Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Bear Jew

Made up a new exercise by simplifying a combination of the Bear and Superbear exercises (both compliments of the kickass Chaos and Pain blog).

The Bear Jew:
1. clean the weight up
2. push press from the front
3. overhead squat at the top of the first press
4. Back Squat thruster (back squat to push press from behind the neck)
5. overhead squat at the top of the second press
6. clean the weight down (to the front of the body for God's sake)

That's 1...
Going to try this as soon as friggin possible. I plan on starting at 95lbs and moving up from there.

C'mon Fuhrer, no one thinks the Bear Jew is a Golem

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Dream Gym

I had a dream about what kind of gym I would own...

Name: Deathmetal and Deadlifting
Entrance: A giant mouth
Music: Deathmetal, der

8 squat racks, 4 of them cages
- equipped with bands and chains
8 benches
- equipped with bands and chains
- boards available for board presses
Bosu Balls nailed to the walls with blood trailing out of the business end
Prowler lanes available 
Cardio equipment is sparse and has 2 options: normal and malicious
- normal operates however you set it
- malicious changes inclines and speeds at random, all treadmills have personalities that laugh at you and taunt you when it makes changes
All weights are bumper plates and will be dropped constantly

Mom teaches yoga and shaman journeys
Segment of gym is dedicated to crossfit
- large timer available for group exercises
- several pullup bars next to each other
- medicine balls available for wall ball

New Years Goals 2011

Memorize and be able to play 5 songs from FF7 piano songbook
Create a webcomic
Enter dragoncon film fest
Batman someone...either:
  a. Disappear while someone is talking to me or when they look down for a moment
  b. When someone says 'thank you,' say in a low gruff voice 'you don't have to thank me' and run away

Rock the Kratos costume
Overhead Press - 210
Bench - 300
Squat - 400
Deadlift - 500
Rack Pulls - 600
Chinup (BW) - 30
Chinup (1RM) - 120lbs
Dips (1RM) - 120lbs
1 MuscleUp

Overhead Press - 150
Bench - 250
Squat - 305
Deadlift - 405
Rack Pull - 420
Chinup (BW) - 21
Chinup (1RM) - ???
Dip (1RM) - ???

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Training Schedule 12/22/2010

Upper Body 1
Clean and Press (5/3/1)
Clean, Push Press Triples
Weighted Chinup Reverse Pyramid (set1 75+BW, set2 60+BW, set3 50+BW)
DB Bench
DB Row

Lower Body 1
Deadlift (5/3/1)
Deadlift Heavy Singles
Glute/Ham Raise
Front Squat 60% 5x10

Upper Body 2
Bench Press (5/3/1)
Bench Press Heavy Singles
Chinup Complex (goes from 0 to suck)
- sternum
- wide pullups
- normal pullups
- normal chinups
- narrow chinups
Powerclean (5/3/1)

Lower Body 2
Squat (5/3/1)
Squat Heavy Singles
Rack Pulls (5/3/1)
Bear Jew

Cardio/Complex Options
Treadmill 1
- 15deg incline
- 3.5mph
- decrease the incline by 1deg each minute
- Level Up speed 0.1 mph each workout

- 5deg incline
- 5mph
- increase speed and incline by 1 every 2min
- end after 8deg/8mph round
- 30sec rest in between rounds

Complex1: Leg Hell
- 20 squats
- 20 jump squats
- 20 isometric squat holds
- 3 rounds for time
- decrease rest times or add weight upon Level Up

Complex 2: Idunno
- 3 rounds of 8 reps for each exercise
- Hammer Curls, Push Press, Bent Row, Clapping Pushup
- Add 5lbs to Hammer Curls, 10lbs to Push Press/Bent Row upon Level Up

Monday, December 20, 2010


I dressed up like Superman for my kickball game yesterday. Afterwards, I helped a teammate move to her new place in Alpharetta. There were 3 children playing inside the house when they see Superman carrying a TV into their home, to which I received a chorus of SUPERMAN!!!!!

The youngest approached me and asked: How do I become big and strong like you Superman? My first idea was to tell him something generic and lame like eat your veggies, or study hard.

No. Fuck that. I looked him in the eye and said what needed to be said.


True story. Get stronger.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Moogle's Approach to Overeating/Overtraining

While blistering through the terrain of Final Fantasy 7, you will eventually find yourself in the Gold Saucer desert casino.  The easiest casino game (Mog's House) is very straightforward...feed the moogle enough kupo nuts to energize, fly, and friendrape impress his dream girl.

