Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday night strength session: Back and Biceps

If you have the opportunity to lift in a gym by yourself, or maybe with just one other person... it is an unbeatable way to focus. Headphones in and the door locked behind me. I didn't have to rush to get anywhere, and had no one to go off on a tangent about any subject. Work done is below:


Lat pulldown
3x12---> warmup
5x 6

1-arm rows

t bar rows

straight bar pulldowns

barbell curl

supinated DB curl

1-arm preacher curls

i have tiny hamstrings
leg curl

face pulls

standing EZ bar curl

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Leg Day before the holidays

Got some new CDs for Christmas... working out to music helps me bust get to new levels.

Planned workout for today before I head to Louisville for a couple days then Georgetown.

Back squat
135 x12
185 x10
225 x8
275 x8
315 x3
365 x6
405 2x6

front squat
225 x8
265 2x8

275 3x12

leg ext and leg curl= as many as possible with stack on machine, superset 4 sets with no rest

say what you want but these guys have mastered their craft (sing'n and make'n the beat)...

shouldn't you? if you are going to train, train right

Saturday, December 19, 2009

One of the few...

I had some one limp up to me yesterday saying that she really hit her legs hard. She got pissed and decided to kill her legs. I would recommend more stretching, some type of post-workout supp or meal, BUT mostly to hit legs like that every time. You have to push through your pain threshold and sprint through your comfort zone to get results that make heads turn.

If you want to be mediocre or average at everything you are in the wrong hobby. I wouldn't want to work out with somebody settling for anything less than what they can achieve next.

You best believe when other people are watching tv, eating pie, dreading their upcoming weak attempt at a new years resolution, I am already in the gym working toward something great. hope you are too

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Project Hyperplasia: Results are in

So for the passed 14 days I have been wearing a 37.6lb weighted vest every waking moment. I recorded body weight, body fat percentage, and some circumference measurements-- shoulder, chest, waist at umbillicus, hips, thigh at 4 inches above proximal patella, thigh at 7 inches above proximal patella, and calf. You can see my pre-study measurements here.

Post-study measurements:
Body weight 233lbs
Bodyfat percent 18.1%
Shoulders 52in
Chest 47.5in
Waist 39in
Hips 46.75in
Thigh 4in above 22in
Thigh 7in above 26in
Calf 16in

Thanks to Jake Beggs for the measurements.

Body weight +5.6lbs
Bodyfat percent -0.3%
Shoulders -1in
Chest +0.5in
Waist -0.5in
Hips +0.25in
Thigh 4in above No change
Thigh 7in above No change
Calf No change

Obviously I am a little disappointed in no change in three categories.... well, pretty much no change at all aside from weight gain. I am encouraged that my weight went up almost 6lbs yet there was a slight decrease in body fat %. Call them what you want, the rest of the measurements were so close I am going to call them insignificant. With as much cramping as my calf muscles had nightly and how tight my quads were I was hoping for some type of increase, but you can't say I didn't try... wearing a 37.6lb vest (around 16% of my body weight) felt like enough weight to stimulate growth, but maybe the amount wasn't high enough.


  • I got more strange looks than usual
  • I am ridiculously slow with an extra 40lbs on my frame
  • I got some respect from people that didn't expect me to actually wear the vest that long
  • I got to show people that I am very interested in trying anything to find out more about fitness, exercise, and health
  • A 40lb denim vest is an excellent conversation starter
  • I was thirsty all of the time while wearing the vest. On average I took in around 200oz of fluid a day.
  • I didn't feel like I was increasing my caloric intake very much throughout the last two weeks
  • If you have bad posture, I wouldn't recommend trying this out. Adding weight to a poorly supported structure is going to cause injury
  • Wearing the vest made me stretch more after working out
  • I know I can deadlift more than 425 because I did a set of six while wearing the vest
  • I am curious to see what my weight does now that I magically lost 40 lbs
My body weight went up with little change in body fat percentage, my squat is up 20lbs, and I was able to take the study all the way through. I don't know what project is next yet, but I'm sure it going to be solid.

Please let me know any and all comments below

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Goose Bump Phenomena

You ever lift and a song comes on that literally gives you the goose bumps? It's like a jolt of energy that makes you feel like you can pick up any weight and toss it around for reps.

Or you feel like your caffeine "kicks in" and you throw the headphones in and go into another world?

I have termed this feeling as the goose bump lift. You are feeling good with any and all numbers, your program, and you laugh when you hear about the thought of some people hitting a plateau... plateau??? what is that?

Have you felt like this lately? I am all for pushing through the pain and working hard, but have you worked hard and felt euphoric simultaneously anytime recently? If day in and day out you limp through a workout, have the same ol' playlist of bon jovi and smashing pumpkins, realize you are talking more than working out... maybe it is time for a change in attitude. You are probably getting worse physically as well.

It's hard to get motivated to lose weight and/or increase strength when your workout becomes routine.

Yes, you should have a time slot for your workout in your day.
Yes, you should have a plan once you get to the gym.
BUT you should not let your workout become the same old thing week after week.

Some workout refreshers:
  1. Go at a different time so you can cut down on the idle talking that diminishes how much you get done in the gym
  2. Delete every song on your mp3 player and load a new play list. I like for new ideas of songs.
  3. Old workout partner more of a anchor than a motor? Find some one new that actually wants to go to the gym.

Strive for the goose bump lift.... if your body doesn't want to be in the gym, you probably won't go.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Project Hyperplasia: Day 6

For those of you who don't know anything about my current guinea pig experiment, you can catch up here. Basically, I am wearing a 37.6-ish lb weighted vest all day, every day for 14 straight days. I took some basic measurements and I really just want to see what happens. I have guesses, but nothing is better than actually doing it and documenting the results.

Here are some things I have noticed almost half-way through my experiment:
  1. I get a ton of weird looks... more than I did before at least. I need to get a black shirt with RESEARCH SUBJECT on the front.
  2. I have never been more tired before I go to bed at night...carrying around an extra 40 lbs is whoop'n me.
  3. Simple tasks- getting out of a car, picking weights up in the gym, showing clients exercises- are a lot more difficult to do since I have increased my torso's girth.
  4. I have gained some respect from my staff by doing what I say I am going to do. I don't think any of them believed I would actually wear this vest for two weeks. Sometimes talk is cheap, you gotta do something.
  5. I am thirsty ALL THE TIME while I have been doing this experiment. I am downing close to 225 oz a day of mostly water.
  6. Since I am using a weighted vest, my deadlift form has actually improved... now you may ask,"Wait, you are deadlifting wearing a 40lb vest so how has your form has improved?" The vest keeps me aware of when my hips rise before/faster than my shoulders because I feel the sandbags on my back lay against me. I hit 425 for my last set of 6 last Friday... no belt, no straps... just a weighted vest.

Let me know what you think or any questions or comments you have below.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Shoulders and Triceps

Barbell shoulder press
220x 6,6,4
210x 6

Cable lateral raises
50 2x10
55 1x10
Lying Incline Rear Raises
20's 3x10

Machine Shoulder Press
162.5 2x8
175 2x8

Straight Bar front raise
80 1x10
100 2x6
90 1x6

Isometric Cable Cross- video below- low quality, with phone
2x55lbs each for 20 seconds

Project Hyperplasia: Pre-study measurements

Measured at 9:30am pre-lift
Bodyweight: 227.4
Omron Body fat percentage: 18.4%
Circumference measurements
-Shoulders=53 in
-Chest= 47 in
-Umbillicus= 39.5 in
-Hips= 46.5 in
-Thigh 4 inches up from proximal patella= 22 in
-Thigh 7 inches up from proximal patella= 26 in
- Calf= 16 in

Throwing the weighted vest on. Thanks to Chance Cianciola for the measurements.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Project Hyperplasia

Hyperplasia of the skeletal muscle is the body's muscle fiber's satellite cells proliferating and splitting the muscle fibers to make new ones, thus adding to cross-sectional area and possible force production. Several studies were pulled together here. For the next two weeks I am going to wear a 37.6lb weighted vest (homemade with denim!) every waking second aside from the shower. I posted a picture of the vest below... it is a must see for sure. Thanks fo Alex Mitchell for the donation of the vest to the Underground Fitness Center. I will also post bodyweight, body fat %, and an assortment of circumference measurements. The measurements will have to wait until the morning!

