Thursday, March 31, 2011

No Escape

So far, things are going well with the squatathon. We have a few people at Dave Draper's Forums that have set some goals and are working to achieve them while donating $$ to a good cause. Although money coming in here has slowed, we've raised over $1500. Could be more - many of my students have made origami for Paper Cranes For Japan, and, of course, silent heroes are giving on their own privately and without fanfare.

Squatting is going well. I have some aches and pains, but (knock on wood) nothing so bad that it will keep me from training daily. I don't know how long that will last...

But then again, who does?

I'll continue to do what I can - posting, putting up videos, hopefully, keeping it in people's minds. For now I am more compassionate for those who have experienced tragedy. Mind-ful might be the better word, although lately that term is overused in some circles to the point of being mind-less.

I try not to watch "Nightline" anymore - it bothers me too much when the show headlines with "TONIGHT - Disaster in Japan and... the latest on Charlie Sheen!". It's okay though - I get it. We all want to escape even though we can't... not really. Looking too hard at the suffering makes us think about how fragile it all really is, no matter how much time and sweat we put in at the squat racks. Not a bad thing perhaps; maybe it will inspire us to live our lives more fully - both in the gym and out.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Scot Mendelson

I walked behind Scot Mendelson at a powerlifting meet once. I felt like I was walking behind the Hulk. Seriously, the man probably weighed about 320lbs at the time, but he had the upper body of a 400 pound bodybuilder. I remember speaking with some of his family and they were very nice people.  I don't remember if I said anything to him or not - if I did, it was probably something profound like "Gee, you bench a lot."

A link to this video was posted at the P&B message boards. Scot's lost some weight. I think everyone on the boards was more interested in his Bluetooth than the marijuana story...

No judgement here - just thought it was an interesting story and a side of Scot Mendelson you've probably never seen if you're like me and the only time you've ever seen him was at a meet surrounded by his posse.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 14 - Boris In Chains

It's been years since I've dragged the chains out and put them on a barbell. One set of chains add about 40lbs at the top and, with the connector chain, de-load completely at the bottom. The nice thing about chains is that they force you to tighten up at the top (where a lot of people tend to be a little loose when using lighter weights) and, unlike bands, don't lock you into a particular groove.

I felt like I should add something for the chains, but I don't want anyone thinking I'm nickle and diming my way to a million. So, for calculating volume, I've decided to count it as 20lbs/set of chains.

14, 520lbs on the day. 152,455lbs so far.

Please donate: The American Red Cross

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 13 - 5:00 of Fun

Today, I was in a hurry. No time to dilly-dally so, after warming up with the bar and a manta-ray, I set the interval timer for 5 minutes and went at it with 135lbs.

135lbs x 15, 10, 10, 15... Solid effort. 8,100 pounds for the day. 137,935lbs total so far.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day 12 - Advil and Atomic Balm

I was told by a trainer a few years ago that someone looking to get big and strong should NEVER, EVER take Advil or aspirin. Don't worry. I'm not exactly loading up on "muscle-destroying" non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory-drugs (NSAIDs), but I'm not afraid of Advil in small doses either. It's a cause or symptom thing...

Anywho, the stretching, ice, Advil, and Atomic Balm seemed to do the trick for me today. Felt much better. Reduced volume today (7860lbs) and finished off training w. some RDLs with the axle

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day 11 - Feeling Aged

I've had some lower back issues that recently resurfaced and I knew going into this that squatting 10,000+ pounds a day to 1,000,000 was not going to be easy. Today was rough - every rep pulled on the hip flexor and lower back, affecting the groove and making "the hole" (the bottom of the squat) shallow... I tried high-bar. I tried low-bar - it didn't really matter.

Needless to say, I called it a day pretty early, getting in only about 8,000lbs. 121,975lbs so far.

Tonight, I stretched and iced. Tomorrow, some "Atomic Balm" and a lot of warm-up sets will be on the menu.

Please donate if you can: The American Red Cross

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Getting Under The Bar (Again)

If you have a tough time getting under the bar for back squats, a new article I wrote for might be helpful. Let me know what you think.

Getting Under The Bar

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Squat A Million Video Update - Day #7

I've been on this quest for one million pounds for a week now. I'll try to continue to squat about 10,000lbs/day until I'm done. Nothing particularly hard - light weights, but even for someone like me squatting everyday might get a little dull. We'll see.

Please donate if you can.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Squatting One Million Pounds - Update #1

Join us.

Pick a training goal. Volume, in terms of tonnage or reps, will be the easiest thing to measure, but it doesn't have to be volume - choose something.
Make a donation.
Make a pledge for more when you complete your goal.
Post your progress here, or at our thread at Dave Draper's forum.

Let's get after it and keep at it.

A little more than 24 hours has passed since I posted "I Will Squat One Million Pounds". So far, our project has donated $1000 to The Red Cross. I don't expect that pace to continue, but please donate, even if it's something you don't feel is a large amount. If you donate directly to the Red Cross, or somewhere else because of what you've read here, let me know through a forum PM, or Facebook, tweet, or by email ( - we'll count it toward our total because we want to know we're making a difference. Honestly, I'd prefer people donate directly - less mess for your tax documentation, and there's less $$ lost to fees and more goes where it's needed.

