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  • July7th

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    Mark Watts wrote an article for EliteFTS about his experience at the last seminar – you can read the entire article right here.  Here is a small sample of the article:

    They call us Virgin Killers

     

    In the Spring of 2005, I got a phone call in my office at the ODIA weight room at West Point. It was before I had lifting groups that  day  and was surprised to hear it was Jim Wendler on the other end. I had filled out a coaching questionnaire at elitefts and Jim apparently thought it wasn’t shitty. I also listed some of the guys I had been learning from in terms of my own powerlifting career which ended up to be mutual connections. I was traveling an hour down the road to lift with John Bott once a month and also driving to Nazareth, PA to lift with Bobby Fields at Mike Miller’s gym.  From then on, Jim and I have been friends and I visited him as much as I could.  I would bring my interns from Denision over to see him. I’ve seen first hadn the impact Jim has had on so many lifters and coaches. Some of the best advice I got from Jim wasn’t training related.  Right before my first daughter was born in the summer of 2009, I got a call from Jim (most of the time I called him) when I was teaching Physical Education for the Upward Bound program at Columbus State. I asked him about fatherhood and he told me two things.

    1. Being a Dad was easy. Jim told me kids just need you to pay attention to them. Sit on the floor and play with them. Just spend time with then and everything else will fall into place.

    2. Everything else in your life will bump down the priority list. All the non-essential bullshit will fall of the bottom. Things become easier because less things matter.

    As we are getting ready for our third this Fall; I realize he was absolutley right on both accounts.  I texted Jim on Friday of the Powerlifting experience and invited him over. I knew he would want to see Dave, Vincent, and Rhodes. I let him off the hook and said we would be expecting his infamous “Irish Exit” at some point.  Bottom line is, it was great to catch up and I am glad he got to see a lot of people and meet some new ones for the first time. As he was leaving, we were talking about doing the right thing and making an impact on people. He had given me this quote from Gandhi of all people.

    “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” – Mahatma Gandhi

    Whether you think you are making a difference in someone life or not, you still need to follow through and do it. Help others become better even if they don’t follow through on their end. You never know the impact you are having on people so don’t stop being the person you want others to strive to be.

     

    You can keep reading the article if you care to know what Mark learned from Rhodes and Darden – but I know Rhodes very well.  And recently met Clint Darden.  So good luck with that.

     

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  • June23rd

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    Building The Monolith – 5/3/1 For Size

    Week One

    Monday

    • Squat – 70×5, 80×5, 90×5, 90×5, 90×5, 90×5, 90×5
    • Press – 70×5, 80×5, 90×5, 70xAMRAP
    • Chins – 100 total reps
    • Face Pulls/Band Pullaparts – 100 total reps
    • Dips – 100-200 total reps

    Wednesday

    • Deadlift – 70×5, 80×5, 90×5, 90×5, 90×5
    • Bench Press – 70×5, 80×5, 90×5, 90×5, 90×5, 90×5, 90×5
    • DB Rows – 5 sets of 10-20 reps
    • Curls – 100 total reps

    Friday

    • Squat – 70×5, 80×5, 90×5, 45% x 20
    • Press – 10 sets of 5 reps @ 70%
    • Chins – 5 sets of 5 reps (weighted)
    • Face Pulls/Band Pullaparts – 100 total reps
    • Shrugs – 100 total reps

     

     

    Week Two

    Monday

    • Squat – 65×5, 75×5, 85×5, 85×5, 85×5, 85×5, 85×5
    • Press – 65×5, 75×5, 85×5, 65xAMRAP
    • Chins – 100 total reps
    • Face Pulls/Band Pullaparts – 100 total reps
    • Dips – 100-200 total reps

    Wednesday

    • Deadlift – 65×5, 75×5, 85×5, 85×5, 85×5
    • Bench Press – 65×5, 75×5, 85×5, 85×5, 85×5, 85×5 , 85×5
    • DB Rows – 5 sets of 10-20 reps
    • Curls – 100 total reps

    Friday

    • Squat – 65×5, 75×5, 85×5, 55% x 20
    • Press – 10 sets of 5 reps @ 50%
    • Chins – 5 sets of 5 reps (weighted)
    • Face Pulls/Band Pullaparts – 100 total reps
    • Shrugs – 100 total reps

     

    Week Three

    Monday

    • Squat – 75×5, 85×5, 95×5, 95×5, 95×5, 95×5, 95×5
    • Press – 75×5, 85×5, 95×5, 75xAMRAP
    • Chins – 100 total reps
    • Face Pulls/Band Pullaparts – 100 total reps
    • Dips – 100-200 total reps

    Wednesday

    • Deadlift – 75×5, 85×5, 95×5, 95×5, 95×5
    • Bench Press – 75×5, 85×5, 95×5, 95×5, 95×5, 95×5, 95×5
    • DB Rows – 5 sets of 10-20 reps
    • Curls – 100 total reps

