would ruin me without significant jumps in my strength.

  8. Didn't know you were a pro wrestler?


  9. i find it extremely amusing that in every picture i've seen of you where you're not straining with a weight you look like you're about to break into a beatific smile.

    looking forwards to the new book.

    1. Hahaha. I don't know that I'm capable of a beatific smile.

    2. Please don't try. I like my world non-divided-by-zero :p

  10. Book cover looks awesome, looking forward to it.

    Are you gonna write some stuff for beginners/intermediate trainees? I´ve used some of the beginner shit you wrote on your previous book and made amazing gains. It´d be awesome if you could write some follow-up/new ideas.

    1. I'll actually have programs in this thing, and they'll run the gamut from beginner to elite.

  11. my coach always had me use a steam room rather than a sauna for cutting weight as an amateur boxer, something about the moisture in the air not letting the sweat evaporate so you hold a higher body temp and sweat out even more in an effort to cool down. I would guess being in hot water has the same impact.

  12. I just wanted to clarify why it's so much easier to cut in a tub than a sauna. The two factors that play into how fast you will lose/gain heat when in contact with a substance (air, water, etc) is the nature of the substance (which translates into a constant k that changes from substance to substance) and the heat differential between you and the substance. The speed of heat transfer equals k times temperature differential times some other shit that doesn't change in weight cutting scenarios. Since k for air is 0.03 and k for water is 0.6, water is a fuckton better (20 times better to be precise) at dehydrating you and you can lose 20% of your bodyweight in 6 hours of hot tub. I would guess, however, that the risk of, uhhh, "health complications" is greater.

    And Igl18, all you need to know as an intermediate lifter is "try harder, buy a lot of food and some testosterone."

    1. Yeah, I covered that in my original cutting blog, but for whatever reason didn't see that profound a difference the first time I tried it between the sauna and hot bath. A hot tub would be preferable to both, but I've not had access to one for a cut thus far.

  13. For my last meet I alternated hot baths for about 15-25 minutes and ice cold showers. And I mean hot, as in hotter than 2 foxes fuckin in a forest fire, HOT.
    It gave me some relief and made my heart stop trying to pop out of my chest. I cut about 15 pounds the day of weigh ins; from 213 to 198. Roughly about 2 pounds an hour and I didn't feel too horrible.
    I've found, personally, that a hardcore cut, quick as all get out, let's me recover much quicker without too much lingering exhaustion.

    1. 25 minutes in "The Bath"... you are not fuckin human man.

      hot baths are the best way to drop but after 10 minutes I feel like I've nuked my balls to the point of sterilization...

      also, the cold shower is counter productive. your skin will absorb a lot of water, especially when you get dehydrated enough. I prefer lying under a bunch of blankets to cool off and while still dropping, just crank the AC and let your head cool down

      if you're really pressed for time you can drop 1 or 2 caffeine pills before the tub session = fastest (dangerous?) drop I've had

  14. Hello Jamie,

    Great job on the meet. And I am looking forward to the book.

    I have read your blog for a while and taken many lessons from it. I know that you have promoted heavy lifting as often as possible, so I took that and tried just that - a lot of heavy lifts every day, sometimes twice every day.
    Now I'm not whining because I did gain a great deal of mental strength from all that work, and I fear the barbell much less than before (to the point that a max attempt doesn't feel scary at all) - but I didn't gain any physical strength as I had hoped to. My lifts were the same or weaker even after a layoff. In such case, what could I do? I still believe in the mentality of not fearing heavy, frequent work, but I'm just lost with my less than favorable results.

    Thanks for the help.

    1. There's too many variables for someone to decide why you haven't gained any strength. How long have you been lifting? What kind of poundages are you putting up? What have you been doing during your foray into higher frequency? What has your volume been like? etc etc etc.
      Keep in mind that you have to build up the volume and frequency after a period of time and that once you're at a point where you're lifting heavy the majority of the time you'll go through phases of maintaining strength and suddenly smashing past PR's. This is where the chaotic aspect comes in as you start switching around lifts, altering volume and intensity etc.

    2. What, exactly, have you been doing? What were you eating? how much sleep were you getting? What had you been doing prior to this?

  15. Re Phil: Joe Lauzon said in a video blog for his last fight that he uses albolene when cutting.


  16. Regarding your love for stimulants, the best stimulant that I have taken is probiotics. After spending a few years perfecting the science, my home made probiotics got really good and I found I always got a really strong 'high' after eating it. I looked online and I'm not the only one - if you consume large amounts (not a few store bought pills..) of quality probiotics you get a very strong stimulant feeling. It basically wakes me up way better than coffee, makes my muscles and joints feel indestructible and makes my brain feel very 'fluid'. It's cheap as fuck too. Oh yeah, and I read somewhere that they increase protein synthesis, but thats probably strain specific and yeah IDK. If you wanna know how I make it just reply (its way easier,tastier and more potent than sauerkraut, which only has 2-3 strains).

    Also looking forward to the new book.

    1. Alright George if Jamie won't bite I will. This is just like the Trib post after a claim like that I got to try it. How do you make it and what's your dosing schedule?

  17. the book cover is awesome. nice pose.

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