Saturday, October 20, 2012

Tips and Tricks: High Pulls

I recently rediscovered one of the biggest bang for your buck movements. I have always been at my biggest and best when I include high pulls in my regular movement bucket. High pulls are similar to a power clean, except you do not catch the bar. Without having to worry about getting under the bar, you can focus on pulling with reckless abandon. As the weight gets heavier, your total height will obviously go down. Try to get each rep to nipple level or lower chest at the very least.

If starting from the ground, get your damn chest up and create tension in your lats, glutes, and hamstrings before beginning a rep. Return the bar to the ground as quickly as possible. Although catching the bar in the hang position will fry your forearms, it also increases the chance of jerking your lower back forward. Granted you will likely not be using enough weight to injure yourself (at most, I have used 270 for reps), it will cut your training short if your lower back gets prematurely fatigued.

This is not something you use for max effort. Repeated heavy efforts trump light/high reps or max singles. Translation: submaximal heavy reps for high sets. Get to it.

Surgeon General's Recommended Sets/Reps
I have used both 10x3 and 15x1 with great success. Whatever you choose, perform 1-2 quality reps at a weight above your working weight before you drill into your 10x3 or 15x1. This heavy primer set will make your working weight feel more manageable. This is useful considering the violent nature of the lift (you can attack set 1 with balls and vigor instead of settling into your groove on set 5).

DBZ Character to Channel: Recoome
Never go full retard...except on high pulls

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Vanity and The Value of Cocoon Mode

Obama cocoon mode

Vanity can be ugly. To a certain extent, we all lift weights to look better. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, but I've found it can interfere with what is really important.

Why are you lifting weights?
To get bigger and stronger
To prevent injury now and in the future
To feel fucking awesome

As soon as I see myself getting bigger, it overwhelms me. Suddenly I'm not lean enough or big enough. My training suffers as my main motivators to continue are overshadowed by inconsequential insecurities. Fuck. That. Shit.

Enter cocoon mode. Something as simple as wearing a hoodie while you train suddenly leaves you with nothing to look at. There is just you and the bar.

Wrap up. Get stronger.

Tips and Tricks: Dumbbell Snatches

I'll be honest, this entry is less of a 'how-to' and more of a love note.

Dumbbell snatches are fucking awesome. Unlike barbell snatches, they take virtually (there are tiny nuances, but anyone can do them correctly within 5min of seeing it) 0 technique to perform. I've found they are best utilized for tonic or -10% (i.e. shittastic) training days, or as a maintenance tool while you are injured.

For tonic or shitty days
This is a movement you can do relatively heavy without any thought. I've found it does not matter much whether I am feeling strong or weak, I can still put up a decent amount of weight for highish volume. So on those days where everything sucks, consider DB Snatches.

When Injured
A pretty common question I see floating around is: my ____ is fucked and the doctor says I need to be a pussy for the rest of my life. Answer: dumbbell snatches. These have helped to rehab messed up elbows and knees (not to mention they keep my shoulders happy). I can perform them with my groin tweaked and a herniated disc in my back (from the hang position, no biggie). They are not as useful for gaining strength and size as they are maintaining it. While this does not seem like hot shit, when you are injured it is a boon.

Going along with the theme - work around your injuries - give DB Snatches a shot, you will not regret it.

If starting from the hang position
Slight bend in the knees
Tension in the hamstrings and glutes
Arch your lower back, you should feel an isometric contraction in your lats. Use this as a shelf to pull the weight along with shrugging your traps

From the ground
About the same, you just have more time to use your legs to drive Ye weight up

Surgeon Generals Prescribed Sets/Reps
I prefer high sets with low reps 10-15x3 with as little rest as possible in between sets. Keep in mind this is sets per arm, not total.
Once I hit the largest dumbbells in your gym, I am going to elongate my sets by doing 2 rep clusters (hang snatch + power snatch = 1 rep).

DBZ Character to Channel: Master Roshi
Time for tonic snatches

Time for hang snatches. Maintain that 139 power level duder.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Tips and Tricks: Dips

Chest goes forward as your descend.
Elbows go out and back, not straight back and down. This motion should mimic your bench press form.

