To avoid having to check this page every ten seconds for updates on supplements, music, and sundry little details, hit us up on Facebook and like the page. That'll keep you updated without getting spammed with a million twitter-length posts!

03 March 2013

The Inaugural Empedoclean Day

Warhammer art gets me fucking pumped.

In the last couple of months I've had to drag myself from the depths of mucus-filled-lung hell and back into the land of elite lifting, pretty much by sheer force of will.  Doing so, however, required me to abandon most of my chaos in favor of a hell of a lot of pain, and not the fun kind, either.  Nope- no whips, chains, kicks to the balls or pegging- just a hell of a lot of weird upper back cramping that basically turned my back into a dehydrated broad off the pill in the middle of the desert on her worst period ever.  The last two months in the gym have sucked harder than a vacuum cleaner caught on Hugh Hefner's shag carpet, and I've basically had to force myself through interminable, boring workouts consisting of scant few exercises while trying desperately to watch and not watch the clock at the same time.



What my workouts should look like.

If you don't know what I mean by that, allow me to explain- I don't have a prescribed number of sets and reps, but rather do a major exercise for twenty or thirty minutes  move to another, repeat, do a bit of accessory work, and then bail.  My internal clock pretty much knows when that is, but I usually have to check myself because I get too excited about a certain thing and do it for far longer than I should.  The last couple of months, however, I've been checking the clock like I'm the President of the USADA going through Lance Armstrong's dirty underwear drawer.  Not because I'm having too much fun and overdoing it, but because I've just wanted the workouts to be more over than the cast of the Hills' careers.  That has sucked.  After giving it some thought, I realized that I've been focused only on the powerlifts and their accessories, and have thus lost most of the chaos I champion.  Losing the crux of one's existence is pretty fucking eye-opening when you realize it's happened.


Yeah, efficiency rules.

One of the main reasons my style of training developed the way it has is my hatred for scheduling.  I despise the fact that everything in our lives is subject to review by some imaginary board of Weights and Measures, that we must do things a certain way over and over at the same time, daily, and that we blindly accept the way of life as if it's natural.  It's not.  Despite what most people insist is their religion or spiritual belief system of choice, the Western World has really adopted the God of Efficiency as their lord and savior, crawling at his feet with offerings of blood, sweat, and tears, begging for a pittance of a few more minutes so they can work a 10 hour day at a job they hate to sit on their couch and watch Real Housewives as they wait to die. 

Efficiency is what you call a tiny, shithole apartment that consists of one room. 

Efficiency is a bunch of people dressed in identical clothing that might as well be prison garb, doing identical tasks at the same time, constantly watching the clock to be directed to their next task..  

Efficiency is a bunch of "powerlifters" whining on the internet about their sub-400 lb deadlifts because it's "inefficient" to train more.  

Efficiency is a "man" driving a pink Toyota Prius to work because he thinks the extra 20 minutes of driving he has to do at 60mph is less valuable than the time he's wasted in his commute.

Fuck that noise.  I'm not in the business of getting the most of the least- I'm in the business of getting the most.  I don't mind spitting in the face of the laws of diminishing returns if it means I can get or do something awesome, because I'd much rather be fucking awesome than simply better than most.  I realize this is anachronistic thinking, but fuck it- I love being an anarchonism.  I love to fight and drink and fuck and scream unintelligible gibberish at random passersby and read actual fucking books, rather than wearing pastel and drinking expensive bottled water (because you never know what you'll get out of the tap *gasp*) while nibbling on soy-based "food" and watching television on feminine furniture paid for on credit so I can a have a tasteful view of my matching flowered drapes.  I'll be off making offensive statements and doing cool shit while the "efficient" people wait to die, just as the people of yore did.  This is why I have to look back, for the most part, and not at the present for inspiration, and why I invoke the deeds of so many old-timey lifters.  They gave two shits about efficiency.  They climbed tall mountains because fuck mountains.  They'd whack back a shitload of opium and racewalk from Paris to India just because.  They lifted heavy weights because it was fucking fun, and they'd do crazy shit because it amused them, like lifting a grown man overhead with one hand and running up and down a flight of stairs a few times while holding a beer in the other.  They needed no more of a goal for doing impressive physical feats other than the fact that they thought it was cool, and because other people said they couldn't or shouldn't.  That shit is fun, and it's why I'd be much more at home with a pack of 14th Century Mongols than the assholes populating any Ikea on the planet.


