30 July 2018

Training For The Apocalypse Part 2- The Nuclear Option And Robot Rape

The apocalypse is gonna be too dope.

In the first installment of this series, published ages ago in a land far, far away, we examined the manner in which one should train for two apocalyptic scenarios- a slow apocalypse and a zombie apocalypse.  The reasoning behind this was fairly simple, in that such an exercise illustrates the manner in which one would go about structuring their own training based on the event for which they are preparing and their current level of preparedness.  The application, then, is to learn how to figure out how best to train for a given sport, couched in the kind of awesome insanity that leads wild-eyed psychopaths to dig bunkers in their backyard filled with rations, guns and Bibles, and others to slightly more rationally store combat hatchet and knife-laden bug-out bags in their basements (yeah, I fall into the latter category).  What you'll find is that there is a fairly wide gap between people who think that training should necessarily be sport specific and those who think that general strength is sufficient to improve performance.  Personally, I have never trained with my specificity for anything, be it football, wrestling, mma, powerlifting, or odd lifting/strongman, and I have not suffered for it in the slightest.  Strength is strength- there is no such fucking animal as "functional strength" because all strength is necessarily functional.

Not all heroes wear capes.  Functional as fuck.

Determining how to a train for a given activity is pretty fucking simple- you determine what will lend itself best to the activity by examining the activity in detail, then identify training methods or movements that aid in the development of those physical attributes.    When doing this, however, you need to examine your own strengths and weaknesses as well, so that you construct the program to reinforce your strength while bringing up your weaknesses.  If you have to do it Madden-style and just rate yourself out of 100, by all means go for it and be sure to share with the Internet, because if there is anything more in vogue than Excel spreadsheets these days, it's offering the world reasons why you cannot do something before you attempt it to forestall the shame of failure.

I'm actually going do one of these for an upcoming article on the best strength athlete of all time, I think.

When determining if and how your training is going to change for a given activity, be it participating an extremely abusive (yet consensual) gangbang, trying out for the USA Rugby Sevens team, or switching from Crossfit to strongman, it helps to consider both the the strengths you must display for that activity, and also your personal strength- and fitness-oriented weaknesses.  For the latter, we're looking at movements, planes of movement, strength endurance requirements, and cardio requirements that you can add into a program built around raw, violent strength.  That's right- barbarous, all-in, cataclysmic, soul-crushing, face-smashing strength will always be the crux of a strength program, because it's a fucking strength program.  Anyone who tells you they don't need to be brutally strong for any sport is 1) not an athlete, 2) certainly never going to be strong, and 3) a fucking retard.

Neck- and arm-centric programming would be appropriate for this.

With all of that in mind, we will move onto my other two favorite apocalyptic scenarios- the Robopocalypse, for which i have been preparing since I was a kid after reading a bunch of old Magnus: Robot Fighter comics, and a Nuclear Apocalypse, which was an eminent threat as a kid (fun fact- according to Robert Heinlein, all of the old malls have bomb shelters beneath them that were simply designed to collapse in upon the inhabitants to obviate the need for burial... rather than shelter the inhabitants so they could fight in a counterattack against the Russians.  Because Murica!)

Nuclear Apocalypse

The specter of nuclear annihilation and irradiated wastelands filled with pustulent mutants driven mad with hunger and cancer since HG Wells first wrote about atomic weapons in The World Set Free.  While the roaming bands of cancer-covered mutants dripping noisome ichor likely will never be the plague they are in the nuclear apocalypse flicks of the 1980s, a post apocalyptic wasteland is still a looming threat as Russia unveils new nukes and we are overrun with idiotic flag-waving chickenhawks in the American government.  As such, we've got to examine what we need to do to be prepared when one of the gibbering retards in charge of a nuclear button finally pushes the fucking thing because YOLO, and maybe they can get a post-apocalyptic reality show out of it.

For more on nuclear apocalypse scenarios, see: The War After Armageddon, Metro 2033Damnation Alley, 2000 ADSix String Samurai.

With the nuclear apocalypse looming, here are the things I think we need to focus on to ensure Chaos and Pain dominates the atom-blasted, radioactive wasteland we currently face:

  • Imposing Physique.  If post apocalyptic films have taught me anything, it's that being physically imposing is a primary survival trait in the apocalypse.  Whether it's Mean Machine Angel in Judge Dredd, Rictus Erectus in Fury Road, The Humongous in The Road Warrior, Blaster in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Roddy Piper in Hell Comes to Frogtown, or Fred Williamson in The New Barbarians, being jacked is always to your advantage.  As the Luciferian adage goes, "the strong rule the weak and the clever rule the strong," so by extension people those of us who are clever and strong are going to rule the apocalypse with an iron fist.  An imposing physique will deter raiders and inspire confidence in anyone you're trying to lead or order around, so it's important you look like a bad motherfucker.
  • Strength.  Like an imposing physique, immense physical strength will cow people who are weak and fearful, and you can easily enslave them to do your bidding.  Additionally, that strength will pay dividends in personal security and in the rebuilding process.  Being the strongest person in a community will likely make you both one of the most feared and one of the most valuable, which adheres to Machiavelli's suggestion in The Prince, "From this arises the question whether it is better to be loved rather than feared, or feared rather than loved. It might perhaps be answered that we should wish to be both: but since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved."
  • Muscular Endurance.  Muscular endurance is certainly a useful trait in any apocalypse, but frankly it is more a trait of a conquered laborer than the warlord of a dawning post-nuclear polity.  Initially, however, muscular endurance will be useful for scrapping and scavenging, and for fighting, but its development is definitely a secondary consideration to maximal strength.
The Chernobyl mutants seem pretty tame- insofar as i know this kid has yet to taste human flesh.

