Full Body Training – More Than Just A Start Point For Beginners!

 

Go ahead and take a look at your favorite Bodybuilder.  Go online or look at his interview in the latest Muscle And Fitness or Muscular Development magazine to find how he’s training for his next competition and more times than not, you’ll find that he’s using a split routine consisting of chest and back one day, followed by shoulders, calves and abs on another day, followed by arms and chest again, followed by legs and abs, etc.  This’ll be split into five days, involve multiple exercise per body part for 3 sets of 12 each,  sometimes followed by multiple drop sets, in order to hit each muscle for “all angles”, followed by plenty of time on the treadmill.  Some professional Bodybuilders will even train twice a day.  If you ever watch Ronnie Coleman’s old training videos from the early 2000’s, you’ll know that not only did he train twice a day, but he also organized his routines for different goals.  While training for the Mr. Olympia, Ronnie would use one training session to focus solely on strength, using only barbells and dumbbells; in the next sessions, he’d solely use machines and cable exercises for hypertrophy purposes.

However, I’ve noticed somewhat of a change in training philosophies lately, at least with some of the most popular online fitness personalities.  It started with articles written by Dr. Jim Stoppani, PhD. , who after pretty much preferred split routines over anything else was suddenly singing a different tune!  In an article he published last Halloween, entitled 4 Reasons You Should Be Doing Full Body Training, Jim discussed aspects such as greater fat loss, greater improvements in strength, and a recent scientific study that suggests that training the major muscle groups every training sessions will bring on gene activation, which in turn can prevent numerous metabolic diseases.  Scott Herman of Scott Herman Fitness has also been enthusiastically touting the benefits of Full Body training lately, and is even preparing to release a brand new Full Body routine on his website as I type this.  Might include plenty of Bah-bell work!

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While much smoother looking than his more rugged counterpart, Reg Park, Steve Reeves also training using a full body routine and still was incredibly sculpted!  And much like Reg, he’d also go on to play Hercules in the movies.

It’s nice to see that full body training is finally getting some attention, at least on social media.  But is this approach new?  Of course not!  Full body training, for the longest time, has been considered the go to approach for beginner and intermediate lifters.  What you might not know, however, is that some of the most popular bodybuilders of yesteryear relied solely on full body training to attain very impressive, sometimes powerful physiques.

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Clearly you don’t need to me to tell you who the young man on the right is.  But the man on the left is that young man’s idol, iconic British bodybuilder Reg Park.  Reg has the distinction of being the first bodybuilder to compete at a bodyweight over 200lbs and with a very rough, rugged build, as well as being the second person and first bodybuilder to ever bench press 500lbs.  And how did he do it?  By training his entire body every session, as well as using a now well familiar set and rep scheme of 5 x 5.  Reg was very ahead of his time, believing that in order to gain size, you had to get stronger.  The best way to do this was to focus on multijoint movements, the squat, bench press and deadlift in particular, which other moves added in afterwards to prevent muscle imbalances.

Steve Reeves was Reg’s smoother, more aesthetic counterpart in the Bodybuilding world.  He too was a fan of full body training.  However, unlike Reg, Steve had organized his own approach to training in this way, starting with training the shoulders first, and then gradually working his way down to the legs, knowing full well that performing a big upper body exercises after squatting, for example, would not be easy.  Steve was also a big fan of cardiovascular health, advocating power walks up to four times day.  Here are just two examples of old school bodybuilders who trained in this fashion and achieved amazing results.  But as history shows, by the 70’s and 80’s, full body training had cleared the way for split routines used by everyone, especially Arnold, Reg’s own protege.

Newly converted full body training advocate Dr. Jim Stoppani, PhD, stressing the importance of such training to constantly stress muscles to growth, live at the Philly Fit Expo on Saturday, April 28th 2018.

So why resurrect full body training philosophies now?  Referring once more to Jim Stoppani, I had the opportunity to hear him speak about the benefits of full body training this past April at the Philly Expo.  Using the chest as his prime example, he said that if you were to continue hit that muscle with four exercises, from “all angles”, and then not touch it again until the next week, that muscle would essentially waste away as if you never even touched it.  And it does make sense when you consider that the chest is not a muscle we use as often as the legs or arms.

However, let’s spread that out now.  Let’s now spread the volume across three days, using one different, quality exercise per day.  So let’s say you bench on day one, perform dumbbell bench press on day 2, and then perform dips on day 3.  You’re chest is now being forced to grow because, even though you’re not burning it out with multiple exercises, you’re not giving it a chance to rest either.  Lee Haney used to say “stimulate, not annihilate”.  Also, because you’re performing just one exercise, it would behoove you to perform more than the popular three sets as a means to recruit more muscle fibers, prompting the muscles to react.

One of the reasons full body training is highly recommended for beginners and intermediates is because some of the most popular strength programs for beginners, such as Starting Strength, which I recently used after coming back from a torn wrist cartilage, has a major emphasis on the posterior chain, especially with the squat.  With constantly stimulating my legs alone with only two exercises, I was able to bring my squat back to 290lbs and my deadlift back to 325lbs in just three months.  Then there’s Stuart McRobert’s iconic 1991 hardgainer bible, Brawn.  McRobert used Brawn as his opportunity to revive classic full body routines such as the dreaded 20 Rep Squat routine for a new generation led astray buy mainstream bodybuilding magazines.  In fact, I’m currently in my third cycle of Jim Wendler’s Beyond 5/3/1 program, under a full body template.  Therefore, not only am I still training legs three days a week, albeit a different exercise each day, I’m now training chest twice a week and shoulders three times a week (two of those days are through the chest exercises).

Having said that, yes, more advanced lifters can absolutely benefit from full body routines.  My own father, who trained in R & J Health Studio, that infamous Brooklyn dungeon gym seen in Pumping Iron, was taught to train in a full body style while transitioning from Bodybuilding to Powerlifting and still managed to achieve squat and bench press numbers in the 400’s, all while maintaining a well sculpted, yet powerful physique at 200lbs.   But at some point, you’ll have to organize your training based on your own individual needs a schedule.  Full body training can be tailored for specific goals, whether it be strength , power, hypertrophy or all three.  It also has to be tailored to your own time frame, which Stuart McRobert stresses throughout most Brawn.

