Bon Voyage Macker

…that would of worked better if Macker was heading off to France…he’s off to the Ospreys in Swansea, Wales and I thought saying ‘Da bo chi’ might go over peoples heads.


Progress is progress….are you making any?

I train a substantial number of law enforcement officers…basically cops. I’m sure my father would be horrified because he spent most of the 80’s with cops hanging off him and chasing him round the streets and building sites of Sydney while he was instigating social uprising and fighting for workers rights. I’m sure the last thing he’d want is fitter, faster and stronger cops. In honour of my father…who thankfully made me the belligerent and opinionated arsehole that I am today…I force them to listen to “Fuck tha Police” by “Niggaz With Attitude” at least twice during every training session which in my opinion sort of evens things out.

Anyway today Detective X (name withheld to protect his identity….well that and because a lot of people tend to keep it a secret that I train them to save themselves from being ostracised from society) tested. He’s been training for a month. He’s been doing essentially the same cycle that I have…the one that I outlined the other day in my post on my own training. The difference being that he’s doing a 3 – 4 day a week variation.

So for those too lazy to go back and look…it goes something like this:
Day 1 – Some sort of squat and pull up variation.
Day 2 – Some sort of deadlift and benching variation.
Day 3 – Then a conditioning day…the cardio, work block, cardio, work block and cardio…thing.

His second session with me he tested…as everyone does and these were his results:

Weight: 105.3kg
Bicep – 9
Tricep – 13
Subscapular – 19
Suprailliac – 18
Mid Axilla – 18
Abdomen – 31
Thigh – 17
Calf – 14
Total = 139mm

Bench – 80kg
Pull Ups – 4 reps
Push Ups – 35 reps
Inverted Rows – 8 reps
Trap Bar Deadlift – Not done

6×30/30 Rowing Test:
Row 1 – 173
Row 2 – 161
Row 3 – 152
Row 4 – 143
Row 5 – 130
Row 6 – 127
Total = 886m

Now…we focused on a few things…1. His shoulders are messed up…not painful…just out of whack.

I thought I’d throw this up to give you an idea…if you coach and are squeamish you probably shouldn’t even watch this.

2. We worked on improving his general conditioning.
3. We worked on improving his exercise technique.

Here are his results from today:

Weight: 104.9kg
Bicep – 7 down 2mm
Tricep – 12 down 1mm
Subscapular – 17 down 2mm
Suprailliac -13 down 5mm
Mid Axilla – 16 down 2mm
Abdomen – 23 down 8mm
Thigh – 13 down 4mm
Calf – 12 down 2mm
Total = 113mm down 26mm

Really pleased with this…anyone who has seen Detective X training will know why he’s improved so much…he has gone at it hard every session…this is what happens when you clean up your diet and work your arse off.

Bench – 95kg up 15kg
Pull Ups – 6 reps up 2 reps
Push Ups – 43 reps up 8 reps
Inverted Rows – 19 reps up 11 reps
Trap Bar Deadlift – 120kg (he has had a knee issue…we are just nursing this back to full power.)

6×30/30 Rowing Test:
Row 1 – 181 up 8m
Row 2 – 171 up 10m
Row 3 – 159 up 7m
Row 4 – 154 up 11m
Row 5 – 154 up 24m
Row 6 – 154 up 27m
Total = 973m up 87m

So all in all I am really pleased with Detective X’s results.

The other thing I don’t hate is Leg Pressing

My philosophy is to always use the right tool for the job. The problem I see with a lot of coaches is that they arbitrarily throw away a lot of tools. For example…how idiotic would you have to be to…I don’t know….let me try to think of some examples off the top of my head…imagine a hypothetical coach who doesn’t let his athletes back squat…or maybe Olympic lift…when the only tools you have a hammers every problem they see ends up looking like a nail.

On Saturday I was testing some basketballers…one of the lads had recently had surgery on his patella tendon to alleviate a tendinitis issue. Now as a part of his recovery he was told to squat…and he has been. How squatting is fine…PROVIDING you actually know how to do it.

Here's the player in question in the bottom position of his squat

Here's the player in question in the bottom position of his squat

Now…for this player…with the issue he has had…and with the technique he has…squatting is the LAST thing he should be doing. Now I won’t go into a big diagnostic of squat technique here….that’s not what this blog is about…but what I do want you to look at is the bar. Specifically I want you to look at the bar position in relation to his hips, knees and ankles. I also want you to take a look at the angle at his knee…keep in mind his hips aren’t even close to parallel…at proper depth the acute nature of that knee angle would be even more extreme. Forgetting everything else about his technique….he’s putting an enormous strain on that patella tendon. Also, considering the advice he had to ‘squat’ was given to him so that he’d build up his quad mass….squatting for him…the way he has been is all kinds of shit advice.
This was me just showing him the difference in our techniques

This was me just showing him the difference in our techniques

So look at the two of us in relatively the same position and look at the bar position in relation to my hips, knees and ankles…then as you did before…look at my knee angle in comparison to his? What do you see?

