20in30 – The Catch Up Post!

Well well well… I missed about 4 posts I believe due to some crazy work schedules but I was able to work out! So this post is nothing but training logs, hope you like it!

Thursday – Deadlifts

Had a good workout with a friend on Thursday.

Sumo Deadlift: 2×3 @80% then 1×3 @85%

Romanian Deadlift: 3×5 with 225

Bent Over Row: 3×8 with 135

Planks: For a long time…

Friday – Volume Bench

Barbell Bench: 6×7 @70% (last week I hit a total of 40 reps and this time I did a total of 42)

Band Pull Aparts: Set of 10 for every set of bench

Close Grip Bench Press: 3×10 (Once I get all 3 sets for 10 reps I up the weight)

Dumbbell One Arm Row: 3×12

Machine Decline Press: 3×15

Machine High Row: 3×15

Monday – Bench Intensity w/ Arms

I did a few things different this time since it is the 3rd week. I want to start handling even heavier weights. So I did some board press before the bench.

Board Bench Press: Work up to a heavy double (something heavier than my actual bench)

Bench Press: Work up to a 3rm (205 lbs) then 3×3 @90% of 205

Close Grip Lat Pulldown: Set of 10 for ever rep of benching.

Barbell Lying Tricep Extensions: 4×12 with the heaviest weight I could handle

Dumbbell Hammer Curls: 4×12

Cable Curls: 3×12

Cable Tricep Pushdowns: 3×12

Tuesday – Squat Day

Squat: 6 singles every minute on the minute(EMOM)

Bulgarian Split Squat: 3×8 (I upped the weight this week)

Seated Calf Raise: 4×15

Ab Wheel Rollout: 4×10

20in30 Week 2 Speed Day – Being Flexible

Flexibility is important, and I’m not talking about reaching down and touching your toes or an awesome full king pigeon pose.

behavioural-flexibility

King Pigeon Pose

You have to be flexible with your workout regimen. Sometimes your plan doesn’t always work out and you might have to tweak your program a little bit.

Should you have a plan? Yes! Goals are extremely important, in fact I talked a little bit about it here. Making a plan to accomplish the goal is vital but sometimes things happen and if everything doesn’t go according to plan, THE WORLD WILL NOT END! Well, maybe eventually.

So next time you are supposed to do a particular exercise in the gym and that piece of equipment is broken or the the 135lb, 19 year old kid is texting a novel to his ex girlfriend on the leg press machine, don’t worry about it and make a substitution. Take a quick detour. I wouldn’t suggest deviating from the plan everyday but once in a while won’t kill you. Detour

I have been having a tad bit of elbow pain and when I tried to do some dumbbell incline press, they hurt worse. I instead just did dumbbell shoulder pressing and it felt better. Tada! No sweat! Actually, copious amounts of sweat. But either way, you can’t let the detours rattle you, just keeping lifting and working. On to the workout!

Banded Barbell Bench Press: 9×3 @55% of 1rm (I ended up using 115)

Band Pull Aparts: 1 set of 10 for every set of bench.

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3×12

Rear Delt Raise: 3×15

Dumbbell Lateral Raise: 3×10

Chin Up Holds: I just did several sets of isometric holds. Working on position and grip strength. More on that later!

20in30 Squat Day-The importance of the pause.

Squatting is a basic human movement and everyone should be able to do it. Unfortunately, most of us sit at the computer or on the couch and lose the ability to get into a good stable squat position.

I still don’t have a great squat. Everyday I look at my 15 month old son and his ability to squat all the way down with his butt on his calves and move explosively from that position. It truly is a joy to see such fantastic human movement. So how am I going to get better in that rock bottom squat position? I have been doing mobility, but I’m changing it up a little bit.

Pause Squat

Instead of focusing so much on mobility and stretching, I’m going to just try to accumulate more time in the position of a squat. Whether weighted or not, the human body adapts to being in a position. So I’m going to try and help my body out a little with external loading (weight on my back.) I’m accomplishing this through pause squats. The worst exercise known to mankind and the one that I probably need the most.

