Sign up for email updates!>>>

Friday, October 14, 2011

What I Read on the John

Because I have a little daughter that seems to get bigger and smarter every day, I try to spend as much time with her as possible.

However, I also know the importance of continuing to learn and develop.

So what I generally do is keep a couple of books near the porcelain throne in order to read them bit by bit and continue to learn without having to miss out on cool stuff with my daughter.

She says, "Uh Oh," every time she breaks a crayon or drops her bottle now, by the way...

We have two different bathrooms at my house, so these are the two things I am reading.

1. Vince Gironda, Legend and Myth - It' taken me a while to get through all of this book, since its 334 pages, but it is a pretty entertaining read.

Gironda seemed to go beyond what everyone else was doing back in his day.

For instance, Gironda instructs AGAINST using milk for protein shakes. He says Milk has too much carbohydrate, that it is incompatible because Protein is an acid medium and Carbs are alkaline.

He also says not use a blender for shakes because the blender emulsifies the fat and it becomes a "suspension too small for digestion." Instead, he suggests mixing protein with heavy cream, using a spoon, and then eating it like pudding.

Sounds freaking crazy, but everybody thought I was crazy for lifting the Two Hand Pinch apparatus the way I do. Now all the people that lift it like me are lifting way more than they used to and the people that say I am crazy are stuck at the same weight while I continue to push the record up.

Whether you think Gironda is bonkers or not, take this into consideration.

Gironda suggests an exercise for upper back development called High Bench Rowing where you lie face-down on a bench and row dumbbells in an abbreviated range of motion.

This sounds amazingly similar to a movement called a Bat Wing, described by the legendary Dan John in a T-nation article I read not too long ago. Dan John is also the author of the other book I am in the process of slowly digesting... (see below)

Look, if you are a person whose sole interest is Strength Training, then Gironda's Book is not for you, BUT if you are focused on muscle building in your training, there are probably some damn good gems in this book for you.

I mean, on page 164, it outlines Gironda's approach and method of Barbell Pressing for delt development. While many articles and guru's out there will tell you that Military Pressing should be done first as the primary way to train delts, he looks at it totally differently and says they should be done as a finisher and in a completely different way from anything I have ever read before.

If you have been thinking about getting this ebook, you should hurry because the Intro Sale is over tonight.

You can go here to get it = > Gironda Book

2. The other book I have recently started is a collaboration from Pavel Tsatsouline and Dan John called, Easy Strength. I have only just started this one, but considering the breadth of information both of these guys have put out, I'd bet this one is going to be awesome.

This one is more of an athletic strength training book and includes topics like training various degrees on 1 Rep Max, the use of Big Core Lifts, Program Design, Plyometrics, Lifting Heavy Weights, etc.

I will bring you more information on this down the road, as I have only had the opportunity to start this one recently.

Until then, have an outstanding weekend and all the best in your training.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Improving the Log Press

I recently posted a couple of video on improving the log press at my main site, You can see the full article here: Strongman Training Log Press Strength.

Included in the post were a couple of videos, which you can see below:

After posting these video clips, I got a few questions, which I answered via my newsletter, but because I have continued to get questions on these videos, I wanted to post them here as well.

Q: Why are you going so light on the band-resisted work?

Actually, the weight in the video is deceiving. The log
we are using is a homemade log built from scrap and
weighed 174-lbs empty. (We left it outside one night and
scrappers came by and stole it from us - bastards).

With the log being so heavy, and with me being so tall,
all that made sense to do at the time was the black
mini-band for the added resistance.

Band-resisted bench press is an exercise that countless
Powerlifters do in order to build strength for the bench
press. Generally, they keep the bar weight light and move
the bar against the bands with as much speed as possible.

This is of course possible with the log as well, if you
have a light enough log. For instance, with a light
enough log, you could attach bands and perform a
more strict version of the press with less leg drive and
put the focus more on the shoulders and triceps.

How we have it set up in that video, it focused on leg
drive and tricep strength, by having to really commit to l
ocking the log out.

The Log Against Bands was HUGE for me as a
competitor. I strongly suggest you try it if you are looking
to increase your Overhead Lifting.

Q: How would you go about adjusting the log
against bands set-up in order to increase or
decrease the resistance?

Good question. In the video, we have the bands attached
near the floor. We modified that squat cage by drilling
holes in its feet and putting in eye-bolts so that we could
easily connect bands.

A good way to be able to adjust the tension of the bands
is to change the location where they are rigged or choked.

For instance, you can choke the bands to the pins of the
squat cage in order to decrease the distance you are
stretching the bands. The higher the pins and the spot
the are rigged, the lighter the resistance will be and vice versa.

I use a slightly different set-up in the video labeled "||||"
on this page: Strongman Training

Q: Where are you training in those videos? It looks
like a garage, but not like your garage?

Yes, that is a garage we are training in, in a couple of
those videos. You see, up until about 2006 I did the
majority of my Strongman Training with about 3 to 5
other dudes in Sayre, PA. Back then we were competing
in Strongman, so we all met at my buddy, Jim "Smitty"
Smith's place to train.

I had a series of injuries late 2005 and 2006 and I decided
to stop competing in Strongman. Around this time, gas
prices started to go through the roof and I began putting
together my own garage gym at the end of 2006, so I
don't get up there much anymore.
(They don't come down here either, LOL)

Those guys also started training full time at a commercial
facility in Elmira NY, which is even further away, so I get
up to train with them even less these days, especially now
that I have a daughter.

Believe me, I miss training with those guys.
We are a group that loves giving it our all, pushing one
another, topping one another, and talking major
SMACK all at the same time.

Q: Is that a mullet in the Log Clean video?

No! That is not a mullet. I never had the balls to carve
a mullet out of it.

From 2005 to 2008 I had some pretty long hair. In fact,
I was traveling on red-eye flights one time and was given
service at an airport shop after hours because the guy
thought I was Triple H...

Triple H basically stole my look, even my chin-strap beard
that grew into a mustache.

Hopefully this Q and A section help you better
understand the reasoning behind what is going on in the
videos. If you have any other questions, let me know and I
will try to cover things in more detail in a future email.

For more information on Strongman Training, check out our DVD, below: