Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Try these exercises today, more than likely you will be taking some time off of the gym this week with traveling and family time. Hey, I'm realistic. I would hope you at least worked out yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

  1. Walking Lunges holding an EZ curl bar Overhead- Make sure there is room for you to walk with the weight OH. I did ten steps with each leg with just a 30lb EZ curl bar and I felt it in my quads and shoulders. An excellent exercise to incorporate multiple muscle groups. I also superset these with one-legged leg extensions for an extra burn
  2. RDLs with a Barbell Row at the bottom- Obviously you want to pick a weight that is somewhat light for RDLs since you have to be able to Barbell Row it, but push yourself. Complete 12 reps each of rows and RDLs and superset in some jump squats.

Both of these exercises will kick your butt and you can shoot through them quickly if you are crunched for time. GET AFTER IT!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Conditioning Circuits

Need some new conditioning ideas? Use this as part of your routine, killer at the beginning or end of a conditioning workout.

Complete 4 times through, with 30-45 seconds in between cycles:

  1. 8 knee-tuck jumps
  2. 6 burpees
  3. 30 second jump rope

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Starting Smart

I had a very raw beginner yesterday for her first session and I thought I would throw some important reminders to those starting a new program.
  1. Warm-up first- get your blood flowing and heart rate elevated, but don't kill yourself.
  2. Focus on proper technique- use minimal weight and have a certified trainer observe and cue you through a couple sessions.
  3. Openly communicate- if something hurts, tell your trainer. As their client, they should want to take care of you and you might call their attention to something they might not have noticed.
  4. EAT- I had a client about pass out and she is not in terrible shape. When I asked her what she ate that day she listed off about 500 calories worth of food and it was 6pm!!! You have to have fuel in your body for it to go.
  5. Drink plenty of water- Be adequately hydrated with WATER. Save the energy drinks for later once you have got accustomed to working out regularly.
  6. Properly cool down- Know how to end a session, never just abruptly end activity. Lower the intensity (how hard you are working and/or the weight you are using on a particular exercise) and/or jog a lap around a track then stretch. stretch your major muscle groups- latissimus dorsi, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, chest and shoulders.

I am ready to help some new clients reach their goals safely, and educate them on how to properly continue an active lifestyle.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Training to Look Better

I have gotten several emails & facebook messages from people wanting exercise programs. I have no problem helping someone out and getting them to their goals. One of my few pet peeves is when they add "I don't want to get huge" or "I put on muscle really fast" to their request.

It actually makes me watch to punch the computer screen.

For the men: Even with the best physiologic gift of testosterone that flows through our bodies, any one that has put some serious time in the gym knows that consistency and long-term goals are almost always the focus. I have gone through phases of just adding 10lbs to my max raw bench in a year and I was thrilled about it. I actually had an employee tell me that he was only doing sets of 20 reps on everything because he puts on muscle too fast...

what a joke. If you are such a physical specimen, train for a month and then go dominate a bodybuilding or powerlifting competition. Let me know how that goes for you.

For the women: Some of you have probably said it before... "My legs get HUGE after one week of doing squats." There are a couple underlying issues here. I feel that most women are more self-conscious about the way they look and about weight training. I know one female that is a really gifted athlete and works her tail off in the gym, yet she parties with Iota Tappa Kegga and eats sweets throughout the day.

The real issues to address here are pushing yourself through consistent, intense workouts and what you are putting into your body as fuel.

When women say their legs get bulky rather quickly, it is more than likely because they actually have worked hard in the gym and have added some cross-sectional area to their quadriceps and hamstrings. However, the garbage that they are putting into their body is in the incorrect quantities for dropping fat from their legs, therefore, they successfully add muscle to their legs, but do not decrease their body fat percentage.

So instead of continuing to use resistance training as a method of attaining their goals and cleaning up their diet, they drop weight training altogether and run like somebody is chasing them.

Every one can see some amazing results if they were just as dedicated at the dinner table as they are in the gym.

Cardiovascular training has a place in heart health and burning some calories, but the real shock to kick your metabolic drive into high gear are frequent weight training sessions. This goes for men and women. Guys, you aren't going to get huge overnight and, possibly, ever. If you are genetically a smaller framed guy with an ectomorphic body type they chances aren't great that you will be gracing a bodybuilding stage, unless you make a couple trips to Mexico for some real supplements. Ladies, continue to kick butt in the gym, but a lot of it boils down to eating better.

You do not have to get on a competition diet by any means... it's simple really:

  • ALWAYS eat breakfast. Think about it, you haven't eaten since some time the night before so you need to kick-start your metabolism in the morning AND give your body some energy for work, class, or the morning workout.
  • Find meats that you like and research ways to prepare them. Very few people will stick to a meal plan that they think tastes terrible.
  • The same applies to veggies. Steam them, mix them in with brown rice or quinoa, eat them raw, whatever. You need your greens!
  • LIMIT sweets. We are in a culture that is blessed to be able to turn almost any corner and indulge in manufactured crap that more than likely we will regret later.
  • Limit liquid calories. Do you know how many calories are in your Moca-Frappa-Chocolate Latte?
  • Limit carbohydrates after 6pm-ish. Think of carbohydrates as your body's main source of fuel. For the later part of the day you have no need to fuel up just to go to sleep. Our body does not let the carb-fuel just sit in a tank for use in the morning, it turns excess unused carbs into fat and over time the pounds will add up.

