Stuff to Read While You’re Pretending to Work: 10/17/13

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Before we get into this week’s stuff to read, if you would be so kind as to allow me to take a few moment to tell you how much I hate Dan Trink that would be lovely.

Now, to clarify:  I don’t mean “hate” hate Dan Trink.  Hate’s a strong word and I generally reserve it for things like Tracy Anderson, seafood, people who don’t turn right on red, or whenever my girlfriend wants to talk about our feelings.

Dan’s actually a good friend and someone whom I’ve collaborated with on several articles on T-Nation as well as the Greatist Workout of the Day – GWODs – back in the day.

In fact Dan and I trained together a few weeks ago when I was down in New York City visiting and I made a cameo appearance at Peak Performance (where he’s the fitness director).  After taking a group of their trainers through a staff in-service on shoulder shenanigans/assessment, Dan pretty much bullied me into putting on a pair of shorts so that he and I could lift some heavy stuff.  Not that he had to pull my arm or anything, but after speaking for close to two hours I wasn’t exactly in the mood to work up to a few sets of heavy triples on front squats.

Then again, are you going to say no to this guy?

Excuse me while I go clean the back of my pants.

It was during our session, however, that I confided in Dan that I was in a bit of a training funk.  A few weeks prior, while training through a fairly aggressive deadlift cycle (in my seemingly never ending quest for a 600 lb pull), I tweaked my back (more on this below), and as a result I admitted I was just going through the motions with my training.  No real goal or purpose, which sucks donkey balls.

As such I asked Dan if he’d  be willing to take over my programming for the next few months, to maybe place a little more focus on a hypertrophy/bodybuilding split and to give my joints a bit of a break – something, admittedly, I haven’t done in years – and he graciously said yes.

He said yes!!!

And it just so happened that this past weekend Dan sent me my first month of programming – and I hate is effin guts!

Yesterday, for example, included 3×12 on deadlifts with timed rest. 3×12.

Like, what the hell!?!?!?

I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve ever done a set of twelve on deadlifts. Let alone time my rest.  I championed through, though, and on my last set, while still playing the “conservative card,” I performed 365lbs x 12.  And then I counted the black spots and purple unicorns I was seeing before I passed out.

Needless to say, it’s going to be an interesting month.

Breath Better, Move Better – Eric Cressey

Breathing is a topic that is catching the fitness industry by storm in recent years.  And while I realize that for some it’s a topic that’s about as exciting as watching an episode of Downton Abbey, I can tell you from firsthand experience that it’s something that can (and has) had a profound effect on people’s movement quality AND performance in the gym.

With his new resource, The High Performance Handbook, coming out next week, Eric Cressey shares another FREE video on the importance of learning how to breath properly (0r more to the point:  learning to use our diaphragm more efficiently) and some drills we incorporate at Cressey Performance on a regular basis.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but the guy in the video demonstrating the drills is one sexy bastard……;o)

CrossFit and High-Rep Olympic Lifting – Bryan Krahn

One of the more “shared” Tweets I posted not long ago went something like this:

High-rep OLY lifting makes about as much sense as a poop flavored lolly pop.

It wasn’t long ago that I wrote my treatise regarding my thoughts on CrossFit.  For those who missed it (how dare you!), you can check it out HERE.

Nonetheless, I think it goes without saying – as if my Tweet didn’t give it away – what my thoughts are on high-rep OLY lifting.

In fairness, this article gives opinions on BOTH sides of the equation which I felt was pretty cool.

Strength Goals: Don’t Be Afraid to Abandon Them – Bret Contreras

Deal with it:  You’re probably not the next Bolton

Outside of bringing back some fond memories of internet legend Diesel Weasel, this article really hit home for me (and not because Bret used me as one of his examples).

As I alluded to above, my on-going quest to hit a 600 lb deadlift has been, well, on-going.  How’s that for wordplay?!

Thing is, I also like to stay lean – year round.  Much like Bret explains, every time I start ramping up my DL training, I’ll hit a certain “threshold” (the 550 lb mark) and inevitably my back then tosses me the middle finger.