The Donald Trump Contingency Program

Because the man in charge of the largest nuclear arsenal in the world is a halfwit who's confused threats of nuclear war with fake punching your kid brother in the backseat of the car, the threat of nuclear war is more real than it's been since the USSR was run by similarly pompous, old, impotent, retarded men.  As such, it might soon become necessary to fight off mutants, plague carriers, whatever government agency Trump sends to put us in internment camps for our own safekeeping, and the omnipresent threat of assault by countless illegal immigrants flooding across our borders (settle down there, southerners- your nonexistent plight of "invasion" by starving Central Americans must be just terrifying).  With these threats looming, it'd behoove us all to train at least six times a week if you can drag yourself away from Facebook to stop crying about who said what mean thing to whom first and just get ready to unfuck your situation when our government decides it's high time to just finish off the destruction they've already begun.

Congrats to Trump for at least picking the nation with the smallest dicks (3.8 sad little inches) to assert himself over, because a dick measuring contest is generally not one he'll win.  Know how I know?  If he was hung like a donkey it would have been the basis of his entire platform.

Too political?  Eat shit.  Onto the program.

Day 1

{Reverse Grip Pushdowns- 10x10-20 supersetted with
{Pushdowns- 10x10-20 [1 min rest between supersets]

{Reverse Grip Cable Curls- 10x10-20 supersetted with

{Cable Curls- 10x10-20 [1 min rest between supersets]


Partial Front Squats (off the pins)- 10x2 with a ten second hold at the top of each rep [2-3 min rest between sets]
Unilateral Calf Raise- 10x10 (for quick bursts of speed, the ability to get up an incline quickly, jumping, etc) [1 min rest]
Klokov Press- 8x5 [2 min rest]
Ab Wheel- 5xAMRAP

Day 2

Stone Loading- AMRAP ~185lb stone in 30 minutes (high rep)


Pendlay Row (very explosively)- 10x3 [2-3 min rest between sets]
Hammer Strength/Machine Row- 6x4 [2 min rest]
Cable Row- 5x6-20 using a variety of handles [2 min rest]
Wrist Roller/Forearm Work- 10 sets [1 min rest]

Day 3

{Reverse Grip Pushdowns- 10x10-20 supersetted with
{Pushdowns- 10x10-20 [1 min rest between supersets]

{Reverse Grip Cable Curls- 10x10-20 supersetted with

{Cable Curls- 10x10-20 [1 min rest between supersets]


Bench Press- 10x3 [3 min rest]
Hammer Strength/Machine Chest Press-5x10 [90 sec rest]
Military Press- Work up to a max single, then 10x2 90%1RM [2 min rest]
Ab Wheel- 5xAMRAP [1 min rest]

Don't forget you're gonna need to megadose the protein, so check out this article for weight gainer shakes.

Day 4

Stone Loading- AMRAP ~185lb stone in 30 minutes (high rep)


Stiff Leg High Pull- 12x2 [3 min rest]
Hammer Strength/Machine Row- 6x4 [2 min rest]
Weighted Pullups- 6x3 [2 min rest]
Wrist Roller/Forearm Work- 10 sets [1 min rest]

Day 5



Skullcrushers- 6x4-10 (working up to a very heavy set of four, bouncing the bar off the bench above your head rather than touching to your forehead) [2 min rest]
{Reverse Grip Pushdowns- 10x10-20 supersetted with
{Pushdowns- 10x10-20 [1 min rest between supersets]
Hammer Curls- 6x4-10 (working up to a very heavy set of four) [2 min rest]
{Reverse Grip Cable Curls- 10x10-20 supersetted with
{Cable Curls- 10x10-20 [1 min rest between supersets]
Ab Wheel- 5xAMRAP [1 min rest]

Day 6



Partial Back Squats/Partial Front Squats/Yoke/Conan's Wheel
Log Continental and Press/Axle Continental and Press
Close Grip Bench Press/Close Grip Axle Press/Axle Floor Press

Day 7


For progression: when you are able to get all of the reps with a given work weight, add 5-10lbs and use that weight until you can complete every rep. 


It's entirely possible you don't think that autonomous robots will never attempt to murder us.  The reason you think that is because you're an idiot.  Nevertheless, I have actually thought this issue through, at great length, because pontificating upon fantastical end-of-days scenarios is one of my favorite things to do.  And a robopocalypse is not difficult to imagine when Google and Amazon are developing advanced AIs, the ATLAS robot developed by Boston Dynamics can fucking trail run, and DARPA has developed a robot hilariously named EATR that can refuel itself on plant and animal matter.  Put those three things together and we're mere days away from getting hunted to the ends of the earth by sentient, robotic corpse-gobbling traceurs.

This broad has enough bolt-on parts she might just be a robot, and I had a request for bimbos with bolt-on tits.  I am a man of the people, after all.  Hit me up on FB if you wanna request a porn genre.

For more on this, see: Magnus: Robot Fighter, Robopocalypse, Gog, the Terminator franchise, Chopping Mall, Hardware, Class of 1999, and for fist-fighting robots, Richard Matheson's short story Steel (which was the source for a badass Twilight Zone episode and was then turned into a shit heap children's movie starring Hugh Jackman).

As the specter of the robopocalypse looms, it stands to reason we might want to be prepared.  Having read tons of Magnus: Robot Fighter back issues I found at a flea market as a kid, I feel as though I am now an authority on battling our future robot overlords.  Here's what i think our focus needs to be:

  • Shaolin Iron Body Training / Muay Thai Body Conditioning / Filipino Body Conditioning / Systema- Call me a lunatic (you'd be correct), but the very first thing I think anyone should do with the overthrow of humanity by machines on the horizon is prepare their body to receive a beating.  Shaolin monks have a method they've developed that allows them to take beatings generally reserved for cervices and retarded women in Louisiana without any damage at all. That would allow us to attack robots with nothing but a solid set of tactical gloves on if need be and possibly survive.  Similarly, Thai and Filipino body conditioning enable fighters in those disciplines to strike hard targets with little pain, which is going to be essential for your battles with Google death bots and the like.
  • Iron Fist Training- Even with tactical gloves on, punching a fucking robot is gonna suck.  Better that we harden the shit out of our hands with Iron Fist training or something similar to strengthen and fuse the bones in our hands than get one solid robot kill and then die because we're trying to fight with shattered hands.
  • Punching Power/Kicking Power- Frankly, I fucking hate losing fights, so if I am going to be fighting metal monsters, I intend to hit hard enough to hurt them.  This means insanely intense, explosive super strength.  Fuck doing reps- explosive strength between one and three reps is the kind of strength that will develop truly cataclysmic striking force.

