Category Archives: Bodybuilding
Update 1/22/14: Some more recent dribble regarding Planet Fitness
Back to the Planet Fitness article. The premise began with what author Lou Schuler described as “a Category 2 s—storm” on Reddit, when a poster complained that a squat rack was taken away from his Planet Fitness club. The rant from the disgruntled member made its way to several Facebook pages.
Schuler reached out to Planet Fitness Director of Public Relations McCall Gosselin, as did I, inquiring about the squat rack issue. Without knowing all the details of the Planet Fitness in question, Gosselin couldn’t comment directly on the Reddit poster’s problem. She did, however, tell me that Planet Fitness clubs do not have heavy free weights (more than 80 pounds) or machines such as squat racks and Olympic benches because “we focus on general fitness, and our members are typically first-time or occasional gym users. This is certainly not a new concept.”
Nor should it be. Planet Fitness is now well-established in the industry, particularly for its $10-a-month memberships, “lunkhead” alarms and “Judgement Free Zone” (which is misspelled). Heck, even the CEO, Chris Rondeau, recently called Planet Fitness the “Southwest Airlines of the gym business.”
Read the rest below:
We almost never do two posts in one day on Strength Militia but we had to jump on this new news viraling around the internet. Apparently Planet Fitness (pauses for laughter) has started taking out squat racks from their gyms because they are TOO INTIMIDATING to their elite of clientele. Between the lunk alarm, pizza parties, bagel days, no deadlifting, and now no squat racks, I am not sure how a place like this gets taken seriously in the fitness community…oh wait, they don’t. I can only hope that a gym like this will eventually crash and burn…but not with fat, lazy America supporting their membership base.
Pizza Day at Planet Fitness!!
BTW: NO DEADLIFTING EITHER!!
Full Article Below:
Figured this might be a great post for Christmas day. Oldie but a goodie!! Merry Christmas!!
Dave Draper is hands down one of the best old-school bodybuilders ever, debatable by some I am sure, but definitely top 5. Below is something he had written 10 years ago to the date of when he posted this 1050 words. This type of stuff really does beg the question, how long can you train hard for, realistically? I wonder this myself at 32 years old, how long can I continue to push myself with lifting weights (squats, deads, bench, etc.)? Food for thought for sure.
“The following 1,050 words, titled “Solid, Bold, Mighty,” were written exactly 10 years ago when I thought I was getting old, which I was. If I did this routine today, they’d have to bring in crime scene investigators from Miami, New York and Las Vegas to determine exactly what took place.
I ache all over, but don’t worry about me. I can still work out in spite of the self-inflicted cruelty. Endurance to go on day after day needs continual hard work, cultivation and obsessing. The stiffness in the joints, of course, is an affliction we all suffer as the years weigh heavy on the Olympic bar of life. I’ll make it. I’ve invested in wraps of various shapes and sizes to fit just about everything that moves; liniments don’t help, but I like the eye-watering medicinal smell. I’ve got a special plastic-lined, zippered compartment in my gym bag for tubes and jars of the stuff, mixed with bottles and tins of Tylenol, aspirin and ibuprophen… I call it my hope chest.
Don’t worry about me, though I confuse the 10s for 5s when fumbling to change the plates too quickly (quickly… ha… I wouldn’t know quickly if it took a day and a half to happen). I think of color-coding the weights but forget about it by time I’m in my truck ready to head home, faint, gasping, nauseous and searching for my keys. Don’t miss the hearing, actually, because I get to concentrate better in the silence and don’t have to listen to all that dumb noise they call music these days. Don’t need ears to blast it, big fella. Thank heaven for protein powder, eggs, bananas and milk. If I had to chew all my muscle-building protein, it would take all night and day gnawing with my wobbly choppers. Don’t need teeth to blast it, either. That’s what I always say, though nobody listens to me anymore. They’d listen, I guess, if I talked above a gravelly croak and didn’t spit, sput and stutter.
But, don’t worry about me. I don’t mind being alone; get more done, more time to blast it. Don’t have to wear that ragged “Don’t bother me, jerk, I’m working out!” t-shirt anymore. Getting older isn’t bad. Old bodybuilders never die; they just bomb away.
