Monthly Archives: August 2012

J&B Straight Up and A Corona

Edit: This might make me lose cool points with some of you, but I don’t give a shit. I want to kick more ass at Diablo 3. WILL CRITIQUE/PROGRAM FOR GEAR. IF you play.

Did some volume press work. Finally feel good after work on Tuesday. It usually takes a day to recover from standing and sweating all night. Shits gay. Got Agnes lifting again now. If I didn’t mention it before she went back to Poland for a bit. Im having her go light so she can transition back into it without being ungodly sore. This time next week she will be in full swing. I’m having her journal all of her lifting so she can get used to keeping track of it. If you don’t do this then I suggest you do. Chris just ran out of pages from his journal from a few years ago. I used to keep one as well before I started posting it online.

I also started doing more “Body-building” stuff just for some extra hypertrophy so I can looked more jacked. Oddly enough I’ve gained 5 pounds and people are telling me I look skinnier. Thats the last thing you want to tell someone who works his/her ass off in the gym every week to get bigger and stronger. My body composition might have changed a little. Now it’s time to get huge pipes.

Squat: 445×5/430×3/415×3 Back was fried from pulling Tuesday
RDL’s: 150x5x3
Back was too tight/sore to continue. Wasn’t worth it.

Press: 170x3x3 (Shoving my elbows into external while in the rac position is saving my ACJ)
Dips: 135x5x3
Tricep Pushdowns: 80x10x3 (its not that much here, but the machine only has one pulley so its a lot harder than most)
Tricep Pulldowns: 60x10x3

Gotham is yours. None shall interfere. Do as you please.

Started to rotate my press and bench so I could have a little less stress from benching all the time. Let’s see if it pays off in the next few weeks. Made an adjustment to my press as well. I widened my grip just a hair and when the bar is in the rack position I jam my elbows into external rotation. Felt a lot better on my AC and was actually a little faster out of the hole. It was nice. Hit 245×2 no problem. Today (Tuesday) I deadlifted 575. It wasn’t slow, but not fast. It was nice and smooth. After that I did some speed squats and that wore me out completely. I was supposed to do some auxiliary stuff but I was kinda tired and the workout was running long.

Agnes is back in town now until January. Im pumped about that. She is gonna start lifting tomorrow. Ordering her shoes as I type this. I love seeing progress so I can’t wait for a month or so down the road to see where she is at.

And here is us just being badass at work

Deadlift: 575
Dynamic Effort Squat: 315×2/On the min/6 min (increasing by one minute each time to get back to ten)

Press: 245×2
Close-Grip: 315x3x3
Pull-Ups: BWx10x3

The Shadows Betray You, Because They Belong To Me

I’m really running out of title ideas at this point. Training resumes as normal this week. Hit 385×2. Felt a little funky. Hadn’t gone heavy since the meet and my shoulder is a concern now. Hopefully with the mechanical change I can keep it healthy. Close-Gripped 315 for some triples and then did some weighted chins. I’ll be back on my normal routine except instead of benching every week I am going to alternate Bench/Press like I used to. Probably for 2-3 months. Mainly to give my problem areas more rest. I think the constant benching has caused some issues.

Had to work Saturday btw. It was pretty miserable. Outside in what felt like a sauna for about 5 hours. This is a guesstimate, but over 600 people came through the building. It was busy ALLLL night. Imagine that lunch rush at a restaurant, but the entire night. And with drunks. And with bitches. And with assholes. And with people who feel entitled to everything. It was a clusterfuck. Definitely made me not miss it, but I do it because I love to hate people.

Had my friend Steve mash my elbows for about a minute each. Hurt so fucking bad. I’ve got knots in there that need to be worked out badly. Hurt so fucking much, but its such a huge relief after.

Squat: 445×5/435×5/415×3
RDL’S: 135x5x3
Drove to ATL and went straight to the gym. Tired from travel.

Bench: 345×5/330×3/315×3 (Some funk with my left arm)
Dips: 90x5x3
Side Laterals: 30×10/35×10/40×10
Side Raises:25×10/30×10/35×10

Squat: 500×2/515×2
Dynamic Effort Pulls: 315×2/On the min/5 minutes (Will sets next time)
BB Curls: 90x10x3
Mashed elbow with Lacrosse ball

Bench: 385×2
Close-Grip: 315x3x3
Chin-Ups: 45lbx5x3

R & R have been important, until now.

Did some “Medium” work earlier this week. Nice easy day so I wouldn’t be so fucked up going into my volume. Couldn’t lift on schedule because the RAC wasn’t open yesterday and Ironworks is all over the place because football is in camp. I assume I’ll be back at the RAC for the next week. Yay. I’ll kick it into regular training next week including all of the accessory work. Never hurts to ease into it after a break. Going to see The Expendables here soon. It’s going to be a jizzfest to see all of my favorite action stars together again. When you grow up with these guys as your hero’s its sad to see them get old, but you don’t want them to stop. Hopefully I’ll meet Arnold at the Arnold’s. After that moment I am going to bang my girlfriend without washing my hands (shaking arnolds hand) then put a .45 in my mouth and end it all.

