Wednesday, November 8, 2017

How you perform versus how you look

Behind every routine change, every gym session, and every rep, strength was always the original goal. The idea of chasing a better version of me was intoxicating. The idea that every time I was out on the dance floor or playing a sport was also a test drive/diagnostics of what I've built was awesome (if not done what silly).

Somewhere along the way, I got lost. I still told myself that I was chasing strength on my notebook record, but the results I looked for were in the mirror. If what I saw in the mirror disappointed, I correspondingly would project this image out into the world. Stating the obvious, this is a very very bad idea. It focusses on what I didn't have instead of what I bring to the table. It creates the idea of 'if I could just do X I would be accepted.'

It's crazy, but that's how negativity gets rooted. It doesn't sound like negativity, it sounds like a goal that you jusssssst can't reachhhhhh.

Conversely, every time I've looked my best and felt my best is linked to when I simplified my diet and training. Sticking to the original goal of getting as strong as possible centers my self esteem. Possibly because my attention can be diverted to other kicking ass in other avenues of life (as opposed to writing this week's 5th routine). Possibly because the payoff from a focussed mindset is more powerful than one that does not know what it wants.

In either is good, lifts are up, focus is honed in. Hope everyone is out there kicking ass in and out of the gym.

Focus routine 3000 (45min run time)
Note: 3-4x a week, change up when daily max stalls. Expected run time is 7 to 14 days. I.e. run squat press 1 for 14 days, switch to pull 1, switch to squat press 2, switch to pull 2, repeat
Note: each daily max movement will be lower body dominant, but essentially a full body movement

Squat press 1
Front squat x daily max
Partial front squat 1x10
Hise shrug 1x20
Pause front squat 15x1 (80% daily max, 1min rest)
Various db presses super set with bodyweight pullups
Stretch and foam roll
Neck curls 1x100

Pull 1
Jefferson Deadlift x daily max
Partial JD 1x10
Shrug 1x20
Jefferson Deadlift 15x1
Various db presses super set with bodyweight pullups
Stretch and foam roll
Neck curls 1x100

Squat press 2
Zercher squat x daily max
Partial zercher squat 1x10
Pause zercher squat 15x1 (80% daily max, 1min rest)
Various db presses super set with bodyweight pullups
Stretch and foam roll
Neck curls 1x100

Pull 2
Snatch high pull x daily max
Partial snatch 1x10
Shrug 1x20
Snatch high pull 15x1
Various db presses super set with bodyweight pullups
Stretch and foam roll
Neck curls 1x100

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Brain Droppings

When is it a good time to move on? Moving to St Pete is the best decision I've ever made, but I wonder if I'm falling into the same ruts and habits I had back in Atlanta. Moving one time proved that I can make a family wherever I go. Moving a second time may be necessary to meet my goals.

I'm saying this sitting in a house I love. Surrounded by people I love. In a city that can only be described as fucking paradise. If I don't act on this feeling, I'll be fine. But I need to know what's out there.

Come July, Denver is getting a test drive.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

High Frequency Lifting: Deadlifting Day 5

High frequency log day 5

Deadlift weight has crept into my old max from years and years ago. It used to be a hard max, now it's just Tuesday. Confidence is high, abs are starting to look solid.

One side effect is kinda weird though. My dreams have been deeper and more meaningful than usual. As in a direct representation of what is going on in my life. Most recently, I've been fighting my way through dungeons that resemble the water temple from 'A Link to the Past.' Instead of your usual run of the mill Zelda enemies, I've been fighting cultists armed with spears. My journey through the depths have been more about the fear of getting lost than the elation of going on an adventure. Something to think about if this keeps persisting.

4/4/17 Workout
Sumo deadlift 445x1, 385x3, 325x8
Parallel chinups 42 in 3 sets
RDL 210x3x12
Arnold Press 45x3x12
Rolling Thunder Grip 110x2x30 seconds per hand
Ab rollout x2

Sunday, February 5, 2017

High Frequency Training: Past Lifting

High frequency lifting on its own has offered up a few major benefits in the past 1.5 months.

1. Paralysis of decision making is a thing of the past

I have no reason to ever revisit set and rep schemes, order of exercises, and progression/failure models. Keeping things basic only requires me to focus on what I'm doing now and what I'm doing next. A cool side effect of this benefit is that I'm able to focus the energy that usually goes into reconfiguration elsewhere.

2. Strength is up. Perception of strength is up a fuck ton

Let me explain. In terms of putting up decent numbers with the movements I'm training, I am consistently outperforming my old approach. My improvements are not magical, but they are significant. I'm especially excited for when I revisit a movement to answer 'did my floor and ceiling strength increase.'

Perception of strength is how I feel day to day. I feel nigh fucking unstoppable. My energy is high, outlook is optimistic, and sex drive is over 9000. This by itself was worth the entire experiment. It is worth noting that these perceptions dropped off suddenly when I reached the apex of my last movement cycle (i.e. when I hit a 500 zercher squat).

Today I wanted to talk about the non-lifting aspects of high frequency training, and their role in what I'm doing.

1. Conditioning
Frequency: 3-6x a week
Optional: yes, but you really should be doing this

Lifting for short intense sessions daily will increase your work capacity, but only for lifting for short intense sets. While lifting will increase your Strength, conditioning is an umbrella term for staying in shape. This includes running, HIIT, pushing sleds, etc. A conditioning session should get your heart rate screaming and challenge your will power as opposed to your strength.

Although I'm sure my lifting has played a large part in how I operate day to day, I also feel like I would be reporting very different benefits to this style of training if I was also not conditioning to stay in shape.

