PR Friday – 22 AUG 2014

PR Friday — Post your training updates, PR’s, and questions to the comments and the 70′s Big crew will respond. 

Weekly Q&A gives you a chance to ask anyone from the 70′s Big Crew a question in the comments below, on Facebook, or Twitter. Follow 70’s Big on Instagram

Recap: On Monday I introduced Category Programming, a method that works well for very busy or beat down trainees like SOF personnel. Chalk Talk #4 came out on Wednesday, and it focuses on actively contracting the lower abs to stabilize the trunk while pressing.

Here’s a video that talks about Usain Bolt’s difficult training regime. He says that race day is the fun part, but all the hard work is miserable. His own dad even says he can’t go to his practices anymore because he doesn’t like to watch him suffer.

Being a professional athlete isn’t the same as our training. Bolt dedicates his life to that one moment in which he displays his prowess on the track. There’s nothing corny in Bolt’s presentation. It’s simple and brutal: being great is a trying, vomitous affair that makes you want to quit every step of the way. Anything good or successful in life demands the same.

What do you think is the worst part about training? Pushing through a set? Doing mobility work? Eating right? 

53 thoughts on “PR Friday – 22 AUG 2014

  1. Mobility work for me is by far the worst. I can push through a set/ workout pretty good. I’m consistent and fairly intelligent with my training. I drink my water, sleep my sleep(for the most part), and do pretty good on eating. But I hate mobility work. I can’t find the motivation to be consistent. Thankfully it isn’t terrible to begin with. The biggest thing I need is improved shoulder flexion.

  2. In Paleo for Lifters you recommend not to count calories. Even when following the books recommendation for gaining muscle mass, I tend to easily overeat.. I’m not going crazy with fat and carb intake. 100-150g fat, 150-250g carbs depending on activity. Most carbs post-workout.

    When I did that I gained around one pound per week, too much for an intermediate and got too fat. In the end it seems to comes down to the caloric surplus. But how does one hit that sweet spot of 200-300 calories surplus and gain around half a pound a week and not overshoot, hit 500 calories surplus and get too fat over the long run.

    Count calories for a while until things are dialled in and one instinctively gets that surplus without counting?

    • If you ate 150 to 250g of carbs, I’m 100% not surprised you gained weight. Were you actually eating clean and were you actually “too fat”? Either way, your carb content is high depending on how you were training at the time (which is probably irrelevant since your net gain was an increase).

      Calories are important, but by eye balling, you have an idea of what you need to do. Sounds like you can trim some carbs, and maybe a bit of fat off whatever you were doing.

      I find it helpful for people to keep a food log and find out the exact macros, even if it’s just for a few typical days. That way they have a basis for titrating to effect (which I was gonna write an article on). But, like I said in the previous paragraph, you now have an idea of how to dial it in, and you can remove some of the excess by reducing those macros.

      • Hey Justin, in that post can you potentially address IIFYM (if it fits your macros) and that approach to nutrition? I’d be curious to hear your thoughts (unless they’re still the same as they are in P4L, in which case I’ll just reread).

      • 250g of carbs was only when I did longer conditioning. For normal lifting-only days it was mostly around 150g.

        Yes, I was eating clean 99% of the time.. maybe once or twice a week I’ve made an exception. But it wasn’t binging. More like 150g of ice cream or something.

        I started out around 17% BF and after 7 months was 23%. Both measured with a dexa.

        Will start to keep a food long for a bit. I’m definitely not one of those people who doesn’t overeat eating Paleo. I’ve realised that “being full” is more of continuum. When leaning out I was never really hungry, I got used to it.. But when I was overeating, I also didn’t feel like I was binging. Yet there was a huge difference in the amount of calories. Will keep that in check with the food log.

        • Yeah, basically just adjust the macros down a bit. Your food choices can reflect things that make you feel full longer if that were a concern or issue. But we hashed it out above.

          How was the dexa scan? I should have done it when I was in school.

