Post your mudda crunkin’ training PR’s, PB’s, and DD’s to the comments. Add in ‘yo training updates too, son.
Last week’s challenge was to “add in a day or two of conditioning after your training session(s)”. Anybody do this? How’d you feel? Not something that’ll interfere with training, eh? Think it’ll help with regular daily activities or fun?
Next Week’s Challenge: Eat vegetables in at least one meal every day.
Not very 70’s Big? Where’s the burgers and ice cream? I’m not afraid to say that I want to set an example for everyone. Honestly? Honestly? HONESTLY? I want you banging your wife at 80 years old after you do a powerlifting meet. That’s what I want. If you eat like someone who doesn’t do the “purge” part, then we aren’t accomplishing anything. This is an EXTREMELY simplified way to say this, but: a cleaner, higher quality diet is going to reduce your overall systemic inflammation and allow you to recover better. That means better progress. That means your wee wee in the hole hole when you’re a FOG. Cha-CHING! Do eet.
On Monday I wore cool sunglasses and gave weak-backed ladies and guys something to do at the end of training. On Tuesday I released the BIG KAHUNA, the biggest even of everyone’s lives, the ravishing, the outstanding, The Texas Method: Advanced book that will remove three inches from your shorts and turn your skin eight shades darker upon purchase. No lie. Wednesday I got to drive all day, but Chris is a champion and Nolan is competing at IPF Raw Worlds. Thursday I pointed out that a 300 pound squat for a guy is unimpressive. Every man can squat 405; it might take more effort for some than others, but it’s doable. I promise.
I’m travelling to Washington DC to get kicked in the balls at the GoRuck Challenge starting at 9PM. It was probably an excellent idea to travel and then do it. I told the fine folks at GoRuck that I was going to do a post on training for the GoRuck. I’m still gonna do this, but I figured a post of the aftermath would be more sufficient given that I’ll know what I did or did not do correctly. I’m sure the event will teach me a lot, but at the very least clarify the stressors that are similar to the first day in most military SOF selection courses. How do you prepare for a kick in the balls? You can’t; you just smile when it happens.
I thought it was really funny to see former infantry guys say, “Why the fuck would I want to do that? I had to do that for 4/6/8 years in the Army/Marines.” I get it, and they’re right. But something like this is a test of mettle for someone who hasn’t done it. It’s also apparently good at team building. At the very least, it’ll allow someone to learn or remind themselves what their limits are (instead of doing a 25 minute workout and feeling empowered). Should be fun. Interesting? I’ll let ya guys know.
One question about squats – I am pretty sure the answer to this question is no, but I would like to ask it anyway.
Would it be worthwhile/okay to do a session of Front Squat and a session of Back Squat (low bar) for your 2 squat days a week or should we just do the back squat and if you want to train quads do HBBS? For example I would be doing… 275X5X3 for BS and 205X5X3 for FS or something this week.
The reason the shift to FS/BS would be to increase my power clean (which is probably only at 225 from technique mostly). I’ve read that it is tough to clean what you can’t front squat and my FS is only at 255 1RM.
Your proposal wouldn’t be a terrible set up, but I’m not sure how well it would work. It would depend on your ability to seamlessly switch between the different styles of squatting. For example, I can high bar and low bar efficiently, but for many people the distinction is awkward and difficult. Your anthropometry may or may not suit this set up, but it your musculature balance (or lack thereof) would have a greater effect on this. Does a person have long femurs, a short back, and no hamstrings? Then using vertical styles of squatting won’t be as productive. Does the same type of lifter not have developed quads? Then vertical styles of squatting may be good to focus on his anterior thigh to build up his low bar.
Then again, if you’re still capable of making progress on each squat session, you may be blunting it by front squatting instead of back squatting. You guys may notice that these questions ALWAYS depend on the individual and their specific circumstances, AKA their current state of adaptation.
As for your power clean, that wouldn’t be relevant to front squatting since a power clean isn’t squatted. If you meant your clean, then low bar squatting will NOT be helpful for your clean recovery (which is a front squat). Delineate your goals and act accordingly. If your goals were more Oly focused, then stop low barring.
At the end of the day, just make sure you squat.
Justin, can you explain more about how to intelligently transition from linear progression in the press to what you mentioned in your “Pressing a Dead Horse” article?
For example, “The first thing to play around with in programming is to use some heavier weight, but not to abandon old rep schemes. One example is that I have developed an ascending 3×3 and 3×5 rep scheme that alternates every week on the press and bench with great success.”
If someone was pressing 150 x 5 x 3 when they exhausted linear gains, what would you recommend they do next?
This is a good question, but it’s so god damn individualized it’s hard to help. There are a lot of factors that go into pressing strength. Upper back strength is a hyooge factor. Triceps. Technique. If you’re internally rotating, then you haven’t been distributing the force through your anterior shoulder and triceps very well. It also depends on the context of the program. For example, if your goal was to compete in powerlifting, then you would bench twice a week and probably only press once. As you see, it’s not easy to give a “one thing fits all” method for this question. I’m a strength and conditioning programmer, not a “do this regardless of your situation and follow it exactly or I’ll ridicule you” coach.
Without knowing ANYTHING else, I’d just have you do ascending doubles in your next workout. What can you double up to? Anything cool happen? Or did you not leap much higher than the 150? How good or bad your mechanics have been will probably dictate this. The following week I’d have you do an ascending 3×5. The following week I’d probably base an ascending 3×3 off of the “double up” workout. See, the “double up” workout just gave me a gauge of what you can do and it hopefully made you not want to kill yourself because of a weak press. It gives you a higher intensity to experience, and that typically acts as a stressor that’ll push the volume stuff. This is an example of how I’d shift you into doing an ascending 3×5 one week, an ascending 3×3 the next week. This method is mentioned in The Texas Method: Advanced, but it can be dropped in other programs as well (people who have bought the book will notice that most of the concepts I talk about can be pulled and dropped in other programs or templates — this is how I operate).
Kyle S. asks,
I have a coaching question for the Q&A OR just in general. I’m coaching a new trainee in a modified version of the SSLP (rows & RDLs instead of power cleans) and I’m having trouble getting his form down in the squat. He lacks the shoulder mobility to low bar, so I’m having him high bar for now. The trainee is a male, 33, about 5’8″ and 300 lbs and definitely overweight (bf ~44%) He does not have lifting shoes yet, just Chucks (I’ll keep working on that – I would buy them for him myself if could afford it). He’s having issues with getting to depth and I can’t figure out where to put his feet and how wide to point them. I’d like to keep his feet narrower and forward, but he lacks mobility for this and can’t get to depth because of his gut and also his heels coming off the ground. I had him widen his stance and point his toes out, but then I witnessed a navicular drop, even though I was cuing knees out. And again, I still couldn’t get him to parallel. I know a lot of the form issues are related to his mobility and shape (and lack of proper shoes), but while we work on those what are some things I can focus on? I will try to get some video of him squatting over the weekend if I can. All help is greatly appreciated.
I should note that we started squatting with the empty bar just to keep his progression on the safe side. He’s less worried about rapid gains than just getting stronger and healthier.
Additionally. he said he was having pain in his shoulders, upper back and chest during the squat, even with a comfortably wide grip on the bar with elbows back and wrists in a good position. My guess was that this is partly mobility related but also due to a lack of musculature in the upper back and shoulders to support the bar. Sorry, that’s not a question – uh, am I correct in this?
First, I want to point out that I accepted this in the Q&A cause Kyle regularly posts on the site, participates in the goofy challenges, and I know he is. I go out of my way to help out a “cool guy I met on the internet”.
You mentioned you would like to have his squat stance more narrow with toes forward; remember that this will only be the case when the person has sufficient mobility. Read these articles again (first and second). I’m sure you’ll remember that the stance and toe angle will be dependent on the mobility, so you’re fine with what you’re doing. Don’t worry about the navicular drop. We more so want to worry about his high body fat percentage instead of his foot placement. We also want to worry about his body fat more than his squat depth. Sure, we want him to squat to depth, but 40+ body fat percentage is a big issue (zing!).
I’ll point out that I’ve never had anyone not be able to achieve squat depth on day one. There are some coaching things you could do to get that to happen, but they are to involved to type about. If he only has the bar on his back, he may need a bit of weight to actually push him down into the bottom of the squat. It’ll be like an active stretch. He needs to get his knees out like a mofo, though, especially cause his gullet is going to impinge his hip (the femur will come into contact if he’s not externally rotated). He undoubtedly has shitty hip external rotation, so work on some basic mobility stuff daily (it’ll help his back, which undoubtedly has issues).
If his shoulders are getting wrecked, then just have him high bar. He’s probably so tight that it’ll look the same anyway, and you could probably coach it as the low bar. He’ll probably fatigue pretty quickly, so just make note of this on later sets (if relevant). While the lifting shoes would help, they aren’t dire right now. Remember, we have a guy who hasn’t done anything. Let’s get him doing stuff before we worry about these finer details.
Have him squat regularly. Have him do a general warm-up preferably on a rower, but walking on a treadmill or on a stationary cycle will work. Have him do basic mobility stuff. Have him hit the presses and assistance exercises. Throw in some conditioning. Remember, conditioning is relevant to the individual. In FIT I give very specific progressions for someone exactly like him. It takes them from “off the couch”, has them use very simple walking progressions, and introduces them to other methods. I’d probably throw one of these sessions after the lifting portion. The whole workout could probably be done in an hour given that he’s not going to be squatting a lot of weight.
Be very encouraging. I’m proud that you, Kyle, are helping him. I’m proud that he has made the choice to train with you. Teach him that he isn’t merely working out. He has specific goals: to get stronger and lose body fat. He is now training to do that, and it is an admirable thing. If he ever falters, whether in his confidence or he doesn’t show up, then let me know. I’m willing to personally call him and chat with him about everything for a few minutes. I’m good at what I do, and I know it can help him. I’m just letting you know that I’m willing to help that much. Message me if you think it’ll help as a preventative measure (before the quit builds up).
To everyone else, we had a good laugh the other day about not babying people that aren’t willing to make the decision to change. Yet, when they do, and they show they are willing and ready to change, then it’s our duty (as members of this community) to encourage people along their way. We should do it with the skinny guy who is squatting 210 in the comments or the fat guy who is 44% body fat. We’re all on the quest, we’re just at different paths. A reader once offered to let me stay at his house, and said, “70’s Big takes care of their own.” I believe that, and you should to.