Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Natural Position

If you are trying to get your squats up,  either have a day with super high volume like 7x3 at 85% or 10x3 at 85% or 10x4 at 80% OR  squat twice a week or even more, but split up the volume for the week- like :

Monday- 80% 7x2
Tuesday- 80x3 80 3x2
Wednesday-75 5x2(easy)
Thursday - off
Friday- 70x3 75x3 80 5x4

That would be a killer week and workouts like these will kickstart you squat in even a few weeks. I like the 4 day better. The bar feels like an old friend when you squat that often. And just stay within the 75% to 85% range and manipulate the volume in those ranges. You could actually do the same workout for 4 weeks and then be ready to max. Even though you haven't been to 90%, your max will go up. It really is the magic of high volume. Right before you max, do a week like this:

Tuesday- 70% 3x2
Friday or Saturday- Max

Pretty much perfect

So crush the volume and take it away. Works like a charm.

Ever seen "All The Right Moves"? I was thinking about today. Movie from like 1983, starring Tom Cruise before the big time. And the girl from Red Dawn, Leah Thompson . I saw it on the night that I got my letter jacket and saw the movie at a theatre in Laurel, Maryland. I loved it. About the Ampipe Bulldogs. I love the part where Salvucci is being arrested and he is yelling to Craig T. Nelson, "Help me coach, help me coach!" and then he says something like, "You aren't a god, you are just a football coach!" or maybe Tom Cruise says that line. Anyway, it was a great movie for a high school player wearing his new letter jacket.

One of my worst memories of Laurel and seeing a movie was when my football buddies and I tried to sneak through the woods to watch an adult movie at Sidney Lust's drive in. The security there flattened all of our tires and were shooting something at us while we were freaking out. One of our friend's dads came and got us after we walked to a pay phone to call him for a ride and he gets out of the car and says. "I hope you guys can play football because you sure are stupid." At least my parents never found out.

If you are interested in reading about an American hero, check out What Do You Think of Ted Williams Now? by Richard Ben Cramer. Very good! Man can write. I think it was 9.99 on Kindle and its only 128 pages but it's worth it. Hell, good writing is priceless.

And check out this short story, very good- http://shotgunhoney.net/fiction/bird-hunter-by-william-e-wallace.html

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Better Back Then, Part 2

I was speaking with someone a few years older than me the other day and he was laughing derisively about how "this generation thinks that their opinion counts", and the fact that struggling is a thing of the past with the 30 and under crowd. He is much older than me, and he was telling stories of being broke and working and how utterly happy he was when he got his first job coaching. He had 10 teams to train and he was paid a pauper's wage and when his boss told him how many teams that he was in charge of, he said, "Thank you!", and got to work. And then after years of coaching he got sick of it all and moved way , way out into the country where he didn't have to  deal with the "Political BS and the spoiled rotten entitled of today." He was going off. I told him to relax, that sometimes folks just don't get it. And I said that he was painting the whole generation with a pretty wide brush. And then he said, "I know, but damn it's fun to rant once in awhile." And we left it at that, and we started talking about squatting and country music. Real country: Whitey Morgan, Waylon, Willie, George Jones, Old Hank Jr., some Hank 3. Hell, what else is there to talk about? 

And then I was talking to someone else, who, when they were just a little kid, got into an argument with their cousin, and went back to the house and got his BB gun. His Dad stopped him and asked where he was going. "Going to kill my cousin", he said. "Nah, you ain't gonna do that," said his dad. Then his dad said, "There are gonna be times in life when you will have to fight though, son. And let me tell you something: Once you start fighting, never take a backwards step." And when he was telling me that story, I thought that was an awesome axiom for life in general, too.

And I was thinking of my high school coach (We only had 2 coaches by the way), and how we weren't  allowed to have water during the games but that someone sold him on this this awful sugary slop that  I really can't describe that was supposed to "give you energy". It was some gruel that was like chunky, sugary oatmeal. It just made you more thirsty. In fact, I got  so thirsty that during a playoff game my junior year against Anne Arundel (Kirk Karwoski was on the Anne Arundel team), I saw that, in the stands, my girlfriend was drinking a Sprite and asked her to bring it down to me and hand it over the railing. Damn, that was a good Sprite.

And I was thinking about how during games in high school, my linebacker partner Billy Henson, an All Metropolitan player, would say, "I'm gonna blitz this play," and for me to cover for him and he usually made the play and the coaches never said a word if he didn't.  Man, Billy was a good player. We'd go around on Friday nights in his Chevette and "borrow" street signs and take them to his girlfriend's house off of Sellman Road and leave them in her front yard. Not sure why he thought that was something that she wanted, but he did it all of the time. Like a cat leaving a mouse as an offering at the front door or something.