I, of course, will not actually be able to measure or gauge whether hyperplasia actually occurs, because I would have to take a muscle biopsy (don't have the equipment) or kill myself and have all muscle fibers counted (not for that). On the muscle biopsy option, I would have to weight only one side of myself and since I err on the side of balanced strength, I am not going to do that either.

You know, something to do since I am bored. I'll let you know how it goes. Any comments or questions, throw them in the comment section.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Guidance without Crushing Dreams

A guy at my gym mentioned wanting help with a mass building program that he would start in a couple weeks. Of course, this is as close to ecstatic as I can get so I am pumped to write this program and help him along the way.

One huge problem: him and his lifting partner are going to need to leave their egos at the door. Their squat depth is beyond questionable. Any pressing movement is accompained by the one that isn't lifting grabbing the bar "but not helping" through an entire set of six reps. They were doing weighted pullups with assistance yesterday... you read right, they added weight to their body for pullups but then had their partner assist by lifting their feet... which takes the total weight lifted down. Why not just do pullups without extra weight???

In the attempt to get huge, these guys are going to have the same problem that a lot of guys have... too consumed with the poundage on the bar instead of moving a weight through a full range of motion to get the most muscular benefit possible. I have to bring this up before they begin on my program because when I write a program, I expect to see results.

However, if these guys keep half-repping workouts they are going to be left small, injured, and frustrated. I want to help them... getting stronger and adding on muscle mass is physiologically one of the most inspiring, rewarding things a person can do for themselves, but it has to be done right.

huge guy from

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving- some thoughts to chew on

The more fat a meat has, the better natural flavoring it has, right? That is why deer meat needs a lot of seasoning and can be pretty tough most of the time... it is a very lean meat.

Where am I going with this? If some ridiculously diesel cannibal overpowered me and cooked me, I would want to be the toughest, most-meaty meal he/she ever had. I wouldn't want to be a squishy, enjoyable dinner. I would want him/her to have to use all kinds of ketchup, seasoning, and milk to get me down.

On what I am eating for Turkey day:

I am going to focus on meat and veggies... I can get all of those carbs every other day. If you eat a ton of carbs AND desert, well, any gains you made the last couple weeks you just flushed out with your mass overeating. I am not going to quote a study, but I guarrantee people eat more when they are around other people overeating... large family dinner anyone?

Enjoy yourself, but don't hate yourself the next day.

Make time to workout, even if it is a bunch of sprints early one morning before a shower, do something. Don't use a holiday weekend as an excuse to be another sedentary American.

Today's workout:

incline bench press

flat cable flies

DB shoulder press

straight arm front raises SS with cable lateral raises

dips, pushups, and pushdowns

I'll let you know weights, sets, and reps afterwards

Chew on that

Friday, November 20, 2009

New Energy Drink?

As I was dirnking my Rip It energy drink last night before working, my buddy pulled up this energy drink spoof video... hilarious

Have a good weekend

Thursday, November 19, 2009 thanks

Thanks to Scott Bird and every one that came out to talk squat on last night's twitter chat. You can find a recap here. Check out the forums at , there are tons of videos, articles, and topics that you can learn from and comment about.

My workout today:
warm up
DB shoulder press
*only set standing 65's x 10
90's x 6
95's 2x6

superset 1
lateral cable raise 40 2x12 50 3x 12 60 2x6
straight bar front raise 80 6x8

superset 2
face pulls 140 2x12 130 2x12
rope tricep pushdown (easy on cable) 120 4x12

superset 3
bodyweight dips 3x12
straight bar pushdowns 75 3x12

let me know what you did today in the comments, be easy...
enjoy the weekend.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Realizing you aren't where you think you are...

I had a true confession by a client yesterday. She said that weighing her in last week was one of the best things we have done recently... and not because she saw some super low number. She was motivated by the number because it wasn't where she thought she should be.

To give you a quick background on this particular doc, she met with me last fall and spring semester and got down to 132lbs for a vacation trip she was taking. She was very pleased with how she looked, felt, and how her clothes fit. Between my transition to a full-time job from full-time grad student she worked with another trainer this past summer. She also got into a rut of poor eating habits and a skewed view of her actual weight, mostly from never weighing in.

I wanted her at a certain weight that I know is possible since it is just three pounds less than the previous weight we got her to in the spring. She was squeemish about weighing in. The entire previous month she had gone on trips on weekends and would come to me Monday morning with so-so nutrition stories so I pushed for it and got her on the scale. She was 8 pounds heavier than she had perceived herself to weigh.

At first there was disbelief.
"Is that scale right?" Yes, I calibrated it this summer.

"I don't feel like (insert weight here)." But then came true motivation: Knowing exactly where you are so you can properly go to where you wish to go. She told me after that weekend that she was very strict with her diet and cardio and even thoughing weighing in for her "sucked," as she put it, it was a true marker of exactly where she is.

Now, I am also not for obsessive scale stalking, because weight it just a number in a lot of cases. I would never recommend some one to weigh in more than one every two weeks. You need to stay focused, eat right, be held accountable, and train hard. Everything else will fall into place and you will be knocked out of any rut that you might have fallen into.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Randomness Updates

Some updates to read while you listen to this song:

  1. Congrats to Luke Beggs on his second place finish in the novice middleweight class at the kentucky muscle extravangaza this past Saturday in Louisville. He looked freaky lean to say the least
  2. Congrats to his little brother, Jake Beggs, who got his second first place finish in a month in the teen division. (Freak in the middle).

All of the guys that have competed recently are now in the off-season so I am looking forward to seeing their ridiculous strength gains.

3. I am going to be the guest speaker on Scott Bird's twitter chat this week. We are going to focus on "Fixing your Squat," check out more details at and also check out Scott's website , there are a ton of forums and articles to read up on. If you are on twitter, my name is StayKYStrong and you can include #sbgym in your tweets to participate.

4. I am going to do an experiment for the first two weeks of December... We have a weighted vest here... weighs about 40lbs... and I am going to wear it for two weeks straight, any wear I go, aside from the shower and sleep. This will automatically make my bodyweight 260ish pounds and will constantly load my body, hopefully causing hypertrophy.

I got the idea from the avian muscle study that hypothesized hyperplasia of skeletal muscle(growth of muscle fibers) is possible. For those unfamiliar, in this study researchers strapped weight on one of a bird's wings for consecutive weeks and then examined muscle fiber number afterwards. Now there are obvious red flags in that the aformentioned study:

-They examined avian muscle, which is different than human muscle

- the reserachers killed the bird and counted muscle fiber number and compared it to the other wing. I will not be commiting suicide after the two weeks in which I wear the vest.

-There will be no way to prove hyperplasia with this, but I will be taking bodyweight, circumference measurements, and body fat percent measurements before and after. I will also have another gym employee participating in the two weeks prior to see his results. This is what I think of when I am bored.

I will definitely tell you all about any and all results.

Let me know any comments in the the comment section, talk at ya later.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Exercises I don't like... Vol 1

I am going to try to have one of these a month and am open to any suggestions of exercises at any time. I have told my personal training staff that if they ever read, see, hear about, or make up in their mind a "new" exercise, we can go over it and I would tell them if I thought it was worth anything or not. I will be watching for and going over exercises that I don't like and my reasons... rarely will I ever not like an exercise without any reason whatsoever... take from it what you want.

Behind the Neck Shoulder Press (BNSP)
This exercise is pretty popular in bodybuilding pics and magazines. You almost always see a huge guy with all kinds of vascularity in his shoulders pushing heavy weight from behind his neck to above his head. I realize these guys have diesel shoulders that make doorways always look too narrow.
BUT if you want to build up your shoulders, you need to focus on barbell shoulder press (in front of your face), dumbell shoulder press, straight arms raises, arnold press, and hit your other pressing movements, like those that involve your chest, hard. I am against BNSP because it is not a natural range of motion for the body to bring heavy weight behind the head while not keeping a neutral spine (i.e. ducking your head).

For beginners that have a low sense of proprioception (knowing what position your body is in without having to look and see it), moving a loaded barbell behind their head adds a huge risk to having them drill their cervical spine with the bar. Even with an experienced lifter, if you are pushing with all you have and miss a barbell shoulder press in front of your face (assuming your spotter blows), you can bring it down to your chest or rest it on your anterior delts like a front squat. If you miss a rep on BNSP and your spotter blows you aren't going to be able to sit far enough up fast enough to let it land on your traps like a back squat... the weight it going to hit your neck!

There are a ton of other shoulder exercises to hit that will give you the same gerthiness (said like EARTH-iness but with a GUH) and turn those shoulders into boulders without the risk of injury to your spine. Let me know what you think in the comments and go get huge(r).

Monday, November 9, 2009

There are times to ask questions, and times to SHUT UP AND TRAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In the fitness/health and wellness field you constantly have to stay aware because there is all kinds of research going on. I consistently read at least 10 blogs daily and follow their important links to others. I check articles through twitter, check out new video ideas on youtube, email knowledgeable people with questions.... sometimes I get answers and sometimes i just ask someone else.

I never want to be a fitness professional left in the dark or has to say, "oh, I don't kow about that" very often.

I have a staff member that asks a lot of questions about lifting, technique, methods, everything... and I love it that my mind can constantly be tested. I also try not to waste time with a onslaught of compliments and try to get straight to the point with any one I talk to... people are busy.

there are also time to crank up the ipod and move weight around. So what, you were going for 6 reps, if it is your last set go until you can't anymore. You need that animal mentality to destroy something.

As I finish my day I know that I literally attacked my lift today. Those blocks of weight, round or rectangular, test me to my limit. It is the best love-hate relationship to have. You hate the weight until you can't move it any more and then you love the weight for making you stronger.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Stuff that crossed my mind during deadlift

I get all kinds of thoughts across my mind during deadlift.... here is some stuff that hit me today, relevant or not

1) You should deadlift without a belt and straps every once in a while. Get your man grip up, you know? I did four sets today without straps today and it actually let me slow down some and really focus on my form. You also have to leave your ego at the door because you can do more weight with straps. I didn't use a belt today, but kept my form strict to really work my core. Unequipped lifting has its benefits

2) While talking about deadlift and not using straps, I also used an alternate grip. I tried it both ways (ha); the first set of 6 I used a left over and right under hand grip and the second set I reversed the grip. I used an overhand grip on all warm-up sets

3)you should never talk to another man that you don't know in the bathroom

4)on that note, people that get stage fright make me laugh

5) high testosterone should be wanted by all

6) force yourself to grow... don't say," i've tried everything" bc you haven't. Hamstrings too small? deads, RDLS, eccentric leg curls, leg presses with a high foot placement... do it all and do them all to failure. quit cutting your leg workouts short! get a solid recovery shake and stretch with foam rolling afterwards. Stay active the next day to prevent stiffness and lessen soreness.

have a great Wednesday

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Check this kid out!

While I don't agree with weight training at such a young age, the gymnastic and core strength of this five year old is ridiculous.

I love his intensity too

How do you approach your workout?

Do you approach your workout as another thing on your to do list?

Do you talk more than put in work? Should your workouts be called talk shows?

Do you just hope that the workout ends?

Do you break a sweat at all? Are you sore the next day?

What is your purpose? Do you wish to do the absolute minimum to "get by?" WHY don't you put all you have into your workouts? GEt a plan, have some one write you one, EMAIL ME and i'll write you a workout plan, get started do something......... if you just go through the motions you will waste your time staying the same...

Friday, October 23, 2009

NPC Bodybuilding, figure, and bikini championship - Straight to the Bar

NPC Bodybuilding, figure, and bikini championship - Straight to the Bar: This saturday I am going to Tricky Jackson's NPC qualifying show in Lexington, KY.

I have four employees and a gym member competing so you can bet that I am going to be causing a scene with noise when they strut out on stage. These five guys have been going strong with diet and even stronger with their workouts... For a group of guys that actually like having size and strength, cutting down can cause a lot of mental frustration.

Also, since their bodyweights are dropping, as is some of their strength. Their goals consist of maintaining size and strength through this weekend in an attempt to be as proportionally muscular while still as lean as possible. I saw two of them today and right now they are focused on no injuries and cutting water weight out, prejudging is tomorrow morning at 11am. I hope they hit the weight that they are shooting for.

After the show tomorrow, three of them are competing in the Kentucky muscle show in Louisville in three weeks and two of them are going into their off-season program of large amounts of clean food and gaining mass. The three competing twice in a months time will get as much learning experience tomorrow as far as posing and seeing what they can drop their weights to.

I am excited to see their dedication under the big stage lights, both tomorrow at Tricky's competition and when they get back in the gym to push weight around.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

2009 NPC Bluegrass Bodybuilding, Figure, and Bikini Championships

Tricky Jackson, an IFBB Pro Bodybuilder, is putting on a bodybuilder, figure, and bikini competition this Saturday, October 24th, at Lexington's Thoroughbred center, you can find any and all information at .

The prejudging is at 11am and the night show starts at 7pm!!! I have four employees that are competing---- Come yell at Luke Beggs, Jake Beggs, Jantzen O'Neal, and Clay Brady. We also have a gym member, Brett Borders, that is competing so come shout at him too. I'm going to be there going crazy with a couple of buddies to support these dedicated dudes

I'm definitely going to get me a shirt!!

Come check out Tricky's Show!!! Students: entrance to the night show is only $15 with a student ID!!!

and support the Underground Fitness Center employees!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Deadlift and PT eval with Nic Norwood

I put my personal trainers through semesterly evaluations on approach, exercises selection, demonstration, programming, etc. Today I was able to work with Nic Norwood, who has set 6 national records, 4 still standing, through USAPL and has competed in 7 national competitions. He was able to help me some with my deadlift form, and given his experience, a great source for info.

Being such an accomplished powerlifter, I was expecting to deadlift with him... so I wore my dealift'n shoes

Some highlites from the session were:

1) Be patient with the pull. It isn't like squat where you can go in there and zip through it. You have to set up and drive at the right time.

2) Shoulders and head up first

3) Release your grip with one hand once the weight is on the floor after each rep to make sure you aren't bouncing the weight

Excellent pointers... I also got another cue from a video I watched this weekend... make sure your shoulders start in front of the bar when the weight is on the floor.... it really helped me get in the correct position.
T-nation also did an article with Andy Bolton who has pulled over 1000lbs TWICE... 1003 and 1008lbs... completely inhuman. I listened to Alwyn Cosgrove's interview with Mike Boyle ( about the state of the fitness industry and something that stuck out was to "the essence of getting better is to be around people better than yourself."

Of course I would listen when these three individuals either spoke with me or wrote an article... it would be crazy not to. I'm going to get stronger, what are you going to do???

Friday, October 9, 2009

Lift for you

As I was in between sets on flat bench today, sweating, it hit me. I lift for me. I don't lift to beat Bill Bench or Scott Squat. Right now, I could honestly care less what they hit on anything. I don't care what they weigh, what they can push, what they can pull.

I am lifting to get better than I was before. I have been on a self-improvement project the last three weeks. I wanted to fix my shoulder problem (pressure building up on heavy bench and shoulder press). I decided to set a barbell next to my desk and stretch whenever I thought about it. I also took chest and shoulders presses down to once a week each ( I still completed straight arm lifts for shoulders and flying movements for chest).

Flat bench today was painless and I am optimistic about getting 295 for 6, 5, 4. I told myself three weeks ago that I would hit back twice a week and streetch my shoulders out for five weeks and I will stick to that.

Why lift if you don't want to improve? Why do something with less than total effort?

Before my last set I couldn't have cared less about anything else but pushing as hard and fast as I could. I set a goal to help my shoulder problem and approached it with a program that I thought would have a good chance at working and it has so far been helpful.

I lift for me. I sweat for me. I push myself for me. I get better for me. What are you doing for you?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Crippling Leg workout

One of my staff members came up to me today and wanted a new leg workout, said he was tired of being bored. I gave him the following program for the day:

Superset 1 -4 times through
A) Quad glute squat on smith machine- feet awkwardly out in front of you so if the bar moved, you would fall. normal bar position, drop your butt and keep your hips back at the bottom of the range of motion and explode up. the smith machine keeps the movement of the weight fertical and make sure your spine stays perpendicular to the floor. I told him to focus driving through his heels, and to complete 2x15, 2x12
B) Leg extension- 4x10
Rest period before repeating superset 1 is 60 seconds

Superset 2 - 4 times through
A) Leg curl- Bring the weight up with both legs (flex the knee joint) and slowly resist the weight with one leg on the way down. Repeat but lower with the other leg and do each leg 6 times. then do the same weight 6 more times with both legs.
B) Stability ball leg curl- 4x10

Superset 3 - 4 times through
A) One-legged leg press- 4x12 each leg
B) Barbell Hip thrusts- Seen in this article at the bottom of the page

Know that I would never recommend soley performing smith machine squats, there is a huge advantage to using a free weight bar in that you involve a lot more stabilization and core muscles that aren't needed as much with a smith machine. I advised him to use the smith machine to really focus on his quads.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Importance of Busting Through Plateaus

You can't progress without getting stronger, faster, leaner, more muscular... essentially, you don't make any gains if you don't get better. A lot of people have been coming up to me and sending me emails about how to break through their plateaus that they have ran into. This is a physical and mental roadblock on some exercises for a lot of people.

I have even seen people build up to their plateau weight several times in a semester and instead of brainstorming ways to blow past it, they let that muscle group drop off of their workout for a little while out of frustration in what they think is a concrete ceiling... "Man, I just can't push past 225 on bench"... Rob, my squat only gets up to 315 and then stalls"

calling them out... BS

If they want to continue in the cyclic pattern of adequacy, fine by me. If you don’t mind staying at the same level or you aren’t consistent in any of your workout -- i.e. one workout a month this month and then three weeks straight at 4 times a week and repeat—try crossfit, I hear it’s great. But if they want help pushing through it so they can actually push toward a new goal, a new challenge, more weight on the bar, they need to bust out a notepad and listen.

The property of overload states that you need to do more weight, reps, sets, and/or volume to put additional strain on your body to cause it (or force it, if you like that better) to adapt and GROW. In order to have progression in your workouts you must always be trying to overload your neuromuscular system.

I blogged briefly on breaking plateaus before here, but now I'll give you some new ideas.

Drop Sets

You can try drop sets. On your last set you are going to hit it for as many reps as you can and then drop it to a lower weight and repeat. Before starting tell your lifting partner what weight to drop to after your set is over to minimize time between sets. So if you were doing 225, you should put a 45, 25, and two tens on each side so you could hit 225 and then drop to 185… dropping from 225 to 135 would be too much of a drop to make because you would easily get 10-15 reps at 135 if you were shooting for 225 for 6 or less.


You can also try the Rest–Pause technique. This training technique allows you to get more reps with a higher weight than you would usually be able to get. No magic supplement, no gear, no extra lifting equipment is needed… just you, your balls, and a stop watch or clock. You pick a weight that you have been stuck doing 6 reps for (insert time period here). You complete just three reps and rack it. Start your stop watch and wait 20 seconds. Repeat three reps. Wait 20 seconds. Try to get another three reps.

I did this a couple of weeks ago on deadlift and ended up getting 9 reps on a weight that in a normal set I would have only been able to get to around six reps. I also felt like I was going to puke after it. IF you are doing deadlift and have straps on, don’t unwrap bc that will add time between sets which isn’t the point. You want 15-20 seconds between sets, but not one minute... one minute would be almost before another set. You are playing to the advantage of your ATP-CP system. This system is responsible for producing explosive power and energy from your muscles for activity lasting less than thirty seconds... ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is also replenished very quickly so you are allowing your muscles to partially replenish their ATP supply to get another three reps... or one or two reps.

Go out and bust through a plateau…. Or stay the same. You really just have those two options.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A TRUE Genetic Freak

The article is a couple months old, but mind-blowing to say the least.

Check him out, the human version of the Blue cattle from Bigger, Stronger, Faster

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Being Better than I was Yesterday

There are always ways to improve yourself and/or better your knowledge on improving your health, strength, stamina, and overall felling of self-worth. You know, things like actually sticking to a workout, better technique, more knowledge of proper diet, using that diet as your meal plan, lowering your cholesterol, losing fat, gaining strength, completing your first 5k, competing in a body building competition, etc.

I am not exception to striving to be better physically and mentally. For about the last month I have noticed pressure in my shoulder on heavy bench and shoulder presses. In an attempt to alleviate this pressure I have been stretching on my own and with my graduate assistant in charge of group fitness as well as hitting back twice a week to really improve its strength. Increasing the strength of my lats, rhomboids, and rear delts should help build a better balance between my upper body push (chest and shoulder) and pull (back).

I was actually talking about this earlier with Danny Amon because he is having a similar problem with his shoulders. The explanation in talking with him was that what I work out with on my flat bench (300) is a lot less than what I barbell row (225) with strict form. Now I realize barbell row is supported by your low back and bench press you are able to utilize a bench, but nonetheless there is an imbalance present.

I am going to hit the following split (this is quoted from an email I sent my 2-year training partner who has moved back to Louisville) for the next five weeks and I will blog about the results after this time period is completed for this microcycle:

“Mon- back, bis, auxiliary legs - ext, leg curl, one legged RDLS
tues- chest, shoulders, tris
thurs- monday's workout minus aux legs

my back exercise pool consists of barbell row, db row, seated row, t bar row, and one arm variations. i will alternate weeks hitting heavy chest then heavy shoulder press. i will be doing 4-6 sets of 6 reps, since my goal is increased back strength and not necessarily size.
mons legs will be high rep, whereas wed legs is more standard low rep, puke in a bucket lifting. and more structural lifts wed”

What are some things you could and can work on in the next five weeks? Let me know in the comments.

Also, if you need a little motivation check this training log out:

Friday, September 18, 2009

Weekend Reading and motivation from an Elite FTS athlete

I have a list of blogs that I read through as part of my normal routine in the morning. One that caught my attention was Robert dos Remedios' blog about the biggest loser, which I had watched last season when I could catch it... or better put, when it caught me. It's like deal or no deal or a car accident, once you see it you have to watch it. Besides hating the way they ridiculed the people participating in the show, I also was amazed at the harmful anatomical positions the "trainers" put their clients in... step ups with more than body weight letting the knee bend to much less than 90 degrees, the "carry the other huge person up mt everest," teaching calorie restriction instead of clean food options, etc. I actually went to NBC's website to write them a letter about what their show portrays every trainer to be nuts and how NOT to lose weight and keep it off and I found this comment:

"Finally, NBC cannot accept, consider or pay for any unsolicited creative ideas or materials. If you send something anyway, you waive any claims with respect to your submission. So why send it?"

That just says to me we think we know what we are doing.... so don't give us any advice.

Also, they immediately kick people off after the first week... a show truly interested in helping people lose weight wouldn't immediately kick some one's hopes to the curb. I understand there has to be a game aspect but let them all be on the ranch for three weeks and then see who has lost the most weight. Just ideas NBC, just ideas.

One a completely different topic...
I shouldn't be surprised at the 10 guys I have met while running the Underground that do not lift their lower body.... but I am. I gotten some of the following excuses:
"Man... I did those in high school screw that"
You were in better shape in high school bud
"I don't want to bulk up"
Find a brain

and my most recent favorite from a guy who only did calves for lower body, who really thought he had a good reason...
"Honestly, you can't see them when I have shorts on... but you gotta have calves... girls love claves"
I asked him what he would do if they asked to see his quads and he had no answer...