In fact, I’ve been considering switching from a strength focus to a hypertrophy focus after my next 5/3/1 as a short term goal toward my long term goals of being as strong as I can.  I plan on doing this by spreading out my usual three day per week routine into a four day routine spread over a three day week, enabling to focus more on building size while enjoying a longer recovery time between the big movements.  So here’s an idea that most of you can probably benefit from:

Day 1                                                                           Day 2 

Hyperextensions                                                      Hyperextensions

Squat                                                                          Bench Press

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press                           Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press

One Armed Dumbbell Rows                                Chin Ups

 

Day 3                                                                          Day 4 

Hyperextensions                                                   Hyperextensions 

Leg Press                                                                 Dips                                                     

Overhead Press                                                    Dumbbell Lateral Raises

Barbell Bicep Curl                                               Deadlift 

Seated Cable Rows

Notes:

As you can see, the exercise selection is comprised of quality movements, movements the recruits the most fibers, accruing the most damage, and signaling the most growth.  The Specific Adaptation of Imposed Demands states that the body will adapt to the stresses placed on it.  So why not stress it as much as realistically possible?  The one constant, inspired by Reg Park, is that you’ll always start each training sessions with Hyperextensions.  This will provide you with a gradually stronger lower back and hamstrings, which will benefit you later on as the bigger compound movement become heavier.  I blatantly did not provide a set and rep scheme, for this is just a general outline.  You must determine the sets and rep ranges based on your own personal goals.

A generally recommended rep scheme, however, would be six sets of six to eight reps.  As mentioned earlier, since you’ll now be focusing on only one exercise per body part, there’s no need to just stop at three sets, as you won’t need to move from one exercise to another for that part.  Therefore you can perform enough work to ensure that you’re attaining the volume you’ll need to grow.  Remember that, if you’re training one exercise per body part, three times a week, using as many as six sets each exercise, you’ll spread your training volume by about 50%, a point brought up by Jim Stoppani in April.

If this article has peaked your interest in full body training, and you’d like me to help you create the ideal routine for you, do not to hesitate to contact me in the form provided at the bottom of this article.  Thanks for reading!

References:

https://www.t-nation.com/training/reg-park-way-to-serious-size-and-strength

https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/4-reasons-you-should-be-doing-whole-body-training.html

https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/the-steve-reeves-solution-for-size-strength-and-health.html

A Call For Respect, A Call To Come Together

 

It is with genuine disappointment and visceral anger, that I write this.

By the time you get to reading this article you’ll have already heard that just four days ago a gym member of Buzzfit over in Montreal, Quebec, CA, was assaulted by another gym member…and all because his deadlifting was too loud.  If you’ve yet to see the video, here it is now:

Tell me…did your blood boil upon watching this, like mine?

The young man seen deadlifting in this footage which has since has not only gone viral, but made into news stories on major outlets such as Fox News, The Daily Mail, Canoe and Newsweek, Charles Lalonde, is actually a client of powerlifter Pete Rubish.  Therefore he was performing a customized program that was set up by Pete just for Charles to follow.  According to Pete Rubish himself there had been some issues between Charles and gym management regarding Charles’s deadlifts being too loud.  The management were in fact willing to let Charles continue to deadlift under the condition that he placed mats on the floor to reduce the noise, to which Charles agreed.  So on this day, when Charles was deadlifting 375lbs with mats underneath the plates, someone clearly annoyed with the sound of the plates hitting the floor decided to play the part of Commercial Gym Hero.

This punk walked up to Charles and kicked the bar out of his hands, potentially hurting not just his wrists, as he happened to be wearing straps, but his back as well (and Charles did say that he’s currently experiencing some back pain thanks to this coward).  He then proceeded to yell at him that he had to leave because he was “ego lifting”, followed by shoving Charles hard against the wall when Charles stood up for himself.  Since then, not only was this punk banned from the gym for life, but an employee was suspended as well, for not getting involved sooner than he did.  Buzzfit also offered Charles and his entire family a free lifetime membership.  Charles is also pressing charges against the punk who assaulted him.

There were some people who believed that the man who attacked Charles was a Buzzfit employee.  He wasn’t.  He was just an ordinary gym member, therefore he had absolutely no business telling Charles that gym management wanted him out because it clearly wasn’t the case.  Besides, I doubt any employee would be stupid enough to put their hands on any gym members and happily risk loosing their jobs over it.  Just understand that the moment in which he kicked the bar out of Charles’s hands and shoved him against the wall, he set himself up for assault charges.

Just last year I published an article (see the link below) called The Three Things I Wish I Knew Upon Entering The Fitness World.  On the top of the list was the notion that you should never fear your fellow man in the gym.  I had said that despite my fears that I’d be stared at with looks of disgust for not doing anything right, I actually made some friendships that have lasted longer than a decade now, as well as meeting people who were more willing to help me strive in fitness then anyone ever was in music or any of my other endeavors.  It was the first time in my life that I understood the true meaning of the word Community.  We all got together and pushed each other to our limits, picking each other up when we were down and elevating each other when we couldn’t do it on our own.

An incident such as what happened in Montreal goes against the very grain of everything I just mentioned.  If it were I who heard Charles Lalonde deadlift, I wouldn’t storm over to him, hurt him and scream at him to leave.  I’d instead politely ask him if I could show him how to control his descent, as to finish each rep in a more controlled and even safer (for his wrists) fashion.  For the record, I know exactly what he’s doing improperly because it’s a problem I had and didn’t pay attention to for years.  But that’s irrelevant.  And if he were to rudely tell me no or something more vulgar, I’d then let management handle it, like a normal functioning person, knowing that it’s not my place to take matters like this into my own hands.

What this punk did is most likely something he’d done before and wasn’t dealt with then, most likely making him feel like he could do whatever he wanted and get away with it every time.  It’s even being argued right now that the bully in this situation was most likely insecure, and all because he can’t pull the weight Charles was, or at all.  Situations like this must be dealt this before the poison is allowed to spread, because punks like him are the reason that any average gym member looking to get into fitness for the first time decides he doesn’t want to go to that gym or any gym for that matter.  It kills business for that gym, and it gives the rest of us a bad reputation.  At that moment I couldn’t blame anyone for being anxious about the gym atmosphere – there’s a reason Planet Fitness exists.

