As I went over in my previous post, I have been using drop sets for strength gain. Drop sets are when you build up to a max effort of 2-10 reps, then drop to 90% of that weight and that will be your working weight. These are excellent for strength gains, at least when they’re programed correctly… Programing is just like cooking, it takes preparation and forethought to what the ultimate goal is and I have found an excellent resource in Quick Paleo Meal Prep for this area of my life. The book goes over the specific needs of individuals and how to structure your diet accordingly, I helped co-author this book so I fully support it’s contents. As for drop sets, I’ve learned that the programing for these requires a bit more thought than “JUST DO IT!” so let’s look into the smart way to get you as strong as possible using drop sets.
WHAT WORKS FOR OTHERS
Westside Barbell is a group that I’ve been following for about 2 years now, and aside from producing the strongest powerlifters on the face of the earth, the owner Louie Simmons is a wealth of knowledge about all things liftng. If you have studied Westside’s training at all you know the term “conjugate“, which basically means you’re not lifting exclusively heavy for the sake of lifting heavy, instead you’re training all aspects of the art of lifting heavy. With the conjugate method that Louie teaches you will lift for a max effort on one day and for speed on another day, this is incredibly helpful when you are at a meet or competition and are going through what would be a “grinder” (very slow and painful rep). Instead of just grinding through the rep in hopes of actually completing the lift you have trained to not only lift weights, but to lift them FAST. And along with learning to lift weights fast you have given your mind and muscles a break from the damaging affects of lifting heavy every single day!
So after running myself into the ground for a few weeks with drop sets with a PURE STRENGTH focus I’ve gone till the wheels started coming off and brought back a little common sense. So I will keep using drop sets in my strength program, but there will be designated days for speed training or “dynamic effort days” as Louie calls them to focus on lifting fast and efficient, along with allowing my body to rest the needed amount to continue on the gains train! I will still build up to a heavy double or triple on speed days, but instead of taking it down only 10% I’m going to bring it down 40-50% so that the weight is light enough to move at the right speed but heavy enough to be an actual stimulus. I think this will be a great switch and I recomend it for anyone who’s looking to get strong, and linear programing just isn’t working anymore.
MY TRAINING SPLIT NOW [FREE TEMPLATE]
(Drop Sets will be used every day to figure out the weight for the lifts, and the reps and lifts will vary depending on how you’re feeling that day and what weaknesses you need to work on. This is just a general outline, learn what you need and program that in to win!)
Monday- Squats DYNAMIC
Tuesday- Press HEAVY
Thursday- Deadlift HEAVY
Friday- Bench DYNAMIC
Monday- Squat HEAVY
Tuesday- Press DYNAMIC
Thursday- Deadlift DYNAMIC
Friday- Bench HEAVY
I don’t focus just on heavy lifting in all of my sessions, this is usually just what the first 20 mins looks like. After the strength work with drop sets I will use a crossfit/bodybuilding hybrid style of training to work on weak points and improve muscular endurance. But again you need to design your program for follow one that fits your needs.
If your focus is on strength right now, which it should always be if you’re looking to increase your lifting career, then take a few months to follow this outline. Check out Westside Barbell for ideas on how to use different lifts to fix your weaknesses and get stronger in all areas (not just the bench…). Strength is the key to everything!
thats the million dollar question (almost literally) isn’t it? People attempt many things with the hopes of coming out on top, and when met with the failures over and over most tuck their tail and settle for less than they’re capable of. I’ll tell you now that the only key that I’ve found for success in anything is diligent preparation for the goal and planning your strategy ahead of time. It’s just like preparing your food to ensure you won’t slip up on your fitness goals, and if this has been a challenge for you then I encourage you to check out Quick Paleo Meal Prep, this book offers a guide to laying out a foundation of diet for your goals and gives examples of moving forward. And like preparing food for proper diet, preparing yourself for success is the only way to plan for achieving the goal.
