Team Elitefts 2009 Holiday Tips
Contents Prowler Stupidity by Jason Pegg................................................................pg. 3 Muscle Beach Failure by Matthew McGorry............................................pg. 5 Spudton Death Marches by Marc Bartley.................................................pg. 9 Training Norweign Style by C.J. Murphy..................................................pg. 14 Keep Going, Don’t Quit by Mike Szudarek.................................................pg. 17 Westside Workout by Julia Ladewski.......................................................pg. 20 100 Hardcore Reps by Jo Jordan..............................................................pg. 22 Muddy Colorado Dam by Jason Ferruggia...............................................pg.24 Add One Inch in Just 12 Hours by Ted Toalston.....................................pg. 28 I Won the Fight, Not the War by Joey P. Smith........................................pg. 29 Truck-ups, Box Jumps and Rocks by Joshua McMillan..........................pg. 31 Rugged Lifter by Shelby Starnes..............................................................pg. 32 Moving Day by The Angry Coach................................................................pg. 33 Wet Bar by Scott Yard.................................................................................pg. 35 The 100-Yard Walk by Jim Wendler...........................................................pg. 36 New Year’s Eve Bicep Party by Martin Rooney.......................................pg. 38 Health Nazi by Kenny Patterson...............................................................pg. 40 83 Reps in One Hour by Jim “Smitty” Smith...............................................pg. 41 The Only Time I Got My Ass Handed to Me! by Zach Even-Esh...............pg. 42 Back Crushers by Steve Pulcinella.........................................................pg. 44 Did I Lock Out? by Vincent Dizenzo............................................................pg. 45
Prowler Stupidity By Jason Pegg
“Wanna push the Prowler with me?” I asked. Silence. Everyone else had finished training for the day, and I was left to push the Prowler alone. As you can tell, I’ve got some great training partners. Here’s what I did that day: I pushed the Prowler for two trips with it empty – one down and one back. The only rest was the amount of time it took me to turn the sled around and start again. Then, I walked back into the gym, grabbed a set of plates, threw them on the Prowler and completed two more trips. I repeated this until I had seven plates on each horn, for a total of 16 trips. All of these were done at a fast walking pace, with no running. This makes it infinitely harder, especially at the lighter weights. In retrospect, this was not a wise decision at all. At the time, however, it sounded like a good idea. The total time for all 16 trips was approximately 35-40 minutes, which may as well have been 35-40 days.
After the last two trips, I laid on the ground in various locations in and around the gym. I also leaned on every piece of equipment until the dry heaves passed. This lasted for at least a half hour. Every time I would pick my fat self off up off the ground, I would start dry heaving again – and then find myself lying down again. Fortunately for me, Swole is a good person and helped me carry the weights back in. I’m lying. He carried all of them in. I somehow managed to carry the horns and the machine after I was done. Unfortunately, nobody drove up and stole it while I was trying not to die. “To hell with the foam rolling and stretching,” I said, and I just locked up and drove home. When I got home, I managed to scar my sons’ memories with the image of Dad, in the driveway, dry heaving with his shirt off. I then laid around at home for most of the afternoon. It was just about all I had in me. I’d suggest everyone with a Prowler try this workout at least once. I’ve found that pain like this must be shared in order to truly be enjoyed, and I want to hear stories of others getting the Prowler Flu, too.
Muscle Beach Failure By Matt “The Unlikely Powerlifter” McGorry
It was hot as hell, and I was standing in the cage with a black man in a leopard print Speedo. Before I go on, I should probably give some context before this starts to sound like some bad gay porno knockoff of the movie Bloodsport. My senior year of college, I went to Los Angeles on spring break to visit a number of my friends that had moved out there for their final semester. One of my best friends and training partners had moved there, and we were itching for the chance to get some lifting in during vacation. We got in one mediocre benching session, which was followed by a few glorious “In-N-Out” burgers. That night, he suddenly got terribly sick and generally felt like death. There went our chance to lift together over the week, or my chance to lift at all. At least that’s what I thought.
Fast forward a few days to when my friends decided that they wanted to go to Venice Beach. I was certainly game, and figured that maybe I’d even get in a squat session while I was out there. My buddies and I parted ways so that I could have an hour to myself. The Muscle Beach Gym wasn’t as glorious as my imagination had painted it to be. And besides the maintenance man, there was a guy in a leopard print Speedo who was working and flexing for tourist photos, and one or two other “Average Joes.” I tried to get onto the one power rack, but the safety pins were welded in place by rust. I guess this happens when you have a gym that’s a hundred feet from the ocean. I decided it would be a max effort squat session, so I pulled a bench into the fixed squat rack. The bench would put me quite above parallel for box squats, and the safety pins were pretty low, but I thought nothing of it. Working my way up through the warm-ups, the weight felt pretty light. A few families stopped along the boardwalk to watch. Of course, this helped to give me some false confidence during the session. I threw 405 pounds on the bar, which was more than I had ever done at the time. I was out of my element. I was used to squatting in front of a mirror on solid flooring, but I was standing on a jelly-like foam floor while facing out into the markets selling various marijuana paraphernalia – distracting, to say the least.
I took the weight out with full confidence knowing that it felt light on my back and that the bench was up enough that it would be a very high squat. I took it down nice and controlled, sat down, and exploded off the bench. I stalled a few inches up, having missed my groove. I sat back down on the bench. No big deal. The weight wasn’t so heavy that it was crushing me, but I knew I also couldn’t squat it after a half-rep. I didn’t want to throw it back off my shoulders and make a big scene, so I started to do my usual routine to get out of a missed squat. As I used to do when missing squats quite often, I just decided to lean forward and set it down on the pins. I leaned forward to about 45 degrees with a slow descent. After about 45 degrees, I started to free-fall forwards and downwards. Trying to do a seated good morning with 405 pounds, when I couldn’t even squat the weight, is a useless attempt. I kept falling forward until the bar slammed on the safety pins. My face was jammed sideways and literally pressed up against the bench with about a quarter inch of space between my neck and the bar sitting on the rack. I literally had to squeeze myself out from under the thing.
An older man working out had run up to the bar and tried tugging on it as hard as he could, but it just wouldn’t move. I got up and thanked him. “I’m okay,” I said. I think I needed a new pair of boxers as much as he did. He just looked at me in awe, like I had come back from the dead, and said “I tried...I tried to lift it.” I turned toward the boardwalk and at the faces of a dozen people who had the most horrified look on their faces. It was as though they’d brought their child to the zoo to see the monkeys, and they had cannibalized each other, leaving bits of monkey flesh all over the exhibit. I was about a quarter inch away from some serious damage to my cervical vertebrae and who knows what else? - as a result. Had the bench been a fraction of an inch higher, or the rack just a tiny bit lower, I would have been in a bad place. Lesson leaarned: don’t make PR squat attempts without some good spotters or a decent power rack. Naturally, I decided to finish up with some arms and call it a day.
