Wendler 531 Cycle one week two wrap-up

Another week in the books, here’s how it went down:

Press: Seven reps at 80kg wasn’t too bad (or good), but with massive DOMS from deadlifts (probably rack pulls, but who cares) the day before, I was ok with this. Real life forced me to train two days straight.

3 sets of 8 at 62,5kg as backoff. Good.

Bench was good and I also got to play around with a light band across the chest in a figure-8. Fun fun.

Back was fried, so the 6 sets of pendlay rows were shit. 5 sets of perfect WG pullups and some curls.

Standard thorough warmup with prehab, no mobility done.

Squat: Great session where I got to play with the joker sets a bit. Got the 8×145 in the program and went for a solid triple at 160. Felt great. Five sets of four reps of paused squat and RDLs, lunges and abs to end the session.

I’m really happy my squat is going well again, and my current programming seems pretty good. Yay. Only slight downside is that I’ve been getting massive three-day DOMS throughout this cycle. Oh well.

Bench: Easy 8×100 and decided to work up a bit 3x110kg and 3x120kg. Easy – technique was a bit off though. 5x4x77,5 paused bench was easy.

Support: A bit of pinkygrip bench with figure 8, strict paused pulldowns 5×10, strict BOR 5×10 and cheat T-bar rows 5×10, press 3×10 and tons of activation. Great fun.

Comment: program is obviously based on a low max which is fine. I need quality reps to improve technically..

Photo 30-08-13 15.45.15

Deadlift:Ā Got the 8×167,5kg easily. Then switched to sumo and continued up to 3x190kg and 3x210kg. Fine. šŸ™‚

Support: Rackpulls were easier than last week, and I decided to stick with fronts afterall. Three sets of ten. Finished up with some abs and sumo groin mob. Lovely.

Cardio: I haven’t been on my hill for ages, and what better cure than to do hill sprints on a sunday morning?Ā  Cleared my mind and my lungs up. Great.

Early morning sessions

While training early in the morning is by no means ideal, sometimes it’s only way you can find time to train. I train early in the morning about two times a week. Here are my tips for making it work:

Take your time. I know this may seem a bit contra-intuitive, but I suggest giving yourself at the very least 15 minutes to just sit and wake up at home. I prefer a good strong cup of coffee.

Warm up properly. An additional 5-10 minutes spent on the warm up will make a huge difference. Pay extra care to the spine – cat/camels are a must.

If possible, schedule your heaviest lower body work on days where you can train later in the day.

waking-up

Breakfast? I don’t eat anything. Your muscles should be filled with energy from the night before, so you don’t really need it. A piece of fruit or a small shake may be good for you though – just don’t overdo it. Also, a lot of people recommend 10-15g of BCAA for fasted sessions.

What I’ve found is that my energy throughout the day is better when I train in the morning. It probably costs me a bit of strength at the top end, but I can live with that. It definately takes a bit of getting used to, but after a week or two, you wont even feel the difference.

Best part is that when you occasionally get to train in the afternoon/evening, you’ll instantly be stronger. Yay. šŸ™‚

Oh yea one last thing – training in the morning is great, because the gym wont be too crowded.

 

 

Getting out of the hole

Hanging out with MMA beast Philip Fortuna yesterday, made me realize something – I haven’t done a blog post on one of my favorite lifts. You could argue that it’s not really a lift but more of a variation – a tempo manipulation or whatever – I don’t really care.

gunshow

Dig yourself out of the hole!

This exercise will help you:

  • Build power out of the hole in squat.
  • Improve positioning and tightness in the hole
  • Build glutes of doom!

You’ve probably figured out by now – I’m talking about the paused squat. Done with a 1-3 second pause at the botttom, the squat becomes an entirely different animal. Obviously, they can be done with even longer pauses, but that’s incredibly nasty.

Back to yesterday’s session – Philip has recently started all over on his squatting, to get better depth. Because of this, he has some issues finding a good bottom position. While slower eccentrics would also help accomplish this, it’s my experience that they (especially for an athlete) cause way too much soreness compared to paused squats.

Sitting in the hole with a big weight on your shoulders is a humbling experience and you’ll notice that just a second will feel like a lifetime. I have a love/hate relationship with this exercise – simply because I love the results.

I’ve found it works great at pretty much any level, to enforce a good strong and tight bottom position and give some lighter form work. Doing them as back-off volume is what I’d recommend.

What you DO NOT want to do, is do all your squatting paused. You want to do some kind of squats where you don’t break up the movement. This is a supportive exercise, not a main lift – treat it as such.

Key form pointers:

  • Big breath of air – stay super tight while pausing.
  • Keep chest up and upper back tight.
  • Explode (try to) out of the bottom – lead with the chest – not the ass.
  • Drop down into your bottom position and stay TIGHT – don’t wobble around and don’t cut the lift short so you can get a bounce after the pause.

Go dig yourself out of that hole!

hole

Dieting done right

We’re flooded with bad advice on dieting and temptations are everywhere. It’s no wonder so many people want to lose weight. However if you know where to look, the internet has loads of information on how to diet right.

