If I had to do it all again

By Samir | August 1, 2013

I’ve been lifting for 5 years now, first in bodybuilding type training, then powerlifting, and now what I’d call general strength training. I was reflecting on what I’d re-do if I could be given new knees, a new back and I get to keep the maturity I’ve gained.

Basically, I’d focus on the lifts that my body was made for, try to keep my cardio up, do a lot less volume and enjoy the journey a lot more than I did. Trying to bring up a low bar back squat and a deadlift at the same time with the volume I did was nothing but idiotic - and my back and knees are paying for it now. I’m not sure if I’ve passed a point of no return, but if I have I’ll accept it and work with the limitations.

Focusing on the squat while ignoring the fact that I was a natural deadlifter was another mistake. I should have squatted in slightly-more than maintenance mode and gone all out on the deadlift. Unfortunately, I got caught up in the “squatting is king” mode du jour and I didn’t listen to my knees, lower back and the fact that my deadlift continued to rise while I ignored it, where as my squat stubbornly hung out in the 350-400 area.

Squatting 3x a week, once I passed about 1.2x body weight on the bar, was also pretty dumb. I really should have scaled it back to 1x a week, and stopped trying to have it all at once. I should have enjoyed the week to week progression. Lifting in the gym is 99% of time we spend lifting, lifting at meets is 1% of the time, if that. Yet 75% of my focus was on trying to get ready for a powerlifting meet. I really put the cart before the horse there.

In lifting, the mental game is what feeds the physical game. I was all wrong mentally, and now it’s cost me. You get caught up in the ego, the “internet hype” and so on, and you stop listening to the voice inside you. Never again.

I stopped doing HIIT because I found it competed with my lifts. I lost 100 pounds of fat once, doing long bouts of low-intensity steady state cardio - I’m talking long walks, long video game sessions on the elliptical, casual bike rides, i.e. nothing that brought my heart rate above 120. Why did I ever stop doing that? Because HIIT was the in thing. I should have stuck to what worked for me. See? mental game.

It’s fine to experiment, but I was too stubborn. After 4-5 weeks, I should have pulled the plug. I’m going back to everything that works for me now - everything, which includes

- Focus on the lifts that have never injured me, made me stronger, and just all around felt more like I was in the groove while doing them: Bench press, light front squats, deadlifts, cleans, presses, strict rows. I will accessorize with stuff like cable crossovers and sit-ups, but the focus is on the big stuff. Chins and dips never did anything for me, so I’ll treat them like accessories also.

- Focus on eating how I felt best : As little grains as possible. Mostly simple meats, vegetables and fruits. Lots of home made stuff.

- Cardio that doesn’t compete with my workout and spike my appetite needlessly : Fire up the Xbox, it’s time for video games while slowly churning.

I will always keep my mind open to new ideas, but they’ll have to be a lot better in the future to get some time on-deck with me.

Topics: Strength Training | No Comments »

Strength Training - A Return

By Samir | July 22, 2013

When I was easily squatting 350 pounds and working up to a 500 deadlift, I thought I had a great idea of “being strong” and what it meant. Being strong was all about weight on the bar, and how much of it you could move. Yesterday, I squatted 175 for the first time since 2012 because of 2 herniated disks and today, my back is irritated. It was disappointing to say the least.

I’ve only dipped my toes back into the wading pool of the gym and I’ve found I can do 2 things for my lower body without pain: Overhead squats and sumo deadlifts. I absolutely refuse to do leg extensions and curls - to me they just don’t work the way my body was intended to work. I can reach a truce with the leg press machine and I might use it one day - but that day is not today.

As you can imagine, for someone who did low bar squats and conventional deadlifts, sumo deadlifts and overhead squats are quite possibly the least comfortable, familiar movements. And obviously, I can only use a fraction of the weight I used to. But I supposed this is where I’ve come to - looking over my old logs, it’s obvious I abused the volume and beat my self up. If I hadn’t maybe I’d be competing in lifting meets today.

