PR Friday, 12 April 2013

Annnnnnnnd we’re back! Our servers made some mistakes yesterday (burpees instead of squats…tsk, tsk) and had to be put in timeout for half a day. Some unplanned maintenance later by our men in Berlin, and the ISIS mainframes have been upgraded with new neural net processors – learning computers – and our R2 is back on our 6, by the light of Kate Upton’s eyes. Bueno? Bueno.

So, let’s get back to business. This week, we had a post about Iris’s strength journey. AC taught us how to press more gooder (this was real, real popular on reddit). Markotta had us reflect on our motivation. Mike used the time off from reading the site to ignore Paul’s question and answer everyone else’s.

Additionally, USAPL Collegiate Nationals is this weekend in Killeen, TX. There’s going to be some pretty impressive single-ply lifting going on, and there are some fierce rivalries between teams. Naturally, I think Preston Turner, Ian Bell, and the rest of the Longhorn Team is going to take the cake, but watch and see for yourself.

Last week, I asked you guys and gals to submit pictures of your “70sBig face.” Wait, back up. First, I asked you to go back and re-read the original post on HOW to make a 70sBig face, and then to submit some examples. I got some great ones, and I got some that, well, I’m pretty sure were taken on the shitter in a time of duress  We’ll get there, folks, but this might take some work. I appreciate the flood of pics I got, and will post some each week.


“Billy” (we’ll use a code name to keep his identity a secret) sent in a picture that proves his commitment to the cause. He gets bonus points for the glasses, but the striped v-neck is hit or miss depending on yokeability. Guys, you can wear v-necks, but only if there’s chest hair poking out, mmmmk?



MeneGene spent the better part of the morning posing for this pic, showing off a pretty glorious mustache. There are literally ninja chicks beating up Abercrombie wannabee’s in the background, and he is sitting there stoicly not giving a fuck. I approve. I think there’s real blood on his shirt, too.



Jason lacks facial hair, but I’ll cut him some slack. If he was sporting a ferocious Viking beard, half the grease from this amazing burger would go to waste. Is that HAM on that hamburger, too? Shit, now I’m hungry – with a few fried eggs on top, that’d be a pretty dece breakfast. Good job, Jason. Next time, cut the sleeves off your plaid shirt for date night. Trust me, she’ll be impressed.



CriedTheFox shows us a classic selfie here, driving in some sort of van with “Free Ice Cream” scrawled on the side of it. Facial hair? Check. Cheap sunglasses? Check. Thrift-store t-shirt you’re unafraid to rip in half in case of emergency? Check. Bravo, sir. Bravo.





Blake’s got a pretty dece face here. The bushy brows, the insane look in his eyes, and a ‘Murican flag in the background are all excellent. A little more jaw-jutting would be nice, but HOLY SHIT there’s a Mustang snorting FIRE on his shirt.





We didn’t get nearly enough female face submissions, but Amanda played the game…sorta. She sent this in with the comment “No, this is not a 12 y/o boy but a 34 y/o woman.” I…I….look, I really appreciate the pic, but I….well, shit. I’m scared. You took some creative licensing and the end result is equal parts terrifying and awesome. I award you all the points, and hope to never cross your (bar)path when you’re angry.



That’s all for today. Keep the submissions coming, make sure they are LESS THAN A MEGABYTE (you’ve seen what happens when our systems get angry), and I’ll keep posting these on Fridays until I run out or get bored. Post your PR’s below. Have a great freaking weekend. Stay safe.


Tsypkin Thursdays #4

David C asks, “If you were going to hire/follow one of the bigger CrossFit coaches out there to help you prepare for the Open, Regionals, and Games, who would you choose?”

Rudy Nielsen of Outlaw.  In part because he has a deep and sound understanding of how to program effectively – but there are a lot of people with that. What Rudy has that a lot of others lack, is a deep and sound understanding of how CrossFit – the SPORT, not the fitness program – functions. He doesn’t debate silly shit like “is CrossFit too strength biased” or “has too much cardio” or whether the “definition of fitness” is legit.  He observes the parameters of the sport, and trains people to compete in them.


