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  • August23rd

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    I’ve been asked some great questions such as “How do you push a Prowler?” or the ever popular “Can you sign my ebook?”  It doesn’t surprise me anymore but that doesn’t mean I can’t laugh.  Most of you are familiar with Mark Rippetoe, he being the author of Starting Strength.  Every so often I go to Mark’s forum and read his answers, and only his answers.  He is a salty bastard sometimes and I mean that in a good way.  He is also the receiver of some great questions and every time I see something like the following, I cannot wait to read his responses.

    The question is about where to put your fingers during the squat. Not your hands, your fingers.  You can read the entire pound of diarrhea here.

    The title of the thread is worth a read: “Low bar squat : finger position. How has nobody ever asked about this? I’m puzzled.”



    Highlight One

    “I tried a grip in which four fingers except thumb touching the bar and I couldn’t help my farthest finger joints (distal interphalangeal joint) from getting bent on a bar and hurt.”


    Highlight Two (Perhaps a finger wrap?)


    “so, fingers are in fact, in contact with the barbell right? but, since the hands and forearms are not perpendicular to the barbell (more like diagonal), how should fingers contact with the barbell? my pinkies may be able to wrap around the bar, but index fingers are way above the barbell to fully wrap around. how should one put his fingers on the barbell in squat?

    should my fingers have no force applied on them at all? but, gripping is inherently cause some force being applied on them, correct?
    could very heavy weight be lifted without bending one’s distal interphalangeal joints?”


    Highlight Three (after being asked to simply watch a video)


    “well, It kind of accumulate. my distal interphalangeal joint hurts by getting bent by my own gripping force applied to it and I don’t think It’s what It’s supposed to be.
    also, I’ve watched the video and, although I wish for the higher resolution video, what I have noticed is

    1. he tend to put his thumbs on his index fingers.

    2. since Its quite a heavy weight, his hands seem to grip on the barbell tightly with the force of his hands.

    3. his finger grips somewhat changes during the rep, but the distal interphalangeal joints don’t seem to get bent that much (or not, I can’t see)

    4. In set 3, the rep starts with his fingers properly wrapped around the barbell and during the reps, his fingers go upward and It looks only his fingertips are in the contact with the barbell at the end.

    after watching it, I’m more confused than ever.
    Is finger position in squat are just highly individual preference issues rather than technical anthropometrical issues?”  Note: He wishes the fingers were filmed in HD.  Maybe 3D.


    Highlight Four

    On page three of the tread, he then posts pictures of all the possibilities of fingering a squat.  With a green broomstick, no less.  Enjoy.


    Highlight Five (Concern for injuring fingers on the squat)

    “I’m really glad to hear that. but, I wonder how the fingers of those who are way more stronger than me (thus more stronger grip force on each fingers)could survive many heavyweight squats without causing any distal interphalangeal joint pain.

    so you said you prefer #3 In which index finger get bent(and middle finger touching with Its fingerprint not fingertip). after heavy squating, do you have no distal interphalangeal joint pain at all?”



    That’s as far as I could get.  Enjoy the laughs and be thankful your fingers are healthy.

  • August21st

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    One of the favorite 5/3/1 set/rep variations from the Beyond book was S.V.R.  I believe this new version greatly improves on the original S.V.R.  Like always, I experimented with a few different options and found that the new version is superior and I’m always looking for ways to make it better. One of the mistakes I made was making the second week too high in volume – this completely screwed up the third week and ruined the programming.  This new version adheres to the Medium/Light/Heavy programming that has been so successful.


    Week One

    70%x5, 80%x5, 90%xPR set, 70%xPR set

    Week One Notes

    • When doing the 70% PR set for the deadlift, you can choose to do this double overhand.  This would be kept as a separate record and be a great way to add some variety into your training, put a new challenge into your programming and improve your grip. If you find doing 70% for 5 reps with a double overhand grip to be too challenging, simply perform the final PR set at a lower percentage. But whatever you choose (60%, 50%, etc.) be sure to use the same percentage each week.  In other words, be consistent.
    • Another deadlift variation for the 70% set is to use straps.  Strap up and go nuts.  Obviously this is the only time you would use straps on the deadlift and again, be consistent.
    • For the squat, you could use a SS Bar for the 70% set.  I don’t think you would have to use a different percentage as the SS Bar is harder but not that much more difficult.  Perhaps if you are unfamiliar with the bar you could do a cycle or two of a lower percentage but I see no reason why you couldn’t use 70% once you got use to it.
    • For the bench press or press, you can always use a different grip for the 70% set but I don’t know if this would make much of a difference in training.