So I’ve had to really change my perspective on what is strong. I get the “strong” can be external, but in my case, it will have to be internal. It will be about the inner weight lifter - the one who doesn’t know if you’re lifting 85 or 485, all he knows is that you’re busting your ass and feeling alive. Everyone has an inner lifter - the combination of attitude, head games, ego, etc., that we must all master in order to reach our potential. In fact, it’s my inner lifter that I failed when injuring my outer lifter. Had I let up (the signs were there) any time in 2012 for 2-3 months, I might be OK today. In order words, before the ego, I was weak.

Internal weakness can’t help but lead to external weakness.

So this will be how it is for me - I will have to be externally weak and internally strong for awhile. I might get even weaker, as I’m really due for a conditioning phase. But if I keep the inner lifter going, and maybe just get massive strength through reps (yes, it’s possible), I can be strong again.

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Living without absolutes

By Samir | May 1, 2013

Part of what makes the process of undoing the ego so hard is that we are trained, in absolute terms, to always live with absolutes. Even the process of growth itself can be derailed because, during the transition (the awakening), we try to make it into a process with milestones and absolutes. The truth of the process is that its experiences, length, motivations are different for all.

A good example of this phenomenon is the experiences we seek. Many people go through the process and end up giving up a large part of their possessions in order to cleanse themselves of what “doesn’t matter”. While this is certainly a recurring theme and an excellent way to get rid of distractions, and the end point of living “wholly” is generally simpler than living as the extension of the ego, it does not necessarily follow that this is what everyone must do. In fact, if some people have been living simple lives, they might actually need drama, stuff, complication and what not in order to complete the whole of experience and gain clarity on what’s important and what isn’t.

Our minds want to make the association of “simple, whole” living with “simple materialism” but this isn’t the case for everyone. It’s a false absolute truth. Absolutes are useful for a developing mind, in order for it to place itself versus others in the physical realm. Without absolutes, there is no differentiation, and differentiation (or distinction) is necessary as an experience in order to know unity and oneness. Physical absolutes are key; but they are training wheels. Eventually, they must be discarded in order to intuit/know absolute principles from the non-physical world.

Does a man need to meditate to reach enlightenment? For many people with active minds, relaxed allowing is a critical step. At the same time, you always hear about people with an epiphany where it all came clear at once. There is no fixed path, no single way to play. In fact, the way it plays out is different for all of us - depending on our physical make-up, our past experiences, and our mind.

In truth, living without absolutes is a great outlook - you no longer expect things from life and are free to be pleasantly surprised. You no longer try to fit everything into pre-conceived notions (like “man” or “woman”), you just experience things as they happen. The idea of freeflowing along the river of life is a hard one, especially for left-brain types like me (an accountant) or STEM-tendency types like engineers. Artists are particularly good at it, since they learn early on that creation takes whatever form it will, and we are just vehicles for it (at the same time, some STEM-types can “get” it easily and some artists are too arrogant to let go of their ego during the creation process, so I don’t want be, uh, absolute, here).

It’s initially very scary to live without landmarks, guideposts and reference points. It’s a bit like casting a sail without really taking the measure of the wind. But in the end it’s very little risk at all because if we’ve never sailed into unknown waters, we can’t grow. And in unknown waters, there are no lighthouses to guide us.

Topics: Conscious Living | No Comments »

What is failure?

By Samir | March 4, 2013

Eckhart Tolle writes that it is completely possible to experience “external” failure while having great success. What does he mean by this apparently contradictory statement? It means that, even though one fails to achieve “goals” or “objectives” in life, it does not mean one is a failure in terms of development.

“Failure” is a first and foremost a judgment from a limited perspective. Since life’s business isn’t about “your” goals, you will only achieve what is necessary for life to continue to relearn its nature through you. If this means success, you will “succeed”. If it means “failure”, you will fail. One of the neat things about this journey we are on is that there is no fixed recipe for how it goes; each one of us walks his own path.

