Posts Tagged ‘weightlifting’

I cant believe we are finally here!

Training for a powerlifting meet is no joke and I am not gonna lie, I felt like dropping out several times.

Its not only the physical pain and soreness but also the mental pain.  You really cant let up for several weeks in a row, along with attempting to reach certain numbers in your training.

For example: if I plan on deadlifting 400 lbs for 12 reps on a certain day, I need to do it.  I cant take a day off and I can never relax.

Sometimes you feel like doing it, sometimes you just aren’t into it mentally.  Compared to just training for fun, where you would probably just take an easy day here and there, it’s just not possible when training for a competition.

This year, my training went OK. In College I totaled between 1000-1,100. It wasnt until after College that I got pretty strong and was able to go with over a 1300 total.

I used to routinely hit 450+ squats, 325ish benches and over 550+ deadlifts in my late 20s.

For this meet, at age 40, my goal is to go over 1100, but I am also not using any equipment.

No belt, no knee wraps, no bench shirts.

That is going to take a minimum of 50lbs off my squat, but overall, I should be able to break my College numbers even without the equipment.

Overall, I enjoyed my training this season, but it’s a lot of work.  I will see how I enjoy my meet next weekend, If I have a good time, maybe I will train for 2 meets next year.

I always said that powerlifting is the best training to use over the the winter and is one of the best ways to add on any muscle.

People ask me all the time for the best ab workout, well actually, squats and deadlifts will beat any type of crunch, situps or twist.

Later next week I will start my spring training and start losing weight to get ripped.

Expect to get a full meet update early next week!

-John Andre

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I have been lifting now for almost 25 years, and if I would have to choose the most injured muscle, it would definitely be the shoulders.

Almost every serious lifter has had some type of shoulder/rotator cuff injury in their lifting career.

The worst I ever had was it was in 2007 when I was benching near 355 lbs.  At one point it had gotten so bad that I could barely bench press over 200 lbs.

Even to today, I have to stretch out each shoulder with a 5lb plate for about 10 minutes before I train.

The other issue is that I started to cut out certain excercises; I havent done any type of overhead barbell lift in probably 10 years.

But then I started cutting out dumbbells.

After I cut out dumbbells my shoulders were feeling good, but then some negative effects started.

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A) My bench press has been slacking. Besides not having a spotter, my bench press has been about 20 lbs lower than last year.

B) I look smaller. Shoulders are a giant muscle group to ignore, I noticed I’m not filling up my shirts as much as I used to.

So, around 4 weeks ago, I decided to do shoulder dumbbells again.  I’m stretching out before and after each workout and so far, no pain.

And almost immediately, my bench press has been creaping up again.  Just this week I paused 275 lbs for 3 seconds and lifted it without a spot. If I did a regular “gym” lift I think I would be around the 295 range.

Overall, I am still training for a powerlifting meet next month.  It’s hard to peak in the squats, bench and deadlift at the same time, but I am getting close.

-John Andre

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It’s kind of sad, but I think at my age (almost 40) there are just certain records that I will never beat.

I will never beat my long jump record from college.  That just isn’t happening, I tried it last year and I was about 4 feet off.

I can still grab the rim and jump pretty high but I will never jump as long as I used to.

My bench press record is also going to be tough.

Although i can still muscle my way up to 315 lbs almost every day, it’s going to be tough for me to get past 355.

First of all, I am not willing to gain as much weight. 10 years ago when I bulked up to 205 lbs, I would bench press 315 for an easy 4 reps.

Now at 170 lbs tops and without a steady spotter, it is going to be close to impossible to beat.

For the deadlift and squat, I believe I could beat it.

Yesterday I deadlifted 375 for 10 reps and it felt like a feather.  For me to get back near my record of 585, I will need to start lifting in the mid 400’s for 10 reps, to be honest, it doesnt seem that far off.

I am still able to get my deadlift over 500 almost every year without even training.

For the squats, I feel like I break my “non-equiped” record if I had a consistent spotter.

Running is a mixed bag.

I am definitely slower in the 100, 200 and 400 meters, but I feel stronger in long distance.

I think I could still beat my 5-mile and half-marathon record and maybe have a slight chance to break my 5k record.

But that big question is, am I pushing myself enough?

I have been pretty much injury free for the last several years, so should I start pushing it a little more?

Unfortunately,  I think the answer is “Yes”.

I want to hit some strong numbers in the gym this winter and I want to run faster in the Spring and Summer.

If I dont have any injuries, why not?

It’s time to start going harder…

-John Andre

 

Well, its looks like my season is over, at least for competitive running.

How did I do this year? Not great, not bad.I achieved most of my winter lifting goals.

I deadlifted over 500lbs pretty easily and I was squatting near 315, ass to the ground of course!

