So today I came up with pretty unusual topic. That's why I like writing my thoughts here on Rough Strength. There are no limits and full freedom for experimentation. But, anyway, back to the theme. Why I write on such topic? I'm not a big fan of bar fights. I mean, fighting is natural for men. It builds character and confidence. But I never start fights. I use my strength only if it's unavoidable. I think, that every strong man will share my view. Starting a fight just for the sake of fighting is immature and shows lack of confidence in 95% of cases. But there are times when you must do what is right. And on Saturday evening was situation just like that. Me and my wife were invited to the wedding of our good friends. Well, of course, there was vodka (we live in Ukraine, it's unavoidable) and lots of it (that's the only way Ukrainians drink). The times I drank to get drunk are long gone. So I had couple of shots and was almost sober while almost everybody were getting really drunk. And there was brother of the bride who drank no holds barred. To the end of the party he was inadequate. And, you know, people act different when they get drunk. I, for example, when I was younger could just throw up and go sleep. Now I probably would just go to sleep. But that dude acted completely different. After bride said him that he had enough and that he was embarrassing her he ran away. I don't know how would this story ended if my wife haven't run after him. She is very good and kind person and she cares when unknown people can possibly do harmful things to themselves. So, of course, I ran after her. When I left the bar (or restaurant, or something in between) I saw how she didn't let this motherfucker get hit by the car. But instead of being thankful for staying alive this looser tried to hit her. I get pissed when I see violence on any woman but if it's my girl I get merciless. Of course, he missed. I ran to him and hit him pretty hard several times. He started bleeding. Then I took him down to the ground and started holding him. This motherfucker tried with his pity force to get out of my grip but without success. Then I understood that it was some mental disorder caused by excessive alcohol consumption. And he tried to get out again and again but all in vain. By this time some other guys came out and we started to hold him together until the ambulance arrived. Medics got him two (!) shots of tranquilizer. But this didn't help. So they took him to the hospital. I went out from this story with only one bruise. My wife is fine, she got no injuries. Other guys have minor bruises. Everything ended ok. All in all we held him for more than 2 hours. And important notice, it was snow outside and really cold here in Kiev.
What's the moral of the story? If I wasn't training I would fail miserably and everything could end not so well. And I totally believe that sandbag strength training played major part in my success. So here's 5 ways sandbag training can help you in bar fight.
1. Sandbag Training Develops Toughness
Yes. Being able to play with 80 kg sandbag gave me pretty good overall strength and toughness. Just imagine, to perform sandbag zercher squats you need:
- Deadlift sandbag from the floor and take it on your legs.
- Make a power-clean-like move and catch it with your hands in zercher position.
- Put the bag carefully to the floor (I train in my apartment. If I just throw heavy sandbag down I risk to make a hole in the floor).
That's a lot of auxiliary work. That's not the same as barbell squats where you take the chrome well-balanced bar from the rack. That's different kind of beast. This auxiliary work builds additional toughness. Imagine if you do this with 100 kg sandbag. Who would dare to stand in your way?
2. Sandbag Training Develops Grip
Training with sandbag develops pretty good grip strength. Remember that there are no handles on this bad boy. So to lift it up you need to crush it hard. Sometimes it gets tough and you tear your fingers a bit but it well worth it. Sandbag master has bone-crushing handshake.
3. Sandbag Training Develops Mental Toughness
Some time ago I wrote the article on the main benefit of strength training. But sandbag training takes it to the next level. To lift heavy sandbag up you need to be fully concentrated and fired-up. Otherwise, nothing will happen. This teaches you mental toughness. This teaches you to be sharp and overcome obstacles. Remember how much work is there just to squat. Imagine that every set you need to do so much work. Imagine that you need to bring the sandbag to the place where you are training before the session and to take it back to where you keep it afterwards. Imagine discipline and dedication needed to train like this. This type of training is not for modern gym attendees. There are no mirrors, no chicks in spandex, no fancy brand new clothes. There are just you and a bag full of sand that demands to be lifted. That's what builds mental toughness.
