11/6/18

Biceps

DB Curls

40 x 12 x 2

45 x 10 x 2

Standing Preacher Bar Curls

125 x 15 x 4

Seated Concentration Curls

45 x 12 x 4

Seated Incline Skullcrushers

125 x 15 x 5

Cable Pushdowns

100 reps

Single Arm DB Press

45 x Failure x 4 sets

Thats it for today. This was my second arm workout of the week. One is a bit heavier, and the other more for a pump.

11/7/18

Competition Bench

Warm Ups

275 x 6 x 4 sets

295 x 3 x 3 sets

315 x 3 x 2 sets

335 x 2

Close Grip

245 x 21

275 x 16

Tricep DB French Press

45 x 20 x 4 sets

Incline DB Press

100 x 15 x 3 sets

Tricep Pressdowns

100 reps

Lat Pulldowns

100 reps

11/8/18

For those of you wondering about my Knee Rehab there is nothing fancy to it. I warm up walking on the treadmill, or Eliptical this is usually 5-10 minutes to warm the joint. Stationary Bike x 15 minutes varying the seat height to change the movement of the knee.

Leg Press 135 x 10 x 5 sets, 185 x 10 x 5 sets, 225 x 1 set to failure

Step Ups x 20 x 4 sets

Squats

275 x 20 x 4 sets

Forward Leans (Partial Lunge Movement) x 10 x 3

RDL’s x 10 x 4 sets

11/1/18

Training has been on a positive upswing. Weights are moving well, and body is responding well. I was at Sorinex HQ last Monday, and Tuesday to lift at the SQUATOBER PR PARTY, and also to record some podcasts. All in all it’s always a great time at HQ. There were lots of people coming in to lift so I got to enjoy the process of helping others, and just observing intensity in its purest form.

When it came time for me to squat I was happy to squat beside Bert Sorin, and Tony Sentmanat (@realworldtactical). Both guys have become good friends of mine, and any time I get to lift with them it’s a bonus.

Squats

Bar x 8

135 x 8

225 x 6

275 x 5

315 x 5

365 x 3

405 x 2

455 x 2

500 x 1

510 x 1

Jx Squat (Jammer Arm, Belt Squat)

300 x 12 x 3 sets

Chest Supported Row

3 x 10

GHD

3 x 12

Lilly Shrugs

3 x 10

Core Work

Row

12 cal x 10 rounds

I also lost two people in my life that motivated me to be better. Konstantin Konstantinovs, and Chaz Cable. I will reflect more on this later.

10/26

After a hectic day of travel, a late night working in my hotel room, I made my way over to meet Matt Vincent, and the team from Muscle Monster. The goal of the day was to get some great footage of us training, and getting photos showcasing the Muscle Monster Line.

On a typical day like this training is not gonna be on the teams mind, so long days often turn into missed training opportunities. Not yesterday. I was able to get my training in, do so as I would normally, and the film team worked around that. I had a great workout…

Warm Up

Assault Bike

:30 sprint/:30 pace x 10 rounds

KB Swings x 3 sets x 12

KB One Arm Press x 3 sets x 12

Band Face Pulls 100 Reps

Yoga Stretches (4 poses I utilize to open my back muscles, my knees, hips, and hamstrings) I will discuss these more in depth later.

Squats

Warm Up Sets

405 x 8 reps x 5 sets

Bench Press

Warm Up Sets

315 x 8 reps x 5 sets

Dead Lifts

495 x 6 x 5 sets

Med Ball Slams

24 lbs x 12 x 3 sets

Strict Press

135 x 5 x 4 sets

Ring Work

It doesn’t look like a whole lot, but it was enough to get me breathing, and sweating pretty hard. California is much warmer than back home in Kentucky so I hadn’t really adapted to the heat. The reward for such a workout was In n’ Out. Getting those delicious burgers when I’m out West is a must. Beyond the training, the food, it was time for a nap.

As for the night, I had some really amazing Curry, and ended up in a Dive Bar listening to 4 bands. It was right off the water in San Diego, and the atmosphere was one of the best I’ve been in for music. Just really great people, having a great time. I got in bed just after 1am, but I was able to sleep until 9:17, so I got my sleep, had great food, a great time, and some awesome memories.

10/25/18

Training has been a struggle. I hate admitting that, but it’s absolutely been one of the most difficult challenges of my life to do what I’ve needed to actually heal. Heal as an athlete, heal as a man. For 15 years, training was my constant. I was able to forget everything, even when that meant self destruction in my personal life, to pour myself into the gym.

