Sunday, December 1, 2013

SQUAT Practice and tempo selection for a China Cabinet

This is gonna be quick..rather than answer a Q on fb..might as well write in on here quickly where it'll be more accessible......if it sucks..shoot me..  I'm brutal at writing when I don't rush it or when I edit it...

Here's a video of a recent squat practice.  I hadn't squatted in a while because of an injured back from deadlifting(serratus posterior inferior) and my knee had been acting up again trying to do volume training in the 80% 1RM range so this day I worked up to a heavy single(675) to see how it would feel and then I did 1 downset(635x3) followed by 5 'practice sets of 500x5 sets of 3 reps performed at a 4:1:1 tempo.

Why was I doing the tempo squat and why was I using that particular tempo?  

Normally I like to do my explosive 25 minute "CAT Game" when I'm not lifting heavy but a couple factors said not to:

1) My back wasn't 100% yet so I didn't want any jerkiness at the bottom...GOing down slowly would eliminate this.
2) My knees have been acting up a bit since I did a lot of volume in the 80% range a couple weeks I'm not lifting heavy...and I cant lift too aggressively....what else can I do?  And how can I get better with light weights...the only real option is to treat it as a practice.

TEMPO   (Eccentric:Amortization:Concentric)

Normally(healthy), these phases are performed:

Eccentric: As fast as possible on the way down while still maintaining tension and technique
Amortization: ZERO, change directions as fast as possible without bouncing, and whilst maintain proper mechanics.
Concentric: Accelerate, aggressive, maximal effort...

Now...while squatting being a china cabinet pussy cat bitch...

ECCENTRIC:  How else to practice going down perfectly than to do it slowly so that you can pay attention to micro aspects of the lift.  I can pay attention to my posture(spinal alignment), torso angle, feel the tension in the quads and hamstrings, and pay more attention to where the weight is on my feet.  When going down very slowly you can make the adjustments driving slowly.  And you can feel the tension build.  3-5 seconds is what made most sense to me...3 seemed borderline short and 5 sounded miserable...  so 4.  This allows me to pay a lot of attention to my back issue by really focusing on perfect posture and amortization...  and it also allows me to keep weight on my entire foot a little better and tension in my hamstrings.

AMORTIZATION: I have noticed that with my squat sometimes I rely too heavily on my quads and don't necessarily pay attention to my hamstring tension.  Even though I maintain my pelvis at the bottom I often tend to 'bounce' out when it gets heavy or I get lazy.  The pause eliminates this.  The beauty with the pause squat is that the second you try to stand up, you immediately know whether or not you maintained tension everywhere...its instant either stand up nicely or you body has to re-engage muscles to find tension and you tidal wave yourself to the top.  I don't train the pause very often but i definitely see value in it.  If I were doing straight pause squats I would be perfomring them at a normal decent pace and pausing for 2-3 seconds.  Since I am descending at a 4 count to practice control and tension building, a 2-3 second pause, might make me pass out...  I really just needed to address the things above which a 'full stop' or 1 count would address.

CONCENTRIC:  Unless bodybuilding, I can't think of a reason to not stand up as fast as possible.

Hope that helped...  I know its not scientific..but i'm working around bullshit injuries.

***  I have to mention that:
1)  This is not something I do often...
2)  IMO doing these too often can mess up your TIMING....and TIMING IS VERY IMPORTANT.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Signing- Jay Nera joins Animal

Check this out.  AND YES, I AM FUCKING PUMPED!!

If you didn't click on the link above this badass picture of yours it now!!

From now on this blog is going to be less of my day to day training(not that I've written in this lately anyway)...But when training picks up in the next few weeks as I prepare for Raw Unity Meet the nuts and bolts of my training will be found on the Animalpak site in the forum. 

Here it is Sisyphus is Smiling.

I also have a Q&A on the forum, Sophisticated Savagery, be sure to join the forum.

As for this blog, I will still be posting videos and thoughts and the occasional ranting....Basically, if i want to write about something and not worry about it's content breaching the rules of the forum... or offending will be on here.  Hopefully i will find the time to write....and hopefully you 'll have the patience.

Friday, August 23, 2013


Note: I am not a fan of editing because it takes me too long...I keep changing shit...until it's perfect..but it's never i don't edit because i'd never finish with it.

In the past 24 hours I've had a handful of people ask me the exact same question about my off-season squatting.  



What I have been doing isn't necessarily because it's what I originally thought was the best thing to do in the's more a result of being injured for the last 2 years and realizing that squatting above 85% all the fucking time has been wreaking havoc on my body.  

