Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Leeman Powerbuilding Part Deux

As a follow-up to my last training related post, I wanted to share the type of training I'm doing right meow. I've been at it for around 2 months, and everything has been feeling pretty damn good.

Lower body movement x1 set to failure, (drop weight 20-50lbs) x5 sets to failure-1 rep
Partials x5
Lower body assistance x3 super set Abs x3
Minor lower body assistance 2x100

Upper body press x1 set to failure, (drop weight 20-40lbs) x5 sets to failure-1 rep
super set
Upper body pull x1 set to failure, (drop weight 20-40lbs) x5 sets to failure-1 rep
Upper body press assistance x5 super set Upper body pull assistance x5 
Minor upper body assistance 5xamap

The idea is to milk a single movement for as long as possible until I hit a hard single (on the x1 sets to failure). Once I find my new max, I'll switch out the movement and start training something new. In general, I'm adding 10lbs a session to all lower body/partial movements, and adding 5lbs a session to all upper body/oly movements. I'm adding weight to assistance and minor assistance work, but adding weight isn't really the goal of those exercises (feeling the weight is the goal in those cases).

Say for example I hit a front squat of 240lbsx11 reps. In my next session I'll attempt to hit 250x11 reps. The reps will naturally go down with time, but my goal will be to rep my old max by the time I get there in a few weeks.

Progression of Movements
Lower body movement: Front Squats > Power Cleans > Back Squats > Snatch high Pulls
Partials: Shrugs > Rack Pulls > Snatch Shrugs > Snatch Rack Pulls
Upper body press: Floor Press > Overhead Press > Close Grip Bench > Push Press
Upper body pull: Chinups > Pendlay Rows > Pullups > Barbell Rows

Examples of other movements...
Lower body assistance: RDL, Leg Press
Lower body minor assistance: Leg extensions and/or curls
Upper body assistance: Handstand pushups, pullups
Minor upper body assistance: Lateral raises, bodyweight rows

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Lessons I have to keep learning part deux

Every year I spend lifting weights adds more tools to my toolbox. Most of these tools either don't work or only work for very specific purposes (see: peaking strength and size), but it's easy to overlook the tools that truly worked well for me. Here is a short list of what has worked over 2016 and why.

1. Stretching
This feels insane to write down. I used to be all about stretching. As in, I would do splits while working on my math homework into it (how the fuck).

For a few years I felt as if I needed to stop doing heavy deadlifts (and sub in oly lifts) in order to feel 'springy' or athletic. The truth is, my hips were just tight as hell all the time, and I did nothing to help them until an injury forced me to.

Stretching 10min a day has been a godsend. All of the usual nagging pains in my hips and knees are absent. I feel as springy as ever without having to leave deadlifting behind. Consider static stretching extra assistance work at the end of each training session. If you find it more boring than a high school reunion, it helps to do sets of arms (see: hammer curls, lateral raises, some kickback variation) in between stretches.

I've seen an immediate and consistent improvement in my quality of life and quality of lifts for minimal effort.

2. Specificity Rules
tl:dr Do a few things really well to expand your base of strength.

This is linked right up to body dysmorphia. The feeling that 'if I don't do X (which helped me get this big) I'll lose everything I worked for.' In trying to be good at everything, you'll end up being mediocre all around (except on some lifts which will thrive no matter what). Ask yourself, do I really need to be strong on X right now? Am I just afraid of not being strong on X anymore?

This feeling is not entirely wrong. If I do floor press and dips on my upper body days, I'm going to progressively get better at both at the same time. If I remove dips from the equation, my performance in dips is going to drop dramatically. Well, so fucking what? Concentrating leveling up a few movements is going to ensure that your nervous system gets a hard on for that movement pattern. I'm going to make my shoulders, chest, and triceps strong as fuck on that single movement. When I eventually come back to dips, the movement pattern will be weak but the muscles will be strong. Within a week I'll be where I want to be.

Your assistance work can fill in the gaps to work your muscles, tendons, and ligaments outside of the movement pattern you're trying to improve. Which brings me to...

3. Assistance work. It's kind of sexy yo
tl:dr Powerbuilding via intensity then volume is good hurghhhh.

Just because you're specifically trying to get better at a few movements by no means states that you can't venture out to other exercises. After my main intensity and backoff work, I like to add a shitton of volume with exercises that force me to feel my muscles working. Whether it's 100 rep sets of leg extensions, shoulder machine presses, or bodyweight rows, the idea is to get a pump using the same bodyparts I just thrashed to hell.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Paradigm Shift: How I View Food

For years I've kept shitty food out of my house. Why? The reason I've always fallen back on is that I have no self control. The moment I allow diet breaking food to surround me, it goes in my face (especially if I'm stressed or tired).

I thought about this more over the weekend, and it is time for something new. Saying that I have a problem is on par with saying I have no control over myself. It means I can't say no. Although I'm eating healthy in my home, how often am I really there? If I take the road that says 'I can't say no,' then the moment I can't control my environment (see: work, social functions, any fucking where else) I'm open to eating things I damn well know are a counter to my goals.

This month is a paradigm shift. I'm not throwing out the Halloween candy that didn't get eaten (see: all of it...no one was around got halloween). I'm leaving it in plain view so I can decide to not have it day by day.

This is not a war on junk food. I've had these foods before, and I will have them again. This is a war on the belief that my diet today is good. This is a war on the idea that I can't say no.

Tl:dr I'm practicing saying no instead of saying I am powerless