Dave F asks, “I am training the Olympic lifts three times a week, one day being committed to the snatch, one day to the clean & jerk, and one to both. What is a good rep scheme for a novice?”

First: if you are a novice, I do NOT think that 2x/week per lift is enough. You need to be doing them 3x/week so that you can learn the patterns and learn them well.

About rep schemes…don’t worry about them. Focus on sets of 1-3, get a lot of good reps in, and when you feel great, go for a new PR, whether it be a single, double, or triple. If you’re training alone, don’t do so much that you are exhausted for the last third of your session and do nothing but shitty reps.


Vee G asks “I was trained using the ‘scoop method’ ala Coach Burgener.  A lot of my fellow weightlifters have been taught in a style more similar to Coach Pendlay’s, which does not teach the scoop. What are some advantages/disadvantages of either technique?”

I’m assuming that by the “scoop method,” you mean teaching an intentional rebending of the knees – sometimes referred to as the double knee bend – under the bar before the second pull.

Did someone say scoop method?

I personally do not teach the scoop/double knee bend as such. I teach the lifter to move into the correct position, and the knees move into the right spot – slightly in front of the bar – just before the lifter extends into the finish. It is my opinion that teaching the intentional double knee bend only serves to confuse new lifters, slow down the transition, and lead to the lifter pushing the bar forward and shifting the weight onto the front of the feet too early.

Although there are certainly good coaches who have made this method work, I cannot see any advantages this way of teaching has over those which do not coach the lifter to intentionally perform the double knee bend.

Editors’s Note: Please remember to ask Tsypkin anything your crazy little heart desires on our facebook page. Otherwise, he’s going to have to come up with his own questions to answer, and that would just be crazy. 


Jacob Tsypkin is a CrossFit and weightlifting coach, the co-owner of CrossFit Monterey and the Monterey Bay Barbell Club in Monterey, CA. He is available for weightlifting seminars and has excellent taste in shirts and gainz.  


Tsypkin Thursdays #1

Jacob Tsypkin has been fielding questions on our facebook page about weightlifting/crossfit/training/coffee/beardliness, and will compile 3-4 of them weekly for your reading pleasure. You’re welcome. 

Gregor S asks, “Squatting every day: a good idea?”

Yes.  No.  Maybe.  Sometimes.

View the option of daily squatting as a tool.  I have used it to great effect in certain situations.  It can work to break plateaus, it can work for lifters who are significantly better at volume than they are at intensity, and it can work, surprisingly, for lifters who have knee pain when squatting.

The key is doing it intelligently.  You’re working up to a heavyish single each day (occasionally I’ll work in a double or triple instead.)  If you feel great, go for a PR.  If you don’t feel great, just hit what you can hit without getting ugly and call it a day.  If you want daily squatting to be effective, you absolutely MUST check your ego at the door.

Andrew K asks, “What cues do you like to use for the jerk? How about supplemental exercises?”

Predictably, the answer is, “it depends.”  It depends on what the lifter is doing right or wrong, what they’re good or bad at, and of course, what they respond to.  With that said, some of the most common cues I use are:

Drive it high and back” to get the lifter to be aggressive in driving the bar off the shoulders
Move straight” to cue the lifter to keep the hips and torso moving straight down/up/down
Step in front of the bar” to get the lifter to reach their front foot out to an adequate degree
Keep driving, keep reaching” to cue the lifter to stay with the bar, driving it as high as possible and to be active, rather than passive, about receiving and holding it.

For supplemental exercises, again it depends on what the athlete needs. Obviously the jerk from blocks is fantastic, and I prefer it from behind the neck for most people, as it teaches the lifter where the bar needs to be and, for most people, allows them to handle more weight. Of course, the jerk from the front rack is also very useful, so we employ both.

A fantastic exercise for improving footwork is Glenn Pendlay’s jerk ladder. This drill will help the lifter get used to the back foot landing first and “catching” himself with the front foot, as well as learning to remain rigid when going under the weight.

