Miscellaneous Miscellany Monday: Deadlift Battle Final, Deadlift Dynamite, and Speed Work
1. First things first: I just want to take a few words to say THANK YOU to any servicemen or servicewomen (past or current) who may be sitting there reading this. I think we take A LOT for granted in this country, and it’s my hope that EVERYONE reading will take a moment to recognize the incredible, invaluable, and downright courageous job that our troops contribute to this country, not to mention those who served in years past.
My grandfather was at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed back in 1941, and while I never got a chance to really know him (he passed away when I was very young), I was always amazed and dumbfounded whenever I read or heard stories of his service time. The man was a straight-up, certifiable, badass.
And that applies to anyone who goes out of their way to risk so much and not really receive much back in terms of reward or notoriety.
They all truly deserve our respect and gratitude. Without question they have mine.
2. I also want to thank everyone who participated in last week’s Deadlift Battle over on WeightTraining.com. To say that it got a little heated and that people got just a teeny-tiny bit competitive would be a drastic understatement.
Lets just put it this way, the top two participants combined – CoachA and BrandonKW – deadlifted over 1,000,000 lbs by themselves!!!
That’s a one with six zeroes after it. Or roughly the total number of times I asked Nicole Kot out in high school and she said no.
To his credit, the good Coach edged out Brandon 563,555 lbs to 532,535 lbs and gets the title for most masochistic son-of-a-bitch in existence.
If anyone deserves a slow clap, it’s you. This one is dedicate to you, sir. Enjoy it.
This isn’t to belittle everyone else who participated, of course. We had over 60 people make a conscientious decision that this would actually be a good idea, and in order to even crack the top 10 you had to deadlift a minimum of 120,000 lbs.
I sucked and ended up in 12th place with only 105.115 lbs.
Needless to say, it was a blast, I’m probably going to take a week off from lifting anything heavy off the floor, and we’ll be letting everyone know who the GRAND PRIZE winner is shortly.
3. Speaking of deadlifts, two legends in the strength and conditioning community – Pavel (of RKC fame) and Andy Bolton (of he can deadlift a metric shit-ton fame) – have collaborated on what I feel is going to be a game changing, holy-shit-I-think-I-just-peed-myself-a-little-I’m-so-excited manual:
—> Deadlift Dynamite <—
A short while ago, John DuCane, CEO of Dragon Door Publications (which is releasing the manual), reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in receiving an advance copy to check out. I responded back with, “you had me at deadlift.”
I don’t think I have to tell you that it’s awwwwwwwwwwesome, and today, just to serve as a slight appetizer, both Pavel and Andy have released three FREE videos that will undoubtedly make people’s faces melt from all the deadlifting knowledge bombs being dropped.
You’ve been warned.
4. Serving as an adjunct to the article I posted last week on Tips for a Badass Bench Press, I also wanted to note that as much as lifting big weights will make you stronger, we also can’t turn our heads on bar speed.
I certainly can’t take credit for it, as many, many coaches much smarter (and stronger) than myself have stated it before:
Getting faster will make you stronger
Bar speed is an often overlooked component of bench pressing. More specifically, developing power – or the ability to generate force quickly and increase your rate of force development – is an often overlooked component of bench pressing.
In a nutshell: you can’t just rely on “muscling” the weight all the time, grinding out reps on a weekly basis. That’s only going to take you so far. However, developing more bar speed will undoubtedly go a long ways in helping improve your bench press.
* Photo courtesy of elitefts.com
In looking at what’s called the Force-Velocity Curve, which is dictated by load and speed, one would find the following variants to be true:
Loads between 30-50% of a trainee’s one-rep max typically focuses more on power.
Loads between 75-95% of a trainee’s one-rep max typically places an emphasis more on maximum strength.
Loads between 50-60% of a trainee’s one-rep max, done ballistically, is the sweet spot for developing power output – where force AND velocity are maximized.
This last point is where focusing on bar speed comes into play. Getting faster will help you get stronger. Popularized by Louie Simmons and the guys over at Westside Barbell, incorporating more of a “dynamic effort” day is a fantastic way to help increase your numbers in the bench press.
Not coincidentally, it’s also a fantastic way to hone in on technique which can be argued is where the real benefit lies.
Basically, all you would do is take 50-60% of your current one-rep max – and perform the reps as quickly as you can for something like 6 sets of 3 repetitions, with 30-45s rest between sets.
There’s obviously a bit more to it than that, but in many ways there isn’t.
Now, if you’ve only been training for like a year or your current 1RM is something like 185 lbs, I don’t feel dedicated speed work is going to be an efficient use of your time. But, for those who have a little more experience “under the bar,” and have been in a benching rut, this might be exactly what you need to get over that hump.
Speaking a little more ubiquitously, and even taking speed work out of the equation, what’s important – on EVERY rep, no matter the exercise – is that the INTENT to be fast is there.
This is a mistake that I find a lot of people make – that they have to grind out, or “muscle” all their reps.
While heavy is heavy, and you can’t expect to make every rep look like a paperweight, so long as you tell yourself to be fast – and the INTENT to move that bar quickly is there – that’s definitely a step in the right direction.
So, from now on, tell yourself BAR SPEED is the key.
5. So a little movie came out this weekend, you might have heard about it: Skyfall.
Giving full disclosure, up until Daniel Craig took over as James Bond and Casino Royale came out in 2006, I had never been a fan of the franchise.
Ever since then, however, I’ve anticipated each and every installment – and Skyfall was no different.
What intrigued me the most was that Sam Mendes who directed classics like American Beauty and Road to Perdition (which, for those looking for some cool movie trivia, was where he first directed Craig) was taking the helm and directing this edition.
I LOVE Sam Mendes, and was really looking forward in seeing what he could do to spice things up after the somewhat disappointing Quantum of Solace.
Without giving away everything, I really, really liked Skyfall (but still feel Casino Royale takes the cake).
Javier Bardem evokes crazy like no-one else, playing the cyber terrorist Silva (I’d even go so far as to say he should at least be considered for a Best Supporting Actor nomination), and like with any Bond movie, the chase scenes, one-liners, and gadgets are epic.
Oh, and the women aren’t too shabby either.
I’d give it a solid B+