The Magnus: Robot Fighter Training Routine
Yeah, yeah, I know- if we are reduced to having to fistfight Amazon's drone warriors we are likely all fucked harder than the Celts in the siege of Numantia, and like those Celts we're all going to die badly.  Given that I would rather go down swinging rather than bitching about the automatonic armageddon on Twitter and the the fact that this is just a fun intellectual exercise, I'm structuring my training this way.  I'm sure at least half of you would rather spend your time learning code so you can hack the robots and force them to do you bidding, but you're gonna need someone to keep their metallic appendages off your scrawny ass while you're attempting to decipher what will likely prove to be an unhackable AI legacy code we didn't even know existed, and since I'd rather be burned alive than go back to coding, I'll stick with training to brawl robots.
Day 1
Si Bi Quan training (this is the training that wore down the concrete floor in the Shaolin Temple.  The force of the stomp actually strengthens both the bones and internal organs, which prevents damage and injury when struck).


Viking Press- 6x3, 5x2, 5x1 [2-3 min rest]
Klokov Press- 4x2 [2 min rest]
Speed Bench- 10x3 (75% 1RM- 3 sets close grip, 3 medium grip, 3 wide) [30 second rests]
Skullcrusher- 8x3 (bouncing the bar off the bench above your head rather than touching to your forehead) [2 min rest]
Ab Wheel- 5xAMRAP

Day 2



Partial Front Squats (off the pins)- 10x2 with a ten second hold at the top of each rep [2-3 min rest between sets]
Unilateral Calf Raise- 10x10 (for quick bursts of speed, the ability to get up an incline quickly, jumping, etc) [1 min rest]
Pendlay Row (very explosively)- 10x3 [2-3 min rest between sets]
Hammer Strength/Machine Row- 4x3 [2 min rest]
Hammer Curl- 10x3 [2 min rest]
Wrist Roller/Forearm Work- 10 sets [1 min rest]

Day 3



Bench Press- 10x3 [3 min rest]
Viking Press- 10x1 [3 min rest]
Hammer Strength/Machine Chest Press-5x5 [90 sec rest]
Circus Dumbbell Press/ One Arm DB Press- 6x2 [2 min rest]
Ab Wheel- 5xAMRAP [1 min rest]

If you're concerned about robot rape, I suggest a bit of this as a second evening workout.

Day 4

Stiff Leg High Pull- 12x2 [3 min rest]
Zercher Squats (off the pins)- 6x2 with a ten second hold at the top of each rep [2-3 min rest between sets]
Unilateral Calf Raise- 5x5 [1 min rest]
Wrist Roller/Forearm Work- 10 sets [1 min rest]

Day 5



Close Grip Bench Press- 12x2 [3 min rest]
Strict Military Press- 5x3, 3x2, 3x1 [3 min rest]
Skullcrushers- 5 sets of 21s
Ab Wheel- 5xAMRAP [1 min rest]

Day 6



Rack Pulls (knee height)- 12x2 [3 min rest]
Shrugs (off high pins)- 6x3 (you should barely be moving the fucking bar on the third one, or using a crazy amount of body English) [3 min rest]
Reverse Grip Curls (straight bar)- 5x5 [2 min rest]
Wrist Roller/Forearm Work- 10 sets [1 min rest]

Day 7


For progression: when you are able to get all of the reps with a given work weight, add 5-10lbs and use that weight until you can complete every rep.


And there you have it- two training systems unique to the situation for which you're preparing, based upon the unique needs each situation has.  In spite of their uniqueness, however, there is no need for "sport specific" bullshit, because the movements associated with that shit are just window dressing trainers use to entice people to adopt their training program.  Even for strength sports (other than Olympic lifting, which is a skill sport), as I showed when I broke the all-time WR in powerlifting, there is not much need for specificity- simply being massively strong is enough.  Directing your training to maximize the strength you'll need across planes of movement is generally enough to dominate your opposition, be they radioactive mutant scorpions, incestuous, cannibalistic mountain men, killer robots, zombies, or just some pussy who's on his fifth iteration of Sheiko Jr.

Fuck those who oppose.  Annihilation of the opposition is what we do.

...and gore and porn.  We do a lot of that, too.

26 July 2018

John McWilliams, The Reason You Should Pay Attention To The Arm And Bench Bros In Your Gym

If there is any person in your gym more unjustly maligned than the dude with the biggest arms in the gym, I am a Chinese jet pilot.  For the last decade and a half, the arm specialists have labored in darkened corners, stretching their sleeves daily while 150lb "serious" lifters talk shit behind their backs like they are members of a Long Island elderly Jewish sewing circle.  Compounding this fact is the fact that the arm specialists are generally also bench bros, so the "serious" lifters talk even more shit, acting more jealous and salty than a pregnant women watching a doughnut and pickle-eating competition.  The coup-de-grace is the fact that when they're done benching everyone's best squat, those guys also tend to roll out of the gym with the hottest girl anyone's ever seen, because that's how life works- no one gives a flying fuck what your squat is until they're safely entrenched behind a computer screen so they can talk shit without getting hit.

Had he not skipped leg day, he'd definitely have been a bodybuilder people talk about in hushed tones today.  As it stands, he only managed to pull off 13th and 18th in the 1946 and 1947 AAU Mr. America contest, but fuck it and YOLO- the man was an upper body specialist.