Pause squats are very humbling because you can’t lift as much weight but they are extremely effective at making you stronger and even more comfortable in the bottom position of the squat. They can even teach you how to breathe better but that’s a whole other story. Today I paused every first rep of each set of my high bar squats for about 3-5 seconds; instead of doing 3×3 I did some heavy singles, paused. Again, not a ton of volume but I’m really focusing on my bench. I would hate to kill myself on pause squats and then not be able to do the prescribed reps the next day for bench.

Here’s the workout! Day 9 of the program.

Paused High Bar Squat: Worked up to 3 heavy singles (275, 295, and 275) Also did some additional pause work with 225.

Bulgarian Split Squat: 3×8

Donkey Calf Raise: 4×20 (Hit a top set for 10 that was a rep PR)

Ab Wheel Roll Out: 2×10 then 2×8 (Added an extra set and my abs are fried…)

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20in30-Week 2 Intensity Day

It’s Week 2 and today is all about intensity again, heavy weight for a few reps. Last week I worked up to a 3rm. My goal this week is to hit that same weight for 3 reps + 5lbs. If I can do that every week for a month than I will reach my goal of 20lbs in 30 days. This simple progression is called linear periodization, utilizing the principle of progressive overload.
But first, a quick story. Way back in the 6th century, Milo of Croton was said to be a giant of a man and incredibly strong. He was a 6 time Olympic victor in wrestling and supposedly ate 20 lbs of meat and 20 lbs of bread…a day!
 Milo
The real story I want to tell you is how he supposedly gained all his strength. He apparently carried a calf everyday on his shoulders. Now carrying a calf may not sound too incredible but Milo carried it everyday until it was a full grown bull! That is impressive! Whether the story is true or not is irrelevant, the story is a perfect example of progressive overload. Everyday lift a little more weight. Everyday get a little bit better.
This is what linear progressions are based on, progressive overload. Linear progressions are a great way to increase volume and intensity over time and it’s incredibly simple. Add weight to the bar or reps every workout or week. Programs like Strong Lifts and Starting Strength use this linear model and it truly is effective, especially with beginners. (Newbie gains are the best!) However, you can only move in a linear fashion for so long before gains come to a halt. I’m utilizing a linear progression for my intensity day and only for a month before going to different style of programming.
So with all that being said! Here was my workout for today. At the end of the 30 days I will have this program available in a PDF format. Interested? let me know!

 

Super Set 1

Bench Press: Work up to 3RM+5lbs (200lbs today) – Then 90% for 3×3

Cable Row: 1 set of 10 for every set of bench press, including warm ups.

 

Super Set 2

Hammer Curls: Sets of 50, 40, 30

DB Tricep Extensions: Sets of 50, 40, 30

 

Super Set 3

Cable Curl w/ Iso Hold: 3×15 (arms were trashed so I stopped at 15 a piece)

Cable Tricep Pushdown W/ Hold: 3×15

20in30 – Volume Bench

Need to put on some size? Get stronger? If so, you probably need to crank up the volume!

Today was my volume bench workout and so as promised earlier in the week, I will talk about what in the world volume is.

The formula for volume is simple. Volume = Weight x Sets x Reps. For example, if I squat 100 pounds for 5 sets of 2 it would equal 1000 lbs of volume.

In order to keep progressing with your strength goals, your volume has to increase over time. That doesn’t mean you need to add thousands of pounds in volume each and every workout but small timely volume increases are important.

There are pretty much only three ways to add volume with either more weight on the bar, more sets, or more reps per set. Sounds simple right? It Is fairly simple but there are lots of combinations to keep things interesting. Continuing with our earlier example of the 100lb squater, to make an increase from 1000lbs to 1200 instead of 5 sets of 2 @100lbs we could do 4 sets of 3 @100lbs. Then the following week go to 5 sets of 3 at 100 lbs, and repeating the process with a little more weight on the bar next month.

To really gain hypertrophy (build muscle) increasing the volume is vital. Just don’t jack the volume up to fast or you will become brutally sore.

So long story short, this is my volume bench day, AKA the day I do higher reps of bench press.

Bench Press: 5×8

Band pull apart: 5×10

Close Grip Bench Press: 3×10

One Arm Dumbbell Row: 3×12

Machine Chest Press: 3×15

Machine High Row: 3×15

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20in30 – Day 4 Deadlifts

Today is one my favorite days of the week. DEADLIFT DAY!

