Posts Tagged ‘power’

I am now about half way into my winter bulk up and my progress is going great.  Last week I bench pressed 295, and on Friday, I hit my winter dead lift goal of 495.

Although there are only 12 weeks left in my season, I feel pretty confident that I should reach and possibly surpass my goals for the year.

20171124_113303

One thing that I am trying this year, in comparison to other years, is that I am increasing the weights quickly. For example, on Friday I was scheduled to deadlift 455 lbs for 4 or 5 reps, and then the following week, I would attempt my winter goal of 495.

During the warm ups I started to feel really good.  The weights were coming off the floor really fast, so I decided to go off schedule and straight to 495.  Working out is not an exact science, if you are feeling good,, go for the heavy weights.

Whether is is a 400 lb bench press, 315 lb squat for 10 reps or a 500 lb deadlift.  If its in the range of a weights that you should be able to handle, go for it.

Usually, lifting heavy weights is all mental.  When I started powerlifting in my teens and early 20’s, I used to obsess over heavy weights, and oftentimes it would cause me to screw up my attempt.

Now, after years of training, I have conditioned my mind to attempt each weight exactly the same.

Don’t get me wrong, having 500 lbs on my back and trying to go for a deep squat will still scare the crap out of me, but when it comes to a heavy bench or deadlift, I will go for it without hesitation.

Although I wasn’t scheduled to deadlift 495 this week, in my mind, I knew I can do it.

Next week, I might jump all the way to 550 lbs.

Why not?

Even if I don’t get it, your body and especially your mind will get a lot stronger just by attempting it.

Remember, heavy weights=big muscle.

Here is a picture of my from my powerlifting days.

20161113_211403

-John

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

(more…)

Advertisements

How long does it take to get big and strong? If you do it correctly, it should only take 8-12 weeks.

With an 8-12 week heavy “powerlifting style” training routine, along with extra calories, you should see immediate progress.

This year I started by winter bulk up in Late September and I am already starting to look pretty thick.

20171124_113303

I m going to weigh in on December 1st, but I am sure that I have gained at least 15 lbs since Labor Day. Of course some of it is fat, but is also a lot of it is solid muscle. So far I have hit the following lifts:

  • 295 bench
  • 70 lb dumbbell curls
  • 85 lb dumbbell shoulders
  • 475 lb deadlift
  • 255 lb squats

Although these numbers aren’t great, I still have at least 12-16 weeks left in my winter training and I plan on getting a lot stronger.

So how to we guarantee that you are going to get big and strong? It depends on two key elements:

  1. You need to lift heavy weights.  None of that high rep nonsense, low, heavy-ass weights with a lot of rest
  2. You need to gain weight.  Try not to look in a mirror as much but focus instead on gaining weight week after week until you  have enough mass.

If you are lifting heavy weights and eating extra calories, it is impossible to not gain solid muscle.

Once the end of winter rolls around I will start to cut down in calories and increase my cardio workouts to get ripped for summer.

The name of the game is to keep as much mass on as possible while burning off all the body fat.

20170903_085651

-John

P.S. I should have a new website coming out in early 2018!

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

(more…)

Muscle confusion is a common term used today by many bodybuilders and it does have some merit when done correctly.

The basic premise behind muscle confusion, is that your body will start to get used to the same exercises and you will need to change your routine to stimulate any further growth.

Do I use muscle confusion? Sort of.

20170817_062911

But to be honest with you, the best exercises are the heavy powerlifting basics; bench press, squats and deadlifts.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was deadlifting over 700lbs in his prime and Ronnie Coleman was deadlifting over 800.  If you can’t deadlift over 400lbs then I have news for you, you need to get stronger.

The same goes for bench press and squats.  If you can’t bench press over 300lbs, your chest will never grow large enough.

So in reality, I find that most bodybuilders need more muscle consistently, rather than muscle confusion.

But, I do use muscle confusion with my secondary exercises.  For example, after bench press I will usually add a secondary exercise.  Typically, it will be either dumbbell inclines, fly’s or sometimes pause reps.

This winter I am also starting to rotate my shoulder routine.  Last week I was able to work up to 85’s for 3 reps.  This week instead of going for a 90lb single, I decided to switch to dumbbells for chest on a flat bench. Although it’s not directly shoulder related, I decided to switch to a similar exercise for several weeks, until I switch back to shoulders.

The best part about starting a new exercise, is that you should go up every week for the first several weeks.  So in effect, you are guaranteeing strength gains.

For running, again I believe in consistency over confusion, but I will try to vary the speed.  By adding sprints, tempo runs and hill repeats, you can burn off a ton of extra fat.

20160715_065110

So overall, do I believe in muscle confusion? Yes and No.  Just as long as you recognize that there is no substitute for the heavy compound exercises like bench press, deadlift, squats, shoulder, incline and barbell press.

-John

P.S. I should have a new website coming out in early 2018!

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

(more…)

There are only two options in life; either you are religious and believe in some type spiritual power or you believe that when you die, you die.