The roller coaster of injury, emotions, and pushing to be who people wanted me to be took its toll. I ended up a huge, strong, lifter but that shelled the struggling, insecure boy that never figured out what went wrong.

I’ll cover more on that in the coming blogs, and I apologize for starting, then changing direction, but as I type I realize that perfectly mirrors the last five years of my life. But if you care, and I assume you at least have some interest in my story if you’re reading this, but I hope this isn’t a medium that you use to put me on some type of pedestal. I hope you read this and somehow translate my mistakes, my triumphs, and use them to improve your life.

I want to share myself, but I don’t want a “look at me” over the top approach. To be honest I despise that in the sport I love. We all desire to be liked, and valued, but it seems to me that the sports of strength are no longer drawing in the masses so that they can attain paramount strength. The sport is growing, and it’s trendy, so people are finding ways to overcome the lack of platform performance with other means. “T&A” are the flavor of the day, and if that’s what you’re looking for here then you can stop now.

I love the gym, strength, and the feeling of seeing lifters overcome the bar. Watching a lifter that balances job, family, self, and the gym should be admired, and that’s what I’m interested in myself. Balance, but also adhering to my mentality expressed in my book “365STRONG” that we are only as strong as our weakest link, on our weakest day. Formerly that was all geared toward the gym, now I apply it to my life.

Here I will talk about my travels, my failures, my climbs. I will talk about the gym because it’s a part of my day to day, but I will talk about so much more. Because that’s who I am… I’m more than what you think, or expect, and I’m probably not what you think or expect. So this sets up an interesting dynamic. You will understand in time, just as I will too…

For now, training this morning was at 2:30am. I got 3.5 hours of sleep (horrible, but it was good sleep) and I am currently typing this as I sit on a runway, on a too old plane, beside a too old lady, that smells overwhelmingly like some mix of cigarettes, and an everything bagel. Exciting times.

I’m headed to San Diego to meet up with Matt Vincent, and some others on the Monster Energy Team of athletes. Should be a great weekend. But now:

Tabata is:

20 seconds work

10 seconds rest

8 rounds

4 minutes total

Round One

Two Handed Center Mass Bell (CMB) Swing

70lbs

Round Two

One Handed Clean CMB Switch every 30 Secs

45lbs

Round Three

Push Press

50lbs

Round Four

Snatch

50lbs

Row

Max Distance in 20 secs

6/6 to 6/8

Following my original post I had a curveball thrown into my plan. Not one that would take me off track, but one that would raise the intensity. I haven’t spelled it out, but I’m actively preparing for some very serious terrain for a few hunts out West, and into Alaska.

A longstanding desire to return to a childhood joy, was always halted because there was a competition, or an exhibition to prepare for. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every second of it, but as I’ve realized my abilities are somewhat limited in powerlifting, I’ve taken to old interests with new vigor, and I’m jumping at chances that I would have once feared.

Montana, and Alaska in the fall to winter months can not only be harsh, they can be deadly. So I’ve been training at repetitive tasks, and things that just make me uncomfortable. I’ve been hiking, running, or rowing a 5k every single day. Minimum. As I’ve progressed I’ve added a pack, and I am getting stronger, and more confident.

As I woke on Wednesday June 6th, also give pause to recognize that it was the Anniversary of D-Day, I saw a friend had decided to show respect and hike 30 miles. 3-0. I think most of us neglect the reality of 30 miles because it’s 25-30 minutes in a car. On foot if you’re a monster, 3 hours. Most will finish in the 6-8 hour window if they’ve trained, others will be 10 hours plus. Did I mention he had a pack?

So as I packed my own bag and began to venture to my own hills, I felt embarrassed that I was going to do a 5k hike. So because of time, and really no planning I set a goal of 10, and then I thought I have to at least make it to a half marathon. 13.3 miles just for extra credit. I was hurting, and my feet were on fire from the steep climbs, but I spoke to my friend and he again made me feel like I was weak. Haha, some guys just never admit how tough something is, but he’s damn tough so I believe he was ok.

As far as training with weights I just did KB complexes.

So in 3 days I trained with KB’s for an hour total. 20 minutes per day, and I hiked 20 miles in 3 days, with 13 being on one of those days. I have to get better on the days after a long hike because this fall/winter I can’t slow others down and I have my own self respect to keep. Tomorrow is a new day, and I’m gonna push. Thanks for reading.

