PR Friday & Chalk Talk

PR Friday is a forum to allow you to share your triumphs and failures with your strength training brethren. How has your training been this week? What questions do you have for your peers? Talk and mingle.

Do you have a training question? Ask anyone from the 70′s Big Crew a question in the comments below, on Facebook, or Twitter. Follow 70’s Big on Instagram

There’s a new book on the way, and it’s focus is on working on lagging upper body strength and development. Noodly arms no more! It’ll be out later this month.

Today’s video was created based on a question from last week’s Q&A on building a home gym. I didn’t realize how long the video was until I was done, but if you’re wondering where to start for your home gym, then this video is for you.


Do any of you train at home? Where did you get your equipment? Is there anything you would have done differently in creating your gym? Do you have anything to add to my video?

23 thoughts on “PR Friday & Chalk Talk

  1. Squat PR this morning (weight and rep) – 385×2.

    Q: I’m trying to cut fat with strength increases (I’m around 28% bf now), so my diet is 1g/lb protein (turkey, chicken, tilapia) and around 300g of carbs a day. I’ve never done a cut diet before, but it seems like it’s kind of going nowhere. Is it just an incredibly slow process, or should I expect to see results inside of (about) a month?

    • I had a lot of success in the last month (-1 in on my waist and -2 lbs with a minor strength increase) by cycling calories and carbs. Basically on days I don’t train, avoiding carbs and eating maintenance cals -20%. I started out about 20% bf I’d guess and now I’m probably closer to 16%, so you could probably play around with just carbs at first. Sleeping 8 hours/night and getting enough water in didn’t hurt me either.

      Then again, I can’t squat 405 yet, so take my advice with that grain of salt.

    • You’re going to have a hell of a time cutting body fat with 300g of carbs a day. I’d have you sit around 150 or so (never below 100, never over 200).

      If you’re 28% body fat, if you clean up your diet and control the carbohydrates, you can see good progress if you’re starting at 28%, but I’m not a fan of your initial strategy.

  2. I kind of feel like the younger brother in “A Christmas Story” who can’t put his arms down, except I can’t extend my legs. I did some standard deadlifts, followed by RDLs yesterday. There is nothing like the day after some RDLs. It burns!

  3. That garage is a lot classier than my Craigslist gym!!

    Week 3 of the 4th cycle in 5/3/1.
    Squat 1×380, felt pretty rough due to my inconsistency in training.
    I shot for a 295lb PR, 10lb 1RM increase, on the bench. It was just gonna be touch and go, I got it about 4 inches of my chest then had to bail. Luckily I have safety bars so I just set it down.
    Today I stuck with 5×385 on the deadlift, still working on technique with my weightlifting shoes.
    After that I tried 190lb PR overhead press, 10lb 1RM increase, couldn’t even get it off my chest! So angry!!

    With 5/3/1 I do the boring but big assistance work. For squat that calls for 5×10 at 185lbs and up 10lbs each of the 3 weeks. Do you feel that that kind of volume is beneficial on the same day as the intensity? I’ve thought about switching my volume for squat days with that of the DL days but figured I’d ask first to get some better insight.
    Thanks 70sbig crew!!

    • On the concept of a home gym: it all boils down to being honest with yourself. If you are like me with no big numbers to boast about then you don’t need much to start with. My first home gym equipment was a Marcy bench package of a bar, a bench with bench press uprights, and 300lbs in weight. That was enough to cancel my Golds membership. I then built a squat stand out of 2x4s. I made it from the specs that I got from It worked out pretty good until my 5RM got over 350lbs. Then it got a little rickety! Over the next year and a half or so I’ve perused Craigslist to pick up other squat stands and then a decent rack. In my Craigslist adventures I gotten close to 600lbs in weight, another cheap bar, a horse stall mat, and all other sorts of various needs/wants. The total bill is around $450-500. It all depends on how much you can lift with relative safety.

    • Boring but big speaks for itself, it usually gets dudes bigger. If you haven’t done it before, go ahead and do it.

      Besides, it sounds like you need to be consistent about your training above all else…

  4. I have been running 5/3/1 and the boring but big routine for simplicity sake. Just finished my first cycle. I also add Olympic lifting here and there for funs sake and balance.

    I lifted at a meet in december, felt well prepped having been running Texas method and tapered accordingly. Training went mostly as planned. Meet not so much. Went 375. 235. 473. PR only in deadlift and tied best total. In was very frustrated with my squat as I missed at 390. Lifted at 165 weighing in the day before. Training as I said went mostly nas planned but was ready for a break from heavy (for me) loads; each intensity day seemed daunting. Went 10 weeks training going into the meet which I learned was too much without deloading. Post meet moved to 3x10s for a few weeks then started 5/3/1 for efficiency sake and BBB for its intended purposes.

    Due to my job, I have to stay conditioned and have been adding tabata rowing twice a week and when I feel good some tempo training. All that said, I think I am right side dominant both upper and lower body. I do mostly all barbell work. For example, after today’s tab at a row, my right quad was very burned up and tight while my left was not yet felt extreme fatigue in both hammys.

    Is there a way to determine if this is the case and if so, how I may remedy it?

    Are you guys going to the Arnold this year?