I knew I needed to ease off of the weights a little bit but my ego had a hard time letting go and the hardest part with not lifting heavy is that YOU GET SCARED YOU WILL LOSE YOUR GAINS!!  THIS IS NOT THE CASE.

RUM 5 - Sam Byrd squats 782@220 on his second attempt

Bromance.  Total homos.  Nothing wrong with it.
At RUM 5, I was injured but still competing even though I hadn't squatted or deadlifted for over a month going in.  I was questioning why I put my body through all of this heavy lifting...wondering if this addiction was healthy... anyway...Cutting weight in the sauna with Sam Byrd and Kade..and a guy who is awkwardly comfortable being naked trying to talk to us while he has a leg up and his balls are just hanging there... 
We bonded...Squats.

Sam discussed what he does for his squat training.  
"CAT, Compensatory Acceleration Training,by the great squatter Fred Hatfield."  
Sam's reasoning was very simple," I wanted to be the best squatter, so I did what the best squatter in the world did."   At this point, if you don't know who Fred Hatfield is, 



(no comment needed)

 Anyway, what Sam told me, other than that he is jealous of my beautiful mane, goes something like this (and I would also encourage you to read Squatting like you're the CEO.... off Chaos & Pain after this article.)

Basically, Sam does a 4 week build up.
Week 1 : 60% x5 x5sets
Week 2 : 60% x5, 70% x5 x3sets
Week 3 : 60% x5, 70% x5, 80% x3 x5sets
Week 4 : 85% or more for MAX REPS 

Points of focus:

  • Squat each rep as if it's a HEAVY single..aggressive, explosive, no grinds
  • Treat each rep as if it's your 1RM
  • The focus is on rate of acceleration
His reasoning can best be summed up here, courtesy of Chaos & Pain because it's easier to cut and paste than to think for myself or bother Sam while he's likely eating ice cream:
"I prefer this way because I like to do my rep max with about 80% and I like to feel it on my back a time or two before I have to max out my reps with it. Again, its a confidence thing. After all those weeks crushing weights confidence is pretty high. Ive performed hundreds of explosive powerful reps and not one single miss or grinder any where. By the time i get ready to max I'm ready to test the limits. Once I test, I reset my max and either begin again or change things up to add some variety- maybe a few weeks of chained singles the last 4 weeks before a meet."(Byrd)" 

Okay, the purpose of writing this on my blog was so that I wouldn't have to answer people one at a's getting too long...

Basically, I modified what Sam, or Dr. Squat, because anything up around 80% or more HURT.  So I had to stay light.

I simply did the 60% 5x5 and gave myself 25 minutes.  Since, I have always squatted twice a week and couldn't front squat because that really hurt my quad and knee, I decided to do the 60% part of the cycle twice a week.
The next week it became 6 sets of 5, the next 7 sets, the next 8, and now I like to do anywhere from 8-10 sets in 25 minutes.  ( I don't use a belt except for 80% or above).

When I first tried this a year ago I was skeptical but I didn't have a I did it because I love squatting..period.  Once my injuries had healed up a bit I attempted a 1RM simply because I was lazy and didn't feel like getting the vicious back pump that doing 8 plus sets gives me.  I was able to perform a single with a time when my gym max was 720.  I BECAME A BELIEVER THAT THIS CONCEPT CAN HELP WITH MAINTENANCE OF A 1RM.

RECENTLY, AS IN LAST WEEKEND, I went for a heavy 1RM. Twice a week, I have been squatting with this 60% CAT modified style since RUM 6 last February... Only with 3 exceptions, I needed to take a photo for POWER magazine back in early May so I squatted 675(nice picture), I did a day where I squatted mixed but still with CAT principles(80%x3x2, 70%x4x4, 60%x5x2), and last Saturday...
Previous in the week I did 455x5x8sets on Tuesday AND Thursday.  I normally deadlift on Thursdays but I had strained one of my erectors the previous Thursday deadlifting 675 for sets of 5( PR sets!!) I squatted on Thursday to fill the void because I'm a crackhead when it comes to getting my iron fix..."the iron bug bit me"..but anyways..  IT'S SATURDAY AND MY LEGS ARE SORE FROM DOING 36000+LBS OF VOLUME SQUATTING...SO I LAZILY DECIDED TO SQUAT HEAVY...IF I DON'T DO WELL, I HAVE THE EXCUSE THAT I'M CAUTIOUS BECAUSE OF MY BACK, AND THAT I'VE ALREADY SQUATTED TWICE THIS WEEK...AND LOTS.

