Picture this scenario: You have a few thousand dollars burning a hole in your pocket and you want to build yourself a home gym. Of course, a few thousand dollars in normal circumstances cannot outfit a complete commercial quality gym selection of equipment, but most definitely can purchase the bare essentials for a good workout. So let’s say this few thousand dollars can net you a total of FIVE pieces of strength equipment, what do you choose? Strength Militia staff did a private polling of over 1000 strength enthusiasts and asked them this exact question, with no restriction on price, but you could only choose your top 5 pieces. Below are the TOP FIVE responses we received from our poll. Enjoy!
1) Power Rack: This was an obvious no-brainer for most since the traditional power rack is capable of offering a wide variety of exercises in a single unit. And, depending on your choice of power rack, many of the ones available today come with band attachments, dip bars, pull up bars, and the like. But, what good is a power rack without one of the most important accessories to the rack, the barbell, which leads us to selection #2.
2) The Barbell: There are varying types of barbells to purchase but one thing remains the same with all, the barbell is a very useful piece of equipment. Paired with a nice power rack, the barbell is highly important for mainstay exercises like the squat (front, back, overhead, etc.), bench press (flat, incline, decline, etc.), floor press, standing press, deadlift rack pulls, and more. Outside of the rack, the barbell is great for various exercises like deadlifts (sumo, conventional, etc.), bent over row, Olympic weightlifting and other accessory lifts. But, what good is a 45lb barbell without more weight creating added resistance; hello selection #3!!
3) Bumper Plates: The problem with conventional steel plates is they don’t rebound well when dropped from above the shoulder, or even from six inches from the ground for that matter. This is why when polled, most chose to have a nice set of bumper plates as one of their necessary pieces of equipment. Not only are bumper plates fine to use in everyday strength training, they are also one of the most important items used when training in Olympic weightlifting.
4) Bench: What good is a power rack, barbell, and bumper plates if you don’t have a bench to bench press with? Not only that, a good bench can be used in other ways like step ups, box squats, jump box,hip bridges, bench dips, and other various accessory exercises. In the poll, people did not specify what type of bench they wanted, flat or adjustable, but lets just say for the sake of variety the adjustable one since it allows for more exercises than the purely flat bench.
5) Dumbells: I know what you are all thinking, why do we need a set of dumbells if we have a perfectly good barbell and bumper plates? The short and obvious answer is, because they said so. When we were outfitting my old gym we purchased a set of rubber hex dumbells (10lbs-100lbs) for a little over $1000. This to me was an invaluable purchase since dumbells add that many more exercises to your regimen, making your workouts much more successful.
Whatever equipment you find invaluable, whatever wets your whistle, as long as you can get the workout you desire it is the perfect choice, for you. Some of the notable runner ups for this poll were powerlifting chains, bands, Olympic rings, and lifting belts. Please comment below with your top five strength equipment choices. Thanks for reading!
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
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.
MONDAY – Max-Effort Upper Body
TUESDAY – Dynamic-Effort Lower Body
WEDNESDAY – Off
THURSDAY – Repetition Upper Body
FRIDAY – Max-Effort Lower Body
SATURDAY – Off
SUNDAY – Off
You can also split up the training like this…
MONDAY – Max-Effort Lower Body
TUESDAY – Off
WEDNESDAY – Max-Effort Upper Body
THURSDAY – Off
FRIDAY – Dynamic-Effort Lower Body
SATURDAY – Off
SUNDAY – Repetition Upper Body
Now that the new template is in place, I’ll reveal the changes I’ve made since my original article…
Guest Post by Marc Adlam
An interesting discussion came up yesterday about canola oil. Is it good or not? It gets a stamp of approval from all the official diet authorities, but the underground rumor is that it’s no good for you. A little research reveals that the naysayers may have it, but it is hard to say for sure. If you want to get the full story, check out “The Great Con-ola” by Sally Fallon and Mary Emig, PhD. It is interesting to learn that the word “canola” is purely a marketing invention. The word was designed to reflect the idea of “Canadian oil” because it was a Canadian who first learned how to genetically manipulate the rapeseed to reduce its levels of toxic erucic acid. They had originally called it LEAR oil (for Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed oil), but that didn’t have much marketing appeal. Meanwhile, “canola” evoked images of “can do” and “payola” — both of which evoked positive marketing images. And thus an industry was born! Again, the jury is still out on canola oil at the end of the day. However, we tend to agree with Mark Sisson in this post suggesting to avoid canola oil altogether when there are so many better options out there: olive oil, lard, ghee, butter, coconut oil, walnut oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, etc.
