Press 57.5kg x5, 65kg x3, 72.5kg x8+0+1 RP – Gone back to standing press to keep the progress going.
Deadlift 170kg x3 – Still not happy with technique when watching it back, going to keep plugging away at it!
Speed Deadlift 140kg x3x3x3x3x3x3
3 Circuits of Stiff-Legged Deadlifts 100kg, Bent Over Row 80kg, Reverse Grip Pulldown (10) and Good Mornings 50kg – 8 reps of each with 90 seconds/60secs/30secs (less each round) rest between exercises and 2 minutes rest after each circuit.
As I’ve referred to this a couple of times and will be bringing it back into my training again, I thought it would be useful to have the man himself describe it:
Extract below from Johnny’s blog
Villain Challenge #1
We will be issuing a series of “Villain Challenges” these are intended to promote specific physical adaptations and create a well balanced, capable, villainous athlete. The challenges will all be simple in design, and will be trainable for anyone without special equipment. There is literally no excuse for a person who is not injured or disabled to not take on these challenges.
Challenge #1 is an old Greyskull standard, and here it is.
100 Burpees in 5 minutes.
We all know the burpee. It is a terrible calisthenic movement that elicits a very shitty systemic feeling when performed quickly and for high reps. Accomplishing 100 of these nasty SOB’s in 5 minutes means holding a 1 Burpee every 3 second pace or better for 5 minutes.
An overweight and or out of shape individual could begin by doing 3 or 4 sets of 5, with the goal being to accomplish the sets in less than 15 seconds per. Once they can do that, they would add a few reps, trying for sets of 7 or 10. Each time the time goals are made across the board, they would add repetitions per set.
A more in shape individual might begin with sets of 20 to be done in 1 minute, or even (as I would advise) sprint sets of 10 to be accomplished in 30 seconds or less.
The simple goal formula is: #of Burpees x 3= Target in seconds
The idea here is consistency, working towards a goal over time. This is something that can be trained daily, as in 7 days per week. How much do you honestly think your strength training will be affected by 3 sets of 10 burpees? I would have you do this after your weight training on training days, and on all of the other days in between with the understanding that missing a day here or there certainly isn’t the end of the world. After all it is what we do most of the time that matters, not what we do some of the time.
Ask yourself, what do you think the cumulative effect of the work necessary day in, day out, to knock this goal off of the list will be on your cardiovascular health/fitness/conditioning? What about your body composition? Do you think that your body will look exactly the same as it does now once you can accomplish this goal, assuming you are a ways off? I often tell beginner trainees desiring more upper body development that when they can bench press 100 pounds more than they can currently they will look like a guy who benches 100 pounds more than they do currently. The same goes here. Consistent effort towards the goal over time is hands down the most important variable in training as well as in many other aspects of life.
This challenge is an example of the villain mentality as it applies to training. Eat lots of good food, lift heavy weights, chin, dip, condition with calisthenics and other methods, and you will in time take on the appearance of a guy or gal who consistently does all of the above mentioned things. You do not have to be fat and sloppy to be strong. To quote my friend Anthony Roberts, we are about building “a nation of linebackers”.
So here’s the first challenge, 100 Burpees, five minutes. Get hot on it. Post your progress in the logs, ask questions if needed. Once you have it down, video it and submit it. Those completing the challenge will receive a reward as well as the intrinsic reward of knowing that you accomplished something that few will do.
Bench 95kg x5, 107.5kg x3, 120kg x7+1+1 RP Went for 8, but couldn’t quite lock it out 😦 followed up with 10kg DB Flyes x25
Face Pulls (9) x20x18 (between bench sets)
Machine Preacher Curls 17.5kg x10x8+3+3 RP
Weighted Dips 33kg x12+4+1 RP
Squat 127.5kg x5, 145kg x3, 162.5kg x5 – Just didn’t feel right today, racked it after 5 but I think I could have got another 2 or 3 on a good day – ah well! Still happy with getting 5 at that weight 🙂
Click HERE to read a great nutrition article on EliteFTS by a good friend of mine Pete, my go-to-guy when it comes to anything to do with nutrition. Also click here if you missed his earlier article The Whole Foods Diet.
