Saturday, June 9, 2012

Are You Prepared for Plyometrics? Yes, And Everyone Has Lied To You

After my last post, I got some questions on when someone should begin incorporating plyometrics into their training. People asked questions like, "how much do I need to squat to safely do plyometrics?" and "what age can my kid start doing them?" and "jumping makes me ridiculously sore and its affecting my workouts, why do I suck?" and "I am a female athlete and don't want to blow out my ACL's, what jumps are best for me?"

There are answers to these questions. But, just like every other time in life you have a question about something, there is a heaping pile of bullshit that must be sifted through in order to find the real answers.

First off, when I am talking about plyometrics, I am not talking about this:

Any exercise you do in your living room in front of Christmas lights with your best workout bro without a shirt on is probably not good for you.

I am talking about explosive plyometrics. Exercises that require the use of boxes, weights, and the ability to turn off the little voice in your head that keeps screaming "NO, DON'T DO THIS!!!!" Not the exercises that are used in P90X or local "sculpting" group fitness classes. These exercises do not build speed and do not build explosive strength... which is all you should care about.

Before I get to the meat and potatoes of this thing, make sure your landing mechanics don't suck:

Now that you are all nice and mobile, we can now address all of the bull-shattery that surrounds explosive plyometric training.

I am a female/youth athlete/youth athlete coach, are plyometrics safe?

First off, yes/yes/yes. A smart, well coached, and well executed periodized strength training and plyometric program is not only safe, it greatly reduces the risk of ACL injury. Here are some excerpts from a recent review of plyometric training and how it relates to injury prevention in female athletes:

"However, Mandelbaum and colleagues (2005) placed 844 female soccer players between the ages of 14 and 18 in a sports-specific training intervention that occurred prior to their soccer practice. The intervention included a variety of plyometric exercises to improve core strength and balance. The authors compared this group to 1913 females who did not complete the intervention. They found that those in the intervention group had an 88% decrease in ACL injuries during the first year of the study and 74% in the second year compared with those in the control group."

"The use of plyometrics to reduce injury rate in female sports has for the most part been positively supported in research. Pfeiffer, Shea, Roberts, Grandstrand, and Bond (2006) implemented a twenty minute, twice weekly, plyometric-based training program with female high school athletes over a two year period. The training focused on deceleration from a sprint and the mechanics of landing from a jump during their respective seasons. The rate of non contact ACL injuries was not found to differ between those that completed the plyometric training and those who did not."

Not only do plyo's help reduce injury risk, or at the very least don't increase it, plyometrics may help speed recovery from an injury and return the athlete to sporting condition faster than not using plyometrics:

"Similarly, other studies that have assessed the inclusion of plyometric training on serious injuries have found that such training reduces the incidence among female athletes in multiple sports (Hewett, Lindenfeld, Riccoene, & Noyes, 1999), and can decrease impact forces and increase hamstring torques in jumping activities (Hewett, Stroupe, Nance, & Noyes, 1996). "

Wow. A specific method of training that helps reduce the risk of hamstring injuries. Since no athlete has ever hurt their hamstring ever, I guess you can just sweep plyometrics under the rug because they are too dangerous.

Some common sense thinking for youth athletes, male and female alike:

Most youth athletes are much smaller than older athletes. This lack of mass means a lack of ground reaction forces that come into play. This is why kids can run around, sprint, jump, throw, and do many complex sporting tasks for a very long period of time without getting too beat up or worn out. Want a practical example? If you have kids that play sports or coach kids in a sport, odds are you are taking them to a million different tournaments and camps throughout the season/offseason. No one gives a second thought about the ground reactive forces that are caused by sprinting, which can be upwards of 4 to 5 times your body weight, when they sign their kids up for a 4 day straight 29 game elimination tournament then rush home to get them back in time for their practice at school.

Hopefully this helped clear some stuff up. Now go jump on stuff, it's good for you!

Solum Per Exitum. Just a hop, skip, and a jump away!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Developing Reactive Strength To Get More Awesome At Stuff

This is one of the coolest things I have ever seen:

So is this:

Oh what the hell, this is cool too:

How does a 198lb man, Phil "Squatzilla" Harrington, achieve a squat almost four times his body weight? The primary answer is working your ass off for decades. The secondary answer is developing a ton of reactive strength.

What is Reactive Strength?