In other banter, my friend Evan is starting to work out with me now. I fucking hope he sticks with it. He is a fucking monster even though he doesn’t lift. If he gets into it there will be another guy competing in the 242’s thats ferocious. Also my asshole ex roommate benched 500 and he weighs 250. His name is Elliot and he is a big fucker. He’s the one all the way to the left

Squat: 445×3/430×3/415×3
Bench: 345×3/330×3/315×3

Squat: 405×3
Hammer Curls: 50x10x3

Bench: 315×3
Press: 165×5

This squat is heavy, this squat needs mobility, and the method behind it is not a mystery

Ok so the bench is out of the way. Now there are two variations of the squat. High bar and Low bar. Reference the image that I attached if you get confused on the difference. Two different squats. Semi similar ways to go about learning/doing/coaching them.

Even before that I want to help you teach the squat in general. First and foremost you are going to to have the athlete stand in front of you like a mirror. Next, you are going to tell them to place their feet shoulder width apart. Just like the grip on the bench, this stance will provide the longest ROM with the most musculature utilized in the lift. It’s similar to the bench in that it’s harder to put your femurs into external rotation the wider you go (shoving your knees out). Next, their toes are going to be slightly pointed out (reference This will allow the athlete to shove their knees out to perform full ROM and get external rotation more than if their toes were pointed straight. If the toes are straight (most athletes don’t have the mobility to accomplish toes straight and knees out) and the athletes knees are forward instead of out all that muscle and bone and fleshy area of the hip/femur mash into one another making it harder to achieve depth. With that said, have the athlete squat down to depth (reference this picture and stay down there. Note, this is without the bar. Have the athlete take his hands at put his palms together and with his elbows he is going to shove his knees out. All of this is being down while maintaining extension in both lumbar/thoracic spine (WE ARE STILL AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SQUAT).

Now this leads into the low-bar squat. Low bar uses a little more hamstring than a high bar, but if your athletes are doing a lot of cleans (full cleans) then the high bar may be of more use to you because the squat in the clean is similar to a high bar squat.

In case I lost your attention

From there you are going to walk around behind the athlete and place your hands on their low back/hips and apply slight pressure. The weight should be place right over the middle of the foot. Roughly where you tie your shoe laces. THIS IS WHERE ALL THE WEIGHT IS ON A LOW BAR. You are then going to tell them to “DRIVE” their hips into your hands. This emphasizes “Hip Drive”. Which is what low bar squatters use to rebound out of the hole. ( notice my hips driving me out of the bottom. Also notice how I maintain my bar position because my spine is in extension). Have them do this once or twice to get a feel for it. Another thing to note here. Their head position is neutral with their eyes fixed on a reference point a few feet in front of them. They ARE NOT LOOKING UP. Looking up destroys the tension that you attained through eccentric contraction in the hamstrings. The hips and knees move forward losing that stretch reflex. You can demonstrate this by doing a 3rd and 4th rep with the athlete in this demo phase. Have the athlete look at the ground a few feet in front of them and then command them to drive up (hands still on the hips), then have the athlete look up as hard as they can (like most coaches tell them too). Squatting should be significantly harder now. Keep in mind this is for the low-bar. You can get away with that more in the high-bar, but it’s not a good spinal position.

Now you can take them to the barbell. Start with just the bar and then move from there. I can’t find a decent pic of barbell placement but this is close ( For the low bar the barbell sits along the spine of the scapula. It’s almost like a ridge that your body creates when you place yourself under the bar. When the athlete is under the bar move so you can be in a position to next to them. From there you are going to give them the last little touch up cues. When they unrack the bar it should coincide with a large breath of air and extension of the spine. Reference my video if you need to look again. Also when they unrack it their elbows should be applying downward pressure on the bar. Do not let their elbows slack down. All the weight of the bar is on their back NOT on their arms. Again, notice in the video how my elbows stay high. They are going to take roughly two steps back and take the same stance they had when you were teaching them before. Now right before they go you will tell them 2 last things. A: They are going to have to shove their knees out without their elbows and B: They are going to REBOUND out of the bottom, so basically they aren’t pausing at the bottom.


Take a big breath and hold it for each rep. Each rep gets a new breath and it gets held FOR THE WHOLE REP.

At all times their eyes should be fixated on a reference point. It is hard to maintain balance if they are looking around.

Cues for low bar:

“Knees out” The athlete shoves their knees out for external rotation. Easier ROM. More musculature in the lift.

“Mid-Foot” If you see the athlete shifting their weight it can change the mechanics of the squat. This cues them to put their weight back on the middle of the foot.

“Drive” This will remind the athlete to use his/her hips when they rebound out of the hole.

“Bounce” This is tough for some people to get, but they essentially have to rebound out of the hole off their hamstrings. Using that eccentric contraction we talked about earlier. Advanced cue here. For beginners think control down, fast up.

Moving on to High-Bar . . .

Similar in a few ways.