Pete Stables is a REPS accredited strength and conditioning coach from the United Kingdom, specializing in constructing nutrition plans for clients who want to lose weight, gain muscle, or excel in any given sport. For consultation inquiries, contact Pete at www.maximumuscle.com
Really cold at the gym today, struggled to warm-up (the bars were freezing!) and I think my Press really suffered for it. Either that or just a bad session 😦
Seated Press 53.5kg x3, 61kg x3, 68.5kg x7+1+1 RP followed with 7.5kg DB lat raises x16
Deadlift 160kg x3 (was supposed to be 2, but first rep didn’t feel right so did another on the end instead)
Speed Deadlift 130kg x3x3x3x3x3x3x3x3 (60s rest)
3 Circuits of Stiff-Legged Deadlifts 75kg, Bent Over Row 75kg, Reverse Grip Pulldown (10) and Good Mornings 50kg – 8 reps of each with 30-60 seconds between exercises and 30-60s rest after each circuit.
- Grip the bar so that your forearms are perpendicular to the ground and your wrists are straight (bar is in heel of hand, directly over forearm bones) not bent back. For most that will be just at the edge of the knurling.
- Take a deep breath, flex the chest and lats hard to create a shelf for your upper arms to rest on. Try to avoid the common ‘rack’ position (think Olympic lift, where the bar touches chest/collarbone and bar rests on shoulders) as this will cause you to lose tightness at the bottom of each rep.
Straight Wrists Bent Wrists or ‘Rack’ Position
- Drive the bar quickly overhead to lockout, bringing your head and chest through at the top of the movement (so bar is directly overhead), this reduces the stress on the anterior deltoid (front shoulder) and lumbar spine (lower back). You can then exhale before starting the next rep.
Bad Overhead Position Good Overhead Position
- Rep 2 begins at the top position, inhale and control the bar down to the start position to ‘bounce’ off the lat shelf and back to the top before you breathe out again to start next rep.
- Keep your legs straight throughout with anywhere from deadlift to squat stance, squeeze glutes and abs hard throughout the lift.
Finally got down The Shack for a good Bench/Squat session 🙂
Bench 87.5kg x3, 100kg x3, 112.5kg x10+2+1 RP followed by 10kg DB Flyes x20
Face pulls (9) x18x16 (between bench sets)
Machine Preacher Curls 15kg x15 x10+4+3 RP
Weighted Dips 33kg x10x6+2+1 RP
Squat 120kg x3, 137.5kg x3, 153.5kg x10
Busy again! Another squeezed in session after work – Focused on back to stick with my current plan:
Cable Row 60kg x10x10x10x10 (60s rest between sets)
‘V’ Grip Pulldown 75kg x10x10, 70kg x9x7 (60s rest)
DB Pullover 42kg x12x12 (2 mins rest)
Rack Pull (smith) 150kg x7
Shrugs 100kg x8x7x7 (60s rest)
Alt. Single Arm Cable Curls 10kg x12x12 (60s)
DB Preacher 12kg x15x9 (no rest, just as long as it took each side)
Not going to get to The Shack till monday, so did a ‘commercial’ session at work during lunch ..
Decline 34kg DB Bench x12x10x8x6 (60s rest), followed up with 8kg DB Flyes x15x15 (60s)
Single Arm 42kg DB Row x12x10x8x6 (60s)
DB Pullover 34kg x12x12, followed up with straight arm pulldown 20kg x20
Leg Press 200kg x20
Seated Leg Curl 30kg x25x25x25
Seated Press 50kg x5, 57.5kg x5, 65kg x9+2+1 RP then 5kg DB Lateral Raises x20
The rest of the session was Deadlift & Back focus derived from Ed Coan’s programming. I’ll be doing this every other session for the next 7 weeks with the aim to hit 200kg at the end of the cycle. The alternate session will remain pretty much as it was previously.
Deadlift 150kg x2
Speed Deadlift 120kg x3x3x3x3x3x3x3x3 – 90s rest between sets
Circuit of Stiff-Legged Deadlifts 70kg, Bent Over Row 70kg, Reverse Grip Pulldown (10) and Good Mornings 50kg – 8 reps of each with 30 seconds between exercises and 2 mins rest after each circuit.
Article from TheDeadlift.com
The Physical Benefits of Deadlifting
Why Deadlift? To us asking that is akin to asking Why Breathe? The Deadlift is one of the most ancient, fundamental and just flat out alpha lifts out there. In no other lift do you raise hundreds of pounds of weight off the ground with your bare hands. There’s really something magical about the Deadlift. You just don’t feel the same amount of confidence and joy doing Squats or Bench Pressing as you do while Deadlifting. There’s a reason so many people look forward to Deadlift day.
What Muscles Does The Deadlift Work?