4. Sandbag Training Develops Real World Strength
Who cares how much do you bench or squat? Despite what you think the real answer is nobody. These are just numbers. And no matter how big these numbers are if you can't apply this strength in real world you are weak. I'm not saying here that sandbag is the only right way or that barbell sucks. Use any implement that works for you. But sandbag training definitely builds strength that you can use in real world. This amount and type of work make you stronger with real life objects (like drunk motherfuckers) and in real life situations (like a bar fight). It is all because sandbag is not well-balanced and stable. Contrary to that it is odd and unbalanced. This not only involves more stabilizer muscles into action but also develops much more coordination and strength you can use outside the gym.
5. Sandbag Training Develops Muscle Armor
Again because this training implement is so odd and uncomfortable body will get tougher. I don't know how to explain this scientifically but there is a difference between bodybuilder and gymnast or some sort of strongman. Second category will look tougher and more badass while first one will look more ballooned up. I guess, this is because the primary muscle fiber type used. But for the sake of not getting too snobby let's call this muscle armor (how scientific, I know). This will help you to take hits with minimal injury.
Well, now you have it. Use your strength responsibly. If you see violence on women hit the bastard hard. Never start the fight (unless it's inevitable in which case hit first to increase chances of winning). I hope my story gave you some usefulness. Thanks for reading. You will do the old man a great favor if you share my work on this thing everybody calls internet. By the way, here's my another article on sandbag training. That's it.
P.S. I only now noticed that dude on the picture looks like Hitler. Gets creepy (:
P.P.S. I'd love to read your thoughts in comments.
P.P.P.S. The dude on the picture is Edward Norton from the movie Fight Club.
Remember Arnold? I consider that he built one of the best (if not the best) bodies of all time. When I learned that he was training twice a day I thought like: "Holy shit! How was he able to progress?" Well, dude obviously knew what he was doing. Then I learned about Bulgarian weightlifting training methods where athletes were training for a max for that day EVERY day and even SEVERAL TIMES PER DAY. I thought this was something unreal until I read articles of Chad Waterbury and Charles Poliquin on theme. It turned out that twice a day training was in reach of natural strength trainee. The tricky point is to set everything up properly. High-frequency training is something that always worked well for me so I tried this approach approximately a year ago. What can I say? It worked awesome. I was able to progress every workout. The downside was that I didn't count calories and protein at that time and I definitely was undereating.
I can't actually recall why I stopped training this way (probably lack of time) but recently when I hit plateau in my training I decided to give it another shot. And results so far are great. The thing is I concentrated on really low reps (1-3) and high intensity for too long. Then I wanted to add a bit lighter exercises for higher reps (I don't like high rep training at all but I guess I still can benefit from it) and added them after low rep strength work. It worked but not perfectly because after low reps most of the time I was too exhausted to show results in high reps. Solution came rapidly. I decided to split my workouts and train twice a day. Well, it was right decision. Now I'm able to progress in both rep ranges. So basic scheme of my current routine looks like:
A1) Extended HSPU (between chairs, shoulders touching palms in the bottom)
A2) One-Arm Chin-Up Work
A2) Ring Pull-Ups
1) Barbell Squats
A1) Planche Push-Ups (harder version)
A2) Front Lever Pulls
A1) Planche Push-Ups (lighter version)
A2) Front Lever Pull-Ups
A1) Ring Muscle-Up (strict, no swing)
A2) One-Arm Push-Up (strict, feet together, as little twist as possible, shoulders parallel to the ground)
A1) Ring Dips
A2) Ring One-Arm Horizontal Rows (as close to the ground as possible)
That's a basic scheme. I can adjust everything as I want for that particular day. Of course I add grip and flexibility work. AM workouts generally with low reps and high sets, PM workouts are high reps, low sets. This is just a template that works for me. It's not intended to work for everyone.