Surgeon General's Recommended Set/Rep Range
No idea, still playing with this myself
I have seen great results from 8x3, but I usually hit a wall once I get to BW+100lbs

DBZ Character Channeled - Krillin. Destructo dip.
Never hits jack shit

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Southpark Gimp Fun

I was playing around with Gimp this afternoon (free Photoshop clone). While some aspects of the program are annoying, I was able to push together a quick project.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Shit Reddit Says

As a response to: What is your least favorite physical trait of the opposite sex?

Have you ever seen labia like pterodactyl midflight?
At the end of a long, Jack Daniel's soaked night,
You curled up with a lady whose face was so fair,
You'd never expect what she hid under there.
You slid under her skirt, and there, to your shock,
Was a sight quite appalling to your poor, desperate cock.
Not soft like a peach, but winged like a bat;
With a beak and a face like a naked mole rat.
You leapt to your feet with a bang and a clatter.
She sat up, and asked you what was the matter.
Try as you might, you just couldn't find words
To express the labia you would have preferred.
You just stumbled out silent, into the night,
Hoping to never again see pterodactyl midflight.

Monday, October 1, 2012

True Love

I got a call last night from one of my best friends. He let me know how wonderful his girlfriend was and how well they are doing together. He told me how great she makes him feel. He told me she makes him want to be a better man. Almost immediately, I thought of this and started photo-shopping it together.

Best 15 minutes I've ever spent giggling in a corner.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


You are an unwelcome passenger
Host to every breathe and upset stomach
Who knew I could create something so vile and keep it like a dragon covets treasure
Every cough brings me closer to sanity, but there is still so much left inside
So coughing and coughing we will go

KOFFING. Also, not really about pneumonia.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Glute Ham Raises in a Commercial Gym

If you have had the opportunity to use a real glute ham raise bench, you might also know the abysmal difference when attempting the same movement in a commercial gym. A real glute ham raise bench will lock in your feet, easily transferring the power to your hamstrings and ass. In a commercial gym, you likely sit backwards on a rowing machine (using the knee holds to quasi lock in your ankles) and pump out 5-10 shitty reps.

I have been looking to increase the weight I use on this movement (as I do on all body weight exercises), but I have found the greatest leveling up I've done is increasing the time I spend in the eccentric (negative) motion. This leads to 5 awesome slow reps, then 5 rushed awkward flops. Because I've poured everything into stopping my downwards momentum -

This, by the way, is the largest difference between a fake and real glute ham bench. On a real bench, it is easy to reverse the motion with assistance from your hands. On a fake bench, you'd best catch yourself lest you want to avoid a face to nasty carpet incident.

- in the first few reps, my eccentric strength is gone for the remainder of the set. Increasing my reps/set over time has not fixed this issue. I propose instead to decrease my total reps/set, and make each movement strong as shit.

Quality over quantity. Get stronger.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tips and Tricks: Sumo Power Shrug

Sumo Power Shrugs
Keep the bar CLOSE to your body. I usually scrap my thighs a lot. 
The entire motion occurs in thefull extension of a sumo rack pull.
Do not bend too much at your knees. The rebound from each rep will tear them up. Instead, bend a slight amount at the knees (barely break them) and use your hips to push and catch the weight. Remember, we are just trying to move the weight as much as possible, not get a full hold/extension.
Do not lean forward to build momentum, thiswill kill your lower back and end your day very quickly. 
In a full extension,the dip to build momentum occurs at the hips.
When dealing with maximal weights, range of motion is not the most important thing. Remember, you are (well...supposed to be) using weights well over your deadlift maximum. Just get the weight moving and shrug as hard as you can.
Get fucking angry
Hold your breathe until your reps are done. Lose your breathe and expect your lower back to take the brunt of the weight.

EDIT 11/3/12
Don't know why this visual helps, but it certainly did the trick for me (until my right hand exploded in a mound of blood blisters).

Imagine your body is a T-shaped crane with weights being supported on either end of the 'T.' If the weights stay close to the base of the crane, the crux of the 'T' bends but holds steady. However, if the weights gain momentum away from the crane's base, the crane releases the weights to protect the base.

EDIT 8/9/13
Squeeze your lats like you are trying to crush them into your body. Stay tight throughout the entire set.