Besides, as he also points out, it seems a bit strange to ingest any food that has to be deodorized before you’ll buy it. That just doesn’t seem right, does it?
Here is a cool little clip of Andre Galvao performing some mobility drills for BJJ.
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.
Bench/ or Press (A/B) 2x 5, 1 x 5+
Curl 2x 10-15 (bench days)
Squat 2x 5, 1x 5+
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)
Bench/ or Press (A/B) 2x 5, 1 x 5+
Curl 2x 10-15 (bench days)
Squat 2x 5, 1x 5+
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)
Working out is one of your favorite things to do and you want to propel your gains to a level you have never reached before. Your first thought is how many supplements and food can I eat to make #gainz; your second thought however is how to properly choose a workout partner that will help you progress, get stronger, and push those heavy weights. There are a lot of positives and also negatives to workout partners, and this is coming from personal experience with both sides of the coin. Below I will present you with not only the pros and cons of workout partners, but also HOW to choose a proper workout partner based on your specific needs. Enjoy!
Spotting – Want a built in spotter for bench that knows your preferences and is always there to help you hit max weights, this is when a training partner is essential. I personally dislike asking people I don’t know for spots, because most of the time, they aren’t very good at it.
Accountability – There are a lot of people out there who wouldn’t set foot in a gym if it wasn’t for a workout partner motivating them to come. If you are the type of person who needs just a little push from others, a workout partner is almost essential.
Motivation – There isn’t a person on earth who would say a good workout partner didn’t help them to make any serious gains. When I had a solid workout partner my bench was at around 320#, it hasn’t been at that weight since 2004, when I had my training partner. A good training partner gives you just enough push to hit weights you wouldn’t normally do on your own.
Form Police – There is only one way to properly coach form and that is to see it from the outside looking in. You could video all of your lifts but even then a second pair of eyes could be beneficial. A good workout partner will keep his or her eyes on your form at all times and give and constructive criticism when necessary.
Consistency – Some people just don’t want to train as much as they say they do. Your success will suffer if you rely on a training partner who will actually only workout with you once or twice a week, if at all. If this is your training partner, ditch him or her, and train on your own or find a new buddy.
Flakiness – My last training partner would schedule days to go with me to the gym and then cancel the night of. I would then reschedule for another day HOPING he would actually commit. Ultimately, he continued to flake so I stopped reaching out and went to the gym alone.
Slackers – You may have a training partner who shows up to the gym on-time, every time, and meets all your overall criteria in a gym buddy but there’s just one thing you don’t like, they don’t workout. Its one thing to show up to a gym, its another thing to actually get the training volume in you prefer. I see it all over, training buddies more interested in talking than working. If this is your training partner, try to convert them or give them the boot!! Your success cannot ride on the shoulders of a gym slacker.
Goals – You and your training partner need to have similar goals. If your partner wants to do all cardio and you want to hit weights, its not going to work out. Find someone looking to get big like you because lets face it, you don’t do cardio.
