Q&A – 24

I started the week by trying to break the myth that all lifting will be perfect all of the time. There were tips for coaches and lifters on how to prepare trainees or the self for successful lifting. Tuesday I readdressed the issue of squatting to depth. I believe most of 70’s Big readers train properly, but just in case they didn’t, they know that a partial squat is not a squat. Wednesday we talked about the 70’s Big Workshop in Australia in April and I complained about lazy betties in the gym. Thursday I gave some pointers on the rack pull to ensure that trainees get the full worth of the movement.

PR Friday is a day where we talk about our training ups and downs. It’s a chance to keep other people on the site updated with your progress. The “regulars” all know who each other are and like to see how their internet friends are doing (“I met a cool guy on the internet”). Post your weekly PR’s, but also your training updates to the comments. You lurkers should jump on it too; we’re all friends here.

Weekly Reading List
[spoiler]Last night I finished reading Joe Abercrombie‘s “Best Served Cold” and really enjoyed it. It was the first stand alone book after “The First Law Trilogy”, which is amazing, and the precursor to the recently released “The Heroes”. “Best Served Cold” introduces some new characters, but also uses some side characters from the trilogy. The pacing seems different, as if this book develops more gradual. Instead of constant diabolical activity, it’s larger in scope and the characters develop and evolve throughout the book. Trust in the fact that Abercrombie won’t bore you with a repetitive plot; the second half of the book functions differently than the beginning. I found it interesting how Abercrombie interweaves grandscale plot points into the ending of the book that will resonate outside of this particular story. Since he’s signed on to do several books in this “world”, the books stand apart from one another yet you can see how he’s developing a behind the scenes plot in addition to the one on stage. Abercrombie’s books fit into the new “gritty fantasy” genre infused with medieval and colonial realism and topped with subtle viking overtones. His characters are dynamic, and, just like in George R. R. Martin’s work, the line between good and evil is blurred. “Best Served Cold” may start as a superficial revenge story, but it ends with the characters inadvertently philosophizing to validate the decisions and changes they’ve made. “Best Served Cold” is gritty, bloody, and poignantly satisfying.

Here are articles that were sent to me or that I found:
You Don’t Coach Exercises… – I don’t know much about Mike Robertson, but I agree with his observation here. The difference between us is that I got bored from coaching one-on-one much faster than he did, and “coaching people” still isn’t enough to harness my creative interest (with respect to one-on-one training). The writing style is pretty raw (particularly the constant page breaks), but I’m not a perfect writer. His message is similar to what I’ve been writing about recently regarding coaching the person in addition to the mechanics.

Art of Manliness collection of “Whole Men” – This may deserve it’s own post, but there are very good snippets of men who had brains and brawn.

The Death of Books Has Been Greatly Exaggerated – An article on how the book industry is still functioning with the advent of e-books and e-readers.

Things Happy People Do Differently (sent by Courtney)[/spoiler]


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Rack Pull Tidbits

The rack pull is a great exercise for developing the hamstring’s ability to withstand massive amounts of tension to improve the deadlift lockout. I prefer to program them for “intermediates”, and usually those that are more experienced in that realm. Don’t get hung up on labels like “beginner”, “intermediate”, and “advanced”; I’m merely referring to someone that’s been involved with “intermediate level” programming (typically defined by a weekly stress/adaptation cycle) for at least three to six months. They can be used with less experienced trainees if they have a severe deficiency in hamstring involvement in the deadlift. This post doesn’t aim to be a comprehensive lesson in how to do rack pulls, but highlighting some key points.

Starting Position
Whenever I use the term “rack pull”, I’m referring to one in which the bar starts below the patella (knee cap) and at the upper part of the tibial tuberosity (the bony potrusion on the tibia that is below the patella). Other people may call these “below the knee rack pulls”. This style of rack pull is much harder to do than it’s “above the knee” counter part because it is supposed to remove the quadriceps from pushing the bar up. Instead, it’s aim is to load the hamstrings and force them to extend the hips while the lumbar erectors hold the pelvis in place. I bring your attention to this picture I drew in MS Paint to illustrate this point in a Q&A in January.

