Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I have been using Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 for the quite a while. The routine I was on was 3-Days a week which comes out to a 5-Week Cycle starting with Bench, Squat, Deadlift and Overhead Press.

Bench 250 x 5 -------> 260 x 6
Squat 340 x 6 -------> 370 x 9
Dead 360 x 9 -------> 385 x 15
Press 185 x 5 -------> 205 x 9

Bench 280 x 4 -------> 285 x 8
Squat 380 x 8 -------> 400 x 12
Dead 340 x 6 -------> 370 x 13
Press 195 x 6 -------> 220 x 11

Now you might want to say thats isn't really that much of a jump. Keep in mind that it is an increase in weight and reps so that equals even more on an Estimated rep max. Use the formula below to determine a Estimated 1 RM.

Weight x Reps x .0333 + Weight = Estimated 1RM

Bottom line is every lift went up. Bench Press did not go up as much as I would like but that was probably due to a Program Error in what exercises I selected but drastically increasing 3 out of 4 lifts isn't bad at all. I should also mention that my bodyweight went from 217 lbs. down to 200 lbs. and my brothers was at a high of 252 lbs. and is weighing in at 234 lbs.

After a cycle was completed, if I met the previous month's reps I would increase all working maxes by 5 pounds. The book suggested 5 lbs. for Upper Body and 10 lbs. for Lower but I wanted to keep everything uniform so went up 5 across the board. The working max was 90% of a 1-REP Max in order to keep the weights manageable and form tight.

So if you have been aimlessly doing bull crap exercises with little or no progress except how fast you can get a pump you should buy Jim Wendler's 5/3/1. The exercises in the book are basic stuff you should be doing anyways. The E-Book is only $19.99 and tells you everything you need to know how to set everything up depending on how many days you can train. I know some of you out there are Strength and Conditioning Elitist and laugh at the thought of using someone else's program. That's fine but take it for a test drive yourself.

Why would you not listen to this guy? GET IT!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hammer Strength Clinic Review

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Recently I attended a Hammer Strength Clinic in San Antonio at UTSA Campus. I am glad I bought into the clinic because there was a lot that I learned from some big dogs in Strength and Conditioning.

Yancy McKnight, Iowa State University Head Strength Coach
Coach McKnight was a very enthusiastic coach when speaking of the methods that he uses at Iowa State. There were some times that he almost let an obscenity fly during his but that's the kind of coach I like. The kind of coach who doesn't always have his filter on and gets so pumped about what he does that he doesn't have any other way of explaining expect with a good, old 4-Letter word. He was also a lineman at Missouri Southern so he knows what's best for his players. He also went about an Hour or so after his time slot so you know he can't get enough of S&C. Be on the look out for Iowa State Football.

Jeff Madden, University of Texas Head Strength Coach
I have talked about Coach Madden before under my "Influences" and I will always have the utmost respect for someone who let me help out with his team. I had so much respect to drive an 1+ hour each way just to be around what he was doing. I know that might not seem like a big deal but I had to be at the facility before 6 a.m and this was during my Final Semester of Grad School and Graduate Teaching Assistant. During his presentation he focused on "Battling Ropes" and the different exercises that could be incorporated. Besides being one of the Strength Coaches that everyone at this clinic looked up to he also got a hold of the ropes and was laying it down! He also gave me a shout-out during his presentation so he remembered me when I was an Intern.

Derek Ramsey, Denton Guyer HS Strength Coach
Coach Ramsey was one of the High School Strength Coaches to talk at the Clinic which was nice because not everyone has the facilities or athlete of a University of Texas. I enjoyed his presentation because he would so certain lifts, movements of drills and then pull a clip from the Football Season and how it translated to the playing field. Another impressive thing about his Football team is how strong he got some of the kids, I mean his starting QB, Slot Receiver and a lot of his Defense was Power Cleaning 315+ lbs. Even Coach Madden spoke up and said that was legit. With Coach Ramsey running S&C, Denton Guyer should be pretty deep in the playoffs for the next couple of years.