I'll post updates - total $$ and individual numbers for all that would like to participate. I hope to hear from you.

Thanks everyone,

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Will Squat One Million Pounds

It's not about the barbell.

My wife and I were married in Sendai, Japan.

I have to do something.

Right now, there's not a lot I can do except maybe try to contribute some money. I've looked into websites like to collect dollars, but some of them lop 10% off the top right away. I can't abide the idea of people profiting off of disaster right now, so anything I donate will be to reputable charities directly.

I will be donating my dollars, and any dollars I raise through fundraisers at work or through this website to:
The American Red Cross

I will squat one million pounds. I will raise, at the very least, $10,000.

I can do the squat by myself, but I'll need help to raise the money.

I don't normally ask anything from you, but I am now. Please join me. Keep a running poundage and donation total and post them here from time to time to keep us honest and on-task. We're all on our honor here.

Rules for the squat? None. I will be counting squats with weight to parallel or below, but it's not about the barbell. It's up to you.

Thanks everybody. I hope to hear from you,


We've started a thread over at Dave Draper's website - so far we've sent $1000 to The American Red Cross. Squat One Million Pounds For Disaster Relief

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Cross Bench Pullover (Part II)

Last summer, I said that the cross bench pullover was one of those exercises that should have never fallen out of fashion. Apparently, no one at G's G reads Squat Rx, because I've only seen one dude doing them there - me. That's fine, I don't expect 20 years olds to be flocking to that round middle-aged guy doing weird exercises in the "SKWAT!" t-shirt for training pointers exactly, but it is a great exercise.

My guess is you don't see a lot of guys doing these in the gym...

Here are a few exercise pointers I'd like to pass along:

*If possible, find a well-padded, narrow bench that isn't going to lock your scapulae into a frozen position.

*Resist the temptation to shrug while doing the exercise, as this will shift stress from the scapulae and lats and potentially crank the shoulders.

*Sink the hips as you lower the weight, being mindful of range of motion. Lower to a gentle stretch and gradually, slowly, and progressively increase range of motion. When I say "gradually", "slowly", and "progressively", I don't mean in a single set or session...

*Do not be overzealous about load or range of motion - for strong people 30-40lbs is more than enough to be an effective range of motion drill, and most people will get as much benefit with weights as little as 5-20 pounds.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Earthquakes & Tsunami In Japan

I don't know what to say except my thoughts and prayers are going out to all my friends and family, and everyone in Japan. We're watching Japanese coverage on satellite tv right now and it's absolutely, absolutely horrible.

I'm sure there will be many ways to give, but give if you can.
Red Cross

Thursday, March 10, 2011

New Toy In The Redemption Center - An Axle Barbell

Rogue Axle

Years ago, I trained at a gym with Ironmind's Apollon's Axle and I've wanted one ever since. This bar was about half the price. Time will tell if I made the right decision, but I enjoyed doing higher rep RDLs with it tonight. The lower back is still a bit twinge-y - using the axle is nice because loading it up is not really an option.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

All Aboard The Gravy Train

This time, we didn't forget the gravy...

I don't begrudge people having some success in the strength and conditioning industry, but I urge people to be wary of online gurus (or even well-intentioned wannabe gurus) whose coaching resumes consist almost entirely of advice dispensed on blogs and message boards. If this wasn't so rampant, it would be laughable really. Unfortunately, in the personal-performance-enhancement-strength-trainer-conditioning-specialist-therapist-teacher-coach field, it's not always "you get what you pay for". Sometimes, it's just "you get not much for a lot".

Seek out people that have coached and taught people in real life. Look for coaches that have coached the same people long enough to have impacted performance, health, and/or appearance. Find coaches that can tailor advice and programs to your needs.

Commonsense, I know. Just thought we could all use a reminder.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mike Boyle on Front Vs. Back Squats & The FMS (Podcast)

Generally speaking, I don't like podcasts. Many of them end up being unthoughtful rants on random topics, or cleverly disguised adcopy. It's not a time issue exactly - I'll make time for people. It's an attention issue - rambling interviews, circular monologues, commercials, television dramas and reality tv lose me quickly. However, Mike Boyle has a recent podcast discussing front squats vs. back squats and the over-application of the FMS that was quite interesting.

Strength Coach Podcast #47

For what it's worth, I enjoy Mike Boyle and Gray Cook's work. Anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis knows that. But, I don't agree with Mike Boyle on all things squatting. I don't agree, and that's okay. He's certainly given the issues a lot of thought and experience and he's obviously an amazing coach - his athletes get the results they want and that is all that really matters. As far as his words on FMS, I agree with his short assessment - it is a SCREEN. It is NOT a training program, nor a substitute for competent coaching. The FMS is NOT the answer to every training question (and neither, btw, is 5x5, SS, WS, CF, RKC, AKC, Smolov, Sheiko, or Seiko). The problem with putting so much stock into a single screen is that you begin with a "deficit model" mindset, potentially ignoring the larger context.

Related Posts:
Advances In Functional Training (review)
Movement by Gray Cook
The Death of The Conventional Squat?