Consider the example of a hockey player who fails at becoming a professional in the NHL; dejected, he retires and begins coaching minor league hockey, making a pittance compared to what he could have made as an NHL superstar. 10 or 15 years later, he wins a Stanley Cup as a coach, has made millions, is happier than he could have ever expected, and has literally no worries. Was his “failure” really that, or just another instance of life pointing him in another direction?

It’s important to realize that “failing” at these self-set goals is a critical process in life. Life being about experiences, there’s going to be some trial and error for everyone and with each error comes wisdom. Eckhart Tolle himself was on the verge of suicide before coming to awareness. It’s pretty clear that he considered his life as an academic and a philosopher a complete failure. Yet behind the scenes, a marvelous intelligence was working to push him to become a teacher. That it had to take everything away from him was part of the process. “Failure” was only a judgment his limited mind applied to the situation; an aware being looking on his journey from afar may have commented that he was in a trial and error phase and finding his path was inevitable.

A goal I often see people have is to “get married by X age”. People who fail to do so often consider themselves failure. Firstly, let’s think : Would it have been more pleasant to shoehorn oneself into a marriage of compromise in order to avoid being alone? Probably not. Secondly, marriage is not on everyone’s life track. If a woman fails to marry and bear children, and uses her free time and disposable income to aid the poor and find joy, has she failed?

What’s important when confronted with a failure is to not judge it. It’s only a “failure” as far as an objective, “mind level” goal is concerned. In fact, the best response to failure is acceptance. You may be compelled to try again, you may move on (like I said, there are no recipes here). But either way, you must accept and not sit in judgment, and, especially, self-loathing (unless of course, self-loathing is needed in your journey, but I digress). Try to look upon your failure as a transition point to clarity, knowing you now have some of your answers and possibly, one less experience to live.

Prematurely judging something as a “total failure” is like putting the cart before the horse. Remember that each failure is just an opportunity to do something else. I was recently given this lesson by life, having pretty much failed at most of my goals. Yes, I was down in the dumps about it, but in the end, I’ve come to realize that the result of this was a total liberation to do what I wanted. Freed from the pressure of “succeeding” now, because I was “failed”, I could do what I want without judging myself beyond the present moment.

- I injured myself badly before I could hit a powerlifting total of 1,200 pounds. In the intervening time off the gym, I’ve read more, found myself doing more Tai Chi and internal movement work, and have even increased the frequency of my “relaxed awareness”, thus growing spiritually.

- The injuries themselves taught me a lot about my limits. If I were to return to the iron, I’d be much smarter and wiser; more importantly, the lesson about “ego lifting” has been driven home so hard I doubt I’ll ever ego lift again.

- The injury was caused, in part, by a lack of mobility work in my training. If I were to return, I’d program conditioning, mobility and strength more rigorously.

So yes, it “sucks” for the moment to be out of the gym. But the wisdom it’s given me is priceless.

Topics: Conscious Living | No Comments »

“I have nothing”

By Samir | March 1, 2013

It’s very common for people coming into awareness and enlightenment, but not there yet, to feel jealous of others. The typical jealousies are

  1. People who have it “all”, i.e., famous, rich, good-looking, usually actors or athletes
  2. Enlightened masters like Eckhart Tolle

It’s easy to look at an actress like Jennifer Lawrence, who is young, beautiful, witty, blessed with sassiness and pizzazz and obviously successful, and be frustrated about one’s own place in life. Unfortunately, this is deluded thinking. Jennifer Lawrence is a product, of a media machine, and no one really knows how happy she is when she’s alone. It’s very possible she is just as lost as any other soul searching for enlightenment, and feels confused and overwhelmed by her “awesome” life.

In the same way the all of these gifts are a blessing, they are also a trapping. It can be quite difficult to walk away from all of these fleeting things to come to one’s true nature if this is needed. Very few men in history could; the Buddha was one of them and that’s why he is remembered to this very day.

For men, this might be easier to understand using athletics. Watching sports, it’s clear that there tons of guys who were given a phenomenal level of talent, but no corresponding passion. Yet they are athletes because nothing else affords them the same earnings potential; they are chasing money purely and they put up with the grind of the practices and the travel. Randy Moss is a great example. In many ways, these men are totally trapped by their talent.