Now then… who… what? Oh, yes, solid, bold and mighty workouts and their attributes: They keep us young, you know, and alert. A good workout three times a week keeps us strong and slim or gets us there if we’re not. Exercise takes stress and strife and stuffs it in an iron and steel compactor and crushes it. Your system is like a bunch of parts and molecules (complex scientific information) going off in different directions causing internal and external confusion; weight training and good nutrition put everything in proper order. Sleep better, stand taller, relate honestly, laugh harder and more often, attract the opposite sex effortlessly, and gain riches and natural authority — cool stuff like that.
Let me give you this week’s solid, bold and mighty workout routine, the upper-body cluster bomb.
Hanging leg raises: Some folks forego this abdominal exercise because the hanging alone is tough. It is for this very reason I have more regularly included the movement in my routine. The stretching and demand on the network of torso muscles, the straightening of the elbows and the strengthening of the grip make this lower ab and hip-flexor exercise an attractive bodybuilding bonus. I superset it with the hyperextensions, 4 sets times 12-15 reps. Moderate bend at the knee, draw legs up as tight as possible as if crunching and lower using muscle might without the advantage of swinging. A few good reps (2, 3 and 4) are better than applying the trapeze motion. Practice, focus and build the muscles and numbers.
Hyperextensions: The focus is on the lower back, as we slowly and deliberately arch into contraction. Engage no swinging or body momentum that diminishes the muscle work and enhances the risk of excessive and damaging hyperextension. This movement will stretch and strengthen the hamstrings and glutes. Focus and feel the action of the back and butt.
Forty-five-degree incline Smith press: I find the guided press a beneficial variation to the free-bar incline in exercising my front deltoids and the muscle mass high across the chest. I’m able to exactly position the bench to accomplish my purpose and mitigate any nagging pain that often accompanies the standard incline. Working the bar against the guides allows me to target the muscles in ways I can no longer do with the big bar. Put power on the back burner and go for pace, tight reps and a clear mind: 4 or 5 sets x 8-10 reps (No Smith press? Use dumbbells, Mr. Jones.)
Bent-arm pullover: Start with your head at the end of a bench and a bar held in an eight-inch grip across the chest. Lift up and back above your face and down into an extended position toward the floor. Doesn’t that feel good? Tiny pause and up with the bar in a smooth and powerful tug and back to the starting position. Doesn’t that feel great? Another pause, noticing the variety of muscle benefiting and rejoicing with the ever-changing resistance, and repeat. What we have here is a treat for the rib cage, the lats and serratus, triceps, chest, grip, abs and frontal lobe. We’re networking again, weaving the upper body together. Don’t go for power on this series of exercises, as you’ll tear yourself apart. With moderate weight in hand, you can superset the pullover with the Smith press: 4 or 5 sets x 8-10 reps.
Bent-over dumbbell lateral raise: This takes on the expression of a bent-over lateral raise crossbred with a row. We’re targeting the rear delt with more weight than we should, causing the lateral movement to collapse into a two-arm dumbbell row, a very effective compromise for the back. Focus, practice and improvise, 4 sets x 8 reps.
Standing heavy barbell curl: You’ve been there, done that. What can I say but congratulations, brother and sister? Superset the heavy beast with machine or freehand dips. More than biceps are at work when the weight is heavy and the body is struggling: 4 or 5 sets x 6 reps.
Dips: I was doing dips before I was walking and talking. (Of course, I didn’t walk or talk till I was 10.) They get a lot of work done on the whole upper body, cinching the muscles together like a well-tied knot: 4 or 5 sets x intense reps.
Gotta go. I hear something in the bushes. DD”
Training and coaching by definition are fairly similar. But, when applied to teaching goal orientated fitness modalities these two become very different animals. Vern Gambetta had a blog post years ago that I really enjoyed reading so I wanted to revisit and share with you all. Vern did a quick breakdown of “Training” vs. “Coaching”, defining what it means to do one versus the other. If you have ever worked in the fitness industry you will completely understand the angle from which this was written. It really defines the difference between a good/not so good trainer and a great trainer. The good trainers can get the results for their clients, but it is the mode in which they do it that separates them from the great trainers. Does the trainer accept bad form, or do they work with the client till it is 100% correct. It is not just the end result, rather, it is also the means by which you get the people there. Enjoy.