Well for all of those guys and any one else reading this blog, check "THE MINX" out below for some extra motivation to actually lift all of your leg muscles:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Today was leg day... here is the pain I got to experience:
Back Squat
275x 6
315x 2
335x 6
365x 4 ----> my eyes were red from busted capillaries in my eyes, solid
345x 6
315x10 ---> this one made me dizzy, excellent

Leg press
8 plates on each side 1x6
8 plates plus a 25 on each side 2x6

Leg curl---- not your normal leg curl check out set three
150 2x12
125 1x6 On this set you lift the weight to your butt with both legs, drop one leg straight, and fight the weight on the way down. This is different than lowering the weight slowly. If you can slowly lower it then you are in control. Fight the weight on the way down and it will really tear your hamstrings up to get you results. Your one-legged leg curl descent should take around 3 seconds and don't let the weight slam at the bottom, catch it with the other leg that you made straight. Slamming the weight will piss off the guy in charge of the gym and is annoying to me.... it could also crack a plate

I recommend a protein shake or chocolate milk after wards with a good foam roll and stretching session to engorge your hammys with blood for repair.

Try it out and let me know what you think

Friday, September 11, 2009


Alright alright alright, I preach about goals... setting them, writing down a descriptive plan on how you are to achieve those goals, and what you should do once said goals ARE attained.

If you don't know where you are going,
you'll end up somewhere else.

- Yogi Berra

You know you need to be realistic. Take sombody that has been working out consistently for two years and is benching 135lbs in January can't realistically set a May goal of 225lbs for sets. Eventually, for sure 225 is a sweet goal, but you have to push yourself yet have an idea of what is conceivable in the amount of time you are considering. Set checkpoints... where you expect to be at certain points and have both long and short term goals.

Writing down your goals keeps you accountable and you also have a visual reminder of what you set out to do. Writing them down should serve as a motivational boost every time you see that sheet of paper. It helps keep you focused on what you set your mind to achieve.

You have heard or maybe even YOU have set a goal, achieved it and became complacent, and then drifted away from it. If your goal was fitness oriented, once you achieved it did you maintain that level of fitness or drop off dramatically. We all have ups and downs but to get your body fat percentage to a certain level while pushing around a certain amount of weight and then letting it drop doesn't make sense.

Why achieve a goal just to have to get back to it at the same time next year? Goals should be progressive... you should constantly be focused on becoming better. Share some of your current fitness goals with me in the comment section!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Stuff Rattling around in my head

I was in the middle of training yesterday and a guy that usually puts in a mediocre workout once a month came up to me and let me know that he had worked out TWO days in a row.... Instead of giving him a list of sarcastic comments... i encouraged him to keep it up, and then I did too much... I asked him what (muscles) he hit?


He immediately saw me reaction of total disappointment wirtten all over my face. To workout so sporatically through a month and expect results with no plan, or in his case a terrible plan, is a giant waste of time. If he is going for fat loss, yet targeting some of the smallest muscle groups in the body, he isn't going to see anything even if he worked out more consistently.

In reaction to my disappointment he could have redeemed himself... you know, I'm about to do some plyos, sled pushes, sledge hammer hits on a tire, sprints.... but he didn't. He made himself look worse

"well, you know, I don't want to build all kinds of muscle.... i just want to lose some gut fat"

I officially have branded this kid worthless. Since building all kinds of muscle is all of the sudden easy, he wants to train arms to lose GUT fat. I just don't see his logic... when he comes around and starts thinking about the movements his body is making and proves to me that he will consistently workout weekly... I'll help him.

Let me know any terrible advice you have heard in the gym in the comment section!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Again... this guy is ridiculous

I am moving to Latvia

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Who does this?

SO I went to shoot some video today and my camera came on, but the whole screen was white... trashed... so there will be a pause in videos from me. HOWEVER, this is a benefit of youtube so check this sick one-armed snatch out...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lift'n music, stay dedicated

perfect mindset song

deadlift'n song

perfect way to finish that last set

Tomorrow's schedule:
work 730-430
church connect group 630-830pm ( if you are in lex and curious)
Security at Two keys 945pm-320am Friday

While I'm at work I'm going to hit chest.... intensity is the key... no excuses. My biggest enemy is the guy in the mirror. I will not let up

Monday, August 31, 2009

Ignorance in Health and Wellness- Pregnant Women

I was able to catch up with a guy I went to undergrad with and is currently finishing his masters. With both of our full time jobs and life, it had been a while since a meeting of the meatheads had happened. One of the many topics we discussed covered people who know nothing about personal training giving PT evaluations, but that individual is a whole other topic.

What I want to focus on is one of the prospective clients that his coworker received... a pregnant woman. Now there is a lot of areas with this particular client that could vary... meaning, the program that is written for this individual would need to be very individualized to what SHE can do without too much fatigue. ***I want to throw out a disclaimer--- I have only trained a handful of pregnant women and all of them were very good at communicating how they felt and my complete focus was maintenance of fitness and health and safety of the child and moms***

My buddy's coworker was supposed to take the client she was given through a workout that should focus on that indiviual's goals while taking into account their present physical condition. So she aced it right???? Let's see a recap of how the workout started...

(No warm-up)
Lat pulldowns- forget the front of the seat pushing on your belly.... ridiculous, oh and thanks for the warm up
Leg Press machine- great, lets put a pregnant women in a supine position and tell her to make sure her knees hit her chest... because that wouldn't cause any undue pressure on JR or cause any unneeded intra-abdominal pressure

Needless to say this "trainer's" workout ended here when a couple graduate assistants started listing the contraindications of just the first two exercises... baffling the "trainer"

Just when it couldn't get any worse .... WRONG, sigh.... a full time staff member (said individual who has no business evaluating any one) defended the "trainer" saying that she had been doing leg press all summer so she thought it would be ok... did I mention moron full time staffer is prego?

If you haven't punched the computer screen yet in rage, I want to recommend that if you or any one you care about is pregnant, please make sure that physical activity is monitored by someone that knows what they are doing. Weights and cardio is fine, if approved by doctor, but you should stay hydrated, never lay on your back, ask your doc questions about heart rate and body temp recommendations to stay under... pregnancy shouldn't stop you from working out, but you should take the basic steps to maintain what you can and grow your baby!

If any one would like help with a workout during pregnancy, email me and we can get you one. Also, check out Cassandra Forsythe's blog

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Another week, expect progress

To some this week may be just the end of August, beginning of September. Another dull, boring, monotonous week of paperwork and tv dinners.

dont be that guy! Get better at something. Lift more weight, try a different exercise, push yourself on the workout plan you have been doing. Make it your goal to get 8 hours sleep every night this week, eat clean, don't eat unneccessary calories. Eat to fuel your day and workouts. Instead of planting yourself in front of the tv for 5 hours after dinner, go for a walk, job, run. use those weights in your basement, garage, back yard...

hey you, remember that new years resolution you "soberly" committed yourself to back in January??? you got toooooo busy right? look at your day, what can you cut out? do you need an hour lunch? workout for 30 minutes of your lunch if you can. 20 Pushups, 10 jump squats, 30 seconds of four point planks... repeat 5 times.

you have heard people say, "if you are going to do something, do it right" why wouldn't you apply that to getting yourself in better shape?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sick Deadlift from 6 inch pad

the laugh at the end is the most motivating

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Meathead's Dream facility

Robert Dos Remedios' facility at the College of the Canyons.... wow

2 Clients start back

Classes at UK started back today, as did two of my former clients. I put them through a dynamic warm up that included a basic squat jump, two core exercises, and mountain climbers. They performed 6 squat jumps, each core exercise for 45 seconds, and thirty seconds of all out mountain climbing action.