Now this player doesn’t train with me…him and his team was just in for testing. My advice to him….drop the squats and leg press instead. Leg Pressing will maximise the amount of good ‘stress’ that he is placing on his leg muscles….which is after all the reason he was told to squat in the first place. He will put a much less severe load through his damaged patella tendon…leg pressing in this case is the right tool for the job…even if the guy does have a physique like a nail.

Look at the knee angle here relative to when he was squatting

Look at the knee angle here relative to when he was squatting

Squatting or Leg Pressing? Which do you think is going to maximise the loading that he can safely use to stimulate his leg development? Which do you think is going to put the most stress through his damage patella tendon?

Who said that the sun never shines in Ireland and that I hate Olympic lifting?

This is just a random 3 lift series that I thought I’d post. I am most definitely NOT an Olympic Lifting coach…which is a funny thing to say considering I started Oly lifting as a part of my training when I was 16 and also because I actually have an Olympic Lifting coaching certification. See the thing is…getting certified and having some personal experience does not make you a coach…no matter what your ego or the certifying body tells you.

With that said…I’m putting this up for a few reasons:
1. Because Garret is progressing well and I thought he deserved some air time.
2. So ACTUAL Olympic lifting coaches could take a look at it and make some constructive or destructive comments…obviously the constructive comments would be more welcome.
3. To show you that we do Olympic lift in the gym.

Lyle McDonald
A couple of gross things that my untrained eye can spot
1. I think he could have a touch more arch in the thoracic spine. He’s a touch rounded which I think is putting the bar out front which is why he’s jumping back to catch it (Manny: He’s looping the bar)
2. Big time early arm bend at the knee
3. On the catch of the jerk, he needs to push the bar back more and bring his head through (what Dan John calls peeking through the window). The bar is too far forwards which is why he’s stepping forwards to get under it.

Can he do an overhead split squat in the appropriate jerk recovery position? His mobility looks poor (the thoracic spine and hip mobility especially) so I think some of those problems may require a different focus on top of the technical corrections Lyle mentioned. For example, his upper back weakness may, in part, cause the early arm bend and the jerk is mediocre because he isn’t getting his head/shoulders through, which also has a relationship to his leg recovery position. On a 6-foot platform his split should bring him damn close to the front or back of the platform unless he is dead center (even then he will be stretching the platform’s limits).

Manuel Buitrago
The Clean and Jerk:
I agree with Lyle that this guy is rounded on the thoracic spine and may need a verbal cue, strengthening, and/or mobility work. He does loop the bar, but its not because his weight was shifted forward from the start position, it looks more that he bent his arms below the knee and extends his back right above the knee. His rounded back has a lot to do with this and may be affecting his ability to stay over the bar longer.

There are more issues that occur after this point above the knee, but addressing his start position will affect these issues.

On the jerk, his dip is fine, he drops his back leg straight down (which is good), but his front leg is not going out far enough. He should be near the end of the platform as Dan said. I agree with Dan about his back. If this guy cant retract and arch enough in the thoracic spine, he wont be able to push the bar back through conscious effort. If hes able to retract, then he wont compensate so much by bending his front knee (his front shin should be almost vertical).

He lifts his butt up first without lifting his torso with it. As soon as he does this, his arms bend. Like the clean, his back is rounded, he ends up cutting the pull right above the knee and sends the bar flying out.

I thought while I was at it
I thought I may as well chuck this up there as well….this is a different day…and certainly not Garret’s best efforts…try to ignore the fat chick with the hairy arms wandering around the place pretending she’s training….she’s just there to make Garret feel OK about his weight issues.

Tim is really trying to tell me something…

…what he’s trying to tell me…that’s anyone’s guess.

Next time Tim you might want to just drop me an email. I would have been happy to post whatever you wanted to send me and to let you know what I thought of it…because as it is…I’ve not got a clue what you are talking about and what it’s in reference to. As anyone who knows me will tell you….actually….what people who don’t even know me personally could probably tell you is that I have a very low ‘annoyance threshold’ and the thought of trying to sort through 12 posts to try and decipher what you are on about has approximately less than zeros chance of happening.

So hopefully we can all just view this as a learning experience and move swiftly along.

I just read what I think could be close to the dumbest thing I have ever seen on the internet…

…and it wasn’t in this blog.

I was just reading some posts in a forum….and it had a link to t-nation….which as I said the other day…is basically like a training comic book. I used to read it a lot…myself and the the soon to be BOM (Business and Operations Manager) of Informed Performance even wrote for the site…obviously under our own names…I mean…we do have our reputations to think of. Now in fairness…the site isn’t all bad…it’s just mostly bad. I really don’t have too much of a problem with it…like I said….I think it is pretty funny…the problem is…it isn’t actually supposed to be. The only problem I have with it is that people actually take it seriously…people bring me or send me programs from this site all the time asking for my opinion.

Let me give you a little taste of the idiocy that is t-nation and then you can judge for yourself…you read the italicised statement below…just go ahead and set you facial expression to stunned…it will save time.