Reactive Strength is the ability to absorb force in one direction then rapidly apply force in a different direction. Using this definition, you can find practical applications of Reactive Strength in every facet of sport competition. Sprinting is one example:

Sprinting is a cycle of repeatedly falling and catching yourself. Let me make this very, very clear: there is no pushing off in a sprint. Gravity is the propelling force when running... yes, even your precious jogging. Even when you are walking, the only thing that is keeping you moving is gravity, reactive forces, and your bodies response to these forces. Think I am full of shit? Stand up right now. As tall as you can with your hips, knees, and shoulders locked completely out. Now, try to take a step forward without LEANING into it first. If a push off actually existed, you should just be able to start moving without any assistance from gravity. This is simply impossible. Even when competitive Olympic sprinters start with their feet in the blocks, there is no push off. There is only a concentric action of the hip flexor complex in order to catch the body off the blocks. Those blocks enable sprinters to begin falling before they start running. This way, they can pretty much start in the most optimal accelerating angle to develop the most speed possible in the shortest amount of time.

As you can see, the lead leg is driving out in order to make sure the sprinters don't smash all of their teeth out on the track. If a push off were necessary, or even possible, the blocks would be perpendicular to the ground. Instead, they are angles so that the sprinter can optimally catch after falling off the block.

Need more convincing? How about some science! Enter the Extensors Paradox:

Figure A:
This graph is showing the exact moment your quads stop producing force when you are running. The point at which concentric activity ceases is the moment the leg begins to travel BACK down to the ground. Once it contacts, the Ground Reactive Force is absorbed and then the quads must apply force to pull the leg back up to begin another cycle. If the quads were to somehow begin to actively push off the ground, the runner would end up with a toothless face full of dirt.

Figure 2:
Showing the reactive force being absorbed from the ground by the support leg.

Thus sprint/running speed/economy is completely governed by the runners ability to absorb and overcome reactive forces.

Jumping with a countermovent is another practical example seen in sport. Check this out:

When he is not climbing into the stands to beat up an opposing teams fans, he is actually a pretty good football player.

This is a perfect example of overcoming Reactive Forces and completely demoralizing an opponent just by sheer out-awesome-ing them. There are a lot of things in play here. The force he had to overcome to line-up on the defender after the spin, timing the jump perfect OUT OF A DEAD SPRINT, overcoming the horizontal displacement of that sprint, overcoming the landing force and accelerating to a sprint, then accelerating fast enough to out run everybody else for a good 40 yards.

I don't have anything else to say about that because it is just too awesome.

An often overlooked venue as far as development is concerned, Barbell Strength Sports require a TON (pun intended) of Reactive Strength.

Reactive Strength for Squatting

What exactly did Squatzilla do to get that 755lb un-equipped squat at 198lbs body weight? A lot of this:

Albeit, this is not a true reactive drill with the lack of countermovement, you get the idea: being explosive will get you stronger and being stronger will make you more explosive.

A more appropriate exercise example for squatting:

Hopefully, after my previous explanations, you understand why I dropped the weights on the floor. Those were 50lb dumbbells, if I remember correctly. The weights being in hand upon the landing meant I had to overcome my own body weight plus 100 extra pounds in order to jump to the higher box. Dropping the weights before take off creates an almost overspeed effect. Meaning that I still have to overcome the reactive force of landing (that is the force developed from my 280lb body weight plus the added 100lbs) and jump to the next box without the static weight of the 50lb dumbbells but against the extra reactive force that they developed. This variation is ideal for developing reactive strength for squatting because of the countermovement involved upon landing. It mimics the reversal of the weight after the eccentric phase of a heavy squat.

Other awesome variations:

This was my first time trying this exercise so there are a few problems with it. My contact time with the ground is too long (mostly because that bar weighs 75lbs) and my landing mechanics are really, really bad. My toes are turned out too far and this is causing my arches to collapse and my knees to cave in. Land these with your feet flat and toes forward. This is an excellent variation just because the second jump is forced from a position that almost exactly mimics the bottom or 'out of the hole' portion of a squat... again, assuming your landing mechanics don't suck.

Same thing but with dumbbells:

With a different displacement:

This one involved a broad jump. The horizontal displacement of the forward jump makes the vertical displacement of the box jump much more difficult.

There are about a billion other variations for squatting. Just get creative. The formula is simple:

Jump, land with a countermovement, jump. Keep track of height and weight records. Constantly varying up the exercises and working with increasing weights and heights will.

How Do I Implement Reactive Strength Exercises?