Having no talent, no skill, no particular inclination is hard. At first. Without an obvious answer as to what to do with oneself, it can be difficult to find how to express oneself and what experiences to seek. But consider this to also be the ultimate freedom. You don’t have to be totally and inextricably immersed in some “career”, and thus, neither does your identity.

As a man I’ve often considered how cool it would be to be a famous athlete. But two things came to me which really helped me see through this delusion: firstly, any experience, given enough time becomes ordinary. Secondly, having such an easy avenue to assuage my own ego would be an absolute roadblock to awareness. If you’re on this journey and these posts mean anything to you, you’ve gone beyond the stage of needing an easy way out of asking yourself the hard questions.

Let others play at that level. You’ve moved on.

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Must you quit your life to find enlightenment?

By Samir | February 13, 2013

The Buddha left all of his royal belongings behind and sat under a tree. Eckhart Tolle lived rough for two years in Vancouver. Jesus was willing to die for his message. These are all great stories and, each, in its way, allowed the glorification of the subject master. But the intent of each of these events, in life’s view, was not the actually to make these figures renowned, it was to give the message each one preached more weight.

Let’s face it, it’s way more impressive to know someone gave it all up and totally dedicated themselves to enlightenment. It gives the teacher a certain veritas, that a 9-to-5er claiming enlightenment could never attain. But this is strictly a mind-view of things, as in reality, there’s no real “one” path to enlightenment. It’s just as possible for a prince who eschews his heritage to find enlightenment as it is for a lawyer working 80 hours a week. All paths lead to the same place anyways, since there is nowhere else to go.

Of course, from a human perspective, bringing the entirety of one’s focus on enlightenment may accelerate the process of attaining the state of balance and inner peace. With nothing to cling to, no expectation, no responsibilities, no energy being drained, the entire human being’s force can be marshalled towards enlightenment. At the same time, it may be necessary for certain people to experience “regular life” - work, play, family, and the trappings brought on by each in order realize the design of life. In the end, this is indirect work towards enlightenment, as raising kids and having work responsibilities will definitely teach you about living for things beyond satiating your ego in the immediate future.

The idea that you “give everything up” is a quaint one, but it’s for glory. Nothing is actually given up, in fact. The Buddha may have given up on being a prince, but the truth is, it was never his destiny in the first place. So what did he give up exactly by giving up princehood? Nothing. Actually, all that happens as is that, as we evolve, we attract the reality that’s needed for us to continue evolving. If you are in a 9-to-5 cycle, don’t feel guilty about not being able to walk away from it all. If you were meant to do so, you would do it. You would overcome fear and nervousness and just do it. It’s quite possible, at this time, that you’re meant to be there. It might actually be your calling, or it might be something you need to experience in order to walk away from it later, kind of like knowing bondage so you can know freedom (because if you’re never bonded, you can’t understand what it’s like to not be free).

I personally know a few enlightened spirits with 9 to 5 jobs. One of them even works for the government, a soul-draining institution if ever there were one. This friend of mine recognizes that he has no special skills beyond what he’s doing, so he says to me “Sure, I’d quit, but what else would I do?”.

The truth of the human being is that the human needs to work. Even if you “gave it all up”, don’t kid yourself, you’d have to work. Either you’d panhandle, or you’d sweep the floor of the temple, or wash clothes at the ashram, and in your free time you would work towards awareness, but you would work. So what have you given up? In fact, all you’ve done is traded one form of work for another.

Seen from this perspective, the decision to “walk away from it all” isn’t really that big a deal. It’s merely a recognition that for your own evolution, you need to change environments. The current one is perhaps toxic, or it has finished giving you lessons. You recognize this by the fact that when it’s time, you won’t at all feel attached to the place you are.

And if you die on your death bed, regretting having never “walked away from it all” ? Well, that’s fine too. That’s the lesson you were meant to learn this time around.