In case you have avoided final fantasy your entire life. Moogles are...
- small supremacist rats in the world of Final Fantasy
- cute as kittens, common as roaches, used as the non-speaking working class of the Final Fantasy world
- the creamy Ewoks

5lbs of minty douche

Mog will beckon for more Kupo Nuts until he has had enough, at which point he will jump up and down waving his arms in defiance of your food. If you feed him past this point (and the fucktard will eat anything you give him), he will be unable to fly and impress impregnate his moogle bitch. The only way you can lose this game is by ignoring the obvious signs the moogle sends out (or, if like me, you just want to see him fall on his face; forever bringing shame to his clan and commits hari kari outside his moogle bitch's tree home).

The takeaway? The moogle listens to his body, and responds accordingly to a natural stimulus.

Take notice when you overeat. Your body sends out the stimulus that your body is getting full, but you continue to shovel food into your noise hole. What happened? It's not like you made a conscious decision to overeat, you simply decided to be numb to your stimulus. Like most fitness advice, this is hardly a groundbreaking discovery. If compulsive eating is truly a problem for you, surround yourself with low calorie, low carb food that will not necessarily cause your pant buttons to bullet off into a coworker's skull.

Do not even buy food for your home that is your classic binge food. Even if you avoid it 90% of the time, humans (especially Americans) have an emotional connection to food. I can guarantee from personal experience that when shit goes wrong in your life, you will call your old friend ice cream coated Doritos to talk about it.

Your diet is ALWAYS within your control. Failure to take care of yourself is not an option. Don't lose your moogle game, stop eating the kupo nuts when the obvious signs come.

You are not overtrained, stop being a bitch. In stages of constant training, deload your training for a week every 4-5 weeks. If it hurts, stop. If it's sore, sew up your budding vaginas and train until you adapt.

Get some moogle poon. Get stronger.

Kratos Costume pt2

Costume Developments
I've had some trouble deciding how my Kratos costume should be constructed. I will be far from the first person to try, and not the first person to try with a decent physique. I've noticed 2 things that have remained fairly constant with people who show up in Kratos garb.

1. There are several costumes available in each game. Only the default costume has been used for cosplay.
2. Everyone uses his default weapons (the blades of chaos). The sole exception I've seen was a Kratos holding a medusa head along with his blades (a magic ability from the first 2 games). 

In response, I will use Kratos' FEAR costume.

Can, you count, my teeth? Ehhheehhh.
It will make life easier when it comes to painting my body (don't have to worry about shading along muscles) and coloring the costume itself.

Also, I am looking at different weapons to construct that won't be taken away from me when I enter the building. Still not sure what to do yet...

Nemean Cestus. Best weapon evar.

Barbarian Hammer. What God would use to smite used hookers.

Blade of Artemus. Quickly giving Kratos cancer.

Blade of Olympus. Given to Kratos for some reason...

Claws of Hades. Pointy purple rave sticks.

Nemesis Whip. Rar.

Current Standings 1RM
Squat – 305
Deadlift – 405
Sumo Deadlift – 445
Bench Press – 250 LvlUp
Powerclean - 210
Chinup – BW+75lbs x 5 LvlUp 

Kratos doesn't approve of your blog. Get stronger.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Fear and Loathing on the Oregon Trail

Life is a lot like traveling on the Oregon Trail.

No matter what profession or walk of life you belong to, you will eventually find yourself overwhelmed and seemingly powerless. You were not built to run at 100% all the time, and when you overload yourself with life and worries, something is going to give. It's when you are at your lowest that you allow the small stuff to affect and control your life, and you lose sight of your goals.

No matter what happens to your wagon, it's important to get back on. Momentary setbacks do not dictate your progress in the long run. Take care of yourself and move forward as a person, the rest will follow.

Sometimes it's best to slow things down to a walk when you are dead set on a grueling pace. Sometimes breaking an axle just means you have more time to hunt.

Seriously, stop fording the river
Fear and loathing on the Oregon Trail is part of life. Get back on the wagon, and get stronger.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Kratos Indie Short Film

Just thought this was awesome.

A different take on the character I will embody, the God of War.

Kratos. Scowl comes standard.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Spot Me Brah

Lending someone a spot on their bench press is an easy responsibility. You have one job: stop the bar from killing the lifter if shit happens.

Your job:
- Stay alert, and stay close to the bar
- If the bar involuntarily cascades down, provide assistance in pulling it back up

Your job is NOT:
- to yell things (encouraging or otherwise)
Calling someone a pussy or screaming 'all you brah' accomplish the same thing, wrecking any concentration the person lifting the bar has left.