This is the only suggestion I have for anyone who is looking to do anything great. When you think about the great victories of war or athletes who’ve dominated the global arena, the one thing they have in common is preparation. Michael Phelps didn’t just hop in the pool a year or two before the Olympics and had the thought “eh, I’m built for this and it’s fun so let’s go for it and see!” NO, if you read his book No Limits, he goes over the amount of preparation it took to do what he did. From his diet to his sleep cycles he had a plan for every aspect of his life to get the goal. Not having a plan of action is sometimes worse than having a plan to fail. If you don’t take the time to sit down and put into words what it’s going to take to reach your goals, whether it’s business, fitness, spiritual or whatever. If you can’t take the time, or just don’t think it’s important, to put a plan together to acheive your goal then you shouldn’t expect the victory. Preparation is one of the top keys to success in my opinion, without it you’re flying by the seat of your pants competing with people who are dedicated to a goal. And the person with dedication and faith in their plan will apply more effort with more intensity than the one who decides on a whim that something “would be a good idea”. Preparation in your diet will produce constant and predictable results, which is why the top bodybuilder and other athletes use this process with intense dedication. Preparation in business is also a recipe for success. The one who’s laid out the plan with all variables in mind and willing to apply the practices, with intensity, to build something is like a train on the tracks. There’s only one direction for that person, they’re not going to deviate from the plan and they have prepared for the things they could predict so they move with haste and confidence. Preparation is a powerful tool and I encourage you to put it to use in your life in some way shape or form. If you’re a bodybuilder who already preps their food then prep yourself mentally for the workout. If your in business and have prepared a plan of action then prepare yourself for contingencies if something you hadn’t thought of before happens.
Discover a goal for yourself if you don’t already have one you’re pursuing. Sit down and put into words what you’re going to do to acheive it and the price you’re willing to pay. Preparation for the worst ensures the best outcome.
RESOURCES Napolean Hill, Tony Robbins, Barbell Buddha
we’ve all got ’em, whether it’s the habit of doing 1,000 push-ups before you go to bed every night or watching 3 episodes of your current binge on Netflix, for better or worse they’re there. There could be good habits like prepping your food for the coming week so you don’t mess up your clean eating, this is covered in great detail in Quick Paleo Meal Prep, it’s been a great resource to stay on track with whatever fitness goals are most important. But habits are the things we use to determine whether we are productive individuals, or lazy bums. Which does your routine or habits say about you?
WHAT DO YOU DO?
This is a simple question but can have some pretty profound impacts on outcomes that require short decision making time. For example if you’re faced with the question of being given a decent meal now or waiting to see if there’s a better option, and your habit is to rest and do nothing whenever possible, then odds are that you’ll choose the latter. Now this could be a good thing and you get better food, or you could get nothing. The main message here is that when you look at your daily habits are they productive? And by productive I don’t mean stuff “gets done” but is it getting done with purpose for a greater goal that you’re striving for? Sure Netflix will solve the entertainment void, but instead of wasting 45 minutes at a time why not have it playing in the back ground while you research how to get a business started or find a new gym or fitness plan. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and set your mind up to be productive instead of complacent.
THE HABIT OF EARNING
We all have things we love, personally I love chicken pasta with homemade Alfredo sauce and Sons of Anarchy, these two things make me happy. However neither of these things are getting me closer to anything other than an early case of diabetes (which I ponder the risk vs. reward occasionally). Instead I suggest making habits of EARING these guilty pleasures. I don’t believe in a masichistic lifestyle that’s absent of simple pleasures for the sake of saying you did it when no one else would, and no one enjoys listening to that person anyway. So indulge in what you love, but first set up a way to EARN it first. In my example of SOA and pasta, I read 30 minutes of something to grow myself personally or however before each episode. And for the pasta I will do some form of high intensity workout from around 8-12 minutes to prepare myself for the greatness.
What is one new habit you could start to earn your simple pleasures or be more productive. Start with one and continue, think of it as adding water to a cup of oil until all the oil (bad habits) is replaced with clear water (new helpful habits). Like always, you’re capable of more than you know!