The primary of deadlifting are increased strength and muscle mass. Since the deadlift is a compound movement it utilizes nearly every major muscle of your body:
• Spinal Erectors
• Lower Back
• Middle and Upper Trapezius
• Abdominals and Obliques
So doing one deadlift is almost like doing In a leg presses, aback extension, lying leg curls, an abdominal crunch, a gripping exercise, a straight-arm pull down and a shrug all at the same time. Yep, its one hell of a compound lift.
Another great reason for deadlifting is testosterone and growth hormone release. Studies have shown that compound lifts like the deadlift use the most muscle groups and thus release the most of these 2 crucial chemical compounds.
Still not fully convinced by the glory of the Deadlift? Listen to Johnnie Jackson, IFBB Pro and one of the strongest bodybuilders in the world.
Other Deadlifting Benefits
• Deadlifting helps to increase stability control. While using machines to train muscles will isolate and target only a specific few muscle groups, the deadlift also involves supplementary and minor muscles called stabilizer muscles that are usually ignored by the mainstream. The lack of training of these stabilizer muscles will lead to imbalances and can lead a person to be more susceptible to injury and unsymmetrical physique.
• Another huge benefit from deadlifting is increased grip strength. Since the deadlift is one of the few exercises where you must manually hold hundreds of pounds of weight, it is one of the best exercises for increasing grip strength and strengthening the forearms. Increased grip strength will then aid to improve other lifts like the bench press.
• Deadlifting is also one the few exercises out there with real world application. Pickup weights off the ground is something we’ve been doing for millennia and is exactly what the deadlift trains the body to do.
• If performed correctly the deadlift also strengthens the spine and can lead to better posture. People with lordosis or excessive curving of the spine can benefit from the deadlift as it will help fix their posture by strengthening their lower back muscles, as well as the core, and by ironing out any lower back imbalances.
• Cardio. The only two exercises to really make someone light headed are Deadlifts and Squats. Deadlifting really taxes your cardiovascular system, as you already know, or will soon find out. (Pro tip: Make sure you have somewhere to sit down after deadlifting).
Some uneducated people and crappy gyms (AKA Planet Fitness) will try and tell you the Deadlift is not a good exercise, and that it’s dangerous, and that you shouldn’t do it. That’s not true at all. Driving a car is dangerous, yet we still do it. Why? Because we learn how to do it first. So read up on Deadlifting Form before you go out there and do a clean set of 5.
Article from TheDeadlift.com
- Take a stance roughly heels in line with hips – Alternatively think about doing a vertical jump, this varies with course but it is a guide.
- Toes should be slightly turned out. Not as much as the squat but definitely not parallel. Bar is just in front of your shins whilst standing.
- Bend down and grip the bar, your arms should hang vertically (so a shoulder width grip). You can use an alternating or hook (thumbs under fingers) grip, as the bar gets heavier, but if you want to improve your grip strength try and use a double overhand grip as long as possible. In this position your shins should now be touching the bar.
Deadlift Overhand & Alternating Grip
- Take a deep breath, squeeze shoulders together and lift chest, pushing bottom back. Your lower back should remain either static or slightly arched throughout the lift, don’t let it round!
Good Vs Bad Back Position
- Squeeze the pressure into the bar and sit back into your heels till you feel like you’re about to fall backwards, then lift, keeping the bar as close to the body as you can.
- As soon as the bar passes your knees, drive your hips forward to complete the lift (lockout), squeezing the glutes hard. Do not lockout by leaning back at the top!
Good Vs Bad Lockout Position
- Return the bar to the floor along the same path, don’t drop it! If you have exhaled at the top, take another breath and hold as you lower. Most deadlift injuries occur on the lowering as people tend to relax and drop the bar down, jerking the lower back, or with poor back position at the start of the lift.
- At the end of each lift, re-set your position before taking another breath and lifting again. As soon as you feel your lower back starting to round or can’t lockout the set is over.