The bar placement is placed on the traps. As you can see in the pictures. This bar placement changes a few things. Their torso has to maintain a more vertical position throughout the lift. The more vertical the torso the more acute (closed) the knee angle will be. Reference the pictures to see. Knees out stays the same. Thats crucial for both styles. The cue that changes here is “Mid-Foot”. The weight is emphasized on their heel NOT their mid-foot. (Put emphasis on “heels” on the way down and up. “Knees out” is just as important — common for lifters to bring them in at the bottom and on the way up in the high bar variation).

Perhaps you’re wondering why someone would lay down on a bench and lift before reading an explanation

My friend asked me to help him out with benching/coaching so I wrote this in an email to him. Justin suggested I post it on the site. It might help some of you so here it is. I was going to write an explanation like this for squat as well. Now’s not the time to write it though, that comes later.

Here is the video I made for the bench set-up. Mainly to give you a visual here.

I’ll run over bench first because that’s real easy.


Have the athlete lay down on the bench (obviously). From there have them reach and grab the posts (like in the video) in order to pull their scapula (shoulder blades) together. Having them grab the posts can give them a better “pinch” then they might be able to do otherwise. Pulling the shoulder blades or scapula together artificially shortens the bench ROM as well as changing the angle of contraction for the pecs. If the shoulders are rounded out or flat, the chest contracts at an inward angle because of the attachment points at the shoulder and the middle of the chest. This causes the force to be applied at an inward angle. “Pinching” or retracting the scapula changes the angle of contraction so the force is applied in a more vertical, linear, fashion.

Once that is discussed you can simply sum all of that up by cueing the word “Pinch” or w/e you like. Something that you talk to the athlete about. Some guys like to hear “Squeeze” instead.

From there the athlete can now settle into his arch. What helps me is when I arch I try to think about getting my hips as close to my shoulders as possible. This again artificially shortens the bench ROM and allows for a better bar bath to the sternum. As I mentioned in the video the arch and feet position can be done pretty much at the same time. There is literally no worry for risk of spinal injury from arching. Sometimes females can go into over-extension because they can be more mobile than a lot of guys. You might have to look for that if you coach any ladies. The only worry is cramping up at the low back and anterior hip, so proper mobility work can prevent that. Anyone who says otherwise is an idiot. There is no compression of the spine at any point in time during the bench. The heels provide extra “drive” into the bar. Having them flat is important so they can “drive” or “dig” their feet into the ground. Having plantar flexion is basically adding a weak point in the chain. If they are on the balls of their toes they can lose force production through the ankle. You just have to logically think “What can serve as a harder brace? My entire foot based on the floor? or the small surface area that I am pushing through with my calf.” The heels need to be slightly behind the knees. You can get a visual of that from the video I linked.Tell them to “imagine you’re extending your knee to make your body slide up the bench — it’s not driving them so that the butt drives up to the ceiling. This solidifies the pinched upper back onto the bench and prevents any variability due to instability. That last part is courtesy of Jenn Thompson. She mentions it in her video and it’s a good take-home point. She is a really nice lady and I think I have a crush on her.

After this is all discussed, like the first cue you are going to sum it up with “Arch” and “Heels”.

When your athlete is setting up remind them. You are a commanding presence so cue the set up. “Heels”, “Arch”, “Pinch”. “Nice and tight”. The more emphasis on the set up the easier the lift becomes. Justin likes to use the terms “Active Heel” and “Active Pinch”. Those are really good to cue because the set-up isn’t cemented. Guys can fall out of their arch and pinch so during the set you have to actively maintain that position.

Some other info/cues that are equally important are:

Grip. When they grip the bar it should be a full grip. None of that suicide thumbless grip shit. I don’t care if they have been benching like since they began. It’s horse shit and dangerous. From the coaches perspective (You) the forearm should be at a 90 degree angle with the bar when the bar is on the chest when implementing the proper set up from above (in other words, the forearms are vertical at the bottom of the rep). This puts the athlete at the most advantageous spot for longest distance travelled and the most musculature involved in the lift. Any wider the lift becomes less effective. Yes, the bar path is shortened even more, but you aren’t trying to get the kid to move 300 pounds 3 inches. It’s less musculature and a waste of an ATHLETES time. Wider grips also put a lot of stress on the elbows and shoulder and make it hard to stay externally rotated throughout the movement.

Elbows. This is very important. If they elbows “flare” out, which is called “Internal Rotation” THIS IS BAD. You can do external/internal rotation reading this right now. Reach out in front of you and rotate your arms in. Right hand rotates clockwise and left goes counter clockwise. Basically like tucking in the elbows. You are stronger during any pushing in external rotation. The cue to use is “Elbows to Ribs”. Now you can shorten that if you want to just “Elbows”, after you have explained it.

Whenever I coach people I try to make a point to tell them that the object is not to bounce the bar off your chest. It’s to lightly touch and “DRIVE” off.

^^^This link can help explain internal/external rotation for you.

I think I covered it all. If you have a question about any of that fire away. .

Here you go

Had a lot of fun. Glad to hang out with some of my closest friends.

You Packin?

Made it home after a long day of traveling. I’ll do a post on the meet. Justin is doing one as well, but mine will be from a little more first-hand experience. I will update you guys later. I am exhausted.