Note that the lumbar will help hold the pelvis in a neutral position to allow the hamstrings to stay stretched (left side). If the lumbar fail, then the pelvis will posteriorily tilt and slackens the hamstring (right side).
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Feel The Burn

At the gym I attend, there’s this guy who “trains” a group of catty women. His session is comprised of him not having a plan and randomly picking things for them to do. They often include torso rotations with a wooden dowel, half lunges, and pull-up negatives accompanied by lots of chatter and exasperated expressions. It drives me fucking insane.

The women never stop talking before, during, or after exercising. As a general rule, if you’re talking during an exercise, then it isn’t a friggin’ exercise. No worthy physical adaptive stress is imparted during conversation.

I don’t know why I hate them so much. Maybe it’s because they have no respect for the sanctity of hard work? They talk about frivolous bullshit while I’m trying to press, snatch, or squat. There’s a reason I go and turn down the the volume on the TVs (that are inevitably airing Fox News) next to the squat rack when I get there; it’s not a fucking break room, it’s a gym.

Maybe I hate them because they are fooled by this guy whose only qualification is wearing a collared shirt and his only preparation is thumbing his butt hole before arriving. It seems like he licks his finger thumb, holds it to the breeze, and nonchalantly gauges the windspeed before randomly picking out a fitness destination for his clients. There’s no objective, no tact, no substance.

This personal trainer is trying to catch a whiff of this trainee's crotch

But they feel the burn. The women walk around in their designer workout clothes and hold their water bottles between their thumbs and first two fingers. After all, they went to the gym today. They can go home satisfied and turn on Desperate Housewives (why are they so desperate?) followed by calling their sister to tell her how she saw another woman with the exact same shirt and pants combo that caused her to go back inside and change.

Ladies. Gentlemen. This is what we’re up against.

Australia Workshop — April 14/15

Oi! 70’s Big is headed back to Austraya in April to hang out with top fuckin’ blokes and conduct some workshops. The first big date is the 70’s Big Workshop Weekend on the weekend of April 14 and 15. This will consist of the Saturday Lifting Workshop (where participants receive coaching on lifting) and the Sunday Programming Workshop (where I lecture on various programming topics and teach you how to program). There will also be an opportunity to do some small group or one-on-one training. E-mail me here to inquire.

Click for the information and purchase page.

In the short time I was there last time, I couldn’t understand Tom, I learned how to swear, and was attacked by dogs. That’s just the stuff that I’m allowed to show you. Oh, and this:

A Half Squat Is Not A Squat

I was at the gym last night and a younger guy stepped into one of the squat racks. This outta be good, I thought. If someone actually does squat in a fitness gym, it’s a half squat done with a back pad. To my pleasant surprise, this guy walked out 135 and squatted it to full depth; I’d rather see light weight squatted fully than heavy weight done partially. After a few minutes, I motioned for him to take out his headphones and said, “Hey man, I just want you to know I appreciate that you squat to full depth.” After a split second of confusion, I added, “Cause nobody ever does.” He nodded in recognition and I walked away. We never talked again.

Shirtless. Shaved. Half squatting with stop sign plates...

I hate half squats…so fucking much. Every time you don’t squat to depth, I pour a beer down the drain. And I HATE wasting beer. I just don’t understand why people think it’s okay to do partial reps of anything, much less in squatting. Muscular development or strength is achieved by working muscles through a full range of motion. Squatting, benching, or curling through half of the ROM only trains the musculature through that given ROM and typically subjects it to injurious forces. For example, a half squat will not utilize the adductors, hamstrings, gluteals, or external rotators and as a result place excessive stress on the anterior aspect of the knee. This is why ignorant people claim that squats are bad for the knees. And wWhy would someone want half a muscle?

Ego lifting is such a joke. Aside from the “let’s see how many plates I can put on the bar”, it isn’t quantifiable whatsoever. There’s no way to determine if one rep is comparable to another. It drives me insane and I can’t evedslkf;j;lasdkjfaskdlgkad;svn w089yt204389fvay xgch’jbk’fuck

This is a video of some jackass who thinks there is some kind of utility in half squats (there isn’t).

Here’s a video of an easy full-depth squat (445×3, BW 187ish) by Brooks Conway at Quest Athletics. You could also re-watch this vid of Chris raw squatting 600/620/640 for doubles.

Never, ever half squat. If you do we should all just quit lifting and start drinking mermosas while getting pedicures and facials.