Calvert and Milo Barbell

That’s a kind way to put it.

More fair would be to say not all paths on the mountain go up.

If my press isn’t up 15 pounds and my bodyweight up 8 by Jan 1, well, then I’ve screwed up.

And that’s where I differ: I’d have a much more aggressive bodyweight gain. That worked for me getting my press to that level.


Well, now that I’m pretty much an official Dan John fanboy, I suggest you try out Mass Made Simple.

I think your press will be a lot easier once you gain some quality mass.


This and this:

Are the only way to approach those goals. You’re already a lean dude, I don’t think you need to worry about keeping your gains lean for a second, I’d be much more concerned about making the gains in the first place, training and eating hard enough to make that level of progress require effort and single mindedness beyond what most people are willing to do, and I say that from personal previous experience of having goals that I didn’t hit.


Quite the pile-on :slight_smile: Reminds me of someone else’s log.

I mean I think we’re all actually on the same page?

My goal has been 2-10 pounds a month. That’s at least 8 pounds and no more than 40 pounds by the end of the year. I feel like both the upper and lower ends of that are reasonable.

(August was a wash because I didn’t have much training time so I didn’t push weight gain if there wasn’t enough work to justify it. But I was on track in June and July, and I am on track in September.)

And when I set out, I basically planned on running Calvert-based stuff for physique and “bodily strength” until I hit 175. My estimate was next summer. And then switch to more pure strength-based goals. The only thing thats actually changed is pushing the timeline for the strength-based goals up.

Nah, just some encouragement from people in your corner wanting to see you hit your goals!

Yup roughly on the same page. The key is keep smashing the food, even when it hurts, even when you feel sick, for weeks/months on end knowing that it’s going to get you to where you need to go in order to close in on your goals, same with training but that seems to need to be stressed less, particularly to us leaner guys, I’ve got no problem driving myself into the ground for weeks/months on end, I’ve got no problem eating big, but doing it consistently is so draining.


Very much Hugh Cassidy’s “Eat through the sicking points” premise, which was also a fantastic article by Matt Reynolds.

I had not read that one before. Thanks for the share.

I’ll have to give it a reread, but a few things stuck out to me.

  1. He’s in Springfield, MO. I lived there for several years, so I’m familiar with the local food culture. (I’m also glad to be away from it; much better options now.) I actually used to play pool with the guys who worked at the “hibachi steak and noodles” place.

  2. Milk, eggs, and McDonald’s Double Cheeseburgers definitely were staples when I first aggressively gained weight (and, honestly, also through that first cut). Also Taco Bell’s Beef Grilled Stuffed Burritos (sadly no more) and Dairy Queen Hot Fudge Malts. Made it easy to count calories…

  3. His more current food recommendations aren’t fundamentally that different than my current diet, just no fast-food any more. I personally go through about 4 gallons of milk a week, and we average about 2.5 pounds of meat a day. I do need to up my egg intake though.

I would try to drink less soda, eat less McDonald’s french fries and fewer Krispy Kreme donuts. I’d replace those foods with milk, cheeseburgers, and eggs. Rather than eating that epic meal of burgers, fries, soda, and pies at a fast food drive-through, I would choose about 3 double cheeseburgers and a quart of milk.

My current 152-ish is small. But it is up from 148 in May. I’m just not convinced I have to be that aggressive, yet. There may come a time, but I’m not at any real sticking points right now either. Just untrained.


I did my last workout before my video opener attempt next week.

Press: 95# x 3 x 3

They went up a bit slow, most likely because of all the delt and tricep stuff yesterday. Maybe even the chain presses. 3-4 days worth of rest and food, and it’ll all come back.

I think Monday/Tuesday I’ll go for ~90% openers, which is looking like a 115 press and a 325-355 deadlift, depending on how fast my warmups move.

I guess I’ll probably just spend the next few days working on front rack mobility, hamstring stretches, etc. Maybe some light barbell jumps; I want to try these heavier, but don’t know what the impact might be. Very very light technique work is probably fine.

If you liked that article, also check out “How to stay small and weak” by Chase Karnes.

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More math. These are per lift.

5/3/1, if you never do any + reps (why would you ever do that?) averages out to 48 reps a month at 62%. Excluding the deload week, it’s 33 reps at 70%.

5/3/1 if you cap the 5+/3+/1+ to 10/8/5 (per Forever) averages out to 62 reps a month at 66%. Excluding the deload week, it’s 47 reps at 73%.

Sheiko #37 (prep) is 370 reps a month at 71%. If you exclude anything under 60%, it’s 310 reps at 74%.

Sheiko #30 (prep) is 330 reps a month at 73%. If you exclude anything under 60%, it’s 272 reps at 77%

5/3/1 gives equal volume to all lifts. Sheiko sets things up a bit differently; bench gets the most volume, followed by squat and deadlift.

I don’t have opinions per se, just compiling data. This way of comparing them is fairly Soviet in character.

