Overhead Specific program

Now that I have finished another cycle of the bench assault, it is time to switch up my upper body focus and take it easy on the bench press for a bit. My plan is for the next cycle to really focus on improving my overhead press along with build up my handstand push-ups and ability to balance in one. For the pulling side of the upper body, I want to work on a one armed pull up, which is insane, but I got goals. So with this in mind here is my current layout I’m working with for exercises and the basic set and rep scheme (handstand push up = HSPU, body weight low rows = BWLR, db = dumbbell, APRE = autoregulated progressive resistance exercise).

  Day 1 (Tuesday) Day 2 (Thursday) Day 3 (Saturday)
Movement sets x reps Military press – Juggernaut programming DB bench press – Juggernaut programming HSPU – 3 ladders
Movement sets x reps 1a chin prog. 5-10 work sets 1a BWLR match volume with first movement Accommodating pull ups/chins – matched with the ladders
Movement sets x reps HSPU 2 sets of ladders Steep incline press, 3×10 APRE Dips 4×8-12 with weight
Movement sets x reps Pull ups 5×10 with weight 1a rows match volume with the inclines Rows 4×10
Movement sets x reps Upright rows 5×10-20 reps to jaw level Db laterals 6×10 trying to hold a pause at the top Upright rows 5x 15-20 reps to eye level
Movement sets x reps Skulls 5×10 with dumbbells or barbells Overhead skulls 5×10 Upper back work – 100 total reps
Movement sets x reps Hammer curls 5×10 Fat bar curls – 5×10 Preacher curls 5×10 reps


A ladder is doing a set of 1 then taking a break and doing a set of 2, then 3, up until you fail to add one rep from the previous set. This is a good method to add in quality repetitions and get in a lot of volume. APRE is doing a set essentially to failure and if you get over the prescribed number of reps you will add weight to the bar for the next set. If you do exactly the prescribed you will stay the same with your load and if you underperform then you will drop your weight down.

I’m going to follow a 3 weeks of loading and one week of deload for this program. After running this for 3 months I will move on to my next plan, who even knows what that will be? If you have any questions about what I have programmed here please leave a comment and I will explain the plan here. I’ll try and post out how I do on this program.


Invest or Withdrawal?

Recently I was traveling for a conference and passed through a number of airports. While there, there was a huge amount of people watching which was interesting to say the least. One thing that fascinates me is tattoos and piercings. I don’t have any, but I find them interesting and often really cool to see. One of the reasons I don’t have any tattoos is that I am very cheap and I’m not about to pay huge amounts of money to get one. This got me thinking about how much money people have invested in their tattoos which then went on to how much people invest in their own body. Then I went down a rabbit hole of a thought exercise and without further ado, here we go.

Investing in yourself

Just like with your retirement you can invest in yourself in a variety of ways. And just like retirement investments some are naturally more risky, but give you greater potential returns. Others are very safe but give you small returns. More importantly some are a waste of time and energy. Now, keep in mind that this is a thought exercise and some things that people invest in are done for psychological reasons, not as a means to enhance themselves which is not the point of this post.

Best safe investments

Your nutrition, sleep, education, and low intensity exercise are your best safe investments for improving your overall health. Paying more for better food, a nice bed, and decent equipment will give you a great return on your investment with your own health and should not be under appreciated.

Volatile investments

High intensity training, very heavy resistance training, large volume aerobic training, and perhaps sauna use. These can give you potentially great enhancements in performance and your health, but there are added risks here with a larger risk of injury. I like to invest in myself with a number of those choices, but turns out I have been hurt doing them as have many of other people.

Useless investments

Hair cuts, tanning, tattoos, piercings are things you can spend money on with yourself but these are either quickly depreciating investments or investments that give you no real added value (but potentially give you psychological value). You can put your resources in to these, but there are better methods to invest in that will give you greater health and performance improvements.


Now you can invest in yourself to improve yourself, but on the other side of the coin is to withdrawal from your health and performance. This is something that people often overlook. Some examples of withdrawing behaviors is; not sleeping enough, eating garbage foods, being sedentary, and doing drugs (drinking, smoking, etc.). Lifestyle stress is another form of withdrawal and this can be through relationships, work, and the environment that you live in. This is important to remember since a number of folks do invest in themselves but their withdrawing behaviors leave them at a neutral health balance at best and potentially a negative monthly balance.