Remember the first time you took creatine, and your weight and strength went up quicker than ever? Multiply that by two or three, and you get a rough idea of what you could expect by taking steroids.

Now I know you probably just read that 2 or 3 times….this is the sort of quality information that t-nation provides…

Anabolic Steroids = Creatine multiplied by 2 or 3.

That in all honesty is the dumbest thing I have ever seen on the internet…so be warned….don’t ever bring me another program written by a guy on t-nation or I will cut off your creatine supply.

30 days and 8.7kgs lost…everything is right on track

As I said yesterday…I was asked about my training and diet…I covered the training part of it yesterday so I thought I would go over the diet part of it today. Before I do though I want to share a couple of things with you.

Friends…who needs them?
I was talking to a friend today…a real friend…and we were discussing Facebook…specifically we were discussing the fact that he had over 700 ‘friends’ while I only have 170 or so (most of whom I barely know)…and I said ‘I can’t believe I don’t have more friends’ and he gave me this look like I was crazy and said ‘Have you not met yourself’. That was basically the end of the converstation…I mean…he’s got a point.

Will Heffernan Action Figures…coming to a store near you soon!
The lads in the gym were discussing creating Will Heffernan action figures…like a G.I Joe…only fatter. I suggested they be called Will Heffernan lack of action figures. The figures would have a draw string that you could pull and various streams of abuse would come out of the doll. Their opinion was that these dolls could essentially make me redundant. I think it was Goose that suggested it just had a fat stomach that could be screwed on off depending on whether the lack of action figure was in ‘winning a bet mode’ or in ‘coaching only mode’. Someone else suggested it just have some sort of pump so you could squeeze the head a few times and blow the stomach out the the appropriate size. I think this idea could have legs….and if it ever works out I’ll just delete this post and pretend it was all my idea.

So onto my diet
My diet is almost as incredibly complex as my training program. It boils down to this….from Sunday lunch time to Friday lunchtime I’m pretty much dieting…although I wouldn’t really call it that. Friday evening till Sunday breakfast I basically eat and drink what I like…now I am not going over the top…just eating normally basically.

During the Week
I did a little calorie counting the first couple of weeks but now I am pretty much eating the same sort of things so am not bothering with the counting any more because I am most certainly getting leaner and definitely getting stronger and I am holding onto my lean muscle mass far better than I had thought. So what am I eating I here you ask…well before I get to that let me tell you what my thoughts were when I started this. I wanted firstly to make sure I was getting enough protein…so what my goal was and still is was to try to get 200 grams of protein a day…if I got a little more that was great…but I wanted to make sure I got 200 grams. So where did this protein come from:
Eggs…I’ve been eating about 8 large eggs a day…which gets me about 50 grams of protein.
Milk…drinking 1 to 2 litres a day…which is 30 to 60 grams of protein.
Tuna…eating 1 425 gram can daily…this is just over 80 grams when drained.
This is essentially the baseline stuff protein wise that I’m eating daily…that gets me to 160-190 grams already and this is before I eat dinner which is usually chicken or red meat and vegetables which gets me the rest of the way there and doesn’t even take into account the other protein I would consume during the day either.
In reality what I’ve been doing is having an omelette with some cheese and a little ham for breakfast. Then for lunch I’ve been having tuna and salad with some avacado, a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Then after I train I’ve been drinking a litre of milk then having dinner when I finish work at night.

That’s it.

Supplement wise I’ve been having the occasional protein shake but when I finish what I have now I won’t be getting any more… I’ve basically just come to realise that I just don’t really need it. The supplement I have been taking although I suppose I shouldn’t really call it a supplement is fish oil. I’ve been consuming about 8-10 caps daily. I just take a couple when I eat anything.

Now my diet definitely isn’t ‘low carb’ but I’ve just been avoiding carbs during the week. This means no pasta, rice, bread or potatoes. I’ve been training really well so what I have been doing is that if I have felt ‘flat’ then I’ve had a sandwich with plenty of protein in it as I did today after training.

On the Weekends
This has been a chance to ‘carb up’. I haven’t been going mad….although I plan to this weekend…Wicklow here we come…I’ve been eating normally…if I wanted pasta, pizza or some fries with my steak then I have just gone right on ahead and had them. This covers Friday night to Sunday breakfast and then come Sunday lunchtime it has been back to tuna and salad or some chicken and broccoli or something like that.

I’ve been training how I outlined yesterday and eating what I have written here. When I started back training seriously I was 118.7kg and today I was 110kg on the dot. I’ve been having my skinfolds done but I won’t have them done again till the 1st of July when I next test. The week before I started out my 8 site skinfold reading was 148mm…for those of you that don’t know….that’s huge….and not in a good way. When I was measured just over a week ago I was 123mm and I think by the the time of that test on the 1st of July I think I will be under or around 90mm.

So that’s me taken care of…this is the training and diet I will be sticking with until I test and then I will have to evaluate what the best way to proceed is.