- to help immediately when the person starts to struggle
People have sticking or weak points during the bench press. How the fuck is someone supposed to get stronger when you constantly help them? Provide help when help is needed, nothing more.

- to stand directly over their face
A dude with short shorts and more hair than an unshaved Ron Jeremy stood over my face while spotting me. It's kind of hard to lift something heavy when a scented cocktail of Doritos and balls wafts to your nose.

Examples of fail in action
1. I saw a kid texting while his friend was bench pressing. Fail.

2. A kid was benching while his friend zoned out. When the bar fell onto his chest, the kid sputtered and choked . There were no clips on the bar, so the kid survived simply because all of the plates slid off both sides (one side at a time). His friend stood there the entire time. I laughed and laughed and laughed.

3. I got stuck halfway through a bench press when my leg drive failed to help me (cramped the shit out of my hamstring). My spotter immediately grabbed the bar and hoisted it up to the safety bars, smiled, and walked away. I was too tired to hit him...

Fuck you happy. Get stronger.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fuck Your Legs Day

Zangief before squats. Wrestles donuts.

Zangief after squats. Wrestles buildings.


If you want to gain lean muscle mass, you need to squat. Period. Most lifters allocate all of their leg work into a single day so it can be glanced over in favor of more curls. Fuck your legs day, it's time to squat.

The Problem
Legs day is greatly feared in the casual lifter's routine. You will typically see this expressed in two ways: Using pussy exercises that create a muscle pump, or performing squats for millions reps like there's a prize involved for a high score. In my case, squatting once a week wasn't really cutting it (advised by 5/3/1, although hamstrings were worked via Deadlifts on a different day), so I started experimenting with the frequency of squats included in my program.

Try Uh
At first I went a bit overboard on my lower body work by including some sort of squat on every day.
   Heavy Front Squats - 75%-95% 1RM
   Light Front Squats - 60% 1RM
      Upper Day 1 - Heavy Front Squats
      Lower Day 1 - Deadlifts, Light Front Squats
      Upper Day 2 - Heavy Front Squats
      Lower Day 2 - Heavy Back Squats, Light Front Squats

This worked on the lower levels of 5/3/1 (see my old post for details on 5/3/1), but quickly became a hindrance when the weight jumped up. The original thought was to stimulate my lower body (emphasis on quadriceps) everyday while providing active recovery through relatively light front squats. What ended up happening is that my heavy days were hindered by never getting enough rest (especially in between Upper Day 2 and Lower Day 2).

Try Duh
   Upper Day 1 - Powercleans
   Lower Day 1 - Deadlifts, Heavy Front Squats
   Upper Day 2 - Powercleans
   Lower Day 2 - Heavy Back Squats

My second attempt actually worked quite well until I completed a DB Bench like a retard and strained my shoulder. Front Squats were right out of the question after that. Placing Powercleans on my upper days was a fortunate move, as I am able to complete them without too many repercussions (Deadlift day has strangely never been affected).

Try Tree
This is my current workout configuration. Considering my Back Squat is far behind where it should currently be, I've decided to work up my 3RM for as many sets as possible. The main alteration this will cause in my week is that I now include another day of rest in between Lower Day 1 and Upper Day 2 (ex: U1, L1, rest, rest, U2, L2, rest) due to the increased stress from Deadlifting and Squatting in the same day.

   Upper Day 1 - Powercleans
   Lower Day 1 - Deadlifts, Heavy Back Squat Triples
   Upper Day 2 - Powercleans
   Lower Day 2 - Heavy Back Squats

The squat triples workout looks like this in action:
      1. 250x5
      2. 290x5
      3. 330x5+
      4. 395x1, 395x1, 395x1 Level Up to 400
   TBar Row
      1. 145x10
      2. 145x10
      3. 145x10
   Squat Triples
      1. 250x3
      2. 250x3
      3. 250x3
      4. 250x3
      5. 250x3 Level Up to 260

Get out there and squat. Get stronger. Repeat.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Public Failure: Getting the First Pullup

Products on TV emphasize the fact that people want to exercise in the privacy (see: safety) of their own homes. The freedom provided by anonymity allows you to really cut loose and utilize the ab shocker 9000, P90X, or whatever is popular this week to its full extent. 

Commercial gyms have certainly picked up on this, and do their best to provide a safe environment where you can hide for 60min in a cubicle made of pulleys and light weights without anyone looking at you. I've seen countless gym guides showing prospective gym members the different machines that will fail them time and time again, all the while using TV buzzwords such as *muscle confusion to describe the techniques used by their underwhelming personal training staff.