    • Did you cut a weight class for the meet? Or worry about cutting?

      If you wanna talk about your training leading into that meet, we can. Typically people who run the template, along with the meet prep program in the book, don’t have problems (assuming they make good jumps in the meet and aren’t all stressed trying to cut weight — which younger/inexperienced lifters always do).

      I don’t think any of us are going to the Arnold this year.

      Isolation stuff that works on stabilizers is one way to help correct imbalances. Or just isolateral exercises (like, one armed or legged stuff). I’m gonna do a video on this for Chalk Talk.

      • Thanks for the reply justin. I have both texas method books and tapered as recommended. I did cut weight for the meet and ended up cutting too much (weighed in just under 162). I made appropriate jumps squat went 350-375-390. Bench was 235-242 called for butt-250 failed. Had another 10 lbs on the dead yet. Maybe cut ran me down too much. I think i started the meet week about 171-172.
        Hoping to lift again in June and will get back on the texas method in about 6 weeks.
        I really appreciate the response. I would love to discuss the training set up with a meet in mind. I probably fouled up with the cut but i thought i might be at or near my 405 squat goal at 165. Ideally id like to get a class 1 total at a uspa meet when i get to that point but that 405 is a benchmark.

  5. It’s been about a year now since I started training. My bw is currently at 165 and I hit a dead lift pr for 350×3 today. Thanks to a few sets of Romanian dead lifts on VD lifts I’ve been hitting PR’s in the dead lift every week.

    One thing I have been struggling with is my bench. A few weeks back I started to get a slight pain in my left forearm. Every time now I do heavy a heavy set on the bench, that pain starts to come back again. It’s been holding my bench performance back a bit.

    • Man I had that same problem recently and did the following:
      I bought and started using wristwraps.
      I rotated my grip slightly outward (thumbs going into the bar a little bit more),
      I started tucking my elbows a little less at the bottom (I had been tucking them in really tight),
      And I dropped the weight a little and added volume to compensate.
      This fixed my forearm pain in just over a week. It may have been only one or two of these things that did the trick but I had the pain for a month before that. I think the grip change and tucking my elbows a little less was the most important thing though.

  6. Squat–230#x15

    Anti-PR: took video of myself power cleaning some PR doubles at 225# and noticed early bent arms. Now I’m paranoid about it because they felt great when I was doing them, which means the arm bend has been going on long enough that it feels normal. I’ve read a bunch of articles over the last week, but any extra advice on cues are welcome. It only happens off the floor, too. Hang cleans are fine for some reason.

    I want to do 100 burpees in under 5 minutes. Right now I’m at 9 minutes. How would you guys go about tackling this.

    • Rather than doing a 100 over 9, do 5 minutes worth of amrap burpees and work to increase the number over time – that will allow more intensity than 9 minutes of burpees will.

      And / or, following the same reasoning, do intervals of 20 burpees a minute (your target pace) with short rests.

      Just my .02

      • Intervals of burpees are never a bad thing. When I do them for time, I usually do 20, rest 20 to 30 seconds, and then do one or two sets of 15, then sets of 10. But always with that brief rest.

        You can do your intervals in the same fashion. Do them as fast as possible and rest.

  7. So my lifts are coming along really well, just no PRS lately. I do love this home gym of yours. I have a cheap cage in my garage with plenty of weights and a cheap bench. I want to start getting bumper plates so I can deadlift without having to be too careful with the floor. Iron and cement aren’t an ideal combo for keeping your barbell in good condition. I still mostly lift at a commercial gym during my lunch hour from work however. Stay big.

  8. I took the same approach with my home gym. Started with a bar and bumpers. Added some steel plates and a rack. Added a bench. Those are the essentials. I’ve since added some dumbbells, kettlebells, and an airdyne, but it’s all been stuff that I’ve found used for a decent price. So there are gaps there – my kettlebells are 30, 40, 45, and 75 pounds. Big gap, but you work with what you’ve got. I’ve found a heavy punching bag can be fun to lift and throw around as a conditioning tool.

    A big thing for home gym is to remember stuff that doesn’t require any equipment. You can do a lot with the pushup and all it’s variations. Go outside and do some sprints. Broad jumps. Instead of box jumps, test your vertical on the side of your house. This stuff is great especially when you only have 30 minutes to workout. And a backpack filled with heavy stuff lets you add some weight to that stuff.

    • Sprints are one of the best conditioning tools, I agree. A heavy bag would be nice to have. And I forgot about wanting to get a sand bag. Maybe I’ll do that later this year.

  9. Press 110×6/6/6/7. Deadlift 275×6, then worked up to a single with 315. Hook grip for all. Bench and squat no PRs but got work done on them, I’ll take it.

    I used to train at home a lot when I was into strongman. I had a log, stones, a yoke, farmer’s implements, a tire, and a keg. I got most of my equipment from the now non-existent website “Brute Strength” and the yoke was from Pitbulk.

    I wouldn’t call it necessary but a yoke has a lot of fun options you can do with it. You can obviously yoke walk with it, but you can also lower the center and use it for front carries similar to a Conan’s wheel. You can do bottom position squats with it, press it, and use it as a loading platform by throwing whatever it is you’re loading over the top, then walking around the side and repeating it.

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