Day 1

For the sake of those reading this I believe we will call today “Day 1”. Honestly, being 20 years in, calling my training Day 1 seems odd. However it’s a public notice of my goals, and how I intend to shape my training moving forward. Most people looking from afar would assume that my lifting days are done. Far from it.

I had surgery last July, and in the hospital I had a very hard conversation with my surgeons, and doctors about the overall condition of my body. It was not good. My heart was being abused via high blood pressure, and resting heart rates that for most would measure the same after a good workout. My liver/kidney levels were elevated, and my sleep was terrible due to sleep apnea. I was 342 lbs, and I don’t care how you try to frame it, that’s not good.

I had chased a sport I loved so much, that I traded my body, health, and in many ways my happiness to be the best I could be. Good on the platform. Terrible in every other way. So I decided that I could literally keep killing myself slowly, or I could adjust my life to focus on health, and overall strength.

In doing so my diet has evolved to a keto/carnivore style diet where my primary food sources are fat and protein. My training is revolved around movement, strength, and conditioning.

I’ll give more detailed coverage of those things as we move forward, but to start my goals are to be happy, be a better man, friend, father, family man, businessman, and to help others struggling to let go of things that hold them down, and to help propel them forward. Thanks for joining me:

Day 1:

Wake Up: 4:42 am, immediately drink 20 oz water, and take 1stPhorm Master Brain AM.

Training:

*Warm Up

400m Row x 6

1:00Rest- 8 Air Squats per Rest

*Goblet Squat- 3 x 8 Reps

*KB Swing- 3 x 10 Reps

Worksets

*Squats

315 x 6

355 x 16 (As an AMRAP)

335 x 5

*Pause Squats

275 x 4 x 3 sets

3 count

*Step Ups (Knee High)

75lbs DB w/Straps

3 x :30 fast paced

*Lilly Shrugs

3 x 10

Conditioning

*2000m Row- 7:28

Training Log: Part 8

Box Squats

135 x 12

225 x 6 x 4 sets

315 x 5 x 2 sets

405 x 3 x 2 sets

Pause Squats Free

315 x 2 x 3 sets

Lat Pulldowns

3 x 12

Lilly Shrugs

3 x 12

Leg Curls

4 x 20

Row 5000m in 24:48

This day was tough. Knee was ready for ice after but overall I’m very happy with the day and my progress.

Expand Your Mind, Narrow Your Grip

Like most people when I started working my way  from a casual gym-rat, to a competitive powerlifter I found a mass of information. I looked at all of these stories, and I looked at ideas that seemed to be repeated over, and over, and I found one of those “rules” was to bench with your hands as wide as legally (index finger covering the ring on the bar) possible to shorten the stroke, and maximize leverages. What if all that did was strain my pecs, make my shoulders ache, and actually make my leverage worse? Was I the only one that the “one size fits all model” didn’t apply to? I had to spin my wheels for years to find out.

I am the rare breed of lifter that is not really built to be great at any lift. I have short arms (typically good for benching), but from my shoulder to my elbow actually measures just slightly longer than from my elbow to my forearm. So, in a widened grip I had tremendous elbow flare, and had to touch extremely low to get any kind of stability. Guess what happened when I touched low? I had to unflare my arms, and I’d put tremendous stress on my upper pecs, suffering multiple micro tears over the years. I was always told “your pecs are just weak”. Well I managed to strength my pecs through loads of dumbbell work, but with a barbell near max weight it was always a gamble if they would hold up to the strain. I got tired of benching 500, getting hurt, falling back to 460, then building back up to only reinjur my pec. This cycle repeated itself until I looked back. I took notice of benchers in the 70’s and 80’s (specifically Doug Young), and I noticed that many had huge triceps, and fairly narrow grips with the forearms being at a 90 degree angle on the chest. For some reason the 90 degree rule just made sense for me, so I began trying it, and in no time I was hitting rep PR’s, and then ultimately maximum PR’s.

I learned to stop benching with just the pec muscles, and I actually began learning to lower the weight with my lats, and fire out of the bottom with my triceps, and finish at the top with my pecs, shoulders, and some triceps. I became obsessed with working my triceps, and pushing heavier weight, and the more strength I was able to build into my arms, the more I was able to drive into the bar. One other forgotten muscle group in the bench press is the bicep. Think about cushions the forearm as you lower the bar, bigger biceps give a bigger “cushion” which give you more to drive off of. So all this time I had been neglecting a very crucial muscle group for a big bench press. Show me a big bencher without massive arms, delts, and pecs…. I can’t think of too many. Just recently look at Eric Spoto, Scot Mendelson, Kyril Sarychev, Jeremy Hoornstra, and many others. They all carry the mass to move the weight. So I knew I had to get to work.