The Spudton Death Marches By Marc “Spud” Bartley
There are many self-challenges I’ve done over the years, but my jump into the bodybuilding world in 2008 had to be the worst cardio training I have ever done. It was after my rehab tour and squatting accident in 2007. Most cardio is either short and intense or long and steady-state, and most everyone has an opinion on both. Normal people with two hours a day of cardio would pick the low intensity steady-state work, and that’s just fine. I like challenges that test my willpower more then anything. I thrive on the ability to continue when most pack it up or take the easy way out. I exhausted the stepmill, stair stepper and bike at the gym, and I became insanely obsessive-compulsive with my food. All I thought about was food, and because I was so hungry, I was mad all the time even at the most trivial things. Mostly, I reverted back to being a baby - only without the diapers, baby food and constant poop/pee stasis of my life. Once I reached the breaking point inside the gym, I did not go back inside for two or three months unless it was raining. I dragged around Prowlers (pushing sleds) and beltpulled regular sleds. This is when a loose belt is hooked to the sled strap attachment. It’s kept loose so it rides on the hips and not the abdominals. This takes pressure off the back. The beginning was simple: I dragged the sled for seven or eight laps around the gym with three 45 pound plates. I would go forward until my back cramped and then I would walk backwards for a lap so the pressure stopped. I would also get the Prowler out for five laps. A lap around my gym is a third of a mile.
After some time doing this, my body adjusted quickly to an average ten laps a day with the sled and five laps daily with the Prowler. Between the food and the cardio, I went totally insane and the voices in my head fought daily about everything, but usually it was about quitting constantly and how ridiculous it was that “we” were doing this. The only way to fight it off was to make up ridiculous challenges, and that’s what “we” did. The first crappy event was a mix: five laps of belt dragging, three laps of upper body sled and three laps with the Prowler. However, this was not as bad as I’d anticipated. I always like to put the hardest first, so the Prowler was up. I try to always get two hours of cardio in, and it only took me an hour and thirty minutes to complete this event, so I had to go inside and lay in the recumbent bike for thirty minutes to finish. After a week or two, I thought it would be a good idea to try 10 laps with the Prowler. It was always Sunday when this fun stuff went down. During the first lap, my calves cramped and I thought it would be over then. But, way up there in my brain, there is some dude who keeps pulling me through. He is the leader. I don’t know if you have ever seen Multiplicty with Micheal Keaton, but in this movie he is a busy contractor who can’t keep up with all the things in his life. He runs into a doctor who can clone him. At first it’s great and he gets everything done, so he makes more copies of himself. The only problem is that each copy gets worse and worse, and his most terrible traits come out in each one. This is essentially my “we.” However, there is only one of me, and they all came to the surface and fought for top dog rights except for this one dude who was always in the distance pulling “we” along to reach the goal.
Back to the ten laps: this sucked! My legs fought me hard on the first three laps. Then I was warm, and the next five weren’t bad. The last two took 40-50 minutes, as I could barely push it 10-15 yards at a time. My lungs did not hurt - it was my legs and hips that didn’t respond. I tried, but couldn’t get the trash out to keep them functioning. The “10” took 2 hours and 15 minutes to finish. I always tell people I hallucinate often, both during and after. This was no exception, as stars and fireflies were floating all around for about a half hour. I had been doing almost ten to twelve laps on a regular basis for some time. A couple of weeks after the 10 laps with the Prowler, I was sledding and I had another outstanding idea. Why not do 20 laps with the regular sled? It can’t take more then two hours to do that, right? The leader of the pack passed the order down that the following Sunday was 20 lap day. In The Fat Loss Diaries, my book written with diet coach Shelby Starnes, I chronicled this event and many others on my 109 pound weight loss trip through purgatory. Sunday, it was a humid South Carolina morning at 7 a.m., with the temperature in the 80’s. It felt like a scorching 100 already. A couple of members I train from time to time, Chuck and his wife, Holly, were out there too. Chuck is a 275 pound cardio machine, but he loves his beer, too. I was already ten laps in when they started dragging, and it was not going well. The first five were okay, but the next five were hell and awful and took much longer than the first. I thought several times, “There is no way it’s going to happen today.” But with Chuck and Holly out there pulling, I found some adrenalin and punched out five more laps easily. I was moving at a great clip, but for some reason I couldn’t see either one of them, so I thought they copped out after only two or three laps. Later, I found out they did five or six laps. I just was not going as fast as I imagined I was.
Anyhow, the last five laps came into view. The first two or three were okay, but slow. The last two seemed much like the Prowler! They were very painful and felt like I was walking through the desert passing all the dead animals who had given up along the way. Pretty much the lone dude was dragging me on, as the carcasses of all my other personalities died along that road. Oh, I forgot to mention, I always did my cardio on an empty stomach, so for two hours and 45 minutes, I conquered 20 laps with no food. I reached the end and somehow managed to put up my sled, weights and belt. I sat down in the rocking chair in the gym and didn’t move. I ate very slowly and just sat there. Dale, one of my training partners, asked me if I was okay as I dazed off into space. I told him I thought I was, but it would be an hour before I could do anything. I couldn’t have been more right. After that, we moved a lot of equipment out of the gym, which is another story by itself. So, these are my worst, but favorite cardio instances. I swore I would never do it again, but I always like the challenges. I would need some type of end goal to do this again, like the bodybuilding show. So far, no one at the gym has broken these two records. Maybe if someone does break them, I will come out of retirement and give it a roll! Right now, I’m into dragging a 300 pound chain around the building with a Spud Inc. UpperBody Strap. So far nine minutes and 19 seconds is my best. No one was able to break it for six months, until a local officer and training partner beat it by 21 seconds. I did ask for it, though, by throwing down the gauntlet. Payback is not fun when you set the standard.
Here are the exercises and weights I used. Each lap is a third of a mile, so you will have to do the conversions:
Challenge One Prowler/Belt Drag/Upper Body Drags 1. Prowler with 45 pounds per arm for three laps. 2. Belt Drag with 90 pounds for five laps. 3. Upper Body Drag with sled and upper body strap with 45 pounds. - Essentially, this is any upper body exercise you can think of like chest flyes, overhead tricep extensions, rear delt raises - whatever you can think of.