One of their goals is to gain some lean muscle tissue and get in better overall physical condition. I put her through the following workout, grouped in supersets:
1. Bulgarian Split Squats 3x12
Weight transfer 3 five pound plates moved back and forth from a plank position for 40 seconds
2. DB chest press 3x10
Dynamic side planks 3x30 seconds
3. Underhand pulldowns 3x8
Russian Twist press with a 25lb plate 3x12
4. DB shoulder press 3x10
Cable Chop 3x10 each side
5. Standing DB row
Plank walk-ups 3x30 seconds

We finished with planks and pushups. This is a simple way to compact as much activity as possible into your clients or your workout. You move directly from the first exercise to the second and repeat twice. You keep your heart rate elevated and it beats the heck out of monotonous treadmill. You also can take advantage of Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), which pretty much can be summed up to burning extra calories after your workout while your body replenishes it's tissues with oxygen, restoring hormone levels, restoring heart rate and respiratory rate to normal, and achieving homeostasis.... all for busting your ass during your workout...

Make your workout work for you! What did you do today for your workout? Let me know in the comments

Sunday, August 23, 2009

More posts and videos to come... School starts

So this past week I had to go to the american red cross CPR/AED instructor training course Monday-Thursday 8-5, and then squeaked a lift in every day. I am now certified to certify other people!
I will not have this large of a pause in random rants, videos, exercise information, etc EVER again. So you think I would have had time to blog about something Friday... right? I got to help freshman move in at UK and was trying to get all of the paper work ready for my staff to return tomorrow. HR here has had some problems adding some people to payroll so hopefully I will stroll into the gym tomorrow and every one will be added...

In other news, my buddy, Danny Amon, texted me about hitting deadlift today... so why not? We used the traditional stance, and completed the following for deadlift:

the last one was my favorite because I was going to add two tens to each side and Amon said,"the two tens won't fit, why don't we just throw on a 25 on each side?" and that's how my new pr for deadlift happened.

Do something that would motivate somebody else today

what is your workout for deadlift? let me know in the comments

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Video Recap of Summer workouts

Something to squat to...

Check these out and move weight

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wedding Video

Check out the wedding video here. Lisa Gupton is an amazing photographer so if you need some one and you are around Lexington or Georgetown let me know, and I'll get you her info.

Friday, August 7, 2009


I took up a security job at a local bar to make some extra cash and it allowed me to partake in one of my favorite hobbies- people watching. Standing outside, over-looking a patio is a prime location for people watching, with minimal negatives.

I got to see every one go in one door, make the around the bar circle inside, and come out the door that I was posted up by. I also had the luck of being near three awkwardly placed steps that can be hours of entertainment on all-you-can-drink night.

What could possibly be the problem with this? With the full-time job, training some on the side, hanging out with my wife during the week, and hanging out with my wife and daughter on the weekends has left me little time to attend any bar night, which is fine. However, in my missed time on the bar scene I had forgotten or missed what the current frat-boy style was...

Now I can't be fooled by the thought that all women, or any women for that matter, would enjoy the companionship of such a deflated, tight shirt wearing, feminine look'n guy. No muscle mass, brighter colors than most women were wearing, the multiple hippi bands, necklaces, scarfs, sunglasses when it is night, I think I forgot to mention no muscle mass. If your going to wear a shirt that is tight, GREAT, but have more to show off than a rib cage or a showcase for adipose tissue.

Have women forgotten the meatheads? Say it ain't so...

There were a couple of club members there that could probably rattle off some perfect pushups or perform a jump squat onto the bar if prompted, but it makes me wonder... is the species dieing? A male that would rather move weight from a to b only to be able to move it from a to b quicker tomorrow or move more of it to the same location... are these meatheads becoming extinct???

There is no way. I realize that I work in a gym all day and then go home to an apartment that has a supplement shelf in the pantry, but I did not think things had gotten so bad. I can't be that sheltered.

I think next week I am going to bring up a certain max bench, squat, deadlift total is needed to enter for the males. This will work two-fold. It will all only testosterone filled gents to find their mate and the women will thank me because they will actually sense male phermones in the air, not the latest guy perfume. It's a win-win.

The only plus of the place being filled with soft, pudgy, poor excuses for a male is that it makes things a lot easier to escort some one out of the bar when they have no marbles.

To the meatheads remaining, we must train our children to lift weights, do sprints, and eat a ton of chicken and steak to prevent further decay into extinction.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


the plan for today is to become nauseated while doing legs. I am going to do 6 sets of back squat, leg press, and THEN front squat... although I don't expect to be worth much by the time I get to front squat.
I was relatively happy with deadlift on Tuesday. I haven't done any deadlift in *gasp* about a month and a half but I hit 365 for 6 then 8 and then 405 for 6, which are all good for me. About a year a half ago I tried 405 on deads and just got it twice with terrible form. My form was better this week and hopefully the good dead day is followed by a solid leg day today.

There will be a lack of twitter updates, I can't seem to get to the site from this computer.

Check out an article on rest periods or rest in general from Dan John here. I don't time my rest periods, but I also don't like for my workouts to last longer than an hour and a half so I push myself to keep a quicker pace. Coach John has some very useful comments about sleep, training, and life... you should check it out.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Client Testimonial

My name is Jeff Keith, and I am writing to strongly and enthusiastically endorse Robert Sinnott as a trainer and a professional. Rob served as my personal trainer while I was a graduate student at the University of Kentucky. On many occasions he exhibited his aptitude as a first-rate trainer, as well as his abilities as a manager and a health consultant.

Rob and I met in the fall of 2008, and he began working as my trainer at that time. He immediately stood out to me as a person who cares about the health and well-being of others, and he assessed my situation in a careful and holistic way. After running several tests and consulting with me about my personal goals, Rob designed a comprehensive workout plan that has proven both effective and manageable. We began weekly workouts, and I started a running program on my own. Recognizing that his training is not in dietetics yet understanding that fitness requires an overall lifestyle designed to promote health, Rob also put me in contact with a helpful nutritionist.

Rob met with me twice a week, and I always looked forward to our training sessions. He pushed me very hard, but he never pushed me too hard; he knew what he was doing as a trainer. Rob designed dynamic workouts that catered to my specific health needs, as well as my desire to engage in particularly physical exercises that worked multiple muscle groups. Most important, I experienced results; I lost weight at a sensible pace, while I also began to feel much better--physically and mentally. My physical health translated into a better personal and professional life.

Finally, I want to convey that Rob is a kind and courteous person--the ideal co-worker and supervisor. He was consistently friendly during training sessions, and he always proved flexible whenever my schedule required us to reschedule our workouts. Moreover, he invited me into his community at the gym by introducing me to some of his friends and coworkers.

I have known Rob as a trainer, and I have come to know him as a friend too. He is a very good person and a dedicated professional.


Jeff Keith

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sticks vs XL- Starting from different body types to achieve your goals

I have a comparison to make. I want you to tell me if you fit into one of these two categories:
1. Skinny person trying to gain muscle mass (Sticks)
2. Beefy person trying to gain muscle mass (XL)

Now these two individuals by no means encompass every individual due to several variations of other body types and goals out there, but I wanted to look at these two in particular. I will try to exclude any specificity of gender in this analysis.

Sticks says they have tried everything to gain muscle mass. Sticks is eating before bed, drinking a protein shake, training their upper thighs off (where their butt should be). Sticks has tried split routines, body building routines, power lifting workouts, and, dare I say it, even CrossFit to put on some size or have any noticeable muscle definition at all. Sticks tests their body fat percentage and it remains low.

XL eats as if they are a Kentucky thoroughbred racing at the Kentucky Derby. XL has their pre-lift drink, during lift shake, and post-workout recovery drink… PLUS six meals a day. XL is happy that he/she is gaining weight and out-growing their clothes, but how can XL be sure at least some, preferably most, of the weight gained is muscle. XL assumes a calorie is a calorie and loads up on sugary food and drinks and very few vegetables and fruits. XL also never tests their body fat percentage.

Sticks assumes they are eating enough, as does XL, but what is the caloric density of the foods they are consuming and how many calories really are coming in and going out? XL says they lift really hard, but don’t need cardio because that is for sissies. How many calories are both of these individuals actually consuming and expending?