And I was thinking about how we didn't know anything in high school about lifting and training so we had some Nebraska program where we added 5 pounds a week and everybody got pretty strong and then we would run a mile and some 40's and everybody got pretty fast, too. Then in the summer after training we would pile in Carlo's brother Luigi's Ford Escort with no shocks and we'd crank up Quiet Riot and we'd go to Carlo's house and his mom would feed us and we'd go to the pool. And we all worked at Adelphi Mobil pumping gas. Carlo and Rick worked during the week and I worked 13 hours on Saturday and we'd make 5 bucks a piece fixing flats for people.  How can you beat that? Training, eating, working and hanging out with your boys. Simple, fun times.

Whitey Morgan

Whitey Morgan. Got turned onto him from Frank Bill, bad ass author.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Better Back Then

I was just thinking about this:

When I was a kid, and played for Beltsville Boys Club in Beltsville, Maryland, our team sponsor was Phil's Bar and Grill. I think that I was 9 or 10 years old.

 And I think that we were what, 80 pounds? And Phil's sponsoring us was no big deal. No parents said a word. It was never brought up. Now? Oh man, it would be all over the news and the PC police would be going nuts and the end of the world be looming closer and closer because of the sponsorship.  MY GOD! What are they doing to our kids? 

And at practice the coaches used to send us over to the woods to go to the bathroom and they would yell, "If you shake it more than once you are playing with it!"

And Coach Miller used to say, "Men, there are two things in life that you want to avoid. The Army and wind sprints." He was a Marine, covered in old tattoos. Before tattoos were cool.

And he used to say, "Men, it's the day before the game. Have your mommas lock you in the closet and slide raw meat under the door to make you mean. And no bubble baths or loose women." My Dad would just laugh when I would relate what Coach said to us. No big deal.

I remember we would drive up to practice and the coaches of the teams would all be sitting around smoking, leaning on their trucks. They had all worked long days but they loved football, and they volunteered their time. No parents were ever at practice. My dad would sometimes sit in the car, but it was in the parking lot, a hundred yards away. It would have been embarrassing for your parents to be there. Your mom and dad have to watch you practice? 

And we would get to practice early and play "Maul Ball", and then the coaches would walk down the hill and we would begin practice. The smell of the grass! The hitting and being hit, the challenges! Getting your butt whooped and doing some whooping! That is life, man! It teaches you things. Man, it was great. 

And practice would end after about an hour. I don't remember anyone getting hurt. Ever. We didn't have water bottles, or coolers full of water. There was no such thing. And it was hot, Maryland humid hot. Nobody ever said it was hot. Because it was fun.

 Actually, you didn't have something to drink until your Dad took you to High's Dairy Store for a Slush Puppy or 7-11 for a Slurpee. Cola flavored for me. Sometimes my Dad and I would go to Highs and buy a box of ice cream sandwiches and eat the whole damn box before we got to the house. It was around a mile, I reckon. We wolfed those things down.

Yeah, I know things have changed. But it was better back then.

Monday, March 23, 2015


Not like this ANYMORE!


Steve Maxwell has some great ideas about nutrition and living longer

Fred Hatfield still knows more than just about anyone in the strength and conditioning world. Much of it is common sense. Read about his Zig-Zag Diet sometime.

Jack London is always worth revisiting.

 Cabela's Wild boar sandwiches are amazing and the  Elk one's ain't far behind.

Shouldn't everything be closed on Veteran's Day?

Art15 Clothing has some of the best shirts and videos around. Not safe for work or kids, but funny.
Bunch of veterans who started a company and find humor in a whole bunch of things.

Hank III is an independent thinker/musician.

Hilarious when folks spend so much time putting down other programs. Like Crossfit or geared lifters vs. raw lifters. Its very important compared to ISIS and disease and our troops and trying to ban ammo and kids who are hungry and coal companies raping the land, and....yeah, but Crossfit/kettlebells/jogging is bad. It a workout, who gives a crap? At least they ain't sitting around eating cheese puffs.

Every great person I have known does not care what other people think.

Every great person I have known laughs a lot and doesn't take themselves too seriously.

Every great person that I have known don't care about their appearance. And they all look good. Weird. Maybe when they let the narcissism go and focus on running, lifting, and eating naturally, they just look good anyway.

Been around some teenagers lately. Wow, are they out of shape. I guess they aren't playing outside much.