Your overall health, wellness, and performance are all going to be moved in the direction that your total monthly investment and withdrawals give you. Some investments give you more than others, but do what you enjoy while being mindful of what is easy and safe to improve yourself. Understand that you can be working against yourself as hard as you are investing and due to this you will be effectively going nowhere. Thanks as always for reading and if you have any questions please let me know.

Fixing Tyler’s Back

One of my students recently had a partial herniation of a disc in his low back. This is a painful injury and it can stay with you for quite some time if you aren’t careful. I’ve been through this before due to performing ego lifting when I was younger. Now he does need to see specialists like PTs, MDs, and so on, but for now I’m just going to write out a basic training program for him to work around a busted up low back and still hopefully make some progress. Anything here is just ideas that should be very tentatively tested at first and then progress the loading and intensity once you can surely tell that it isn’t causing the problem to get worse, much less slowing down your recovery. My herniation took nearly a year and a half to fully recover from so be prepared to be very patient with this.

The basic goal here is to keep the strength in the area and perhaps even increase it without putting more stress on the spine which requires us to get a bit creative. No exercise is to be performed for less than 10 reps and all of them should be controlled specifically on the eccentric and perhaps slowly getting a bit more explosive on the concentric once you are sure this isn’t going to give you more trouble. Deload on each movement once every 4 weeks and don’t be afraid to go comically high on the reps as long as your technique is not breaking down when you do the movements.

  Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Movement sets x reps Bulgarian split squats 5×10-15e Leg press against bands 5×10-20 Back Squats 5 sec eccentric and 3 sec pause in the bottom, 5-7×5-10
Movement sets x reps Hanging leg raises Fallout abs or ab wheel Ab choice
Movement sets x reps Glute ham raises 3-5×8-12 Body weight hams 3-5×5-8 Hip thrusts 3-5×10-20
Movement sets x reps Reverse hypers 3-5×10-20 Glute ham raise back extensions Pendlay back extensions or reverse hypers
Movement sets x reps Side planks 3-5x:30-60 seconds Walking lunges 3-5×10-20 each leg Bulgarian splits squats 3-5x10e
Movement sets x reps Belt squats 3-5×8-12 Occlusion leg extensions 1×30,15,15,15 Belt squats 3-5×20


After the main movement just perform 3-5 work sets of each exercise. Listen to your body especially on the squats, once you are starting to feel better and more confident remove the leg press and add in concentric deadlifts. For your deadlifts you are allowed initially to only do 25 total reps over the workout and drop the bar at the top each time and reset strong before the next rep.

When running this program take your time during your warm ups, be sure you are getting the therapy that you need, and be mindful of your body and how it is recovering. Start with controlling the movements and going slow to decrease the impulse and jarring forces absorbed in your spine. Thanks as always for reading and if you have any questions please let me know.

KYSCA April 2018 conference notes

Lombard MMA hands on

Hand fighting parry work,

Have athletes pair up and work on feints with the arm or fakes with the shoulder and work the blocking along with have them practice setting up arm bars. Work on shifting the hips and prep on the move side to side.

This was a great one to see in person and notes here are really useless, but still he did a great job and it was fun to watch and partake in.

Kyle Leyshon – Training for maximal muscle

Science is the current evidence and it is pushing us forward, though on occasion new evidence comes out and over turns the previous information. 1.2% of your skeletal muscle turns over each day. This means that over a year you will have turned over 350 lbs. your goal is to optimize the balance to anabolic to catabolic processes.

Myofibrillar hypertrophy is adding more sarcomeres (contractile units), sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is adding in more glycogen and enzymes for energy systems. There is debate if this occurs, but it is interesting to talk about.

Muscle is very plastic meaning that it can greatly change in relatively short periods of time. mTOR signaling is the primary signaling method to increase muscle mass and shut down muscle breakdown.

There are a number of ways to turn on mTOR. Mechanical tension is one of them, specifically through mechanotransduction is where mechanical signals are converted in to chemical signals. These are sensitive to intensity, duration, and muscle actions

Muscle damage causes and inflammatory response which helps it adapt. Too much of this causes delayed muscle soreness or DOMS which is not necessary to increase muscle size.

Another cause for muscle growth is metabolic stressors. This is the metabolic byproducts that accumulate during hard training (think the burn and the pump).

Finally nutrition helps build muscle and more specifically not enough nutrition will limit how much muscle you can gain.

Recommendations for training for hypertrophy: intensity is between 65-85% of your 1RM where you do 6-12 reps. The total training volume that you do (sets x reps x load = tonnage) helps push hypertrophy. The effort of your sets should be at a 7-9/10 meaning you could have done 1-3 more reps on each set, specifically for big compound movements. Isolation work on small muscles you can work out at a 9/10.

You want to be in a caloric surplus to build more muscle, and be getting in enough protein. There is a ceiling to how much muscle you can gain and how fast that you can do it. If you eat too big of a surplus you are just going to get fat and gain dysfunction. A novice can do up to a 2,000 calorie surplus, where as an experienced trainee should only do 500-1000 calorie surplus per day.

Periodize your training and your diet for 4-16 weeks and then push forward again.

Taking in more than 2g of protein per kg of body mass doesn’t help you gain any more muscle, but if you are trying to maintain your muscle mass when dieting aim for 2.7g/kg.

Training is 2-5 sets, with 45-90 minutes per session for the best increase in muscle size.

Short rest periods between sets are 30 seconds and long are over 3 minutes. Best choice for training is to take 60-120 seconds rest. Main key is to get enough rest to keep the training load up with the quality work done #1 priority.

Goal with training frequency of muscle groups is between 48 and 96 hours. The signal for muscle growth lasts for about 36-48 hours. Force production from hard training is 48-72 hours.

Overall for athletes your best bet is to train full body three times per week. As you get better maybe split up the body between upper and lower body to save time.

Tempo – nothing really shows what is best to do so it is best to do what you want. Overall aim for fast concentric and just control the eccentric.

Spend parts of the year doing the power lifts, Olympic lifts and speed work. Make sure you are training hard and spend time gaining muscle and then some time leaning up.


Owens Recovery science – by Zach Dunkle

Currently we have less fatalities from war, but far more coming back with severe limb damage. Need a method to enhance performance to above 75% of pre injury levels.

Blood flow restriction (BFR) training doesn’t increase strength more than normal high intensity training (HIT), but does more for you than low load training. Changes in muscle mass is similar between BFR and HIT. Immobilization for only short periods of time (I think it was 14 days) ended up with suppressed protein synthesis levels by 31%, 8.5% loss of muscle mass, and a 23% decrease in strength. These folks literally were losing .6% of their muscle size each day.

Immobilization blunts the hypertrophy response. Anabolic resistance doesn’t allow for protein synthesis and causes insulin resistance.

Reduce physical activity causes a decrease in muscle mass, vo2 and an increase in visceral fat.

The BFR cuff causes a plasma volume shift to the muscles. Neurological stimulations and BFR works for immobilized limbs. 5 bouts of 3 minutes each twice per day 6 days per week increases VO2 max with aerobic work. 15 minutes of cycling with BFR three times per week for 8 weeks increases aerobic performance.

BFR causes improvements in muscle size by metabolic byproduct accumulation and helps active satellite cell proliferation (stem cells for muscle essentially). This causes an increase in nuclei to the muscle fiber.

BFR has been shown to help with knee pain in a variety of models. BFR in football players when added to training three times per week for 4 weeks this causes an increase in bench press and squats.

VEGF is increased with BFR. VEGF is a signaling molecule to build more capillaries (get better blood flow) to tissues.


After I did a presentation on partner based training that I’m cleaning up to post online for now I will leave you in suspense… or not. Thanks as always for taking the time to read this. If you want a longer explanation of any part of my notes just leave a comment below.

Tracking work in your program

Training is all about applying stress to your body to make you better. You can apply too little stress and not cause your body to super compensate (improve) from the training. You can also apply too much stress and your body can’t recover from that stress to even get back to your baseline. One way we can figure out how much stress we are applying is through simply tracking your program. There are a number of ways to do this and this post will break down a few basic ways of how to track the amount of training you are doing.