If you go the religious route, then you will focus solely on your spiritual side and make it your number one focus in life.

If you find yourself in the latter category, then you will live like there is no tomorrow.  Not that you want to die, but you don’t need to “hold back” on anything in life.

I personally feel that 98% of the population fits within the middle of each.

Nobody is 100% dedicated to anything, but the few people that can come close, can be extremely successful.

The Pope was most likely very dedicated.  The same can be said for Arnold Schwarzenegger or Bill Gates.

When it comes to the gym; unfortunately most people are also in the 98% middle ground.  In other words, they don’t really make any progress.

For this winter bulk up, I have come to the conclusion that life is too short to mess around.

I am either lifting weights, or I am not.  I am either getting strong or I am not.

You are either running faster or you are not.

You are either burning off body fat or you are not.

When you start viewing life in absolutes, you can remove the emotional bullshit and stigma’s attached and accelerate to your goals.

So far this year I am already close to a 500lb deadlift and a 300lb bench press.  Since I have decided to stop messing around, I am almost at my St Patrick’s day goals months ahead of schedule.

Next year, I also plan on adding the same focus on other area’s of life.  Whether it is getting stronger, saving $20K, starting a new business or finding a new job.

Stop bullshitting and get it done.

There is no time to mess around.

-John

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

(more…)

This is an easy one.

There is no better feeling than putting 500 lbs on a bar, warming up and lifting it off the floor like it is nothing.

After you are finished lifting, you go out to a steak house and order a porterhouse, mashed potatoes and 4 beers.

Trust me on this, nothing feels better than bulking up and heavy weight lifting.

Not only do I feel strong and powerful, but I sleep better and I rarely get sick.

When I am cutting up, it is just the opposite.

I am tired. I am grouchy.  I can barely sleep and I get sick all the time.

Although being lighter in body weight is healthier than being over weight, when I get down to an extremely low body fat percentage, my body doesn’t feel healthy at all.

Between the cardio and dieting, I almost feel like I am near death every summer.

So far, I am 2 weeks into my bulk up and I am feeling supercharged.

It is amazing how much better you can feel with some extra calories and less cardio.

Good luck!

-John

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

Now that the week is over, I am ready to officially start my winter bulk up routine on Monday.

20161113_211403

In the last 3-4 weeks I stopped my bodybuilding diet and I am also curious to see how much weight I gained.  I am estimating that it was at least 6 to 7 lbs.

Staying super lean is difficult.  I can only stay super cut for 2 to 3 months and then I need to eat.  I am usually really cut from mid July to Early September and then I start to slowly bulk up.

So now that summer is over, it is time to lift heavy!

Although I went heavy in the gym this past winter, I feel like I was missing some of the heavy powerlifting routines that I had used in my 20’s.

Powerlifting is probably the best way to add any muscle and also it has a practical use; you stay strong.

In the last several years I have noticed that I have been skimping out on two of three powerlifting exercises; deadlift and squats.

How can I consider myself bulking up if I am skipping 2 of the 3 powerlifts?

This year, I have decided to reintroduce them.  My squat is already back over 225 lbs and today I deadlifted 315 for several reps.

I used to be a great deadlifter.  My best deadlift was over 575 lbs and 425 for 10 reps.

 I would love to get back over 500 this winter.

I’ve also noticed that my muscles feel different, especially my abs.  I have a soreness that feels different from the other lifting I was doing.

Overall, in only 2 weeks of powerlifting, I can feel a major difference from now and last winter.

Squats, deadlifts and bench press, when done correctly, will reach almost every muscle in your body.

With the increase in calories and the heavy lifting, I feel confident that I should be able to add some solid mass this year.

Updates coming soon!

-John

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

I have been training really good recently.  I finally have a new training partner to spot me in bench press (It’s been 2 years) and I am hitting some strong summer numbers.

I lost almost 25 lbs this year since the winter and this “should” be the time of the year that I am weakest.  Surprisingly, I have had a strength surge recently.

The only idea I can think of that led to my recent strength surge, is that I cut down on any long-distance running.  I was feeling burnt out again, so I decided to switch to sprinting and basketball only.

Just to give you an example, I almost benched 295 at 152lbs of bodyweight today.  I am really close to doubling my body weight in bench press.

Since I have been lifting so good, I am actually considering competing in powerlifting again.

Powerlifting is the best type of training.  Even if you aren’t going to compete, the powerlifting lifts are the best way to maintain strength.

Bodybuilding is an obscure sport.  The majority of people going to the gym are never going to be bodybuilders nor will they ever have a 6-pack.  Those people should be training for strength only, along with a little bit of cardio.

Being strong has a practical purpose.  Whether it’s picking up your child, carrying groceries or climbing stairs when you are 60.  Staying strong is very important and the best way to stay strong, is to incorporate power training.

Do you need bodybuilding in your life? Not really.

The dieting and training is healthy, but it’s not a very practical lifestyle.

Marathon running is even worse, it not, the worst.

Try incorporating some power training into your routine.  It is the best way to build any mass and the training is the most practical when it comes to using weights.