These drills require you to be pretty fresh in order to perform them optimally. With that in mind, you can just add them into your workouts, right after a thorough warm-up and before you being your main work for the day. The most common complaint I get about this recommendation is "Won't these make me too tired for the rest of my workout?" Yes... if you are ridiculously out of shape. If this is the case, I strongly recommend adding in Reactive Strength exercises to get in better shape.

Don't be an idiot. Warm-up, work up to reasonable weights and box heights, don't miss a box and kill yourself, and ease into training this way. Master the basics first. Make sure you can perfectly perform a body weight kneeling jump before you try to do one with a barbell on your back. Make sure you can jump to a given box height before you try to depth jump to it with a 75lb weight west on.

These do not have to be high volume to be effective. They just have to be high intensity. Start off with, after a warm-up, three tough Reactive Strength exercises. After a few weeks, work up to 6 tough jumps then establish a max on the exercise. I wouldn't recommend doing more than 12 total jumps, after a warm-up, especially if you are squatting or deadlifting heavy that day.

Jumping and explosive strength exercises for deadlifting are a little trickier because a deadlift does not have an eccentric portion... making reactive forces basically non-existent in the lift. I will write up a separate post on "Jumpin' on Stuff for Pullin' More Stuff" soon.

Good luck. And again, don't miss the box and kill yourself.

Solum Per Exitum... unless you can jump over it.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Supplements That Don't Suck: Pre-Workout's That Won't Make You Have a Heart Attack: Part 1: Jak3d Is Stupid.

There is a pretty big difference between real-life and training-life. For example, real-life problems are rarely solved with bench pressing...

... unless you are in a situation where you are trapped, holding a bed of nails under another guy who is bench pressing a telephone pole. If this is a common scenario in your life, I want to start hanging out with you.

Real-life is stressful, mind numbing, unsatisfying, and can seriously drag you down when needing to go full-blown Incredible Hulk in the weight room or on the field. If when it comes time to train for the day and you are dragging ass because your life is miserable, odds are, training will not be optimal that day. This leaves you with two options:

1. Burn all forms of identification, get expensive plastic surgery, and start a new life somewhere else (because you failed at the one you are living now).

or, and more practically,

2. Get a quality pre-workout supplement.

Here is a little disclaimer: I have no ties to any supplement companies... probably because I am outwardly loud spoken about how 99% of the stuff is bullshit anyway. Also, I would never recommend anything that I wouldn't take myself. Which, as you are about to find out, the list of things that I consider worth taking is not very long. Time to start up the Bullshit Detector:

Jak3d... and Pretty Much Everything Else With DMAA

This is really going to piss off every meathead on Earth because you can't walk into any gym in America without seeing at least one jerk-ass chugging this stuff out of a shaker cup. Even though the 'hardcore' looking label spouts all of the University baked research to prove Jak3d is the bees knees, the main active ingredient, 1,3-dimethylamylamine(DMAA), leaves me with some questions.

Question#1: What does DMAA do?


Basically, DMAA raises your rate pressure product(a way to measure stress on the heart, i.e. higher=dying) and blood pressure... two things that can be accomplished, sans laboratory grown amphetamines, by doing a 10 minute warm-up. The thing that interests me about this study is the conclusion:

"Conclusion: We report for the first time that acute ingestion of 1,3-dimethylamylamine alone and in combination with caffeine results in an increase in SBP, DBP, and RPP without an increase in HR. The largest increase is observed at 60 minutes post-ingestion of C + G 75 mg. These changes cannot be explained by circulating plasma norepinephrine and epinephrene."

This tells me that the laboratory scientists that do research and conduct studies for a living, HAVE NO IDEA WHAT DMAA DOES. All they concluded was taking DMAA put more stress on your heart by completely avoiding the normal mechanisms that cause stress on your heart. This is absolutely terrifying to me. I compare it to sitting down and looking at the most delicious cheeseburger ever created and it was made just for me. Then all of a sudden, the burger disappears and I get the shitty, post-gigantic cheeseburger, can't move or breathe normally for a few hours feeling without even getting to enjoy a single bite.

Question#2: But, I'm a dumbass meathead and don't care about my health, will DMAA help me perform better?
No, dumbass:


Question#3: Will it cause me to fail a drug test?

Although DMAA is not a World Anti-Doping Agency banned substance, it will show up positive for amphetamines:


Question#4: But, everybody I know is taking it. How can it not work?

Well, either everyone you know is stupid or they are secretly going to underground raves and dance clubs all night.


