I’m not dead. I’m out of ideas.

For those of you that were asking, I’m not dead. I’m not even hurt again, which surprises me more than anyone.

About the recent lack of updates, to be totally honest, I just don’t have anything to talk about. I get my inspiration from two places: 1) from interacting with people and 2) getting ideas that hit me when I’m at the gym. The latter also requires that I’m thinking about something interesting enough to write about, and that I follow up on it (or even remember it) when I get home, which isn’t always the case.

I’ve pulled myself away from almost all forum participation in the last half-year. There’s no drama behind that; I just don’t enjoy forum participation the way I used to. It’s always the same questions, the same personality archetypes, the same people arguing over the same stupid shit with the same piss-poor reading comprehension and child-like lack of reasoning abilities. The bottom line is that I get very little back from the time spent on forums (or Twitter, or Facebook, or any social media construct), and I’d rather be doing other things with that time.

The reason I mention this is because it’s dried up a lot of my inspiration. If there was a benefit to being a pajama-clad postulator in a most Shaf-like fashion, it was that I almost always had some kind of topic to write about. The well is much drier these days. Combine that with my seasonal burn-out that seems to come every few months and it’s slim pickings on the blogging front.

Which brings me to the point. If you folks want me to talk about things, chime in with some ideas. I’m horrible about responding to emails and private messages, so don’t get offended if I don’t reply to you. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just that I’m easily distracted and don’t prioritize my electronic communications. But I do read most everything that isn’t spam, so if you’ve got things you want me to talk about, let me know.

Hell at this point it doesn’t even have to be lifting, fitness, or diet-related. I’ll talk about booze, coffee, fighting, how to troll web communities, my favorite TV shows, I don’t even care.

Leave a comment, Tweet me @ImpulseStrength, or just post in this thread I made on the forum.

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34 thoughts on “I’m not dead. I’m out of ideas.”

  1. Here's one for you (note that I climb rocks for fun, hence the content for this question):
    1. Find a 2×4 (or whatever the metric equivalent is)
    2. Pinch said board like you're training your pinch grip
    3. Naturally, you'd hang weight from said board to improve grip over time.

    There are guys who are convinced that this won't make a climber stronger in the pinch grip because, are you ready, the training isn't done "overhead." Unfortunately stupid migrates to any area of interest.

    • That makes me LOL. Training doesn't work unless it's 100% specific. Or 90% specific, since you aren't actually climbing. But if your hand isn't in the right position, it can't help at all.

  2. 1. Reviews. On any subject; exercise books, training programs, etc

    2. How do you go about reading an article? What mental process do you go.through when reading an article? What strategies as a reader do you use.

    • Andrew that's not a bad idea. It would turn into a multi-part series that would bore the pants off everyone, but it's something to consider if I can make it interesting enough.

      • I'm actually reading (or listening to) a little Turgenev right now, so obviously you don't have to be all that interesting to inspire. ;)

      • Man don't get me started on the Russians. I read a short story collection from Turgenev a few weeks back, finished Crime & Punishment the other week, and then fit in a couple of Tolstoy's shorts (because I do not have the patience for War & Peace or Anna Karenina yet), and the damn thing of it is that I really enjoy the hell out of them.

  3. I have a technique-related question: grip strength v. grip health.

    I was deadlifting, last week of Aug or so. Working up to a 3RM (for context, eventually hit a 385 for a triple and 390 for a double that day). While doing 275 for a triple, I felt a distinct “tearing” sensation in my right shoulder. The pain went away, so I (perhaps stupidly) finished the full-body training session, but later the pain came back, along with some swelling. Saw my chiropractor this morning (a former bodybuilder who I met in the gym, so he understands weight training injuries), who identified it as a tweak to my teres minor and infraspinatus. All upper body work, beyond very light cable rowing, is contraindicated for the next few weeks. In the meantime, he’s Grastoning/ARTing my shoulder as often as I can get an appointment.

    My question is about my deadlifting — what could I have done wrong to cause this to happen? Tony Gentilcore likes to talk about how gripping the bar extra hard (which I thought I was doing, but I probably could have done a better job) should “pack” the rotator cuff and prevent that sort of thing from happening. Or was I likely just carrying some extra tension in my rotator cuff? I realize this is probably hard to diagnose without actually seeing it happen, but I’m really eager for this not to happen again. I also really, really like deadlifting, so I don’t way to stay away, especially if I’m laying off my upper body work. And again, I was able to hit a PR the same day as the injury, so it might have just been a fluke for that one rep.

    Finally, my chiro told me NOT to grip the bar so hard, and instead to get Versa Gripps (http://store.versagripps.com/cart/product/8192/Versa_Gripps_Professional) instead, because gripping too hard creates too much tension further up the chain, and I should spare my grip so that I don’t develop arthritis. Thoughts?

    Thanks!

    • More than likely you were trying to row or shrug the bar and those muscles weren't ready for it. Could be a sign of the bar getting away from you (away in the sense of moving forward) and you trying to compensate with the upper back. Or I could just be talking out of my ass.