Monday, October 4, 2010

GYM Etiquette

With all the newbies in the gym lately, I felt like it was a good time for a refresher course in gym etiquette:
1. RERACK EVERYTHING YOU USE: It doesn’t make sense, you come into a gym to tear your body apart, get a good sweat going, and morph yourself into what you want to become… yet you can’t put away the 45 pound plates you used on leg press.

You can go balls to the wall on squat, but you can’t strip the bar?

You chase the elusive 400 plus pound raw bench press, yet you can’t put any weights back where they go.

QUIT BEING LAZY!!!!!!!!!!!! Rerack your weights, slide your dumbbells back under the sissy dumbbells, and don’t hide small plates in with bigger ones. There are multiple pegs on a bench rack, weight tree, and squat rack for a reason… use them.

2. When refilling your water bottle, ALWAYS let people go in front of you that just need a drink. No one needs to wait on you to fill up your 44 ounce shaker bottle while they just need a drink.

3. If you know how to spot, lend a hand to the little guy with too much weight on the bar.

4. Chalk has its uses… dips are not one of them.

5. If you need advice or help, ask for it. If you have advice, keep it to yourself until asked. I have figured out that you will save yourself a lot of wasted time if you keep your thoughts to yourself (unless someone is going to be injured). When I first got to UK I tried to fix every one’s form on everything, most people don’t listen to you if they don’t know your experience level and a lot of those people aren’t teachable. Those few "sponges" that want to learn and better themselves will find you.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Gym-created products are the best at fitting the gym's needs. Any time you have a dedicated staff that is in your facility working out as much as they are there to work, you have the opportunity to develop a giant think tank.

Of course a huge topic in all meathead circles is supplements... when to take it, what to take, how much to take, etc. Obviously you should not be soley dependent on supplement powders and pills, food comes first. Supplements are supposed to be just that, a "supplement" to your diet of nutritious whole foods.
However, liquid protein shakes for peri- or post-workout nutrition are a nice additive if you are not able to get to solid food within a two hour window after training. Other supplements are easier taken in powder/pill form, like creatine, because in order to get enough creatine daily you would have to eat a lot of fish and/or red meat. For some people, that just isn't in the budget. Others supplements are great energy boosters prior to a training session, like caffeine. Some staples for me are glutamine, creatine, protein, and caffeine. Of course BCAAs are a plus that's why I choose a protein that has them mixed in with it.

Luke Beggs is a PhD student in applied physiology at the University of Florida and I had the pleasure of having him as a graduate assistant for the last year and a half at the University of Kentucky. He threw out the idea of just making our own pre-workout supplement... and then the rest of us started salivating on the possibility.

Luke started looking into buying the no frills version on the staples we wanted to include in our first Underground Labs Inc. concoction. There was five of us that jumped on board to fund this product. Here is what we came up with for the ingredient list:

We ended up having to add some more sugar free flavoring to it since the flavor wasn't the best... BUT it has given all of us a ridiculous pump when working out. Luke was also able to modify how many milligrams of caffeine each of us wanted, due to tolerance levels. I wanted 200 mgs of caffeine in mine.

I ended up naming it INCREDIBLE HULK for obvious visual reasons, but also named for how disturbedly hyped I was during my workouts on it.

Have you ever thought of creating your own supplement? If so, what would you need in yours?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

H.E.A.T. Coach

I was approached about three weeks ago by the Director of Strength and Conditioning at Transylvania University (TU) about doing some conditioning for their athletes in their off-season. Since TU is a D-3 university they cannot have an organized mandatory off-season conditioning program for their athletes, but they can offer voluntary conditioning times in which a certified professional can oversee technique and safety... this is where I step in. The time periods have been named High Endurance Athletic Training (HEAT) sessions and I am pumped to start working on the programming for it.
I am excited about the opportunity to work with athletes again, since I haven't worked with collegiate athletes since the football team and the University of Kentucky in the Spring of 2009. I wanted to fill you in about the opportunity that I have accepted and start on Monday.

Are there any opportunities that you could take advantage of to further your experience and career?

Monday, September 6, 2010



For the past couple weeks I have been preparing for student move in, getting all of my employees back into payroll, training the graduate assistants, helping students move in to campus, help'n people move, and getting some high school students ready for the upcoming year. BUSINESS IS GOOD. I have still been training, and once I figure out my new phone, I should be able to expedite the process of uploading videos.

I have sent a couple clients back to Florida with a new-found vigor for health and five weeks worth of workouts. I was approached by Transylvania University about conditioning their athletes in the off-season... I am supposed to start next week and AM STOKED!!!

I have to be able to stay focuswed on training with a job and a half, family, and church responsibilities. You can sleep when you're dead, right?

what are roadblocks to your training program? have you figured out ways to overcome them?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tour of the Underground Fitness Center

A couple weeks ago I noticed that a lot of people are posting what their gym looks like, so here is where I work and train.

and gett'n nasty in said gym on shoulder and trap day

go nuts

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Equipment!