Yes, that says DMAA is a common 'party-pill'... this pretty much explains that stupid Techno Viking video, I guess:

Just down some Jak3d, it will make all 10 hours of that video go by much faster.

Question#5: I just had my first Cardiac Event from Jak3d. What do I do now?

Go here and join the ever growing list of other people Jak3d and DMAA is killing:

Hated on Jak3d a little longer than I planned. Part 2 will cover things that will actually help, not just shit talking on what won't.

Solum Per Exitum.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bench Press Technique- Upper Back Bad-Assery

Made a video on how to arch your upper back and where your pressure should be distributed under a heavy bar. Suck it, gravity:

Solum Per Exitum... might as well bench your way out.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Breaking News: Strong Triceps Are IN This Summer... So, Bench More Right Now.

Quick post about an awesome exercise. Here is the video:

Yes, the bar is touching my throat with every rep. This is kinda like a JM Press just with and extended ROM and increased chance of death. Death is a small price to pay for a huge bench press.

Sorry for my fat face.

Solum Per Exitum.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Only WOD That Matters...

Want to tone those upper body muscles? Want swole, ripplin' biceps with elevator cable sized veins to show off to yourself in the mirror at the gym/in your shirtless cell phone facebook profile picture... that you update every 5 minutes? Want those sexy, toothpick thin arms you see all you favorite celebrities sporting because the adaptation of their gag reflex has caused them to have to jam their entire arm down their throat in order to stimulate the release of the hand full of celery and fat free peanut butter they gorged themselves on? You would certainly need too after you go one calorie over your three calorie a week diet.

Well, this workout does none of these things. Don't worry though, your inability to move your arms up to your mouth will not impede the possibility of puking your guts out...

... especially if your guts are made of 5/8inch galvanized chain.

I affectionately call this the Murder Log:

Using a Strongman Log- Load the bar with 187lbs (or close to it) for Men, 100lbs for Women and do 30 Clean and Presses in the fastest time possible.

Then go immediately to:

Dumbbell Benching- Pick a weight and bench it for 10 minutes straight.

Multiply the time it took to complete 30 reps by the weight you used for benching.

Multiply that number by 150. The product equals the number of calories you now have to eat (within an hour of finishing the workout) in order to not die in your sleep the evening after completing the two exercises.

For example, here are my numbers:

8 minutes and 45 seconds for the log (8.45) x 30lbs for the benching (30) x 150 = a 16inch meat lovers Stromboli and a gallon of gatorade... then the remaining 30,000 calories were from whole sticks of butter and baconators.

Disclaimer: If you make it through the workout, then you are awesome. If by some freak genetic anomaly you are able to eat the amount of resulting calories from the above equation, then you are my hero.

Solum Per Exitum.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Research That Doesn't Suck: Heavy Weight is Bad for Your Back

... Only if you think having a weak/hurt back is good for you. A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research looked at two elite level, female powerlifters in order to determine if their bone mineral density levels were higher than that of the rest of the awful, weak, piss poor excuse for a human being population. Both women have more than 30 years of competitive powerlifting experience, are lifetime drug free athletes, and are apparently two of the most bad ass middle aged women on the planet.

Lumbar spine, femoral, and various other hip measurements were taken and compared to previously established norms

The first women, 48 years old, showed bone mineral significantly higher than the average for both men and women at her age. The second women, 54 years old, registered the highest bone mineral density ever recorded for a female regardless of age.

Why are their bones so much stronger than the porous little toothpicks keeping your body upright? The answer is an awesome principle called Wolffs Law. This states that any force that causes a bone to go under tension or bend, like when you are underneath world record squats all the time, osteoblasts (cells that are responsible for new bone formation) are stimulated and new bone grows in order to adapt.

Let me recap: these two women have been lifting heavy weights and winning trophies for the majority of their lives. Osteoporosis and lower back problems are a non-issue if your bones are thicker than Redwoods.

For all of you research nerds out there saying how this doesn't mean anything because it is only a Case Study and only involved two subjects, stop being such a butt-head. Somewhere out there, a 54 year old women will kick your ass for questioning these findings.

Stop screwing around. Go lift something heavy. Your bones are begging for it.

Solum Per Exitum... and it's easier when your bones are break-proof.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bragging a Little Bit

Just got back from the Arnold Sports Festival where I competed in the GNC Pro Deadlift Competition. Here is how I did:

Had the 5th best bodyweight coefficient and finished the 4th best in total weight (815). If I hit that 832lbs that I missed by an inch, I would have gotten the 2nd place for total weight and the third place for bodyweight coefficient. Oh well, maybe next year.