      • Hey Matt, thanks for the reply. I've been generally making an effort to keep the bar closer to my shins when DLing, but I might have fallen back on bad habits — and all it takes is one rep to do something nasty to those damn rotators.

  4. What are your thoughs on IF/ MB's Lean Gains approach? Am also wondering whether given (a) muscle loss doesn't apparently really occur till at least 24 hrs of fasting have taken place and (b) the fact that at higher levels of body fat, the p ratio means more weight loss will be fat, rather than muscle, this means that short (i.e 24- 26 hr fasts) would be really good way to quickly improve body recomposition.

    • I really like IF and Martin's thoughts on it.

      As far as (a), based on what I know about tissue growth and atrophy, with regards to both muscle and fat, I really don't see how you could rack up any major muscle loss in under the span of a week. You can drop water, you can even sharply increase the real rate of protein loss, but in normal conditions you're talking about three decimals points of a percentage in terms of changes. I just don't see how a fast of part of a day can be that big a deal.

      For (b), I'm not sure exactly how much of a benefit you'll see from partitioning. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see that there is something happening in that regard, but I wouldn't be the one to ask as far as how much it would contribute. I wouldn't imagine very much, but that's just my hunch. To me the benefits are more to do with it being a whole lot easier to deal with compared to the standard bodybuilding diet of 6-8 meals a day and all that.

  5. I've been doing 5/3/1, as have a couple of friends. We find ourselves second guessing the choice of both program and the assistance exercises. Wendler's use of the phrase "it doesn't matter" is the almost perfect phrase to keep one from questioning themselves, but we still do. Especially when it's 5/3/1 Day (week three) and your set of 1 goes for 7 reps instead of 2 or 3. You think "am I doing myself a disservice?"

    That's when you read more advice on doing more reps over 90% to get stronger (which I'm nowhere close to, if I can do 7 reps). Less volume. More volume. Bands, boards, and chains. Less heavy volume followed by higher volume on assistance work. Who needs assistance work at all? See where I'm going? Maybe each works? Like Wendler says, you go from 5 reps at 225 to 9 reps at 225, you've gotten stronger. That's true…

    More than what program to choose, but why we would choose one type over the other. Who should choose which? What's the actual role of assistance exercises? I think Wendler explains that assistance exercises are for assistance, which is an excellent point.

    I consider myself weak compared to most readers here, despite being stronger than most people on the street (depending on the street).

    • The early cycles will almost always be too easy if you chose the max right (90% of a recently-done 'true max'), and while I can see how it would be a psychological hit, I think that's for the best. Diana's been doing 5/3/1 recently and she's had the same concerns — it just feels too light. The thing is, if you stick with it for a few cycles (and maybe skip the deload weeks while it's going that easy), it will get heavier. Once you get to a point where you're hitting hard sets of 2-3 reps on the top week, it'll feel more right.

      And then you can reset and start it all over again. The point to me is that you need those earlier lighter phases to build you up to the peak later on. It's linear periodization when you zoom out and look at it over the longer time frame. I think this is a good thing, because it's easy to get caught up in that mindset of 'heavy' and 'go max' all the time, and I don't think that's a benefit to most people.

      • Roland put quite well the quandary facing recreational lifters such as ourselves faced with contradictory info found on the Interwebz (shocking, I realize). I appreciate you resolving at least a bit of that. My only question is, what about deadlifting? It's just not a lift conducive to sets of 12, at least without technical breakdown, especially given everything I hear about only training the posterior chain explosively/with heavier loads. To that end, I've subbed out Tony Gentilcore's "Rule of 90%" periodization system (http://www.personaltrainerscincinnati.com/2010/08/progressive-set-rep-and-loading.html) for deadlifts only — basically, doing a lot of singles, gunning for a max every week (largely successively over the last month, actually), and periodizing only the volume. Am I being retarded by messing with a good system, or is there anything to this?

        And yes, I'm obsessed with deadlifting, if you can't tell. For context, recent PRs include a 425 conventional and a 435 trap bar.

    • The short answer is to pay attention. You can tell the difference between a fast rep, or even just a smooth rep, compared to a grinder. You don't have to be 100% exact, and that's not the point, but you will be able to know when you're at a true limit, damn close to a limit, and still a few reps away.

      But there's really no better way to learn than to do the damn thing and take notes.

  6. Hi.
    Another one: appropriate use of intensive methods in training – timing, frequency…
    By intensive methods I mean super-sets, rest-pause, DC training, myo-reps, negatives etc.
    Thanks

  7. Any chance you know of some good resources for Highland Games training? Perhaps, you have some insight or maybe know of an online training log of someone who competes? All I can find is 'how to execute the throws' but no real supplemental training. I'm guessing power snatches, swings, etc… I read an article by Dan John, but that's about it. Thoughts?

      • Thanks. I'm assuming by 2 you mean the HG throws. I still have a lot of room to grow on 1, but I'll probably start to prioritize 2 next spring. I'm doing all the "big, slow lifts" and overhead pressing. I thought there might be some supplemental movements that would do well. Sounds like I should stick to the basics and focus on the lifts (throws?).

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