Challenge Two Prowler Push - 10 laps with 45 pounds on each arm
Challenge Three Belt Drag for 20 laps with 90 pounds - Drag mostly forward and drag some backwards. This will break it up and give your low back and hams/glutes a rest.
Challenge Four Chain Drag - If you have access to a 300 pound chain. You could also use a sled and load on 300 pounds. Get an upper body strap and slip your hands through the loops, then grab the strap so most of the pressure is on the wrist and forearms. Drag for best time on one lap, or for a distance of three laps consisting a forward drag, backward drag and sideways drag.
Training Norwegian Style By C.J. Murphy MFS
Dave has asked some of us to recall the hardest workout we’ve ever done, and after a lot of thought, one thing sticks out the most. It was a week of brutally hard training, and while I don’t recall all of the details, one workout from that week haunts me. It was in 2002 and my good friend, former world’s strongest man Svend Karlsen - also known as the Viking - was at Total Performance Sports (my gym) for a week. He was training for the upcoming WSM competition where he was to defend his title. My training partner Bob Jodoin and I were also training for an upcoming strongman show. If you’ve never seen Svend, he is a very large “manimal,” and in the gym, one of the most intense athletes I’ve ever seen. Bob was no joke either. Our first exercise consisted of rack pulls from just above the ankles – which, by the way, is a really hard position for me. Now keep in mind, we’d been training with the Viking for the week, and no matter how hard you think you train, when you join in with a world champion at the top of his game, the volume is turned up - a lot.
As we worked up in weight, we all got into it breaking balls and pushing each other. Picture a giant rabid Viking screaming in your face, “Pull the weight Murphy!” So, the bar gets loaded to something over 700 pounds (I think it was 725, a PR for me). Bob, a ridiculously strong puller, grinds it out and lies on the floor wheezing because he did more than three seconds of work. This didn’t instill confidence in me, as Bob usually had me in the deadlift. Now it’s my turn. The music is blaring, the Viking is screaming, and I step up to the bar. All I’m thinking is, “Up.” “Pull, pull, pull!”
Svend is screaming, half English and half Norwegian, I have no idea what he’s saying. I strain and pull and feel as if my head is going to blow off. Holy crap: It’s locked out. I drop it down, loosen my belt and lay down. I’m toast, but I did it. Svend walks over, lifts it effortlessly and screams, “I’m just getting warmed-up!” Bob and I look at each other and decide that we want a sandwich. Svend, however, wants another plate on the bar. Are you kidding me? He ended up pulling something ridiculous, like 945, before the exercise was over. Bob and I are still on the floor being tired. When he’s done pulling, Svend graciously informs us in his non-confrontational Norwegian Viking kill everyone attitude that its time to do events. What’s a guy to do? Events it was! We continued on hitting tire flips and the yoke. By the end of the workout, Bob and I were so done you could have stuck a fork in us. Svend, on the other hand, was ready to go out. This cycle repeated the next day. I have no idea how we made it through the week. I felt like a giant Norwegian steam roller ran over me, but it is an experience that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
Keep Going, Don’t Quit By Mike Szudarek
My most difficult workout was one that taught me an invaluable lesson of what it really meant to “train hard.” It was a workout I did more than 15 years ago. I was 22 years old, and had yet to even enter my first powerlifting meet. I wasn’t really sure what my goals were yet, other than just trying to be “big and strong.” I had the privilege of training at a gym that included many top-level bodybuilders, including the then-Ms. Olympia (Lenda Murray) and consistent Mr. Olympia competitor Ron Love. There also were two other IFBB pros, as well as a handful of powerlifters. A bench was never seen with less than 315 pounds on it, or a squat rack with under 495 pounds. The gym was just north of 8 Mile Road, just across the border from Detroit. It was about as intense as it could get, and a place I’ll never forget. It was leg day on a Friday night and the gym was absolutely packed. My normal training partners had decided to skip the workout and head to the bar instead. Fortunately, the older brother of one of my other friends was also training legs that night. His father had been a bodybuilder for almost 35 years, and both brothers were top-level competitors and die-hard lifters. The whole family ate and slept the game. We began the night with squats, working up to a top set with 500 pounds. From there, we did three additional sets with 405 for around eight reps. After squats, we found our way over to the leg press. We worked up to a top set of either eight or 10 plates on each side and did at least 15 or more reps for multiple sets. Afterward, I was pleased and felt that I’d had a great workout. But, just then, one of the guys in the group said, “Let’s finish up with some hack squats.” I can’t recall the weight we ended up with, but I know we did a lot and did even more reps. After our last set, my legs felt like Jell-O and I really started feeling worn.
At this point, feeling beat down, tired and sore, I was ready to move on to hamstrings and calves and then get out of there. However, this was the same time that I learned one of the most valuable lessons: what it meant to “give it everything you have.” Although it wasn’t the most sound training approach, although it clearly was too many sets, and although the workout could have ended an hour ago and still have been productive, this last set - this final, single set, was one of the most defining moments in my entire training. It was the first time I had ever “tested” my resolve. The first time I had REALLY pushed myself to my limit. The first time I gave more than I had left. It was the first time I worked so hard that I vomited right there in the trash basket next to the squat rack. It also was the first time I ended up on the floor wondering if I’d ever be able to stand again. It was the first time I was taught what hard work in the gym really meant. For our final leg set, we headed back to the squat rack and that’s when it happened. My friend’s older brother threw out the challenge: “Whoever gets the most reps wins. Let’s see what we’ve got.” We loaded the bar to a mere 225 and all took turns squatting. I can’t remember the exact number, but we all got somewhere in the low 30’s. I do know that I ended up winning. Although the others were stronger than me, I knew if I pushed harder, if I fought longer, and if I could outlast them, I would finally beat them and win. This was my moment. And, I did it. I pushed myself farther than I had ever done, dug deeper than ever before, and I finally won. While the entire workout is a faint memory, that final set still feels like it happened just last week. I can still remember everyone screaming, “Come on, one more! Don’t stop.” I can still feel the cold floor after I was done. And I can still feel getting sick after I finally stood back up. But above all, I can still remember the wonderful feeling of knowing it was all worth it in the end because I finally found out what hard work really meant.
Even though my workouts today are miles different and my goals completely opposite, I still - to this day - often use that final set as a mental barometer to keep myself “in check” whenever I think I’m “training hard.” That single workout also taught me what finishing a job meant. Even though I could barely stand, had just puked, and just wanted to go home, we all stayed and finished the rest of our workout. It was perhaps the most miserable 30 additional minutes ever, but it made me feel complete when I finally walked out the door and collapsed into my car. I remember just sitting there for what felt like forever, wishing I could just go to sleep right there and then. I think the hardest workouts are the ones that don’t necessarily provide the most immediate returns, but the ones that are remembered forever and the ones that teach you lessons that also can be applied to life outside of the gym. For me, the phrases “Don’t Quit, Keep Going, and Give It Everything That You’ve Got,” have special meaning.
Westside Workout Julia Ladewski
When it comes to training, there isn’t much I won’t do - or at least try. I’ve done everything from German Volume Training (10 sets of 10), Tabata-type workouts, max effort heavy lifting, lactic acid tolerance training and Olympic lifting. But when I do train, I train smart. What I mean by that is I’m not one to “squat ‘til you puke” just for kicks. In fact, I don’t think puking makes the workout any more or less tough. Perhaps it just means you weren’t in good enough shape. But, I digress. One of the hardest workouts I’ve ever done was back when I first started powerlifting. After meeting Dave and Louie at a Westside seminar, I made a trip out to Westside a few months later to train. Now remember, this is when I first started powerlifting, so my strength was not nearly where it is now. But over two days (Friday and Saturday), Lou had me do a conglomeration of exercises that I had never done before. And because I was there to learn and be coached, I did MANY more sets than I probably
should have - mostly because Lou kept making me do more and more until I got it right. Friday, he introduced me to squatting with bands. I only had a purple band (and some bar weight) on the bar and I specifically remember getting stapled to the box a few times. Then, he wanted to see me deadlift. At the time I could only pull about 225, so as we worked up, 225 had me smoked. But after some coaching cues from all the guys there, I was pulling 225 with ease (I swear I did about 25 singles). Reverse Hypers were next, and they lit up my back like no other. Luckily, I was pretty good at gluteham raises (from being a sprinter). Then the workout ended with some sled dragging, which was so exhausting after all the other stuff that I made it down the length of the strip mall, but couldn’t make it back. Saturday was another interesting day. Since I could barely walk from the day before, I was glad we were speed benching. I was working in with Amy Weisberger, who was benching with 135 and two chains. Lou took off the plates, but kept the chains on. I kept thinking the guy must be nuts. Since my bench max at the time was only about 155, two chains was definitely more than I should’ve been using for speed work, but he didn’t care. I did a bazillion sets, each time getting a little faster. Finishing up with some lat work, tricep extensions and upper body sled dragging, I was beat. Looking back, it was probably one of the most beneficial lifting sessions I’ve ever had. Even though I wasn’t strong at that point and the weights I used were light compared to what I can do now, I realize that I had to start somewhere. That was one of the hardest weekends I’ve ever had - and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
100 Hardcore Reps By Jo Jordan
The worst workout I have ever done and will never do again occurred while I was attending Troy State University in Alabama. Back then I was really into bodybuilding. I was like most guys that are young and impressionable, as was my roommate, Tony. He had recently read an article in a bodybuilding magazine about 100-rep sets and that they could shock your body into new and amazing growth never before seen in this universe!!! Somehow he talked me and our other two training partners into doing this. Seeing as how it was leg day, Tony chose the hack squat as the exercise we would use. The article only called for one exercise. I am very thankful it was only one. We let Tony go first since it was his idea, and we threw one 45 pound plate on each side. He cruised through the first 40 or so, but slowed significantly after that. He finally finished after five minutes, and then it was my turn. I was not looking forward to this, since Tony was now lying face down on the floor moaning. I was not going to back out, and wanted to show them that I was “hardcore,” so I started off fast and banged out 30 and then started to wonder what the hell I was doing and what this going to accomplish. At 50 I was pretty much squatting down, sitting there for 10 seconds and then pushing up. It took me around 10 minutes to finish the set, but I did get all 100. I rolled off the hack squat and stared at the ceiling for a couple of minutes trying to catch my breath. That’s when breakfast decided to work itself back up. I crawled to my knees, pulled myself up and stumbled to the bathroom, where I proceeded to puke out things I didn’t even remember eating. After several minutes of this and a few more dry heaves, I came out to find that the third guy had only done 50 and quit and that the last guy had decided to pass altogether. Pussies. I made it out to the car and managed to press the pedal hard enough to make it home. I ate dinner after sitting for an hour, and barely made it off the couch to do that! I took a couple of Tylenol pills and went to bed.
Eight hours later, my alarm would alert me that I had class in 45 minutes, which was normally an ample amount of time for me to get ready. Well, that morning was quite different. I was able to knock the clock off the nightstand in order to turn it off, but was in too much pain to get out of bed. I missed all of my classes that day. Finally, by the afternoon, I was able to stand the pain and burning in my legs to get to the bathroom and then the kitchen to eat. After that it was to the couch and nothing more for the rest of the day. My legs were sore for four days and I was miserable. My roommate was in the same condition, so we made a pact to never do that stupid shit again since it just wasn’t worth what small amount of stupendous muscle growth or shock the “experts” claimed it would provide. Plus, that was the last time I let him decide what I was going to do for training. Dumbass.
Muddy Colorado Dam By Jason Ferruggia
The hardest workout I ever had was one I wrote for some wrestlers I trained last summer. These guys loved to be near death at the end of every training session. I couldn’t make the workouts hard enough. Well, one day, I somehow managed to come up with something they weren’t quite ready to execute. They started bitching about it and tapping out, and that really pissed me off. So, on the second week of the program when that workout came up again, I decided I would jump in with them. I wanted to show these young punks, who were almost half my age, what hard work is all about! Now mind you, these guys were in peak condition and had been training like animals for months. I, on the other hand, had only really been lifting heavy, running sprints and occasionally getting in some recreational basketball. I was in good shape, but was far from Tito Ortiz. These kids were on a whole other level, but I thought they needed a kick in the ass, and being schooled by me would surely be motivation. “I couldn’t take the bitching last week so I’m going to jump in and train with you guys today. I’m twice your age and the fact that I am about to dominate all of you into the ground ought to embarrass and piss you off.”
The workout started with chin-ups into Hindu pushups, then sandbag Zercher squats, all with no rest. It was as many as possible on the first two, and 25 reps on the squats with a heavy bag (the exact weight escapes me now). There was no rest until the end, when we took a 60 second break. We repeated this four times. By the end of the fourth round, I’d had more than enough for the day. Usually I’m done after one set of high rep squats. The three extras, mixed in with the chins and pushups, had me feeling pretty sick. But, we were far from done. And I had a point to prove (what, I’m not exactly sure), so there was no turning back now. I called them out and had to finish what I started. “You alright, man?” Joe asked me. “You don’t look so good.” Smug little bastard... Next, we went outside in the hot sun and pushed the Prowler 100 feet down the street with the low handles. There was a sandbag set up at the finish line, and immediately after the Prowler push we grabbed the bag and did 12 clean and presses. We then pushed the Prowler back with the high handles. Waiting for us was a heavy kettlebell. We did 20 two-hand swings. We repeated this circuit three more times with almost no rest. After the second time, my head was pounding and I was sick to my stomach. On the third low prowler push, I shit myself and had to run inside to wipe and dispose of my boxers. When I looked in the mirror, I was as white as a ghost. After the completion of round three, I couldn’t physically move my legs - they were like concrete. No matter how evil my thoughts got, no matter what I did, I couldn’t fight through it. Usually I can will myself through most physical endeavors, but there was just no way my legs could move any faster than a snail’s pace. The lactic acid build up was excruciating and my lungs were on fire. Somehow I battled through the last round with the most atrocious form ever known to man. I was practically crawling while pushing the Prowler, and a 90 year old lady in a walker could have beaten me in a race. When I finished, I collapsed on the grass in a heap. But oh, no...I couldn’t rest. My stomach was gurgling and I felt a rush through my intestines. Yup, I was about to shit myself again. Only this time it would be enough to soak through three pairs of shorts and snow pants. I clenched my ass cheeks as tightly as I could to fight it off. It
was right there. Like the Colorado River hitting an unexpected dam. “Just suck it back in, suck it back in, please,” I thought to myself. Finally I got a reprieve. Now I had another problem, I couldn’t move my legs to walk inside to the bathroom. “What the fuck am I going to do now? Ask these kids to carry me inside to the toilet so I can unleash this diarrhea from hell? Yeah, that’ll look reeeeeal good.” After another rush to the dam and another successful suck back, I got to my feet and was able to walk to the bathroom. When I got inside I blasted explode-a-rhia like there was no tomorrow. I was actually shocked that it came out my ass before my mouth, but for some reason the hot sun always does that to me. Eventually the puking started about 10 minutes later, and I was spraying projectile vomit like the Exorcist all over the side of the road. I was sick as a dog for the rest of the night and had a splitting headache for two days after that.
The wrestlers all got through the workout, no problem. It was grueling but nobody needed 911 on speed dial like I did. The most disheartening part was that not only did I not embarrass or motivate them, but I actually drew empathy from them because they could see that my death was only minutes away. It was one of my finest moments in the business. I guess I really showed them...
Add One Inch in Just 12 Hours By Ted Toalston
When I started working out eight years ago, I had nothing more than some bodybuilding magazines guiding me. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, nor did I have any specific goals in mind. All I knew was that I was skinny, didn’t like it, and wanted to get big and ripped. After trying some of the routines in the magazines for a while and not seeing any results, I came across an article - I actually now believe it was an advertisement - that contained a routine that guaranteed a one inch increase in my arms in just one day! All I had to do was alternate training biceps and triceps every 30 minutes from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m., drink protein shakes and a creatine drink, and eat bananas between sets. So, I bought a tub of creatine, protein and a bunch of bananas and cleared a Saturday to do it. When I arrived at the gym, I was excited and ready to go. I had everything I needed and began right at 9 a.m. Everything was going fine. I was doing dumbbell curls, barbell curls, machine curls, reverse barbell curls, hammer curls, skull crushers, dumbbell extensions, cable pushdowns and eating and drinking everything exactly the way the program laid it out. I remember getting a nice pump and thinking that it was working. About 2 p.m. things started to take a turn for the worse. I started to feel bloated and like I needed to take a shit. Between sets I headed to the restroom to relieve the pressure. The amount of shit that came out of me was like nothing I had ever seen before. It was this runny, nasty, splashing blast after blast of the foulest smelling intestinal sludge you could imagine. When I was finished, I was so relieved, but eager to get back to the program. Bad idea. After the next hour, the pressure returned and I was headed back to the restroom. I thought it must just be gas because I had just been cleaned out. Nope. Again, insane nastiness. I couldn’t take it any more, and after I was done completely cleaning out my colon I packed up and headed home. The next day my arms were very sore and almost useless, but the pain was mild compared to the pain the rough toilet paper inflicted on my anus. The worst part: I think my arms got smaller and I actually lost weight. NEVER AGAIN!
I Won the Fight, Not the War By Joey P. Smith
The hardest workout I have ever done was last summer with Jim Hoskinson at gym, Iron Works in Jacksonville, Fla. I am actually from Jacksonville, and Jim knew I came down every summer to visit family and friends. He had asked me to come down and stay a weekend with him and his wonderful family and do some training. I finally found a weekend that would work with my schedule and my daughter, and I flew down. I could tell Jim was excited when we arrived. He and I both are very competitive and we were looking forward to pushing each other as hard as we could the entire weekend. Jim’s training is not your average training. His training sessions are a minimum of three hours! Saturday, we did some squatting, in which he and I both knew I could not push him because his squat towers over mine. We trained hard that day, but not like what was coming on Sunday. Sundays are bench day. My day! Well, kind of. Jim’s dungeon - as he calls it - has no air and no fans! It’s hotter than hell in there even before you start training! We get warmed-up on the bench and get shirted up. I started kicking his old ass from the jump and talking some smack to him. Now Jim loves to talk as long as he is the one doing it! I can tell it’s eating at him. We shirt trained with his guys for about two-and-a-half hours. After this beat down I gave him, I could tell Jim wanted some retribution. So he said, “Let’s do some floor presses with chains.”
Plate after plate after chain was loaded just to see who would run out of gas first. Jim hit a big PR. He was talking now, so I added a two-and-a-half pound plate to each side. He did not see me do this, so he thought I was just going for the tie. I got the lift, jumped up and told him this is my house! He said, “The hell it is,” and got down to hit the weight I just did. Jim choked. I was giving him all kinds of shit then. I should have just kept my mouth closed because he had something in store for me. At this point, we were four hours into the session. It’s miserably hot, and my body is running on “E.” Jim wanted to go outside and do some strongman stuff. He knows I don’t train those lifts, but I can’t back down because he wants some payback. Plus, I’m hardheaded. We do log lifts, tire flips, Fingal’s fingers and keg tosses. Okay, by this time I’m done. Smoked. Hell, my legs are shaking, but Jim loves the suffering I am going through. He is talking shit the entire time. I can’t duplicate the reps he is doing on any of these lifts. I’m getting my ass handed to me! After this nightmare is over, and two more hours pass - for a total of seven hours - he decides to go inside and do a couple more things. Well, walking through the door I begin to dry heave. Uh oh! I threw up everywhere. Jim is laughing his ass off. I had never before thrown up training. I had now. Jim loved this. He looked at me and said, “You may have won the fight young man, but I won the war.” Enough said.
Truck-ups, Box Jumps and Rocks By Joshua McMillan
It was the first time I trained at Matt Kroczaleski’s place with a couple of our training partners. We squatted this night, fairly heavy, with gear on (not sure of the weight). After we squatted, we did log lunges up and down Matt’s slanted driveway for about three sets of 10 each way. By this time our quads - or at least mine - were shot. Matt decided to see who could jump into the bed of his jacked-up pickup without touching the side of the truck (having to land in the bed). Well, we all attempted this “not so smart obstacle.” Matt was first to make it, and I made it after a couple attempts, along with two more of our training partners. One of our training partners hit his face on the truck and was bleeding. Another caught his feet on the side of the truck, then landed on the cement driveway on his back. From there, our inner competitiveness drove us to jump a big electrical box in his front yard, and again our legs were fried already. We accomplished this fairly easily compared to the truck obstacle. Finally, to break the three-way tie, we found a large rock in the yard and decided to use it as a shot put. Now, this had nothing to do with working legs anymore, but it sure tore my shoulder apart! I believe at one point I had the longest shot put, then Matt out-threw all of us because he wouldn’t give up until he did! This was probably the hardest and most taxing workout on a squat day, and is the workout at this point I would “never do again,” for several different reasons. One reason is that I could have really gotten hurt jumping into the back of the truck, tearing what I have left of my quads after tearing them apart a year before. Second, throwing that shot put took a toll on my not-so-flexible shoulders. But this is what happens when you have that competitive drive in you, and training partners pushing one another!
Rugged Lifter By Shelby Starnes
No workout is easy, especially if you’re training with progressive resistance in mind. Some of the toughest workouts I’ve ever done were using timed rest periods between sets. One of the most brutal was when I was training for powerlifting - it was a deadlift workout comprised of 10 sets of doubles, with 45 seconds rest between sets. For added fun, we were pulling off a two-inch platform, and using chains that added about 50 pounds of resistance at the top. Even though the weights were submaximal, by the time we got to the fifth or sixth set, it was all we could do to grind out the reps. Huffing and puffing, blurred vision from sweat in our eyes, very close to puking...this was definitely the type of workout that produces a rugged lifter. Other brutal workouts have included the old “German Volume Training” squat workouts, which were 10 sets of 10 reps with 60 seconds rest between sets. I sometimes alternate a set of squats with a set of stiff-leg deadlifts, back and forth, one minute between sets, for 20 total sets of 10 reps each. Talk about lactic acid tolerance training! Regardless of what sport you train for and what training style you utilize, I believe it’s crucial to always give 100% and train as if your life depends on it. If you’re not doing it, your competitor is.
Moving Day By The Angry Coach
My uncle (by marriage) owns a high-end furniture store in a very expensive suburb. He’s basically the furniture supplier to the stars – or at least all the rich assholes in my area who need to impress everyone with the kind of furniture they have in their houses. The stuff he carries is heavy. It may not be heavy by powerlifting standards, but when you’re stuck on a tight stairway on one end of a 300 pound piece of furniture that costs $10,000, and the guy on the other end is some dude you picked up off the corner outside the local Home Depot, things can get a little dicey. I’ve worked for Uncle Al, on and off, since I was kid. Now I’m his #1 driver. Not that I do it for a living, mind you. I’m just the best f-ing furniture delivery guy you’ll ever meet, and yes, there’s an art and science to delivering the stuff. Anyone who can take the mechanism out of a heavy sofabed, get the thing up two flights of stairs, then reinstall it in a half hour can give me a call if they’d like to protest my claim.
Anyway, Uncle Al also does move jobs for his best customers. He has a truck, he has a bunch of guys who know how to carry crap, and he wants to keep all the millionaires happy. This particular job, I was told, would be no problem. It was the daughter of some rich guy who’d moved into an apartment in the city, and all her crap had to get moved. Sure, I’ll do it. But remember, these are the rich, and the rich are different. Meaning, even a 20-something year old girl, who’s probably completely useless, owns a truckload of solid, heavy, expensive furniture. And here’s the punch line: when we showed up, all her crap had to go up six flights – the legal limit for walk-up apartments in the city. A six flight f-ing walk-up. I cursed Uncle Al up and down when I pulled up to the building, but at that point, we had to do what we had to do. Me and one little Mexican guy had to carry everything up six flights: boxes, armoires, dressers, tables, a king mattress, TV’s, chairs, a sofa and loveseat, etc, etc. UP SIX F-ING FLIGHTS, with people who lived in the building walking up and down, too, and pissing and moaning at us like it was our fault and we wanted to be there. You ever want a ridiculous quad workout, try carrying shit up six flights of stairs backwards for twelve hours. You’ll be EN FUEGO. And guess what? SHE DIDN’T TIP US. Never, ever again.
Wet Bar By Scott Yard
The workout I’ll never do again was outside in the rain. In high school, our gym was being renovated and we were forced to train in the equipment shed one summer before my senior year. The 100 square foot shed was a blazing 110 degree sauna with zero light. One day, it was unbearably hot and we decided, “Hell, let’s move the benches outside.” One of the guys said “I don’t know man, I heard it’s going to rain.” We peered up and all we saw were bright skies stretching for mile. Well, we started benching and I was doing a rep max with 225 (I was preparing for any kind of combine for football). I started my set and felt strong. I got to about 10 reps and the rain started pouring down. I kept going, and because of the rain, my grip got slippery and I dropped the bar out of my hands at lock out. It hit me in the chest and knocked the wind out of me. I was fine, but I did learn to never bench in the rain! That’s one workout I’ll never duplicate!
The 100-Yard Walk By Jim Wendler
I get many of my training ideas while daydreaming, which I do at work 98% of the time. The worst thing to do at work is work, so I avoid it at all costs. During one of my daydreams I began thinking about a brutal conditioning workout, one that would be extremely difficult but simple to perform. We recently got a sandbag, which was primarily used as a prop until this workout. We’d often bring people to the weight room and show off the monolift, or the CB3 Competition Bench, the SS Yoke Bar...and the lonely sandbag in the corner. “Nobody puts baby in a corner.” Well, we had put sandbag in the corner, and I was Johnny Castle. The idea was to take the sandbag over to the local high school and walk up and down the stadium steps, with the 175 pound sandbag on my shoulders. The total number of steps was 400, and the goal was to never take the bag off of my shoulders. Upon driving to the high school, I realized that I had to walk about 100 yards to get to the steps. This is normally not a problem. The problem is that I had to carry the sandbag.
While it was a huge pain in the ass, the walk wasn’t bad. I was fresh and excited to complete this challenge. I dropped the sandbag off my shoulders and started getting mentally ready for the trek. After a few minutes of visualization and confirmation that I’m the dumbest man alive, I cleaned the sandbag to my shoulders, pressed it overhead and rested it on my upper back. The first half of the ordeal wasn’t bad. My neck was killing me and my upper back was sore. My lungs were fine, which surprised me - these are always the first to go out on me. About three-quarters of the way through, I could feel my legs start to wobble and shake - which I attributed to me being an idiot. I began walking faster and faster in order to get done quicker. The last 20 steps were awful. I couldn’t see because of the sweat in my eyes, and my legs were shaking so badly that I thought I was going to tip over at any moment. As I got to the end of the stairs, I stepped down, gathered myself, let the sandbag fall off my shoulders...and I collapsed. As I sat there exhausted and fulfilled, my goal reached and my training day over, I realized that I had to walk the damned sandbag back to my truck.
New Year’s Eve Bicep Party By Martin Rooney
Every New Year’s Eve, I get together with a number of UFC fighters, pro athletes and aging warriors for a killer workout. I started this tradition not only to end the previous year strong, but to enter into the New Year knowing that if I can get through that, the year is going to be easy. The soreness I experience on New Year’s Day is a treat to me in a weird way because I know I took myself to another level. This past December 31st was no exception, and the soreness made me wish I didn’t have to get out of my chair from watching football, and it stuck around well after New Year’s Day ended. Over the last year, I have really gotten back into bodyweight training. As a result of this trend, I experimented with different pushups, chin-ups, lunges, jumps, sit ups, dips, sprints and anything else that involved using the body as the sole piece of equipment. On this day, I was going to see just how far I could push the equipment without breaking it. After the full 25 minute Parisi Warmup (if I had a penny for every time people asked if that was the whole workout, I would have a mountain of copper), we added 10 40 yard dashes. Although that doesn’t sound bad to some - or maybe it does for anyone that hasn’t done a sprint since high school - we added a couple extra things. We jogged back to the starting point and after each sprint performed 10 pushups and 10 sit-ups in between each rep. Each set of pushups and sit-ups also involved a different variation of the exercise. So, after the 10 sprints, we were also now at a grand total of 100 pushups and 100 sit-ups to conclude our “warm-up.” For anyone that hasn’t done 100 of either in a while, the soreness will be quite surprising. Now it was time for the lifting portion of the workout, and it didn’t disappoint. Although the chest, triceps and abs were smoked and the legs got worked from the sprints, I was sure not to let the lats and biceps feel left out. First, we performed the “50 anyhow chin up.” What this means is that you have to complete 50 chins in as many or as few sets as possible. The trick was that we were timing it! This made it into a competition to see who could get there first, but also made rep selection critical. If I completed too many on set 1 or 2, I was baked. If I did too few, it would take forever. UFC fighter Frankie Edgar crushed it this year and actually did 69 reps for good measure, all in 3 minutes! Anyone that has crammed a ton of reps into a short time with both high tension and
adrenaline flowing knows “the pump.” This is where your forearms are so filled with blood that you can no longer scratch your ear. The pump makes you feel great, unless you have a sick set of biceps for a finale. I chose the incline dumbbell clean for the lift. It brought me back to when I was a high school kid lifting in my basement blasting music in front of the biggest mirror I could rip off the wall in my house to the latest Flex magazine biceps routine. For the lift, you begin with a challenging weight and all you have to do is five reps per set. The trouble is, what constitutes a rep? You first raise the weights and than slowly begin to lower until you hear “stop.” Then you hold until you hear “go” and lower slowly again until another “stop.” This goes on for what seems like eternity until you hit the bottom and beg the gods of strength that your biceps return the weights for another rep. Two sets of this was all we could muster. Although it might not seem like much, or might indulge the vanity of a guy looking for bigger arms, this workout is tough. Both the chin-ups and biceps are things I don’t ever look forward to. Give that one a try the next time you’re looking for a change in the routine or just want to see what you’re made of.
Health Nazi By Kenny Patterson
One workout I hope to never have to do again: In September of 2007, I finally decided to hang up the wrist wraps, power belt and squat suit and call it a career. There were new opportunities on the horizon and the UPA was just being born. What would I do now to keep my competitive fire burning? The answer? Spend my time in the gym getting into the best shape of my life. I thought, “How hard could this be?” I have been training since I was 14 years old, squatted almost 900 pounds, totaled over 2200 pounds and benched over 700 pounds for the last 10 years. I had no idea what was in store for me. I called a longtime friend and former powerlifting training partner, Joe McCoy. Joe had been training for fat loss and to be in shape for about the last nine years. This guy was not only a freak when he was powerlifting, but now he is a cardio and fitness freak. He only has one speed - faster than everyone else. It just so happens that my first workout on my “Road to Health” was a leg workout. I had no idea that training without hundreds of pounds on your back could be so damaging to my ego. Joe had me doing every type of lunge, superset, pop-squat and any other leg workout that popped into his head. By the end of the workout, I couldn’t really walk and what I had for lunch decided it wanted to revisit me. By the end of the workout I looked like I had fought a war. I couldn’t walk and had puked more than once. When I looked at Joe, the only thing he said to me was, “You ready for cardio?” Are you f*cking kidding me? The guy just ran me into the ground and now he wants to do 30 minutes of cardio? However, there was no way I wasn’t going to do it, so I sucked it up and made it through. I was in more pain from this workout than any other I had ever done in my life. I had to soak in the tub, eat Vicodin like they were coming from a Pez dispenser, and walk like I had something stuck in my ass for a week. The reason I’ll never do this workout again? I’ll never let myself get that out of shape!
