The Contrast

The Contrast
Lift Big, Sing Big, Look Great Doing It.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Lower

Deads
340 x5, 390 x5, 445 AMRAP (5)




3" Deficit Deads
350 3x6




Pause Front Squat
210 4x2




Muscle Snatch
135lbs 3x4

Power Clean and Squat
140lbs 3x5

Leg Super Sets:
Leg Extension
Leg Curl
Calf Raise

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Don't Wait for Inspiration

I'm taking my own advice right this very moment.


I made a point nearly a year ago to contribute something to this blog EVERY DAY. Yes, there is (generally) a new post on this site almost everyday. Either with my training information or a new blog entry that discusses training, diet, singing, or my life.

Occasionally I'll be stuck about what to say on this blog. I'll go through my rolodex of ideas, thoughts, or points to make and stew on it. But, after much stewing, nothing will boil up.

I had a guest on my podcast ask me "how do you come up with so many things to say?"

Sometimes something will occur, or someone will say something  that will put a buzz into me. They call this "inspiration." When it stirs me so I'll take to typing away like a mad man until suddenly the blog entry is complete!

But, most of the time, like right now for instance, I won't be inspired by anything. I just finished writing a big book I've been working on for sometime. I just completed a very ambitious podcasting project that required a lot of research, recording and editing. Artistically I'm a little drained.

Unfortunately, art and life don't give a flying flip about your inspiration or your NEED to be summoned up to the great gates of pretense Valhalla to hear Odin whisper in your ear your next big idea. An inspiration fairy isn't going to thrust itself to the room with a magical wand and sprinkle it's inspiration dust all over my face.

If you need to write, then write. If you need to sing, then sing. If you need to create, then by God CREATE!


I've taken a lot of action lately. Meaning I spent the better part of the past year dreaming and scheming. And slowly, I've discovered that the thing that ties dreams to reality is ACTION.

  • I wanted to train people online - Started OperaBroTraining.com

  • I wanted to sing more musical theatre - Auditioned for LOTS of MT.

  • I wanted to get strong and get more muscle - I organized my life to keep my training hard and consistent!

  • I wanted to go to New York - On Christmas Day I purchased a ticket and rented a room for the Month of February.


People often delay action because they don't feel that they are "ready." That the signs of the universe aren't giving them giant waving flags that scream "DO IT NOW!" Or they're afraid that it won't be perfect, or that they will fail.

I can tell you right now. You're not ready, you're going to fail, and it will never be perfect. But this is all great. I'm TERRIFIED with every action I take. I get nervous and sick to my stomach worried that I'm going to fail. But, even if the outcome isn't what I expected, I almost never completely bomb and I always learn something amazing from the process.

In other words, don't wait for inspiration. If you wait for a muse then you'll be left waiting for a long time.


Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro

OperaBroTraining.com

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Upper

Bench
170 x5, 200 x5, 225 AMRAP (5) <--I'm a god damned champion.


Pause Bench
210lbs 3x3-6



1 Arm Chins
35lbs 1xAMRAP

Reg. Chins
42.5lbs 1xAMRAP

Lat Hypertrophy

Shoulder Super Sets

Bicep/Tricep Supersets

Monday, December 28, 2015

Lower

Squat
235 x5, 270 x5, 305 AMRAP (5)



Pause squats
220 3x8



Sumo Deads
340 3x6



Leg Press
2 plates plus 80lbs 3x12

Lunges
80lbs 3x12

Calf Raises
420-460 3x15-20

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Fired Up

This week has been fantastic.

I've taken this week to meet up with a lot of friends and colleagues. Most of them I talk to on a fairly regular basis but don't get to see face to face. I took the time out of my life to make a point to talk with them, see how they are, find out what's next and see what their next steps are.

Now, I'm fired up. I can taste the future, and even though I'm still cared and worried about things that will come, I'm very very excited. Hearing my friends talk so strongly about their pursuits, share some of their fears and discuss how we can work around some of these blockades has put fire in my belly. With help, hopes, and prayers, we can do something miraculous.