So what if you want to try twice a day training and don't know how? Well, I'll try to guide you.
If you're working out with weights that would be ideal. Keep your reps in 15-25 rep range. AM workouts - more sets, less reps. PM workouts - more reps, less sets. If you can do more than 25 total reps add weight. I recommend to train every other day or 3 days a week with full-body workouts. If it's too much than you can use some sort of split routine. Keep at least 6-8 hours of rest between AM and PM training sessions.
A1) Barbell Squats 8 x 3
A2) Weighted Dips 8 x 3
A3) Weighted Pull-Ups 8 x 3
1) Dumbbell Lunges 2 x 12 (each leg)
2) Dumbbell Bench Press 2 x 12
3) Double Dumbbell Bent-Over Row 2 x 12
Day 2 - off
A1) Barbell Split Squats with rear foot elevated 6 x 4 (each leg)
A2) Barbell Military Press 6 x 4
A3) Barbell Bent-Over Row 6 x 4
1) Barbell Zercher Squats 3 x 8
2) Dumbbell Incline Bench Press 3 x 8
3) One-Arm Dumbbell Bent-Over Row 3 x 8
Day 4 - off
A1) Barbell Deadlift 4 x 6
A2) Barbell Bench Press 4 x 6
1) Leg Press 2 x 12
2) Dumbbell Push Press 2 x 12
3) Suitcase Deadlift 2 x 12 (each side)
Day 6 & 7 - off
Try it and adjust from there. With calisthenics you'll have to think more to find a right balance of intensity/volume but the rules are the same so don't overthink. If you don't screw up then you should expect at least twice more gains in strength and muscle in the same period of time. Some people will be able to lose substantial amounts of bodyfat along the way.
Twice a day training is an advanced technique. If you don't have some serious training under your belt don't even think to try it. I would say you should be training consistently and getting results at least couple of years before trying this technique. It's a very powerful tool but it has its own requirements: time, dedication and lots of rest.
I'm quite amazed that people don't understand and don't use such powerful tool as sleep in their lives. Are you looking for the best pre-workout supplement? Try to sleep at least 8 hours at night and take a nap during the day and I guess you'll find what you're looking for. Are you looking for the best fat-burner? Try to sleep at least 8 hours at night and take a nap during the day and I guess you'll find what you're looking for. Don't happy with body composition and strength/muscle gains? How about sleeping at least 8 hours at night and take a nap during the day? Too much stress in life? Have you tried to sleep at least 8 hours at night and take a nap during the day? Getting old too fast? Better start sleeping at least 8 hours at night and take a nap during the day as soon as possible. Are you always angry without a reason? Sleep. Fuck, it's really that simple.
The only legitimate reason to skip sleep
I wasn't getting this until recently. I always try to get at least 8 hours a night. Most of the time I get them. I thought I felt awesome until I began to take a nap (20-150 minutes in duration) every afternoon. Holy shit, I've never felt so awesome before. My strength and body composition improved right away. It's definitely worth every minute. We get the most powerful growth hormone surge when we sleeping. And growth hormone in its turn is one of the most powerful fat-burners, anabolic and anti-aging agents. It's built-in. It's free, you don't have to pay for it. How stupid you are if you're not using this advantage?
Some people may say: "But I don't want to waste my life on sleep!" Well, then continue to feel like shit every day and forget about strength and best body composition possible. Maybe you will have a bit less parties but you will feel and look WAY younger than your reckless contemporaries.
Again, you'll not build any substantial strength and muscle if you don't sleep. You won't get ripped if you don't sleep. You'll die faster if you don't sleep. Sleep at least 8 hours per night and take a decent nap during the day. You will definitely be amazed with results.
Try training twice a day and sleep a lot. I almost guarantee that your gains will skyrocket. Thanks for reading. Feel free to share, comment and subscribe.