PUTTING AN END TO THIS NOVEL I SQUATTED 685 LIKE NOTHING, 705 FAIRLY WELL, AND ATTEMPTED AND FAILED 730 (oops caps lock off, I'm not retyping all that...  I only attempted 730 because i meant to try 720, did shitty math and accidentally put 725 on, didn't realize this until i did my belt i grabbed 2.5's and threw them on the outside....shrugged my shoulders and thought, "Fuck it...go for a PR."     FAIL

I hope this helps.  
Random points:
  • Doing more sets in the same period of time is a good way to increase work capacity...BUT
  • Explode Explode Explode..Concentric>>BAR ACCELERATING
  • I am going to start doing less than 8 sets and focus more on intensity on the way up...COASTING IS FOR BITCHES...  WE DON'T WANT TO COAST THROUGH LIFE...NOR SHOULD WE COAST THROUGH SQUATS
  • My squat feels much better because I have ELIMINATED the cue knees out..and now my squat feels like it did 2 years ago....but that is a whole other hour of my time(or more) to write about
  • I have used CAT for bench and deadlift sessions and I like it.  I love down sets after deadlfiting.  I like using it in the bench to build volume.
  • I have potentially butchered what Sam Byrd and Dr. Squat use as their protocols... if so, I apologize guys, and if you'd like to add or edit anything or throw some links up for books or sites Mr. Hatfield, let me know and I'll gladly put them below.

ENDING IT WITH A RAW SQUATS COMPILATION....and I yes, I used this particular compilation because I am in it...SO WHAT.

For those of you who've checked out my blog because you're a Chaos and Pain follower:

Fuck..this took me over an hour and a half to write..and it was supposed to be saving me time.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Chaos & Bang Your Canadian Earballs: Series 1, Episode 1

Back in February, Jamie Lewis, a powerlifter and a blogger (Chaos & Pain), and I got to talking after our competition.  We had a pretty intense conversation that, unfortunately, is not the kind of conversation you get to have too often because, quite simply, most people are not the necessary combination of intelligence and open-mindedness required for such an exchange.  Jamie decided after that that he'd like to get me as a guest on his podcast.  I've only ever done one podcast before(Shawn Mozen of Agatsu) and it was pretty fun so why not?  Jamie's website is very well written, thought out ....and highly offensive to many people.  Check it out!!  

Jamie does his podcasts with a friend of his, Paul Carter, whom I happened to know both as a powerlifter and as a friend on Facebook.  On fb , we regularly exchange comments with each other because we both like to talk about real shit and have similar views......  at the time, I did not know that Paul Carter was also the dude behind the website LIFT-RUN-BANG.  My buddy Tyler Goodale emails me his articles biweekly....and I had been talking to the guy on fb regularly.  Kind of funny.

The podcast that they run together is titled CHAOS & BANG.  In this episode I was a guest and since then, we have decided that I will be joining them permanently...hence the ..."Chaos and Bang Your Canadian Earballs." although I am not fully understanding the 'EARBALLS' part... It has an oddly nice ring to it.  These guys are both pretty damn solid dudes..strong powerlifters who also like to exercise their brains...much like sure to check out their websites...This shit is going to be fun.

So here is the first podcast of Chaos & Bang Your Canadian Earballs!!

Part 1

Part 2

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


I haven't written in about a year now.

In the last year, I've had dozens of people messaging me about my blog and asking me how my training is going.  THANK YOU.  It means a lot.  

And, since being in Power Magazine this July/Aug issue I've had handfuls of people messaging me about the, I decided to stop avoiding a first "BACK AT IT" post.  
Here it is...and it's going to be UNEDITED AND SLOPPY because if I don't do it now...who knows how long I'll keep putting it off for.  FUCK where do I's been a year.

Since my last post I have done two competitions.  Clash 4 Cash in NOLA, Sept 2012 and RUM 6 in Tampa, FL Feb 2013.
Both competitions were done with major injuries that left me not training the deadlift and squat for over a month going into the competitions... AND not even being sure whether or not I would compete...that decision being made depending on how the warm ups went.  But the tickets were bought and my training partner Kade Weber was ready to kill shit, at the very least,  I couldn't NOT go to see what The Kade Weber Project would do.


Clash:  My last post involved a great squat session...the next day my groin was messed up...I couldn't even body weight squat for 2 weeks, let alone put weight on my back.  I was miserable....fucking miserable....At the competition, it felt good enough to squat and didn't hurt until my last warm up set 595lbs, I opened with 715, got it, and made it a lot worse. I literally lifted 4 attempts that competition.  1 squat, 1 bench, and 2 deadlifts.  3/4...  I basically just wanted to share the platform with an awesome cast.  A lot of records were broken at that meet notably, Dan Green got 2030@220, Kade got 2000@242, Jamie Lewis got 1705@181, and Jesse Kellum squatted 690lbs@198.
 After, I spent a lot of time doing bitch shit such as hundreds of bodyweight walking lunges, pistols, step ups, and crying.....until eventually it started healing up to a point where I could squat manly numbers again.......started thinking of RUM.