Master Minds

There are events called Master Minds where groups of people meet to share ideas and talk about ways to help each other grow. There have been many forms of master minds that started back in the days of high profiled millionaires. The idea of community and verbalizing and giving life to dreams in your head is extremely beneficial, and the support can make you take real actionable steps to making these things come to fruition.

It's important to have this kind of community. And not just people you share your hopes and dreams with. This is stuff you do with friends and parents. No, this kind of sharing is done with people IN your field. These people may be competing in the same market. Maybe even the same jobs.

It's called having an abundance vs. scarcity mentality. And statistically those who think with an abundance mentality will be MUCH more successful. So, with this mentality you won't be afraid of sharing your secrets in return for their advice and friendship. They can be a VERY powerful ally in this journey to the top.

Even if you walk away from the conversation with NOTHING to show for it, the mere act of sharing your passion with others will FIRE YOU UP!!!! That's how you keep your energy high and you keep attacking your goals, even when the denials pile up. Be passionate and share your passion with passionate people, chase the love and the success will follow.

Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Friday, December 25, 2015

Upper

Overhead Press
125 x5, 140 x3, 160 1xAMRAP (1)



Close Grip Overhead Press
135lbs 3x2-4



Bent Over Row
215lbs 4x8

Incline Barbell Bench
135 x8, 165 x6, 185 x4, 205 x2


Pause Pull Ups
40lbs 3x6

Incline Hammer Bench
1-2 plates 3x8-12

Chest Fly
3x12

Shoulder Super Sets

Bicep/Tricep Super Sets

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Lower

Deads
205 x 20, 255 x 20, 310 x 20




Paused Front Squat
175 3x6 



Muscle Snatch
135lbs 3x3



Power Cleans to Squat
135lbs 3x5



Leg Extension
Leg Curl

Calf Raises
3 Plates plus 15lbs 3x15-20

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Fragile Voice

I'm currently reading the biography of George London that's written by his widow, Nora London. George London: Of Gods and Demons. It's by far my favorite book I've read in a long time. It's been incredible learning about the man behind the voice that I've admired for many years.



I just finished reading a chapter that talks about his years of vocal decline brought on by a spell of hepatitis he contracted from a non sterilized needle from Vitamin B shots. The chapter is titled "The Fragile Voice."

This has made me think upon all the great singers that I've listened to and loved for many years. Some of the instruments have stood against the test of time, but they are few are far between. The majority of people have had their careers either cut short or their instrument has slowly diminished and disappeared.


The human voice is fragile. It's fleeting.

 And as one does when they think about the fragility of one thing, it generally blooms into the thoughts of the world as a whole. And how a person is just a blink in the context of everything in the universe. This is a big, scary thought. One that can paralyze you.

This makes the music that we create much more special. The notes we sing may be our last. George London was a perfectionist through and through and the mere thought of him appearing not at the high standard he had created for himself all of his years of training and practice wounded him deeply. He gave everything to every show her performed. All of his heart, soul, and voice. And, although he maintained his health and his instrument, even he fell victim to the cruelty of fate and time.

So, although on one hand this thought scares me, that a career so amazing could be ended to quickly and sadly, it reaffirms my ideas about the beauty of live performance. And it affirms the need to document everything. Because even though we never shared time on earth together, George London has been an immense part of my vocal life.

In another thought....

One of my favorite videos right now is this excerpt from Soliloquy featuring Stephen Pasquale. He sings for his life.



Is he pushing? Probably. Check out those neck veins. But, with this he's creating a moment. And in this moment lives immortality. This, this is what I desire in my performances.

Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Upper

Bench
110 x 20, 135 x 20, 160 x 20



1 Arm Chin
32.5lbs 1xAMRAP

Reg Chins
40lbs 1xAMRAP

Lat Hypertrophy

Shoulder Super Sets

Bicep/Tricep Super Sets

Shout out to my new friend, Isaiah Feken. I got to train with him yesterday in Tulsa. Brutal chest workout. Strong fellow who's got a great performing future ahead. See you in a year, Isaiah - I'll be lifting that 180lb dumbbell by then.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Lower

Squat
140 x20, 180 x20, 215 x20



Sumo Deads
315 3x8



Leg Press
2 plates plus 75lbs 3x12

Lunges
75lbs 3x12

Calf Raises
420 3x15-20

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Life for the Next Few Months

Sup, Team. It's ya boy, Ol' Yeargain. I figure it's been a while since I've updated you guys on the details of what's going on in my life. So, here is the next three months.


January


From January 4th to January 24th I'll be living in Texas. Not just because I enjoy Texas BBQ, but because I'll be performing The New Moon with Lyric Stage in Irving, Texas.

This will be the first time in nearly two years that I've lived away from home. This, although a bit scary, is going to be good for me. You rely too much on the assumed comforts when you live at home, and it's time for Ol' Yeargain to get a big breath of reality and what it's like to see the world as a Texan.

Plus, Lyric Stage is a fantastic company. They do really great shows and they have a fantastic orchestra that I cannot wait to sing with. But, my role isn't huge. I don't think my rehearsal commitments will be too much, and that will leave me time to do a few things. Train really hard, push my training business to the next level, and prepare for my first venture in New York City.


February


In February I'll be living in New York. Don't ask me where yet, because I don't know. Lot's of details to be pinned down, which is why I'm grateful for the time in Texas to focus on getting this next chapter of my life set.

What I do know is that I'm going there with a purpose. I'm going to be learning the lay of the land. I'm going to try and meet as many people as humanly possible, shake as many hands, and sing for anyone and everyone who will listen to me sing.

I may take a few classes, see some shows, and soak in the sights and sounds, but this is not a vacation. This is an investment into the future that will be my career as an actor and singer. This is something I've been saving up for for over a year and a half, and this first step into this new life means something. It means the beginning of the next chapter in my life. I'm closing the Big chapter that reads "Oklahoma" and open the next one that reads. "The Big Apple."


March


March is a little bit in flux and depends on two things. The results of my Lotta Lenya Competition Submission, and whether or not I'll be able to audition for Music Theater Wichita. Both are great oppurtunities and I'm hoping that I'll be able to at least do ONE of them. I feel really good about my materials and my abilities and I hope that the judging panel or the submission comitees for either will find them favorable.

After a few things in March, I'll be heading to Enid, OK to sing Zuniga in Carmen in concert with the Enid Symphony. I'm excited to do another Opera. It's been a long time since I've gotten a chance to perform in an opera and I very much look forward to seeing some of my friends in the cast and getting to perform that timeless story. Good Stuff.

This performance goes till April....which is where a lot of the question marks and mystery of 2016 come into play. I don't know what's going to happen yet. That's the scary beautiful part of it. So, wish me luck and I hope you'll enjoy my reporting of the ride as it takes place.

Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro

OperaBroTraining.com

Friday, December 18, 2015

Upper

Overhead Press
115 x3, 135 x3, 150 AMRAP (3)



Close Grip Overhead
130lbs 3x3-5 



Bent Over Barbell Row
210lbs 4x8

Flat Dumbbell Bench
70-85lbs 4x8-10



Pause Pull Ups
37.5lbs 3x8-10

Chest Flys
3x12

Shoulder Super Sets

Bicep/Tricep Super Sets

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Lower

Deads
385 x5, 435 x3, 490 AMRAP (1)




3" Deficit Deads
360 3x4




Pause Front Squats
165 3x8



Muscle Snatch
130lbs 3x5

Power Clean and front squat
130lbs 3x5

Leg Extensions
ss with/
Leg Curls
ss with/
Calf Raises
3 Plates plus 10lbs 3x15-20

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

December Vocal Health/How to Rally

Without a doubt I will lose my voice at least once per year. This approximately happens between the months of October to December. This is mostly due to the drastically shifting climate in Oklahoma and the measures us Oklahomans take with an unpredictable thermostat.

