Holiday E-book Sale

Get two books for the price of one!

Just add both to your cart and apply the discount code below.
 

The 70’s Big LP and Paleo for Lifters for $29.99

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The 70’s Big LP is not your father’s linear progression. Most linear progressions leave you with big thighs, a big belly, and noodly arms. The 70’s Big LP is your guide to build a massive back, thick arms, and press numbers to be proud of. Pair it with the popular Paleo for Lifters and you have a recipe for being jacked. Lower body fat, recover better for lifting, and stop feeling like shit by improving food choices, fixing macronutrient ratios, and do all of it without weighing and measuring like a weirdo.
Add both to your cart and apply the following code: JACKEDGIFT

 

Both Texas Method books for $34.99

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This Texas Method series is well accepted in many a strength training dojo. There’s much more to it than merely doing a 5×5 then a 5RM. Use the same program that builds 600+lbs squats and 700+lbs deadlifts. Between these two books (The Texas Method: Part 1 and The Texas Method: Advanced), there are enough variations to run this template for several years; hitting 350/450/550 (bench, squat, deadlift) is easily attainable for any man with the balls big and hairy enough to tackle The Texas Method.
Add both to your cart and apply the following code: TMXMAS

How To Make A Training Session

Recently both of my younger brothers asked me to help them with a training program. One of the first “lessons” I gave them was how to organize a training session for a program oriented towards getting stronger, building size, and leaning out. Here is a quick guide on how to do so.

  • Begin with a general warm-up. This can be light calisthenics, walking, jogging, rowing, or biking for 2 to 10 minutes.
  • Do some mobility work. Massage or roll first, then stretch. Rolling the soft tissue helps loosen it up before trying to stretch on it. I’m going to remake a video o this soon, but hit the upper back, lower back, hips, and quads at a minimum. Joint approximation should be done last. The point of mobility before training is to improve range of motion to facilitate good mechanics — especially if the correct ROM of the exercise is limited.
  • Warm-up with the main lift you’re doing that day. That means start with the bar for a set of five and then progressively add weight until you reach the first set. As your warm-up sets go up, titrate the reps down. For example, if my first set was 225×5, I could do warm-ups like this:
    • 45×5
    • 95×5
    • 135×5
    • 185×3
    • 205×2 or 1
    • First set of 225×5
  • Do all of the work sets for the main lift of that day. Bodybuilding programs like to add unnecessary super-sets; to get stronger and bigger, do the compound strength movement first. Do it for 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps.
  • Now it’s time for assistance exercises. Do compound exercises before isolation exercises. Do the strength related exercises first; do the hypertrophy (or muscle building) exercises last. Do them for 3-5 sets of 5-10 reps.
    • Compound assistance exercises include pull-ups, rows, lunges, and dips. You won’t need much more than this.
    • Isolation assistance exercises include curls or triceps extensions. Don’t bother with leg curls or leg extensions.

Werner Gunthor lifted, sprinted, and jumped his way into your heart.

Werner Gunthor lifted, sprinted, and jumped his way into your heart.

  • Finish the session with high intensity conditioning. Conditioning should be something short and hard, just like your pecker. 30 seconds of running fast, 30 seconds of rest on a treadmill. Or 30 second bike sprint and then 30 seconds of easy pace. 50 to 150 burpees for time. 400m sprints. Some of the old benchmark CrossFit workouts like “Cindy” (you can cap the time at 10 minutes) and “Helen” are pretty good. Push a sled. Sprint up a hill. Running has a bad rap because it’s the worst fucking thing ever, but athletes need to sprint. You can’t look like an athlete without training like one. So, sprint.

There’s nothing flashy or sexy about how to organize a training session. Do something that looks like this three or four times a week consistently, sleep eight hours a night, and pay attention to not eating like shit, and any beginner will make progress.

If you’re interested in beginning diet information, read “Garbage In; Garbage Out” or “Improving Diet“.

No Secrets

I’ve been away for a bit, and when I look around at the realm of strength and conditioning,  I see the good and bad.

The good? The training population swells with eager trainees aiming for a bigger deadlift, a beautiful snatch, or a better metabolic engine. We have awesome lifters in USAW, raw powerlifting is surging, and thousands of people train instead of fiddling around with exercise. This is good.

The bad? Everybody’s an expert. Strength and conditioning is interesting because if a guy is good at doing it, he is not automatically good at teaching it. Athlete X accomplishes Y and then opens up shop for consultations and seminars. I’m not saying there isn’t room in the market, but a lack of knowledge in physiology, anatomy, metabolism, programming, etc. results in a disservice to the student and customer. This is bad.

It’s rare that any of the new information is profound. Organizing performance training isn’t complicated and there are no secrets. Consider the following:

– Perform large compound strength movements like squat, press, bench, deadlift, row, and pull-ups on a regular basis.

– Address mobility and muscular imbalance/weakness issues.

– Don’t do a stupid amount of volume and avoid most aesthetic-focused programs.

– Understand “met-con” or “high intensity conditioning” does not mean “consisting of retarded shit all the time.”

– Organize the training week to apply stress and give subsequent rest.

– First, specify to your needs, then your wants.

These are the tenets of performance training. Stick to these concepts and you won’t really need a glistening six pack telling you “IF IT FITS YOUR MACROS.” I understand the “How and why?” are your limiting factor. Now that I’ve knocked some rust off, I’m here to help. If I can’t stream the content out, I’ll at least be a bubbling brook.

Hybrid Weightlifting Programs

Everyone wants it all. CrossFit. Powerlifting. Weightlifting. All of it. Well, unfortunately the body doesn’t work like that. The more performance metrics you aim for, the more you limit the development of one of them; this is the concept of specificity in training.

Sometimes you have weightlifters who want to get stronger, jacked. Some times you have lifters wanting to dabble in weightlifting. Sometimes they just want it all. Well, here are a few resources for hybrid weightlifting programs.

I couldn't find out who this is, but it's a sweet pic

I couldn’t find out who this is, but it’s a sweet pic

Pendlay’s Super Total Program

This is Glenn Pendlay’s answer to how he would structure training for both powerlifting and weightlifting. I like the template. It allows for decent squat work, benching, overhead work, and still leaves room for two weightlifting days. The first weightlifting day is lighter and technique oriented while the latter is a heavier day.

70’s Big – Transitioning to Olympic Weightlifting

I wrote this a long time ago for myself and some of my lifters. It’s similar to Pendlay’s program above, but the weightlifting day comes before the strength day. This allows the lifter to be fresh for the quick lifts at the expense of the squatting and pressing. Also, the set/rep scheme for the Olympic lifts is a bit different. The weightlifting sessions are set up where one of the lifts is done with light to medium weight while the other lift is heavy. There are all kinds of different set/rep schemes, including the newer ones from The 70’s Big LP that could be dropped in.

Another note about this template — it’s what I always recommend to strength athletes who are getting into weightlifting. Without fail, they will jump into a program where they snatch and CJ three or more times a week only to run into some kind of joint issue. Whether it’s sore knees, hips, elbows, or shoulders, I see it every time regardless if they are weak or strong. Do yourself a favor and use the “progressive overload” concept of programming and ease into new training.

Another 70’s Big Transition Program — 3x/week

This is just a 3x/week adaptation of the previous 4x/week program.


What are some other hybrid weightlifting programs you’ve used? Have any others to add to the list?

 

CrossFit Good Vibes

Good gyms are hard to come by. Globo gyms should only be used out of necessity given their lack of equipment and attitude. The only reliable option nowadays is a CrossFit gym, but they may require attending one of their classes or have limited schedules.

Luckily, I found CrossFit Good Vibes in Augusta, GA. The owner, Brandon Cunningham, is a nine time Firefighter Combat Challenge World Champion. He has a certified 1:17 500m row on the Concept 2 rower, and is a two time Pan American Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Champion. Above all that, he’s a great guy and let us train however we wanted to in his gym.

125k snatch at CrossFit Good Vibes. Within 7k of lifetime PR

A video posted by 70s_big (@70s_big) on

CrossFit Good Vibes AKA 3B Fitness AKA Gracie Elite Augusta AKA Iron Eagle Barbell Club is a wide open space. On one end, there are platforms worked into the rubber flooring for Olympic weightlifting. There’s a large pull-up rig in the center along with plenty of open floor space. There’s also a 50+ meter turf track for stuff like agility work, pushing the sled, or other shenanigans. The opposite side of the building from the platforms has an open area for CrossFit classes as well as a large matted area for BJJ.

The weightlifting area is equipped with a variety of Pendlay bars and bumpers, and this is where I spent most of my time. There’s a core group of people that lift together. On any given night there will be a nurse, an assistant principal, a former Special Forces soldier, a former NFL receiver, a fire fighter, a geared powerlifter (seen below), and a college student all training together and cheering each other on. For the first time in a long time, I felt at home in a gym.

I ended up hitting some numbers I haven’t hit in a long time. I pressed 205 lbs for 5, snatched 125kg, and clean and jerked 150kg while doing a variety of conditioning workouts in the Augusta summer heat.

I’d like to thank the trainees and coaches (Brandon, Steve, Joe, Tony, etc.) at CrossFit Good Vibes for their hospitality. If you’re near the Georgia and South Carolina border and need a place to train, I suggest giving them a call. They’ll welcome you into their training den and will undoubtedly encourage you to push yourself.