It's been busy around the Underground. We have tripled our attendance from last summer... I love it when the gym is being used. The fitness director at the Johnson Center, Beth Atnip, across campus hooked me up with this list of equipment:
-Assisted dip/pullup machine
-7% grade smith machine
-Leg press machine
-weighted crunch machine
-glute ham raise
-pullover machine
-seated calf machine
-dip machine
-cable crossover
-three adjustable benches
-decline bench

Couple this new addition to our new dumbells and we should shock some returning students in the fall. A couple weeks ago I noticed that a lot of gym are posting "Tour of my gym" videos on youtube so I will bring my camera in tomorrow and show you all the Underground. I got a new camera some I will get some training videos up soon as well.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

CURRENT GOAL: get to 12%

The Underground Strength Challenge is past, I have been settled into marraige and my new job for over a year... I need to achieve something. I need to pursue something. Although I was happy with my pr on squat (445) and bench (375), I recently had Luke Beggs check my body fat with calipers (he measured each site twice and I took the average of the numbers). Here are the numbers he got on me:
tricep: 22.5
pectoral: 14.5
midaxilla: 22.5
subscapular: 19
abdomen: 29.5
suprailiac: 17.5
quadriceps: 18
bicep: 10
lower back: 22
calf: 24

I put these numbers into equations on this website and got the following results:
Jackson/Pollock 7 site: 19.77
J/P 4 site: 20
J/P 3 site: 17.93
Parillo: 21.2
Durnin/Womersley: 22.83

Talk about a giant kick in the man-parts. I'm going to use the Jackson/Pollock 7 site for the current goal to get down to 12% bodyfat. Currently I have 177.6lbs of fat free mass and 47.79lbs of fat mass. WHEN I get to 12% body fat, I should weigh 206lbs... and I want to get there by August 6, because that is about as random of a date as I can pick.

I have a sticky note on my desk that says 206 and 12% to help keep my mind stuck where it should be. I'll be giving you all progress updates AND I should be able to finally post some more training videos since I just bought a new camera.

cool song

What are you currently training for?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My better is better than your better

Here is some of what I read or watched today:

http://www.chasekarnes.com/- "Get Outside"
http://www.tmuscle.com/- The Russian Approach to Size and Strength by John Paul Catanzaro
Sucker Punch: Dr. John Berardi
Beauty and the Cortisol Beast by TC

in the below video, skip to 2:25 to see real training.

I try to keep up with several websites, youtube channels, and blogs to keep training ideas fresh and motivation to keep getting better myself. Complacency leads to mediocrity which is certain to lead to death.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


For the last two weeks this has been my new split:
Monday: Deadlift, back thickness (all rowing movements), and hamstrings
Tuesday: Chest and core
Wednesday: Arms and calf muscles
Thursday: off
Friday: Quads and back width (pullups, chinups, pulldowns, etc)
Saturday: Shoulders and Traps
Sunday: Off

The goal here is to individually tear up every body part and to shock my system into adapting to something new. I also want to bring up my hamstrings, traps, and arms. these are self-defined weak points that I don't have a reason to have around.

I also have some consistent workout partners, which I have been lacking for about five months. This is important to gains, if you don't remember why, read this and this. The group of present and future freaks that I get to hit the gym with are: Luke Beggs, Andrew Lewis, Tyler Brewer, and Jake Beggs.

I also am throwing some type of cardio into the week... whether it be sled pushes, full contact basketball, sprints, jogging, plyometrics, etc... something is thrown in.

Let me know what you are doing in the comments

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Full Body Workout to finish April

I got the chance to hit the gym with Chase Karnes yesterday... he was visiting the area anyway and of course I was ready to get a session in. Chase is an accomplished body builder and he now competes in Strongman competitions at 200lbs. For more info on him and his training styles, click his name above to get to his website.

I usually don't do full body workouts, as I have been on a body-part split for a while. But as long as I'm lifting weights and I'm sweat'n... it really doesn't matter what the program is that day.

THE workout:
185 2x8
205 2x3

barbell incline
270x 6,5,4

chins- used this new protocol that Chase thought up that has taken his bodyweight chins from 7 to 25... it works
bodyweight x12
bodyweight x amap... i think i got 17

supersetted these two exercises:
standing military press

3x12 with varying weights... focusing on contracting rear delts

solid work put in, good day

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Summer approaching... dedication lacking

I went into the Underground today to hit some back, biceps, and some single-joint leg work because my hammys desparately need some work. I wa amazed that I was the only person working out in the gym... there isn't a holiday break going on and I went in at around 3pm, not some outrageous early morning workout time by any means.

People have shifted their priorities to lazy gear. Sure school work takes up some time, with finals approaching, but really... you didn't have an hour today to come in and get crazy??? Maybe it's the weekend blues. Maybe some sort of flu bug is going around.

I don't know, but like these guys... I caught a different type of bug

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pics of the new Trap bar

Mad props for Shannon McMahan of Paducah, KY, for putting this together for the gym. It is a beast!!!