A buddy and colleague of mine Philip decided he wanted to recomp a bit and up his awesomeness-factor. You can follow his journey here.

diet

So what is it exactly Philip is doing that is so “right”?

  • First and most importantly, he’s picked a sensible time frame. Everybody can focus on a goal for 30 days.
  • Clearly defined goals. Good goals too – get 8.5 hours of sleep, eat clean (high protein/greens, carbs around training, no booze) and train hard. None of this loose x kilos bullshit. Make the journey the goal and I promise you it’ll be much easier.
  • Daily blog posts. While this may seem weird to some, it’s all about accountability. Philip has told the entire internet and his 1300 “friends” on Facebook that he’s doing this. Obviously with so many people holding you up to your word, you’re gonna do everything in your power to stick with it.
  • NOT OVERCOMPLICATING! He’s not following some weird diet, counting calories or some other shit like that. I guarantee you that if you follow the above guidelines, your body composition will change for the better.

Three simple points (and a little bonus because I’m so generous), that’ll make your diet a lot easier.

Much love <3

Going on vacation part 3 – the training

Time for the good stuff, eh?

First of all, I wanna make something perfectly clear. When on a vacation, you’re DELOADING. That means, you’re not gonna follow your regular program and you’re not gonna expect to get a decent workout in. Hotel gyms are shit, so you’re gonna have to wing it. Here’s the main reasons for training on a vacation:

  • Avoid too crazy soreness when you return.
  • Peace of mind.
  • Keep weight in check.

So with that in mind, you’re gonna have to look at the equipment available and make the most of it.

vacation

Unless you’ve really struck out (this is why you brought bands for pushups/upper back and jump rope), you should have access to the following:

  • Treadmill: put on a nice incline and set it at 15-20kph. Do 15s on/45s off sets of sprints. 5-10 should be good. Warm up properly.
  • Benchpress: do 5 sets of 10 with a medium weight – get some blood flowing. Superset with barbell rows using same bar.
  • DBs up to 20ish KG. Usable for: High rep DB presses and chest-supported rows.
  • If you’re really lucky you’ll have a dipping/chinning station, if you do you should just camp there and do a ton of reps.

Stick to compound lifts, do 5 sets of ten and take really short breaks. You could even throw in a barbell complex if you have there’s room for it. Notice that I didn’t put in any legwork – sore legs and various activities is a bad match – keep your focus on the vacation part of “vacation training”.

Training on a vacation is supposed to be easyish and not take up a ton of time (or space in your suitcase). Get in, get it done and get back to the pool. Enjoy your vacation – you probably didn’t spend a fortune to go see the inside of a crappy hotel fitness room.

Going on vacation part 2 – packing list

You’re getting ready to go, but you’re wondering what to bring. Have no fear, the famous brother is here!!! šŸ™‚

luggage full and ready to travel

You can relatively easy and without having to bring another suitcase carry a few simple training tools on your vacation. This is what I’d recommend:

  • Lacrosse ball. This will come in handy after sleeping 2 hours in a shitty plane seat.
  • Foam roller. Either something similar to More Mile Beast Foam Roller 33cm, or a homemade PVC version. Doubles as safe storage if you buy anything fragile while away.
  • Gymboss or a similar timer.
  • A light and a medium band.
  • A set of straps – hotel gym bars are usually shit.
  • Jump rope.

One thing you’ll notice is that all of these things are light and don’t take up much space, yet they’ll allow you to get a bit of training and mobility work done.

Next part in this series will go more in-depth with the training itself. Stay tuned!

<3

Improving your genetics

About a month ago, somebody asked me a question, I actually get asked quite a bit. Are you just genetically gifted, or how did you get so big/strong?

fsea-genetics1

When I was a kid, I played badminton. I was pretty decent at it, but didn’t really put much effort in to training or competition. I was spoiled because the game was easy for me. At 15ish I started playing basketball. The majority of my team had played together since they were 8-10 years, and they were all A LOT more “talented” than I was. Within about six months I’d established myself as a started and I ended up being one of the more important players on the men’sĀ  team (on a bad team in a bad league, but still :)).

At a summer camp the national coach at the time said to me “you could be a good defensive stopper”. If you know basketball, you know that all coaches love defensive stoppers. It’s about as big as a compliment as you can get. Except for one thing. The offensive part of the game. I had none.

What I’d realized was that I had a “talent” and it was called working harder.

Flash forward to the recent question, I smiled at him and answered “My genetics are pretty good, but you know? The harder I work, the better they get”.

See there is a secret – I do have a secret. I keep showing up with consistency, day in and day out. Lack of talent or bad genetics is just a bad excuse – you can ALWAYS compete against yourself, you can always get better than you were yesterday.

Training hard without consistency is nothing. Genetics without training hard is nothing. It all starts with consistency. Consistently outworking everybody else, that’s the trademark of a champion.

Make it your mission to work harder, more consistently but also smarter than the next guy. Before you know it, your genetics will have improved.