In the 1950s, no one gave a fuck what you squatted- people barely did the goddamned lift.  I've no idea if this explains the ridiculous prevalence of 500lb natty benchers in that decade, but whatever the reason, every day was chest and arms day, and every day was good.  Contrary to the autistic screechings of a man who has never cited a source or read Carl Jung, Lyle McDonald, the guys in the 1950 didn't need to consult a genetic potential chart to determine their natty limit, because they just assaulted the weights like orally fixated college chicks attack cock at a frat party and got shit done.  It was either John McWilliams (or Bud Counts) who rocked the first 20" arms cold, which would likely indicate that he was busting his sleeves at over 21" with a pump on, and although that man would be a pariah in modern gyms, he was also one of the first people to bench over 500lbs and rocked a sick deadlift.   

"I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as fraud [or steroids]."
- Carl Jung 

Clearly, McWilliams didn't skip shoulders or back day, either.

Not only was McWilliams more impressive in the gym and on the platform than a chick who can take three fists in her ass, but he was one of the most prolific trainers of his era.  At this point, NFL teams trained wherever they could, and McWilliams ended up coaching most of the San Diego Chargers including All-Pros Jack Kemp, Keith Lincoln and Ron Mix, who led their team to the AFL championship game twice.  McWilliams was just as legendary for his sick arms as he was for being an amazing trainer, and the arm program he devised was used by himself, bodybuilding luminary Gene Mozee, and dozens of trainees to put an average of 1.25" on their arms in six weeks.

Long after he quit competing, McWilliams was rocking 20" arms or bigger.

I am as skeptical as you- I've never put an inch on my arms in a full year, never mind six weeks.  McWilliams was a different breed- even over 40, having cut to 186 lbs, he still rocked 19.25" arms, cold.  Frankly, to me that is preposterous.  I'm five inches shorter than the man and at the same weight had 17" arms, so I'm unclear how that could possibly work, but the man who taped his arms was none other than the legendary trainer Leo Stern, so it goes without saying that the measurement was legit.

Tragically, all that survives of the man's training routine is his arm routine, though I think we'd all like a look at his bench and deadlift routines as well- pulling in the 700's while looking like a goddamned polio victim is a hell of a feat, especially in a time when deadlifting was not tremendously common and a 710 deadlift by a 220lb man was pretty unheard of.  Given the emphasis guys like Chuck Sipes put on triceps development to push your bench up, having the man's arm routine is better than nothing, especially given the fact that trainees who used it in Gene Mozee's gym averaged over an inch on their arms in under two months with this thing.

If you're still skeptical, bear in mind the fact that McWilliams had a standing offer of a thousand bucks to anyone who could measure his arms at less than 19.5", which might be the greatest endorsement of a training methodology ever.  The following is the McWilliams arm routine, and one we should all probably jump on for six weeks to test out.  It's unlike virtually anything you'll see advertised these days, which should tell you that if nothing else you should at least end up looking like you lift, something all too uncommon in the last few years.

I can only imagine how terrified this man's suburban neighbors were of him.

John McWilliams Arm Program (Mozee)
* This program is done, true to bench and arm bro sensibilities, three times a week.  


Barbell Pullovers- 2 x 12
Close-Grip Bench Presses- 2 x 12


Barbell Pullovers- 2 x 6
Close-Grip Bench Presses- 2 x 6


Barbell Curls- 3 x 12
Overhead Tricep Extensions- 3 x 12


Dumbbell Curls- 3 x 10
Dumbbell Triceps Presses- 3 x 10

Lying Barbell Triceps Extensions- 3 x 12

Close-Grip Bench Presses- 3 x 10*

One-Arm Kickbacks- 2 x 20**

*The second you're done the third set of bench, grab a db and start kickbacks.  Kickbacks get no rest between arms, but a 30 second rest between sets.

If you're stunned at the fact that a guy with a 500lb bench seems to have trained his arms strictly for the pump with a bundle of supersets that look to be crazier than a sack of rabid weasels, so am I, but before you run off half cocked, it's important you read the exercise descriptions.  Old heads like myself will remember doing skullscrushers and presses or pullover and press, but the new jacks definitely will not have any experience with this kind of thing.  Therefore, read the following descriptions, and you'll note that literally every other John McWilliams program reprint (including the one on Deszo Ban) is completely fucking incorrect.
1) Pullovers and presses. This is not only a good exercise for the chest and shoulders, but it’s terrific for the arms. I attribute 75% of my own arm development to this double-compound exercise. There are many variations of this that you can perform. In this routine it’s used as a warmup and the first exercise, as follows.
Lie on your back on a flat bench that’s at least 18 inches high. Grasp the barbell with your hands approximately 10 inches apart. Begin with the bar resting on your chest and then press the weight up about 12 inches. With your arms bent, continue by guiding the bar back, over your head and down as far as you can. When you reach the lowest point, pull hard and bring the weight back to the original position on your chest. Repeat for 12 reps, inhaling as you lower the weight and exhaling as you pull back to the starting position. Do this part of the movement slowly so you can feel the muscle pulling both ways.
When you finish the 12 pullovers, without taking any rest, do 12 narrow-grip bench presses, exhaling as you press the weight to arm’s length and inhaling as you lower it back to your chest. Still taking no rest, perform sis more pullovers and six more bench presses. This last round of the double-compound exercise really brings the blood to the target region, which gives you a massive pump that sticks around for the rest of the arm routine. Do two sets of this super movement, resting about 90 seconds between sets.
2) Two-arm curls and triceps presses. This double movement is one of the best exercises for the biceps. While standing erect, with your feet about 18 inches apart, hold a barbell with a medium, palms-up grip and slowly curl the weight from your thighs to your shoulders, tensing the biceps at the top. Lower the weight slowly to your thighs and repeat for 12 reps. Remember to stand stiff and let your biceps do all the work.
When you finish the curls, go right into the triceps presses. Switch to an overgrip and press the barbell overhead, which positions your palms facing forward. Holding your elbows stationary throughout the movement, bend your arms, letting the weight travel down to the backs of your shoulders, and then push the weight back to arm’s length with triceps power alone. Inhale as you let the weight down, and exhale as you press it up. Perform 12 reps and then without taking any rest, grab two fairly light dumbbells and do 10 fast curls using good form, which means going all the way down without swinging the dumbbells. When you finish that, again without taking any rest, do 10 fast triceps presses with the dumbbells.
Rest for 60 to 90 seconds and repeat this double-compound exercise for a total of three sets.
3) Lying barbell triceps extensions. This is one of my favorite exercises for building triceps size. Lie on your back on a flat bench and start with the bar at arm’s length above your chest and keep your hands 10 inches apart. Keeping your elbows pointed toward the ceiling, lower the weight slowly behind your head. Inhale as you lower the barbell and exhale as you press back to the starting position. Repeat for three sets of 12 reps, resting for 45 to 60 seconds between sets.
4) Close-grip benches and triceps pumper. This is another superior size builder. Lie on a flat bench, and use a weight that you can sustain for three sets of at least 10 reps. Inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up, and rest about 60 seconds between sets.
When you finish the third set, taking no rest, pick up a dumbbell with your right hand and bend forward at the waist, with your left hand holding onto a support. Do 20 kickbacks, then switch the weight to the other hand for 20 reps. Rest for 30 seconds and perform a second set for each arm (Mozee).
Bodybuilder, magazine editor, photographer, and trainer Gene Mozee, who also rocked 20" arms and a 2 second paused bench press at 220 in the 1950s.

And if that isn't enough arm action for you, the guys at Mozee's Pasadena Gym who packed the most meat on their arms in six weeks also added concentration curls to the beginning of that bitch, because fuck overtraining.  Start with a set of ten, then a set of eight with a heavier db, then and even heavier six, and then drop the weight and bust out a set of 15.  The example Gene gave was "40 pounds for 10 reps, 45 pounds for eight reps, 50 pounds for six reps and 30 pounds for 15 reps" (Mozee).  After that, you start the above program.

Beyond the arms program, McWilliam's training gets speculative on a "let's fuck the economy in the ear by using derivatives to sell shitty loans to people with a AAA rating" kind of level.  There is another training article floating around, but he neither mentions frequency nor suggests what he actually does- he just gives recommendations for beginners that border on neglect and recommendations for advanced lifters that much be trolling, because no one is going to grow on the volume he recommends, nor bench 500... or even 300.  

The gist, however, is that McWilliams was a big fan of:
  • Side Press
  • Behind the Neck Press (with the lift started on the shoulders, not at full extension, and 5 deep breaths between reps with the back on your shoulders)
  • Straight Arm Pulldowns
  • Bench Press (narrow grip)
  • Incline Bench (absolutely no arch, high volume)
  • Pushups and Military Press (supersetted)

Beyond that, McWilliams was also adamant about these things:

  1. Massaging your triceps after exercise- this is key to increasing blood flow and keeping the muscle healthy enough for a three-days-per-week pounding.
  2. Consistent hard training- consistency is the thing that kept McWilliams from having to ever make that thousand dollar payout.
  3. Proper nutrition, including supplements.
  4. Sufficient rest, relaxation and growth promoting sleep.

And there you have your roadmap to putting another inch plus on your arms before summer ends.  Following this plan, you'll look like you've put on 20lbs just from the increase in arm circumference... and don't act like you're above having huge fucking arms or a big bench, tough stuff.  Short of jacking Synthol, there's no such fucking thing as arms that are too muscular, so get with the fucking program and show up to Labor Day barbecues with a set of guns that'll have every motherfucker there screaming the national anthem because the only thing that makes arms like yours legal is the Second Amendment (and for you foreigners, find some similar reason, or just do it because big fucking arms are awesome).


McWilliams, John.  Triceps Development.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  11 Aug 2008.  Web.  10 Jul 2018.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2008/08/triceps-development-john-mcwilliams.html

Mozee, Gene.  John McWilliams Arm Routine.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  15 Feb 2008.  Web.  10 Jul 2018.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2008/02/john-mcwilliams-arm-routine.html

15 July 2018

Hugh Cassidy- Teeth Are For Strongman And Eating Your Way Through Sticking Points

Plateaus- exactly like the Babadook, only scary and real.

Plateaus are the ever-present bane of every lifter's existence.  Over time, a lot of us just develop the ability to change our focus- we switch from powerlifting to bodybuilding, to variations on the Olympic lifts, to strongman, to Crossfit, or whatever strikes our fancy.  The same weight will be waiting there for us when we return to whatever our previous focus was however, looming over us like the goddamned Babadook, only far less horrifically unscary and far more real.  There is another way, though, and it doesn't involve a five year training plan and spending enough money to put a third world kid to college for a couple of years- eating.

Ever want to know why Ripp tells people to look down when squatting? Question answered.

More specifically, the best way to blast through plateaus is (not coincidentally) the approach of the subject of this article:

"train like a psycho, eat everything in sight, rest up, and grow gargantuan" (Gallagher Primitive 34).

Clearly, the foregoing articles on Bruno Sammartino, Bruce Randall, Chuck Ahrens, Chuck Sipes, and Steve Merjanian stressed this point as well, so I present this article at the risk of flogging a dead horse.  It is a subject of interest to me, however, because I ignored it for about 25 years and it is only now, at the age of 41, that I realize the error of my ways.  Having adopted this strategy and watched PR after PR fall in the gym driven solely by the force of my appetite, I feel like I need to be standing on a fucking milk crate in front of every gym on the planet screaming like one of those end of times lunatics raving about hellfire and corpse gods.  If I had the ability I would travel back in time and beat my own ass like I was a group of heavily armed cops and my younger self was an unarmed black man.  Like I was Ed Norton tuning up the singer from 30 Seconds to Mars.  I would literally beat my younger self like I was my own dick, because it's about the only way my younger self would realize that the sacrifice of two abs to Khorne for a couple of years would mean that at the age of 41 I would likely be benching 500 rather than 415 and front squatting 600+ rather than 545, etc.  At the time I thought that mass would come over time but I might as well sacrifice strength for abs in the meantime was as stupid as it was sad.