Hope everyone is enjoying the end of the summer.  Please check out my new book on amazon.com!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

This year I am down to the last several weeks of my bulk up and I am generally lifting the heaviest weights that I will all year.

Although I will still be pretty strong when I add the cardio back into my routine next month, I usually set my records for the year in January and February.

One of the problems with bulking up, is that I gained a ton of weight really fast this year.  In only 4-5 months I added over 30 lbs of bodyweight and that is a lot for my small 5’8 frame.

When you add that amount of bodyweight, it takes a while for your muscles and joints to get used to the heavier poundages, including stretch marks.

Recently, I have been feeling really strong but I noticed that my triceps are sore.  Usually, you can get away with having a sore muscle or two, but for some reason, when your triceps are hurting it can kill your workouts.

The triceps are so important, that I don’t even work them out separately.  Between heavy bench press and shoulders workouts, my triceps have been taking a beating every week.

Yesterday I worked up to 80 lb dumbbells for shoulders and something didn’t feel right.  Even when I was warming up with lighter weights I would lift the weights off my shoulders easily, but my arms were locking out super slow.  I realized that my shoulders were feeling really strong, but my triceps were in really bad shape.

The triceps are often neglected, but they can affect most of your major upper body workouts.  Bench press, shoulder press, incline press, push presses, etc, all incorporate the triceps.

So be careful.  If you are going heavy in your compound lifts, you might not need a lot of extra tricep work.  Be especially careful if you notice that you aren’t locking out your lifts.

A lot of times it might not necessarily be a weakness in your back, chest or shoulders that is slowing you down, but just weakness in your triceps.

Good luck!

-John

I have been lifting weights for 21 years straight and I don’t plan on ever stopping.   After all of these years of training, I can officially tell what works for my body and what doesn’t.

I have competed in over 10 powerlifting competitions and my top lifts were a 345lb bench press, 585 lb dead lift and a 245lb military press.

A couple of years ago I tried to experiment with my routine and I switched to higher rep sets with more cardio.  The end result was that I looked a look worse.

There is a certain look that a powerlifter has that regular people in the gym will never achieve and the only way to replicate that look is by using heavy weights.

The heavier the weights, the better.

People like to claim that Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t use heavy weights, but the truth is that he still went pretty heavy.

His bench press was over 400lbs and both him and Franco Columbu had deadlifted over 700.

Although you won’t win a powerlifting competition with those lifts, that is still pretty damn strong.

This winter I am trying to get back to the basics and start lifting heavy weights again.  As usual I have a bunch of nagging injuries, but so far, I have been lifting pretty heavy.

So far this winter, my bench press is over 305, I have reached 95’s for dumbbells shoulders and I have leg pressed over 600.

This year I want to focus on building up a solid physique that will really look good when I start to cut up for the summer..

Recently I was looking at some pictures of my physique and in every single one of my best years, I was lifting heavy weights.

Heavy weights work.  There is no short cut or alternative to heavy weights, so if you want to have a solid physique, you better start lifting heavy.

-John

Plateau’s are a major problem in bodybuilding as well in many other sports.  Most people will experience rapid gains when they start a new training activity but eventually those gains will come to an end.

They might not stop completely, but they will at least slow down.

Going from a 95lb bench press to a 200lb bench press is pretty easy and can be accomplished within a year, but going from 350 to 400 can take 10 years.

Running a 7 minute mile is easy after several weeks of training, while running a 5 minute mile takes a whole different level of committment.

This season I started my bulk up season in Mid September and for the last couple weeks I have been increasing my strength rapidly.

My goals this season are a 315 lb bench press and 100 lb dumbbells for shoulders.  As of today, I am up to around 300 lb bench press and 95lb dumbbells for shoulders.

Although I am getting close to my winter goals, the problem is that my gains are starting to slow down.  Any gains from now on are going to be a lot tougher.

So how do I keep gaining in strength?

  1. Increase the calories: I need to gain weight and I need to take in extra protein.  It’s close to impossible to get stronger if you aren’t taking in enough calories.
  2. Less sets/More intensity:  Often I see beginners starting to add extra sets to blast through a plateau, but in reality, they should be doing the opposite. Cut down on the sets and focus on taking your lifts more serious.
  3. Improve your speed: Many people don’t realize the importance of speed.  If you want to press heavy weights, you need to lift it fast.  Trust me, if you think you are going to deadlift 500-600 lbs slowly, you are joking.  Bench presses need to blast off your chest, dumbbells need to blast off your shoulders and barbells need to blast off the floor to deadlift it.

The other problem I am having, is that my body is not used to the heavy weights yet.  My muscles are starting to quickly adapt, but my joints and ligaments are starting to hurt.

It takes months and even years of consistent hard lifting to get really strong and if you think you can do it fast you are kidding yourself.

But if you work out consistent, lift heavy and eat right, anyone can build up a solid physique.

20161113_211403

-John

Check out my new book! Only $2.99 or borrow if for free on amazon.com!