Lastly, the press from split is something all of my lifters do both when learning the jerk and in their warm-ups. It’s exactly what it sounds like: with the bar in the front rack, walk the feet out into your split position, and press. The most crucial part is that the press is EXTREMELY strict. There must be no movement of the legs, hips, or torso whatsoever. By doing this, the lifter learns where his body needs to be when receiving the jerk.

Stroup asks, “What is the minimal amount of weightlifting training a CrossFitter needs?”

In a word, plenty.  Assuming we are talking about competitive CrossFitters here, my athletes do the snatch and clean & jerk heavy three times a week each, on average.  That’s not including what they do in conditioning circuits. I think this would roughly hold true with most competitive CrossFitters.

Rudy Nielsen of The Outlaw Way wrote the following in an article about the importance of weightlifting for CrossFitters:

Larson also has added up the total point values for every movement tested during both the 2011 and 2012 Games seasons. The snatch and clean & jerk are worth 20 percent of the total point value. If you add accessories, you have 36 percent of the total point value—read that again, except in all caps: THIRTY-SIX PERCENT. I can and will talk about exactly how the lifts develop the athlete from an overall perspective, but strictly from a sporting perspective, that’s a lot of points.”

Between that, and the ability of the lifts to improve an athlete in so many ways, I think it’s undeniable that if you want to be a good CrossFitter, you’ve got to spend some serious time developing the snatch and clean & jerk.


Jacob Tsypkin is a CrossFit and weightlifting coach, the co-owner of CrossFit Monterey and the Monterey Bay Barbell Club in Monterey, CA. He is available for weightlifting seminars and gives excellent hugs imo. 


PR Friday, 15 Feb 2013

How was your Valentine’s Day? Did you eat several pounds of medium-rare steak? If not, get off the computer and fire up the grill. If so, please continue. I had a T-Bone and a Strip, and they were both bloody and delicious, thanks for asking.

Monday was the conclusion of Bert and Marijke’s story about her introduction to lifting and her first powerlifting meet. Here’s Part 1, and here’s Part 2. I hope you gals send me more articles about your experiences. The whole community is behind you.

Speaking of behinds, everyone’s second-favorite Jacob wrote up a great little article about posterior training, with the follow-up coming next week. Hopefully you read it thoroughly, or at least scrolled past the picture of Ariel’s back and saw some of the other stuff. I dunno, I didn’t look. I do know that our own Glenn Pendlay made a couple appearances, and hey, he’s a pretty cool guy, right?

yo yo yo

Yeah, boyeeeeeee.

Had a couple people submit questions:

Karen asks:  I am a female crossfitter (2/yrs) who is not getting enough lifting in the classes and finding them quite unsatisfying for a few different reasons. I am not dumb enough to think I can oly lift on my own but am considering taking the bench press to the globo gym (gym options are limited in my small town). So question for all:  Are you all annoyed when/if a stranger asks for a spot?  Any tips?

Karen, three things:

1. Talk to your coach first. Tell them you want to get stronger. Always give your coach a heads-up when you’re not happy, and allow them the chance to fix the situation. If he/she doesn’t pay you attention, or refuses to allow you to bench for some asinine reason, send them to me and then go ahead and send your ass to another gym.

2. At a globo, good spots are rare. Know that ahead of time. But you can try. Find someone that looks remotely like they know what they’re doing, and just ask if they mind spotting you. Hint: No bro minds giving a lady a spot. But it’s up to you to define your expectations. A sample conversation would go something like this: “Hi, random fella. I’m going to ask you for a spot not because your neon green shirt and shoes match, but because you’re one of the few people in here that squats, presses, and deadlifts and/or has a sweet beard. Can I get a spot on bench? I’m going for 5 reps. I’d like a little help on the liftoff (on the count of 3) and will ask you to take it IF AND ONLY IF I FAIL THE REP (emphasize this part, make eye contact, and realize that they’ll STILL screw it up half the time). Please don’t touch it unless I mention it. If I ask, grab the bar and rack it. I do not want a bro-spot.” Wink if you’re down with that, or if the beard is that legit.