Pat Ivey, University of Missouri Head Strength Coach
Go ahead and get it out the way but this Cat was YOKED! He has played College and Pro Football so he is also another guy that knows what's up. He is also a contributor to Elitefts so not any bull is on that website. I enjoyed watching the video he show of how motivated his Athletes get during their lifting sessions it was primal, hardcore screaming letting everyone know that they just smoked a PR. In other words, not something you would see at your local Globo Gym. The main focus of his presentation was how to become a better coach in dealing with kids that are from the "Me Generation".

Mark Uyeyama, Assistant Strength Coach San Francisco 49ers
Coach Uyeyama was the only Professional Coach to speak at the Hammer Strength Clinic. He gave a good look at how sometimes people in Strength and Conditioning can think too much about what they are doing and stray away from the basics. He showed a video of a majority of his guys squatting heavy with Safety Squat Bars not balancing on a Bosu Ball while do 1-Arm Curls. His presentation deal with Pre-Hab/Re-Hab. Since he has Professional Athletes and in many cases Veterans, his main priority is to maintain their Strength Levels as well as make sure they stay on the field. A good example was the story he told about how HE runs by workouts for NFL Receiver Isaac Bruce and after he goes through and approves then Coach Uyeyama is given free reign. Can't be surprised that's what happens when dealing with Pro Athletes.

John Mitchell, NB Canyon HS Strength Coach
This was probably the best presentations of the clinic because he dealt with Kettlebells. As everyone knows, Kettlebells have blown up over the past years in the Fitness Industry because everyone thinks that once you grab one you turn into a "Ripped Comrade". Not the case. You need to actually know how to use them and realize they are only a component of a Total Strength and Conditioning Program. It might seem like you could pick one up and just go at it. Again, Not the case. You could just lift with Kettlebells but you are not getting the benefits of Heavy Barbell and Dumbbell training and your missing out. I have been kicking myself because he is literally across the river and I could have gained valuable knowledge on this often misunderstood implement. Maybe it's because he is at the rival school. Who give a S*&* he knows his stuff and I will get in contact and see if I can pick up some key coaching points.

Money well spent. I will be looking for more of the Hammer Strength Clinics in the future....$100 included 6 Top-Notch Strength Coaches in your area, Shirt, Bag and DVD. Also, even if you are not in the S & C Field don't be scared, you can learn at least one thing from each speaker that you can implement.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What exercise should I do for.......


If you have been going to the gym long enough you may have been asked this question, "What exercise should I do for...............X-Body Part."

Now depending on how long you have been lifting. You might say any of the following because you get the most bang for you buck.

Compound exercises move the body through more than one joint movement as opposed to isolation exercises where you only move the body through a single-joint movement.

Bench Press
Floor Press
Overhead Press
DB or Barbell Rows
Box Squats
Front Squats
Good Mornings
Reverse Lunges
1-Leg Elevated Squats
Kettlebell Swings
............and probably a long list of exercises that I forgot...............

If you have not been doing these exercises, WTF have you been doing? I used to be "that guy" who worked out 5 days a week doing a body part a day and was able to hit certain muscles from every angle possible. I was able to put on good size but at expense of overall strength. I look back now and regret not doing compound exercises because my strength in Bench, Squat, Deadlift and Overhead Press would be further along.

Recently, I was at the gym and a kid came up to me and said, "What should I do for my Triceps some Supine Position Neutral Grip Elbow Extensions?" Without a pause, I took my headphones out and told him "Go do some dips." After he did a solid set of 4.5 reps that was it, he was done. This kid was ready to do many endless, mind-numbing sets of Soup Can Tricep Kickbacks but when it came to an exercise I suggested, he didn't want anything to do with it. That's OK because if 't they ask you it's your option to suggest a good exercises. if they don't do it that's their fault.

Anyways, if that scrawny kid come to you for some guidance help out and hit him with a compound movement.

If he asks, "What should I do for my hamstrings?"....suggest some Deadlifts or Good Mornings...."What about my Quads?"....how about some Front Squats or Reverse Lunges....."Back and Lats?"....Pull-Ups/Chin-Ups....

This will help some younger lifters acquaint themselves with some of the best exercises to gain strength, size, and power. This will also help them stay away from machines that heave them sitting on their hump while exercising on a machine. Don't get me wrong here, there is a place for isolation movements BUT that's after you've done a big exercise.

So if you have been contorting your body "to blast the muscle from every angle" it's time to gain some strength first, then worry about muscle size.

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