EDIT 3/6/14
If you are having trouble powering up, start each rep from the pins (knee or slightly above knee height). Use the same explosive force to shrug the weight up. You may initially get less reps, but you will get slightly more pulling volume from successive rack pulls.

Surgeon general's recommended set/rep range
Option 1: Straight Sets
8-10x3, heavy with low rest periods
1x10 50-60 lbs less than your 8-10x3 sets (done after your heavy sets), busted out if you have the energy for it

Option 2: Top Down Pyramid
Over warmup with a static hold (somewhere in the range of > 50lbs of your top set. Hold the bar as long as possible while maintaining tension in your lats, glutes, and abs.

Work sets are 3xamap. Decrease the weight by about 40lbs each set. Increase each set's weight when you can hit 10 reps at a weight.

Option 3: Bottom Up Pyramid
Start with 135 on the bar, get 10 reps
Increase each set by 25 or 45 plates (185 or 225 will be your next set)
Stop when you cannot hit 10 reps on a set (or 5, whatever, just make it hard)

DBZ CharacterChanneled - Nappa
But Vegeta, Trix are for kids

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Tips and Tricks: Sumo Deadlift

I have read about many different 'correct' ways to do the sumo deadlift. Mine is NOT on any of those lifts. I deadlift the way I do because it keeps me injury free, allows me to pull heavy and often (well, kinda), and it lends itself well to high volume. As with any other movement you learn on your own, you can research any number of 'best ways' to do something online, but you are not going to know how your body mechanics work around and under a bar until you log some time in the gym.

Be careful, experiment, and don't be a pussy.

Keep your damn hips up. 
If you find yourself 'squatting' the weight up, you are doing it dead wrong. Your quads will object to this immediately, very easy problem to diagnose and fix.
As with conventional deadlifts, keep your chest up. You should feel an isometric contraction in your lats and glutes before you leave the ground.
Prior to liftoff, you should be able to feel the weight across the entire perimeter of both feet (not just the outside or inside.
Get over the bar, not behind it. Your back should be able to pull the weight up (mid back, not lower back) while your entire lower body is pressing hard into the ground.

Surgeon General's Recommended Set/Rep Ranges
8x3 if working with submaximal weights
Sometimes, you just have to find out your max…

DBZ Character Channeled - Goku or Vegeta
Either here

Or here

Monday, September 3, 2012

DragonCon 2012: General Photo Album

I've attached everything I took at DragonCon 2012 below.

Cause everyone needs a hag sometimes. Teemosil!
I was very impressed with the Bane costumes this year. Super nice.
Guts from Berserk. Yes.
Gluttony from FMA
My favorite Venture Brothers character :)
From my favorite movie :)
Me. Drunk. With a dolphin.
Best villain duo? I think so.
FF9 Dragoon Class
Mexican Mario Brothers. Nuff said.
All of the furries at the con were jealous of the hugs this guy received 
Fem Wolfwood
Omgerd Tifa.
Hipster Hellsing
Excellent Kingdom Hearts Master Form
Tried to talk to this guy. He kept mumbling something about his tongue getting stuck in the Batman face slit.
Homeless Goku
My friends Shea and Nick (two to the right) were happy to find another Deathnote cosplayer
He was not amused when I asked him for a Destructo Disc
Karl. Yes.
I want to bang Lust, but only if Gluttony gets to watch.
Harvey Birdman, cancelled because Stephen Colbert got popular
This Xandir lived and breathed his costume all weekend
This world is filled with LOVE AND PEACE, LOVE AND PEACE
Jesus Christ!
Has a stereo in his costume. Everywhere he walked spawned a dance party.
I am so confused (The Dude + Klingon + Tron?)
I asked where their Uma Thurman went. Not amused.
And my second favorite Venture Brothers character
My favorite picture of the Con by far.
I love cosplayers who take a 10 second clip from a show and make a costume
Venture Brothers Henchmen, upgraded armor that never exists
They were holding a Temple Guard's head and using it to hold vodka. Not kidding.
Bear Jew
Lakitu gets crafty
Fem Vegeta. Hot.
Best DBZ cosplay I have ever seen
8 year olds dude
Cid FF7
Samus Zero Suit