2. Stretching
Frequency: every day
Optional: no
I don't care if you are lifting daily or not. From age 24 to 29, I was constantly feeling some sort of pain or was moving with some sort of disability. In my mind, this was either a part of getting older or a result of my hard core [sic] training. I wasn't 100% wrong...but from ages 30-32, I've moved better than I had during most of my 20s. The answer was keeping my body stretched and stretched often.

Get this done in 10min a day and feel the difference.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

High Frequency Training 1/24/17 (26 days in)

Checking in to talk a bit more about where high frequency/high intensity/low volume has taken me. Here is where I'm at...

Day 1
Zercher Squat: 315x1
Pullups: BWx10 (shoulder injury, real pain in the ass)

Day 26
Zercher Squat: 465x1 (reverse band tension used)
(Only 7 days in) Dips: BW+55x1 (added 100lbs of band tension)
Pullups: BW+80x1

I have not taken measurements unfortunately. My legs have been getting unruly big. My back and arms have not seen the same amount of growth, but it is only recently I've really been able to push my upper body.

- All the things I like to be up are up
Sex drive, energy, excitement for things in and out of the gym (this one is my favorite)
- Difficult to do, easy to maintain
Minor tweaks like daily volume to accommodate for sleep and diet are manageable

- Doing the same thing every day gets stale
This is to be expected. I'm about ready to change out zercher squats for rack pulls

Running list of things I've learned:
- As Broz stated, 'the way you feel is a lie.' Soreness is not a reason to skip a workout

- Stretching every day is mandatory
This goes hand in hand with prehab work. Make time for it or get injured
My typical day is 22min lifting, 5-10min conditioning, and 10min stretching

- Conditioning isn't mandatory, but you really fucking should
You will build work capacity by lifting every day, but it is going to be work capacity for low volume stuff. Getting your heart rate up a few times a week (running, HIIT, etc) is not going to take away from your lifting. Rather it's going to add to your gas tank in and out of the gym.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

High Frequency Training Part Deux

I've taken a dive back into high frequency training. Just like last time, I fucking looooooove it. My workouts are quick, heavy, productive, and leave me excited and fresh to hit it the next day. More than anything, it frees me from the constant reconfiguration of sets and reps. At the end of the day, that shit never really brought me much in terms of weight progression or expedited my size/lean goals.

Right now, here is the way I'm approaching things.
- Lower body movement
- Upper body minor pulling movement
- Upper body pressing movement

The rules for picking a movement is that it must be loadable over a long period of time (2 week minimum). Preferably, I should be able to use band tension to make the exercise harder and easier (to extend the length in time each movement can be utilized).
For the last 18 days, I've been following:
- Zercher Squat
- BW Pullups
- Dips

Each day involves working up to a top set (1-5 reps depending on the load). I may stop there or do a few additional backoff sets. The emphasis on each backoff set is that they must be explosive, but sets/reps doesn't really matter.

Each day should look like:
- lifting <25 min for all working sets
- conditioning 5-10 min, not every day
- stretching 5-10 min
- each subsequent day, increase the weight by 5-20lbs

Right now, movement progression looks like this:
- Zercher Squat > Rack Pull > Front Squat > High Pulls
- Dips > OHP
Zercher Squat/Front Squat/Dips/OHP
- Black band added resistance
- Blue band added resistance
- No added resistance
- Blue band assistance
- Black band assistance
Rack Pull
- Black band added resistance
- Blue band added resistance
- No added resistance
- Snatch grip, regular grip, sumo grip
- Start on pin 2, end on pin 5
High Pulls
- Snatch grip
- Clean grip

Example Workout (from this morning):
- Zercher Squat 385x1x3 (black band assistance)
- Zercher Squat 280x5x1 (no resistance, for speed), super set with BW Pullups
- Dips Black Band Added Resistance, +15lbs x1x3
- Dips Blue Band Added Resistance, +15lbs x1x5
- Dips +15lbs, x1x5
- Dips BWx5

Backoff zercher sets used 1min rest after pullups were performed
All dip sets were performed 30 seconds after one another

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Lift like everyone else, look like everyone else

I feel the program hopper demons on my back. I hurt my shoulder doing too much assistance work, then brutilized it more by not backing off on my heavy work. Every fucking time this happens I go back to my giant one note file full of programming ideas from the last 8 years. Most of them are light clones of each other. Few have produced results. None have worked consistently more than once (this is the most baffling part...I've been unable to return to something that worked before).

I'm fucking done with programs. They've brought me nothing but angst and cognitive dissonance on whether I'm doing something helpful of harmful. I'll tell you what has worked...
- heavy fucking Partials (all rep ranges)
- high frequency training, low volume and exercise choice

I was looking back to one of Bugenhagen's youtube videos when I heard something that rang true.

"Lift like everyone else to look like everyone else"

Eric goes on to talk about the problems most people have is a lack of intensity, not whether they were doing 3x6-8 instead of 3x10. Oh, was your common ass rep scheme the problem, or are you the problem? Ding ding I'm the problem.

The last time I ventured into instinctive high frequency, high intensity, and low volume training I hit 2 lifetime lifting goals withing 2 weeks. Goals that I had no idea how I was going to reach with my regular progression. Goals that I can now hit on a shitty day with little prep. What's more is this type of training is fun as hell. Burn through a movement and juice it for all it's worth, the switch to a different movement or make the same movement easier (and keep adding weight).

I'm pumped as shit. I don't want to lift to look like everyone else. At best, I've lifted to look slightly better than everyone else, and that is a huge waste of time. Game on.