Wildly shifting climates makes the allergens quite awful. Allergy attacks can cause a lot of excess phlegm and mucus to build up, which if not taken care of can lead to a sinus infection.
 
Colder temperatures can obviously lead to colds, fevers and flus. However, I take very good care of myself nowadays and I'm rarely susceptible to these general ailments. However, the thing I cannot avoid is the havoc the common house heater can inflict on the voice. 
 
It was only the past few years that I discovered and began to understand the correlation between my voice feeling like hell in the morning and the cranked heater blasting throughout the night. 
Heaters can "dry out your cords. If you're like me and find yourself sleeping with your mouth open, this can cause you to wake up with thick, swollen cords. 
Even if you sleep with your mouth all closed and what not, the heater combined with the cold can suck the moisture right out of your skin, and your body when dehydrated drains from all parts of your body, including your vocal cords. This is why lip balm, moisturizers and cough drops are extremely prevalent during this season.

The key is to NOT lose your voice.


Once you've lost it, the only thing you can do is get a steroid shot, a z-pack and to go on vocal rest. This is lost practice time or worse, cancelled performances and auditions and lost paychecks. The best thing you can do and hope for is preventative care.

 
Procedure to not lose your voice.
 
You must be hyper aware of your instrument. Which, after about 3 or so years of consistent singing you'll start to get a real feel for the voice in the seasons.
Sleep with a cool mist humidifier. Not warm mist. Warm mist spreads bacteria apparently. You don't need that shit hosing your house down all day, turn it on when you're going to sleep and turn if off when you wake up. 
If you start developing excess phlegm or gunk, nip that shit in the bud asap. Take a mucinex and triple your fluid intake. Keep up your exercise, especially your cardio. It will help clear out your deep bronchial tubes. You don't want that gunk to linger and harden. Even if you're not feeling 100%, make sure you vocalize frequently throughout the day to keep the voice moving and getting that gunk off your cords. This is a very horrific process to put yourself through because you're not going to be pleased with the sounds or how it feels. But, it's for the better good.

Rob Peter to Pay Paul


In some circumstances you will feel yourself on the brink of vocal collapse and be forced to make a decision to either sing through the junk or cancel. It is not healthy to sing through sick, swollen cords and can actually be dangerous. The best thing you can do for your future is to cancel and live to fight another day. But in the real world of singing for a living, you're going to be put in a position where you're obligated to sing even if you feel like complete garbage. The best thing you can do in this situation is minimize collateral damage. Switch out rep that's less taxing if possible, don't exert yourself more than you have to. And if you give more than you got, you've got to live with the consequences. 


Here is a small tale of how I nearly lost my voice and how I was able to rally.

These past few weeks I was piled with many singing obligations. Christmas is a very busy time for singers and musicians. It's generally a very good thing. However, this can also be a lot of additional work to be piled on to an already demanding life.

This week I not only had no less than 5 singing engagements (or was it six...can't remember) but I also needed to make a few recordings of some of my more demanding repertoire I sing.

Long nights, early mornings, progressively demanding training, training other people, writing another book, planning a large move/life change, all while the climate is shifting and the heaters are blazing, all led to me not having an ideal week in regards to vocal health. And when you sing on unhealthy cords, you reap the consequences.

The recording session went very well. I'm particularly pleased with my recordings of "Marianne" and "Music of The Night." However, that day had already been a bear with a lot of training others, training myself, and the night before I got less sleep than ideal. After the recording session which lasted an hour and was spent with me singing the entire time, I quickly went to another rehearsal where I sang a few group chorus pieces where I sang low bass, I sang the Grinch song and capped it off with O Holy Night.