          • Was quite hard to find a place that does them for bodyfat measurement. But I’m really glad I did it. Quite honestly, I knew that I got a bit pudgy, but not THAT much. I would have probably guessed that I was around 19%. But the harsh reality was 23%.

            Obviously I don’t care about the numbers themselves. But if you underestimate the percentage so much, you are also underestimating the time/weight it takes to get lean again.

            Got down to 15% again now though. Now trying not to make the same mistake again and not get fat gain. But feel like I’ve got it figured out a bit more.

            Thanks for the great feedback.

  3. For everyone who’s having trouble getting their mobility work in, just think ahead really. I know now, how important mobility work is – after having fucked up both my knees. If you’re able to push through training, eat right and sleep consistently, your motivation for doing mobility work, should be so that you can keep doing those things. And yeah not to forget, so you don’t walk around like a hunchback looking douche. Most people train to maintain themselves or to achieve something, however I do think the long run if often forgotten. Mobility work becomes increasingly important as you age, and then it becomes pretty simple, if you didn’t have it in the first place, it going to be even harder getting it back. Use it, or lose it really – wouldn’t you wanna be able to play kids/grandchildren ?

    It really isn’t that hard. Do it whenever you’re bored/watching TV or something else along as you can at least be somewhat mindful about it. I remember Justin once wrote something along the lines of a person having 100 total points for training, those had to be distributed between training, mobility/recovery. If you spent all 100 points on training and none on recovery, the numbers won’t add up in the end and you’ll end up injured/feeling bad.

    I incorporated a lot of ideas from the Gymnastics coach Christopher Sommer. Whenever, an athlete is done with a strength set, they will go straight to work on a low maintenance mobility element – this really helps for those who seem to get lazy with their mobility – I honestly don’t see a better way of spending those 1-5 min. in between sets anyway.

    That was longer than I intended it….i actually had I question for Justin, but I guess that will have to wait.

    • Nah man, we have all weekend. Let’s hear the question.

      And you make a good point. Sommers’ method of mobility in the workout could be one method to ensure people are getting it. I probably wouldn’t be hitting maximal numbers with that method, given that the mobility can alter the function of the joints, but it’s certainly a method.

      I like having quality prehab or dynamic stretching or movement as part of the overall warm-up for any training session, so a lot of that stuff can be addressed there. Do something similar as a cool down, even if it’s just five minutes, and you can knock out most of the week’s mobility, depending on the person.

      • Well thank you:D You are right, it might not be suited for maximal lifts, however I see it as a meant of increasing my work capacity from time to time.

        Before my question, some background info. I have not been able to squat for almost a year now. I suffer from constant knee pain after having a meniscus surgery, where they removed some of the lateral meniscus on my right leg. For some reason the usual PT isn’t helping me, and even walking makes my calf/knee area irritated and sore, if I even touch anything that looks like squats it becomes very painful and especially the calf(mostly the gastric) feels like it falls asleep.

        The actual question I’d like to ask is, if I ever get back to squatting, would low-bar be most appropriate due to the more balanced shearing forces between the tibia and femur? Im thinking that having a very strong poster chain will help me limit the stress on my knee, what are your thoughts on this?

        I hope what I’m asking is clear, describing these things in english can sometimes be complicated for me…

        • Your english is better than most Americans, so don’t worry.

          There can be balanced forces in the knee when high bar squatting, but your limiting factor would be having the mobility to execute it.

          As far as what you can do in the mean time, it sounds like you need some work done on the area around your knee. If you altered mechanics, even in walking, as a result of your surgery, then other structures could have been loaded weird and helped put you in the condition you are currently in.

          It sounds like you need a bunch of soft tissue work and a better PT, since he should have returned you to function or guided you to being able to squat your own body weight.

          Do what you can and aim to improve your function. Do you still see a physio?

          • Thank you Justin!:)

            It’s damn tough not being able to work out properly, I overdid my upper body to compensate and now I have biceps tendonitis, this is almost gone though.