Solum Per Exitum.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mobility Awesomeness

Pretty much everything Kelly Starret puts on youtube and his blog,, is awesome. Every once in a while, his stuff is super awesome. His most recent video definitely falls under the 'super-awesome' category:

A lot of lifters and athletes have very lousy ankles from years of hard running, jumping, and just the basic demands of their given sport. A general rule I like to follow is if you can't squat well, then you probably can't run well. And you definitely have bad landing mechanics. And probably just aren't a good person in general. Just kidding... but not really. So fix your f-ed up ankles and become a better human.

Solum Per Exitum.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Supplements Worth Buying: ZMA

Even though the verdict is still out on whether or not delivers on the whole "Test Booster, Brah!" marketing campaign the supplement companies are pushing; ZMA should be a part every athlete's (including ones without testicles) nutrition plan.

Zinc does some pretty awesome stuff in your body. The most impressive of which is how it helps regulate RNA and DNA metabolism. In other words, zinc helps to not only create new proteins but regulates exactly which new proteins to make. Some research has shown supplementing with zinc helps speed recovery from injuries. Also, zinc may have some serious anti-oxidant properties.

Magnesium is also important for the manipulation of RNA and DNA. Magnesium is one of the heaviest minerals we can ingest so our body uses it to fortify many important cells and cell structures. Also, magnesium is vital for the formation and health of ATP (in scientific terms, running out of ATP would put you up shit creek without a paddle).

One third of the humans on this planet have a zinc deficiency and half of all Americans have a magnesium deficiency. So, odds are, you will be able to benefit from a product that contains specifically these two minerals.

Like I mentioned before, ZMA is marketed as a natural testosterone booster. There is one study that confirms this claim and significant increases in testosterone and muscular strength were observed throughout an 8 week study done on a group of division I football players. Sounds good, right? This exact combination of zinc, magnesium, and b6 must be some secret x-factor some meatheaded-savant chemist developed and is now the legal magic bullet for all things related to strength and athleticism?!?!?!... or they got those results because the guy running the study also owns the lab where ZMA was originally developed... Oh. That sounds more realistic.

An interesting side effect of ZMA was noted in several studies:

Most subjects noticed increased sleep quality. No one is really too sure why this happens. I can speak from personal experience that I sleep like a baby when I consistently take my ZMA. Using some common sense and some basic metabolism, you could draw the conclusion that those subjects who experienced a deeper, higher quality sleep also had higher concentrations of growth hormone (GH releases in small, pulsitile rhythms when in deep sleep) after supplementation. No study has confirmed that, however.

You aren't going to take it and wake up like the Hulk the next day but ZMA may be a good tool to keep in your tool box. Hard training athletes should do everything they can to improve sleep quality to ensure adequate recovery between sessions and to do everything they can to not wake up and have a day like this:

It's good stuff. Go get Some.

Solum Per Exitum.

Research That Doesn't Suck: Protein

No. You are not eating enough protein. Yes. You should eat more. No. A high protein diet is not bad for you.

Just wanted to share some thoughts on a research article I read recently regarding a bunch of Korean bodybuilders that eat, on average, a little over 400g of protein a day. The USDA recommends that most humans should have only .8g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. The mean weight of the bodybuilders was about 95 kilograms. Since I am American and have no idea what a kilogram is, that comes out to about 209lbs. According to the USDA, basically anything over 75-105g of protein a day will lead to renal failure, peeing out dragons, heroin addiction, unexplained teeth shifting, and whatever other made up conditions they pulled out of their ass.

To sum up the study, these guys are taking in over 4x to 5x the recommended amount of protein per day, are in excellent shape, aren't pissing out extra protein, aren't storing extra protein as fat, and don't have failing kidneys.

The moral of the story? Stop listening to that guy at the gym that tells you eating too much protein caused his spleen to compound rupture on the elliptical machine and start researching so you can make that guy feel like a dumbass the next time he opens his mouth.

Check out the study yourself right here:

Solum Per Exitum.