One ugly motherfucker.

In the spirit of looking to the past for inspiration in the present, behold this ugly motherfucker- in the 5th Century BC, the dude pictured a guy popped onto the Greek philosophy scene and started wrecking fucking shop, in addition to giving the best shocker any chick's ever had during cunnilingus with his creepily long fingers.  He formulated a number of heady theories that made those of his contemporaries obsolete, including the idea that the Earth is a sphere, the concept that air is a substance rather than a lack thereof, a primitive concept of the theory of evolution, that light travels at a speed, and that centrifugal force exists.  In other words, the people of the Middle Ages would have burned him at the stake as a witch rather than hail him as the genius savior of science that he was.  This man was named Empedocles, and he thought he was the shit, so much so that he likely referred to himself in the third person and would have worn sunglasses indoors if they'd existed at the time.  Once he'd gotten sufficiently big for his britches, Empedocles decided it was time to set things straight, and offered the following poem as a proto-battle rap intro:

"Friends who inhabit the mighty town by tawny Acragas
which crowns the citadel, caring for good deeds,
greetings; I, an immortal God, no longer mortal,
wander among you, honoured by all,
adorned with holy diadems and blooming garlands.
To whatever illustrious towns I go,
I am praised by men and women, and accompanied
by thousands, who thirst for deliverance,
some ask for prophecies, and some entreat,
for remedies against all kinds of disease"(Wikipedia)
Empedocles probably would have looked this cool if he'd made it out of the volcano.

This 5th C BC Greek P. Diddy actually believed this shit, and decided to prove it.  With much fanfare, Empedocles announced that he was going to jump into a volcano and pop out unscathed, as he was the Grecian answer to the Terminator- he couldn't be bargained with or reasoned with, he didn't feel  pity, or remorse, or fear, and he absolutely would not stop, ever.  That is, of course, until he stepped into a fiery volcano and burnt up like Richard Prior trying to freebase.




If you're not getting where I'm going with this, I'm of the opinion that it's time to start jumping into volcanoes again and quit being a bitch in the gym.  As such, I'm declaring a weekly Empedocles Day.  On that day, I intend to do something fucking ridiculous in the gym just because, common sense be damned.  I'm not going to do it on the same day if I can help it, and I'll never do the same thing twice- I'm just going to pick a direction once a week and go nuts, in the vein of Tom Platz's wacky ass workouts, Benny Podda's trumping of those crazy workouts, Steve Michalik's Intensity or Insanity workouts, Kolkaev's ridiculous Youtube videos, and Arthur Saxon and Maxick's daily reminders from 100 years ago that we're all half the men they were on their worst day and our best.  Some weeks I might jump in with a bench bro for a massive dose of humble pie in a two hour bench press extravaganza, and another week I might just try Tom Platz's 10 minutes of hell with 225 squat set.  This week, I decided to start easy.  I did pullups for 25 sets of 2 reps with 90 lbs in 45 minutes, wedging 6 sets of overhead presses to max with 135.  Thereafter, I did 15 minutes of standing crunches.  By the end of the workout, my shoulders were so pumped they felt like they were tearing, my back felt like I'd been stabbed, and the following day it felt like my biceps were going to pop off and go running into the forest to play with squirrels and other tiny, fluffy forest wildlife, but I had my mojo back.  No more clock watching- I just went fucking nuts on pullups until I was doing rest pause reps and struggling on the singles.




