Q&A – 27

PR Friday

Post your training updates and PR’s to the comments. Last week I put a challenge to 70’s Big readers to do mobility work every day. Did anyone do it? Next week’s goal: meet your daily protein intake with primarily meat; only allow 25 to 50g of whey protein for your daily allotment.

I don’t have any awesome stories like last week; I’ve mostly been inside writing (will announce some new things soon). Chris will be visiting me in Florida and we’ll do a Q&A video with him. Post your questions to the comments as well.

I was kind of irritated on Wednesday (this may have something to do with it) and decided to squat 405 for as many reps as I can after snatching up to 120kg. I was going for 12, but got confused when I was dying. Squatting strength is not a priority in my lifting, but I was still disappointed in this.

Weekly Recap

[spoiler]On Monday we reviewed and congratulated the performances of various 70’s Big readers on their success in powerlifting and weightlifting meets. Tuesday I responded to an article that Matt Wichlinski wrote about CrossFit; it focuses on efficient programming. Wednesday we talked about some general mobility topics and then specifically how “The Stick” can help with soft tissue work. Thursday looked at two articles from recent news; one was unfortunate while the other was interesting. [/spoiler]

Chris B., your question on hyper-lordosis that I promised an answer to is going to be the subject of a post next week.


Kyp K. asks:

I’ve been following the Olympic Weightlifting variation of SS (Edit: it’s the novice Olympic template I created) for the past several months and my Back Squat will be 150kgx5x3 tomorrow after which I would like to switch to a three day template and was thinking of a modified TM.

I had the TM eBook until some fuckwits broke into my house two months ago and stole everything including my PC.
I have two question I was hoping somebody might be able to answer.

1) The only posts I’ve managed to find on the interwebs of people doing FS in a TM have all been from individuals who utilize a Low-Bar approach to the Back Squat and do a 3×3 for Fronts. Is there any reason NOT to do 3×5 as opposed to 3×3?

2) In transitioning to a TM I was planing on doing my first week at
Day 1 – 132.5kgx5x3 High Bar
Day 2 – 107.5kgx5x3 Front Squat
Day 3 – 152.5kgx5x1 High Bar,
adding 2.5kg to each individual session each week.

Would this be the right way in going about it in order to continue to drive up my Back Squat in a linear (albeit from week to week) type fashion?

Dear Kyp,

Since you’re into weightlifting, I’ll assume you’re doing the lifts to some extent in your new 3x/week template. My suggestion would be using a Medium-Light-Heavy template with the lifts since that would coincide with using a TM approach to your squats. You could throw in push-presses on the Medium or Heavy days too.

1. Given that your program most likely involves the snatch and CJ on a daily basis, it might apply too much weekly work to use sets of five on the front squat. By using three triples (3×3), you can reduce the volume a bit. The lesser time under tension per set may help you recover a bit better so that you can go in on the Heavy day and lift well. On the other hand, doing triples would allow you to use heavier weight, so you still may be hampered. I used three ascending triples on a TM a few years ago (I low barred on the volume/intensity days), and it initially caused some fatigue, but wasn’t as bad when I adapted to it. You could use ascending triples to lower the overall intensity hit on the front squat day, yet still be able to hit a top set to help push your front squat and clean recovery.

2. Based on the discussion directly above, we could modify what you propose for your TM template. By the way, it’s not bad. I’d first point out that you would NOT want to increase Day 1’s load every week. It’s good that you aren’t using a 5×5, but if the 3×5 continuously increases, then your actual heavy set on Day 3 will be hampered because of a growing recovery deficit every week. The Texas Method E-book Part 1 states that we’d want to increase the heavy day (your “Day 3”) for three weeks before increasing the volume work (your “Day 1”). I’d emulate that in your program.

You can switch the front squats to ascending sets to ensure you’re still operational for Day 3. Furthermore, you could switch Day 3 to three ascending doubles to handle even greater amounts of weight. Doing a 5RM is fine in the early stages of a TM (first few months), but it’s time under tension is much higher than doing doubles or triples. And obviously you can handle more weight with fewer reps than a 5RM, and handling more weight for few reps is what Olympic weightlifting is all about. You could progress the 5RM weekly until it slows; while you do that, keep your Day 1 work load under control. Then switch to two triples or three doubles on Day 3 and progress that. There are plenty of options, but the optimal method usually revolves around not doing too much volume. Unless you’re on drugs.

juco asks:

Got a nutrition question. The wife’s due date is coming up (procreation PR), which means I won’t be able to regularly get to the gym in the first few months while the little bugger learns to sleep through the night.