If Hugh Cassidy had only been able to tap into the "wealth" of knowledge on Instagram, he could have "fixed" his form and really put up big numbers.

Unlike a lot of the guys pushing huge poundages in powerlifting's infancy, Cassidy was not much of an athlete growing up.  As a college junior he was 5'10" and 155lbs, and realized very quickly that he didn't have the size, strength, or ability to play football, so he bought a 110lb set of weights at a sporting goods store.  By his own account,Cassidy was so weak he might as well have been a modern-day Channer- he had to take two trips to get a 110lb weight set into the house from the streetcar he'd taken to buy them.  To say that the guy was not all that genetically predisposed to putting on muscle is like saying that a fistfight between Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber would probably end in buttsex or that if you left a bowl of heroin sitting out in a roomful of musicians, it would probably be gone by the time you got back from the bathroom.  After a year of training with that set, Cassidy was up to a whopping 156lbs and started looking around for other options.  Instead of taking the modern tack and consulting a bunch of weak strangers with no muscle mass on how best to go about getting jacked, Cassidy hit his local YMCA and joined immediately upon seeing the most jacked dude he'd ever laid eyes on walk out the front door.  Within six months of joining, simply aping the movements of the people around him, Cassidy was up to a respectable 185 pounds and took third in a local YMCA bodybuilding competition, a feat he repeated the following year.

After another two years he was up to 205 and joined the Army, where he started drinking seven or eight quarts (6.6L-7.5L) of milk a day and put on 46lbs in six motherfucking weeks.  It is no exaggeration when I say that simply typing that sentence inspired me to get up and make a protein shake in 24oz of milk (where in the past I would have made a shake at a predetermined time and mixed in water, rather than just said fuck it and bombed down a massive shake in milk just because gainz).  At that point he was big and strong enough that he decided to try his hand at Olympic lifting, posting an aggressively unimpressive 260lbs-200lbs-275lbs (the third being the press) because he had absolutely no clue how to do the lifts.  It was then he realized he had no future in Olympic lifting, but he persisted in smashing weights and milk like they were ladyboi asspussy in a Thai whorehouse anyway.

Just like this.

At that point, powerlifting was truly in its infancy, but although it was neither well-known nor well-respected, Cassidy was bitten by the powerlifting bug after watched the York Powerlifting Championships in 1965.  After going apeshit training the powerlifts for a year, Cassidy entered his first powerlifting meet and posted a 1410 total at 242- nothing terribly exciting these days, but it was respectable in those.  Bear in mind when you read his numbers going forward that powerlifting was not done then the way it is now.  The lift order was bench-squat-deadlift, and the attempts were not separated into flights- they went strictly by weight.  Thus, if your opener was so heavy that it was after the next strongest person's third attempt, you did all three attempts back to back, with 90 seconds between lifts.  Same goes for the weak guys- if all three of their lifts were crazy light compared to the rest, they might be doing theirs back to back.

In perhaps the last flattering photo ever taken of any of the three, a remarkably unincarcerated Big Jim Williams, Hugh, doing his best impression of Charlie Brown, an inexplicably brittle looking John Kuc, and Bob Hoffman with enough weird lapel medals to be tin pot dictator.  I guess he forgot his epaulets that day.

By 1969 Cassidy had found his groove and hit a 1765 total at 242 with 475-615-675, but it was the next year he really started to tear shit up, because he went back to strategy of "EAT MOTHERFUCKER" and hit a 2010 total at 275 with 540-730-740.  Drink that in like a baby bird sucking down its momma's delicious puke- by packing on an extra 30lbs of weight, his bench went up 65lbs, his squat went up 115lbs, and his deadlift went up 65lbs in a single year, long after his noob gains had disappeared.  The coup-de-gras was in 1971, though, when he defeated two absolute titans of powerlifting at the World Power Meet with a total of 2160, posting lifts of 570-800-790 at 291lbs (and absolutely no equipment- not even a belt).  To say that is phenomenal progress hardly begins to describe these events, because hardly anyone on Earth makes those kinds of gains 15 years into lifting, and it all comes down to one thing- eating your fucking face off.

I think if I could get Catalina to predigest my shakes mama bird-style I could pack on mass even faster.  If anyone has her contact info, I am willing to give that a shot... for science.  There would be a marriage proposal in there for her as well to sweeten the deal.

Whatever you're thinking "eating your fucking face off" entails, you're thinking like a pussy.  According to Marty Gallagher, when Cassidy was making the jump from 242 to heavyweight (there was no 308 class at that time), the man was a machine.  When attending the first ever National Powerlifting Championships as a spectator, Cassidy waddled into the auditorium with a big-ass cooler full of milk and sandwiches- to be exact, a dozen sandwiches and two half gallons of milk.  As the lifting progressed, Cassidy methodically destroyed the sandwiches one by one, washing them down with big-ass gulps from the milk cartons (Gallagher Primitive 32).  When at home, he'd drink extra pint cartons of milk between sandwiches and meals, and after dinner would drink a protein shake consisting of "two eggs, one instant breakfast, and two cups of powdered milk with a half gallon of skim milk in a large container" that he'd sip slowly while winding down for the evening (Cassidy "Long Road").  He continued that approach day in and day out, endless sandwiches and gallon after gallon of milk, until he ended up nine pounds short of his goal weight of 300 at the World Power Meet.

Ever the innovator, that man could come up with some weird-ass methods for moving weight.  How he didn't end up on his face with this method is a mystery up there with the meaning of the Voynich Manuscript.  Here is his reasoning for this method, explained:
“Hugh Cassidy had us look at a spot on the floor roughly 3-4 feet in front of us as we squatted – this of course is totally contrary to everything taught in standardized powerlifting wherein the head is thrown up and back – Hugh felt this ‘site spot’ created a better spinal position for pushing – I teach this as an advanced technique – the triangle refers to the imaginary line that runs from ankle to ankle and from each ankle to the site spot” (Furman).