This is the total amount of weight you have lifted over the sets and reps in a training session. Each muscle group and movement pattern will have its own total per week. For example if you do 5 sets of 10 reps with 100lbs you have effectively did 5,000lbs of total volume in that exercise. For something like total volume on your quads you can do 5 sets of 10 on squats with 100lbs. and then 5 sets of 10 on lunges with 50lbs. and now you have done 10,000 total lbs. of volume. This volume is important for things like muscle gain. Volume can also be how much you run, swim, etc. The total distance you do each session added over an entire week. This is an easy data point to track especially if you wear a fitness tracking device.


This is how hard you are working compared to your maximum output. For example 50% of your 1RM on an exercise is not very intense, but 95% of your 1RM is very intense. The same can be tracked with cardiovascular training with how close you are to your heart rate max. You can track how long you work out at these intensities by measuring the mileage or total reps done at these percentages and then see how your body reacts to this intensity level.


Finally we have the actual effort you are putting in. This is using a rating session between 1-10 typically. So a workout that was incredibly easy and you could almost fall asleep during would be a 1 or a 2, whereas a workout where you are vomiting or near death by the end of it could be a 10. Tracking how much time you spend at that effort level and how it relates to your performance is important, since maximal efforts all the time can lead to overreaching and potential injury. Once you learn how your body reacts to training this can be a good way to go about intuitively tracking your own training and session difficulty.

Tracking the work

In general it seems that when you increase the total amount of work you are doing each week by 50% or more you drastically increase your risk of injury. A good goal of where to start is to simply add in 10-20% at most per week and then slowly have your monthly average increase over time. While you are tracking all of the work you are doing with whatever method, compare that to the progress you are making and the rate of that progress. At some point you will find an optimal amount of work to make as much progress as possible and then when you do more work beyond that you will often find progress slows, halts, or you end up getting injured. Track yourself over time and from there figure out how effective your training is. Thanks as always for reading.

The Revenge Body: The first step on the journey (I hope)

A few weeks ago a female athlete I coach was interested to come train with me sometime. I welcomed her to come join and she has the ability to be a great strength/power athlete if she wants it. However, with talking more about training the only thing she was interested in was getting abs and having a better aesthetic. This isn’t the worst reason to train, most people want to look better who work out in some capacity, however, the term “revenge body” came out. I first thought this meant to train yourself in to being a weapon to physically dismantle and destroy your enemies, which I can get behind. Instead this is about getting in better condition to show an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend how much more attractive you are now.

Well that is one way to start

I want folks that train (at least train with me) to do this as an investment in themselves. As a means to increase their health, wellbeing, or performance. Everyone starts their training for different reasons. Some folks because they were bullied, others for an outlet of their emotions, some do it for the social component. Everyone has their own reasons for starting and lord knows I started due to being bullied and wanting to have a positive outlet for emotions. The hope is that with time folks can change those reasons for training. To be in the gym to see what their body is capable of and how much they can enhance their quality of life through improving their fitness.

Maybe this is how it starts though?

Maybe on this quest for vengeance you can find a deeper reason to train and eventually train for yourself. Because you want to be the best version of yourself. I don’t know. Either way I want to help this athlete and maybe I can convince them to train hard and compete one day in the strength sports.


Train for you. Train to be the best version of yourself. Train to test yourself and see what you are capable of. I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope that it makes sense. Thanks as always for reading and have a great day.

Cable squats are a waste of time – mini rant

Recently I keep seeing students in the rec center doing a low cable pulley with a rope attachment squat/deadlift. Here is a video of someone doing this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPrz-nyFKgU

Don’t do this.

This exercise does train your muscles, it can make you tired, but it is far from being as effective as possible. You might use this with someone who is very weak or injured, but if they are able to do barbell, dumbbell, or kettlebell squats and deadlifts through a large range of motion (with a large load), skip them. Muscle reacts to essentially three things (after hormonal effects); mechanical tension, damage to the sarcomeres (contractile units), and metabolic byproduct accumulation. Movements where you can use heavier loads naturally can use a greater amount of mechanical tension and muscular damage. The metabolic byproducts will accumulate from doing moderate to high reps under load (and this exercise doesn’t really cause advantageous metabolic byproduct accumulation that squats, lunges, or deadlifts can’t also do).

When in doubt pick the exercises that are hard, use a large range of motion, and don’t hurt your joints. The ones you can progress nearly inifintely with load will give you greater progress, but always pay attention to your technique and how beat up or healthy your joints feel after doing the exercises. This exercise might have as use in a small subset of people, but for the most part don’t waste your time on it.