When I was younger, I spent a lot of time reading the routines of the maniacs who trained in the 1970s and 1980s.  That sort of set the stage for how I'd train later in life- the wacky workouts about which I'd read put ideas in my head for what was possible, and what I might try.  Reading about Tom Platz's leg training, for instance, got me thinking about trying higher reps on squats.  Thus, I managed to hit 97 reps with 135 on the squat years ago when I weighed about 155, and I did sets of 20 twice a week with 315 at around 170.  Platz occassionally did 50 reps with 350 on the squat at a bodyweight of about 200 lbs, just as a gut check.  After hearing about that, Benna Podda started doing 5 sets of 50 with that weight.  Guys back then had innumerable random challenges against their lifting partners, and these challenges pushed them further in their training than any incremental progression program might have.  



We haven't had a President this cool since Teddy Roosevelt, and never will again.

If you're thinking this sort of a thing is stupid, you probably drink soy milk, listen to Mumford and Sons, and think that Obama is a better role model than Vladimir Putin.  As such, you should probably just turn off your computer and look for something with which to kill yourself.  Forget the incremental progression that's been drummed into your heads, the belief that you should live and die by percentages in training, the belief that any one way is the way, and you'll find yourself doing shit in the gym you never dreamed possible.  If there's any one thing holding back the majority of the lifters I see in the gym and on the platform, it's fear- they fear the unknown, and they don't trust in their own abilities. The only way to overcome that fear is to push yourself further and harder than you ever dreamed possible- tiny improvements and little victories in low volume environments won't do that.  I do this less and less in my training as I get older, not because I am afraid of injury or somesuch nonsense, but because at this point I know I can jump into the volcano and walk out unscathed.  What I've realized is that this means I should do it more, rather than less. 


No guts, no glory!

It's worked for plenty of the people in the past, and if nothing else, it will ratchet up the insanity of my training back to the levels that got me a world record total.  It cannot possibly hurt your training, because if the training logs on the internet are any indication, nothing could.  There's a fine line between genius and insanity, and I intend to cross it at every possible opportunity, because fuck lines.


Now slap on your favorite pair of panties- John Defendis says it's time to get jacked or die trying.



Sources:

Empedocles.  Wikipedia.  Web.  2 Mar 2013.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empedocles

http://www.simplyshredded.com/tom-platz-bodybuilding.html

Tom Platz Leg Workout – The Man Who Became Famous For His Remarkable Leg Development. Simply Shredded.  3 Mar 2009.  Web.  2 Mar 2013.  http://www.simplyshredded.com/tom-platz-bodybuilding.html

63 comments :

  1. I collect Warhammer artwork too. I have no idea what that game is even about.

    I stopped posting anything workout related online a long time ago. Mostly because most of the clowns who were reading it kept insisting that there was no way any of it could possibly work and that I'm a fool wasting everyone's time who will end up weak and crippled. Meanwhile I've got enough trophies and medals to fill up a box that none of them could even pick up without a belt on. Whatever. I have no interest in being an inspiration to anyone. i want to watch the world crumble.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha. I can completely understand that sentiment. I write this shit because I enjoy it. I've no illusions about it making any real difference. The tides of stupidity are a bit too strong for any one man to stop.

      I've never played the game, but I did get into the books for a few months- the writing, however, is so atrocious that it actually started making me physically ill. I still get queasy when I read the word "ichor"- I think I counted its use over 20 times in two pages in one book.

      Delete
    2. Depends hugely on the writer. They have a vast team of writers and not all of thel are equally good.
      As far as I can recommend anything:
      - Felix and Gortrek novels. More or less always the same set-up, but the dwarf (Gortrek) is a dwarf on a suicide mission while kicking as much ass as possible. The humour makes up for the repetitive set-up.

      - Darkblade series. Flaying people never sounded like so much fun.

      - There is some gold in the short stories, but not enough to make you buy the omnibus.

      The game is fun, but depends on the playing style. I just select an army that goes forth and bashes face.

      Delete
    3. I've heard THQ's video game is good. I'll check out the books you recommended at some point. I've got a pretty big backlog right now.

      Delete
    4. Check out Brunner the Bounty Hunter. Fucking love that guy...

      Delete
    5. Jamie, check out the Horus Heresey series, Warhammer 40k, some powerful and inspirational shit.

      Delete
    6. Check out the Space Wolves from 40K. They're Vikings but with guns.

      Delete
  2. Awesome article that fucks all the clones righ in the arse !