    Week Two

    65%x5, 75%x5, 85%x5, 3-5 sets of 5 reps@ 65%

    Week Two Notes

    • As usual, this week is the boring week of the cycle. But this is not to be taken lightly or to be taken out.  This week serves as a bridge between the two heavier weeks.  And allows you to build but not destroy.
    • The 65% work at the end of the training should be tailored to the individual lift. For example, you may find out that your squat responds better the following week when doing triples. Or your bench press feels good on the third week when you do all 5 sets of 5 reps but keep the rest periods short. This is going to require some experimentation on your part which is the best part of training process – besides setting PR’s and getting strong as hell.
    • Don’t make this week any harder – for example, I can see a million people strapping 100 bands “Westside Style Bro” to the squat because it needs to be harder, damn it.  Or turning the second week into a Boring But Big workout.  That’s fine for the challenge but not for S.V.R. II.  So understand what the S.V.R. II is all about. Don’t make every week and every workout impossible. That totally fucks with the entire training plan.  In other words, follow the damn program.
    • For each lift, make sure your do the appropriate amount of FSL work.  For example, you may do 5 sets of 5 reps for the bench and press. But due to your work with the Prowler, jumps, bike and hills, you keep the squat and deadlift work to 3×5. See why an athlete and a true man of strength has to alter his lifting due to his training?  I’m still amazed at the ignorance of many “trainers” on sport programming and the belief that each part of a total program can be separate for others.  This is the biggest mistake with people trying to combine conditioning work and lifting.  You must learn how to eliminate bodybuilding tendencies and learn the push/pull of a training program (and no, this doesn’t mean rows and presses).
    • For the squat, you could use a SS Bar for the FSL set.  I don’t think you would have to use a different percentage as the SS Bar is harder but not that much more difficult.  Perhaps if you are unfamiliar with the bar you could do a cycle or two of a lower percentage but I see no reason why you couldn’t use 70% once you got use to it.
    • For the bench press or press, you can always use a different grip for the FSL set but I don’t know if this would make much of a difference in training.


    Week Three

    75%x5, 85%x5, 95%x5, 100-105%xPR set, 3 sets of 3-5 reps @ 85%

    Week Three Notes

    • We eliminated the singles on this day due to the ineffectiveness I’ve seen in all the athletes I trained.   While going for a 1RM is fun and I have no problem with some people doing them occasionally, the big picture must be taken into account.  This day is a great time to blow away some rep records and if weeks 1 and 2 are properly programmed, we invariably hit a big PR on this day.  The key is being smart on week one and week two.  Remember that training is bigger than the day.
    • Again, the supplemental work (in this case, SSL) can be done differently for each lift.
    • I wouldn’t change the lift for the SSL lift – keep to the original lift.

    As for assistance work, the only thing I had people do was some chins.  Every workout started with mobility work/jumps/throws and ended with Prowler work.  The Prowler work was either light weight x 10 sprints or heavy weight for 6 sprints.  I tried to keep this constant throughout the program.  The only change I made was one day (when it was icy rain) was doing the Weight Vest 100 rep squat challenge. The point is this: you can periodize the conditioning work (if you do heavy conditioning work) or you can choose to keep it constant. If you periodize the conditioning, be sure to follow the same rules of the lifting – on week one, do the medium conditioning, on week two, do the lighter conditioning, etc.  Don’t do the heavy conditioning on week two.


    For those of you that love PowerViolence (and who the hell doesn’t?) – check out Water Torture. They are sadly no longer a band.  The noise elements between songs might be too much for some but if taken in the right environment, they can be incredibly effective. This is bass heavy music and probably not recommended for the Binary Band Lovers (1/0/1/1/1/1/0/0/0/0/1/1/1 for those that know guitar tab).  Preserve what is great in metal/hardcore/punk and support the underground.