My voice is very versatile. This is both a blessing and a curse. Because I'm capable of doing lots of different music and enjoy doing so, I often find myself in a position where I'm literally singing the entirety of my range. I know very well that this can often come at a cost, meaning some really worn out vocal folds. It's something I've come to grips with and I'm learning how to navigate.

The next morning I woke up with the worlds supply of phlegm resting on my cords. This isn't too alarming, this happens all the time when I push my voice too far, it doesn't necessarily mean I won't be able to sing. Once I clear the morning gunk out and begin to vocalize, that's when I find out how the day is going to go. I found out about mid afternoon that I was NOT going to be able to sing O holy Night and that my voice was extremely swollen and fatigued. I had no access to my high voice.

That day turned into survival mode. I had more than a few singing engagements left to complete and could not afford to cancel on any of them. That evening after mucking through the group numbers and the Grinch song, I bought a humidifier and slept with it going full blast in my room. I went on a full on mucus relief medication regiment and said a few hail marys. I made sure I got 9 hours of sleep despite not being tired and waking up three times through the course of the morning.

That day I vocalized throughout the day. I tested the high voice and after each vocalization made sure I cleared the gunk in my throat by gargling apple cider vinegar.

In the end, I didn't lose my voice. I sang all of my engagements which included singing O Holy Night on two concerts. But now, I'm resting the voice. I'm letting myself recover from what I put that sucker through last week and focusing on things I can do to improve my career that don't require me to sing. At least until this weekend.
 
Until Next Time,
 
Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.
 
The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Upper

Bench
195 x 5, 220 x 3, 250 AMRAP (1)
This felt awesome.
 

Pause Bench
205lbs 3x4-6



1 Arm Chins
30lbs 1xAMRAP

Reg Chins
37.5lbs 1xAMRAP

Shoulder Supersets

Bicep/Tricep Supersets

Monday, December 14, 2015

Lower

Squat
265 x5, 300 x3, 335 AMRAP (1)



Pause Squats
245 3x6



Sumo Deads
355 3x4



Leg Press
2 Plates plus 70lbs 3x12

Lunges
70lbs 3x12

Calf raises
400lbs 3x15-20

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Stop Fearing Carbs

Every time I hear someone talk poorly of carbs my eyes do back flips in my head.

People think that if they avoid eating carbs that they won't get fat. Or that if they avoid sugar that they won't get fat. Again, with the labels and food shaming. It's old news.

Holidays are coming around and people are shaming on one part and then indulging on the other. They want to be ashamed of what they're eating.

But why?

Our bodies love carbs.

  • Our bodies preferred source of fuel
  • Not easily stored as fat
  • Fill up your muscles to make them look awesome.
  • They are delicious.

Much of what I do with my clients is to create efficient vessels (their bodies) that use carbohydrates very well so they can enjoy life. They do this with regular resistance training and cardio that is glycolytic in nature.

The only time you should truly avoid carbs is for a medical treatment. But even then, ketogenic diets are not just carb absent, they are dominated by dietary fat intake. Even the amount of protein you eat is limited to avoid gluconeogenesis.

Ketogenic diets are a very powerful tools. Ketogenic diets have proven VERY beneficial in the treatments of both Epilepsy and Cancer.

 
But, as a weight loss tool, it's not rational.

Maintaining a low carb or a low sugar diet in todays world requires immense discipline. Your will power is tested on a near hourly basis. Unless you make all of your food, you'll be required to be "that guy" who has 18 things to change to the menu item. And if they screw up and put that sauce on that you requested off, will sit there hungry and wait as they re-make your food? If it were for my health I'd say "fuck yes, I'll wait." But, if it was because of wanting to maintain my six pack, my patience will not hold.

If you want to lose weight, put yourself in a calorie deficit and maintain it for a consistent period of time. End of story. Don't try to "Hack" your body, tricking it to burn fat. If you try to do this, your body will prove that it is much smarter than you and in a few weeks or months time, you'll end up right back where you started. Bodies are created and maintained through a system of habits and practices that are recreated on a weekly scale. Everything else is hype and bull shit.

Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Upper

Overheard Press
110 x5, 125 x5, 140 AMRAP



Close Grip Overhead 
125lbs 3x4-5



Bent Over Row
205lbs 4x10-12

Dumbbell Bench
65-80lbs 4x8-10

Pause Pull Ups
35lbs 3x8

Shoulder Super Sets

Bicep/Tricep Super Sets

Lower

Deads
360 x3, 410 x3, 460 AMRAP (3)



3" Deficit Deads
320 3x8 



Pause Front Squats
205 3x4 



Leg Extensions
220lbs 3x12

Leg Curls
205 3x12

Calf Raises
3 Plates plus 5lbs 3x15-20

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Don't Train Like a Coward

This is universal. Everywhere you go people train like cowards.
  • Bench Pressing and not touching your chest.
  • Squatting and not even getting to parallel.
  • Not even deadlifting your own bodyweight despite not weighing over 100lbs...

I don't accuse beginners. In fact, I love seeing beginners slowly bloom into the beasts they become. I love my students and seeing them break plateaus week after week is a JOY. I help them avoid these mistakes and try and push them to heights beyond what they thought was possible. I have one student who can't bench the bar yet, but she is working at increasing the range of motion. Each time she benches she brings it closer to her chest. That's fighting, that's progress. THAT's something to be proud of.

Now if you're loading up the bar with 175lbs, doing reps that don't break your elbows past 95 degrees, you need to reexamine what you're doing with your training.

My issue is the people who go into the gym frequently and just do a lot of Bull Shit. Just because you naturally don't look like complete garbage doesn't mean you have a free pass to lift like garbage. It's Everything: Crap Form. Lack of focus. Half Assed Sets. But more importantly...
 
It's Poor Mindset.

In my eyes, If you train like a coward, then you'll live like a coward. The gym is where we manifest hardships to harden our bodies to the demands of life. It's not a place to conduct your social hour or show off your new Nikes, and it sure as HELL isn't the place to have your awkward social/political debates. Take that crap literally anywhere else. The gym already has a purpose.

I'm not talking about walking around with a grimace on your face, barking and yelling before each of your sets, Mr. serious time. I'm talking about testing yourself and pushing yourself to do things you have not done before. I love having friends in the gym, talking in between sets, but when it's my set, I WORK dammit. If it's there set I will PUSH them. They will be tested, they will fight, and they will come out the other end a different person.

Me and the people I train walk out of the gym each time with a smile on our face. Not because of the funny jokes we said (although jokes are often cracked) but because of the WORK we put in. The personal bests we beat, and scars we've earned.

Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Upper

Bench Press
185 x3, 210 x3, 235 AMRAP (3) (My bench is winning as of late.)


Pause Bench Press
200lbs 3x5



1 Arm Chins
27.5lbs 1xAMRAP

Regular Chins
35lbs 1xAMRAP



Shoulder Supersets

Bicep/Tricep Supersets

The face of success.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Lower

Squat
245 x3, 280 x3, 315 AMRAP (3)



Pause squat
255 3x4



Sumo Deads
335 3x6



Leg Press
2 plates plus 65lbs 3x12

Lunges
65lbs 3x12

Calf Raise
380 3x15-20

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Upper

Overhead Press
65x20, 85x20, 100x20



Bent Over Row
200lbs 4x12

Incline Dumbbell
70's - 85's 4x8



Pause Pull-Ups
32.5lbs 2-3x8

Chest Flys
3x12

Shoulder Super Sets

Bicep/Tricep Super Sets

Saturday, December 5, 2015

How I Improved My Deadlift

Yesterday (Nov. 24th, 2015) Marks the first day I pulled a 500lb Deadlift.

And as you can see in THIS VIDEO, it wasn't a grinder, it was smooth as FUCK.

This has been a goal of mine for some time now, and although I've been on track with my programming to hit this weight for some time. Randomly I decided to say FUCK IT and pull 500lbs off of the ground.

My technique has remained relatively the same. I haven't done anything miraculous to how I actually pick the weight off of the ground. My stance has always been close footed, I set my lats in my "back pocket", My upper back rounds as I allow my shoulders to rest in front in a locked position, and I pull the weight back into me with my glutes, hams, and hips. No lower back rounding or lower lumbar pain.


Less Frequent Deadlifting


For a long time I was deadlifting 4 times a week. Every training session had a Push, Pull, a Squat and a Hip Hinge (A Deadlift Variation.) This worked very well for a while. I was building strength and size, but I decided to try and acquire a more symmetrical, full muscled model type physique and needed to switch over to an Upper/Lower Split to accommodate for the "Priority Principle." This allowed for more bodybuilding type hypertrophy training.

This has had Two benefits. One, it's allowed more time for recovery in between Deadlift sessions. My lower back was starting to ache from the frequent Deads and trying to improve my squat form. A sore muscle is difficult to engage fully, so although I wouldn't fail lifts, I wouldn't be in the mindset to push myself ever. And two, it's bulked up my quads, hams, glutes, and all sorts of other musculature. The saying goes that a bigger muscle has the capacity to be a stronger muscle, so more meat on the frame has had a DIRECT correlation to strength progression.


Introduction of Sumo Deadlifts


For those of you who don't know, you're allowed two variations of the Deadlift for Powerlifting competitions. One is conventional (the way I pull) and the other is sumo where your arms are in between your legs and your stance is a lot wider. And although they utilize VERY similar musculature, the opening of your hips utilizes a lot more of your quads, glutes, and hips and uses a LOT less of your lower back/spinal erectors. More or less you can get a bit more work load/volume in without wrecking your lower back. And since my technique is not nearly as refined with sumo, I'm not pulling loads that can derail my central nervous system recovery.


 

Improving/Strengthening My Squat


Although the Deadlift is Mostly a posterior chain exercise, it does involve the quads. And the squat is a perfect blend of posterior work with anterior quad involvement. Doing frequent deep squatting has built up my leg size, strength, and because of how funky my body is put together (very long legs) I have a very back driven squat (high bar and low bar.) It's taught me how to get the bar over my center of gravity and to fight against the weight.




Tap and Go Deadlifts and AMRAPS


I used to be a BIG proponent of resetting all of your deadlifts and avoiding the lowering part of the motion because of how taxing it can be. However, I've noticed that your back gets a LOT more time under tension with the tap and go and it keeps you in a better position throughout the pull. You can do more reps with Tap and Go, but it doesn't do a lot for your starting Pull. It's a trade off for sure.

AMRAPS = As Many Reps as Possible. In my current program I have "Top Sets" where I try to do a certain amount of reps or more. This allows me to really push myself when I'm feeling good, to test my borders, or to try and break a PR. It requires a lot of mental and physical build up. It teaches you how to rise to the occasion. Good shit.


Introduction of Olympic Lifts




Now, this may not seem like a big deal since the loads are considerably less, but the speed required to pull a weight off the ground and over your head is IDEAL for getting a deadlift past the sticking point (generally around the knees.) Speed, power, and aggression are the keys to lifting big weight, and Olympic weight lifters prove this time and time again. They casually pull 500lbs all the time, even if they only clean and jerk 250lbs plus.


That's it for now. Even though I've literally JUST lifted 500lbs, I'm already thinking about how I'm going to get to the next big milestone. 550, 600, 700??? This journey is a blast. I'm loving it.

Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Lower

Deadlift
335 x5, 385 x5, 435 AMRAP (6)




3" Deficit Deads
345 3x6




Pause Front Squat
170 3x6




Power Clean and Jerk
120lbs 3x5

Muscle Snatch
120lbs 3x5




Leg Extensions
220 3x12

Leg Curls
205 3x12

Seated Calf Raise
3 Plates 3x15-20

I clean up alright.