            I’m currently started seeing a new PT. So far we worked on actually getting my gluteus to fire properly, this is still a work in progress, but it has improve a lot. We have basically started from the bottom up and addressed walking gait etc. and I’m trying to create as much ROM as possible in both hips and ankles, something telling me it’s ankles though, because I can do front and almost side splits cold. However, the couch stretch is still complete hell for me…makes me wonder.

            I’m pretty sure my hamstring are very weak as well, single leg curls are pretty tough after 10 reps with 20 kg – this is weak right? I have not yet disused this with my PT as I won’t see her until next week.

  4. This week was the last work week before the deload week on my 3rd cycle of 5/3/1. I decided to shoot for a new DL PR and I hit 441! My previous one was 431 (I’ve got some old Weider weights with 33lb plates instead of 35lb, gotta love craigslist). Good thing today is shoulder press day cuz my CNS is trashed right now!!

    I’d have to say eating right is the hardest part of my training. I’ve got great pills to help quite the demons so I can sleep and I’m addicted to all things mobility. Almost three years of “OJT” from Navy medicine, outpatient clinics and the exceptional training staff at Wounded Warrior Regiments gym on Camp Pendleton. I’ve got a tone of books on the stuff!

    I feel like I’m putting on a lot of fat weight from creatine and blended frozen fruits. Will creatine work just as well with a V8 or should I just nix the creatine all together? I’m probably sittin at about 30-35% BF, I do pretty good about keeping my food intake clean, but it’s the friggin amount! Thanks

  5. Your high body fat makes me think there is more going on than just creatine, not to mention creatine itself is not something that causes the body to store fat. Look to your food quality and get to work. You may like the step-by-step process of this article: http://70sbig.com/blog/2011/08/improving-diet/

    Or I could sound like one of your NCO’s and tell to stop being a fuck head and quit dicking around…would that work better?

      • I read it and it seems like my biggest problem is the amount in the evening far exceeds the amount throughout the day. I’ve read Rob Wolfs book on Paleolithic dieting and I try to follow it fairly close. I just eat WAYYY too much at one time. I taped myself and used a few different online BMI calculators and I’m sittin at 27.78% BMI.

  6. No PRs this week. Still coming back from an injury, but I’m closing in on my previous numbers, so PRs should be soon.

    Regarding mobility, I found that when I first started lifting it required constant, often painful work to develop proper ROM. After doing so many sets and reps with heavier weights through that full ROM, less work is required to maintain it now. Just a quick shoulder, hip, and ankle session for me, no longer than 10-15 minutes, and I’m good to go for the week nowadays.

    I’ve also had issues with weight while eating Paleo. It’s more an issue with the scale. The number seems to consistently be on the rise, yet physically I’ve been getting leaner. Not really sure what the problem is here. I’m already keeping my carbs under 150 a day.

      • Yeah, my bad. I wrote that out weird. I DO want to get leaner. I’m trying to drop to 220lbs for a powerlifting comp, and also because I’d like to stay within the 220-230 range for future weightlifting competitions, plus I try to stay lighter for martial arts. I’ve kept an eye on my daily carb intake, but for some reason I keep gaining weight, at least according to the scale.

        I’ve also noticed my weight will yo-yo dramatically some days. I’ll wake up close to 10lbs lighter sometimes.

        • Assuming your scale isn’t crappy, things like recent carb intake, sodium consumption, and hydration can yo-yo weight around.

          Maybe I didn’t (or should have) made this more clear in the book, but if you are satisfying your macros for your training, and you are no-shit eating paleo with potatoes, you can clean up any extraneous stuff (like dark chocolate, nuts, etc.) and see if it still goes up or your body fat doesn’t improve. In that case, you need to tighten up your macros by decreasing fat or carbs depending on where your carbs already are.

          BUT, if someone is no-shit eating paleo quality foods and only eating the “kind of cheat” stuff in the book (like the aforementioned dark chocolate and almonds) then I find it hard to believe someone is gaining fat while eating really clean stuff.

          What say you?

          • Good points; I could probably do with a better scale, and I drink a ton of water, so the dramatic changes from day to day are probably just that. Also, I don’t like to obsess about what a scale says, I’m just mentioning that part of it since I have a weight requirement I’d like to meet.