RUM: Patellar tracking issues... since about December of 2012 I have squatted over 600 lbs on 3 different occasions....THAT IS IT.  2 weeks out from RUM I figured I needed to know if I could even handle the weight and was willing to risk the pain.  I did 700x2.  At RUM I did 694 and failed 733 twice.  About 6 weeks ago, none of my pictures were good enough for POWER magazine because I had zero HD I squatted 675 for a picture.  EVERYTHING ELSE has been around 60%.  It's fucking garbage...boring...and I feel like a offence to crossfitters(love you..just don't want to be you).  I'M TRYING TO MOVE MOUNTAINS, NOT RUN UP AND DOWN 'EM.

I want to write so much more.....about how not knowing what to train, or how to address injuries, and waking up in pain every morning to remember that walking hurts.. ...because venting about injuries is relieving...but feeling like a person bitching about things is not so relieving...because I hate people who bitch without I will stop.

POST RUM and BULLSHIT...nothing really to do with powerlifting.
I did a lot of work on my hips, quads, hamstrings, and calves.  A lot of rolling, distracting, just straight up mobilizing and getting on the floor and doing the nasty with a lacrosse ball...sometimes 2.  

As the pain went from 9/10 to 6/10(with 10/10 being falling,yelling and gasping in pain), I slowly decided to play around with things again.  Weighted step ups, weighted walking lunges, heavy quarter squats.  I really felt lost not knowing if the issues would go away... but at least I had purpose in working past the injuries as best as I could.
Upper body was fun, I just fucked around with muscle ups and handstands, and basically just did pump up workouts.
But lower body was a shit show.  It's still a shit show when it comes to squats. 

 Some vids of me fucking around when I can't powerlift.
Muscle ups: (here's my first day practicing them.  I think I did 5 sets of 8. Eventually, I was able to work my way up to a set of 13 as a max or as sets and reps 5 sets of 11...I'll get back to them sometime...they're fun and make you feel jacked...I'd like to be able to do 20 in a row). 

Crossfit's Diane Benchmark done in approx 1:48.  (walked through it because I wasn't sure how it would feel, could have done faster for sure, a few shady reps here and there also....)  Check out the warm up...intense.  Crossfit workouts are fun....but anyone who understands my most cherished training principle, the SAID principle....will understand that I AM A LION TRYING TO HANG WITH THE BIG LIONS...AND ACTING LIKE A LEOPARD DOESN'T HELP.  So these WODs are, to me, detrimental.  Why teach my body to pick up 225lbs when I'd rather pick up 800?

286 Power Snatch- my second time doing snatches since Oct 2008..PR previous best was 120 in 2008.  My mobility in the shoulders sucks from so much pressing, my knee was still in a lot of pain so I didn't want to get under it.  Technique was really early...but with shady technique, still a PR...Strength is a wonderful thing.  I actually loved this session..i missed the violence of the Oly lifts.  At some point I need to tackle my bucket list goal of a 200kg clean and a 160kg snatch...but thats far off the priority list....I want to that ALL-TIME TOTAL RECORD AT 220 FIRST!!


Anyway, I am starting to feel healthier again.  So I will be posting every now and then....  
I have placed my deadlift as priority number 1, benching is on the back burner(just moderately building my volume and working on technique), and squatting is sitting in the fridge basically doing modified CAT squat sessions @ 60% and no more...twice a week.  

I love the deadlift because it's such a primal lift that requires a good amount of violence...BUT at the same time it is also the lift that I feel the most inadequate at as a 220 lb powerlifter.  800lbs PLUS is the new standard at which these not so gentle gentlemen have decided to deadlift.  Belyaev, Green, Posdeev, Omelchenkov, Cass...they all pull over 800lbs.

I have been building volume in the deadlift.  Building up the structures.  Actually getting myself used to deadlifting!!  My mind and my body. Going from always doing multiple sets of 1 performing sets of multiple reps...has been a good move.  

Here are some vids from the last 3 weeks of deadlifting.

715x3repsx2 sets

700x1, 750x2, 771x1, 515x10

Max out fail...I had my sights set on 800 this day...took 785 for granted...and I cooked me.....but I will get this and more in the next little while.....TRUTH.