    ReplyDelete
  3. So you've had that offer for consultations up for a while. Do you want to kill people with a .44 magnum while wearing tire armour yet?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not yet. All three guys made huge gains and got ripped.

      Delete
  4. I'm amazed that the "No Guts, No Glory" is the only thing kind of close to a Bolt Thrower reference on your blog I've seen. Especially considering your love of Warhammer iconography and your taste in music.

    Have you heard any of their stuff? If not, look up No Guts, No Glory by Bolt Thrower, which I find to be the pinnacle of gym music.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bolt Thrower is about as awesome as a titty factory. Awesome as fuck.

      Delete
    2. I'm not a huge fan of thrash, but they have awesome album covers.

      Delete
    3. Man, I used to be huge into Warhammer and 40K stuff....kind of nerdy....but fuck it. Destroying hordes of the undead is fucking awesome.

      Delete
  5. You should give the book Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb a read, its about things that gain from chaos and disorder. Its pretty interesting and reminds me of your blog posts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Never heard of him, but I'll check him out. Thanks bro.

      Delete
    2. I've read Taleb's The Black Swan, and I completely agree-- though, at least for TBS, the focus is primarily on unpredictable economic events. Is it the same with Antifragile?

      Delete
    3. Since writing the Black Swan he took his theory and started applying it to other stuff. For instance he writes about how he began to take his health seriously and went from doing machines and shit in the gym to powerlifting and doing random stone lifting (hes got a 400lb DL now, decent for a 50 year old academic). This book is more about practical application of his observations.

      Delete
    4. Taleb is one of the brightest minds of nowadays when it comes to real life application of academic methods, IMO.
      His writings are awesome, and highly recommended.
      Jamie, I think you will really like his work.

      I haven't read Antifragile yet, but I plan to. Interesting that he's into lifting now, I know he always supported IFing.

      Delete
  6. Putin's a sad role model since his exploits are mostly set up and fake. Other than that, reading your blog from the start and thanks for the inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not saying he's the man- I'm just saying he's more of a man than Obama.

      Delete
    2. To appeal to russian demographic you have to project the strong and down-to-earth leader image. So he goes around shooting drugged tigers from the zoo, retrieving planted historical artifacts, and so on. I don't think it makes him any more of a man than 7 plate deadlift with cardboard plates would.

      It's also a russian thing to snatch topical political keywords out of context and fervently argue about them while ignoring the fuck out of main initial message, so sorry about the rant.

      Delete
    3. Shooting a drugged tiger is still more manly than hanging curtains:

      http://obamadiary.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/obama_curtains.jpg

      Delete
  7. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31jenMJ0UOc

    ReplyDelete
  8. Awesome read. I'm eager to see, and maybe emulate some of the shenanigans you get up to on these days.
    Some shit I thought might be fun for Empedoclean day ideas for future:
    Max rep deadlifts with 315-365. (touch and go or dead stop doesn't seem to matter much at that rep range.) I've managed to get 50 with 320, so you can probably do substantially better than that.
    German volume training with 6-7 plate shrugs.
    If you really want to jump the fuck into a volcano, try 10 sets of 10 on front squats. Never doing that again, ever.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I like that idea!,in fact a few years ago just after reading Brooks kubiks 'Dinosaur Training' i went mental after 15 years of strict Nazi-like adherence to Squat and Deadlift training and decided to one shoulder carry a three quarter full beer keg to the summit of a local mountain (Roseberry Topping 450 metres)just to 'see if i could'.
    After completing it and informing my fellow gym members of my feat they immediately stopped talking to me,spread rumours that i must have had some type of mental breakdown and left self help/psychiatry leaflets lying around the gym for me to 'find' and get help from.
    All in all,i'd recommend it to anybody,as anything that reminds the lazy,weak,excuse making,shiftless, fat, jealous bastards how pathetic they are has got to be a good thing in my book!...good on ya lad!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You made up the bit about the leaflets didn't you? Thought it would make you sound ammusing? I can believe that nobody speaks to you at the gym though, or anywhere else.

      Delete
    2. You would do,because you sound like the type of tit that would never try anything even remotely challenging.Now fuck off and die.

      Delete
  10. This was a great read Jamie.

    Do you have any idea how you got sick in the first place?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jamie bought food regularly from a wings place run solely by a white trash girl who had kids with pneumonia.

      Delete
  11. its fucking lame to have it all scheduled.

    I got fucking med boards to study for and my life is basically scheduled mental ass-rape for 13+ hours a day with an hour to workout.

    I'm getting sick of scripted training, getting one thing to enjoy and being limited by a fucking excel sheet is getting annoying. Being trapped in the one thing I enjoy is lame. I'm starting to realize I never gave a shit about moving my lame ass bench or squat up. I just enjoyed training on my edge and letting all my frustration out. An hour to just be a god damn angry idiot.

    I recall a sheet you had of bulgarian training. Something like singles, then minus 25lbs for doubles and minus another 25lbs for triples... Maybe 20 mins dedicated to each block, would be fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Give it a shot and report the results. Worst case, you have marginal gains.

      Delete
    2. For sure. Found the original in the book. singles, then -40lb for triples and -25lbs for doubles. It has set number of sets but fuck that, 20 mins per sounds good.

      Its been fun as hell so far. Sore as shit too. Good thing the girlie is a physiotherapist. haha

      I'll try it out for a couple months, then give a report. Cheers.

      Delete
    3. SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP. NOBODY. CARES. And stop swearing so much, it doesn't make you sound hard.

      Delete
  12. That's good. I was on the verge of reminding you that you "don't even associate with" powerlifting.
    Did you ever read about the cynics?
    Since everyone's throwing out ideas, what you really want to do is an hour of deadlift negatives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Looks like about the most brutal lift you could do, at least in terms of the DOMS that would ensue
      http://youtu.be/kcTBm6_K5ws?t=7m44s

      Delete
    2. Only from a "know your enemy" perspective. Asceticism is fucking retarded.

      I've got a couple of ideas for deadlift training that I'm going to start putting into practice this week, though I highly doubt an hour of negatives will make it onto the list, haha. I don't own a wheelchair, so I'd be immobile for a while after that workout.

      Delete
    3. Some of the cynics sound pretty rad tbh and also none of them were retarded enough to jump into a volcano.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diogenes_of_Sinope#Obscenity

      Delete
    4. Hubris like a motherfucker. I'll check out your half-starved virgins.

      Delete
  13. This has to be one of your most epic posts. Definitely motivating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks man. It was definitely time for a pump up post.

      Delete
    2. I stopped reading halfway through to go and do 21 sets of 3 deadlifts to failure (apparently deadlifts to failure will kill you, or so I've read).

      So your post worked for me.

      Delete
  14. Because I'm a bit of a fat bastard with a short attention span I tend to fall of the wagon a lot. I can't seem to stick to rigid weight lifting plans in the gym because of how brutally boring they are. After reading this I got so pumped and excited to find out that I can make BETTER gains off of just busting ass in the gym and winging it that I decided to accept your "Empedoclese Day" challenge. Well, I couldn't even do a single pull up with 90 lbs lmao. I did, however, do 25 sets of 2 with 45 lbs. I'm 255 lbs and if I remember correctly you're around 180-200 which means we're roughly pulling up the same weight. I woke up so fucking sore that my hands were shaking when I tried to pick up my fork to eat my food.

    My point is, I'm fucking tired of reading this blog and seeing how you're strong and better than me and I weigh more/I'm taller/bigger boned/younger. You said that the way the old time lifters got better and better was to compete with one another, so fuck you, Jamie. One of these days I'm going to kick your ass on one of your CnP WODs (for all those CrossFit buffs out there).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent! Don't stop posting your Empedocles challenges on a weekly basis. You have a challenger here, so you don't want to have your Hooligan crew thinking you pussed out under the pressure.

      Great, now that I just insulted you I figure this'd be the opportune time to ask you for advice hahahaha (I figure you wouldn't have it any other way?) I'm not new to lifting, but I am new to lifting with out a set routine. You said that beginners don't listen -- well, I'll listen. Is there really any method whatsoever, or is it really an end-all, be-all, fuck-all approach? Example -- Can I squat 6x a week? Can I OHP 4x a week? Is it all experimental, so I should just go out there and see what works for me? Or is there some kind of control to the madness?