I am disappointed to say, however, that this kind of prejudice does not just start and stop in the world of commercial gyms.  It sometimes might happen in more intimate settings as well.  Without getting into detail, I speak from experience as I actually dealt with this in my own gym, in where another gym member, who does in fact deadlift, and is in fact really strong, decides apparently that there are certain pieces of equipment that shouldn’t be touched by anyone whose strength and power levels aren’t up to snuff with his.  I’d like to think it’s just immaturity, as I know I’m older than him.  But once again, it’s irrelevant, for there’s no reason to be intolerant of anyone’s strengths or weaknesses.  For all that kid knows, that one guy using his favorite bench for “just” 160lbs could one day hit double that number.  For all we know the guy might share the intolerant lifter’s aspirations and passion.

So I’m making a call right here.  I’m calling for all lifters: Powerliftiers, Bodybuilders, General fitness, Crossfit, Strongman, Sports specific.  It’s times like this that require that we all come together to remind ourselves that, regardless of our extrinsic goals, we all have one very common, universal goal: self improvement.  Lets not forget that even the strongest person in the world started out as that scrawny, weak person, filled with major insecurities.  There’s absolutely no room for anyone to either prey on those insecurities or take their insecurities out on anyone who makes them feel threatened.

Feeling insecure?  Instead of trying to hold down someone who knows more than you, take a moment and try to learn from that person, so you too can do all the things he or she can…or maybe even surpass them.  If you’re spotting someone and they couldn’t get that lift, encourage them to try again next time.  Hell, give that guy pointers on how to improve, he might appreciate it more than you’ll ever know.  On the reverse side of things, if you see someone struggling on a lift, don’t laugh at them or look at them at disgust.  Get over there because they might need help, or at least an extra mental push.  That’s exactly how I befriended someone in my own gym just a few months ago.  He was performing cambered bar box squats, complete with resistance bands.  Pure Westside style!  When I saw him struggling through the mid point of a rep I ran over there to help him feel secure enough to push through, and push he did!  I could tell he meant it when he thanked me, knowing I understood him and was going to make sure he kicked ass.

This is a call for all of us who train in the gym, striving to be the best we can be, to remember where we all came from.  Bullies, by nature, are insecure and cowardly; when it comes to a culture as often misunderstood as the Gym culture, we simply cannot afford for punks like the one who harassed and assaulted Charles Lalonde in Montreal to continue to perpetuate the stereotype that we all are bullies.  With the exception of three people I’ve met in the last few years, my experience of training in many different gyms has provided me with fifteen years worth of memories and friendships more meaningful to me than anything else that I might’ve been through in that time.  Those experiences are the types that anyone entering a gym for either the first time or to finally hit that goal of deadlifting the house all have the right to know.  For some of us, the gym is our true home, lets not destroy it with bad press.  Don’t be a bully, because I for one have zero tolerance for it.

Click here for the above mentioned article:

The Three Things I Wish I Knew Upon Entering The Fitness World

Be sure to follow me on Tumblr as well!

https://unitedinstrength.tumblr.com/

 

Strength’s Ultimate Enthusiast – In Memory Of Terry Todd

“I remember the first time I saw Terry Todd in Gold’s Gym after I moved here, lifting weights I couldn’t believe. He was such a monster – a true force, but also a kind heart and a great storyteller.”

                                                                           – Arnold Schwarzenegger

On Saturday, July 7th, 2018, the world of Strength Sports mourned the loss of it’s greatest contributor and advocate not named Arnold, Texas’s own Terry Todd.  He was 80 years old.  And while the general public at large my know at least the required knowledge of Arnold’s contributions to fitness, Terry’s contributions, while clearly overshadowed were equally immeasurable, if not more.  Athlete, educator, innovator, historian.  My own introduction to Terry Todd was the same YouTube video in which I discovered the beast Doug Young.  For this particular clip, Terry was co-commentating the 1977 IPF World Championships along side a young Bryant Gumbel, as seen below:

 

Terry started out as a weightlifter in 1956 and would win the Junior Nationals in Olympic Weightlifting seven years later.  After that he switched to Powerlifting, where at a bodyweight of 335lbs, he made his mark.  His numbers include a 720lbs Squat, a 515lb Bench Press and a 742lb Deadlift.  In fact, it was at the 1965 National Championships that Terry squatted 710lbs at the previously mentioned bodyweight of 335lbs.  I feel the need to mention his weight because this may not seem so impressive in the age where some of today’s strongest lifters are reaching for some incredible lifts at alarmingly lower bodyweights than Terry’s.  But it’s important to remember that conditioning wasn’t as emphasized as it clearly is today.

Terry retired from active competition in 1967, but much like Arnold years later, he found ways to stay close to the sport he loved.  For much like him, Terry viewed fitness and strength training as more than just a hobby, but a lifestyle.  He became a professor, teaching in many universities throughout the state as well as Canada until his retirement in the 90’s.  Starting in the mid 70’s, Terry became directly involved in the development of Women’s Powerlifting, alongside his wife Jan, who also happened to be a lifter (she would later be recognized as the strongest woman in the world for a time).  For a few years the two of them would even coach the Canadian Women’s team.  Terry also fought for the women’s committee of the United States Powerlifting Federation to become a self governing body, which he ultimately achieved.  His contributions to this movement would earn him an induction into the USAPL Women’s Hall Of Fame in 2004, alongside his wife, of course.

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Inside Powerlifitng, one of a few books written by Terry Todd, featuring the late Doug Young on the cover.  This book is hard to find for cheap these days, as it’s no longer in print.

When Terry wasn’t coaching lifters or teaching at various universities, he was also a color commentator, as mentioned earlier, for Powerlifitng events broadcast on CBS, NBC, the BBC and ESPN.  During the 70’s and 80’s you could find Powerlfiting events on NBC Sports and even Wide World Of Sports on ABC.  Terry was also the author of Inside Powerlfiting.  Released in 1978, it was the first book to truly cover all things related to the sport, including it’s history, the top lifters of the day, their training philosophies and their eating habits.  It’s important to note that some of that material may now be considered dated in today’s age, and rightfully so.  But it can also make a great historical piece, as it was the first book of it’s kind.  He also would right multiple article for magazines such as Muscular Development, Iron Man, Flex Magazine and Sports Illustrated.