1) Training – Focused on the result. Just get it done.
Coaching – Focused on the process, how it is done, making sure it is repeatable.
2) Training – Self centered, all about the trainer, the athlete can’t do it without the trainer.
Coaching – All about empowering and teaching the athlete. Creating self-sufficiency rather than dependence.
3) Training – Has all the answers.
Coaching – Always gathering data from the training, fine-tuning and learning.
4) Training – Lots of screaming and yelling, ”motivating.”
Coaching – Purposeful, meaningful feedback and cue’s, communicating and teaching.
5) Training – Focused on equipment, needs machines and apparatus to train.
Coaching- Focused on the athlete and the sport they are preparing for and coach accordingly. Use what is needed and necessary, not bells and whistles.
6) Training – Scattered, all over the place.
Coaching – Focused on the task at hand. No cell phone!
7) Training – Follows the latest fads, listens to gurus.
Coaching – Knows best practice and follows it. Stands on the shoulders of giants. Has a mentor.
CrossFit North County Marathon Rowing Competition
CrossFit, most of you in the fitness industry have probably heard of it by now and if you haven’t you are probably living under a rock. CrossFit gets mixed reviews by professionals as well as fitness enthusiasts; either they love it or hate it, with very little grey area. Now, some of you may be thinking, but you don’t really do CrossFit anymore?!? This is true, now, but when I caught the fever back in 2006 it was a whole different story.
Before I found CrossFit I was dabbling in quite a few different types of strength/hypertrophy building exercise routines. In the early 2000’s I was all hypertrophy; meaning I would do one or two body parts a day and exercise for way over an hour. During my later college years I was introduced to a strength and conditioning class, this is where I picked up the deadlift, squat, and clean and jerk exercises to add to that already boring and lengthy workout. I very much hated legs and honestly, rarely did squats or deadlifts. I was big, I was strong, but my strength was not distributed equally and I was very much a top-heavy lifter.
In 2006 I graduated from school and returned home and rejoined the gym I had been a member of before I left for school, the one where all my bodybuilding went down. By this time the gym had started renting out space in one of the racquet ball courts to a business called CrossFit Encinitas. Being the inquisitive person I am I checked out their gym, equipment, took a business card and reached out to the owner of the gym. He told me the cost of the gym membership and I was unable to afford so I took it upon myself to find the source of this “CrossFit” exercise routine. I went online and searched CrossFit in my Yahoo search engine (yes I used to use Yahoo for searching) and found the CrossFit main page. I checked out the workouts and like most other people, was floored by what they were asking of me to do in one single workout…for time. It actually took me about six months to start working out with workouts from the CrossFit mainpage, I was mostly scared and had no idea what to expect from such intense workouts. In mid-2007 I did my first CrossFit workout, Barbara, loved it and was hooked.
By 2008 I was well into my love for CrossFit and really started to preach the gospel to people I met. I finally had a program that MADE me do legs and did all the programming for me so I no longer had to roam around the gym aimless looking for other exercises to waste time on. By late 2008, early 2009 I met up with a man who would later become my business partner with our affiliate CrossFit North County. I met Marc while he was rowing at the local YMCA gym I was working at. I started chatting with him about how awesome the rower was and how I used it a lot in CrossFit. He of course wanted to know what CrossFit was so I told him, a few months later he joined a local affiliate, started paleo, and lost close to 50lbs.
By late 2009 Marc was deep into the CrossFit mayhem and ended up going to a local certification and got the CrossFit level 1 cert. Once he got this cert we started talking about how cool it would be to start our own affiliate, but we were both working so much, had no equipment, so on and so forth. Well, Marc started purchasing equipment slowly but surely and by early 2010 we had just enough to start our own gym. I found a space, we affiliated and set up shop in a local sports performance facility. All was good, the gym started to grow however I had started to lose my passion for CrossFit. Not sure how and why it came about but for whatever reason I was no longer doing WOD’s and started moving my training to primarily doing powerlifting type exercises. From there I ended up taking a job up north in Los Angeles and had to abandon my business all together which at this point, I was fine with.