Did a quick leg session as missed squats yesterday – Couldn’t get down the shack so used gym at work (hence Smith Squats)
Smith PL style Box Squat (12″ box) 50kg x10, 90kg x10, 110kg x5, 130kg x5, 150kg x5
Leg Press Frog Press 200kg x20
Seated Hamstring Curl 25kg x25x25x25
Struggled today after a long weekend! – Lots of alcohol + not enough sleep = poor gym session!! Got my reps on Bench so happy with that, but struggled from there on so left out squats 😦
Bench 82.5kg x5, 95kg x5, 107.5kg x12+2+2 RP
Face pulls (8) x20x19
Machine Lever Row 80kg x10, 60kg x14
Weighted Dips 33kg x13+3+1 RP
‘V’ Grip Pulldown (13) x10+3+2 RP
Squeezed in a leg session before weekend away, but didn’t get a chance to post until today:
Frog Press 200kg x20
Walking Lunges 24kg DB’s x20x20
Pull Throughs 42.5kg x10x10x10x10
Seated Hamstring Curl 45kg x12x12, 40kg x12x12x12
Felt like doing some back hypertrophy work today, Then taking a few rest days as away all weekend. When I get back I’ll be focusing more on this to bring my deadlift up and general mass for the back (can’t go wrong with that!).
Cable Row 60kg x8x8x8x8 (30s rest)
‘V’ Grip Pulldown 75kg x10, 70kg x10, 65kg x10, 60kg x10 (60s rest)
DB Pullover 38kg x12x12 (60s)
Rack Pull 140kg x6 – Still not sure I’m doing these right!
Shrugs (mainly for grip work) 90kg x6x6x6 (60s)
Then threw in some Single Handle Standing Alt. Cable Curls 10kg x12x10 (60s) and DB Preachers 12kg x10x7 (no rest just alt. arms)
So you’ve been doing a plank variation for some time now and can hold it for a couple of minutes so think your ‘core’ is strong?
There is a far more difficult and massively more effective version called the RKC Plank (Russian Kettlebell Challenge).
Most of us hold a plank ‘passively’ with little activation of the internal abdominal muscles that the plank is supposed to strengthen. A few tweaks to it and you’ll understand what a plank really is and be stronger under the bar for it!
Anyone who has read any of Pavel Tsatsouline’s books will know he advocates ‘whole body tension’ in all movements, but especially when looking at strength training. The RKC plank is a great way to learn how to do this and can then be applied to your lifts.
——————– An extract from Deadlift Dynamite by Andy Bolton and Pavel Tsatsouline ———————
Senior RKC Thomas Phillips has called the plank “the most popular exercise performed incorrectly”. Most folks either let their backs sag or their butts shoot up and use a minimal amount of effort in order to last the longest. Using poor form amounts to what Gray Cook, RKC, calls “adding fitness to dysfunction” and all sorts of problems down the road. And going for a minute or longer develops endurance rather than strength.
The difference is fundamental.
To express max strength one must learn to maximally contract all the muscles at once and hold nothing back. To develop muscular endurance one must learn to use as few muscles as possible and the least effort.
The conflict is obvious.
The bottom line: a strength athlete ought to practice the plank as an all out effort, and has no business leaving the 5-20sec window.
Giving it all in a short period of time is what the RKC plank is all about. Sports scientist Bret Contreras comments:
The RKC plank is a reverse-engineered core exercise that has evolved into a brutal full body isohold. I learned about the RKC plank (also called the Hardstyle plank) from Pavel Tsatsouline, creator of the RKC, and when done right, it wipes you out completely after only ten seconds. Sure you can do a [regular] plank for 3 straight minutes, but now show me that you can do a [RKC] plank and exhaust your body through maximum muscle exertion. The RKC plank has you manipulating whole body muscle tension to generate maximum internal work. Though you won’t be moving as it’s a static exercise, you’ll be engaging in a 10-second isometric war…
Contreras took EMG measurements to compare the peak activation of various midsection muscles in the traditional front plank and the RKC version and here are the results:
|Exercise||Lower Rectus Abdomnis (RA)||Internal Oblique (IO)||External Oblique (EO)|
|Standard Front Plank||33.5||42.6||26.7|
In the RKC plank, the six-pack is contracting more than three times more intensely, the internal obliques more than twice, the external obliques almost four times as intensely as in the typical plank seen in gyms everywhere.
It is the many technique subtleties that make the RKC plank work so well, so pay attention, and add various technique elements to your practice gradually. If you try to do it all the first time out, you are bound to forget something.
- Place your elbows directly underneath your shoulders or slightly in front of them. Either keep your forearms parallel to each other or make your fists touch. Keep your fists in the “hammer” position.
- Keep your whole body in one straight line, from head to toes. In the beginning it helps to have a training partner place a stick on your backside to teach you what a straight line is. Your back may not sag, your butt may not pike up. Your hips must extend as they do in the deadlift.