3. Always put three things in a list. And never say “Oly lifting” near Pendlay in person. Trust me.

JayGreenShirt asks:  I have been wondering how to program in order to maintain strength on certain lifts. I’ll give you my own example as a basis for this question. I will likely (hopefully) pull 500 within the next month. I do not care to take my deadlift higher than that at this time and would like to shift my focus to bringing up other lifts. That said, I want to be able to maintain the 500 lbs. deadlifting strength. I would like to know your thoughts on what I would do with my deadlift given this situation.


Congrats on getting close to the ol’ 500 mark. I’m not sure why you’re not re-gearing and getting ready for 600, but to each their own. I think that in order to maintain strength in a movement, you need to maintain your relevant musculature, and maintain your efficiency at the movement (i.e., practice). The deadlift, of all the lifts, is the easiest in these regards. Once you have your form down, you really only need to pull about every 7-10 days to improve strength, and every 10-14 days should be OK for maintaining it (I am speaking in terms of novice to intermediate pullers, obviously). So pull at least 2-3 times a month, do a max effort set, and push those pulls hard. Something in the range of 405×10, 425×7, 455×4-5, etc. outta do it. You could use the 5/3/1 percentages, or just wait for my ebook to come out on the KISS deadlift program. Whatever you decide, don’t completely neglect your pulls just for the sake of pushing your other lifts, and you’ll be fine.


Last week, I promised some really cool vintage stuff. I didn’t get to it this week, but here’s a preview, because it’s totally in the pipeline. You might have heard of Doug Young, right? Well, I’m going to share some information from this book:
And do you recognize this picture? YUP!
I got my dirty paws on a copy of this rare and expensive book (published in 1978, when, oh, dudes were 70sBig), and chances are, you can’t. So I’ll share with you some really great stories from it and some of the history, including awesome stuff from the Texas Athletic Club (predecessor to where I train and coach, Hyde Park Gym in Austin). By the time we are done, I fully expect all of you to be pressuring Terry Todd to re-publish it.


Luckily, if you’re on the hunt for ol’ Dr. Terry, he’s going to be at the Arnold, along with a large portion of the 70sbig crew. I don’t personally know the man, but I do know he’s in charge of the Arnold Strongman event, which is just one of the hundreds of things you can see at the Arnold. In the next couple weeks, we’re really going to dive into a preview, some coverage, and then some recaps of one of the coolest sports festivals in the world.


Finally, I’ll be interviewing Ryan Carillo this weekend. He’s a 21 year-old powerlifter and already practically the definition of 70sBig at 6’5″ and 300lbs. Ryan is raising money to go to IPF Bench Press Worlds in Lithuania, and I think we’re going to be able to help him out a bit. If we’re lucky, he’ll give us some tips on increasing our bench, too. Or at least, not eat us.
Post your PRs for the week. Have a great weekend. Get big.


Q&A – 51

PR Friday: Post PR’s and training updates to comments. Mingle. Have a good time.

Continuing Weekly Challenge: Movember Fundraising: 

The 70′s Big Movember Network (including other countries) has raised $3,263 at the time of this writing. That’s purdy good, but we’re right after the halfway point in the month, and the goal this year was to raise $8,000. The approach this year was to ask as many of you to join the team as possible, and get as many donations as possible. It seems obvious, but there are about 30 members on the team who haven’t raised any money at all. Just ask your family and friends to donate $1 — literally one doll hair. If you accumulate $10 total, that will be neat. Especially if you other guys reading this join the team and raise your own $10. This cancer stuff can effect all of us; an old friend recently caught some early stages of cancer. Raising this money isn’t self serving; it’ll help people like him. Thank you for your time or effort in this fundraising.

Weekly Recap: Sunday was Veteran’s Day, and thank you to anyone generous enough to donate two bucks to two different veteran charities; showing vets that you are willing to take action for them means more than your words. On Monday Jacob Cloud posted about the women who competed at the Longhorn Open. Tuesday we talked about two good posts from Glenn Pendlay about weightlifting programming. Wednesday we dug into some of the reasoning why Misha Koklyaev was unable to represent Russia in the Olympics for weightlifting.