I moved away to Los Angeles and started to train in a very powerbuilding training method. I also found a training partner, Paleo Devan, who had similar goals as me with regards to strength and size gains. Devan inspired me to be passionate with my training and programming and we both really benefitted from this training awakening. So, here I am today, strong, happy with my program, gaining size, and when I look back I really have CrossFit to thank.
So how did CrossFit actually change my life?
- CrossFit inspired me to be passionate about training myself again.
- CrossFit made me do legs, which is why I am actually proportionate now.
- CrossFit made me push my body to a level I had never worked at before.
- CrossFit taught me how to program workouts to be more efficient.
- CrossFit introduced me to powerlifting, which is a major part of my routine now.
- Preaching CrossFit to others helped me to help others with their health.
- CrossFit made me enjoy fitness again, plain and simple.
- CrossFit inspires a passion for fitness like nothing else I have ever seen.
- CrossFit introduced me to Paleo. The paleo diet has been a life changing “diet” for me and many others I have helped along the way and I 100% owe CrossFit and Robb Wolf for introducing me to this way of eating.
Thank you all so much for reading through this really long and drawn out blog post. I had not written much about my background with CrossFit, or fitness in general so it was nice to get that off my chest. Do I agree with everything CrossFit does, no. But I do think CrossFit has one of the best platforms for people looking to learn and adapt new training and nutritional philosophies into their own way of exercising and living. I have seen plenty of people start CrossFit and then segue into olympic weightlifitng, powerlifitng, rowing, running, or just add these elements into their old way of working out (like me). CrossFit’s ability to do just that is why I really do think it changed my life for the better as well as the others who I have helped over the years, so thank you CrossFit.
“First rule of Fit-Club, Return all weights to racks after use“
I really don’t expect much out of people nowadays, as sad as that sounds. We all seem to be so consumed with our own lives that we forget that we live on a planet with 7 billion other people. Selfishness is running ramped and selflessness is becoming hard to find. One small, very minor example of this is gym etiquette, primarily cleaning up after yourself. At this point we all know that signs posted basically mean nothing to most people as most people do not read them. I have worked in enough gyms to know that either they don’t read them, or they read them and don’t care to follow what they say; either way, gym etiquette has reached an all time low. No one seems to want to put away their own weights, they see other people leave crap out and copy their same behavior (stupid is as stupid does). Many don’t wipe down their equipment after use and leave their sweat and greasy head sweat all over the benches. The gym I currently go to is a 24 hour fitness, which does have signs posted, which over 50% of the people completely ignore. Tonight I watched one kid go from bench press, to chest press on the hammer strength, to the leg press; he loaded up each machine with weight, did his exercises and then moved on without cleaning up after himself. He is not an anomaly, he is part of a majority. I however am not part of the majority, I clean up, because I have worked in countless gyms cleaning up after others and I know how bad it sucks. Even when I was younger I still cleaned up after myself, because that is what is expected of us, what seems right, what we should all do to show respect to the others around us who should not have to clean up a mess we leave behind. To all those who continue to not clean up after yourselves at the gym, would you please stop being assholes and show some respect to gym staff as well as other gym goers…thanks.
P.S: This is Ridiculous
And this is funny:
The Bench Press; Lie on your back, press a heavy weight over your heart, what is not cool about that? The bench press is a historical exercise and dates back to the 19th century. The bench press is by far the most talked about strength training exercise. It is also one of the best anterior upper body strength building exercises you can do. I do not know anyone personally who does not have this exercise in their routine, not one. I for one continue to be a huge fan, and continually challenge myself each time I perform the lift.
Aside from the “how do I tone” questions I get all the time, I would have to say the second most frequently asked question is “how much you bench”? The question gets asked, to which I answer with “not as much as I used to”. I know, cliché is it not? I think most of us have come to terms with the fact that if you don’t do bench press, you need to. There is no better ego building, shit talking exercise out there than the bench press. The ability to bench press the most weight is a constant battle between friends, enemies, frenemies, co-workers, cops, robbers, you name it and we want to bench more than it. I really have nothing negative to say about bench press. Can you get hurt, sure, but you can get hurt on most exercises if not done properly. Shoulder girdle stability is crucial to keeping your shoulders safe (scapular depression/retraction). I always run through shoulder mobility exercises, rotator cuff exercises, and make sure I am properly warmed up before I bench press(but this is the same for most lifts I do). Have fun, be safe, and go bench press.
