Archives For jim wendler

Let's see what happened this past week...

Bench Press PRs

I haven't attempted a 1RM on the bench for over a month (last time being January 18, 2013, where I benched 360 lb).

This past Friday I managed to get a 365 lb bench press. It felt really easy, so I slapped on another 5 lb (actually removed all the smaller plates and put on a pair of 25 lb plates) and attempted 370 lb.

Got it!

It felt a bit harder, but not to the point where I felt like I was struggling with the weight and had doubts on whether I would press it up or not.

Only 30 more puny pounds to go until I'm a member of the 400 lb bench press club!

I was going to move onto my work sets, but then decided since I was wearing my new Three Wolf Moon shirt, I might as well go for three PRs! Put on 335 lb on the bar and cranked out a 3 rep max (previous 3RM was 330 lb, done on January 25, 2013).

ROM Progression Method Week 1

Started my first week of the ROM progression method with mat pulls:

I have a feeling the weight that I'm using is too much for now. Pretty tough at this point to pull the weight that I'm using, and I'm pretty sure I won't be able to use the same weight as I remove a mat and lower the bar to the ground every week. I might stick with this weight, and then lower it later, or lower it next Friday. Not sure yet.

Barbell Bicep Curls...Outside The Rack

Also busted out some barbell curls.

I'm going to add barbell curls back into the mix because I want to get my arms (17" around, unpumped and flexed) as thick as my neck (18.5" around, unpumped and flexed).


Speed is something I'm working on (during the concentric part of the squat).

I'm trying to be more explosive out of the hole during squat, trying to come up as fast as possible for both my warm up sets and work sets.

I feel that it gives me a better warm up and better prepares me for my main sets, even when using the same weights. Plus, it feels cool to attempt to pop the bar off my traps and hear the plates rattling.

I do find it easier to explode out of the hole from a high bar squat than a low bar squat.

With a high bar squat, I pretty much just drop down somewhat slowly, then bounce and power it up with my quads while focusing on keeping my chest up.

With a low bar squat, I find I need to be more deliberate on the descent, and need to focus on keeping tight in and out of the hole. I think half way up I can finally explode while keeping good form.


Lastly, someone asked me about conditioning and the Texas Method, and I give me approach to it:

Stuff You Should Read

Anyway, check this out:

  1. Meet the Man Who Squats 905...RAW - an interview with Ray Williams @70sbig
  2. The Ten Rules of Progressive Overload by Bret Contreras
  3. The Best in Training by Jim Wendler
  4. Set a PR Every Day by David Dellanave
  5. Training for Maximum Strength by Dr. Michael Yessis


Check these out:

  1. Iron Evolution Reflections Part 1 by Dave Tate
  2. Strength & Barbells: The Foundations of Fitness by Michael Wolf
  3. Instinctive Training by Jim Wendler
  4. Why Weightlifting Will Not Grow Without Crossfit by Kirksman

Set a couple of PR's this week: 450lbs high bar squat  (for 2 reps) and a 232.5lbs 235lbs standing overhead press!

Anyways, take a look at these articles:

  1. 6 Mistakes I Made - So You Don't Have To by Jim Wendler
  2. Why Adding Weight To The Bar Is The Whole Damn Point by Nick Horton
  3. 6 Lessons Learned From The Master Blaster by Bret Contreras and Brad Schoenfeld
  4. The Sins of Organic by John Kiefer
  5. How Are Partial And Full Squats Different? By Chris Beardsley
  6. How To Boost Strength & Mobility by Chris Beardsley


Stuff you should read:

  1. Justin from 70sbig compares low bar vs high bar squats, and how they apply to weightlifting and powerlifting
  2. Jim Wendler explains what it takes to reach your goals
  3. Johnny Pain: 150 Perfect Bricks
  4. Chaos and Pain tells you to stop being a pussy [NSFW]

Henry Rollins

I'm not very familiar with Henry Rollins other than the fact that I've seen him on TV a few times, but his writing on strength training is a must read (I bolded the stuff I thought was insightful & important):

The Iron

I believe that the definition of definition is reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself.


When I was young I had no sense of myself. All I was, was a product of all the fear and humiliation I suffered. Fear of my parents. The humiliation of teachers calling me "garbage can" and telling me I'd be mowing lawns for a living. And the very real terror of my fellow students. I was threatened and beaten up for the color of my skin and my size. I was skinny and clumsy, and when others would tease me I didn't run home crying, wondering why.

I knew all too well. I was there to be antagonized. In sports I was laughed at. A spaz. I was pretty good at boxing but only because the rage that filled my every waking moment made me wild and unpredictable. I fought with some strange fury. The other boys thought I was crazy.

I hated myself all the time.

As stupid at it seems now, I wanted to talk like them, dress like them, carry myself with the ease of knowing that I wasn't going to get pounded in the hallway between classes. Years passed and I learned to keep it all inside. I only talked to a few boys in my grade. Other losers. Some of them are to this day the greatest people I have ever known. Hang out with a guy who has had his head flushed down a toilet a few times, treat him with respect, and you'll find a faithful friend forever. But even with friends, school sucked. Teachers gave me hard time. I didn't think much of them either.