- The stick will also help you correctly align your neck. The following subtle alignment practiced in martial arts and physical therapy makes a difference. Stretch your neck long—and then, in Dr. Michael Hartle’s words, “rotate the chin in the direction of your chest around the axis going through your ears.” This will flatten your neck against the stick. You may have to practice it lying on your back at first.
- Look straight down on the ground, between your wrists.
- Make tight fists.
- Breathe shallow, as you would when holding a bar on your back between squat reps. Periodically employ Hardstyle breathing—short, powerful hisses. Do your best to keep the tension out of your head and neck.
- Lock your knees and pull up your kneecaps. You will have an easier time doing this if you stretch your hip flexors first.
- Cramp the glutes and try to tuck your tail under (posterior pelvic tilt)—without bending the knees! We do it for many reasons. Contreras has one more and it is right down our alley: “The posterior pelvic tilt develops glute endurance and helps engrain proper deadlift lockout form.”
- You may not let your knees bend or your butt shoot up when you are strongly tucking in your tail!
- A useful cue for the posterior pelvic tilt comes from karate: point your belly button slightly towards your head. Insist on keeping your knees locked and your kneecaps pulled up.
- Use your lats to maximally “unshrug” your shoulders away from your ears.
When you have figured out how to do all of the above, add the following powerful subtleties added to the RKC plank by Dr. Michael Hartle, Senior RKC.
“Make sure the toes are fully extended and the ankle is maximally dorsiflexed.” In other words, point your feet and toes towards your nose. “This aids in the anterior chain contraction one is achieving during this plank.”
Simultaneously drive your elbows and your toes hard towards each other (isometrically). This will make your body pike or jacknife. Prevent your pelvis from rising by tensing your glutes even harder and driving the hips forward, as in the DL lockout. Now you will understand what Bret Contreras meant by the “isometric war”!
Practice the RKC plank in sets of approximately 10sec long, always stopping before the intensity of the contraction drops off. We are in the strength business—not endurance business.
Bench 50kg x5, 62.5kg x5, 75kg x5 – Superset with Face Pulls (8) x17x17
‘T’-Bar Row 40kg x5, 47.5kg x5, 55kg x5
Reverse-Grip Curl 20kg x5, 22.5kg x5, 27.5kg x5
Close-Grip Bench 50kg x5, 62.5kg x5, 75kg x5
Squat 67.5kg x5, 82.5kg x5, 100kg x5
As much as I try and shy away from a deload, I’m also well aware of the benefits so took a well overdue one!
Press 30kg x5, 37.5kg x5, 45kg x5
Pull-ups – 50 total throughout session
Bicep curls 20kg x5, 25kg x5, 30kg x5
Stiff-Legged Deadlifts 45kg x5, 55kg x5, 65kg x5
Deadlift 67.5kg x5, 85kg x5, 102.5kg x5
Actually felt good to just work through the movements without maxing out – followed up with some shoulder prehab of 3×10 prone scarecrows with 4kg DB’s and some ab work.
Bench 92.5kg x5, 105kg x3, 117.5kg x8, 92.5kg x12+4+3 RP
Cable Row 85kg x7, 65kg x12
Close-Grip Bench 82.5kg x5, 101kg x8+2+1 RP
Reverse-Grip Curl in Machine Preacher 10kg x5, 15kg x11+4+3 RP
Squat 125kg x5, 141kg x3, 157.5kg x6 – A bit disappointed with 6, definitely had at least 2 more but lost position on the negative of rep 7 and didn’t feel right so had to leave it on the pins .. grrr!
Crazy busy last few days, haven’t got around to posting anything so will be a few today!
Session went well, shoulders still a little sore, but still managed to beat previous lifts so not as bad as I thought 🙂
Seated Press 55kg x5, 62.5kg x3, 70kg x8, 55kg x9+2+2 RP
Weighted chins (palms facing) 24kg x7+2+1 RP
Bicep Curls 33.5kg x5, 41kg x6+2+1 RP
Stiff-Legged Deadlifts 70kg x5, 86kg x15
Deadlift 127.5kg x5, 145kg x3, 162.5kg x6 – Form gone to pot again! Really going to focus on bringing my deadlift up to standard alongside my other lifts, I’ve had the priviledge of talking with a record-holding powerlifter latelty and he’s given me some tips so after this cycle I’ll take a deload and then a bit of restructuring of lifts to focus on getting this done once and for all!
Weighted Dips 33kg x12+4+2 RP
‘V’ Grip Pulldown to Chest (14) x11+4+2 RP