Sticks could have a huge meal, but really not notice they don’t eat much for the remainder of the day. If they were to meet with a dietician after keeping a food journal they could get a better idea of what they are putting into their body. XL needs to also meet with a dietician and HONESTLY estimate how many calories they are burning. Yes XL lifts a heavy amount of weight for an hour and a half for four days a week, but what are they doing the other days or throughout any of the days.

Do either of these individuals bust their butt in the gym, but work a sedentary job or drag for the rest of the day? With the variations in your metabolic rate even accurately keeping track of the minutes worked out and other activities, you are still getting a range of calories burned, but a range is better than a guess.

Sticks needs to accurately look at how many calories he/she is consuming daily and see how those calories are spread out through the day. XL needs to figure out how many calories he/she is expending and adjust his/her eating accordingly.

I am not a dietician so it is out of my scope of practice to delve too far into specific nutrition information so please consult a dietician for specific nutrition information and a personal trainer for exercise routines. Unless a dietician has a Kinesiology background and possibly a personal training or strength and conditioning certification, they should not be telling you what to do in the gym or at home. Your personal trainer could tell you what he/she eats, but beyond that they shouldn’t be giving you any advice. One profession is doing the other profession’s job and that shouldn’t happen unless the individual is qualified to do both parts.

Good luck to Sticks and XL in their body transformations.

Friday, July 24, 2009

No Excuses to use Lighter Weight

I was finishing up my back workout and hadn't done dumbbell rows in a while... partially because the gym's dumbbells stop at 95lbs. I added a 20 lb chain to it and hit it 10 times. Any criticism, random comments, or anything else useful is appreciated

Dave Tate

Dave Tate is one of the most accomplished powerlifters and strength coaches in America. He has written over 100 articles for strength and conditioning websites and magazines and currently has two books out, Under the Bar and Raising the Bar. He holds Elite status in powerlifting (in three weight classes) with best lifts of a 935 squat, 740 deadlift, 610 bench press and 2,205 total... AND he is the founder and CEO or Elite Fitness Systems ... somebody that I value what he says about training, how he approaches it and life, how he runs his business, and give him the utmost meathead respect... I would give him an engraved barbell with his name on it covered in chalk dust if I could afford it, kind of thing, ya know?

"I finally came into focus, though. I started to think, if I'm going to diet, how am I going to keep the muscle I have? Because I'm still a meathead, you know?
You start to ask yourself questions. Do I really need to be 245 pounds, or should I just go down and be like a normal person?
Well, fuck being normal. I can't do that. It's just not going to happen. My whole life has been about getting strong or getting jacked. That's it. I don't give a shit if I can jump on a box, run a 40, do a chin-up, do a push-up. I don't fucking care. All I care about is getting strong and adding muscle." -Dave Tate

I've said it before, I'm trying to make as many useful connections as possible to make myself a stronger lifter and a better coach.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Client Testimonial

"I absolutely loved working out with Rob and feel very lucky that I got placed with him. I got back into clothes that I wasn't even able to wear before I got pregnant! What I liked about Rob's training style was that he was very tough, willing to work me hard, and didn't take any excuses or waste time with idle chitchat - I wanted to work, and we did that! Furthermore, Rob listened to my concerns and made each workout individualized to me. I felt like he had taken a lot of time to think about a workout that would work well for me and my goals. Rob is obviously very passionate about what he does, but what's more, he's obviously very knowledgeable about it - whenever there was a problem with an exercise hecame up with an alternative, and he really focused on my concerns and goals."

Stephanie A. Rose, M.D., M.P.H.
University of Kentucky College of Medicine

Pre-lift Rant

Here I sit, a year older at 25. Grad school completed, employed at the University of kentucky running a gym... i can hit a set of anything at any time throughout the day, a perfect environment for self-improvement.

I know that my worst enemy glares at me every time I look into the mirror. Luckily, mirrors line the entire free weight section of my gym. Any time I need a swift kick in the butt as far as training goes, at most I make a 180 degree turn and see what needs improvement. The journey I am making with building muscle is never finished... sure I might hit milestones, squatting more, benching more, increasing my terrible flexibility, lowering my body fat percentage, growing taller... ok, maybe not that last one, but I will hit milestones. Those milestones after reached will become standing stones that I will use to propel myself to and through my next goal.

Relatively stronger, abosolutely stronger, you know when it comes down to it I want both. I want to move as much weight with proper technique as possible. I am going to beat Rob from last week. Set backs are only "dedication testers"... you get sick, you pull something, your leg hurts, you didn't get enough sleep, i don't have the time, some body else out there (a lot of some bodies) are lifting harder than I am if I give in to these excuses. I won't...

I strive to be stronger every day I lift, there are no light days. What kind of sense would that make? I deload, but I still use heavy weight. I train smart, but I also train hard... maybe the new phrase should be "TRAIN SMARTER AND HARDER"

this phrase is fresh in my brain from BSP's article today

I turned 25 today, you can bet that I will be stronger at 25 and a week. Enough of this caffeinated rant, I'm going to lift

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Client Testimonials

"Rob is an outgoing person that makes working out actually somewhat fun. I had worked with other trainers before and his style is slightly different than others I have worked with which was good for me. He constantly changed what we did so I was not stuck doing the same thing every time we met. Overall, Rob was a great trainer and I enjoyed working with him."

Leah Casanave
Research Assistant, Kentucky Department of Public Health

“Rob is an excellent listener and responded to my training needs and goals with a solid exercise program. He is encouraging and constructive. My health and outlook on life have improved because of Rob’s influence.”

Ron Hustedde
Professor of Community and Leadership Development

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Something for the weekend

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Redneck Ninja...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Check out Brian St. Pierre's Blog

To steal his description from his website, "Brian St. Pierre is a young and exciting new face in the industry. His ability to communicate with people of all ages, from a multitude of backgrounds, has allowed Brian to work with young student athletes, professional athletes, and working professionals alike." I follow his articles as well as some of the other top names in the fitness industry. In order to be the best fitness professional, networking and reading other's thought on varying subjects are vitally important. Please check out his blog here, read his article about Tracey Anderson that my buddy Chance Cianciola found and then read my response below.

I first want to explain my credentials to those who are unfamiliar with the strength and conditioning world... I have my masters of science degree in Exercise Physiology and am a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. I have had numerous classes in anatomy, physiology, exercise physiology, biomechanics, laborartory and research methods dealing with studying the movement of the human body, and exercise testing and prescription methods.

Completing 80-100 consecutive repetitions is not only a contraindication to muscle and bone strength and health, but it is just dangerous. In order for the body to improve strength a person needs to complete 4-6 sets of six repetitions or less (the heavier weight that the client is able to use for these lower repetition sets improves bone density). To focus on hypertrophy (the growth of skeletal muscle) a client needs to perform 4-6 sets of 8-12 repetitions. An obvious and many times used question that is raised, mainly by females, is that they do not want to get big. Females, on average, naturally have about a tenth of the testosterone that males do so it is next to impossible for a woman to get noticeably bigger without an illegal ergogenic aid (steroids). Steroids would increase a woman’s hormone levels allowing her to put on size.

Another question that could be asked is how will I burn enough calories to lose weight if I am not doing 80-100 repetitions at a time? There are multiple answers:
1. You could superset opposing muscle groups. Do a set of 12 reps on dumbbell bench press and then immediately perform a unilateral back exercise, like a dumbbell row. Your chest and anterior deltoid are resting while your rhomboids, latissimus dorsi, and biceps are performing the row, and vise versa.
2. You could superset any exercise with a core exercise like a four-point plank or Russian twist. JUST DON’T DO CRUNCHES!
3. If you workout with a partner you are going to be resting anyway while they workout. Trust me, once you get away from doing the harmfully high repetition range you will realize that you can increase the weight you are accustomed to when you workout. The weight you picked for 100 reps of arm circles is going to be a lot different then the weight you can do for 12 reps on shoulder press.
4. Performing the 6 or less reps for increased strength or 8-12 reps for hypertrophy are functionally important. You will be able to put those boxes away in your closet without help, standing up from a chair will be easier, carrying your shopping bags after you get paid will be easier, carrying groceries into your home won’t be as exhausting, doing yard work won’t be as tiring, picking up and holding your child won’t be impossible, and the list could go on forever.