If you have not added the bench press into your routine and feel you should(as I feel you should), here are some tips on how to perform the lift safely and properly. They also include the variations on the bench press to add continued value to your program and increased strength gains.
Even Ronald McDonald does The Bench Press
It was my birthday, the pic was kind of a joke.
Lets face it, not everyone can be genetically gifted in the arm department. I have been fortunate in that my arms tend to grow bigger, and at a faster rate than all of my other larger muscles; I truly have to thank my grandpa from my mom’s side for my bigger arms, he was a beast. However, I was a skinny punk at a point in my life and my size gains came from hard work, eating a lot, and a sprinkle of some good genetics. When I first started working out I focused a lot of energy on isolation exercises, with training that was very similar to most bodybuilding routines. It wasnt till about 2006 that I started training with mostly compound exercises with very little, if any, isolation exercises. I continue to train in a very similar manner, focusing very little attention on isolation of muscles. I wanted to list some of the best compound exercises that help to grow your arms bigger, and stronger without the time needed to do isolation.
These are listed in no particular order:
1) Dips/Weighted Dips (5-20 reps)
2) Pull Ups/Chins – Weighted Pull Ups/Weight Chins (1-20 reps)
3) Deadlifts – Great for forearm building (1-5 reps)
4) Push Ups/Weighted Push Ups (8-50 reps)
5) Bench Press/Narrow Bench Press (1-30 reps)
6) Standing Military Press/Handstand Push Ups (1-20 reps)
7) Seated Row/Bent Over Row/Inverted Rows/T-Bar Rows (8-12 reps)
8) Muscle Ups/Weighted Muscle Ups (5-10 reps)
9) Cleans/Clean and Jerks (1-3 reps)
10) Snatches/Hang Snatch (1-3 reps)
As you can tell the rep schemes on these exercises can differ greatly. It really depends on where my cycle is at if I am going to go high rep, vs. low rep. I work in all spectrum’s of the rep matrix for most lifts, with the exception of cleans, snatches, and deads. I will periodically do burn outs with bench press, typically no higher than a 30 rep set. Your body needs different stimulation’s, and I feel these exercises and rep schemes are what will do it. Enjoy.
My Humble Beginnings: Gangsta!
Happy Thanksgiving Ya’ll!!
I wanted to take some time, on this day when I will be carb loading like crazy, to go over my progress thus far. I weighed myself last night at the gym at I am finally pushing past the 180lb mark, tipping the scales at 182lbs. As you know based on my post below that my goal is 190lbs, staying at around 12-14% bodyfat for now. Having just got back into lifting (and eating) after three months off I am progressing at an amazing pace. In September of this year I was weighing in at my lowest weight in years, 168lbs. I was skinny, not eating, and not lifting; it was a nice break for my body but I missed everything I enjoy about eating, lifting, and getting bigger and stronger. I have officially gained around 14lbs from September and about 10lbs from just over a month or so ago when I started hitting the gym again. How did I do it? Well, there is no secret, I eat, and I lift about 3 times a week. I went ahead and posted a pic of the meals I have been eating over the course of the last month and there is a really solid blend of good, and shit food choices. But, my goal is to gain weight so I don’t let waffles, fries, and pancakes stand in my way…grab fork, shove down pie hole.
Meal Pic Choices:
- Eggs and Bacon
- Chicken – Shredded/Chopped
- In and Out
- Homemade Pancakes/Homemade peanut butter syrup
- Homemade Waffles/Syrup/Whipped Cream
- Ground Turkey – Patties and no patty form.
- Spaghetti Squash
- Sweet Potatoes
- Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
- French Fries of varying sorts
Yup, nothing about some of these choices screams clean eating and it shouldn’t…that isn’t my focus right now. My focus right now is to eat, lift, and get bigger and eating and lifting are going to get me there. If you are trying to lean out, I wouldn’t suggest French fries nor would I suggest anything above that has flower in it (pancakes, waffles, buns, bread, etc.). However, the rest is a pretty good choice in regards to eating clean (Meat, veggies, etc.). Anyways, take this day (Thanksgiving) as a time when you can’t feel bad about eating as much crap as possible…consider it your duty as an American and if you are not American, just go eat and lift, business as usual.