When taking a 1-2 month hiatus, how should a lifter eat? I don’t want to start over from square one when I go back, but obviously if I still eat like I’m training, it’ll just get packed away as fat. Should I just try to eat clean?

Dear juco,

Congrats on your procreation PR. This leaves the scope of this answer, but you can still get some decent training in at home without gym equipment. They could be short, 15 minute sessions at home that focus on plyos and power.

Anyway, if you follow the site you already know that I’m an advocate of lifters eating pretty clean regularly. That means a LOT of meat, potatoes, fats, and veggies. Realistically, if you drop the training out, then the only thing that would need to change is a reduction in dense carbohydrates and maybe the overall fat content. Judging by your question, I assume you do not eat like this when training, so the answer would be to use this opportunity to clean up your diet.

Remember: fat does not apply force to move weight. Everyone here should aim to be big, strong, powerful, and athletic. John Welbourn did a really good diet summary post for the power athletes. I stress this type of diet because you’ll have better performance when you are actually training, but you’ll also set yourself with very good habits for old age and longevity. I think it’d be really awesome if 70’s Big existed for the next 50 years and we all grew old and hated each other, but we were still lifting weights, running around, and having sex with our wives (husbands?). I’d rather not hear about a bunch of readers dying. “Oh, you remember CriedTheFox? He fucking died while driving his boat on the lake. They said he had a cupcake in his hand…”

willey asks:

I think I’m misunderstanding part of this. So I get that it helps keep you in external rotation, which will help you bench better without it, much like how a belt strengthens your trunk. But those sets you did, are those then easier (like when wearing a belt) or harder (like using bands on the bar)? I feel like your explanation and mark’s say are said in ways that sound confusing/contradictory.

Dear willey,

The Slingshot assists the bench movement by supporting the action of joints. A belt supports the trunk, a segment, by improving pressure. This is why a Slingshot would not be considered “raw”. I did sets of 185 and 275 in that video; they were easier because of the assistance The Slingshot provides. Normally I would need a lot more warm-up to get to that weight. Mark and I are saying the same thing, just in different ways.

ksik10 asks:

I have been having some elbow problems (probably medial epicondylitis). I thought this was from dropping my elbows when coming out of the bottom of a low bar squat, and thus putting a lot of compression on that joint. However, after paying attention to it for a few workouts, I’m still having some residual pain that seems exacerbated by benching and pressing.

Do you think the slingshot will help alleviate some of this pain? In your experience, does elbow pain result from incorrect benching mechanics (maybe incorrect wrist or forearm positioning creating a shitty moment arm?)?

Dear ksik10,

Pain in the medial elbow is almost always caused by poor low bar squat grip placement. Sometimes I’d almost prefer everyone to high bar, because this such a common issue. You will feel the pain in your elbow when pressing or benching because it’s stressed from shitty positioning when squatting. You won’t feel the pain during the set because it’s subtle, but the compounding stress will leave it sore.

Since I’m almost convinced it’s caused by the squat grip, the Slingshot will not alleviate your pain. If you are internally rotating while benching, then The Slingshot may help reduce that pain by improving your mechanics, but it still ignores the cause of the problem. Start mobbing your shoulders yesterday; just search “shoulder” and do two videos a day. Internal rotators, external rotators, anterior shoulder girdle, thoracic spine, and lats. Go.

Mark asks:

I can see how it (The Slingshot) helps with lift mechanics, but I’m confused about the benefits of it as far as “compressive overload” (I think that’s what I heard you call it in the video). Doesn’t the slingshot act similar to doing pullups with a stretch band? Even though more weight can be loaded on the bar, aren’t you effectively reducing the load when the slingshot is stretched at the bottom of the bench? Maybe I’m just not understanding it correctly…

Dear Mark,

I said “progressive overload“. There is some marginal or arbitrary amount of load that is removed from the acting muscles as a result of the assistance The Slingshot provides. However, the structures still support the load (and therefore adapt to the greater load), and the lockout is still 100% unassisted. Despite there being a little bit of “help” out of the very bottom, the rest of the “ease” is due to the improved mechanics. The shoulders are in external rotation which allows the elbows to be “under the wrist”, a position that I coach. This ensures the triceps are fully involved.