I have read several posts putting down BSP for his article. He is basing his comments on fact, her methods have no scientific background, basis, or structure. Too many personal trainers today make up their own system that has no research to support it. They just do it to get noticed… they want THEIR METHOD to make headlines, but they don’t believe that using proper and safe training protocols will be enough. These trainers make up their own system and almost all the time the clients either drop out or get injured. There is a difference between carving your own training niche by being a source of motivation, encouragement, and giving your clients workouts that have your own style attached and giving your clients uneducated, harmful workouts.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My Blessings and Giving Back...

I was blessed enough to have gotten a full-tuition scholarship for my undergraduate work at Eastern Kentucky University. I went there to be a firefighter. Something about saving people's lives daily spoke to me, and you get to use your strength to help others... and at the time I was single, and what lady doesn't like a fireman...

A daughter later I realized I needed to be around for my little girl. I needed to pick a profession that didn't involved running into a building every one else was running out of, and much respect to the men and women that are firefighters. I chose to pursue a Physical Education degree with an emphasis on Fitness and Wellness Management and I threw a business minor in there to help me later in life. Before I graduated a professor at EKU said to some of my classmates in class," You need to get a masters or you will starve"

Well, I like to eat so I started looking into masters programs close to Louisville, where my daughter is. I applied to the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky, got accepted to both programs, but was waiting on an assistantship position to open. I was interviewed by both schools and got a position with UK that allowed me to work at a faculty, staff, and other employee fitness facility for two years... and it got me a stipend plus helath insurance. Experience + money, you can't turn that down. I was a personal trainer for both years I attended UK and was able to work on my lifting technique and coaching ability. I volunteered with a local high school as a d-line coach and with the strength and conditioning staff for the football team. I wanted to meet as many contacts as I could while I was completing my masters degree.

I was made aware of a Fitness Director position at UK... applied, was interviewed, and have now been working here for two months with no regrets.

With the gifts of free education from undergrad through my masters lucked me into thie position in which I now have two graduate assistants working for me. One is a solid powerlifter/bodybuilder Luke Beggs. He is in charge of all of the personal trainers and the programs and he is competing in two bodybuilding competitions in the fall, so his results will be posted after it. I needed to hire some one for the graduate assistant position that is over the group fitness program here.

I went through some applications and through connections on campus had heard of a fitness enthusiast that wasn't scared of working hard. Her name is Emily Owens. She went through the interview process with Luke and me and she is now on board. Stay tuned for updates on her triathlon and possible figure competition in the future. I am looking forward to working with both Luke and Emily this year. It's a good feeling to be able to give some one else the gift of an education.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Meathead battle Round 1: Bench Press Body weight

So last week Nic Nak was roaming around the gym and we started talking about who would eat the last piece of pizza between us. After listing 20 reasons apiece why myself or Nic should be given the last piece, we decided a battle should ensue.

He was doing chest that day so we decided that who ever could bench their body weight more times after doing eachother's respective chest workout should be awarded the piece of pizza, a slice of manhood trophy and bragging rights for at least the forseeable future. The plan was to do the chest workout and wait about an hour and a half before attempting the weight.

Something happened to make both of us go on different days and the pizza was eaten out of shere gluttony, but the challenge still remained. the results are as follows:

Nic Nak
Body weight: 142
Bench Press weight: 140
Bench press times: 25

Body weight: 226
Bench press weight: 225
Bench press times: 22

Both numbers are alright... but if you ever meet Nic Nak... buy him a slice of pizza because he needs it.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Group Fitness Instructor

Obviously this is what I expect to find as my computer background when I come back to my desk...

take a group fitness class from us in the fall... ask for Lindsey

Essential Key to Getting Stronger...

We have all experienced gains in strength and size that come from implementing a program that utilizes the best variety of exercises and rep and set scheme... when you look at the program on paper and your new self in the mirror your muscles scream growth that comes mainly due to proper periodization and diet.

Another essential ingredient to piling on muscle mass and setting new PRs is a strong ass lifting partner. Not betty sue who is going to stand off to the side and smile at you (see below), not the guy

that wastes your time with all of his problems, not the guy who never knows what he lifts on any exercise, not the worthless piece of squishy flesh that actually tries to talk you into not working out, not the guy who doesn't pay attention while you are being crushed by the bar, not the guy in the gym that has to have a conversation with every one they know AND every one that they haven't met yet.... you get my point.

You want somebody that pushes you after they knock out their set of however many reps. You want some one that hits his sets and then looks at you like he could have done six more... and if he doesn't look at you like that, then he is pissed. Some one that screams at you, can push your buttons with a couple words (bet ya can't ... didn't i warm up with that... you are weak sauce... come on son... baby weight...), somebody that makes you get your last couple extra reps after you would have stopped.

Progressively through your program your gains will be better with a partner that is consistent and knows how to push you and spot you correctly. I looked across the gym the other day and saw these two guys.... the lifter got 5 and a half reps, hit the wall for about 5 seconds, and then slowly came down with the weight on incline. His partner was screaming for him to push when obviously he had no push left. Find a person that knows how to spot, knows how to push you and even piss you off a little, and make sure they don't look forward to days off... they need to look forward to trianing days.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Box squats with chains

This exercise is necessary in your program, regardless if you are going for strength, hypertrohpy, or *cough* endurance *cough*. Box Squats ensure that you are getting adeque depth and when done right can give you gains in strength, size, and stamina. I added two 20lb chains for kicks, but I believe they are just as effective as bands.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Perfect Finish to Chest, Shoulders, and Tricep day

Sorry you have to have taco neck to watch this... but for most of you, that will be a good stretch.
Enjoy the second of my five sets of dips supersetted with pushups with two 20 lb chains.

Johnny Jackson= Beast

Most muscle per square inch????

Monday, June 15, 2009

Back Squat versus Front Squat

I was doing some random searches on research engines through UK's library today and I came across some pretty useful information comparing front squat and back squat. (Pictures from

Both are very useful in building knee and hip extensor muscles (quadriceps and glutes) as well as strengthening your core muscles. However, "performing back squat results in a higher amount compressive forces on the spine and knee extensor movements" according to Gullet et al in this study.

A higher amount of compressive forces could possibly be harmful in the long run, with a higher probability of spine or disc problems in someone with incorrect form. Gullet et al (2009) found no substantial difference in the amount of shear forces generated in either variation of the squat. Shearing force is physical stress that is perpendicular to the horizontal surface of an object where compressive force is the amount of force running down through an object.
(above) Compressive Force (

Shearing Force-->

Gullet et al found that "front squat was as effective as the back squat in terms of overall muscle recruitment, with significantly less compressive forces and knee extensor moments... the results suggest that front squats may be advantageous compared with back squats for individuals with knee problems such as meniscus tears, and for long-term joint health."
However, in a study by Yetter and Moir (2008) that examined front and back squat's ability to improve 10 through 40m sprint times they found that the heavy back squat group not only had significant increases in speed time found when compared to the control group for the 10 and 20m distances... BUT the heavy back squat group also had significantly better sprint speeds times than heavy front squat at the 40m distance. Nonetheless, I would have liked to have seen a higher number of subjects than 10. Yetter and Moir's study.
For functional ability as far as strengthening your knee and hip extensor muscles as well as your core I would prescribe a person to participate in both front and back squats, as long as their form is correct. For any one with meniscus tears, bad form that has yet to be corrected, or previous back problems, I would recommend front squat. For an athlete I would throw into their program some front squat early in the off-season to continue to confused their muscles and give their backs a different type of force to deal with while still training the same muscles. Once the pre-season approached I would transition the athlete back to back squat.
Gullett, J., Tillman, M., Gutierrez, G., & Chow, J. (2009). A Biomechanical Comparison of Back and Front Squats in Healthy Trained Individuals. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 23(1), 284-292.
Yetter, M., & Moir, G. (2008). The Acute Effects of Heavy Back and Front Squats on Speed during Forty-Meter Sprint Trials. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 22(1), 159-165.
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