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The Go-Round of Strength Training Books I’ve Read in 2012

By Samir | December 17, 2012

I’ve said it to my friends a hundred times and I’ll say it here now. Leaders are readers.

I purchased and read several strength training books in 2012, since this was my first full year of power lifting training. I thought I’d offer my thoughts on each one. For what it’s worth, the programs I tried this year were

1. Stronglifts
2. 5/3/1
3. The Ironsport Strength Method

I don’t want to make this a post on programming, but to be honest, every program I tried worked. Every single one of them increase all of my powerlifts. Did they all work equally well? No. But considering that 85% of your genetic potential is achievable in under a decade, they all work equally well in the long-run. My only caveat is that Stronglifts will stall you if you’re beyond the beginner level of adaptation, and then you’ll have to adjust the frequency meter on your squatting to make up for higher intensities. Yes, I of course learned, this the hard way from my knees and back.

In truth, as long as you’re smart about it, and hit a certain level of intensity and frequency, pretty much any programming works. Huge in a Hurry’s push/pull/legs works. 5/3/1’s micro-volume works if you go all out on the last set. Stronglifts works if you eat like a madman and sleep like a baby. The Ironsport Strength Method works if you eat like two madmen and sleep like four babies. It all works, if you just work hard.

I am disclosing what programs I ran because, well, you can take my review with the appropriate grains of salt. I can’t really tell you if Strength, Life, Legacy works because I haven’t tried it yet.

Anyway, that’s enough of a digression. On with the post:

Book #1: Strength, Life, Legacy by Paul Carter

I only recently discovered Paul Carter and I love his blog. He eschews us, as men, to become lions who fight to the death for our genes to be passed on; to be strong and in shape in order to do so. It’s a primal harkening to one of masculinity’s forgotten purposes: to be the ROCK. To be the provider, not just of iPods and Pizza Hut nights, but of an example.

It’s a great book with lifting philosophy, programs and injury protocols. The best program, without expermentation, appears to be Strong-15 based on a Chest/Shoulders, Back/Biceps, Legs powerbuilding split. I will probably try it eventually, but only once after my commitment of 12 months of 5/3/1 ends.

Highly recommended.

Book #2: The Ironsport Strength Method by Steve Pulcinella.

Small admission of bias here, I’ve actually been trained by Steve Pulcinella. This was, of course, before he got famous and started being followed by thousands on Fitocracy. Steve has owned one of the premier strength gyms in America for about 20 years now, and he’s a champion powerlifter and strongman competitor.

I loved the book. The program itself was a great program, a little on the animal side, which is a perfect reflection of Steve’s “train till it hurts and keep training” philosophy. I found 5/3/1 to be a bit more sane in that respect but I made gains in the Ironsport Strength Method regardless.

What’s great about the book is Steve’s personal anecdotes and his favorite assistance exercises. He goes through his exercises in great depth and with his usual infectious and self-deprecating personalities. A great read.

Book #3: Starting Strength, 3rd Edition by Mark Rippetoe

Rippetoe’s been a coach for 30 years, and I think this book has been around in various forms just as long. I only managed to get to it now. It’s a great “textbook”, in the sense that it often devolves into discussions of physics that would give my dad (incidentally, a physics teacher) a boner. I found it overkill from that point of view, but there are some overthinkers who really need to understand power, force, work, etc. This is THE book for them.

Where I enjoyed this book more was in Rippetoe’s justifications of strength training, his espousing of his philosophy and his elegant writing. I feel like it’s almost a shame he’s a barbell coach, he could easily outwrite 99/100 journalists I read. His style is direct, striking, concise, confident and precise. If you need a sample, take a look at his recent T-Nation controversy stroker on conditioning.

Obviously, this book contains his famous 3×5 program, itself inspired by Bill Starr’s 5×5 program. It’s a great novice program and truth be told, I’d wish I’d have found this book earlier on in my training. His description of the lifts is exactly what a beginner should read; in fact, I still go back to it from time to time just to make sure I’m doing it OK. I disagree with a few things on his squat, namely his hand positioning, but a picture-perfect Rippetoe squat is still 100% better than the usual squat I see in the gym.