I went to use it and the little pin on the edge seen above had to be tapped a couple times by my sledgehammer before plates were able to fit on it. This trap bar is going to get worn out.
And since you are green with envy about the trap bar, take a look below at the results of my first grill out of the season.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Periodization = Changing Your Workout's Sets and Reps with the Same Eventual Goal

I was flipping through my workouts that I completed during my masters program (last 2 years) and since I got my current job in May 2009... I noticed something peculiar. Out of the rough 148 weeks that I have been training since I arrived at UK, I only completed 15 weeks of sets of 12 reps (mainly focusing on hypertrophy, which is increase in muscle size).

source: elitetrack.com
Periodization can be linear (seen above) in which volume graduallt decreases and intensity of your workouts gradually increases to peak at your season, spring break, competition, or some other random end point) or undulating, seen below, in which intensity increases, but the ride looks more like a roller coaster, with dips and small peaks before the highest peak at the end.

source: elitesoccerconditioning.com

Aside from those 15 weeks (only 10% of my training since august 2007) I have been focused on strength. All my core, structural lifts (bench, squat and all its variations, deadlift, and all back movements) had been 4-6 sets of 6 or less repetitions... needless to say my periodization graph would look more like a horizontal line at a high intensity with a couple of twitches in it.

I am not a fan of lifting for high reps, but I should be... at least for a couple months a year. I love the shock undulating periodization gives to your body. If some skinhead looking guy approached me with this past programming, I would smack him in his fat head and tell him that you (and more importantly your joints) need some type of break from going heavy on every lift ALL THE TIME.

Now I'm sure there are some nay-sayers out there that never, EVER go for higher reps. I can only assume that they have their fair share of injuries as well. I am not talking about one set of 25 reps per exercise... that would be moving you into an endurance program for some one that could care less about any real type of results. I do not mean 5 sets of 20 reps--- you might as well shoot yourself. I am talking about 3-5 sets of 10-12 repetitions, with a drop set once a week per muscle group.

I am on week three of my high rep month and hitting every exercise as hard as I can, knowing that my master plan is playing itself out. I want to be strong... like, what is he taking strong, you know? I don't want to be a powerlifter whose stomach combos as a table/shelf when he sits down. I also don't have any attention of getting super lean (sub 6% body fat). Don't get me wrong, being a giant powerlifter means you work hard, being a body builder that gets to 4% body fat menas you work hard. I want to be around 11% body fat and still be pushing 315 on flat bench for reps.

I am going to do one more week of this high rep scheme and then go to sets of 8's, then 6's, then 5's, at 4-6 weeks at each interval. I will let you kow how it goes. What does your current program look like? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Strength Challenge Pics

Two of my desk workers modeling the free t's and their guns!
Above is a 10lb personal record (pr) for me on squat, 445! Below is a 5lb pr on bench at 375!

Below is Luke Beggs killing 480 on squat, another pr!

Biggest pull of the night is below, Luke got 525. Luke's total was 1325lbs and he also won the percentage total. He is a beast.
Jake Beggs benched 345 for a pr and got the biggest percentage of bodyweight on bench press. He weighed in at 185lbs.

Below is a picture of me dieing under 380. Didn't get it, maybe later this year...

We don't have a picture of the top of this lift, and his form might not be flawless, but Clay Brady pulled 470lbs and only weighed 171lbs... that won the percentage on deadlift at a ridiculous 274%!!!
Jake pulling 495, one last pr for the day! FIVE BIG PLATES!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Underground Strength Challenge 2010

Thanks to Luke and Jake Beggs for the solid design above. We had the Inaugural Strength Challenge at the Underground Fitness Center last night. Participants were weighed in and then attempted one repetition maxes on squat, bench, and deadlift. Each participant was allowed three attempts for all three lifts. Then each person then could see how many FULL bench press repetitions they could accomplish with their bodyweight. The last event was a grip test for MAN HANDS with 315lbs on our fat bar with a double overhand grip.

We had the following 11 competitors: Clay Brady, Mike Spitnale, Luke Beggs, Andrew Lewis, Rob Sinnott, Luke Ranta, Tyler Brewer, Brett Borders, Jake Beggs, Derrick Bellmann, and Nic Norwood. Here are the results (all weights are in pounds):
Heaviest Lifts
Luke Beggs 480
Rob Sinnott 445
Tyler Brewer 410
Rob Sinnott 375
Jake Beggs 345
Luke Beggs 320
Luke Beggs 525
Tyler Brewer 505
Brett Borders 505
Jake Beggs 495
Heaviest Total
Luke Beggs 1325
Rob Sinnott 1295
Jake Beggs 1225
Strongest Pound-for-pound- compared weight lifted to competitor's bodyweight
Luke Beggs 242%
Tyler Brewer 212%
Jake Beggs 207%
Jake Beggs 186%
Nic Norwood 179%
Rob Sinnott 163%
Clay Brady 274%
Jake Beggs 267%
Luke Beggs and Nic Norwood 265%
Highest Percentage Total
Luke Beggs 669%
Jake Beggs 660%
Nic Norwood 644%
Most Bench Press Repetitions with Bodyweight
Nic Norwood 27 reps at 140lbs
Jake Beggs 25 reps at 185lbs
Luke Beggs (200lbs) and Rob Sinnott (230lbs) tied with 17 reps each
Luke Beggs 33.62 seconds
Tyler Brewer 27.3 seconds
Rob Sinnott 24.9 seconds
Awesome event, a bunch of Personal Records (PR) were made!!!!!!!!!! Thanks to every one that came out.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Arnold Sports Festival