I replied/answered to a few posts from last week’s Q&A.

Not a single fuck was given. (Pictured: Donovan Ford. Thanks to Brian for pic)


Connor on November 4, 2012 at 12:22 pm said:
Justin, I thought this might make an odd, yet informative question/post. It seems that I’ve run into a problem that every man runs into: the roids…not the steroids, but the hemorrhoids. I have them and they’re really fucking up my workout schedule man. I really don’t know what to do about them, so I guess I’m going to go see Dr. Jelly Fingers in a couple of days to see what he says because this shit is unbearable (pardon the pun).

So these are my questions:

Does squatting and heavy lifting cause hemorrhoids?  That’s what everyone keeps telling me and I deny it, but I really can’t attribute it to anything else. How should I go about my training until it gets healed? Squatting is pretty much out of the question when it gets irritated. Thanks for reading this man. I know it’s kind of a funny topic or  whatever, but it’s serious man. I can’t, and won’t stop strength training, which is what I’m 90% sure the doctor will tell me to do. So what is your knowledge and experience on what to do in this situation?


Dear Connor,

Interesting yet probably relevant topic, indeed. Let me preface this with the fact that my hemorrhoids knowledge is limited; I haven’t had them more than half my life nor have I coached anyone that has had them. I did find this article and will point out a few things along with adding some other information.

Hemorrhoids are an enlarged vein in the anus, and they can distend outside of the body. Dealing with existing hemorrhoids includes:

- avoiding putting pressure into the lower abdomen when lifting (thereby pushing it in the bully or up into the closed throat)
- stay hydrated, eat healthy fats to soften the stool (to avoid irritating the hemorrhoids)
- don’t strain when pooping
- take a sitz bath
- don’t take over the counter anti-inflammatories

The article above points out that it’s still possible to train with hemorrhoids, but you obviously want to take care to not make them worse. In order to prevent hemorrhoids, I think the best thing you can do is progress into heavy lifting when you aren’t adapted to it. Irritating the blood vessels around the anus is the result of two possible things: a) putting excessive pressure in that region when lifting or b) increasing general blood pressure when you’re not adapted to it. To avoid putting pressure towards the B-hole, take a big breath, and then try to expel it through your throat and mouth, but close the epiglottis so that no air can move through your throat. When you do this, you’ll probably feel your abdominal muscles contract and pressure in your upper body increase. If you’re not used to this, be careful using it when you are actually lifting; it’s a bit different than merely taking a big breath and holding it.

Keep in mind that the adaptation to pressure increases will probably dictate forming or irritating hemorrhoids. The guy in the article above can squat and deadlift over 700 pounds without symptoms, but you may need to work to adapt to a work load near or at your max. Oh, and obviously don’t put large pressure stresses on them when they are flaring up.


zapata on November 9, 2012 at 1:42 pm said:
brb still waiting for Justin to answer a Q&A about fucking magnets, how do they work?

Dear zapata:


patrick87 on November 9, 2012 at 4:55 pm said: 

QUESTION: During weighted chins I’m noticing that my right shoulder/chest touches the bar considerably earlier than my left side. I’m only doing barbell excercises – no dumbbell or other one-sided lifting work – and always check that I’m in the middle of the bar. What does it mean and how do I counter this problem? Is it muscle
imbalance or is my posture screwed up?

Dear patrick87,

I can’t say for certain what the issue is without seeing it. The likely culprits are a lack of mobility or poor posture. You could also have some strength or musculature imbalances. I’d try and figure out which of these you think it is and deal with it appropriately. In the mean time, try to touch both shoulders at the same time (you may have to cue the opposite side to lead the way).



First rugby game ever last night. We won, absolutely dominating what has long been considered the best team in the league. And the coach declared me “man of the match.” I haven’t felt so proud in a long time.