How could I set up my training to not only narrow my grip, but speed up my progress? Within the Cube Method rotation we dedicate our fourth day to overhead presses, but I needed to dedicate to close grip presses also, so what we did was on Wednesday our normal bench day, was to use our new “competition grip” (the 90 degree forearm position when the bar was on the chest), followed up by close grip work with higher reps (I take a thumb off the smooth position to save my wrists), and then on Sunday I would rotate my first movement as overheads, or heavy close grips. On weeks that I lead off with overheads, I would make my close grip work light and fast.

In the very first cycle we tried this rotation I saw my bench increase from a shaky 505 lbs. to 525 lbs. This was in 10 weeks. The next ten weeks I finalized with a competition and hit a pretty easy 540 lbs. Two more 10 week rounds, and two meets a week apart and I benched 565 lbs. and 573 lbs. in competition. So in 40 weeks of dedicated training I saw my bench dip below 500 lbs. for a bit, and then rise to 573 lbs. As I type this I have since hit weights ranging from 570 lbs. to 600 lbs. eleven times in competition. It’s easy to begin thinking there is only one “right” way to do things, realize the right way for others may spell disaster for you. Find what works for you, and commit to it. Believe in it. You may just surprise yourself with what happens.

10 Week Narrow Bench Cycle

Week 1

Squats

Bench- 90 Degree Position 75%- 5 x 5 sets, Close Grip 65% 2 sets x AMRAP (As many reps as possible)

Deadlifts

Accessory Day- Overheads 60% 3 x 8, Close Grip 55% 6 sets x 3 reps

Week 2

Squats

Bench- 90 Degree Position 85%- 4sets x 3 reps, Close Grip 70% 2 sets x Rest Pause 10 seconds rest w/2 rest sets

Deadlifts

Accessory Day- Close Grips 80% x 5 sets x 1, Overheads 60% x 4 x 10

Week 3

Squats

Bench- 90 Degree Position 65%- 10 x 2 sets, Close Grip 75% 2 sets x AMRAP (As many reps as possible)

Deadlifts

Accessory Day- Overheads 75% 3 x 5, Close Grip 65% 4 sets x 3 reps

Week 4

Squats

Bench- 90 Degree Position 90%- 1 x 5 sets, Close Grip 70% 3 sets x AMRAP (As many reps as possible)

Deadlifts

Accessory Day- Close Grips 70% x 3 x 5-6 reps, Overheads 70% 3 x 5-6 reps

Week 5

Squats

Bench- 90 Degree Position 75%- 6-8 x 5 sets, Close Grip 75% 3 sets x AMRAP (As many reps as possible)

Deadlifts

Accessory Day- Overheads 60% 3 x 8, Close Grip 55% 6 sets x 3 reps

Week 6

Squats

Bench- 90 Degree Position 70%- 3 x 8 sets, Close Grip 80% 2 sets x 5

Deadlifts

Accessory Day- Close Grips 80% 3 x 3 sets, Overheads 50% x 2 AMRAP

Week 7

Squats

Bench- 90 Degree Position 95%- 1-2 x 2 sets, Close Grip 85% 2 sets x 2-4 reps

Deadlifts

Accessory Day- Overheads 60% 3 x 8, Close Grip 55% 6 sets x 3 reps

Week 8

Squats

Bench- 90 Degree Position 75%- 5 x 5 sets, Incline Close Grip 65% 2 sets x AMRAP (As many reps as possible)

Deadlifts

Accessory Day- Overheads 90% 1 x 2-3 sets, Close Grip 60% 5 sets x 4-6 reps

Week 9

Squats

Bench- 90 Degree Position 65%- 3 x 6 sets, No Close Grip Work

Deadlifts

Accessory Day- This day is extremely light

Week 10

Meet

*Note- Every single day of the training cycle the lats are hit either with Dumbbell Rows, Barbell Rows, Lat Pulldowns, Chest Supported Rows, or Seated Cable Rows. I prefer all lat work done to be heavy, and in the 6-10 rep range. Maximize each rep by squeezing the lats hard, and learn how to activate them for the bench. Also I do at least one exercise for traps as well. I prefer dumbbell shrugs, but others like upright rows, etc.

 

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