Deadlift Black and White

Similar to my squat programming, I will be deadlifting once a week during this month. Most people believe that you shouldn’t deadlift more than once a week but I saw some pretty amazing progress when I had one heavy deadlift day and another day where I focused on lighter deadlifts.

To keep my overall volume down, I’m doing 3×3 on deadlifts. I want to stay heavy so I don’t lose my strength but the goal is to still feel fresh the next day for bench press.

If you’ve seen videos on instagram, I usually pull sumo, where my arms are inside my legs. I switched to sumo less than a year ago and it has revolutionized my deadlift training. I am able to pull more weight and my back feels incredibly stronger. I think with my shorter arms and long torso that the leverages work out better for me in sumo.

However, I still try to always pull at least once a week with a conventional stance. Right now I am focusing on doing some Romanian deadlifts with my close stance.

Check out the workout, it’s Ed Coan inspired so hopefully the GOAT will approve.

Sumo Deadlift: 3×3 – hit 335 for some solid reps.

Romanian Deadlift: 3×5 – Really happy with how easy 225 felt today.

Barbell Bent Over Row: 3×8

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20in30 – Day 2 Squat Day

Today was squat day.

Even though the main goal of this program is progressing the bench press, I don’t want to lose strength in the other big lifts (squat and deadlift.) It is usually best to have one main goal; because of that I will only be squatting and deadlifting once a week. Squat I usually squat 2 to 3 times a week and at one point I squatted everyday for 45 days. So the low frequency is odd to me but I don’t want to burn myself out on squats and not be able to hit my bench numbers the next day.

I did 3 sets of 3 on high bar squats and I chose high bar for a couple of different reasons. I’m not nearly as strong with a high bar squat as low bar so this gives me a chance to work on the technique and build strength in this style of squat. Also, because it is a lighter load it’s less systemic stress on my body, which hopefully will allow full recovery for my next bench press day (AKA Wednesday.)

 

 

 

 

Here’s day 2 of the program.

High Bar Squat: 3×3

Bulgarian Split Squat: 3×8

Donkey Calf Raise: 4×20 (Raised the weight every set)

Ab Wheel Roll Out: 3×10 (Best ab exercise ever!)

 

Hit a fairly easy 3×3 at 275 today and it felt good. Looking forward to the speed bench day tomorrow! Getting better everyday.

@livingHumanAgain on instagram

 

Day one of the program here!!!

Wellness – Resources to Better Yourself

Wellness can be tricky to define but I think we would all agree that is vital to us living a long, happy, successful life. The definition that I find most useful is from the National Wellness Institute. It says “Wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.” This is a very broad definition and I think that’s why I like it. It’s so much more than physical health!

Part of wellness is striving to further yourself intellectually and physically. In some ways my blog can help accomplish those goals but there are also other resources out there. Books, podcasts, seminars, conferences, and education, to name a few. I wanted to list some of my favorites and hear yours. Many of the resources on my list are health related but certainly not all.

WEBSITES – These are my go-to websites for reading material!

  • BarbellShrugged.com is a fantastic resource for all things fitness but they also delve into other topics like goal setting. The Shrugged team has been doing a lot of changes of late and are even working on something called Barbell University, which I am ecstatic about. Their website has a plethora of information on it and several different training programs. You can purchase and get access to the 6 month Muscle Gain Challenge as well as Barbell Shredded and Barbell Bikini.
  • JTSStrength.com is home to Juggernaut Training Systems and the juggernaut himself, Chad Wesley Smith.ChadSmith With a 2,325 pound total, Chad knows his stuff, and the articles posted to his website are fantastic! His team continually provides great free information. He also has several digital resources like A Thoughtful Pursuit of Strength and The Juggernaut Method 2.0. This might seem like a powerwebsite but they have articles on mobility, weightlifting, nutrition and several other topics.
  •  MashElite.com is home to the Travis Mash who has not only been coaching for 21 years, but at one time broke the world record pound for pound total. He broke Ed Coan’s record, the greatest of all time (the GOAT) . Clearly, Mash knows a ton about powerlifting but he also was a great Olympic lifter and his Olympic athletes are consistently winning competitions. The website has new articles being posted all the time and Mash posts new FREE training programs all the time. You have to at least check out the website.

