The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

Its no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    Strength Testers - How do you know if you're getting stronger?

    Outside of going to a meet and hitting a single, what is the one exercise that you know if you hit a PR on you are stronger?

    For me it's full range with heavy amounts of chain (4 or more sets). I always keep track of my PR on that movement and if I hit a PR I know I'm good for a PR at the meet.

    In my shirt, there is a lot more variables but typically if I'm hitting PR's off a 1brd or less I'm pretty set for the meet.

    I don't usually take my heaviest straight weight singles (full range) in the gym. I think it's probably more mental than anything else but I've never felt the need. Be it raw or equipped, because of different max effort exercises I usually am pretty aware of what I'm capable of hitting in a meet.

    So what exercises give you that sign?


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  3. #2
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    Im old school. I still use the big three as my indicators. I only go 90% or more 1 time in a meet cycle with straight weight. A month out I estimate my 90% and go for a triple. if I get all three it was a good meet cycle and I got stronger.
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  4. #3
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    Interesting approach!

    So are you doing regular, straight weight comp grip bench every week leading up to the final weeks where you estimate the 90%?


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  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bell View Post
    Interesting approach!

    So are you doing regular, straight weight comp grip bench every week leading up to the final weeks where you estimate the 90%?
    Sort of. I wave my percents from 80-87.5 % over 12 weeks very 531 like. I only technically do a regular bench heavy with straight weight 6 times in a 12 week meet cycle. In between those weeks I hit heavy reverse bands and deload week. Then 4 weeks out from the meet I work up to true max at 90% for a triple. Then I start to back off going into the meet.
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  6. #5
    Gaglione Strength Chris Rodgers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vdizenzo View Post
    I have no idea really. I know it sounds stupid, but I just train hard and hope for the best.
    Haha that's awesome. That's how I roll too
    Best Meet Lifts(Raw w/wraps):
    @165- 435 SQ 270 BE 560 DL.....1255 total
    @181- 515 SQ 295 BE 570 DL.....1375 total
    Best Meet Lifts(Multi-ply):
    @148- 575 SQ 315 BE 515 DL.....1400 total
    @165- 680 SQ 380 BE 540 DL.....1555 total
    @181- 700 SQ 375 BE 535 DL.....1605 total
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  7. #6
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    Testers don't generally work for me. I have to do the actual movement especially with the bench. If I don't bench full ROM every few weeks I don't make much progress. I need to pull heavy from the floor to pull heavy from the floor. My squat and GM can go up and so on, but if I don't pull heavy from the floor my deadlift goes nowhere. And so on... Squat is the one thing that I can drive up with variations.


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  8. #7
    Dr. Subtotal
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris mason View Post
    Testers don't generally work for me. I have to do the actual movement especially with the bench. If I don't bench full ROM every few weeks I don't make much progress. I need to pull heavy from the floor to pull heavy from the floor. My squat and GM can go up and so on, but if I don't pull heavy from the floor my deadlift goes nowhere. And so on... Squat is the one thing that I can drive up with variations.
    This paragraph probably applies for most people. Alot of people can really push their block pulls for a few weeks, but if no work is done off the floor to complement that, they really struggle with that aspect. Same thing with doing deficit pulls for too long.

    I know when my volume sets of comp grip floor press (3-5 sets x 3-5 reps) start to increase, I'm typically in a place to hit a comp paused PR.
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  9. #8
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris mason View Post
    Testers don't generally work for me. I have to do the actual movement especially with the bench. If I don't bench full ROM every few weeks I don't make much progress. I need to pull heavy from the floor to pull heavy from the floor. My squat and GM can go up and so on, but if I don't pull heavy from the floor my deadlift goes nowhere. And so on... Squat is the one thing that I can drive up with variations.

    For bench you can still do full range without it being straight weight, comp grip though.

    I understand though, variations can be tricky to know if they are actually helping you or not or indicate where you are.

    I used to take a straight weight comp grip bench every 6 or 8 weeks in a training cycle and go for a 5lb PR. I did this from about 435 up to 515-525 (I can't recall exactly) and that was my strength tester. Everything else was designed around where I was struggling in that tester.

    At this point as I try and get closer to 600 I had to get a little more creative in my training cycles. I found that taking straight weight comp grip full range singles in the gym messed with my head a little. Not because of the weight feeling heavy, but rather because at a meet I'm much more agressive and perform at a much higher level. It's a lot of self imposed pressure to hit a PR in the gym and that's a pressure I seem to function well with at a meet, but not as much with at the gym.

    However I found ways around it, like taking close grip straight weight full range (as we are doing tomorrow) or straight weight floor press. They are still movements I can't cheat on and my technique is consistent while performing them where if I hit a PR on them I know I'm good for a PR in a meet situation.