I read an article about Kermit Washington(NBA) years ago, and he decided to work a whole bunch harder, lifting weights and training, after one day his training partner told him, "You ain't good enough to act cool."

I often wonder , when folks are making decisions about other folk's lives, do they ever think what it would be like in the other person's shoes? Ah, but it will come back on them eventually, it always does.

A family movie that's not a cartoon! Yes.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


Everybody knows the "It is not the critic who counts..." from TR. But damn, if you read it through, it is damn good. Here ya go:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. 

Its true, so true. Even announcers who never played should not be allowed to comment. Be mute if you have never played a down in your life. If you have never strapped up and heard the cheers and crushed someones soul and had yours crushed and gotten up and done it all over again and again, do not say a word. 

Try this-Take a step out of your comfort zone, get on the platform, and compete, and don't fake it and bomb because of the pressure. Do it all the way. And then...as long as the weight is respectable, you can give an opinion. And only if you are stronger that the one's who you are dissecting.

You critiquing an 800 pound squatter? Know that 800 is a lot different than the 405 that you squat. I don't give Kirk Karwoski advice and I would never critique one thing that he does program-wise. Why? Because he is stronger than me. And strength trumps it all.....and to get that strong and thick, his program must have worked and he did just the basics. You can't critique the basics. And he was as thick as anybody else, so those 1-2 assistance exercises worked well. So much for a bunch of bioscience demanding squeezing and light weight. Rather be more intense and be done in 30 than take 60 and go through the motions. 

Football, boxing , mma, stuff like that-hell, coaching! Coaching especially! I love when people criticize strength coaches,  especially personal trainers. If you are a strength coach at a college, you train hundreds of athlete's a week.You think that is learning at an advanced speed? You want to know how to program? Ask someone who does it all day long. 

And how about criticizing Saban or Meyer? Haha. Joke. Walk in their shoes. Just watch the game and be thankful that those guys are there and that you live through them.

That is a weird, common thing these days. Not a thing, rather a trend. Everybody criticizing, sitting back, writing comments, hiding behind the computer. That is this day and age, the way that all the cowards have a turn. The real Strong and the Heroes step out and step up.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Commit To The Fight

I was visiting with a soldier the other day. He is a dog trainer, and his dogs are the baddest of the bad, Belgian Malinois, mostly.

So I am talking to him and I ask, "So do your dogs go for the arm like I see on TV?"

And he answers, " When you see that, when a dog grabs for an arm, or a leg, an extremity, he is giving himself a way out if the shit goes bad." 

And he keeps on explaining. He comes up with a magical phrase.

"Our dogs? Our dogs commit to the fight."  

When he said it, I got chills down the back of my neck, and even as I write it, I have them again.

And I said, "Yeah? Where do they bite?"

And he says, "Right for the f%c*ing ribcage. And you will have to kill them to get them off of you."

Those dogs are all the way in, in until they die, dedicated to the fight. 

Not looking for a way out, not even considering it. 

This is it for them , all the training, all the hours and years, their whole damn lives come down for the moment that he gets sent to attack. 


So then, I started thinking, PERFECT! All they way in or not? Committed to the Fight or not?  

It's a helluva axiom for life, ain't it? For training? For doing it hard as you can or not doing it at all?

 Excuses be damned. 

You in or not?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Grab it and Go

Not sure where or when I started saying Grab It And Go to myself, but it has been awhile. It is a great axiom for life itself, and it transfers right over into training.

Walk into the gym, load up the bar and just start squatting. 

Warmups be damned! 

Picture a wolf bursting out of the brush, coming right at you, teeth bared, straight ahead running, his sights set on his next meal- You. His Pack friends are not far behind.

Wait, you must warmup before you run to the safety of that tree and begin your climb, or to shelter ten yards away. Some leg swings, some bird dogs, some split squats. No? You don't have time?

That's right. You take off, Life or Death. Do or Die.  Imagine summoning that type of fight or flight adrenaline when you approach the squat bar. Or imagine a fight for a loved one, a fight to the death. SUMMON THE INNER BLIND RAGE.  Rage at whatever! At the injustices that you have suffered, at the boss who never understood how hard you worked, at the job that sucks the very life out of you. The same thing everyday, bleeding you. You have this time. It is yours, this training time. No distractions, no talk, NO TALK. Put the phone away. Email does not matter.

You are this primitive, invincible Warrior who has no time for the small stuff, this is training, this is life for you. The essence of you and the motor that must be run at high speed to stay sharp.

Laser focus.

Grab it and Go.

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a year...it's for life. Whether its training or your family or your job...it doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.