      Delete
    2. Go back in the archives, there is a "chaos and pain template" or 2 in there. "Chaos and pain for new jacks" and the "template" posts should be in the first year or so.

      Delete
  15. Time to do something stupid at least once a week. DragonDoor challenge with BW on the BTNPP like you once talked about? That sounds pretty fucking intense.

    Also, are you aware of this guy? http://fortheloveofstrength.blogspot.com

    he's got some pretty decent stuff and he apparently likes you. He's pretty fat though which I guess doesn't really go inline with CnP philosophy but oh well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a good idea. Dragondoor challenge it is for this week. 80% of my bodyweight for max reps in 30 minutes.

      Delete
  16. Great post man. I like it when you go back to your roots. The angry, fuck the system Jamie. I got a bit worried with your last posts. You know, you becoming animal friendly, showing pictures of your girlfriend and people you spoke.

    No man just joking. Great article and love the art work.

    ReplyDelete
  17. yet another famous coach agreeing with your principals.

    Wendler posted this link, of all people.
    http://www.jensinkler.com/brain-pick-q-a-with-john-broz/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jen: I want to hear the Frisbee analogy you used when I first walked in.

      John: If you want to be a world-class discus thrower, you don’t throw a Frisbee every day. OK, look. If you’re going to be a professional dart player, and I give you two darts a day to throw, how long is it going to take you to learn how to throw darts?

      Jen: A long-ass time.

      John: You’ll never do it. You’ll never be great. Well, it’s the same thing with lifting weight. If I never train heavy, I never touch a heavy bar, how am I ever going to learn how to lift that?

      You can’t. It’s a skill. You have to know how to get under the bar, how to move quickly, how to use all your power. If it’s a light weight, you can cheat and still get by, but when you add more weight, you have to become more efficient. You have to sharpen the tool. You have to become sharper and sharper, and you can’t do that by not pushing yourself. It’s not possible. It’s not possible. So you have to train heavy to learn how that bar feels, learn how to move around the bar —the weight changes, your timing changes, everything has to be sharper and crisper.

      Delete
  18. An idea that Brandon Lilly had:
    Hitting a badass total in under 1 minute.
    Max squat, no rest, max bench, no rest, max DL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My Empedoclean Day idea/suggestion, if you're taking them, is work up to 1rm no hands back squat, a la Koklyaev or however you spell his name.

      Delete
  19. well if a small real difference is a real difference, then your blog makes a real difference. My day was fucking terrible. Was hoping a new post was up - didn't expect it to be one of the best. Nice post man.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Was there something in the air when you wrote this post?

    I had a remarkably similar feeling the day that you posted this and decided that the solution was a pull-press bukakke. I decided to a pyramid-superset consisting of handstand push-ups and pull-ups starting at 3 reps, adding 3 reps each set until I hit 21 and totaled 147 reps of each.

    Great post! Shit like this is why I became such a fan of your work in the first place!

    ReplyDelete
  21. This post sparked a much needed fire Jamie. Thanks. I had an unmotivated week of traing before I read it. As a 50ish, weekend warrior powerlifter my "crazy" might seem a little tame. I decided after arriving at the gym to add 10 x 10 front squats to the end of my squat training. The thought had me so stoked that I hit a 10 lb PR on my main lift of 3 count pause squats. This on the 10th day of a carb depletion and after having dropped 30 lbs body weight in the previous five weeks. I feel so sore and awesome today.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Funnily, it seems now that half of this blog's readers are nerds, including myself. I also used to play Warhammer for several years, and I also arrived at the same precepts chaos & pain preach myself, after trying different shit that didn't work for me.

    I wanted to thank you for the blog, thank God there are still people hardcore enough to be worth reading. I first discovered it years ago but only recently I decided to take my time to read it thoroughly.

    Regards from another Jamie with water washed Basque blood :P

    ReplyDelete