Of course if I were to just throw my hands in the air, crush some PopTarts and donuts for months on end, and just tack on 20-40 lbs to my frame I’d probably hit that number in no time flat.

But that’s just not an option.

Kudos to Bret for writing such an honest article, as well as helping me see some light at the end of the tunnel. I’m by no means giving up, but it’s definitely helped to put things into perspective.

Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

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Comments for This Entry

  • TheGordonCarrier

    Tony, You said that you haven't done timed rest in awhile. Would you mind explaining why that is and what you do instead? -Gordon

    October 17, 2013 at 9:58 am | Reply to this comment

    • TonyGentilcore

      Timed rest = specific or outlined rest between each set. Normally I just "go" when I feel like it. I'll do a set and then challenge someone to a thumb war or something and just go to my next set when I'm ready. For this month, though, Dan has me timing my rest intervals. So there's no bullshitting around.

      October 18, 2013 at 5:51 am | Reply to this comment

  • Barath

    First I read that Bret article and was confused, because I remember reading a post by him where he details his 600 pull. So to claim he was still chasing it was puzzling, till I saw that the post was written two years ago. Way to be on top of things, Tony!

    October 17, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Damon Brobst

    Tony, Bret's article really hits home. I remember reading it a while ago, and now that I'm getting older (38), achieving maximum strength gains while staying lean is getting more difficult- but not impossible. Rep PR's are much more attainable, and I haven't been derailed by injuries. Dan Trink definitely "walks the walk", good luck with the program!

    October 17, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Reply to this comment

    • Kyle Schuant

      Goals are always harder to achieve when you have several at once. Scott and Amundsen come to mind. Scott's goal was to reach the pole first, and do some science. Amundsen's goal was to reach the pole first. Scott in the name of science collected some geological samples. His men were starving and man-hauling sleds across thousands of miles of ice at high altitude, so to help them along Scott added 35lbs of rocks to their sleds. Amundsen and his men got to the pole first, arrived back heavier than they were before. Scott and his men died. I think this is a good example of why you should just follow one goal at once. Be lean, sure. Or get a 600lb deadlift, sure. Either is fine, Do one this year, do the other next year. Doing both at once? Goodbye, Captain Scott, your country will remember you with fondness.

      October 17, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Reply to this comment

      • TonyGentilcore

        Well stated Kyle. LIke I said, I'm sure if I just said fuck it and added 15-20 lbs, I'd be fine. Who knows maybe I'll crush some pizza for a few months and go for broke....haha.

        October 18, 2013 at 5:57 am | Reply to this comment

        • Kyle

          My clients swear by spaghetti bolognese. It's got all the carbs you could need, and you can put vegies in, too. That and milk, of course. 2 litres a day is about the minimum for any serious strength athlete. Do it. Seriously, what is this modern thing about teh abz? No need to get obese, but the feeling of progress as you're able to handle heavier and heavier weights is far superior to visible abs.

          October 18, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Reply to this comment

          • TonyGentilcore

            I remember when I did a bulking phase back in 2003-2004, I put on 30 lbs (180-210) and CRUSHED pasta (and was able to stay relatively lean to boot). That, and cereal. OMG - cereal!

            October 21, 2013 at 9:13 am

    • TonyGentilcore

      I guess I should have paid more attention. I didn't realize that article was written two years ago. DOH! Nonetheless, it definitely hit home for me too.

      October 18, 2013 at 5:53 am | Reply to this comment

  • Bret Contreras

    I know damn well you'd hit 600 if you packed on 20 lbs. Maybe one of these months you decide to engage in massive gluttony until you hit the goal, then drop back down to your normal weight. But having been there, done that, it's never fun having to drop back down, nor is it fun losing your 6-pack, then 4-pack, then 2-pack while you're bulking (or should I say, fulking). Thanks Tony!

    October 18, 2013 at 5:03 am | Reply to this comment

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