Perhaps his biggest achievement came in 1990, when Terry and his wife, Jan, founding The H.J. Lutcher Stark Center For Physical Culture and Sports.  Located in the University Of Texas At Austin’s football stadium, the Center is a 27,500 sq ft, non profit museum and library dedicated to all things related to all things strength and fitness.  You can find a wide array of books, journals, artifacts and videos of all sports – not just lifting – to lifestyle choices, to eating habits and dieting to self improvement.  To just read what this place has to offer on it’s website, which I’ll leave the link to at the end of this article, is quite overwhelming.  I’m at awe that one man was willing to put such a place together just to let the general public know the importance of such sports like Powerlifitng, which for the longest time was widely considered an underground sport.  But more than that, it’s humbling to know that one man was this willing to keep physical sports and the fitness lifestyle alive for generations to come.

Terry Todd was man of multiple achievements in fitness.  He was the first man to squat over 700lbs.  He was a professor, an author, a historian.  But the most important aspect of this article, is that Terry was the man who made it his life’s work to keep the flame alive for the rest of us, and for that alone he will be greatly missed.

RIP Terry Todd

December 31st, 1937 – July 7th, 2018.

My references:

http://www.starkcenter.org/

 

Power Cleans And Mobility Loss: Starting Strength – Phase 2

Welcome to the latest article in my Rebuild Series.  If you haven’t read my previous article yet, I restarted my training just six weeks ago, after a torn cartilage in my right wrist put me on the shelf for three months.  My program of choice was the very popular Starting Strength template, created by former Powerlifter and Wichita Falls Athletic Club owner/founder Mark Rippetoe.  Somewhat derived from Bill Starr’s classic 1971 book The Strongest Shall Survive, Rippetoe’s approach to training those in the Novice (beginner) stage is enforcing linear increases in strength by improving hip drive, and building up the Posterior Chain; for without the Posterior Chain, most other movements can be difficult.

Introducing The Power Clean

The template consists of just five main moves; the Squat, Bench Press, Overhead Press, Power Clean and the Deadlift.  However, the Power Clean was not introduced into the program until phase two, by which point recovery from Deadlifting three times a week is considered to be harder to do.  So now, with the routine still revolving around two alternating A and B workouts, you’ll still Deadlift on A workouts and you’ll perform the Power Clean on B workouts.  The idea behind incorporating the Power Clean into this routine is the move’s explosive nature should carry over into your Deadlift drive.  We’ll get into that momentarily, however.  Otherwise, Phase 2 of Starting Strength will now look like this:

Workout A                                                                          Workout B

Squat 3 x 5                                                                          Squat 3 x 5

Bench Press 3 x 5                                                              Overhead Press 3 x 5

Deadlift 1 x 5                                                                      Power Clean 5 x 3

Phase 2 can last, depending on the trainee, from either a few weeks to a few months.

Frequency

As you can see, the Deadlift frequency has decreased to every other workout.   However, you’ll still be squatting every workout, which if anything serves as a great tool for warming up the body for the rest of the workout, as I’ve felt first hand.  Since I’ve begun this routine with a more improved understanding of technique and biomechanics, I’ve not a had to use as many warmup sets for the exercises following the squat the way I would if I were still doing a split routine.

Also, by this point it’s at least expected that you’ve accordingly decreased the weight of your incremental jumps if needed for each lift.  It’s recommended depending on the lifter to make these adjustments within the first few workouts.  As far as my training was concerned, I found myself able to continue making incremental jumps of 10lbs per workout in my Squat.  However, it was only after the first Deadlift workout in this phase that I finally decided it was time to decrease the incremental jumps from 20lbs per workout to 10lbs.

The Basics Of The Power Clean

In terms of the specificity in Starting Strength, the incorporation of the Power Clean makes plenty of sense when you remember the big picture.  The program, more than anything is about strengthening your Posterior Chain, meaning you hamstrings, spinal erectors, gluteus maximus, trapezius and your rear deltoids.

The explosiveness of this move is supposed to strengthen this even more, and add more drive to your Deadlift.  In fact, this first portion of this complex move is a Deadlift.  After you pull the bar up past your shins, and while your knees and hips are still unlocked, you are to follow up immediately with a jump.  This starts the second portion of the movement.  Here is where you pull the bar into the air in a straight pattern, so long as your elbows remain straight before the jump.  The bar should then rack onto your shoulders.  As I’m doing now, it’s best to learn the movement patterns from a hanging position.  So I’d recommend starting with an empty 45lb bar.  I’ll probably write an entire article about this another time.

My Training

Screenshot_20180414-215752

My wrist still has a bit of swelling, although it’s quite improved from when I started six weeks ago.  I credit my hand doctor for taking good care of me and especially for looking out for me after my attack on Valentine’s Day, which made my injury worse and obviously set me back a bit.  Since I already started as light as I did with the Bench and Overhead Presses, I was able to keep on with incremental jumps of 5lbs per workout.  I’ve noticed a bit more definition to my shoulders however, with I contributed to alternating between two moves that without question place constant stress on them.

In terms of the Power Clean, it’s still too early for me to tell if the move’s explosive nature is carrying over to my Deadlift, as I began with such a light weight.  But it’s given me a ample time to better practice the finer details of such a complex move.

Start Of Phase 2 3/25/18                                              End Of Phase 2 4/12/18

Squat – 135lbs x 5                                                           Squat – 215lbs x 5

Bench Press – 70lbs x 5                                                 Bench Press – 85lbs x 5

Overhead Press – 50lbs x 5                                          Overhead Press – 70lbs x 5

Power Clean – 45lbs x 3                                                Power Clean – 65lbs x 3

Deadlift – 275lbs x 5                                                      Deadlift – 305 x 5

 

Take a good look at my left arm.  I can’t move it any further like my I can with my right arm due to lack of mobility.  It further increases my chances of an injury if it’s not resolved soon.

While my numbers have steadily gone up, I’ve begum to experience problems with my shoulder mobility on my left side.  I’ve struggled with it for a while but I only recently experienced my worst problems, particularly with setting up on my Overhead Presses.  Once I’d unrack the bar, my left elbow wouldn’t go up as high as my right arm.  To make matters worse, my stability in the squat has been compromised, with only my natural strength saving me from caving in completely.  Admittedly, I’d not given myself enough time to foam roll like I usually do.  I have however pinpointed the source of my mobility problems and it’s in my pectoral minor, where I nice little knot was just detected.  I’m using a massage ball to slowly help alleviate the problem now.   It will definitely take some time.

What Next?