The fear of failing in public is understandable, but inexcusable. The person who was laughed at in high school gym class for failing to do 1 pullup is screwing themselves by choosing a routine out of convenience and the fear of public failure. The pullup is generally a difficult and intimidating exercise for most new trainees to perform, but it is a very empowering movement when you have it in your back pocket.

Tips for Better Pullups
1. Think about pulling your elbows down instead of pulling your body up. The visualization makes the entire movement easier.
2. Until you can do 1 solid pullup, try negatives by holding the bar at the top of the pull, then slowly let yourself down (resisting the entire way).
3. Once you can do a single pullup, practice singles until you can get 2. It won't take long.
4. Don't cheat by jumping or kipping. You will rob yourself of the full value of this exercise. The only exception to this rule is when you are doing pullups for time (i.e. most things Crossfit)
5. Forced Reps can be done at the end of a set by pulling half reps (arms and lats involved) and quarter reps (lats only). If you find yourself stuck at a certain point in your training, ending a set or two with forced reps may aid moving you forward.
6. When you can, add weight. Nothing feels better than waddling over to a pullup bar with 50lbs hanging on your dip belt like a fat toddler with space issues and knocking out 8 clean reps.

*Muscles lack the ability to be confused, unless of course your muscles are made of tiny civilizations of brains. The only reason your body becomes confused is when you stand on a bosu ball. Your body realizes what a stupid fucking thing you're making it do, and does its best to seek out any and all cancerous cells in dingy intestinal bars, encouraging them to hurry up and end it all.

Say NO to bosu ball earthquake training. Get stronger.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Kratos Costume pt1

New Kratos skills learned:
Forward shoulder roll
Diving forward roll

Current Standings 1RM
Squat – 305
Deadlift – 405
Sumo Deadlift – 445
Bench Press – 245 LvlUp
Powerclean - 210
Chinup – BW+70lbs x 6 LvlUp 

Prioritize Your Shit

Be honest with yourself.
How much of your program is dedicated towards things that don't really matter?

Endless curls and tricep pulldowns won't make your arms grow any more than peeing makes your dick bigger. Isolation exercises do have their place, but the majority of your program should be dedicated towards heavy compound lifts (especially if you are a natural lifter).

Below is a decent start for prioritizing your lifting schedule. Pick and choose what you are already comfortable with based on the importance of the lift, or refer to the Starting Strength program to remove the guesswork.

Tier1: The Big Three
Back Squat/Deadlift/Bench Press
Considered the big 3 lifts for a reason. Don't puss out when it comes to adding weight to the bar. Bench pressing 135 twenty times will make you really good at bench pressing 135 twenty times and nothing else. Go heavy.

- leg press/leg extensions are NOT replacements for a back squat
- if you hate your knees, by all means continue leg extensions
- train with a full range of motion, partial movements have their place in strengthening your tendons and premping your CNS (central nervous system) for higher weights, but they should not make up the majority of your heavy work
- do not let your back round on your pull upwards
Bench Press
- try a closer grip if you have shoulder issues (shoulder width is my favorite)
- see Dave Tate's advice for better form

Tier2: The Man Makers
Overhead Press/Power Cleans/Front Squat
All three of these lifts are comprised of motions that allow you to lift heavy, but are more technical to perform than their tier1 counterparts. Make no mistake, you should still go heavy, but expect a more difficult learning curve as you progress. 

Overhead Press 
- can force more reps out with a push-press (use your legs to drive momentum before you press)
- ditch your lateral raises and focus on adding more weight to this exercise 
Power Cleans 
- this is a difficult exercise, and should be attempted with light weights at first
- comprised of 2 distinct pulls, make sure you're doing both or your lower back will want to murder you 
Front Squats 
- much more difficult than a back squat
- a heavy workout for quads, abs, and shoulders

Tier3: Assistance Work 
Chinups&Pullups/Dips/DB Bench Press
Add in assistance work after your main lifts have been completed for the day. These should not be the focus of your workout, but they shouldn't be ignored either.

- chinups (underhand grip) add more stress to your biceps
- pullups (overhand grip) add more stress to your back
- add weight if possible (hold a DB between your legs or use a dip belt)
- are you still doing lat pulldowns...fucker 
- stay upright to add more stress to your triceps, lean forward to add more stress to your chest
- add weight if possible (hold a DB between your legs or use a dip belt)
DB Bench Press
- don't be a douche and click your weights together, no one likes that guy

Tier4: Isolation Exercises
- includes curls/pulldowns/calf raises/etc
- used for refining an already solid body or to get a blood pump when you really want it
- work your heavy compound exercises in first, finish with the exercises that take the smallest amount of muscle

Bros who curl in the squat rack are made of used vagina.
Don't be a bro. Get stronger.