It’s not at all comparable to doing pull-ups with a band because that merely has an effect on the overall load. The Slingshot has an effect on the mechanics which in turn has an effect on the load. That’s an important distinction, and the very reason that The Slingshot is not a piece of shit.

Paul Sousa asks:

1. I am planning on getting one of these but made it a goal to not get it until I reach a 315 bench. Is that stupid of me? It’s mainly so that I force myself to be consistent in training since I know I can get to 315, but am I just slowing my progress by not getting one?

2. Speaking of overload, what are your thoughts on doing things like heavy walkouts, very limited ROM lifts, whatever, for someone competing in strongman? The reason I ask is because I tried the Conan’s Wheel for the first time this past Saturday, and it beat the crap out of me. Is there any structural and/or CNS benefit to doing huge overloads?

Dear Paul,

Do you comb or brush your beard? Do you Stroup? Cloud? I let my facial hair get pretty long, longer than I think it was in the winter. Then I realized it wasn’t a good idea in 90+ degree heat and humidity.

1. It depends. Is your bench form solid? Or do you have issues with proper external rotation? It could be that your mechanics are limiting your muscular development and inhibiting your climb to 315. If you aren’t in a good, externally rotated position during your bench, your triceps will not apply force and develop as well. This would have an effect on your press or overhead movements (Paul has done strongman in the past).

2. First, I don’t like the phrase “CNS Fatigue” (ctrl+f “CNS” to find relevant portion). There is some utility in undergoing those types of stresses, yet the adaptation would probably be most relevant to strongman. Yoke walks, fahmahs, Conan’s wheels are all badass, but we would need to keep the goals of the program intact. Is the goal to prepare for strongman? They need to be done. Is the goal to get stronger in the squat? Then squat. Heavy walk outs may help a guy think the weight is light, but it might be occurring at the expense of fatiguing him. Instead, if he had more recover prior to his next heavy session, then the weight might feel lighter. In other words, the heavy walk outs might be something that compounds stress, puts him in a recovery deficit, and doesn’t make his next heavy session feel lighter. But that would depend on the program.

A general strength trainee can get benefit out of these “overloaded total body stresses”, but he will need to program accordingly. Especially when he’s not adapted to them. Sure, it’s cool to be a tough guy and endure an ass kicking yoke walk randomly, but it’s only detrimental if it inhibits the next squatting workout. Put it in context of the program and goals. The lifts/activities can definitely act as strength training, but they would require a proper progression into them (at least for the sake of joints, even in “fit” lifters).

60 thoughts on “Q&A – 27

  1. Made it a point to take the challenge you posted last week. I did some static stretching every day this week and foam/PVC post-workout. Feels good man.

    Training PR: first actual honest-to-God chin up of my life. Pulled myself up and just hung there for a few seconds over the bar. Also finished my second week of 5/3/1.

    Question for Justin: I have to go under the knife later this year (loose skin from weight loss). It’s a major procedure and I’m going to be out of commission on any heavy lifting for about four months. I’m concerned about losing strength and muscle mass during the recovery period. I might be able to sneak in some light pressing (military or bench) a month or two after they cut, but I’m guessing squats and DL won’t happen until much later. Is there anything I can do to avoid muscle atrophy besides eat my protein and maybe some light upper body work and mobility while I heal up?

  2. Lacrosse ball to pirformis, IT band, quads, and elbows everyday, along with couch stretch. I would have liked to have done some of the more exotic joint approximation, but w/e. Definitely helped would some medial elbow pain I’ve been having recently.

    New linear program is off and running, with a much greater focus on Rest and Food. Next week’s challenge will be tough, given that work makes it tough to cook that much meat. It’s just gonna suck not making any PRs for the next few months.

    Justin, you’ve talked a lot about different kinds of equipment, be it mobility, lift enhancers, or standard gear lifters should have, all of which has been very helpful.

    Kind of moving in the opposite direction however,
    what would you say would be the least equipment necessary for a novice lifter to run an effective program, and for how long would you expect that novice to be able to progress without additional investment?

  3. Got asked by Rudy to do a video of a CFT at Outlaw.
    Ended up PRing my squat @ 460#, tying my Press PR @ 185# and hitting 480# on Dead (not a PR), but the 1,125# Total tied my Total PR.

  4. Haven’t trained since Sunday since baseball started this week. Pitched Wednesday and lost 1-0 after giving up a total of 1 hit in the game, have been in excruciating pain on one side of my body since.

    Looks like I’m gonna have to switch to training 3x a week for the remainder of the summer which blows, but otherwise I’m fairly certain my arm will fall off.

  5. DL PR of 390 today
    – this just a few days after a FULL-day of jackhammer-for-time (rented equipment, didn’t want to pay for a second day) which left me EMPTY for a couple days.

    I WILL pull 400# before July 4th

  6. Switched over to Low Bar squats today and noticed squats were a lot easier, but still need to work on the form because wrists weren’t feeling right after the set. It’s better this way too as I’m training for a powerlifting meet.

    Squat: 295 5×1
    Bench: 210 3×1 2×1(fuck)
    Deadlift: 355 5×1

  7. Thanks for the answer, Justin. There’s a few things I can clean up, and cranking back the carbs should be pretty straightforward.

    Hadn’t thought about plyos. I was just anticipating lots of running with the dog. I’ll have to get creative.

    DL’ed 390 last week. Determined to hit 4 wheels tonight. Also starting to get the hang of tire flips.

    Failed at the mob challenge. I think I did it all but 1 or 2 days this week.

  8. @jstadt7 – “you get that bad boy tangled up, ya’ done.” You have obviously never committed to a beard for a year+.

    I do comb out the tangles in the morning of my beard, the rest of the day I just occasioanly stroke down the wilderness that is my face.

    Also -15 man points I guranfuckingtee South Carolina is way hotter and humid than florida right now. I am literally walking around with turtlemeat soup in my pants the humidity is retarded here.

    But I still have the beard, never had any issues with heat and the lower regions of my face.

    Just checked the weather; you’re wrong. I actually didn’t have much of a problem with itchiness or feeling hot, it was just the sweat staying in the ‘beard’.


  9. I comb my beard when it gets long enough. That shit is essential, as is conditioning.

    @ksik10 – I had the exact same problem with medial elbow pain resulting from a shitty squat rip last summer and fall. Doing mobility work helped, and getting your grip sorted it out is essential (seriously, pay super close attention to it, even when racking/unracking), but for me the final piece of the puzzle was introducing Pendlay rows. Any good, heavy row will work for this, but I found that with the standard SSLP I wasn’t getting enough upper back work in and as a result my shoulders were being pulled forward by tightness in my pecs and anterior shoulder from benching. My chest had gotten much stronger (50+ lbs added to my bench in 4 months) but because my upper back was relatively neglected I had a muscle imbalance such that my shoulders couldn’t default to a neutral position. So I dropped power cleans and replaced them with Pendlay Rows and RDLs and within a month everything was fixed.

    tl;dr – in addition to fixing your grip and doing your mobs, adding rows to your program can really help.

  10. I had the elbow pain too. I switched to highbar and war some forearm bands when pressing until it went away. I realized that i was low barring way too low and once the pain was gone switched back to lowbar and made damn sure the bar butts up to the end of my clavicles.

    Have you seen kstars vid on clearing up the pain with a band?

  11. Thanks for clearing that up Justin.

    Nothin special for me this week, although I did start using my lacrosse ball more often again, and I finally ordered some bands from Rogue so that I can do more mobs.

    Also, after reading what you said about the low bar grip causing elbow pain. Is that because your shoulders are in a similar position as if you were benching with the bar to your throat, and thus a really shitty position? I realize that it’s necessary to keep the bar tight on your back, but what constitutes a “good” and “bad” low bar grip (besides obviously the one that doesn’t hurt). Thanks.

  12. Dang, I shoulda waited for the Q&A to be posted and then I wouldn’t have had to type that shit out.

    @Stroup, there is no shame in Gold Bond, only relief from chafing and a delightful cooling sensation. Beats dumping a mojito on your bits.