Bench press was slightly more difficult since I dont have a spotter,but even without a workout partner, I was lifting near 300 lbs  With a steady spotter I like to go up to 315 every winter but this year it was just impossible.

For my running, this year had been off and on for me.  I definitely need to change something up in my training for next season, because my times are not improving.

This year I did a 3 mile race in Mid May and ran around 21 minutes flat, and then I did a sprint race in the summer which included the 100 and 200 meters.

I did “ok” considering that I havent sprinted in over 20 years, but my times were not great.

Then this past weekend I did a 5k race that I run every year and I finished it in around 21:55; 20 seconds slower than last year.

I dont expect to get faster every year as I age (39) but I hope with improved training I can lower my times.

One area that I definitely need to improve on, is my diet.  I’ve learned that I cant put on 30lbs during the winter like I used to.  This year, I plan on only adding 10 lbs of extra bodyweight, to a max of 166.

Most likely I will never weigh over 180 lbs again in my life, it’s not healthy and its becoming harder and harder to remove bodyweight as I get older.

Overall, I have a second child coming in 2 weeks, so I will probably start my winter bulk up in a month.

I need to focus on my diet super hard this coming year and include cardio during my bulk up.

I dont know why, but even when I bulk up and gain weight, the cardio workouts help to keep me lean.

I will be posting my bulk up routine soon.

Good luck!

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This is a tricky question, but the answer for me is surprisingly yes. (With some disclaimers)

If I am going for an all-time record, especially with squats, then it helps to avoid any cardio.

But if I am just powerlifting and trying for records, I will eventually start to look fat.

And that is not healthy.

When it comes to bench press, sometimes a little cardio actually helps.

For years I have been having shoulder issues and it’s only in the last 2 years that I have been able to overcome it.

Part of my new shoulder routine is to add just a “little” bit of cardio after bench pressing. The repetitive movements in my arms actually help to loosen me up.

When it comes to the deadlift, I can go either way. The cardio helps with completing more reps and as a result harder training sessions, but may hurt me just a little bit with my one-rep max.

Overall, even though it may hurt you slightly with your heavy lifting, I highly recommend that you add just a little bit of cardio to your routine, even during your bulkup.

Unless you are competing in powerlifting competitions, the loss of power should be neglibible. When I am increasing the calories, I will start to get stronger every week regardless of the cardio I do.

Just don’t go too crazy. Right now I am doing 15 minutes, twice a week, on the stairmaster.

That’s it.

Especially for guys like me that are in their late 30’s, nobody needs an early heart attack and cardio is important.

And if you aren’t working out in your late 30’s, good luck, but things are about to go downhill quickly for you. Get smart.

-John Andre

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Lift Heavy/Run Fast

I am having a surprisingly good bulk up this year.

Although I am only several weeks in, I have already deadlifted 405 for 6 easy reps and I am on pace to hit 500 in October.

I almost always reach 500 lb’s in the deadlift, but to reach it in October is VERY early for me.

Usually I will reach 500 around Christmas and then I will max out in late January/Early February.

Dead lifting is a great exercise and it is also one of the most basic.  You just bend down and pick up a weight.

You don’t need a spot. You don’t need any friends.

It’s just you and the bar.

Like I stated in the title, it is almost impossible to put on any solid muscle if you aren’t lifting heavy weights, especially powerlifting.

Many of the famous bodybuilders started off  using powerlifting, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sergio Oliva and Ronnie Coleman.

There just isn’t any substitute for heavy lifting.

I have always been a pretty good deadlifter and my record was 585 lb’s in my late 20’s.

I “think” I have a serious chance of beating that this year.

The last several years I have been maxing in the low 500 lb’s and this year I am almost there in October.

If I can get into the mid 500’s pretty fast, I am going to give it shot.

I plan on bulking up until Valentine’s day, so I would like to attempt it before then.

Good luck!

-John Andre

Check out my book on amazon.com! Book 3 is coming out soon!

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

 

 

It’s official. My season is over.

Overall, I had a pretty good year, but not outstanding.  In a couple days I will publish my annual review, along with some pictures.

My theme for next year is “Back to basics”.  And what I mean by that is, I want to cut out the bullshit.

Clean eating, with a lot of eggs, water and tuna fish.

Super heavy lifting, with deadlifts over 500 at a minimum and hopefully bench press in the mid 300’s.

And I need to continue my progress in squatting.  I “should” be able to beat last year’s squats pretty easily.

Regarding cardio, I am going to do a minimal amount until New Year’s Eve.  I feel that my body needs a serious rest from the cardio, but not for too long.

Last year I took off a solid 6 months and I think in the long run it hurt me.

You don’t need to do cardio 100% all year long, but you need to do something.