So how does one choose the perfect workout partner, and frankly, how do you find them? Well, if you consider all the above criteria then it seems like it could be a difficult process. The answer is Yes and no. The first workout partner I had was a co-worker who had the exact same goals as I. He was training at a differnet gym so I said “come to my gym” and from there we started an awesome gym relationship. We pushed each other, had competitions for weight gain, weights pushed or pulled, and just had fun while getting much bigger. We would bounce supplement ideas off each other, what worked, what didn’t. He was always on time and showed up for every workout. He was one of the best training partners I have ever had. I have gone through about 3 others since then and only one other, another co-worker, had matched up perfectly (see above push up picture). My last one was flakey, didn’t work as hard, and was inconsistent. He was a bomb and I dropped him and started working out by myself again. So, pick someone with similar goals, is on time, works hard, and pushes you to make gains safely. When you find this person, and where you find this person is up to you, but they are out there but choose wisely. Make them #gainz!
Really cool vids from the practice of the Battle of the Champions powerlifting comp hosted in Russia. I posted the results below.
Final results of the “Battle of Champions-2014″ Arkhangelsk, Russia
cash prize – $100.000
1 – Kirill Sarychev (Russia) 326kg (719 lb) b/w 179kg (393.8 lb)
2 – Roman Eremashvili (Belarus) 218kg (479,6 lb) b/w 67,4kg (148.3 lb)
3 – Laslo Mezharosh (Hungary) 295kg (649 lb) b/w 132,5kg (291.5 lb)
1 – Andrey Belyaev (Russia), 395kg (869 lb) b/w 89,9kg (197.7 lb)
2 – Konstantin Pozdeev (Russia) 405kg (891 lb) b/w 103kg (226.6 lb)
3 – Sergey Daragan (Russia) 403,5kg (887.7 lb) b/w 119,2kg (262.24 lb)
You sure you want to cook with the same oil used to power this dudes car??
I have been reading a lot about different types of oils recently, which ones to avoid, and of course which ones to use in daily food preparation. Well, I stumbled upon this article on Thankyourbody.com that I felt was a great overview of the good and bad oils, and so instead of being redundant, I went ahead and posted the link to the article below. Enjoy!!
Here is a snippet from the article regarding type of oils to use and which ones to avoid.
Oils that are OK to use:
- Coconut Oil (Use expeller-pressed to avoid a coconut flavor)
- Palm Oil (Although, please find from a sustainable source as so much palm oil today is being harvested in horrific ways. When in doubt just stick with coconut oil.)
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (Great for non-heat dishes like salad dressings, humus, mayo, etc. Can be used in cooking at lower temperatures or when combined with another saturated fat like butter or coconut oil.)
- Avocado Oil (Great for non-heat dishes)
- Other fats (not necessarily for cooking, but essential to good health) include meats, eggs, dairy, and fish (nuts are also good in moderation as they have a high level of polyunsaturated fats).
Oils to be used sparingly:
The following oils are okay in moderations. Most contain high levels of Omega-6 fatty acids, so they shouldn’t be consumed freely. But they are considered natural fats, and do have health benefits. They are not great for high heat cooking, but acceptable in dressings, mayos, and other non-heat foods.
- Walnut Oil
- Flaxseed Oil
- Macadamia Nut Oil
Oils to avoid completely:
Here’s the big list I avoid as much as possible:
- Canola Oil
- Corn Oil
- Soybean Oil
- “Vegetable” oil
- Peanut Oil
- Sunflower Oil
- Safflower Oil
- Cottonseed Oil
- Grapeseed Oil
- Any fake butter substitutes
Throwback Thursday article regarding the surge in online coaches; this was written by two well known people in the industry, Dave Tate (Elite FTS) and John Meadows. Enjoy!
Eating well costs money. One could easily live off ramen for a year and save quite a bit of money, but we won’t, because we are worth it. Instead, we are left to spend my money on lean beef,chicken, turkey, fish, veggies, fruit, and expensive healthy fats in order to eat clean. There was an article years ago on 70’s Big that breaks down here what the cost is for consumption of protein on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis. The post is funny as hell, and really does make you realize how much you spend on keeping your physique in top form.