Category Archives: Strength Training

Westside for Skinny Bastards, Part III

Joe DeFranco of DeFranco’s Training is a leader in the no bullshit type strength and conditioning that has gained popularity over the past several years. Work hard, get results, end of story. Joe’s third and final installment of Westside for Skinny Bastards is awesome and you should check it out. The program is a super detailed, easy to follow plan all laid out for you, just follow along and get bigger and stronger.

From Joe DeFranco: WS4SB

After a year of answering questions about my original article and making modifications to it in the gym with my athletes, I decided to write Part 2. In that second installment, I discussed how to incorporate running workouts into the original training template. Another two years have passed now, and the avalanche of questions involving WS4SB continues to kill my inbox! This is what prompted me to sit down and provide more answers to the most common questions people have been asking. In this, my third and final chapter, I will clarify the following:

  • A new 4-day-a-week strength training template for the off-season
  • Explanation of warm-up sets
  • New ways to incorporate speed training and conditioning into the program
  • Sample in-season training templates
  • Bonus “Washed-up Meathead” template
  • The importance of including “indicator” exercises in your program

The Plan:

4-DAY STRENGTH TRAINING TEMPLATE

My original Skinny Bastard template consisted of three strength training days with an optional fourth day. Although a 3-day template is sufficient for building size and strength, I quickly realized that most people want to train more. WS4SB3 will now provide you with a 4-day strength training template. It’s been over three years since I wrote the original article, so it’s about time you skinny bastards graduated to a 4-day split that more closely resembles a “traditional” Westside split! First, I’ll reveal the new and improved template. After that, I’ll go over the specific details you’ll need to know.

MONDAYMax-Effort Upper Body
TUESDAYDynamic-Effort Lower Body
WEDNESDAY – Off
THURSDAYRepetition Upper Body
FRIDAYMax-Effort Lower Body
SATURDAY – Off
SUNDAYOff

You can also split up the training like this…

MONDAYMax-Effort Lower Body
TUESDAYOff
WEDNESDAYMax-Effort Upper Body
THURSDAYOff
FRIDAYDynamic-Effort Lower Body
SATURDAYOff
SUNDAYRepetition Upper Body

Now that the new template is in place, I’ll reveal the changes I’ve made since my original article…

Greyskull Barbell Linear Progression

Strength Villain and the Greyskull Barbell Linear Progression. This program seems to work for pretty much anyone and everyone I have talked to about it. Check it out for yourself and have fun. Below is just a quick overview of the program but you can find the details in the above link. Gotta pay to play.

Monday
Bench/ or Press (A/B) 2x 5, 1 x 5+
Curl 2x 10-15 (bench days)
Squat 2x 5, 1x 5+
Neck Harness

Wednesday
Bench/ or Press 2×5, 1x 5+
Weighted Chins 2 x 6-8 (press days, and only if you can do at least 6-8 BW chins)
Deadlift 1x 5+ (with or without power cleans as warmups)
Neck Harness

Friday
Bench/ or Press (A/B) 2x 5, 1 x 5+
Curl 2x 10-15 (bench days)
Squat 2x 5, 1x 5+
Neck Harness

Bodyweight Chins are done every day.
5 lb jumps on Squat and Deadlift
2.5lb jumps on pressing movements and curls (when rep ranges are satisfied)
When reps on last set fall below 5, take 10% off of bar and begin process over (on that lift only)

Mark Bell – Powerlifting: The Mentality

Just some amazing words from some pretty impressive folks. There is something to be said about taking care of your body however, there is also a reason to do things for yourself that you enjoy because you are only here once…so make it count!!

Rack Chat: Avoiding Elbow Pain from Pull Ups

pullup

I can proclaim myself a pull-up-aholic; love them with a passion and could not see myself not having them in my program. However, at one point about a few years ago I was suffering from chronic elbow inflammation. I had this elbow pain for a number of months but had not tapered back or changed anything in my program to eliminate this pain. The pain was noticeable at all times however, it really worsened when I would do sets of pull ups or chin ups. I knew I didn’t want to eliminate the exercise from my routine so for months I suffered through the pain, hoping that it might subside like many of my other minor inflammations I have had over the years. However, after Reading through Jason Ferruggia’s on pull up elbow pain I was a changed man.  The article basically stated that if you have elbow pain from Pull Ups, change to neutral grip.  I changed, the pain went away within a month or so which was amazing. Check out the link below it could save your elbows because it definitely did for mine!!

http://jasonferruggia.com/the-shocking-truth-about-chin-ups/

Beast of the Week: Andrey Malanichev

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I have been a big fan of Andrey Malanichev for years. He recently competed at the GPA world championships and went 435/260/405 for 1100kg @ 146kg, raw (with wraps). That’s 959/573/892 – 2425lb @ 321lbs, which is a world record number.

“Andrey skipped his opener because he wasn’t done warming up yet. He took 435kgs-959lbs as his first squat on the 2nd attempts and it was a very fast, easy lift. He jumped to 455kgs-1,003lbs on his last attempt to try and break the all time highest raw squat ever in history. He finished the lift just as easy as his first, but it was a no lift. I’m still not sure why though? He destroyed that lift. -Eric Lilliebridge”

It is with great confidence that we vote Andrey Malanichev as this weeks Beast of the Week. I am sure we will continue to see this powerful Russian destroy  lifts on his way to more records.

Here are the clips from the meet:

Squat:

Deadlift:

Compilation: Including Bench Press Lift

Diesel SC – How to Bench Press

I wanted to revisit an older post from Jim Smith of Diesel Strength and Conditioning.  This article  is quite thorough and could be the most impressive blog post on the Bench Press I have ever seen. The article includes exercise progressions, descriptions, advice, vids, pics, different bench exercises, and more! Much respect to the fellas over at Diesel SC for taking the time to put together such an informative post for everyone to see. Enjoy.

Strength: An Endangered Species – Joe Amberlock (Orlandi)

elite-fts-gym

Another gem of an article from the boys at Elite FTS. There is a serious takeaway from these words below, read closely, take notes, and get strong.

“DEFINITION: A species whose numbers are so small that the species is at risk of extinction.

There was once a time when strength ran supreme. It was the quality by which a person could be measured and judged. It was idolized and worshiped by those who coined sayings of its prominence, “Only the strong shall survive.” Without this trait there was no progress, no honor, no life. The physically strong were admired and looked to for guidance, protection, and inspiration. Civilizations were built by the strong and then torn down and burned to ashes by the stronger.

However, this time has long passed us by and physical strength is endangered. This regression did not happen overnight, rather it was a slow and gradual disease taking hold over centuries. For a long time, this trait and its followers were oblivious of the gradual decay that was taking place. They were unaware that they were slowly being hunted.

Centuries ago, we could not survive without strength. Our great ancestors knew this and placed the highest value on its development. Today, strength is treated as an outcast—unvalued and left to die. The pursuit of it is now looked upon as trite or moronic, a waste of time and energy. How easily people have forgotten what this trait has done for us. It was what kept us alive during the hunt, what protected us against enemies, what gave us confidence during turmoil. It was the primary catalyst in our progress, and we have forgotten and neglected it as if it were a stranger.

The days of hunting for our next meal and protecting our families against deadly wildlife are in the past; however, the value of physical strength remains the same. A quality so important to humanity that it cannot just vanish and be forgotten…although, there are some who wish it were that way. With every infomercial that sells the next fitness gadget, and with every workout video that claims to have reinvented the wheel, we stray further from it. The quest for strength was once pure, but now it is littered with “experts” who care nothing for its development or preservation, who only desire to piggyback off of it to make a profit. Poachers claim that the pursuit of this quality can harm us. They claim that what once kept us safe and healthy is now un-safe and detrimental.

The path to strength is more than physical, it as an all-encompassing quality. Strength is the skeleton key, opening doors that were previously locked. It teaches the values of courage, patience, and perseverance. There are still many who genuinely respect the quality of strength and all that it has done for us; however, I fear that number is dwindling.

So for those of you reading this, I ask that every time you train, you respect this trait and its qualities. When you speak of it, let your words be true and in favor of its prosper. When you see injustice towards it, speak up and defend it.

However, most of all, enjoy the journey towards this trait. Although the road forward can be treacherous, it has been built this way for a reason. Without the hardships, failures, and frustrations this path bears, the unworthy would walk along it freely. Do not stray from this road when forward progress stalls, for strength has always been an elusive trait—broad as day one moment then vanished the next. It is as if strength has developed a defense mechanism, always moving and hiding, cautious and suspicious of the intents of those who walk its road. Do not let this ever defer you from it, for many have walked it genuinely—to arrive with open arms.”

http://articles.elitefts.com/training-articles/strength-an-endangered-species/

The Bulgarian Method of Training

Below is information I pilfered from the internet for The Bulgarian Method of Training. High Volume, heavy loads, enjoy!

The Bulgarian Method of Training article by Jim Moser

Bulgarian Training Methodology

bulgarian

Session 1
(Mon, Wed, Fri) Time Exercise
9:00-9:30 Front Squat
9:30-10:00 Break
10:00-11:00 Snatch
11:00-11:30 Break
11:30-12:30 Clean and Jerk
12:30-13:00 Front Squat
Session 2
(Mon, Wed, Fri) 16:30-17:30 Clean and Jerk
17:30-18:00 Break
18:00-19:00 Snatch
19:00-19:30 Front Squat
19:30-20:00 Pulls
Session 2
(Tue, Thu, Sat) 9:00-9:30 Squat
9:30-10:00 Break
10:00-10:45 Power Snatch
10:45-11:15 Break
11:15-12:00 Power Clean
12:00-12:30 Front Squat
12:30-13:00 Pulls

http://www.owresource.com/training/bulgarian.php

Video: Amazing Bulgarians

Rack Chat: Sumo vs. Conventional Deadlift

In this installment of Rack Chat, I will decipher the difference between the sumo and conventional deadlift, and why this actually matters. The two deadlifts are fairly similar, pick the bar up off floor and place it back down, that is the deadlift in a nutshell. The major difference in the two is the set-up, biomechanics in the execution, and the dominant muscles involved. In my opinion, one is not better than the other, rather, either lift could be beneficial to different types of lifters (i.e. short, tall, long legs, long arms, stronger hips, stronger hams, etc.). I perform both lifts because I think each serves an important purpose in my programming. I am as “strong” on both, but I enjoy working the sumo more because of the fact that my low back feels better when performing. I went ahead and bullet pointed the the more interesting differences below for each lift, enjoy!!

Conventional Deadlift:

20131230_11470620131230_114711

  • Hips farther from bar
  • Torso is more horizontal (more load on low back)
  • Hips might start in a higher position (depends on flexibility)
  • More hamstring dominant (requires more hip mobility)
  • More load on lower back (lumbar and sacrum)
  • Grip outside of legs
  • More shearing forces on lumbar spine

Sumo Deadlift:

20131230_11481920131230_114824

  • Hips are closer to bar
  • Torso position is more vertical (less load on low back)
  • Hips start in lower position (may get lower depending on width of stance)
  • More load on hips and adductors (requires more groin flexibility)
  • Less load on low back (might be better for those with low back issues)
  • Grip inside of legs
  • Less shearing forces on lumbar spine

Christmas Day Post: I Remember When by Dave Draper

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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.

http://www.davedraper.com/index.html

“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.

dave-draper-squatting

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.

davearb

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”