    Friday

    • Squat – 75×5, 85×5, 95×5, 55% x 20
    • Press – 10 sets of 5 reps @ 75%
    • Chins – 5 sets of 5 reps (weighted)
    • Face Pulls/Band Pullaparts – 100 total reps
    • Shrugs – 100 total reps

    Week Four (adjust TM for the squat, deadlift, press and bench press)

    Monday

    • Squat – 70×5, 80×5, 90×5, 90×5, 90×5, 90×5, 90×5
    • Press – 70×5, 80×5, 90×5, 70xAMRAP
    • Chins – 100 total reps
    • Face Pulls/Band Pullaparts – 100 total reps
    • Dips – 100-200 total reps

    Wednesday

    • Deadlift – 70×5, 80×5, 90×5, 90×5, 90×5
    • Bench Press – 70×5, 80×5, 90×5, 90×5, 90×5, 90×5, 90×5
    • DB Rows – 5 sets of 10-20 reps
    • Curls – 100 total reps

    Friday

    • Squat – 70×5, 80×5, 90×5, 50% x 20
    • Press – 12 sets of 5 reps @ 60%
    • Chins – 5 sets of 5 reps (weighted)
    • Face Pulls/Band Pullaparts – 100 total reps
    • Shrugs – 100 total reps

     

     

    Week Five

    Monday

    • Squat – 65×5, 75×5, 85×5, 85×5, 85×5, 85×5, 85×5
    • Press – 65×5, 75×5, 85×5, 65xAMRAP
    • Chins – 100 total reps
    • Face Pulls/Band Pullaparts – 100 total reps
    • Dips – 100-200 total reps

    Wednesday

    • Deadlift – 65×5, 75×5, 85×5, 85×5, 85×5
    • Bench Press – 65×5, 75×5, 85×5, 85×5, 85×5, 85×5, 85×5
    • DB Rows – 5 sets of 10-20 reps
    • Curls – 100 total reps

    Friday

    • Squat – 65×5, 75×5, 85×5, 65% x 20
    • Press – 15 sets of 5 reps @ 65%
    • Chins – 5 sets of 5 reps (weighted)
    • Face Pulls/Band Pullaparts – 100 total reps
    • Shrugs – 100 total reps

     

    Week Six

    Monday

    • Squat – 75×5, 85×5, 95×5, 95×5, 95×5, 95×5, 95×5
    • Press – 75×5, 85×5, 95×5, 75xAMRAP
    • Chins – 100 total reps
    • Face Pulls/Band Pullaparts – 100 total reps
    • Dips – 100-200 total reps

    Wednesday

    • Deadlift – 75×5, 85×5, 95×5, 95×5, 95×5
    • Bench Press – 75×5, 85×5, 95×5, 95×5, 95×5, 95×5, 95×5
    • DB Rows – 5 sets of 10-20 reps
    • Curls – 100 total reps

    Friday

    • Squat – 75×5, 85×5, 95×5, 70% x 20
    • Press – 12 sets of 5 reps @ 75%
    • Chins – 5 sets of 5 reps (weighted)
    • Face Pulls/Band Pullaparts – 100 total reps
    • Shrugs – 100 total reps

    So this template is not easy but it is very doable – but only if you are dedicated to making it happen. “Dedicated” doesn’t just mean that you want to do it; it means you are dedicated to doing what it takes to get it done and that means EATING right.

    I had 4 people run this and all of them ate like champions – all ate at least 1.5 pound of ground beef a day and ate one dozen whole eggs a day. That’s the only thing I required via diet. They could eat whatever else they wanted throughout the day provided they managed to eat those two things, every single day, for 6 weeks.  What ends up happening is that it sucks for the first week or so. By the end of the 6 weeks, it becomes second nature to eat for strength/size and it became easy to tolerate.

    Here’s a sample day of eating:

    Meal 1

    • 8 whole eggs
    • 4 pieces bacon
    • 4 pieces toast
    • 2 bananas

    Meal 2

    • 1 pound ground beef mixed with marinara sauce and some kind of pasta

    Meal 3

    • 2 Double Cheeseburgers
    • French Fries

    Meal 4

    • 6 whole eggs
    • .5 pound of taco seasoned ground beef
    • Cheese/lettuce/tomatoes/taco sauce
    • Combine all of this and make egg/meat burrito

    In the template above, the only exercises that are required are the first three – so for those keeping score it involves one lower body movement, one pushing movement and one pulling movement.  The other exercises are simply window dressing and you are free to do them if you wish. Bottom line is that if you push the pressing, the squatting and the deadlift to new heights – you will grow.  This is nothing new; only the programming is done a bit different.

    The worst day is Friday.  You want to keep the high rep squatting on this day but feel free to change the pressing.  Move the Monday press workout to Friday and vice versa. You may also want to squat LAST on Friday. 20 rep squats tend to suck the life out of you. Do NOT do the 20 rep squat workout on Monday as you will be sucking the rest of the week.

    Conditioning or cardio is mandatory – 3-4 times/week.  Hills cannot be done but Prowler is OK. Bike and weight vest walking is preferred.  Remember your goal isn’t to become Cardio Queen and if you get fat when you train like this, it’s because you simply aren’t working hard enough to support the calories. You must EAT to recover. You must EAT to grow.  If you use the Prowler regularly then I recommend using only the “light” programming for this six week program.

    Sample conditioning:

    • Tuesday – Prowler: 10, 40 yard sprints/walks with 50% of bodyweight. 60-90 seconds rest in between the sprints/walks
    • Thursday – 84 pound weight vest, 2 mile walk
    • Saturday – Air Dyne Bike, 10 miles (this day is CRUCIAL to get rid of soreness)

    Recovery – Nothing is less sexy than talking about recovery. I get it.  If you ever need a kick in the ass about how important recovery is, read Stan Efferding’s article about recovery.  Remember this: most people work very hard in the weight room. VERY FEW people recover “hard” outside of it. Those that figure it out stand a much better chance at success – and if you are like me, you need all the edge you can get.  Whether you are doing this template or not, here are some VERY easy ways to recover from training:

    1. Don’t be an asshole in the gym. This is not about WHAT to do, more what you DON”T do. Too many lifters do too much shit in a workout and wonder why they don’t grow. Your recovery methods must match your training. If you are full-time father, student and have a full-time job: your training must match your lifestyle. It’s as simple as that.  So be smart about what you do in the weight room.  The delusions of grandeur that persist in fitness is spectacular. I’ve never seen a group of people who would rather WORK DUMB than get results.  It’s like a badge of honor that I would never want to earn.
    2. Get a massage – You don’t need to spend $500 at the spa to get a massage and you don’t need to go to seedy part of town and get a rub and tug. Go to your local mall and spend $20, once a week and have one of those small Asian women beat the hell out of your upper back and legs (or wherever). It’s a small investment that can pay big dividends.  Don’t let their size fool you – I’ve had some insane massages by the smallest women.
    3. Sleep – a good nights sleep is priceless. If you don’t think so, ask someone who has suffered from poor sleep and they will tell you how awful it is. One of the many downsides of being injured (for me) is not being able to sleep. I recently had a very bad turn of events with my body and was awake from Monday until Saturday night. This is a horrible feeling and I started hallucinating.  Lay off the caffeine later in the day, use a fan, black out your room and if needed, take a sleep aid.  Do some research into how you can improve your sleep. If you can improve your sleep and eat well, you are doing 90% better than most people.  Everyone claims to “eat big” yet few do it consistently. Same thing with sleep. Be consistent and treat your sleep as part of your training AND part of your overall health/life.  It is that important. Nothing upsets me more than people who brag about how little sleep they need. Politicians and med students use this a badge of honor yet judging by the current political trends and the health care system, perhaps more sleep is needed.
    4. Stretch like you Squat – Like running, stretching has gotten the red badge of shame in the fitness world.  The reason is simple – those in the fitness world want headlines and what better way than to make a bold statement that goes against common sense? Ignore the buffoons trying to increase their web traffic and use your head. Mobility and stretching are important – if you can’t put your body in proper position during a lift it will prevent you from reaching your potential. Sure, some people don’t need it as much as others. BUT, mark my words, you WILL need it at some point. And it’s best to stay ahead of the curve NOW.  So take this seriously and you can assure yourself an easier, better life today and for years to come.

     

    Training Max – Remember that you may have to adjust your Training Max to fit this template.  If you are smart, run it for 6 weeks with a lower than you think TM (85%). Assess and adjust and run it again if you feel good – use your best judgment.

    For the 20 rep squat, don’t be afraid to use the SS Bar for that set (only that set).  This bar is ideal for high rep squats and does a great job of eliminating shoulder strain during a high rep set of squats. You won’t need to adjust for the bar as the weight is light enough to not make a huge difference. Just be sure to adjust for the weight of the bar.

    Because the goal of the template is getting bigger, we are not concerned with setting rep PR’s. Remember we work in 6 week blocks so if you are itching to get some rep PR’s, simply adjust your next 6 week template.

    20 rep squats SUCK.  If you want, adjust the %’s on this day and make them lower (but still follow the same progression – 5% jumps per week).  20 rep squats are as much of a mental game as a physical game.  You are going to have to learn how to breathe and “relax” during a set.  One of the keys to doing these is to not fart around too much between reps but do NOT rush them either.  Too much time means longer fatigue in the legs/lower back and rushing the sets will lead to dizziness. Use the first couple of weeks to learn your sweet spot.  High rep leg work is a GREAT way to build size on a frame but it is very stressful to your body and for most, can’t be done for much longer than 3-6 weeks.  On paper it may seem like a good idea but it takes a toll on your body. However, for a younger lifter that has a good grasp on technique it is a tremendous tool. For an older lifter, a lower % can be used and same benefits can be derived.  It goes without saying that 70% for a beginner is NOT the same as 70% for an advanced lifter.

     

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