Happy New Year everybody! 2011 is over. 2012 is here. Now is the best time to review and summarize everything that happened to me regarding training, nutrition and other stuff in 2011. And happened a lot. 2011 year was full of experiments and learning. It had it's own highs and lows. And that's great in my opinion. I found out so much new stuff. Something worked, something not. I started Rough Strength blog with intention to share the knowledge of what is real training about. I can't stand bullshit and shameless marketing and will always expose it anytime I can. Also I had several publications.
I've met different people, made new friends and connections, moved to another city etc. Anyway, it was year full of experience. So here we go.
Intermittent Fasting is the single best thing you can do with your diet
I'm not talking about nutrition much. Well, I've been collecting information and experience. And now I can share some thoughts with you.
I started experimenting with intermittent fasting (IF) a year ago. At first I was a bit scared. Not eating every 2-3 hours? Not eating breakfast? Late night eating? Well, mister, it's just too good to be truth. But all in all, trying IF was the single best thing I've done to my diet. The benefits are tremendous:
- No worries about food
- No bitching about skipped meals
- Elevated energy levels during fasting (I'm not kidding)
- Much less cravings
- No guilt for overeating
- Improved health
- Improved strength
- Improved fat loss and much more
Well, if I need to describe IF in one word then I'd say "freedom". It's real dieting freedom. You're dieting without noticing it. I never liked eating breakfast. It was always the hardest meal of the day for me. Why I ate it? Because current nutritional dogma states that you NEED to eat breakfast because otherwise your muscle will shrink away, and because those who don't eat breakfast will never gain muscle and burn fat. And you know what? I dropped eating breakfast and nothing bad happened. Even contrary, I feel better than ever and perform better than ever. Don't be afraid to question current dogmas. Don't like eating 6-8 bird meals a day? Try IF and eat like a king. Meal frequency doesn't speed up your metabolism. Don't be fooled. Well, everything is up to you. It's always YOUR choice whether or not blindly follow something that has no scientific or at least empirical proof.
Of course, you shouldn't be a fool and assume that IF will make you ripped by itself. Calories are still matter, as well as macroratios. But dieting has never been this easy.
Low-Carb diets are NOT a "Magic Pill"
It's an old one. Yeah-yeah, everybody should know this. But there's so many people who get caught on the hook of this low-carb thing. I was one of them. And I can say from my own experience. You CAN get fat on low-carb diet. Everyone who tells you otherwise is a stupid moron and you can punch him in his face. If you think that low-carb is an answer and you won't need to estimate your calories anymore then you're dead wrong, my friend. Calorie surplus = calorie surplus. Too much is too much, and it doesn't matter whether it's meat or candies.
As for fat loss, yeah, it's not bad IF you eat sufficient amounts of calories. The next one is about calories.
The importance of control
If you want something to work then you need to control as much as possible. Why am I stressing on this? There are people who say: "Calorie counting is stupid and lame!" Well, that's not right. Actually, not knowing what you're doing is stupid and lame. There are guys with superior genetics who can eat lots of crap and train like retarded and look awesome. But they are happy minority. The majority will end up looking like crap when using such setup. Having training journal is awesome. Having food journal is "awesome" squared. Don't get too fancy. I don't mean writing down everything too precisely. Find some system that you feel comfortable with. For example, don't weigh every egg that you eat. Find an average weight and multiply it by the quantity. That's easier and more sustainable.
Bodyweight Strength Training
I discovered it in 2010. But only last year I took it seriously. And it became my biggest passion. I still love kettlebells and sandbags. But no weight training can satisfy me more than old school calisthenics.
A lot of guys think the same way (especially those who are involved in weight training): Bodyweight training? Pull-Ups and Dips? Sit-Up? Seriously? No weights? They think that it's impossible to build decent physique with calisthenics. Well, I'm sorry to shatter the tiny little dream you live in but you CAN build awesome physique with your bodyweight only. And you will master your bodyweight in the process. Also you can perform it almost anywhere. The thing is that you can add infinite amount of intensity to the upper body bodyweight exercises. As for legs, add volume, plyometrics or add some weight. I highly encourage you to try this type of training. It's simply awesome.