Book #4: Stronglifts Manual v1
You can’t actually download Stronglifts V1. The site, once a fountain of information with a burgeoning community, has been closed to private (i.e., paying) members only. The PDF with the program has been updated to be more of a sales pamphlet. The V1 was a perfectly concise manual on the Stronglifts program without any, let’s excuse the expression, bullshit. If you can find it and are scared of the Power Cleans in Rippetoe’s program, this is a good alternate program.

Book #5: Powerlifting by Dan Austin
This is a great reference manual, focusing mostly on the technical aspects of each lift. A great book if you want a “no-nonsense” how-to on powerlifting, with some general, basic programs. There is an absolutely massive dearth of accessory lifts, complete with explanations of how to pick and program them. If you’re a free wheeler who doesn’t want to do any program except one of your own conception, this is a great book.

It’s also a good book for beginners in order to learn the sport, what’s expected and what will go on during a powerlifting meet (that’s why I bough it).

Book #6: 5/3/1 for Powerlifting

I loved the original 5/3/1 book so much, this was a bit of a let down. The big gist of it was to switch from 5/3/1 to 3/5/1 and there was a discussion on gear. I’m not sure it was worth it, but it was good to re-read all of the 5/3/1 concepts again. Many have commented that 5/3/1 or 3/5/1 doesn’t matter, strength gains will come.

There are a few “meet advice” and “peaking” sessions that are cool as well, but I don’t think any of it was ground breaking. IF you don’t own 5/3/1 and plan to compete in powerlifting, get this book, but if you own 5/3/1 and were curious about this one, I’d say it’s not really worth it.

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Paul Carter - Strength, Life, Legacy

By Samir | October 31, 2012

This book is available in eBook form and it’s seriously amazing. I will probably do a full review at some point but it’s worth a read if you care at all about being swole and strong.

It’s got the kind of wisdom and simplicity of thought that only 20 years of trial and error and success can bring you.

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Book Review: The Ironsport Strength Method

By Samir | August 25, 2012

Book Review: The Ironsport Strength Method

Released August 24, 2012, the Ironsport Strength Method (“ISSM”) is Steve Pulcinella’s first foray in the world of eBooks and eTraining. Pulcinella originally gained notoriety as the owner of Ironsport Gym, a black iron gym in Glenolden, PA. He later became gained a cult following as the “face” of the popular DYEL (“Do you even lift”) meme, a meme that’s used all over internet message boards to question if an interlocutor in a discussion regularly lifts weight.

The book is available for the moment as a PDF on EliteFTS (http://www.elitefts.com), though Steve says he’ll have some copies printed eventually for those of us who prefer last century’s format.

Introduction
ISSM is written in a very colloquial, informal style. The book opens with “The Fatty Fifty”, a tale from Steve’s childhood in which his gym teacher made him race “other fat kids” over 50 yards. The event traumatized Steve so much that he vowed to get bigger and stronger than everyone else.

The book moves on to discuss some of his inspirations, and some of his achievements as a powerlifter and a Highland Games competitor. Once you’ve gotten to know Steve, he starts discussing his philosophies on training.

Philosophies on Training
Steve is a larger-than-life guy, (I’ve met him), and it came as no surprise to me that his book has some larger than life ideas. He hates the term “overtraining” and prefers to tell people they’re working “over capacity” instead.

His key beliefs are: You need the right attitude to get stronger (“the dominator”), and the easiest way to get stronger is to just get bigger. As a man who was 270 by the time he was 19, Steve knows big.

On eating and supplementation, he believe 99% of supplements are bullshit.

On technique, he eschews picture perfect form. A throwback to the old strongmen of the past, Steve lived by the slogan “less form, more power”. He accepted the injuries that came with his high-volume, high-capacity, high-intensity style.

The Ironsport Strength Method
Steve stresses that this method is not for beginners. Upon reading it, I’d totally agree because it’s very high threshold and much of the emphasis is on singles and triples.