That weight gain didn't come without a price, however.  As Cassidy put it:
"I still plan to continue training although I'll be very happy to shed some of this excess poundage. Although I'm impressed with the "big guys" I find it isn't easy to be one of them without a lot of sacrifice. There is the constant sweating and the rashes that last until cooler winter weather. There is frequent acid indigestion and ever-present diarrhea from all the milk and eggs and protein powder. You have to walk like a duck or your thighs grind into hamburger. There are the spinal erectors that go into spasm whenever you walk up a grade and of course the food bill and the clothes that no longer fit. Big men's sizes are about as tasteful as some guy wrapped up in an awning. Most of my shirts look like I'm still in pajamas. What with the extra naps and the shortness of breath I've decided to reduce to the 242's again. I've been miserable these last two years but also very pleased with the gains in power" (Cassidy "Long Road"). 
 In short, eating like you're training for the World's Hot Dog Eating Competition non-stop, year-round, takes its toll on a human being.  Rather than being a fun-filled exploit wherein you simply see how much KFC you can jam down your throat in one sitting at all times, the type of aggressive eating required to make serious strength and size gains can be more miserable than being forced to binge watch alternating episodes of The Golden Girls and Antiques Roadshow, and in many ways is less pleasant than actually dieting to be lean.

"'Eat your way through sticking points!' 
He'd say.  If the poundage were feeling heavy on Saturday morning weighing 216, push your bodyweight to 220 by Wednesday and make those weights seem light" (Gallagher Primitive 35).

Such is life- if it were easy, everyone would do it, right?  As for training, it's astonishing that Cassidy and his training partners weren't puking into trash cans through half of each session, since they were all following Cassidy's prescription for eating-until-half-dead.  His training methods evolved over time, but the focus remained very simple- beat the living shit out of the main lifts and throw in minimal arm, shoulder, and neck work as supplementary work.  The supplementary work was only included to prevent boredom (and a throwback to his bodybuilding past) that he even suggested people vary their hand spacing, sets, and reps- the man was all business (Niemi).  For the World Meet, Cassidy's training looked like this (Cassidy "Long Road"):

Hugh Cassidy's WR Training Routine
Bench Press - 135x15, 245x10, 345x6, 425x3, 475x3, 510x1, 530x1 or 2, 545x1.
Bench Press (with two second pause) - 470x5, 505x3, 525x1 or 2, 545x1.
Squat - 275x8, 435x5, 560x3, 650x3, 700x3, 725x3, 650x3, 670x3.
Deadlift - 335x8, 535x5, 670x2, 750x2.

Upright Row (press grip, with straps) - 185x20, 225x12, 275x8, 205x15.
Neck Work (with helmet, front) - 40x25, 60x25, 75x20, 50x40;
Neck Work (with helmet, back) - 40x25, 60x25, 75x20, 50x30.

"'I'm so sick of this overtraining crap! It's such a cop out. It appeals to our laziest instincts. It says less is better and suggests there really is a substitute for hard work.  Kid, when you're squatting 800 pounds, then we'll talk about overtraining. Work load capacity can be systematically increased.... You can improve the body's ability to work heavier, longer and more often. INTENSITY, DURATION and FREQUENCY is what we're talkin' in this gym'" (Cassidy and Gallagher).
For a while, Hugh decided to use his teeth for something other than endless sandwiches and turned his eye toward setting records in teeth lifting.  For the life of me I cannot figure out what the logic is there- I have an easier time understanding why people might become furries and how two invariably fat people manage to make their naughty bits touch while dressed up like Disney characters.  I'm assuming he read the biography of Joseph "The Mighty Atom" Greenstein and was inspired, though I fail to understand why.  The why, however, isn't important- for all we know Hugh liked fucking old ladies' church shoes and while dressed like a flamenco dancer.  Hugh goes into great detail about his teeth training, which is such a bizarre and specific type of strongman feat there's no real point in detailing the bits about strengthening your teeth, choosing a mouthguard.  What should be of importance, however, is how the structure of his training changed to suit the specific type of strength he sought- and note the distinct lack of periodization, which Hugh stated at least once was a stupid fucking way to structure a program.

Hugh Cassidy's Teeth Lifting Program (Cassidy "Teeth")
Deadlifts – 335x8, 435x8, 505x8.
Upright Row (press grip) – 115x15, 135x10x3sets, 115x15.
Neck Work (helmet with weights loaded on a pipe on top) – 40x25x2, 55x25x2, 70x15, 70x20, 50x30x4.
Teeth Lifting – 85x20, 150x15, 200x10, 250x5.

There were two standard accessories from which Cassidy never strayed- neck work and the stiff legged deadlift.  Neck work, Hugh (rightly) believed, was crucial to total body strength.  Beyond aiding in the bench press by providing stability and being an obvious critical area of strength for teeth lifting, Hugh espoused direct neck work (which is basically listed above but covered in detail here) for anyone competing in contact sports because the next serves as a shock absorber, and for everyone else just because a person with a powerful looking neck is a powerful looking person.  I can attest to the fact that I automatically have more respect for men with thick necks, little respect for pencil necks, and I want to fuck Gina Carano almost entirely due to her awesome neck.  My lizard brain screams to me that I need to produce offspring with a woman who's got a neck bigger than most of the dudes reading this, and that our progeny would easily dominate coming generations simply by the authority and power derived from their massive necks.