My preliminary workout is going to looks something like this:

Monday: Chest/bicep

Tuesday: Legs/cardio/abs

Wends: Rest

Thurs: Chest#2/Shoulders

Friday: Deadlift/Back/Abs/Cardio

Sat/Sun: rest/light cardio

My goal is to avoid looking in the mirror for a while but focus on hitting big numbers.  I want to eat a lot cleaner than last year and hopefully only put on “lean muscle”.

Overall, I had an injury-free year, so I “should” be able to hit some decent numbers this Fall.

Wish me luck.

-John Andre

Check out my book on amazon.com! Book 3 is coming out soon!

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

I have been working now for 17 years straight and basically every year since College except for maybe 6-7 months.

I have seen coworkers come and go, some retire voluntarily, some leave to work elsewhere and some unfortunately pass away.

The other sad part, is that many people “hobble” out to retirement.

Meaning, they aren’t really going to enjoy their retirement, since they can barely walk.

*But it doesn’t need to be like that.

I cannot for the life of me understand why more people do not make their health a large priority of their retirement.

Who cares about your 401k if you are dead?

What is a pension worth is you can’t walk and bend down?

Everyone know’s that health care in retirement is expensive, shouldn’t you try to stay in proper shape?

Yet, 90% of the population just sloth’s their way towards social security.

I also have friends at work that plan on retiring at a young age of 62.

62?

That is nothing.  Why not 75?

70 is the new 60 and eventually 80 will be the next 60.

My father is 72 and still playing tennis 4x a week.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect everyone to slave away at the job that you do not enjoy for 60 hours a week at age 65, but there are always other jobs you can do, including part-time jobs.

Keep busy.

Lift moderately heavy.

Include Cardio.

Work on your diet.

Travel

And enjoy your 100th birthday!

-John Andre

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

Controversial title? Well, I include myself as an old man.  Or at least I am an old man compared to some of the other guys in the gym.

But I will turn 39 at the end of this year.

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Most people are shocked when I tell them that I will turn 39, they think I am around 30.

But I have been working out and dieting for about a decade straight.

I always lifted weights, but I didn’t start a bodybuilding diet until 10 years ago.

So why am I starting trouble with older athletes?

It’s because older people are fustrating.

They either do not work out at all, which is insane.  Especially considering that you are closer to death and if you have a wife/child like I do, it’s even more important that you exercise and stay alive.

And then there is the 2nd group that doesn’t eat correctly.  I feel like my generation eats slightly better than the baby boomers, but let’s me honest, probably 95% of the population is over weight.

Studies show it was 50 to 75%, but lets cut the bullshit, it’s probably 95%+

Our life expectancy is the United States is slowing down, possibly even going slower.

And people aren’t training correctly.

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First of all, when you get older, you lose SPEED.

You might be able to run 5 miles or 10 miles just as fast, or even faster than you did in College.  But you can’t sprint, jump or dance like you used to.

As such, how many people in their late 30’s, 40’s and 50’s are outside sprinting?

1% at most?

But yet, 50,000 people will sign up for the NYC marathon and plod along for 26 miles.

When you age, you need to focus more on speed and less on endurance.

Weight lifting should never change.

There are some exercises that I can’t use anymore due to injuries, but I still try to bench press, squat and deadlift just as heavy.

Actually when it comes to powerlifting, most people peak in their late 30’s and early 40’s.

So how is your training going?

Are you lifting heavy, working on your speed and dieting cleanly?

Or did you already give up and surrender?

I am working out till the grave.

-John Andre.

Lift Heavy/Run Fast

 

I have always had really good abs.

Part of it is genetic of course and the other part is hard training.

When I am in good shape, I can beat Arnold.

Screenshot_20170809-203858 (1)

Getting ripped abs is not easy.  It takes months of dedicated weight lifting, cardio and of course, a strict diet.

The only time of year that I get ripped abs is in the summer and that is after I lose a ton of weight.

I have also experimented from all different types of ab exercises; including sit ups, crunches, leg lifts, side twists, etc.

All of those exercises work to some extent.  But there are actually two main exercises that really build your abs.

Squats and dead lifts.

Have you ever seen a powerlifter take his shirt off and you noticed that he has a huge stomach?

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It’s not a 6-pack but it looks like a giant blob of muscle and fat?

Believe it or not, that is actually how to build insane looking abs.

I discovered this by accident.

I noticed during the summer when I cut down on the squats and the dead lifts, my abs were starting to lose some size.

I still had a decent 6-pack because I was dieting and training hard, but my actual ab muscles didn’t look as good.

It wasn’t until I started squatting and deadlifting again that I realized what was missing.

Squats and deadlifts are insane ab builders.  Just as long as you lose the body fat, your abs will look a million times better than if you haven’t.

This summer, I plan on dead lifting and squatting the entire season.

I have a good feeling that my abs should start to look great.

Right now I am down to 159 1/2 lbs and I just starting adding sprint training.

By July 4th I should be ripped and hopefully post some pictures.

-John Andre

Lift Heavy/Run Fast