Low-Volume Training works.
I had success with this training protocol last year. It worked every time I used it. The reason why it works is, I guess, in adaptation of CNS to certain movement pattern. No kidding, I was able to add 1 rep a day steadily until I hit the plateau. HFT is a powerful tool in your arsenal. Use it wisely. Concentrate on less things at once and get results.
Read. It's one of the best things you can do to get smarter. Absorb as much information as you can. Then analyze it and make your own conclusions. Try new approaches, be open-minded. And, while trying, compare it to something that worked for you. If it works better then stick with it, if not then it's probably not for you or it's not the right time.
Well, this is just a part of things that happened in 2011. It's always good to see that you found out something new. I wish you to find out lots of useful stuff in 2012. I have a feeling that it would be a great year. As always, thanks for reading. Subscribe, comment, add, discuss etc.
I can't be more official because it's the skill that everyone (should!) admire. True master of One-Arm Chin-Up possesses such biceps and lats (for their bodyweight, of course) that all conventional bodybuilders will silently stand in the corner, cry and burn from envy. He obtains arm strength to match that size.
Some people think that this feat of strength is out of reach. Especially overweight people. But it isn't so. I heard of at least two persons that are approx. 100 kg (220 lbs). I don't remember the name of the first one but the second is Metin a.k.a. LittleBeastM. You have probably heard of him. If not then here's link to his YouTube channel: LittleBeastM's YouTube Channel. You should definitely check this guy out. He's probably the heaviest guy to perform such feats of bodyweight strength.
Anyway, let's get back to tips.
Train with Singles
It may sound obvious but it took some time to understand this. Don't waste your time and energy on reps. Train with singles. It's the fastest way. In my experience training with single-rep sets is the fastest way to gain strength. It's even more true for One-Arm Chin-Up. You're traning for skill at first place, not for multiple reps in a skill. And it's difficult skill, believe me. You will spend much more time on easier progression steps if you will strive for 3-5 reps than if you will strive for a single rep. And what's the point? If your goal is to learn One-Arm Chin-Up you need to progress as fast as possible or you will spend whole eternity learning it.
One of the best ways to implement singles is Rest-Pause Training. Let me explain you. Pick progression step that is fairly hard but you can do at least one-two perfect reps. Perform single rep with right arm. Rest for 30 seconds. Then perform single rep with left arm. Rest for 30 seconds. And so on until you hit 5-6 singles per arm. Call it a day. Return 2-3 days later and repeat. It would take couple training sessions to hit 10 singles per arm. Then you have several options. You can either shave off 5 seconds of rest periods and work back up to 10 singles per arm or you can pick a bit harder variation and start over with 5-6 singles.
Pick Progression That Is The Most Effective for You
There are tons of progressions toward One-Arm Chin-Up. The most effective are considered rope or towel assisted, finger assisted and rock climbers'. Rope assisted is the best for me. I can always carry the rope in my bag. It feels the most natural. The main thing is that with rope assistance you can adjust intensity similarly to the barbell. Just count the fists on the rope and you're all set. It's very important for me. So you get it. Pick progression that suits you.
Don't Hit It Too Often
One-Arm Chin-Up is not that exercise that you want to overdo. Firstly, it doesn't progress that fast. Secondly, increased risk of injury. Once a week works awesome for me. You should experiment to find out how's best for you.
One-Arm Negatives and Static Hangs
In my experience One-Arm Chin-Up negatives are almost useless. They only teach you how to comedown from top hang. And that's all. They are good as introductory progression step but that's it. On the other hand, One-Arm Static Holds. In my opinion they are very useful. Bottom hang is useful for grip strength and endurance, 90 degree hang is useful for strength and moving past sticking point, and top hang is generally useful in One-Arm Chin-Up practice. Practice them but don't overdo.
That's it. I hope it will help you in your quest for the One-Arm Chin-Up. Thanks for reading and don't forget to subscribe and like (: