Q&A – 46

PR Friday is an opportunity to be a part of this amusing and fun community. You don’t “need” to be a certain strength level — post your progress or weekly PR’s. Everyone is on the same quest of strength, muscularity, and performance.

Beer brewed with bull testicles.

I forgot to list a Weekly Challenge last week (oops — sometimes I write the rest of the post before I’ve decided on one). I offered a shirt for the “Manly Deeds” challenge a few weeks back and have a winner — will do a post next week on that.

Next Week’s Challenge comes from a friend who just got out of the “professional soldiering for Uncle Sam” business, and it is: complete as many trips up and down a set of monkey bars — note how many monkey bars one length is. Don’t do this wearing a ski mask and don’t do it during recess.

Week In Review: On Monday I started the 70’s Big Breast Cancer Fundraising campaign. Help us raise money in the Battle for the Boobs. Tuesday was a reiteration of the idea that instead of comparing yourself to someone strict pressing 260 for reps, be the best you can be with what you have. Wednesday was a quick beautiful piece titled, “Ode to Bacon“. Thursday was an inspirational post about never giving up.

Meanwhile I’ve been solo adventuring/camping around Colorado and am now in Denver for the Great American Beer Festival with some friends. Beers I tasted include: bacon beer, peanut butter beer, combining the peanut butter beer with a blackberry beer (essentially creating a PB&J), a beer made with BULL TESTICLES, and a beer that was so spicy I had to pray to the old gods to ask for forgiveness so that my soul would stop burning.


I’m about to graduate this December with an exercise science degree. I’ve been interning since May with my school’s strength and conditioning staff and will continue until next May when I go to get my CSCCa. I don’t want to go to grad school in order to work at a college, but since I want to open up my own gym, I feel like I need to get some collegiate experience so I can better train people. What is your advice on this? Also, what certifications do you think are most important for a trainer to s&c coach to have?

Thanks for your help,
“chief” on 70sbig


Dear chief,

It sounds as though you’re doing the internship to satisfy your undergraduate requirements, but why do you have to wait that long in order to sit for the CSCS exam? Either way, it isn’t necessary to work in the collegiate realm if you want to own a gym. It certainly wouldn’t hurt, but it’s not necessary. I helped out (like an unofficial internship) in my university’s S&C program, but I was already owning/coaching CrossFit and had been personal training for a while. It’ll give you good experience for running classes, working with performance athletes, and seeing the logistics of a goal oriented facility.

All that being said, you could get in the gym industry without anything at all. I mean, look at all the people who start CrossFit facilities with just a few months of training experience. Sure, there are many CrossFit places that provide quality training, but there are also other facilities with coaches who have no business doing what they do. My only point is that the success of a gym business sadly isn’t solely dependent on the capability of the coach — this is a business that is dependent on the local market and the actions of the owner. If you are curious to talk more about business, I’m sure there are readers willing to do so (including friends of mine).

You already stated you don’t want to go to grad school so definitely don’t do it. It’s a slog, and you should only do it if you’re committed. As for certifications, I would sit for the CSCS as soon as you can. That really is the gold standard in the conventional fitness realm. I’ll point out that I don’t have it, but if I was going to get one to establish “credibility” for certain types of jobs or positions, that would be the one I would get. A certification doesn’t prove much, but some other good ones to have are USA Weightlifting and USA Track and Field.

Coaching and training isn’t about the letters after your name. And technically, education level (particularly S&C knowledge) isn’t dependent on certifications either. Your success in a business will be decided on how much you care for your clients. Your success as a S&C coach will depend on your ability to critically think, and I try and teach this skill through this website. Whatever you do, don’t stop learning.


NolanPower on  said:

Justin, I have a very important question. I wore short shorts to a crossfit competition this weekend that I attended as a spectator (for those who have never been/hate crossfit/whatever, go, it’s awesome) and I went to watch my friend compete but I was constantly surrounded by girls attempting to tear off my clothes. What can I possibly do to avoid this horrible side effect of manly short shorts?

Dear NolanPower,

This is a normal, albeit unavoidable side effect. Recently I went to the grocery store right before midnight in short shorts and a tank-top. This funny guy I see regularly was there that night. A few weeks later he was checking me out at the register and I reminded him of that night (because I bought a three-foot banana squash because I thought it was funny). He says, “Oh yeah! You had those shorts on. We didn’t know if you were in a hurry or…if you were gonna kill us all…”

But then he said that the females enjoyed it. I say this because The Revolution is important. Every time a female sees you in short shorts, it provides a(n orgasmic) stimulus that alters her perception of manliness, masculinity, and attractiveness. Expose her with enough frequency, volume, and intensity, and she will soon forget that skinny guys have any relevancy in her life. This means that she’ll naturally select a mate who is burly, strong, and muscular. They may eventually mate and produce more stout offspring, thereby reducing the “skinny” variation from the gene pool. No, we’re not talking about ethnic cleansing, but we’re talking about fully capable humans and men in a time where frailty — both physically and socially — are glorified.


Justin, I have an athlete belt from Bestbelts which I’ve been using for the last two years or so.  I’ve developed a chronic lower rib (floating) pain on the back a few inches from the spine.  I’ve posted about it a couple times and someone asked if I had hyper lordosis but then never explained why they asked.  To answer their question, I do have hyper lordosis.
In my limited knowledge of the body, I’m guessing that perhaps the lordosis causes most of the belts pressure to be applied to the top and bottom of the belt since it probably isn’t entirely touching my back, perhaps causing undue pressure/stress on the ribs?  Does that sound right? If so what are my options?  At this point I’ve stopped deadlifting with a belt and plan on taking it off for squatting as well to see if it feels any better after a couple of weeks.
At this point I wake up with my ribs aching, they ache at work and especially ache when wearing body armor.
What are my options? Learn to live with squatting and deadlifting without a belt?  Nylon belt? Thinner belt? I’m well into correcting my hyper lordosis with daily couch stretches and frequent psoas releases.  Would stuffing a shirt or towel in the hollow spot of my back between the belt help?
Thanks for your time and keep writing great articles!
-Kev B.
Dear Kev B,
First, you are correct that your first priority should be improving the hyperlordosis. Review this “Hyperlordosis” post. You should also be looking to improve your posture by tightening your lower abs and glutes. In the post I talk about doing this every time you go through a doorway to help make it a habit. Keep the daily psoas and hip flexor work.
As for lifting, you need to start lifting with a correct spinal position. On deadlift, it can help if you tighten your abs before starting the lift. If you consciously contract your abdominals, you won’t be able to anteriorly rotate your pelvis (see the above post to see what this means) and will avoid the position that is not only making your belt ineffective, but also irritating your ribs.
I would need you to describe your rib pain clearly — is it the base of the rib at the spine or the intercostal musculature that gives you fits? Either way, this needs to be rectified because it will either reduce your stability because it’s not 100% or provide enough pain to the point that your stability will be hampered (the body usually tries to avoid pain, and this can put you in awkward positions and induce other problems in lifting). I would put a premium on side planks and rotational assistance exercises to see if it helps with the rib issue.
It’s possible that your torso is short and a normal 4 inch belt is irritating your lower ribs. If this is the case, you can get a 3 inch suede belt or get a Harbinger nylon velcro belt. If you need to wear these in the short term, that’s fine. I would think that if you correct your mechanics that your regular belt will suffice (assuming a normal torso length). Whatever you do, the priority should be NOT hurting when wearing body armor at work.

115 thoughts on “Q&A – 46

  1. Love the site. Finally started to take strength training seriously after a few years messing around with whatever bodybuilding program was popular. Finally eating right and doing starting strength. Deadlift 405×5, Squat 345×5, Bench 235×5, OHP 125×5, PowerClean 225×5

  2. Hit 63 for a power snatch double on Friday, one kilo more than my snatch double PR from last week. Got cocky and went for 65, but the barbell put me in my place. Next week that sum’bitch will be mine, and I will be that much closer to BW+ snatch awesomeness.

    Disappointing day today in the power clean, only matched my previous double weight. I suppose you can’t go up in everything all of the time. Maybe it was the poor sleep and training at a different place than usual.

  3. manly shit – you know, getting up for bitches when they step on the tram and shit.

    crock pot – still learning its mystique. us non americans dont fuck with the slow shit.

    weights – decided that reppin deads over 3 was a waste of time so have hovered around 3. hit 3 x 167.5kgs. gonna switch to snatch grip for a cycle though to help with the olympic bid.

    short shorts – being welsh its easy for me to obtain rugby shorts and wear them out. living in the netherlands though sort of fucks that up. dutchies dont wanna see the dangle on the train. they will though. and they will love it.

    peace from the 70s.

  4. Been training in Olympic Weightlifting since the beginning of July. Going to be competing in my first competition this Saturday. Here are my stats:

    Snatch: 75kg
    Clean & Jerk: 100kg
    Squat: 220kg
    Age: 27

    I’m going to be lifting in the +105kg weight class, but after the meet going to start getting down to compete in the 105kg weight class.

  5. Missed my intensity day due to hitting some kind of wall and having no energy to really do anything. So after 4 days off, the dumb part of me wanted to make up my intensity day on my first day back.

    Don’t make the same mistake I did.

    BS 5rm 350x3F
    BP 5rm 205×5
    DL 5rm 410x2F (video recorded it and had great form, but gave up…WTF)

  6. First time post. Great site. After years in the lifting wilderness, finally understanding proper strength training. 6’3, BW – 105kg
    Squat – 1×3 – 132.5kg
    Bench – 1×4 – 127.5kg
    Deadlift – 1×3 – 177.5kg
    Squats are the obvious weakness. Some mobility/technique issues don’t help, but no excuses. Will just keep chipping away.

  7. Strength PR: I tetrised four 100# rubber floor mats into my Mini Cooper. I was cheering a friend at his Crossfit competition, and discovered they were selling off the equipment used that day. I asked how much the floor mats were, and got told if I could manage to fit them into my Mini, they were mine for free. I suspect they didn’t think I was strong enough. Challenge accepted!

    Personal PR: Got a painting accepted into my first big, pro-league art show!

  8. “Every time a female sees you in short shorts, it provides a(n orgasmic) stimulus that alters her perception of manliness, masculinity, and attractiveness. Expose her with enough frequency, volume, and intensity, and she will soon forget that skinny guys have any relevancy in her life.”

    Skinny guys just look like stretched children to me.

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