    I'm not sure if I'm making sense lol.

    This whole thread really shows how everyone responds differently though. Like Scott where you said you like to use reverse bands, I actually don't. For me there is so much inconsistency with the setup. Band placement on the rack, age of the bands, where you place the bench in the rack, etc. The bands just create a goofy groove for me that just confuses me sometimes lol.

    But that's why for me it's can be used as a strength builder (not tester) in that it forces me to work on technique.


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  10. #9
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    I have no idea really. I know it sounds stupid, but I just train hard and hope for the best.


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    "The weak will never understand" - Vincent Dizenzo

  11. #10
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    Based on how easy and how fast certain weights feel or rep PRs, rarely I will hit actually PRs during training.

  12. #11
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vdizenzo View Post
    I have no idea really. I know it sounds stupid, but I just train hard and hope for the best.
    How do you know what adjustments to make during a training cycle though?


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  13. #12
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bell View Post
    How do you know what adjustments to make during a training cycle though?
    I don't. I just keep training. This is part of my problem. I am very coachable, but I don't like coaching myself. I'm a slave to what is written on paper. This is why I am glad Josh is doing my programming for me. He makes the adjustments from week to week.

    I know my weakness, as does everyone else. It's lockout. I have yet to find or realize any exercise that I can correlate to improving my lockout.


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  14. #13
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vdizenzo View Post
    I don't. I just keep training. This is part of my problem. I am very coachable, but I don't like coaching myself. I'm a slave to what is written on paper. This is why I am glad Josh is doing my programming for me. He makes the adjustments from week to week.

    I know my weakness, as does everyone else. It's lockout. I have yet to find or realize any exercise that I can correlate to improving my lockout.
    That makes sense.


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  15. #14
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bell View Post
    That makes sense.
    Does it? I feel like I sound like a dope saying what I did, but it doesn't make it less true. I think part of the problem is I have been training down weight classes so things have changed over time. Overall, my lockout has improved, that's why I more or less kept my training the same. Unfortunately, I was not intuitive enough to get the 600 at 275 on my own, after trying for over a year. That's why I enlisted help.


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  16. #15
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    Thats a tough question. I know if my close grip bench is up, my comp grip is going to be up. Thats how i knew i was ready to take a 405. As far as the other two if my deadlift is slow off the floor i'm screwed. If every lift is fast i will usually finish it.
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  17. #16
    Senior Member Judas's Avatar
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    I train with daily maxes, and always in the comp lifts, so i'm usually acutely aware ov where my bench is any given week. I'll daily max my bench every 4 days (bench day is every 4 days). Its heavy enough to gauge my level, but light enough to just 'graze' the CNS, and not cut into the work sets after. My daily maxes are usually light enough to do without a spotter, though occasionally if i'm feeling really good... i'll push it close to a true max. Close but not quite there, never even close to failing.

    I'll do this with squats too, though its not always a daily max single. It can be a double, triple, 5, 8 reps even. I know all my rep-maxes so by the top set i can gauge where i am there too.

    I dont do this with deadlifts though. I tend to train my PL dead by doing Olympic clean deads, and always to a rep-PR top set, so by that i can gauge where my deadlift is as my carryover to PL style deads percentage is pretty consistent.

  18. #17
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    For me it is the following:

    Giant cambered bar squat in briefs--- direct carryover to my full equipment squat, minus about 100 lbs.
    squats with chains---if I can hit my meet opener plus 120 lbs of chain/side, I'll hit my third attempt in a meet every time. (this can be argued, because my short legs means the chain doesn't really deload completely, but I try not to think about that)

    speed squats to a low box. If I'm cleanly hitting multiple sets with 55-60% in briefs with good speed, and I can drive that weight up, my full meet squat will go up. This is actually the one indicator I've used the most over the years for squats. if the last two days of my 3 week DE cycle were going up on the squat, where I was maintain good speed, my meet squats have always gone up. I've based entire meet preps around those weights and gotten PR's at the meet.

    Bench:
    raw- floor presses. If my floor presses go up, my bench both raw and in a shirt goes up. Now for me, with my short arms, I can arch my back on the floor and basically have to sink the bar into my chest to get my elbows to rest on the floor. Its a full range bench without leg drive.

    2 board in a shirt and raw--2 board is my weak point. if I can work up Pr's off a 2 board, I'll PR in the meet every time.

    Deadlift: low block pulls---this is really a grip issue. My deadlift is 100+ lbs over my meet lift with straps. It is about my right hand holding out. That said, the plates on the low blocks (2 3/4 inch boards) are my weak point in the deadlift.



    I will be the first to admit that I may be making some stuff up with those exercises, and if you actually measured force or bar speed, results may be different. But those are the indicators I base my training off of. They have, in my mind, worked for years.
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