Performance Nutrition: Kill-Proof Your Body

If you are looking for quick and easy tips to get ripped, shredded, and sport that ever so desirable six-pack, chiseled out of stone physique then you've come to the wrong place. Go do Paleo and Fran yourself to death:

Don't get me wrong, I am not knocking CrossFit at all. The dieting and programming works for the purpose of their competitions. I am, however, leery of a sport whose unofficial mascot is a dying clown that just prolapsed his colon and shit out a kidney:

Anyway, this post is not about CrossFit. This post is about performance nutrition to maximize sport performance and weeding out the plethora of bad information that athletes are being fed (pun intended). I can't even count how many times a day I get this: "How do I get rid of this gut but still get bigger... but not not too much bigger, I don't want to get bulky and look like those freakshow body builder guys. Actually, I don't wanna get bigger, I just want to lean out... but, you know keep the muscle I've got... you know. I just want to show off the muscle I've got but, without getting bigger."

I don't know where this comes from. The media? Pro athletes? Actors? Actresses? It doesn't matter. What does matter is this weird, misdirected quest for what most people perceive as the 'perfect body' has spilled over into the world of sports nutrition. It has made so much of an influence that I hear strength athletes bitching about their love handles after they just squatted a personal record.

Now, I am not saying everyone needs to get fat and awful. I am saying just the opposite. Every athlete should only be concerned with one singular variable throughout their entire sporting career: Efficiency.

Most of the time, the most efficient body type is not one that mimics a borderline anorexic. We, as a society, have been conditioned to accept that aesthetics are the number one determining factor of whether or not an individual is an 'athlete.' They could perform terrible on the field or in the competition, but at least they look good while they stand in last place and get a participation trophy.

"But what about (insert jacked professional athlete here)?" It's their job. They get paid to play. If it were your high paying job to be a physical specimen, you would probably be pretty good at it too. Also, most of these guys/girls were born with a 12-pack, superior genetics, and were brought into this world running a sub-4.5 40 yard dash. A prime example of this is a guy who has been wrecking his opponents for a long time. Here is a picture of Vernon Davis...
... when he was in high school.

I am assuming those reading this are part of the other 99.9999% of the Earth's population so here are some Performance Nutrition tips based off of some common questions that I get.

I can't gain weight, even though I eat a lot.

This is more common in younger male athletes and basically all male strength sport enthusiasts. My first recommendation is always the same... the JM Blakely diet:

Breakfast: Got to McDonalds, get at least 4 breakfast sandwiches, get 2 packets of mayo for each sandwich, and eat it all.

Lunch: Go to a buffet (Chinese food is best) and eat as much food as you possibly can in 20 minutes. Seriously, load up like 5 plates, get a stopwatch, and eat for 20 minutes straight. If you stop eating, you aren't trying hard enough.

Dinner: One large pizza with whatever toppings you want, meat encouraged. Before you eat the entire large pizza in one sitting, dump a bottle of olive oil on top of it.

For those keeping score, this is about 11,000 calories and a carb/fat/protein split of 33/33/33... the extra 1% is the added awesome-ness eating like this will bring to your life.

The first thing people say is "Well, I don't want to get fat." Well, then you don't really want to gain weight. Diet and eating programs that offer lean gains without adding any fat to your skinny bony frame are just trying to sell you something. Want to know why people get RIPPED on P90X? Because the diet plan that goes along with it is borderline starving yourself to death. The intense training that goes along with the program causes Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption for up to 36 hours after the training has ceased. Coupling that with the anorexia like eating plan that goes along with it and you get SWOLE. The problem is, anytime you lose any fat you look better. When you lose a lot of fat, like when you are starving to death, you look like your muscles have gotten bigger. This shit is not rocket science. It's MUSCLE CONFUSION!!!!!

Muscle needs calories to grow. More muscle than you currently have needs more calories to grow. If you want to get bigger, eat more. Time it out to take advantage of the natural biorhythms we, human beings, have developed. Ever wonder why you are heavier in the winter time? It's not because it's too cold to go jogging (please tell me you don't jog), it's because we are genetically programmed to store as much as possible when the weather gets colder. This is from thousands of years of hunting and gathering. Simply, we couldn't go out and hunt for food in the cold weather. So, as a result, even with tombstone pizza's and McDonalds available, we still get fatter to survive the winter.

So, to recap: you don't have a fast metabolism. You just aren't eating enough. It's easier to store the foods you are eating in the winter so go nuts with your eating and training during the coldest months of the year. Are you a numbers person? Dammit. Ok:

Protein: Shoot for 1.5g to 2g per pound of body weight a day. Sounds like a lot? See. You aren't eating enough. Split this with your carbs and fats and shoot for a 33%/33%/33% distribution. A lot of people will say eating 33% fat is high. As long as it's good fat, fat doesn't make you fat. Carbs do. Which brings me to the next scenario:

I've tried everything and can't get ripped!