            You were perfectly clear about everything in the book; I was more curious if the weight gain could be a result of just adding muscle mass from the training or if I was maybe eating more than I should. The latter option didn’t seem likely to me though.

            I don’t eat dark chocolate or nuts, and the only carbs during the week are fruit and potatoes post-workout and for dinner. I have a “cheat” meal once a week, usually pizza and some type of dessert, but I’m not gorging myself during the meal. Perhaps it’s having more of an effect than I thought though.

            I’ll just try to keep a closer watch on the carb and fat intake and see what happens. Thanks for your help, Justin.

  7. Lately, my Everest has been eating enough. I got down to 185, but have eaten back to 190. I know what I need to do, and I’m making it a priority to focus more on eating more and getting more mobility work in.

  8. Eating right is no problem for me, in fact I think it’s the easiest part for me and made me for organized in my life. Although one problem I suffered with was cutting weight, I was skinnyfat since middle school and had a sedentary lifestyle for years, when I started lifting I ate quite a lot so I got a bit fat (approx 20% BF), but gained mass and strength. So when I decided to cut, it went great with the only problem being fat around stomach and lovehandles (imagine seeing your upper abs, veiny biceps but still with lovehandles and stuff), took me an eternity to get rid of those

    Mobility work is cool, sometimes I get lazy with it but I still follow it and helped me a lot with my performances, it’s very important to do with consistently

    Pushing through a set, well yeah that’s a bit tough, especially on TM (volume days), they were a pain in the ass definitely

    • Carrying fat on the love handles is most likely a hormonal thing, in which case it’ll require some nutrition correcting long-term.

      I don’t miss very heavy volume days.

      • My nutrition right now is strict, Paleo like mostly
        I was such a fool during middleschool with nutrition and stuff, not eating enough + eating bad stuff mostly

        If there’s something I really learned well it is the importance of nutrition when it comes to lifting

  9. PRd a high bar squat of 275x2x1. Was seeing a lot more forward lean than I like in low bar so I picked up high bar to bring my quad strength up.

    I can feel my ankles loosening up over time which is good since they’re made from granite.

    Toughest challenges for me are being consistent with mobility work and nutrition.

  10. TM Intensity Day:
    Squat 450×3 (25lbs to go for pre injury #s)
    Bench 325×3 (15 pounds to go)
    Deadlift 465×3 (60 pounds to go)
    Dips 3×5 @ 135 (25 pounds to go)

    Weakness is hip/low back strength – following my 2 consecutive hamstring tears and PTT arch collapse heavy squats double me over and deadlifts glue themselves to the floor. I’m searching for guidance on whether the RDL, GM or Hip Thrust will be most applicable to me. Or if I need to add in leg presses…

    The worst aspect of programming for me is goal selection – stay in an offseason weakness/musculature mode or progress for strength.

    Related to that, choosing a weight class is also a challenge; I traditionally compete in the 90kg class, average bodyweight is 205-210. Tough to decide which goal is more important – pursue I higher class and marginalize pound-for-pound total or come up for lightweight strongman (100kg)

    • Oh and worst part for me is volume day when I’m really not feeling it, a bad day on ID or LD I don’t really care about but VD really turns into a chore.

      Thanks in advance as well

    • I’m not a super experienced sumo deadlift coach, but I have issue with your starting position. Your trunk is more flexed than neutral, and you drop your chest when you start the pull. The angle is bad, so I’m not certain what I would want to correct (given I can’t see the stance, grip, etc.) but I’d probably move your butt up slightly and get you to lock your back in place instead of slouching.

      Your back is just a stabilizer; it doesn’t move any weight during any deadlift so you shouldn’t feel it the same way you do in other exercises, but you should have an active shoulder extension that will make the lats contract.

      I don’t like the sound of “hump the bar” given that so many people lay back with deadlift lockouts.

      • Think I’ve been trying to imitate lifters who don’t really share my proportions, been forcing the really rounded upper back (which leads to everything being bit rounded) thinking that’s what I wanted but yeah you’re right, core just isn’t rigid in any way. Suppose I just needed someone to tell me because it’s blatantly obvious. I don’t actually feel my back working when I do the lift but then again I don’t realize half the muscles I use in any lift.

        Changing my entire setup on Monday (or will attempt to) and hopefully will have it fixed, or at least much improved. Would a 135degree angle (from front) be the ‘ideal’ angle to film it from?

  11. Squatted 300# x 3 x 5. A minor milestone for me, especially since I had failed on that a few weeks ago and regrouped with higher volume work. This time last year 300# was a heavy single – progress may be slow but it continues.

    The hardest thing about training is putting everything together. Doing the workouts, proper nutrition, quality recovery/sleep are fairly easy to do in isolation. it’s doing them all consistently that’s challenging. In particular, I find that there’s a tug of war between workouts, sleep, and life outside of training. I can pick two at a time at most. It’s always a tough choice, and particularly frustrating when there’s pressure to sacrifice sleep.

  12. I would say mobility work is the worst part of training. Although not necessarily difficult I struggle to do it after a workout or before bed. I would also say the first few days back training after taking some extended time off are equally as miserable. That’s what I am dealing with right now. Vacations are overrated

  13. Justin,

    I have a chronically tight chest. It forms trigger points that often give me debilitating pain down my arm (see the referral charts in the Trigger Point Therapy book). I’ve seen some say that in order to fix this I should focus on prehab/rehab exercises like face pulls and dumbbell external rotations. The idea being to build up the rotator cuff, rhomboids, and mid to low traps. I was wondering if you thought those types of things had much value or if soft tissue work/stretching was the better option. My posture is okay but I do sit at a desk all day for work so my hands are in front of me quite a bit. I also saw your post about Chris and Ellee on Twitter. That’s wonderful news!

  14. Well I sprained my MCL on my left knee (self diagnosed) on monday after hitting some triple snatch PRs at 90k, and clean and jerk Prs at 3@105. Now doing a basic air squat is very painful and cant squat correctly. So I am going to give it a break and rest up since I have university nationals next month.

    The rest of the week I have been focusing more on my accessory and pulls. I ended up deadlifting 192 for 5 which is a PR for me. So basically my plan now is to do all powers, alot of pulls, deadlift, push press and jerks till I can squat normally. Any other advice would be helpful.

    I am doing my best to recovery correctly with eating and hydrating correctly, sleeping 8+ hours, which can be tough due to working nights and hitting my mobility. Also taking every supplement I can find that might help. I tried whole body cryotherapy the other day felt good, but no significant improvement. They say you have to stack it, but im not buying it.

  15. PR of finally buying a pair of lifting shoes after saying I have needed to for over a year. Hardest part of training is the push to do conditioning sessions. I always feel good after I get done, but I loathe starting and pushing through the whole session. I have never liked it, so I think it will just always be my hated part of training.

      • Got the Nike Romaleos 2 when Rogue took $40 off of them due to some cosmetic updates to the 2014 model over the ones I got. Figured it was only a $30 increase over the Rogues I had been looking to get, so what the hell. Really like them so far.

  16. Hi Justin, got a question for you. I transitioned from low bar squatting to high bar squatting about a year ago. Have been consistent with training and seen very minimal improvement with my max. I have been doing 5/3/1 during this time, and I wonder if the orientation of the program to be more of intensity rather than volume has had anything to do with my general lack of progress. All other variables, such as proper nutrition, and adequate rest and recovery have remained at and above par. Do you recommend for people who are changing squat styles to go back to an LP or something similar to enforce proper technique?

  17. First time posting! My PR of the week: deadlift 265 lb 1×5. Looking forward to next week when I do 270 and then can tell everyone I can deadlift twice my weight (I’m 5’6 and weigh 135)

  18. I think the worst part of it all is walking/driving past all the happy hours after work on my way to the gym. Or past the people on a patio at brunch on the weekend. Or whatever other social activity where participation would require time that would otherwise be spent on lifting, mobilizing, preparing the right food, sleeping, etc.