Since my Squat and Deadlift have both increased in a rate faster than even I expected, I’ll be starting Phase 3 of Starting Strength now.  The Deadlift frequency will be decreased even more now than I’m pulling close to three 315lbs again.  In that regard, the Power Clean frequency will also be decreased, both to about every fifth workout or so.  In it’s place will now be an accessory movement.  What’s listed is Chin-Ups, also other movements can take it’s place such as Hyperextensions.  Both are acceptable, as they both are still multijoint movements.  It should be stressed though, that it’s important to pick your accessory moves based on your own, individual needs.  In my case, Hyperextenstions should help strengthen my hamstrings and lower back, which would aid in my Power Clean and especially in my Deadlift.  Also, I don’t know that I can properly perform Chin-Ups without placing much stress on my bad wrist.  I’ll probably give it a shot and see how it responds.

Also, Phase 3 is the final phase in the Starting Strength routine.  Once you are finished here, you will be past the “Advanced Novice” stage and you’ll be ready for an intermediate program.  One option I’m looking at, also written by Mark Rippetoe, is a more Powerlifting oriented program called appropriately enough, The Texas Method.  It’s been praised by many athletes and coaches, and was even discussed in an issue of Men’s Journal in 2009, thus giving the program some surprisingly mainstream attention.  The other option I’m playing with is going back to using 5/3/1 for a short while.  There’s is a full body version of the routine available and I’d like to see if I can be as successful with a full body versio of 5/3/1 as I was with the Powerlifting template, which I used for two years.

Thanks for reading.  Please make sure to follow me on Instagram, Tumblr, and now Pintrest!

My References

Rippetoe, Mark.  Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training 3rd Edition. Wichita Falls, Tx: The Aasgard Company, 2011.

The Rebuild Begins: Starting Strength – Phase 1

 

Welcome to an article I’ve been wanting to write for a while.  Not only is this my first review of any training model, but here we’ll be tackling a modern day classic in old school barbell training that’s equally as simplistic as it is effective.  Futhermore, I had the opportunity to give this template a proper go following a wrist injury that put me on the shelf for three months.  Here we will be discussing none other than Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength book and routine.

About Starting Strength

Having originally discovered the book via a recommendation from someone on the Bodybuilding.com message boards in early 2009, Starting Strength was already available to the public for nearly four years.  Designed by former Powerlifter and Wichita Falls Athletic Club founder Mark Rippetoe, the book does more than just provide a simplistic program for novice trainees.  It offers a scientifically detailed outlook on the biomechanics and execution of five lifts: the squat, the deadlift, the bench press, the overhead press and the power clean.  You’ll also find multiple anatomical diagrams throughout the book, as means of explaining the importance of proper technique and how just one minor mistake can cause an unnecessary injury in one way of another.  If also offers ways to coach the lifts if your goal is to train other lifters.

Phase One

Starting Strength’s template is an alternating full body routine revolving around four of the five lifts mentioned in the book.  The power clean will not be introduced until Phase Two.  For the purposes of this phase, 20lb jumps per session are allowed on the deadlift, usually for a few days, maybe a week or two depending on the lifter.  Likewise, 10lb jumps per sessions for the squat are allowed.  You will just use 5lb jumps per session on the overhead and bench presses.  The general expectations here is that by the end of the phase, which lasts just three weeks, your deadlift should have increased by 50-70lbs, your squat by 40-50lbs, and both pressing movements by 15-20lbs.  These steady increases are what make this a linear program.  There’s no deloading here, as this is a beginner’s program after all.

The Routine

Workout A                                                                     Workout B

Squat – 3 x 5                                                                  Squat – 3 x 5

Bench/Overhead Press – 3 x 5                                   Bench/Overhead Press – 3 x 5

Deadlift – 1 x 5                                                              Deadlift – 1 x 5

What you see here are just the working sets.  The reason for the deadlift requiring just one set, according to the book, is because since the move uses the largest amount of muscles, it can become easy to overtrain.  Aside from this, the one important thing to understand is that for the next three weeks, you’ll be alternating between the bench press and the overhead press.  So if you’re benching on workout A, then you’ll perform the overhead press on workout B.  Futhermore, if you execute the plan as A-B-A to start, then you’ll perform it the next week as B-A-B the next week, etc.

Frequency

Phase One of Starting Strength is high in frequency, as it should be.  As with most beginner programs, constant stimulation is the key to growth and increases in strength; and with the deadlift and squat both being performed three times a week, the posterior chain especially will get plenty of stimulation.  While you’ll be alternating between two different pressing movements, the shoulders and triceps will be trained either way.  The frequency won’t be so high come Phase Two.

Specificity 

The primary focus, especially in the book, is the squat.  The emphasis for Mark Rippetoe is hip drive as a way of recruiting the muscles of the posterior chains, because without those muscles, most movements are difficult at best.  For that alone this is an effective program for not just gaining strength, but learning strength.  Strength is not just about muscle, strength is a skill.  Without knowing proper technique, you’ll never know what your body is truly capable of.  I learned that first hand.

My Training

I chose to start my rebuild with the Starting Strength model because being that I tore my the cartilage in my wrist back in December, I knew I need to be as careful as I can to not agitate it.  I should’ve been given the clear to train again the day after Valentine’s Day, but when I was attacked by a student at the school I work in my recovery was delayed.  The swelling and the pain is steadily going away but it’s still painful at times to perform anything using a supinated/underhanded grip.  It’s also because of this that starting off as light as possible was absolutely necessary.

Start Of Phase One 3/4/18                                                                  End Of Phase One 3/22/18

Squat – 45lbs                                                                                           Squat – 125lbs

Overhead Press – 20lbs                                                                         Overhead Press – 45lbs

Bench Press – 45lbs                                                                               Bench Press – 65lbs

Deadlift – 95lbs                                                                                       Deadlift – 255lbs

As you can see above, this phase of my training has been pretty successful.  In the book, Rippetoe suggests that 10/20lb jumps in the lower body movements should only be made in the first few workouts before you lower the weights in order to avoid stalling to quickly.  He also acknowledges, however, that everyone responds differently to training this way.  Therefore, make sure to use your better judgement to figure what’s best for you; and of course use some common sense.  On that end, I was able to use 20lb jumps for the Deadlift throughout this entire three week phase because I knew I hadn’t lost that much muscle mass.  I probably could’ve even made a few 20lbs jumps on the squat if I wanted to, however I didn’t want to risk putting any pressure on the wrist.  I chose to keep the weights light on the pressing movements, for the sake of my wrist (especially with the overhead press) and because I saw this as a great opportunity for me to brush up on my technique before the weights begin to get heavier.

What Happens From Here?

While I’m very much satisfied with my progress at the moment, I will begin Phase Two of Starting Strength this Sunday.  In short, my deadlift frequency will decrease as the power clean is introduced and will replace the deadlift for the B Workouts, giving me a chance to recover from the deadlift sessions.  I’m also curious to see if the explosiveness of the power clean will carry over to my deadlift as claimed.  That last time performed the power clean in 2009 I felt like a sack of potatoes in the end, partially because I was unaware that I was asthmatic, resulting in technique breakdown early on in that portion of my training sessions.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my report on Phase Two of Starting Strength as well as a focus on the power clean.  Be sure to follow me on Instagram and Tumblr if you don’t already.

My References

Rippetoe, Mark.  Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training 3rd Edition. Wichita Falls, Tx: The Aasgard Company, 2011.

Cellucor C4 – The Miracle Powder

 

Welcome to my first supplement review!  Here I’ll discuss supplements I either currently use and those I’ve used in the past.  I’ll break down the details of the supplement facts to the best of my ability, why I use those particular supplements, and in the case of those I no longer use, why I stopped using them.

See the source image

Our first subject is the first pre workout I had used in nearly six years and the one that, for two years, essentially revitalized my training sessions along with my motivation to do anything at night.  This review is about Cellucor’s C4 Pre Workout.

Backstory

It was October 2015 and I joined New York Sports Club in Clifton, NJ.  This would mark my first time in a gym since I left New York City more than a month earlier and because my girlfriend would be joining me I’d find myself waiting until she came home from work around 7pm.  So by the time I got to the gym I’d be pretty tired and while the fatigue didn’t hit right away, my workouts would in fact slowly start to suffer by the time the holiday season rolled around.  So, if memory serves me correct, that’s when I began researching pre workouts.

At this point the last time I had used any kind of pre workout powder was Gaspari Nutrition’s SuperPump 250 back in April of 2010.  I had to stop for reasons I’ll probably get into in another article.  I bought a stimulant free pre wourkout a few days after Christmas, but after one very good workout on New Year’s Eve it did nothing for me ever again.  While I was admittedly not well versed in clinical dosages at the time, I read many reviews from people taking many different pre workouts and the most amount of positive reviews I found were for C4.

I bought my first canister maybe a week or two later and I used it for the first time a few nights afterward.  I drank it a good five minutes before leaving in an exhausted and therefore weakened state.  Then, while on the road and still just over five minutes away from my destination, I was hit with the strongest tingling sensation I’d ever received from any pre workout up to that point.   And if you like the feeling of pins hitting you then this stuff is truly for you!  Even more fitting?  It was leg day.  I short, my squats were literally the most explosive they had ever been, with my being able to hit more reps at 225 then I had ever been able to at that time.  All it took was just one scoop and I was a maniac that night, to the point that even after I finished for the night I still wanted to do more.  That’s when I knew C4 was my buddy!

Supplement Facts

One aspect of C4 that persuaded me to give it a try was that, while the profile wasn’t necessarily “bares bones” (we’ll get to that in a bit), it was significantly more stripped down than SuperPump was, simply meaning less of any unnecessary ingredients.

In terms of vitamin dosages, C4 contains 250mg of Vitamin C, 500mcg (micrograms) and Vitamin B6 and 35mcg of Vitamin B12.  Also included are 30mg of Niacin, which was the same amount found in the original SuperPump formula.  Niacin, which is essentially Vitamin B3, is important for general health.  However, according to Web MD, high amounts can also improve cholesterol levels and lower cardiovascular risks.  However, you can also experience what is called the “Niacin flush”.  The vessels in your skin dilate, causing your blood to rush through your body.  While it’s nothing to worry about, some of you taking it might or might have already experienced your face turning red because of it.  You might also experience a burning or itching sensation; I’d know, it’s made me itch quite a bit at times!  Again, it’s nothing harmful, but according to VeryWellFit, it can scare you if you don’t know it’s coming.  The recommended dosage for Niacin is 16mg, making the dosage found in C4 to be 14mg higher.

The most important ingredient here that SuperPump did not contain was 1.6g of Beta Alanine.  Beta Alanine – the source of the falling pins sensation I mentioned earlier – is the cursor to Carnosine.  Carnosine is a protein, therefore it can be broken down.  However, it’s been proven to be beneficial for it’s anti-aging benefits and well as increased energy.  That’s way Beta-Alanine has been used more and more for increased Carnosine production.

Watch Out For Those Proprietary Blends

Now for why I decided to stop using C4 after my last competition in May 2017.  As I started to become more conscious of proper clinical dosages, the one subject always popping up was that of these Proprietary Blends.  If you look on the labels of most pre workout powders, you might find it under some fancy name, Cellucor calls it their “Explosive Energy Blend”, as can be seen in the picture below.

This particular blend will at least tell you that it contains a combined total of 371mg, and that 150 of those mg come from Caffeine Anhydrous.  But what about the TeaCor Tetramethyluric acid?  What about Velvet Bean Seed Extract, or the N-Acetyl – L-Tyrosine?  The problem with proprietary blends is that the companies making them use it as a way to avoid revealing that those indregients are most likely very under dosed…and probably a bit unnecessary.

Mixing Creatine And Caffeine

This argument is nothing new, and I honestly don’t know that I can possibly shed any innovative suggestions on it myself.  But I can surely offer more close to a year and a half’s worth of my own personal experience.  Caffeine is a diuretic, which means the no matter how energetic you are, water excretion will be increased too.  In other words, you’ll be hitting the bathroom quite a bit.  On top of that, Creatine, arguably the safest of any supplement, is supposed to draw water into the muscle.  And this is where the argument begins.

It’s been my experience that, for as much praise as I would’ve given C4 back in February 2016, I cannot begin to tell you how many times I had to stop what I was doing and run to the bathroom in just one training session.  Nothing is worse than preparing to pull 315lbs for the first time ever and just as you’re getting set up the urge to go comes on and you can’t stop it.  And what’s worse was that my bathroom breaks would last much longer than they should have, and would eventually impede on my job.

At first my girlfriend suggested I go see a urologist, but I had a feeling this wasn’t something that necessarily needed a doctor’s visit for.  After doing research on the relationship between caffeine and Creatine, as well as talking to a few friends in the gym, it dawned on me that whatever water was being pulled in by the Creatine just might have also been pulled out by the caffeine.  Sure, on one end of the spectrum, I almost believe it’s at least part of the reason I dropped down from a bloated 190lbs to a much leaner 176 at the time.  But after while the constant urge to go finally got too uncomfortable for me.  That’s when I knew that I was going to try something new after my last competition, the RPS Jersey Rumble last May.  I’ve not taken any pre workout containing Creatine since that time.

Conclusion

If you don’t mind taking a pre workout powder containing Creatine, then by all means feel free to give it a shot.  I do suggest, however, to be mindful of anything containing proprietary blend.  Having said that, I absolutely loved the rush C4 gave me, and I did have a some great moments while taking it, including my first 375lb Deadlift and my first 330lb Squat.  It was the first time I truly felt so focused on my lifts, which was so helpful considering my late night schedule.  But I now prefer any pre workout with a more bare bones profile, meaning the dosages for all ingredients can be seen and nothing’s left out or left to chance.

My References

https://www.webmd.com/diet/supplement-guide-niacin#1

https://www.verywellfit.com/what-is-a-niacin-flush-2506552

https://www.allstarhealth.com/lj_c/beta_alanine.htm

 

Bill Kazmaier’s Bench Press Routine

Welcome to my first article of the new year, as well as my latest history lesson!  Today we will be discussing the one and only Bill Kazmaier.  There’s so man y aspects of Bill that I can get into, because that fact of the matter is he’s done it all.  Anything you can think of to make a name for yourself using your body, he’s done it.  Here’s a brief resume of the man:

  • Top ranking Powerlifter within his first year in the Amateur Athletic Commision (AAU) in 1978, with 782lb squat, a 534lb bench press, and 804lb deadlift.  He won his first IPF World Championship a year later with a total of 2,292lbs.  He won his second IPF Championship in November 1983, just months after winning his first United States Powerlifting Federation (USPF) National Powerlifting Championship in July.
  • World’s Strongest Man competitor, who won third place at the 1979 World’s Strongest Man competition by deadlifting a 2,555lb car.  In the next three years he won first place three years in a row, a record that still has yet to be broken.  HIs 1982 win came along with a 1,055lb Silver Dollar Deadlift.
  • Pro Wrestler, having worked over the years in the WWF, Stampede Wrestling, Continental Championship Wrestling and WCW, where he received his biggest exposure.  He also wrestling briefly in New Japan Pro Wrestling and Fighting Network Rings.

That’s just the short list, meaning I left some things out as to not lose focus on what I really want to cover.  While Bill undoubtedly spent most of his sports career as a Strongman competitor, he is considered to be one of the best benchers of all time, benching 633lbs in the 1980 IPF World Championships with an injury brought on from missing a 887lb Squat attempt.  He then went on to bench 661.4lbs at the USPF West Georgia Open Powerlifting Championships on January 31, 1981.

One of the reasons I chose to focus on Bill’s Bench training, as someone who’s always trying to increase his own bench numbers, is because he had such a massive, barrel shaped chest, and the fact is he was freakishly strong.  But what intrigued me, though it wasn’t too surprising, was how incredibly high in volume his routine actually was.  It was very similar to that of Doug Young’s, of which I covered just a few months ago.

I had recently become interested in a more high volume approach to my own workouts as my body finally had enough of training in 5/3/1 style for two years straight and had just begun using Brandon Lilly’s Cube Method.  In the middle of my research I found a manual written by Bill, which I’ll leave the link to at the bottom of this article, discussing everything from technique, to mindset, to how to train specifically to improve your bench numbers.   Here’s a brief run through on some details:

Frequency

The frequency here is medium, in that in this four day routine two days are set up just to work on the Bench Press, and the other two days focusing on the rest of the upper body.  Frequency especially when it comes to training is very necessary.  The chest is not as big as the legs and back are, and should be worked on more than the other muscles.

Volume

The routine is very high in volume.  With two days specifically aimed at bench work and it’s variations, and two days focused on the upper body, it’s important to know that both aspects of this routine have a set light day and heavy day, which is important.  You can use the heavy days to focus on strength, and the light days to focus on endurance and muscle building.  Each day also consists of five exercises, with the number of sets and reps varying depending on if it’s a heavy or light day.

As someone who only now is understanding the importance of extra stimulation for particular muscles, especially if you’ve hit a plateau, this approach is great for training the muscles in one direction while letting them recover from another direction.  So you’d train for strength one day, and then you’d train for hypertrophy a few days later.  It’s also a great way to train weak points you may have in the Bench Press itself.  This is exactly what Brandon Lilly stresses in the Cube Method.

Specificity

Speaking of Brandon Lilly, the key to improvement in any big lift, as any proven professional will tell you, you need to chose your accessory work to be specific to the move itself.  It should emulate your chosen lift as much as possible.  One key example that I will use here is the way Lat Pulldowns are addressed in this manual.  Unlike a traditional Lat Pulldown, where you’d pull the bar to the top of your chest while sitting as straight as you can and looking up, you’d now lean back as much as you can and pull the bar down to the bottom of your chest, as if you’re pulling the bar down in a bench press.  The idea is to squeeze the lats, emulating the descent in the first portion of the Bench Press.  I actually first heard of this just a few months ago through Brandon, causing me to suspect that he might’ve taken inspiration from Bill.

Here are the two days set up for Bench Press and for upper body/accessory work:

Day 1

  • Competition style Bench Press
  • Wide Grip Bench Press
  • Narrow Grip Bench Press
  • Front Deltoid Raise
  • Lateral Raise

Day 2

  • Lying Tricep Extention (perform two warmups before main work)
  • Tricep Pushdown
  • Seated Hammer Curl
  • Seated Row
  • Wide Grip Pulldowns To The Chest

Here’s the entire program, lasting 10 weeks, in which you can either perform a mock meet to test your max or you’ll perform in an actual meet.  This too is also a goal in the Cube Method, as that program too lasts just ten weeks.  Make sure to follow me on YouTube, Instagram and Tumblr.  Thanks for reading!

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High Calorie Chocolate Protein Shake

Welcome to my first of what will hopefully be many nutrition based articles!  If you’d rather watch instead of read, you can by clicking here:

If you’re reading this then chances are you’re looking for extra size and strength.  There’s also a chance that some of you might not be taking in enough calories in the day for that to happen.  In order to be able to train in a manner so efficient that you can increase your strength you must be in a caloric surplus.  In simply terms, a caloric surplus, is when eating more calories than you burn.  A good example given by StraightHealth.com, is if you’ve eaten 3,000 calories and burned 2,500 calories, then you created a surplus or excess of an extra 500.  And depending on your lifestyle those extra 500 calories will either be used as energy to build more muscle or it’ll simply be stored as fat.  The link to the article can be found below.

But there’s an issue for those of us who work the kind of jobs where it may be impossible to eat small meals every few hours.  If you’re like me an you work in the education system, there’s no time to eat in a way that’s taught to us by just about everyone and everything in the fitness industry.  For me personally, I literally have a good five hour gap between the start of my work day and my lunch break; and if I don’t take enough calories I will get hungry before the third hour.  And yes, in my line of work, this makes it very difficult to function in such a high stress environment.

So here’s a recipe I began using at the start of the school year this past September.  I found it over the summer while doing research for my Doug Young piece.  The following ingredients have more than enough calories, protein, carbs and fat to help get you through a good portion of your day:

  • 1 cup of oatmeal
  • milk
  • 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 large banana
  • 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter
  • 1 heaping spoonful of nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)

Note: If you don’t have or want to use chocolate protein powder, you can use vanilla protein powder and add a little raw honey into your shake for a deceptively sweet taste.

Instructions

Poor the oatmeal into the blender and blend separately before adding any other ingredients.  When adding the other ingredient, simply make sure you add the milk first so it can pass through the ground up oatmeal.  I prefer to add the yogurt after this due to it’s thickness, since I find that if I add it last it makes closing the lid on my Ninja blender a pain.  I will say this however, if you happen to get the texture just right, it’s almost like eating chocolate pudding….and I love pudding.

Here’s the tally up for the calories and macronutrients.  Just note when you look at the nutritional facts for the milk that I drink Almond Milk since I’m lactose intolerant.  Therefore the protein count will be less than in cow milk:

As you can see, this is a calorically dense shake that should last you a few hours if happen to not have lots of time to eat during the day.  I also happen to eat a bagel with this, which adds an extra 288 calories alone, as well as an extra 10.3 grams of protein, 1.8 grams of fat and 58 grams of carbs.

Thanks for reading, more to come soon!

http://straighthealth.com/pages/qna/calorie-surplus.html

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Brandon Lilly Visits Savage City Strength – October 29th, 2017

About thirty people, maybe a little more, showed up in a torrential downpour on a Sunday morning to meet Powerlifter and Cube Method innovator Brandon Lilly at Savage City Strength in Hillsborough, NJ.  All I can say was it was absolutely worth it.  He covered a lot of ground, from lifting technique, to his updated views on particular Cube Method philosophies, the importance of training diversity, and even offered a book recommendation or two.  But the single most important notion than Brandon stressed throughout the seminar, was that no matter what anyone tells you, it’s important to live a life outside of the gym.  It’s something that was stressed by Brawn author Stuart McRobert more than twenty-five years ago.  It’s ok to love something, but every one in a while you’re going to want to take some time to look at the world around you, especially if you have a family.

A Thoughtful Approach To Powerlifting

The title of this segment was actually his name for this seminar.  As I said before, he covered a lot of ground and answered a lot of questions.  I made three videos that are on my YouTube page now and here’s the link to that particular playlist:

As far as his words of wisdom are concerned, here are a few highlights from this seminar:

  • Don’t allow yourself to become specialized or obsolete
  • Don’t dismiss things that’ll make you better
  • Hydration is key, as is breathing
  • Cold therapy is beneficial for mental capacity
  • According to a recent Swedish study, a 2% drop in hydration can cause a 5 – 10% decrease in endurance as seen in runners
  • Sodium is key to optimal muscle contractions – this is based on a Stan Efferding video everyone and their mother has to have seen by now.  Here’s the video if you haven’t:

  • Sleep is important for recovery
  • Dedication is everything – how you perform will determine how successful you are.
  • 10 week mock meet cycles are recommended for novice lifters; they also should compete twice a year.
  • Constant use of one training method can lead to a decrease in results – this is actually quite true.  There’s nothing wrong with training a specific program for a while, as it’s more effective than changing things up constantly to “confuse the muscles” into growing.  But if you’re body’s tooo used to a particular protocol you will stagnate.  I’m actually contemplating change my routine around as I’m writing this and for the same reasons.
  • Tribe by Sebastian Junger is an excellent book depicting the difference between the “look after number one” philosophy of most Americans and the community environment of other countries, using soldiers returning from war and struggling with multiple sources a stress as the book’s backdrop.

After a ten minute break he began observing our form on the three main lifts.  My request for Brandon was to help me with my Bench Press arch, as I noticed that my ride side will stay nice and tight, while my left side loosens up.  “Let me ask you this: how much rear delt work are you doing?”, he asked me without skipping a beat.  Unfortunately the answer was nothing in over a year.  Much like Jim Wendler, Brandon is a major advocate of training your rear delts and your lats not just during your workouts, but even during your warmups, as they decrease the chances of muscle imbalances and even increase performance in the big lifts.

For example: Gregg Valentino mentioned in a video years ago that he always starts his shoulder workouts with training rear delts, because not warming them up can greatly increase the chances of tearing a rotator cuff during pressing movements. Even Brandon told a story before looking at my form about the time he trained shoulders with bodybuilder Antoine Vaillant.  They began the workout with Rear Delt Flyes, with Brandon only being able to keep up with Antoine up until he hit the 90lb point on the weight stack.  Before moving on, Antoine told Brandon that it was how he started every workout.

Unfortunately I experienced another problem.  While arched and waiting for Brandon to give me the cue to begin, both my forearms began to numb up.  Once I began he noticed that, while my arch was fine, my left arm wasn’t as stable as my right, yet everything was fine when I benched with a flat back.  He then recommend that, aside from working on my rear delts, I should stay away from a barbell for ten weeks.  That might be hard!  After the seminar ended, I spoke to Brandon, letting him know about the numbness in my arms and his suggestion was that it might be a pinched nerve.  I actually think he’s right, as I’ve noticed my left arm going numb every night in my sleep.

This was the first of what I hope will be many more seminars to come.  I love the sense of community that I felt during this.  It was incredible, we were all there together, with one cause.  That is what it’s like to be United In Strength!

Thanks for reading and please make to look out for more articles soon!

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