In short, for bench press, squat, shoulder press and deadlift:
Week 1: Work up to your one rep max, then back off and do 80% of it for 3×5
Week 2: Work up to a max triple (with or without chains), and then back off to 80% (or remove the chain) of that and do 3xAMRAP.

Week 3: 10 singles at 90-93% of your Week 1 max weight.

Week 4: 60% of your 1 RM, 5×5. Use bands if you want to.

Accessory Work
One of the first criticism of this book is that Steve talks about his favorite accessory exercises, and gives rep recommendations for each but doesn’t really provide programming information beyond 1 sample template.

As he says, it’s not for beginners. Self-programming accessory work may be OK for intermediate / advanced lifters who’ve become acquainted with their body’s parameters and their weak points.

ISSM vs. 5/3/1
Of all the programs out there, ISSM is going to draw most of its comparisons to 5/3/1, Jim Wendler’s insanely successful program. Having run 2 cycles of 5/3/1 and seeing improvements, I’d say ISSM has its pros and its cons vs. the Wendler program.

Both programs work on the 4 days/week method at their base and both of them focus on the 3 powerlifting movements and the (standing shoulder) press which most trainers include because of a raging hard-on for the movement (and it’s kind of cool to lift things overhead, I’ll admit).

Firstly, the sets are quicker as the weight isn’t changing on every working set. Secondly , there’s more high threshold work, unless you’re doing 3/5/1 for Powerlifting. On the downside it’s a lot less flexible than 5/3/1 because it’s programmed 4 days a week (5/3/1 can be done 2 or 3 days) and more of the sets are prescribed. Also, as 5/3/1’s been around longer, there’s endless volumes on how to tweak it for bodybuilding, for strength, fat loss, etc.

Conclusion
At 50 pages for $20, it’s not necessarily the best value but the ISSM is a cool program for those who like to train in the 5/3/1 style but with a lot more intensity. It’s got less community support and the accessory work is more vague, but chains and bands are directly programmed in it. For an intermediate or advanced lifter, it could be an interesting wrinkle - especially if said lifter is seeking more high-threshold work, or more volume at higher thresholds.

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Log - 1 May 2012

By Samir | May 1, 2012

L-Sit Chin-Up:
6 reps (+64 pts)
6 reps (+64 pts)
5 reps (+51 pts)
5 reps (+51 pts)

Power Clean:
115 lb x 5 reps (+43 pts)
115 lb x 5 reps (+43 pts)
115 lb x 5 reps (+43 pts)
still fuggin hate this movement. nothing feels less natural.

Barbell Squat:
45 lb x 10 reps (+37 pts)
95 lb x 10 reps (+52 pts)
145 lb x 5 reps (+61 pts)
195 lb x 5 reps (+86 pts)
220 lb x 5 reps (+102 pts)
220 lb x 5 reps (+102 pts)
220 lb x 5 reps (+102 pts)
270 lb x 3 reps (+115 pts)
270 lb x 3 reps (+115 pts)
270 lb x 3 reps (+115 pts)

Front Barbell Squat:
145 lb x 5 reps (+70 pts)
145 lb x 5 reps (+70 pts)
145 lb x 5 reps (+70 pts)

Dips - Triceps Version:
7 reps (+36 pts)
7 reps (+36 pts)
6 reps (+29 pts)
5 reps (+24 pts)

Running Stairs:
0:01:00 || Intense! (+12 pts)
0:01:00 || Intense! (+12 pts)
0:01:00 || Intense! (+12 pts)

Barbell Incline Bench Press:
45 lb x 10 reps (+34 pts)
95 lb x 10 reps (+48 pts)
145 lb x 5 reps (+57 pts)
165 lb x 5 reps (+65 pts)
165 lb x 5 reps (+65 pts)
165 lb x 5 reps (+65 pts)

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press:
50 lb x 7 reps (+36 pts)
50 lb x 7 reps (+36 pts)
50 lb x 7 reps (+36 pts)

Topics: Old Lifting Logs | No Comments »

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