Hugh's other beloved assistance work was stiff legged deadlifts.  As I alluded to above, Cassidy was a devout believer in the adage that the best assistance exercises are those that most closely match the lift itself- close grip bench for bench press, narrow stance squats for the squat, and the stiff legged deadlift for the deadlift (Gallagher "Trade").  To that end, every deadlift workout would conclude with two sets of stiff legged deadlifts, ultra strict, with the goal of turning lifters' spinal erectors "into industrial cranes" (Ibid).  Occasionally done standing on a 3" thick 100lb plate, these would initially be pulled off the floor conventional, as a deficit deadlift, keeping the bar in contact with the shin the entire time.  It'd then be lowered with a stiff-legged method, maintaining contact with the shin and a slight bend in the knee, light touch to the floor, and repeat.  Like Chuck Sipes with the skull crusher, Cassidy and his lifters knew for a certainty that if their stiff legged deadlift PR increased, their deadlift would too.  The ratio was different for every lifter, but seemed to hover in the 40-50lb range- ergo, if their stiff legged PR was 650, they were good for 700 or so on the conventional deadlift (Ibid).

Cassidy, at a lean 195lbs taking third yet again in a bodybuilding competition after retiring from PL.

After setting his world record, Cassidy blew out his knee and retired from competing, but as you can see above, he definitely didn't quit lifting.  Cassidy cut back down to 195 and competed in bodybuilding for a while, but he kept training powerlifters in his basement gym for years.  A man after my own heart, Cassidy was Marilyn Manson-style weird- a metal sculpture artist in his spare time, Cassidy built demonic metal monstrosities that scared the living shit out of any Christians who happened to wander by his yard.  Additionally, he was a badass guitarist and bass player, but the bulk of his ingenuity was devoted to new ways to torture his proteges into become powerlifting behemoths... and it worked.  Cassidy coached retired semi-pro baseball player-turned-powerlifter Marshall "Doc" Peck to a 790lb squat, 530lb bench, and 710lb pull at 220 using what I assume was first gen powerlifting gear, and Mark "Duck" Dimiduk to an 800lb squat and deadlift and a 500lb bench at 220.  Their program was even more brutal than the one Cassidy used to hit his world record total.

Hugh Cassidy Training Split (Gallagher Primitive 34)
Squat- Top set of 8 reps, then 3 back off sets of 10 reps (Week 1-4)
            Top set of 5 reps, then 3 back off sets of 8 reps (Week 4-8) 
            Top set of 3 reps, then 3 back off sets of 5 reps (Week 8-12)   
Bench Press- Same as squat cycle
Deadlift- Same as squat cycle
Heaves (Heavy high pulls)- 2-3 sets done explosively for 6-8 reps
- Stiff Legged Deadlifts- 2-3x5
*One of the two
{Bicep Curls- 3-4x6-8
{Tricep Pushdowns or Skullcrushers- 3-4x6-8
* Arm work was generally supersetted
** 2-3 sets of 5 of close stance squats could follow squat if you want, and the same for bench, though generally he only had his lifters do deadlift assistance.

Repeat Saturday

As to the loading for the backoff sets, here's how it worked:
"'For a 500 pound squatter, we might go 145x15, 235x10, 325x7, 400x5. No suit, no wraps.  Okay, after you work up to your heavy five rep set, reduce the weight to 275 or so an do a set of 10 reps. Take a five minute rest and load the bar to 300 and do a set of 10 reps. Rest about five more minutes and load the bar to 320 and do your final set of 10 reps. All three back-off sets must be done within 15 minutes. That's the cardinal rule. We're building reserve power here and increasing the body's workload capacity" (Cassidy and Gallagher).
I couldn't find any pics of Hugh Cassidy's demonic art, but this seems to be a suitable replacement.

And there you have it- the best way to smash through sticking points and demolish plateaus isn't any of the happy horseshit you read about changing exercises and rep schemes, or finding a coach and paying him hundreds of ultimately wasted dollars to provide you with some tired routine that is almost guaranteed not to work.  The best way to smash through sticking points and drive your lifts into the stratosphere is to eat like you're the glutton in the movie 7even and just try not to die at the end, then lift until you're practically bleeding from the eyes.  Then sleep and repeat.  Stop making this shit out to be harder than it is.


Cassidy used protein shakes to blast through his sticking points, so it makes sense I might as well make it cheaper for the lot of us to get to 500lb benches.  Use promo code Bloat20 at checkout to get 20% off your entire order at Chaos and Pain- our badass whey Cannibal Kraken is back in stock with 5 badass flavors (including Pumpkinhead Latte, which I've been adding to my Honduran Lempira Chaos and Pain coffee like a basic Starbucks bitch).
Cassidy, Hugh.  My long road to the top (1972).  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  8 Oct 2017.  Web.  2 Jun 2018.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2017/10/my-long-road-to-top-hugh-cassidy-1972.html

Cassidy, Hugh.  New wrinkles in neck work (1973).  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  16 Oct 2017.  Web.
 2 Jun 2018.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2017/10/new-wrinkles-in-neck-work-hugh-cassidy.html

Cassidy, Hugh.  Teeth lifting.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  15 Oct 2017.  Web.  2 Jun 2018.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2017/10/note-this-article-was-first-posted-here.html

Cassidy, Hugh and Marty Gallagher.  All Trax Lead To Jax: A Modern Squatting Parable  (1985).  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  4 Mar 2017.  Web.  2 Jun 2018.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2017/03/a-modern-squatting-parable-hugh-cassidy.html

Furman, Tom.  Really, really simple strength from Hugh Cassidy.  Train for Life.  22 Nov 2006.  Web.  2 Jun 2018.  http://www.tomfurman.com/really-really-simple-strength-from-hugh-cassidy/

Gallagher, Marty.  Trade Secret #77: Stiff-leg deadlift.  Powerlifting Watch.  5 Feb 2008.  Web.  2 Jun 2018.  https://www.powerliftingwatch.com/node/7221

Gallagher, Marty.  Purposeful Primitive.  St. Paul: Dragon Door Publications, 2008.

John, Dan.  10 things every lifter should be able to do.  T-Nation.  10 Jun 2016.  Web.  2 Jun 2018.  https://www.t-nation.com/training/10-things-every-lifter-should-be-able-to-do

Niemi, Paul.  Power training simplified.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  2 Aug 2010.  Web.  2 Jun 2018.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2010/08/hugh-cassidy-paul-niemi.html