I went to the annual Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio, last Friday and Saturday. You might remember that I went last year. It was a crazy experience, to say the least. Myself, Luke Beggs, Jake Beggs, Emily, and Brett Borders left Lexington at 6am on Friday to get free stuff from the expo, see what new supplements are coming out, see some pro body builders, watch the strongman competition, lift at Metro Fitness with some FREAKS, and have an all out good time.

We packed into a corolla to save money on gas, so Luke's car got to carry almost 1,000lbs of people to the Mecca of Strength and Fitness. We had our tickets in hand and the hotel let us check-in early so we dropped our stuff off and headed to the convention center.

People and booths every where. Wall to wall people. CRAZY! I like it mostly because of the huge pros and the free supplements. I am well-stocked for a while. I also really enjoyed seeing Derek Poundstone, Kostiantyn Ilin, Mikhail "Misha" Koklyaev, Travis Ortmayer, Dave Ostlund, Phil Pfister, Derek Poundstone, Zydrunas Savickas, Brian Siders, and Brian Shaw at the strongman competition. Talk about raw, unhuman strength. I saw three people deadlift over 1,000lbs, with Zydrunas pulled 1,027lbs!!!

I also saw body builders like sean allen, ronnie coleman, lou ferrigno, and literally ran into the beast that is Zach Khan.

After the first day we took in a workout at Metro Fitness from around 7pm-9:30pm. The environment was second to none, I kind of hate having to work out anywhere else afterwards. The music was loud, the gym was packed, and I'm not talking about the cardio section. We got to hit a couple of sets with some pro body builders and watch some others at work. It was a very intense atmosphere. Check out my full workout at either of these forums:
Straight to the Bar
Testosterone Muscle

We ended up leaving 2 hours early on Saturday because of the insane amount of people (read that over 180,000 people attended on Saturday alone)!!!!!

Overall, a well spent two days all hyped up on protein and energy supps.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Making the Most of What You Have Available... no excuses

My gym is small compared to the more-visited Johnson center on UK's campus. Don't get me wrong, you can squat, bench, deadlift (we even have some bumpers!), get your cardio in on a machine or we have a sled, a full line of pin-select machines, core room, group fitness room, etc.


Our dumbbells only go up to 95lbs... which for a seasoned lifter, could make you train elsewhere. I have adapted my training to only use barbell lifts first and use 1-arm dumbbell or higher rep sets with the 95lbs. Today that just didn't cut it. I did the following on flat bench as my first exercise:
315 5,4,3,3

then 225 for 16 reps for fun
you can check out my full workout at straighttothebar.com or on my tmuscle training log

My next exercise was DB incline.... but I am left with doing higher rep sets with the 95lbs.... so I ended up stealing this blurted out idea from Andrew Lewis (current training partner/make huge project) and threw one 5lb mini chain on each dumbbell, to make them both 100lbs, shown below.

Which I had to hold like a fat bar and produced hands looking like the following:I got them for two sets of six after hitting just the 95's for two sets of six... so next week I will just train with these for my second exercise.

My point being... make the most of what you have, add something crazy to the DB's if they aren't heavy enough, get stronger, and beat your hands up.

If we can't get new, heavier dumbbells due to university budget issues, at least I can borrow my buddy Seth's ipod...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Training partners... is there a magic number?

I have trained solo and been in training packs groups up to four meatheads. I have some thoughts to bounce around in your head when you start training and people want to piggy-back on to your routine.

If you have that one guy that helps you stay motivated and focused on the task at hand, can spot correctly, and has a rough guesstimate of what weight you use on everything... get him to marry your sister and keep him around. Those are incredibly hard to find. If you have said fellow, adding too many others can water down your workouts. You get talkitive tim going on about the weekend and how bad his life sucks. You glance up at the clock and just your three-man rotation has been in the gym for 2 1/2 hours and you are only half done.

You have to keep the pace moving. If you have a newb that needs more one-on-one instruction about just learning the lifts, point him out to a good source like Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe and Lon Kilgore or the latest NSCA Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning book. If you have time to invest in him/her, then pull them aside at a non-training time so you can focus on perfecting their form.

Training solo can blow on any pressing and/or leg day. If you need a spotter, you need a training partner. Trying for the lottery on spotters usually gives you the guy who touches the bar through your entire range of motion or the guy who lets you die and just screams,"YOU GOT IT! YOU GOT IT! PUSH!!!!" while you die under the weight. Both of these can be extremely frustrating and leave your record of reps completely inaccurate. You also wonder, well, how much did GUY help me? Can I really bench 315 for 10 reps with him and only 205 by myself?