I will turn this over to strength enthusiast, self-proclaimed professional dumbbell curler, and, most importantly, toned Paul Bocian:

I don't know who the 'boys' are but, this guy is JACKED!

Just in case there's anyone left who didn't kill themselves after watching that, which I would completely understand if you did, I will continue with my gettin' ripped plan.

The only thing that matters in regards to burning fat is controlling your insulin. People will argue this saying "but a calorie is a calorie, you need to eat less!" Ok, here is an experiment you can run on yourself: Eat 2,000 calories in fruit loops everyday for 6 months. If you are still alive at the end of the 6 months, switch to 2,000 calories of lean meat and veggies everyday for 6 months. Which one makes you feel better? Which one makes you look better? There will be a very big difference.

Anyway, your body has natural daily circadian hormonal rhythms. Insulin is lowest in the morning, highest in the evening for normal healthy people. Common sense/human metabolism tells us that when insulin (anabolic) is low, cortisol (catabolic) is high. In other words, training your ass off on an empty stomach (food elevates insulin when you eat it) first think in the morning takes advantage of the ideal fat burning conditions in your body. I am not talking about plodding along on a treadmill right after you wake up. I mean do a Tabata, push a heavy sled, load up a barbell and do some sort of interval training, hop on a spin bike and go 15 second sprint/45 second rest for 20 minutes, whatever. It just has to be hard and you should feel like you are going to die when its over. So, how should you eat the rest of the day? Much like the recommendations above except shoot for 1g to 1.5g of protein per pound of body weight, then split up your macronutrients 33/33/33 based on that protein number.

Sounds about the same as the gaining weight plan, right? Well, here is the difference:

You are only allowed to eat carbs after you train. On days you don't train, you don't eat carbs and you split protein and fat 50/50 to make up for the caloric deficit.

The next obvious question is: "What are my good choices?" This is easy, imagine the food pyramid. Now imagine dumping gasoline all over it and lighting it on fire.

With that out of the way, here is your new food... umm... triangle?

Protein: Meat.
Carbs: Anything without gluten or sugar. Veggies don't count and you should eat 50 cups a day.
Fat: Healthy oils, nuts you aren't allergic too, and natural peanut/almond butter.

What About Science?

A lot of people are going to read this and start going nuts over whatever research is popular this month. Whatever eight week study some jerk-ass in a lab coat did in a laboratory sponsored by whatever company will yield the greatest cash benefit based on the tampered with results.

He just cured cancer with Splenda... at Splenda Labs... in Splenda, Arizona... his name is Dr. Splenda.

Well, here you go:

I am running a life long experiment on how I can kick the most ass before I die. An eight week, eight month, or eight year study under controlled conditions will not be able to tell anyone what is good for anybody in regards to sport, health, and life performance.

Are my recommendations perfect? Not by a longshot. Are they a good guideline for people who have failed with other plans? I have no idea. I am just sharing what I have seen work for myself and others I train/train with. So, before you start sending me mail bombs and burning diet books in my front yard, keep in mind these are helpful guidelines. Theres are not the end all, be all, x-factor of whatever you are training for.

Take Home Message

The keyword in the title of this post: Performance. Performance in life. Performance on the field or on the platform. Performance to not be that asshole that has to ask how the grilled chicken is prepared when you go out to eat with a group of friends.

Here is what you should do, regardless of what diet you follow or what your goals are: Eat a ton of real food. Meat, veggies, fruits (I don't understand how people can stomach them though), and water. Doing this most of the time will allow you to splurge every once in a while without ill-effects. Personally, I eat pretty clean about 95% of the time. Maintaining my petite 280lb frame requires 2 or 3 triple baconators every now and then. But, because the rest of my life is in check, my blood work is perfect, my cardiac enzymes are perfect, I am not a lumbering un-athletic fat guy, and my performance in my sport (powerlifting) is always improving.

You are what you eat. So, don't eat like a weak, fat, idiot.

Solum Per Exitum.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Lower Leg Positioning For Mind/Bar Bending Squats

This never stops being funny:

The second attempt went a little better:

Well he made it out alive. I wish there was a third attempt video but no one on Earth is so stupid as too... oh, shit:

He is way too fit to ever get hurt lifting weights so don't worry, he will be fine.