    I used to use Gold Bond daily to deal with sweatiness about for or five years ago. However, it would try to absorb moisture, and then create a weird powder + liquid concoction. Over time, I developed jock itch (which is a fungal thing, probably similar to athlete’s foot). I used anti-fungal and increased my Gold Bond use. The issue didn’t improve. Finally, I went on a trip and forgot the Gold Bond. Oh my! What will I do? Well, the fungal issue went away and I realized it was due to the presence of the Gold Bond. I have never had an issue since.


  13. Was up bros finally finally hit that 100 kg snatch. Thank god. Also cleaned 117.5 and clean and jerked110. Training has been picking up since I started doing the Russian squat routine taking podium gold creatine and eating a lot more and staying at 86 or 87 kg bw. Get big son

  14. Doop de doop another Slingshot question –

    Staying properly set up is my problem while benching. I can’t hit 225 for 5 but can hit 275 for infinite singles. Basically by the 2nd/3rd rep I’m all out of sorts.

    For you that have tried it, would it be a decent tool for me? My only concern is that it would prevent proper swollage of the chest – it’s beach season.

  15. Horseshit “injury” PR…I got fucking hemorrhoids this week! Yeah, I just said that on the interwebs, see if I care. I can’t be the first one in this crowd of heavy ass squatters to have this happen. I’m all frustrated and disappointed right now because everything I read basically says “if you keep squatting, they will keep happening”. Well fuck me sideways. I really don’t know how this happened. My powers of speculation tell me that it’s because I’ve been working my way back up the linear progression after a long break and was trying to go belt-free for as long as possible and in doing so, I fucked up my breathing and put too much pressure in the wrong place. Has anyone had this issue? What did you do to remedy the situation? Do you still lift now?

    I’ve never run across this issue. If no one else responds, I’ll ask some other people.


  16. sdanleyjr,

    Hemmorhoidal ointment. It will be your friend. Probably more embarassing to purchase than condoms. Only because you don’t have the satisfactory look on your face of, “OH I’M ‘BOUT TO BANG TONIGHT MUH’FUCKUH’S!”

  17. @Justin I’ve experienced a similar thing when using the stuff for an extended period, but for a quick little dry-out (before a workout or whatever) it can be useful.

    I have had to learn more than I ever wanted to know and get real creative with managing these types of problems (loose skin is a real bitch to deal with). For chronic sufferers, I have had good success with a topical called Lotrisone which is a prescription topical antifungal + cortisone. Not a super common issue but I figured it was worth mentioning.

  18. also you wear short ass shorts, but then wear compression shorts underneath to train in which are longer to keep your junk under control. Walking paradox.

    I don’t wear short shorts with compression shorts. If you’re citing the video, I pull the shorts up because they cling to my thighs while squatting.


  19. Wow sweaty pasty balls and hemorrhoids….how can I possibly fit into this thread.

    Sounds like you guys got yeast infections on your jewels.

    @sdanleyjr RE: Hemorrhoids, I assume you are a dude. I am not a dude,but have experienced the same issue, but from having babies. Having a near 10lb baby is like having a PR back squat over a few hours;-)

    Go to the DR, determine the severity. Get some cream, use the cream, insert the cream in your ass.

    They will go away and they will come back. I wear a belt in all my heavy sets ensuring pressure is being placed in the right area, otherwise I’d likely piss myself everytime (another fun by-product of having babies).

    My babies are now 9 and 5. I am still squatting, there is hope.

  20. First post- NO PR!

    Did see a chiro for my back which has been shit on and off for 2 years. Saw a olympic weightlifting coach to see if it wasn’t my technique- do hinge back in the snatch- and he referred me.

    He found my right hip to be out of place, putting that leg 1 cm longer. Adjusted it back in easily and it has stayed in, the muscles around it and reaching up the back have all started to relax and settle down.So feeling awesome.

    Hopefully I can lift next week and hit some comeback PR’s soon (no heavy lifting for about 6 months fml). Should help me run around and hit people at AFL today

  21. hemorrhoids are painful and annoying, but never stopped me from squatting and DL. They go away after a month or two, only to return later.