Read as much info as you can from knowledgeable people and focus on perfecting your own form. Your strength will increase over time and you will have gym rat experience. Sometimes you will come across times to share your knowledge and people will probably want to jump in on your training days. Figure out how much time you can spend in the gym and how many people you like having in your training posse.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Split = better me

Being stronger makes you a better person. You can help more friends move, spot more people, help carry some one out of a burning building... you get the picture.

I have tweaked my split several times, as any one should. At the end of last summer, I had my best 1RM bench PR (370lbs), yet I was noticing some pressure building in my shoulder on any press day. With that in mind I went to 1 chest and shoulder day (alternated emphasized movement), 1 leg day, and two back days for my four day split.

I assumed building some more back strength and stretching my chest and shoulder muscles more regularly would help balance the pull forward on my shoulders.

After five weeks of doing back twice a week, I took out a back day and added in a separate shoulder day with some more legs. I am pressure and pain free in my shoulder and am benching 10 more pounds than I was working out with last summer.

A couple people have asked me what my current split looks like. After some more tweaking, this is my NEW split that just started last Monday:

Monday: deadlift, back, and bicep

Tuesday: Olympic lifts focusing on explosion, sled pushes and pull, and later in the day Chest, tricep, and some straight arm shoulders

Wednesday: LEGS

Thursday: Back and biceps- steady-state cardio

Friday: Shoulders, traps, triceps, and a fly movement + steady state cardio

I am always seeking improvement.

Stay focused on goals, change up your workout

Already people are dropping off the New Year's resolution and spring break workout bandwagon. People's enthusiasm is starting to get drained by "life" excuses.

"It's too cold to walk to the gym"
"Spring break isn't until march 15"
"I have classes and tests"

I understand you are busy, I was just in graduate school last year. But people front these excuses yet forget to mention that they watched three hours of tv that day or messed around on facebook, youtube, or message boards for that amount of time.

Where do your priorities lie? Maybe you think of working out as a chore instead of an opportunity to get yourself in better shape, both asthetically and for health reasons. People don't see it as an investment in the only thing you will own your entire life... your body.

Maybe your workouts are getting dull with monotonous machine work and boring treadmill/elliptical/stairmaster minutes.

Try this barbell complex for something different, do each exercise ten times and repeat the complex four times with one minute rest in between sets:
Bent over row
Hang clean
Push press
Lockout of the jerk- alternating which leg is snapped back
Good mornings

Start with a light weight until you are sure you are a beast.
Chisel your masterpiece.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Deadlift and back- 2.8.10

A day late... no big deal. Keep moving up in deadlift, hoping to be in 500's by summer.

135 1x10
225 1x6
315 1x6
405 1x3

455 4x3

1x5 + 1 chinup- I can still do chinups after my pullups die so I finished the last set with 1

DB Row
95lbs DB + 40lbs in chains 2x6
left arm started lagging so dropped a chain
95lbs DB + 20lbs in chains 2x6


Underhand Pulldowns
220 1x7
215 1x7

Low cable rope curl
100 1x15
110 1x15

Alternating Supinated DB curl
30's 2x15

Hercules (high cable) curls 1x15

Monday, February 8, 2010

Lift heavy stuff and surround yourself with knowledge

Getting ahead in this field is a lot about who you know, who you talk to, and, most importantly, who you listen to... In any given day I will have looked at videos and articles from Elite FTS, read about the happenings at Cressey performance with Eric Cressey and Tony Gentilcore, see what crazy conditioning chase karnes is doing in Paducah, talked with Luke Beggs at the Underground (PhD candidate in exercise physiology), text Chance Cianciola about a specific exercise succession, read up on Testosterone Muscle about some of the latest vomit-inducing exercise combinations, and seen what life tips Nate Green has for guys everywhere.

I know that my knowledge base has to constantly be growing so I can know how to train myself and clients to get another step along in the progression. I have been experimenting with my deadlift form and hitting it on a weekly basis and have seen it pay huge dividends already, jumping 30 pounds in three weeks. I also have been doing a more concetrated dynamic warm-up pre-leg days.

I am constantly pulling from a multitude of sources to get ahead of where I was yesterday. I have a pretty solid idea of how full of crap somebody is about three sentences into the description of their program and why it looks like it does. This trait is absolutely necessary in fitness, health and wellness, and recreation. Anybody can look the part to an extent, but do they put their muscles where their mouths are and go lift with you? Or do they complain about hitting their genetic cieling at 145lbs at 25% body fat???

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

2-a-days??? YOU CRAZY?!

Morning Workout- completed with Nic Norwood

5 minute jog on treadmill (no incline, 6.5mph)

snatch - using 25lbs as "big plate" so I have to explode from lower to the ground. This should help with my hip mobility and assist on deadlift days in getting into the starting position

85 x3

135 3x5

Clean- really focusing on a good catch

135 3x5

after the last set of 5 reps I did 5 reps of hang clean. The weight isn't difficult, but I don't want to increase the weight too soon and just go back to "muscle-ing" up the weight. I am currently focusing on form.