If you haven’t already, please check out the YouTube channel
Are you ever so tired after a long day at work that the thought of working out just sounds exhausting? Or you wake up in the morning after snoozing through 45 mins of alarms to avoid the workout? This could be related to your diet, which is easily remedied in the book Quick Paleo Meal Prep, this book outlines how to structure your meal plan and get ahead of the potential hindrances to your workouts. But above all else you need to find a way to get through the 5pm or morning blues, because you could be leaving hundreds if not thousands of dollars in revenue on the table!
WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT WORKING OUT?
Well for starters there’s no better way to get yourself firing on all cylinders than to apply a jolt to your system! Let’s look at your morning workout, you’ve been asleep and mostly motionless for a good 5-8 hrs, and I’m assuming your not vibrating with energy once you get your 45 minutes of 5-10 minute broken sleep cycles from hitting the snooze over and over. This isn’t going to fade away as the day goes on either, you might get a pick me up if someone cuts you off in traffic or spills their coffee on you, but the tired feeling will stay with you.
Now I’m sure you know the inverse of this story, you wake up and force yourself out of bed and into your workout clothes, get a decent breakfast and head to the gym. After 45 minutes you would have spent half asleep and procrastinating, you’re now amount the top 20% of performers! You leave the gym with momentum and success on your mind. You get to work and hit the ground running, while leaving the other morning zombies in the dust! You out perform everyone consistently all day, and all because you made one decision to get the day started with activity! The same goes for the afternoon workouts.
WHICH WORKOUTS FOR THE MORNING
You want to do something that’s going to involve as much physiology as possible to get the full benefit. I recommend a compound movement that focuses on STRENGTH! Not only does heavy training get motor skills working, but if your training at or above 80% of your max then you’re involving the nervous system, and you’ll be vibrating by the time you’re done! Follow this up with some high intensity something or other and you have a recipe for a great start to the day! Stay strong!
Don’t skip your next workout, and implement some sort of moderately heavy training followed by high intensity cardio for 4-8 minutes. I promise you that you’ll be able to note a lasting surge in energy for the rest of the day!
the only people who should lift heavy are those with a pulse, period. And the key to lifting heavy is proper nutrition, which is covered in Quick Paleo Meal Prep. Nutrition is the foundation to fitness, and preparing food ahead of time to succeed eliminates options of cheating so check it out. As for the lifting, I’m not saying you need to go find your grandma and tell her to suck it up cause she’s about to board the pain train in route to a 315 bench record. But I think we can all agree that there’s a requisite amount of strength we all need for daily life.
SHOULD GRANDMA LIFT ?
If you care about grandma then she is the first person you should explain this to. The reason elderly people become so frail later on in life is they’ve trained themselves not to move. I don’t mean they’re zen masters and have found enlightenment through days of stationary meditation, but they’ve sat down for close to 6 hours of the 12 hour days for years and have let their legs deteriorate to brittle sticks. The reason it’s so hard for older people to get up is because it’s basically a one rep max squat from a pause every time! Again I’m not saying older people should be thrown under a bar and made to do 5×5 every day, but at least get the functionality back with mobility work and body weight movements that translate to life.
ATHLETES WHO SHOULD LIFT MOST
I’m about to say something that just might get me banned from the internet folks, so strap in! MARATHONERS ARE THE FIRST PEOPLE WHO SHOULD HAVE RELATIVE MAXIMAL STRENGTH AS A PRIORITY. Yup I just said it, and before you virtually crucify me, hear me out. As a runner your main objective is to move your body long distances right? So if your legs have a constant relative strength threshold then it doesn’t matter how efficient you move, you don’t have the POWER to move your body any faster. You may be able to run longer with that training, but not faster because speed is a product of power or force (force=(mass x distance ) / time ). If you take a runner whose max back squat is 115 for 2, and another whose max back squat is 315 for 2, and they train the same outside of strength. Then the one who squats more will move faster AND more efficiently because he’s used to carrying a heavier load, so when he has to move his body around it’ much easier.