Squattin' Better:

Had some thoughts while warming up for Dynamic Squats the other day. Here is a detailed explanation and an example of what your lower leg should be doing while you squat. Also, I included a little external rotation drill to help un-sticky-meat your lower leg:

Enjoy your new found squatting strength.

Solum Per Exitum.

Stop Walking Like a Dumbass

He could probably get it off just fine if he took the lollipop out of his mouth.

Take a good look at that picture. Most people look even dumb(er) when they walk. This goes on the list I have of about a billion things parents, teachers, and coaches never bother to mention while we are growing up. Especially in sports, being able to go in a straight line without blowing your ACL's out is fairly important when it comes to in-sport performance. Also, training for a team sport that involves a lot of moving around and running is a whole lot easier when you aren't in a wheelchair. Here are two awesome mobility wod's ( that will, hopefully, get you thinking about correcting your gait.

Pose Walking:

Sandals- stop being a dirty hippy:

That's all for this one. Fix your feet.

Solum Per Exitum... it's much faster in a straight line.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Loading Errors: Bench Press- Instant Increase in Your Press

For some reason, everyone loves bench pressing. Personally, I hate it. My arms are a mile long and I have the wrist complex of an 8 year old girl. This makes pressing heavy weight and constant progress very hard/frustrating. I don't care though because I have to bench due to it being one of Powerlifting's three disciplines. Also, I need to keep up my street cred with the local meathead gangs that wonder the streets at night:

See what I did there?

Regardless of my giraffe like physique, I bench press anyway and so do you and everyone you know, most likely... if they don't, de-friend them immediately, get your shit together, and start hanging out with decent human beings. Besides, if someone doesn't care deeply about their bench press, they are probably a communist.

Even with every ones love affair with the bench press most lifters do everything all wrong. Just a reminder of good bench set-up coaching cues:

-Shoulder blades retracted as hard as you can for the entire duration of your set. Once you think you are as tight as you can possibly get... get tighter than that.
-Keep your ass on the bench. Nothing awesome was ever done in a position that mimics a sick cat taking a shit.
-Guide the bar with your elbows, not your hands. Tuck your elbows slightly during the eccentric, press YOURSELF AWAY FROM THE BAR until the bar is completely locked out.
-Bar path (straight up or back over your face) is a very individual variable. Do whatever causes you to move the most weight.
-When set-up, drive through your legs, hard. Focus all of the tension in your body onto the top of your traps/back of your neck. This combined with keeping your scaps retracted should make it so someone could drive a freight train into your gym, crash into you head-on, and, once the disaster management team cleans up all the dead people that were on treadmills, you will still be in a strong pressing position. In other words GET TIGHT!!!!

The rest of this post is broken up into 2 videos. Both show corrections for load errors and will INSTANTLY put pounds on your press.

Part 1:

Part 2:

There you go. Hope this helped. Now there is no reason to not go smash some big weights.

Solum Per Exitum.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

"Solum Per Exitum"

Good information is a tool. Being well informed with good information can help you to build and maintain whatever it is you want out of life in the most optimal, logical way possible. Being well informed with bad information is more like a weapon of mass destruction that keeps detonating in your hands.

The Internet is filled with bad info experts that couldn't care less about you or what you want to accomplish. They are in the business of sounding just smart enough to confuse you into buying a book or a seat at a seminar. This blog is going to be a wealth of the best FREE information on sports training, strength training, conditioning, performance nutrition, sarcasm about the stupid shit people do, and just generally how to be a badass human being.

I started the death to fitness blog with a desire to help regular people with diet and exercise advice because of all of the crap that is spewed out on TV, in the news, and on the Internet. This blog will basically be a compendium of bad-assery. In no facet of life is there more bullshit than how to train optimally for any kind of sport competition or strength related goal. Here is a brief summary of the next 100 posts or so:

I am working on a ton of stuff for this and am very excited to get some serious information out that will actually help people.

In the meantime, something to think about... "Solum Per Exitum." This is the attitude you need to have and disposition you need to be in to read this information, understand it, and kick as much ass as possible between right now and the moment AFTER you have worked hard enough to be victorious. You need to be the kind of person to understand there is no quick fix or magic bullet. There is no easy way. The destination is greatness but the journey is a trip through Hell. "Solum Per Exitum" means "The only way out is through."

Getting some video together, getting some info together... feel free to comment on here or shoot me an email with anything you guys want to discuss in future posts. More soon...

Solum Per Exitum