Then came Mr. Pepperman, my advisor. He was a powerfully built Vietnam veteran, and he was scary. No one ever talked out of turn in his class. Once one kid did and Mr. P. lifted him off the ground and pinned him to the blackboard. Mr. P. could see that I was in bad shape, and one Friday in October he asked me if I had ever worked out with weights. I told him no.

He told me that I was going to take some of the money that I had saved and buy a hundred-pound set of weights at Sears. As I left his office, I started to think of things I would say to him on Monday when he asked about the weights that I was not going to buy. Still, it made me feel special. My father never really got that close to caring. On Saturday I bought the weights, but I couldn't even drag them to my mom's car. An attendant laughed at me as he put them on a dolly.

Monday came and I was called into Mr. P.'s office after school. He said that he was going to show me how to work out. He was going to put me on a program and start hitting me in the solar plexus in the hallway when I wasn't looking. When I could take the punch we would know that we were getting somewhere. At no time was I to look at myself in the mirror or tell anyone at school what I was doing. In the gym he showed me ten basic exercises. I paid more attention than I ever did in any of my classes. I didn't want to blow it. I went home that night and started right in.

Weeks passed, and every once in a while Mr. P. would give me a shot and drop me in the hallway, sending my books flying. The other students didn't know what to think. More weeks passed, and I was steadily adding new weights to the bar. I could sense the power inside my body growing. I could feel it.

Right before Christmas break I was walking to class, and from out of nowhere Mr. Pepperman appeared and gave me a shot in the chest. I laughed and kept going. He said I could look at myself now. I got home and ran to the bathroom and pulled off my shirt. I saw a body, not just the shell that housed my stomach and my heart. My biceps bulged. My chest had definition. I felt strong. It was the first time I can remember having a sense of myself. I had done something and no one could ever take it away. You couldn't say shit to me.

It took me years to fully appreciate the value of the lessons I have learned from the Iron. I used to think that it was my adversary, that I was trying to lift that which does not want to be lifted. I was wrong. When the Iron doesn't want to come off the mat, it's the kindest thing it can do for you. If it flew up and went through the ceiling, it wouldn't teach you anything. That's the way the Iron talks to you. It tells you that the material you work with is that which you will come to resemble. That which you work against will always work against you.

It wasn't until my late twenties that I learned that by working out I had given myself a great gift. I learned that nothing good comes without work and a certain amount of pain. When I finish a set that leaves me shaking, I know more about myself. When something gets bad, I know it can't be as bad as that workout.

I used to fight the pain, but recently this became clear to me: pain is not my enemy; it is my call to greatness. But when dealing with the Iron, one must be careful to interpret the pain correctly. Most injuries involving the Iron come from ego. I once spent a few weeks lifting weight that my body wasn't ready for and spent a few months not picking up anything heavier than a fork. Try to lift what you're not prepared to and the Iron will teach you a little lesson in restraint and self-control.

I have never met a truly strong person who didn't have self-respect. I think a lot of inwardly and outwardly directed contempt passes itself off as self-respect: the idea of raising yourself by stepping on someone's shoulders instead of doing it yourself. When I see guys working out for cosmetic reasons, I see vanity exposing them in the worst way, as cartoon characters, billboards for imbalance and insecurity. Strength reveals itself through character. It is the difference between bouncers who get off strong-arming people and Mr.Pepperman.

Muscle mass does not always equal strength. Strength is kindness and sensitivity. Strength is understanding that your power is both physical and emotional. That it comes from the body and the mind. And the heart.

Yukio Mishima said that he could not entertain the idea of romance if he was not strong. Romance is such a strong and overwhelming passion, a weakened body cannot sustain it for long. I have some of my most romantic thoughts when I am with the Iron. Once I was in love with a woman. I thought about her the most when the pain from a workout was racing through my body.

Everything in me wanted her. So much so that sex was only a fraction of my total desire. It was the single most intense love I have ever felt, but she lived far away and I didn't see her very often. Working out was a healthy way of dealing with the loneliness. To this day, when I work out I usually listen to ballads.

I prefer to work out alone.

It enables me to concentrate on the lessons that the Iron has for me. Learning about what you're made of is always time well spent, and I have found no better teacher. The Iron had taught me how to live. Life is capable of driving you out of your mind. The way it all comes down these days, it's some kind of miracle if you're not insane. People have become separated from their bodies. They are no longer whole.

I see them move from their offices to their cars and on to their suburban homes. They stress out constantly, they lose sleep, they eat badly. And they behave badly. Their egos run wild; they become motivated by that which will eventually give them a massive stroke. They need the Iron Mind.

Through the years, I have combined meditation, action, and the Iron into a single strength. I believe that when the body is strong, the mind thinks strong thoughts. Time spent away from the Iron makes my mind degenerate. I wallow in a thick depression. My body shuts down my mind.

The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it's impossible to turn back.

The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you're a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.

Stuff You Should Read

  1. Jim Wendler tells you all you need to know about assistant exercises
  2. Stevo explains the benefits of training your glutes
  3. John Alvino warns about the dangers of jogging, and why you should avoid it