If you’ve never lifted over moderately heavy, get your form nailed down PERFECT for the squat, bench and deadlift. Then take 90 days to follow whichever beginner strength program you want. Mark your mile times at the beginning and end of the program, don’t stop running all together but ease up enough to recover.
there is a difference in the two, and the difference can give you the life you’ve dreamed about, or keep you in the same rut forever. And example of getting things done is the book I collaborated with, Quick Paleo Meal Prep, this took time that was reserved for Netflix and mentally unoccupied time. Through that adventure I learned that time I had previously been wasting on tasks I thought were meaningful were seen as what they were, a glorious waste of time. I could have been growing my knowledge of the paleo lifestyle and other areas 6 minutes at a time, instead of watching 40 different 3 minute clips on YouTube of the same stupid stuff people do. My eyes are open now and I’d like to challenge you to do the same
MY NEW HABBITS
I used to binge on Netflix religiously on Monday and Thursday nights when I could, these nights were like a mental coma that separated me from my problems 45 minutes at a time. Now I’ve set up a “buy in”, for every episode I watch on Netflix I have to do 10-15 minutes of research or some productive activity. The best part is that most of the time around, 8 minutes, I’ll get so caught up in what I’m reading or doing that it might be an hour or so before I get back to Netflix if at all. This has been fruitful in many ways, most of all the amount of meaningful stuff getting done has increased exponentially!
After starting this challenge I realized the amount of “busy work” that gets done is ridiculous. By busy work I mean when you know you have a paper due that could mean pass or fail or paycheck or no paycheck. You’ll sit down at your computer to do the thing, and then you see that you have 3 unread emails from friends or “potential clients” so you respond carefully to them and spend the next hour and a half in a back and forth conversation about nothing with people who don’t want to do what they need to either. Now you’ve cut into the time that you could have spent doing the thing that was gaurunteed to pay you, doing things that made you feel like you were “busy”.
I COULD GO ON FOREVER
But I won’t (because that would just be busy work lol), but you get the point right?? Instead of going home to watch tv for hours take the commercial breaks as an opportunity to do exercise or read or anything besides give your time to be persuaded to give your money to someone else through commercials! Better yet just skip the TV time and talk to friends or family in the room and bond with them in a REAL way.
If you watch tv most nights anyway, then take time tonight to do something productive during commercials. Reading exercise, talk to your spouse or girlfriend etc.. Using tvo is not a valid excuse!
ok first thing’s first before I forget, I collaborated with a book that has been recently published to kindle, Quick Paleo Meal Prep. And want some HONEST input. If I gift you the book will you post an HONEST review, it’s a bit more professional/technical writing. But if you could help me out then just leave a comment with your email (I’ll delete it as soon as I get it to avoid creepers).
BACK TO BUSINESS
I decided to get a friend to video my squat to see if there were any technique issues I needed to workout. In short, I pretty much hung up lifting for about two weeks. Between the rounding of upper back and butt winking (when your lower back curves), and the knees diving in, I basically looked like hammered dog poo in the bottom of my squat. This is especially rough for me since I’ve worked my way from a 285 one rep max, to 305 for somewhat easy working sets. All at a body weight of 173 lbs., but here we go.
SO WHAT TO DO?
Well after crying in a dark room for a few hours and eating my feelings, I came back to the gym with a goal to fix me. I started by subscribing to the Crossfit journal (only $30/year I think), and watched every video by jelly starrett that I could on fixing these issues. I started with ankle mobility and worked my way up. It’s challenging to not go all out on stretches. After all, you see him glide in and out of these positions that I’m shaking and panting in like an uncontrollable furbie doll (aging myself with that reference).
I’ve mobilized the nasty tissue and now I’m strengthening the muscles that are probably on par with a 5th graders at this point. However the form though is looking much better, and I feel more solid in the bottom of the squat. So that’s a plus! It’s going to be a long journey back to the top, but I’m confident that it’ll be a higher peak once I get there!
Video an exercise you enjoy and compare it to a professional with their technique. Analyze what they’re doing that you’re not, and how you can get better.