QUESTION: I have heard that NSAIDs can cause damage to the intestinal lining and tax the liver, but let’s be real now, after the beating I took last night, fish oil and mobbing aren’t going to cut it for getting me back into playing condition within a week, and definitely not enough to get me ready to squat on Monday. I know from past experience that NSAIDs have helped me get rid of problems in two days that fish oil and mobbing hadn’t solved in weeks. Is there anything wrong with taking ibuprofen for a day or two for a quick fix? If not, what are my options for getting myself healed quickly?
Note: I eat (mostly) paleo (I include dairy and potatoes fairly regularly) and take tons of fish oil and vitamins, and drink lots of water. The areas that are most hurt right now are my right shoulder and both of my quads. Last time I had tissue bruised this badly it took two weeks to feel better. I don’t have that kind of time anymore. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Dear newgetelqueso,

A few things. First, let’s look at pseudodan’s response to you last week. He alluded to the fact that strength training “wasn’t paleo” and such. This is referring to the “paleo lifestyle” bullshit that people talk about (which pseudodan is against; I just wanted to rant about this). Paleo is just the nutrition thing, because anybody that is not brushing their teeth or squatting to shit (at home) is an idiot. Trying to avoid the “Neolithic lifestyle” is not only stupid as shit, but it’s hypocritical unless they are out in the woods and they’d still be using their neolithic knowledge they picked up before trying to devolve.

All that being said, potatoes are fine when following Paleo nutrition (I’ll talk more about stuff like this soon). pseudodan mentioned you should be weary of increasing fish oil, and I agree if you’re already taking 4 or 5 grams of it. Otherwise you could increase it to that. I agree with pseudodan that acute intakes of ibuprofen and such is okay. But, now that you’re a real athlete who is getting his body smashed, you need to start looking into advanced recovery techniques, particularly methods to reduce swelling as fast as possible like compression, elevation, ice (“Should you use ice?” and “How should we ice, then?“), contrast baths (they pulse the lymphatics system as a whole), and some basic movement with compression (depending on the advancement of the injury).


I have a question maybe for next weeks Q&A maybe its an easy reply. I have been rehabbing from back surgery with The diesel crew back rehab protocol, easy way to sum it up is lots of bird dog, planks, bridges, dumbell RDLs, band good mornings, anti latteral flexion and rotation work, along with hip and thorasic mobility.I have been doing good working out 7 days a week for a few weeks, 5 days a week for a few weeksand now I’m nearing the last few weeks of the program at 3 days a week before going back to regular barbell training 3 days a week. I’m excited to have come this farbut I’m still dealing with a good amount of back soreness. I understand that what I am doing is going to cause soreness since I am trying to over come the last year of my back being a mess and doing nothing physical for it, but I am wondering if there is any strategy to improving tissue quality in my low back to help speed this up. I have had sucess in other funky areas using foam rollers, soft balls, lacrosse ballsand other tricks but I’m unsure of safe ways to do the same in the low back. I don’t have 1 spot injury pain, just a general soreness and tightness that you would get from working out. I am overweight and have already gotten my diet and supplements under control, I’m sure that will help greatly as time goes on. I also take no pain medications. Any recovery advice for this area would be greatly appreciated.


Dear Shawn Zep,

I think that your active approach to rehab is good, and don’t be afraid to continue it. If it doesn’t accomplish anything for a few weeks, then you will want to reconsider the approach. In general, I recommend that you stay active — especially because you say you’re overweight. If you aren’t walking daily, then I recommend that. In FIT, I talk about speed walking for 15 minutes several times a week, and this sounds like a good idea for you in addition to whatever rehab or lifting you may be doing (walking is also good rehab for the back).

I’m a big fan of rotational exercises and lateral spine stuff, and it sounds like that is present in your routine. It may be a bit early to lift, so try to incorporate some basic calisthenics if you can (squatting, lunging, push-ups, pull-ups, etc.). When you do start lifting, start with very light weight (the bar) and keep your normal rehab stuff in. Standard rehab advice is: do a little, see how it responds, then do just slightly more next time if everything is fine.