PODCASTS – I have turned into quite the podcast junky. I love that I can acquire new information while driving around all day. Now I am constantly gleaning information from people via these great podcasts

  • Barbell Shrugged Podcast I know, these guys again? Yes! This is the podcast that started it all for me. Originally it felt a little more like a crossfit podcast but as the show matured, it progressed into so much more than just that. They have had some amazing guests like Cory Gregory, Christmas Abbott, Travis Mash, Brian Mackenzie, Rich Froning, and even Dmitry Klokov.

bb shrugged

  • Barbell Life Podcast This is led by Travis Mash of com. I really enjoy this podcast because it is just a bunch of good dudes who really care. While the show might lack some in audio quality, it excels in content quality. They answer questions, have big time guests, and are always willing to learn themselves. This podcast is honestly, a breath of fresh air.
  • Industrial Strength Show – Joe DeFranco is THE man when it comes to strength and conditioning for sports. joe-defrancos-complete-3-week-strength-reboot-graphics-1He has trained more NFL players than can be numbered and his knowledge and experience is vast. I like this podcast because Joe is an incredibly passionate person and it comes through in this podcast. He has had many great guests but I also enjoy the episodes where he is by himself. He is extremely consistent and always posts a new show on Thursday morning. I have usually finished it the very same day because it’s that good! He also has worked out a deal with CBS, which should propel the show even further!
  • Tim Ferriss Show – This might be the most interesting of all the podcasts. If you are not familiar with Tim Ferriss than come out from underneath the rock, Patrick! He has written several books; The 4 Hour Body, 4 Hour Chef, and the 4 Hour Workweek. I love this show because every guest is so different! I have learned about cancer research, hip hop music, foreign languages, kettlebell swings, and how to answer emails most efficiently. Ferriss is constantly speaking with people who are trying to push the limits of human performance, and who doesn’t want that? If you haven’t checked out this podcast yet, you should.
  • Dave Ramsey – We have officially and completely veered off the path of fitness but honestly, I don’t care. This post is about wellness, remember? Dave Ramsey is a financial genius, and it’s not because he can teach you how to play the stock market. He is a budgeting mastermind and genuinely cares for people and their wellbeing. If you are in some financial woes, consider the path of Dave Ramsey. His baby steps can be life changing and although his methods might seem extreme, his results speak for themselves. He also had produced a really terrific app called Every Dollar

BOOKS – Let me start this section by saying that these are literally my three favorite books. I think they are the most tremendous resources, especially for those of us who are in pain.

  • Becoming a Supple Leopard Kelly Starrett is the author and he is no joke. His doctorate is in physical therapy but he was also an Olympic rower and now owns Crossfit San Fransisco, however he is known everywhere as a movement guru. I first heard about him through MobilityWod.com and his youtube videos. His videos not only show you how to achieve a stretch or exercise that can make you feel better but he also explains the why and how. I don’t know if you can tell, I love learning, and I have learned so much about my body through Kelly Starrett. The book is excellent because it talks about how he performs self care, how to do every exercise known to mankind, and hundreds of exercises that can help improve mobility and ease pain. Dr. Starrett says that you should be able to treat about 90% of your own aches and pains. That is incredible and so is this book. I would definitely recommend the 2nd edition as it is much better organized. Both are incredible though.
  • The Roll Model – Jill Miller might be a Yogi, but she won’t put you in any twisted and painful positions.JillMiller4 She is actually doing just the opposite, trying to heal your movement. Musculoskeletal disease affects 1 out of every 2 persons over the age of 18! That is insane; and I would be willing to bet it is only going to get worse in this country, if we don’t do something to change it! Jill utilizes her Yoga Tune Up balls to help release all the fascia in your body so you can move better and feel great. I know it works because I have two of those balls and I want to get more of them! To me, this was an easier read than Supple Leopard and I absolutely adored the sequences in the back that help release tension and stress in different parts of my body.
  • BibleOkay, stay with me for just a second! This is hands down the book that releases the most pain in my life. No matter what you believe, most people would agree that relieving emotional strain is extremely important. The spiritual benefits are off the charts. Don’t believe me? I dare you to read some every day for a week.

For thousands of years humans have strived to increase their knowledge, intellect, and power. This is a piece of the wellness puzzle and now you have seen a glimpse into my own endeavor.