Treadmill interval

Speed Incline Time
3.0 15% 3 min
6.5 8% 1 1/2 min
9.0 3% 45 seconds

After that round, I changed the middle section time interval to 45 secs and the last section to 9.5mph and 0% for the second and third rounds.

*Wait 2 hours- I made sure to get 64oz of water, two apples, a multi-vitamin, a can of green beans, and some protein in before my resistance training*
RT done with Andrew Lewis

Barbell Flat Bench
235x 6
285x 3
315 5,4,3,3 ---> move'n along, got a couple more reps than last week. the last was going well until my left hammy cramped


DB Incline bench
95's 8,8,8, then 8 & rested for 20 seconds and got 0, haha . so i knocked out 9 wide pushups

Superset: Seated DB lateral raises and tricep rope pushdowns

DB lateral raises
30's x10
35's 8,8,8

Tricep rope p/d
150 2x15
140 2x15

Seated upward cable flies
80's x12
85's 1x10,12

Close grip bench
185 x12
225 x 7, 5

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Getting better at being better

New Rob and Old Rob met this morning at the bathroom mirror and the convo went something like this:

O.R.,"Man, what's your body fat %? Did you eat somebody?"
N.R.,"18%, but I have a plan to lower it and not take away from my 5 days of resistance training."
O.R., "What you got for me?"

I decided to quit my security job--- due to lack of sleep, killing or completely omitting my 5th workout a week, and wanting to focus more on training and family--- and get some specific strength gains this year. I also want to get back to 10-12% bodyfat, because after my weighted vest experiment i realized that it was creeping up and I don't want to look like a slob and 1/2.

My split now is:
Monday: Deadlift and back
Tuesday : early= sprints, plyos, olympic lifts like snatch, clean for speed
later= chest, triceps, and straight arm shoulders
Wednesday: legs
Thursday: early= olympic lifts like those above and sled push/pulls
Late= back and biceps
Friday: Shoulders, triceps, and a straight arm chest movement

Today was the first day of olympic lifts and explosive cardio:
5 minute jog to warm up on treadmill

2 warmups, 3 workings sets of three reps

clean from floor
pretty warm already--- 3x3, really trying to focus on the catch

sled push/pull- distance 20 yards each way
180lbs on sled- three trips back and forth, rest while training partners completes his trip (roughly 25 seconds)

legs were destroyed from my leg workout yesterday, I posted it at www.straighttothebar.com

I foam rolled afterwards and feel good to hit back and biceps in about an hour

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Living heavy stuff, being aware of injuries, and having the right training mentality

There is something to be said about being able to pick up a couple times your body weight and yell at the mirror. I like to help people move... almost as much as i like to see 12 crossfitters try to carry one couch through a door. They get so confused when they can't use momentum and an extra little kick thing to move something inanimate.

I have recently been getting the itch to look around for a strongman comp and train for one. Now that I have finished my masters I want to train for something. I had been just pushing to be stronger, lift heavier things, and that was it. To a point, that is measureable, but it isn't exactly guided toward a peak performance date or anything. I try to keep up with Chase Karnes over in Paducah as he has been competing some, check out his site for some good articles and videos.

This is on my mind because I had deadlift tomorrow. It is such an all-encompassing lift. Total body strength is employed and if you don't stand up, you didn't get it. You can't really cheat too much on deadlift. You can do that little hitch while arching your back and dragging it up your legs, but those guys usually don't deadlift for very long due to injuries.

Speaking of injuries, this past couple weeks I have been getting pretty banged up. I felt something like an unravelling feeling in my groin while doing my dynamic warmup before deads two mondays ago. Deads went fine, but after back and front squat on wednesday I had a knot in my groin. I took it easy the rest of the week and stretched out and now it is gone and hopefully gone for good.

Last Wednesday, I was finishing shoulders so I was doing standing 1-arm dumbbell shoulder presses and got 7 reps with 75lbs with my right arm. On rep 3 with my left arm it stalled and my torso twisted a little bit and I felt my core under my rib cage on the left side. Felt like somebody frog punched me in the ribs. I finished the rep, of course, but felt that tear for the rest of the week. I took the core out of back (did a lot of machine work) on Friday and rested yesterday and today. It is no longer sore to the touch so I am going to treat deadlift like normal tomorrow night. I made the necessary adjustments to my training, but didn't just take days off that I was supposed to train. We'll see how it works.

I have developed a training mentality over the last 12 years that I have been training. I have been through a bunch of different exercises, know which ones are good, which ones suck. I don't know it all by any means, but I can give you an opinion with reasons to back it up. I hate when somebody throws out an opinion followed by," well because man, just because."
I push the limits when I train, but don't go for a new 1-rep max every day. The goal is to have vision for the next couple months, year, ahead of time and plan out your routine to get to where you want to be at the end-point. I have focused my intensity, with knowledge of where I want to be in the future, but patience to be realistic in that gains don't exponentially increase overnight.

Stay Strong... get stongER

Monday, January 18, 2010

Holiday lift- Chest and a little shoulders on Martin Luther King day

Chest, In and out with two solid lifting partners- Andrew Lewis and Jon Zervos.