    I should know, deadlifted 410 for 2 this week…WITH roids(hemmo, not ster)

  22. Squatted 560 in wraps. A PR, but I’m pissed because I wanted a double. Benched 290 for 5 singles, which is a most weight ever benched PR.

  23. Justin, thanks for answering my questions! As for my bench progress, I actually externally rotate pretty well, but I benched with a pretty narrow grip for a long time. I recently widened my grip a bit, kept good external rotation, and my progress has been awesome. As a result of all the narrower benching though my tricep strength is pretty solid. I am mainly hoping to use the slanger for some overload reps.

    On the beard, I have brushed it when it’s been at its bushiest.

    And I had a bench PR today of 260×3.

  24. angdesj: I was hoping one of the women with kids would chime in on that one.

    Good news: first meet tomorrow! Bad news: I’m the only woman signed up. BOOOOOOOOO. Will report back.

  25. Did mobility every damn day, including an excruciating hour yesterday roaming from place to place. It sucks and it works.

    Didn’t attempt any PR’s this week except for power clean. Got 205 pretty easy. I really have to force myself to post my sad PR’s after reading other people’s.

  26. First post!

    Press: 3x5x55 kg PR
    DL: 5×165 kg PR

    I took the mobility challange and worked on my calves everyday, they’re much better now,

  27. PRs at the Raleigh Open, where I went 6 for 6:

    Snatch: 54-58-61, all meet PRs
    Clean and jerk: 72-77-81, all meet PRs

    81 jerk was an all time jerk PR.

    142 total was a huge PR on my meet total. My best meet total prior to this was 118.

  28. Hey guys. I competed in my first meet today (a push/pull). I benched 67.5 kg, which is a PR. I pulled 110 kg. My third attempt deadlift was 115 kg, also a PR. I stood up with it, locked it out easily, and was red lighted because I (apparently) put it down before the command. I will never let that happen again.

    Will send in a pic as soon as I get them uploaded.

  29. @angdesj- funny you mention yeast infections on balls, my five week old daughter has trush, aka yeast infection in her mouth. much fun coating her mouth with purple staining meds and boiling anything that touches her mouth for 10 min after every use.

    huge not pr but a pr thing= snatched 70 k and c&j 90k after not being able to squat or do anything (even slightest knee bend when receiving bar would cause nasty knee pain) KSTAR saved me. wrapping the knee above and below w/ bands was a lifesaver

    fyi= 10 year old son has been having issues w/ sore heel for several months, took him to docs office and they did x rays, no damage, she recommended typical R.
    I.C.E…. decided to use my mobilitywod superknowledge to ‘work upstream and downstream’, had him roll out foot and achilles w/ pvc pipe and L ball and working on flexibility issues…everything much better…told everyone that my super cool bff taught me all i know…and most importantly good excuse to tell wife important research is being conducted when online

    That last part is really cool. Glad you could help your son.


  30. I think that the challenge this week is very revelant to my current situation. I have been thinking recently that all of the supplements are kinda bullshit.(excluding anabolics of course). I have never been much of a supplement man, besides protein, and some leucine. The past cople weeks I have stopped drinking shakes except after my sessions, and have instead been eating metric shit tons of meat. So far so good.

    I also agree with stroup. the carolinas got the heat and humidity on lock down.

    I agree with you that it’s hot/humid. I grew up around Atlanta and went to school in south Georgia; they suck too. Yet this week (today is May 29), it’s much hotter/humid here than in South Carolina (at least in Florence).


  31. @Terrible and @karibot – Thanks! It was a good day. Can’t wait to see pics of your meet, karibot. 67.5 kg bench is sweeeeeet.

    I had an 8 lb, 13 oz baby and a 9 lb, 13 oz baby, and somehow, I seem to be the only woman at my gym who doesn’t piss herself on every heavy squat or clean. It is a very real problem at my place.

    Side note: Yesterday, I was the only girl training, which basically NEVER happens. I was surrounded by men. I had just pulled up Miley Cyrus’ Party in the USA when I looked over at one of the squat racks and realized that one of my guys was about to go for a PR at 5 x 320 lbs on TM. I changed my mind and put on some angry music instead. I felt I owed it to him. When he squatted 3 x 5 x 315 lbs a while back on SS, I had Hanson’s MmmBop playing…

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.