How have you been trying to better yourself? What books or resources have you been using to improve yourself? Flowing water brings life, stagnant water is riddled with disease. So keep cultivating who you are. Live like a human and progress forward, onto great things.

Comment with your favorite resources and how you are moving forward!

Follow me on Instagram @LivingHumanAgain

Strength, it’s important!

Here goes nothing…The health and fitness industry is swirling with programs, diets, concepts, research and bro-science that can turn your brain into mush or a quite delicious smoothie (if you had some bananas and strawberries that is.) I will be posting on my personal experiences and experiments on myself. In order to have some semblance of a plan for this blog I will be posting on several different topics each week and hopefully rotating through them all.

1. Strength Training

2. Mobility and Flexibility

3. Conditioning

4. Nutrition

5. Wellness

6. Lifestyle

So today I would like to talk about my true love, strength training.

So why is strength important?

Mark Rippetoe, author of the book Starting Strength, says that strength will improve all other physical attributes like speed and power. In an article on Tnation.com , Rippetoe said “All other aspects of performance depend on strength – this is why athletes take steroids. There are no “balance steroids” and no “agility steroids” and no “endurance steroids” and no “core steroids.” And it’s why they should be squatting, pressing, and deadlifting instead of playing around with “Bulgarian split squats” and other such silly distractions.”

Strength being crucial to peak physical performance makes logical sense but what about regular people like you and me? If you think about it, strength is crucial for a 15 year old male trying to get his first girlfriend as it is for a 55 year old woman to be able to carry her groceries from her car. Strength makes daily tasks easier. Think about this for a second, if you are 70 years old and still can squat your bodyweight than you won’t throw your back out getting off the toilet. In fact, there was a study that I heard about through a podcast (BarbellShrugged.com) where Dr. Andy Galpin referred to a study that concluded that leg strength correlated to human longevity! Here is a link to the study if you don’t believe me. Long term survival

Strength is important but how is it built? My favorite way is through big multi-joint exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead presses, and rows. Why do I like these?

  
1.) These exercises have a lot of bang for your buck! Because a squat hits your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and adductors. Not to mention the stabilizers like your abs and spinal erectors. Also, when you load a barbell on your back or in the front rack position your traps, lats, deltoids, and rhomboids have to be tight to support the bar. In other words, your back and shoulders have to be tight!

2.) These movements mimic or resemble real life movements. You deadlift when you reach down and pick up a backpack or that case of water. You squat every time you take a poo and lifting your arms overhead is important for stashing that rice cooker in the tallest cabinet possible because you don’t have any more counter or cabinet space, or maybe that’s just me. The point is, getting strong in positions or shapes you use daily is a wise choice.

3.) The third reason I like these exercises is because your body works as a unit. Some people to build their legs will just do leg extensions on a machine and hamstring curls. While this might build a specific muscle group it doesn’t put stress on the legs and body as a whole. When in your life will you need to life something on top of your feet by extending your knee and flexing your quadriceps? probably never and besides your quadriceps doesn’t work alone, your adductors help support and your glutes provide hip extension to stand erect. Point being, those single joint exercises have their place but the body works together so you should work it out together.

  

4.) Finally, working out does more than just work a muscle. Squats are my favorite exercise so I will use them as an example. As you progressively add more weight to your squat your muscles will adapt to stress and grow stronger. You will recruit more muscle fibers and the muscle will enlarge over time. Other parts of your body are adapting to stress as well, your tendons, ligaments, and even bones grow stronger through consistent weight training. The tendons in your ankles will grow stronger when squatting but if you do leg extensions the ankle receives no stress! Multi joint exercises stress the whole body, forcing the body to adapt and grow.

  
So this post has turned into an infomercial for multi joint exercises but I really believe they are the foundation and key to any successful training program. If you want to know how to do these exercises I will be posting about that hopefully sometime this week! There are many resources out there on the Internet for learning these movements but try adding them into everyday life. If you don’t go to a gym do 10 body weight squats after you go to the bathroom and see what happens! You might like it. These are basic human movements that we need to be able to perform and perform well. So start living human again and start squatting!

-Daniel

P.S. I am doing program where I squat every day for 30 days! I’ll be writing a post on how this went!