Flat bench

shoot'n for sets of 6
315 2x6
305 1x5
295 1x6

Db incline... bench set on setting 3
get stupid set- AMAP superset
45's 1x6 or 7, lost count
knocked the bench down a setting
45's for 1x6
the weight felt weird because it was so light, but my muscles wouldn't push. like being a newbie again

downward cable flies

cable shoulder complex - 2 sets each
straight bar front raise- 8 reps
cable lateral raises- 10 reps
DB reverse flies- 12 reps

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Shoulders, tri's and a jog

after legs yesterday I woke up with a knot in my groin... not guna set any records today on cardio.

Seated barbell shoulder press
225 1x6 then 135 1x12

DB side raises
30's 1x10
35's 1x8
40's 1x8

*supersetted with
Cable straight bar front raises - leaned against machine to take out any upper-body rocking
80 1x12
90 1x10
100 1x6

face pulls
140 1x12
130 1x12
120 1x12

*supersetted with
rope tricep pushdown
140 1x15
130 1x15
120 1x15

narrow grip bench
135 1x12
225 2x8

foam rolled quads, glute medius, IT band, adductors, groin, upper and lower back

5 minutes at 6.5mph
5 minutes at 6mph
3 minute walk at 3.5mph at 7% incline
7 minutes at 6mph
2 minute walk at 3mph at 9% incline

i felt bad for the treadmill, 233 was thudd'n on it

barbell shrugs
225 1x12
315 1x15

static stretched, straight leg stretches weren't too bad, but squat stretch made me feel my leg fatigue. good day, not great

Monday, January 11, 2010

deadlift'n 1/11/10

Deadlift day- went ahead and decided after my warm up that i was going to max today... just curious and felt good

step overs and unders
foam roll glutes, hip flexors, and back

135 2x10
225 1x10
315 1x6
365 1x6
405 1x3 strapped
425 1x3 strapped
445 1x3 chalked
465 1x1 chalked and belt
485 1x1 ---> PR for me... chalked and belt

got encouragement/competition from training partner danny amon to not use wimp straps

goal is to be in mid 500's by end of year... i'll get it

supinated barbell rows
225 3x8

pullups 4x AMAP

pull-throughs 2x8

Average Broz gym--- heard of it?

Have you heard of Average Broz gym?

You may have seen some of their videos on youtube or read this article a couple years back. They have some of the strongest athletes and have me pumped to see them in the 2012 olympics. check out some of their videos, give them some support. Check them out:

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Shoulders and Traps- 1.7.10

Seated shoulder press
*230 1x6,1x5
225 1x6,1x5
*215 1x8

superset above with * with standing shoulder press 95lbs
after each of 2 sets of 230 2x8
after set of 215 1x10

Superset 2
cable side lateral- I use a velcro wrist band sometimes to really target the medial deltoid, i feel a difference when taking out the wrist joint
60 1x10
70 3x8

DB rear raises, bent over

rest-pause machine shoulder press- these were terrible
3 sets of 7 reps, 10 breaths rest, try for 7 reps, 10 breaths rest, try for 7 reps

Superset 3
seated DB lateral raises
3x12 with 30's

standing lateral raises- went really heavy and did half reps to maximally contract the delts with strict form

trap work *no straps
barbell shrugs
*315 2x6
*315 1x10 faster
365 1x6

Back and Biceps-1/6/10

beat up my back with luke and jake beggs yesterday

chinups 5x as many as possible with BW

DB row 4x6
1st set 95 with one 20 lb chain
2nd-3rd set 95lbs DB with two 20 lb chains
4th set same DB with one 20 lb chain for 15 each side

neutral grip pulldowns 5x6
fifth set was actually 6,6,6 using rest pause

tbar row with 8 25's to increase range of motion at the top

Superset 1
Face pulls 3x12
Preacher curl 90lbs 3x8

palm up DB curls 3x8- dave tate style

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Leg Day- 1/5/10

Man, that is weird typing "10" in the year spot of the date...

For leg day had two real solid partners, Luke Beggs and Matt Cook. When I train legs, even on your most motivated day, you at least need a spotter/ some one to yell at you.

leg extensions 4x12 pretty light weight
leg curls 3x15 just getting the blood flowing

dynamic warm up
over unders
bw squats
chest stretch- torn up from yesterday, too tight a chest won't let me get under the bar like i want to

back squat
45x a lot
225x 10

225 x8
245 x8
265 2x8

1-legged leg press
3 plates each side 2x8 each side
4 plates each side 1x6 each side

superset leg extensions (3x12) and leg curls (2x10)

machine calf raises 5x6-12 increasing weight=less reps

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Look'n back... what would you see?

I saw this video...

If some one took a video of all you did last year, would it be worth watching? Who would you let watch it with you? Would any of it be embarassing? motivating? jaw-dropping?

Going through the motions of a routine day is monotonous and isn't really living. It's already January 3, I know you have the focus to be working on your goals that you want to achieve, but what will your video show in December.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Seated Shoulder Press... prove'n the haters wrong

first set of four sets, going for 6 reps. seems fresh bc it was the first set

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