Monday, November 15, 2010

5/3/1: Level Up

Programs like crossfit and Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 program intrigue me out of their simplicity and their intrinsic nature of advancing only those with the will to push themselves. Both programs can be as easy or as hard as you make them, and are simple programs to follow.

If you already know what 5/3/1 is and just want a calculator to store your work, download this google spreadsheet and have your way with her.

5/3/1: Leveling Up Since 1899
The premise behind 5/3/1 is simple. Use basic compound lifts that increase in weight over time. Revolutionary, I know. The tables below represent the original 5/3/1 program (top) that Wendler designed, and an altered version (bottom) that I follow.

You may choose to stick to Wendler's original design, or take what you like and apply it to your own program. In general, you will want use the calculation based lifts on the compound exercises you use to measure your progress (i.e. Shoulder Press, Deadlift, Bench Press, Squat).

Although you can use it with other exercises as well (I use it for power cleans), you are better off finding your own system for exercises such as DB Bench Press, Hammer Curls, etc.

*Note* Any time I note an exercise proceeded by 'Singles,' I am referring to a max 90%-100% output done through single reps.

Calculating your Program
a. For each lift you plan on applying 5/3/1 to, you will first multiply your 1RM by 0.9
b. Take your 0.9*(1RM) and calculate the actual values you will use to lift (make a template or use mine to save time)

1 RM Bench Press = 225
1 RM Back Squat = 305

0.9*1RM Bench = 225*0.9 = 200
0.9*1RM Squat = 305*0.9 = 275

c. Your actual lifts for the week will use this 0.9*1RM value to calculate the percentages in the table below

Only 3 sets? What about the pump bra? Fuck your gay pump.

Week 1 Values
Bench (.65x200/.75x200/.85x200) = (130x5/150x5/170x5+)
Squat (.65x275/.75x275/.85x275) = (180x5/205x5/230x5+)

Anytime you see a 5+, 3+, or 1+, it is an indication to go balls to the wall and prison bitch the barbell for as many reps as you can (ideally making a new record each workout). This is truly the point where your will power battles your common sense, and you will surprise yourself with what you can do.

Week4 is the only portion of the cycle where you do not attempt to make any new records. This week is used for recovering from the cycle so that you are fresh and edgy to begin lifting heavier the following week.

Rest Period Guidelines
Between core exercise sets: 2-5min
Between assistance sets: 1-2min
Between workouts: Every 2 workouts, take 1 day off (ex: AB rest CD rest)

How to Level Up
5/3/1 bases your lifts off percentages of your 1RM (1 Rep Max) and your rep ranges on a repeating cycle. Each cycle spans 4 weeks, then starts over with +5lbs added to your upper body lifts and +10lbs added to your lower body lifts.

Final Thoughts
Although you will most likely make your own version of 5/3/1 with whatever it is you actually want to use, keep in mind that the most important lift of each session is the one you are tracking (a.k.a main lift). Your main lift should receive the bulk of your attention, and is the measure of your increasing strength over time.

Your first cycle will likely be very easy. Do not take this as a reason to add +50lbs to all lifts unless you have seriously underestimated yourself.

Think long term growth over short term vanity. Your routine will become hard faster than you think.

This spreadsheet (same as attached above) has all of the information contained in this post, and will be a useful tool in tracking both your workout requirements as well as the changing percentages of your 1RM.

XKCD takes 5/3/1 very seriously

Passion and Costumed Iron

Cosplay (short for costume play):
Paying costumed tribute to an idea, most often associated with characters from anime, video games, comics, etc.

The way of discovering yourself through muscular expenditure.

When you truly devote yourself to an ideal or task, you never cease to amaze yourself. It’s when you halfway try, you produce nothing worth being proud of. Both cosplay and iron require a rigorous amount of devotion to be considered among the elite. It’s the sexy cats of Halloween or the weekend warriors of the gym which lack any passion for their craft. I don’t care whether the topic is your job, your workout, or banging your girlfriend. Simply going through the motions is the quickest way to feel unsatisfied with your current state of affairs.

This blog maps my passion for cosplay and iron. My goal: join the ranks of elite powerlifters, and show the cosplay world how to embody a character in both cloth and physique.

Current Standings 1RM
Squat – 305
Deadlift – 405
Sumo Deadlift – 445
Bench Press – 235
Powerclean - 210
Chinup – BW+70lbs x 4

Don’t get bigger, get stronger