Miscellaneous Miscellany Monday: 8/6/12

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1.  I firmly believe that one of the best ways to bring up any lift is repeated exposures to that lift.  One major mistake I see a lot of trainees make – particularly intermediate and advanced lifters (beginners can do ANYTHING and get stronger, and we all hate you for it) – is assuming that training a lift or movement once a week, even if they’re going at it hard, is enough.

For example, I train a fair number of females and one major goal that many of them aspire for is that Brad Pitt stars in the movie adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey to be able to perform a strict, un-assisted chin-up.

For those who missed it the first time around, you can check out my three -part article Chin-Up Progressions For Women- The One Rep Hump: Part I, Part II, and Part III.

One general theme I hit on throughout is repeated exposures.  Namely, if you want to get better at chin-ups, you need to do chin-ups. And a lot of them.  Why anyone would think that performing “x” number of reps on ONE day is going to get them anywhere is beyond me.

That said, if I were to do little role reversal and point the spotlight on all the guys reading, I think it’s fair to assume that many want a big bench press.  Thing is, many go to the gym on Monday (National Bench Press Day), perform their three sets of ten, and that’s it.  Yeah yeah, they’ll throw in some incline presses, decline presses, and some pec flies for good measure, but the point I’m trying to make is that it’s that ONE day, and that’s generally it.

Having read Easy Strength recently – and loving EVERY page – both Dan John and Pavel hit on this notion of LADDERS, and how they can be used to help bring up one’s bench.

To give the Cliff Notes version:

  • You’re going to bench three, maybe even four times per week.  Heresy, I know.
  • Each “session” you’ll perform three bench press ladders of 1,2, and 3 repetitions, using a weight that you know you can handle for 6-8 reps.

– Perform 1 rep, rest 15-30s, perform 2 reps, rest 15-30s, perform 3 reps.  THAT’S one ladder.

  • From there you rest 3-5 minutes and repeat the awesome two more times.

To give you an idea of what ONE week looks like:

Session 1:  THREE ladders: 1,2,3 reps
Session 2: TWO ladders: 1st ladder (1,2,3), 2nd ladder (1,2)
Session 3: TWO ladders: 1,2,3 reps

  • You want to stick with the SAME weight throughout until you hit every rep of EVERY ladder.

Meaning if you start with 200 lbs, you’ll stick with that weight until you hit every rep during any given session.  If you do, you can increase the weight 5-10 lbs on the next session and repeat the same process, only increasing the weight when you hit every rep.  Did I mention you need to hit every rep?  You need to hit EVERY rep!

  • I just had one of my distance coaching clients do this for a month and he had amazing results.  At the beginning he was using 240 lbs for his ladder sets. Four weeks later, he was hitting ladders using 280 lbs!

We just tested his 1RM, and he hit a solid 315 lbs – a 15 lb PR.

Now, you tell me that repeated exposures don’t work!

Granted, this isn’t something you’ll want to utilize indefinitely, as it’s pretty CNS intensive.  But for a dedicated 4-5 week block, it’s a sure fire way to take your bench press to new levels!

2. Since I’m the one who opened up the can of worms and exposed the world to my recent back issues, I’ve been getting a lot of emails from readers asking how things have been coming along.

Swell, actually!

For the last few weeks I had been ramping up the intensity of my deadlifts performing a lot of pulls with chains as accommodating resistance (lighter at the bottom, heavier at the top).  About a month ago I hit a 555 lb pull (405 lbs of bar weight with 150 lbs of chains at the top). It felt good, not great…..and Dean Somerset (who was writing my programming) just about blew a gasket when he saw that I did that.

In hindsight it was dumb, and I really lucked out that I didn’t reverse all the progress I had made up until that point.

Fast forward a few weeks – and roughly 12,686 deadbugs – Dean gave me the green light to start pulling heavy again.

I was on that like a CrossFitter on a gluten free PopTart!

Not wanting to be too aggressive, last week, I decided I’d do me speed work and then, depending on how I felt, I’d work up to a sorta-kinda heavy single.

I felt goooooooooood.  And when I was done with my speed work, I told Greg (Robins) that under no circumstances was he to allow me to go any heavier than 500 lbs. If I attempted to go any higher, he’d have my permission to Sparta kick me in the groin.

Here’s what 500 looked like (wearing a Dragon tee courtesy of one Jon-Erik Kawamoto)

Not too shabby. Today, I’m going to shoot for 520 ish.

600 lbs by the end of the year.  Fingers crossed.

3.  I came across this quote the other day and I really have no recollection of where I saw it or who said it, but I thought it was awesome and whoever said it deserves a meatloaf sandwich:

The reality is if you are lifting a weight ten times, numbers nine and ten should be difficult. If you can lift a weight 20 times but choose to do only ten, you are wasting your time. Period.

4. This past weekend I went to the theater to see the remake of Total Recall:

Here’s my one-sentence review:  it should have been called Total Regurgitate In My Mouth.  HA, see what I just did there?  I took the title of the movie and then re-worded it so that you’d get the impression that it sucked, and, well, you get the idea.

5.  Lastly, I wanted to give you all a heads up on a really cool site I’ve been using for the past week called RebelMouse.com.

In short, it’s a site that takes all of your social media – Facebook and Twitter – and conjoins everything under one umbrella into your very own social front page.  It’s pretty freakin sweet.  Check out my page HERE.

It’s currently in Beta, and there’s a waiting list to join, but it might be something worth checking out.


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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