83 Reps in One Hour By Jim “Smitty” Smith
The hardest workout I’ve ever done was when we decided to try a workout suggested by a buddy, Dan Cenidoza. Dan said he took 80% of his 1RM in the deadlift and pulled one rep every minute for a half hour. He said that was one of the toughest challenges he had done. My workout partner Jedd and me were using the same weight at the time, and 80% meant a weight of 405 pounds for me. We set up for the workout, warmed up and got started. We rotated on and off of the platform for 30 minutes. It was tough, but we kept going - decreasing the rest period. We stopped timing and just starting going right after each other. In the end, I completed 83 reps under an hour. Jedd completed his last set with 7 reps to total 100. Let’s just say the next week was tough getting around.
The Only Time I Got My Ass Handed to Me! By Zach Even-Esh
I used to blow through training partners like no tomorrow back when I was a bodybuilder. I even rocked a pro bodybuilder on a regular basis and “dumped” him when he kept showing up to the gym late. But, there was a serious beast at the gym I trained at. In fact, there were MANY beasts, but I pissed this guy off. He was a top level super heavyweight national bodybuilder. I had injured my lower back several weeks earlier and was talking smack to the guy. He decided it was best to settle things through a leg workout - at 5 a.m. Leg workouts always separate the men from the boys, especially that early. The gym was not empty at 5 a.m., either. There were already thirty die-hard bodybuilders sweating buckets and grinding out hard reps to the loud, pumping tones of club music. I made a horrible mistake talking smack and walking into a leg workout after NOT having trained legs for four weeks due to my lower back injury. We started with high-rep leg extensions, HEAVY, for sets of 20 reps. Every set was heavier and harder, for a total of four sets. Next up were squats. I was nervous due to not squatting for a month and worried about my lower back, but tried not to show it. I was talking the talk and had to walk the walk now.
During off-season this guy weighed in at 275 solid pounds! We squatted low and heavy, all for sets of 10. My last two sets were with 405, and although I surprisingly cranked this weight, I kept psyching myself out in the back of my head with the low back injury. My legs were already feeling a little busted thanks to that four week time off from leg work. Next up were leg presses. I worked up to 10 plates per side and cranked 10 reps. Without even locking the leg press in place, the plates were stripped to eight each side for 10 more reps. Then six plates for 10 reps and finally four plates for 10 reps. Trust me, I was stuck under that thing and Stokely was not letting me get less than 10 reps on ANY SET, even if it meant pulling the leg press off of me. He was out for blood! After the leg press was over I was laying on the ground! I never lay down during a workout, let alone midway through! Stokely marched to the front desk and got on the mic - which cut through the radio and started ordering me around and embarrassing me saying, “Get UP Son, Get UP Zach, I smell blood, I smell blood!” I was getting my ass kicked, getting called out and getting called son! WTF!?!?!?! I could barely walk, let alone stand up. Next up were walking dumbbell lunges, a full lap inside the entire gym. That is a good 25 or 30 reps for each leg! Time was going slow and I was watching that clock because I still had to get to work! How the heck was I going to get to work unable to walk - as a Physical Education teacher no less!
Back Crushers By Steve Pulcinella
I would say the most gut-busting, brutal thing I ever did during a training session happened early in my strongman career. In 1993, I did a contest in Toronto, Canada, where one of the events was to walk with an Olympic barbell and plates across the back - like a squat. This was back in the day before the sport became standardized and they didn’t have the super yoke event yet. You are given three attempts to walk fifteen feet with the most weight. I devised a way to train for it at the gym. I would simply get inside the power rack, put the spotting bars up high, so it was just under the bar, and walk back and forth the few steps inside the power rack until I couldn’t hold the weight anymore. Each week leading up to the contest, I would add more and more weight. My very last training session before the contest, I was to do 1075 pounds, and had one of my partners time me with a stopwatch. I told him, “Don’t let me give up no matter what.” I remember taking this massive weight onto my back and just wearing a power belt and an old pair of marathon knee wraps and starting to walk forward and back. The pressure was almost unbearable, and I remember almost grinding my teeth to powder. My partner called out ten second intervals and I just blocked out the pain as best I could. The weight was bearing down on me harder and harder and my steps began to get shorter and finally impossible. After I couldn’t walk anymore I just stood there with the weight crushing down on me more and more, and screaming. Finally, my back gave out and I crashed down with the weight. The time on the stopwatch said 1:17! The pain I felt for the next few days was something I would never forget. I also remember thinking if some son-of-a-bitch is out there doing something stupider than what I just put myself through, he deserves to beat me! Thank God that event was a one time thing because, I knew the day I did it that I would never put myself through that hell again.
Did I Lock Out? By Vincent Dizenzo
I have very vivid memories of my hardest workout ever. I was going to Southside Gym in Connecticut on Saturday because my training partner, Matty “Marfan’s” Rhodes, had to squat. I, being a bench-only guy, did not want to be there. I’m sure I felt like shit because I benched the night before. Nothing like killing yourself in the gym just to show up less than 12 hours later. I distinctly remember my shoulder was hurting me. I was pissed as usual. I stated to Rhodes on the way in, “Maybe if I injure something else today my shoulder won’t bother me as much.” Matt nodded because he knows nothing changes my mind. It’s not that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, although the jury is still out on that one it’s that I am a prick in the gym and just want to lift heavy shit. So, I chose to deadlift. Not just deadlift, but conventional deadlift. Now, when I was a full meet lifter many moons and lumbar discs ago, I was a sumo deadlifter. I just figured I would do something different. Well, it was definitely some kind of modified conventional. My form was awesome. My legs were set wide and my arms were out even wider. I have seen Big Mike Ruggiera do it that way, so why can’t I? Looking back, I sure am surprised at the results.
I started deadlifting. I am making nice plate jumps, because what the hell else are you supposed to do! I am up to 495 and I’m feeling pretty good about myself considering I haven’t deadlifted for over a decade. So I give 585 a pull and it was a joke. However, 675 was a bit of a different story. It came flying up and right at the top of the lift I heard what sounded like two strips of Velcro getting ripped apart, Matt heard it as well. Not that the sound was not enough, but I could tell something went horribly wrong with my left bicep. Being a true powerlifter, my first question was not, “Do you think I tore it?” It was, “Did I lock it out?” Matt and I agreed it was indeed locked out. Then we checked out the bicep. I tried to convince myself it was a partial tear. Over the next few days, I developed a bruise from the top of my shoulder into the palm of my hand. “Bench only guy,” I don’t think so. If I said I would not do this again I’d be lying. The whole reason I love this sport is because whenever I see heavy shit, I want to lift it. That’s what separates us from the oiled up, tank top wearing, curl junkies. No offense, Dave.
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