My current programming looks like:
Press: 240 reps per month at 70-75% ish
Deadlift: 144 reps per month at 70-75% ish

As things move forward, I’m going to tighten up those percentages. Probably 71-75%. That leads to stair-step 5 lb increases on presses and 10 lb increases on deadlifts.

I actually thought about increasing pressing volume a bit, but looking at these numbers, seems like I’m probably fine for at least awhile. At least as much as 5/3/1, and less than high-load Sheiko seems like an ok spot to be.

The quote around capping 5+/3+/1+:

You may want to cap your last sets, the PR sets, at 10 reps (or whatever you feel is best for you). I usually cap the PR set at 10, 8 or 5 reps. Even if you can do more, this will be a built-­­ in stopping point. Most people should just cap it at between 5-­­10 rep.

The past few days I found myself reading in Reddit’s various fitness and lifting communities. Some of these “analyses” people do seem over the top and pointless. Lots of complexity… for what, the sake of complexity? Some of the RPE and RIR stuff goes way off the deep end, imho.

Then I look at my last handful of posts here, and, well, pot, meet kettle.

Actually there is a difference, and it’s a very big one. I’m seeking simplicity.

Are there a simple set of rules to follow that can help you get bigger and stronger, that are easy to implement, that can be maintained for a long period of time, and that can handle the interruptions and constraints of “real life”?

Maybe. At least I think there are:

For strength:

  • build everything around a handful of core lifts
  • constant variation with high specificity: vary the ROM, volume, bands/chains, pauses – keeps your brain from getting bored, and your body constantly adapting
  • accelerate through every concentric
  • use submaximal work only; people get strong with 40%, people get more strong with 70%, people get beat up with 90%+
  • total volume per week is more important than any specific days
  • better breathing and better blood flow is better

For size (this is less tested, less validated):

  • use lifts that stretch the target muscle
  • do most of the work in the stretched portion; e.g., the first 1/4 partial rep
  • accelerate through every concentric
  • maintain constant tension
  • don’t kill your joints, so stay light
  • use a weight light enough for 10 reps and heavy enough you can’t do more than 30

Velocity stuff is useful because it creates simplicity. No maxing out. No AMRAP sets. No “estimating 1RMs to get percentages”.

Two rules: if the bar moves fast enough, increase the weight. If it doesn’t, don’t.

However, there’s lots of complexity on the route to simplicity.

I’m reading Easy Strength, the original one. Very different than the Omnibook. Also a stronger focus on the “strength to augment sports” theme.

Pavel’s rules:

  1. use a limited number of exercises
  2. lift 2-3 times a week
  3. keep the reps in the 1-5 range
  4. keep the volume around 10 reps per lift, or 6 when using singles
  5. rest approximately 5 minutes between sets, use relaxation and mobility drills while waiting
  6. train the 80-95% 1RM intensity zone, but always leave at least 1 or 2 reps
  7. go for a PR, but only a “sort of max”
  8. vary the intensity every workout using cycles or advance/retreat (this contradicts 6, right?)
  9. reduce volume by 1/2 to 2/3 “in season”
  10. finish the workout feeling stronger than when you started. Perfect reps only.

For 3:

Ten reps per workout […] is smack in the middle of the rep range recommended by Russian strength authorities like Ozolin, Medvedev, and Vorbyev: 3-6 sets of 2-3 reps

For 6:
The “problem” with 6, the 80-95% intensity, is it seems to be based off weightlifting data. Same criticism of Prilepin’s chart.

However, Pavel did get this from the Soviet Boxing Yearbook from Russian Boxer’s Max Strength Training.

I think it’s important to note that 5/3/1 is much lower, 60-70%. People who’ve run Dan John’s variants of Easy Strength have had success with 40-60%. Both are more “strength to augment athletics” focused, rather than “pure strength”.

Even with “pure strength”, Sheiko, too, is notably lower than 80-90%.

My explanation is simply that weightlifting requires higher intensity. Possible reasons have been debated elsewhere.

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Have I got 3 sentences for you…



I’m sure you’ll call me out on focusing a bit more on semantics than intent, but:

“Eat meat and eggs when hungry until no longer hungry. Spend 180 minutes a week picking something up off the floor and putting it over your head. Don’t repeat the same meal or workout twice in a row.”

From the back:

  1. I haven’t/don’t repeat a workout or meal twice in a row. I haven’t repeated the same workout twice in the last month. I barely even repeat a meal in any month. I 100% am with you on varying both of those.

  2. Even with my August’s time constraints, I managed a minimum of 150 minutes a week either lifting something up OR putting it over my head. Deadlifts, cleans, presses. Not a lot of both, together.

  3. I eat meat and eggs [and milk and rice and noodles and vegetables and seasoning]. When I’m hungry, and it’s not a mealtime, it’s time for another 24 ounces of milk. The majority of my diet – and the majority of hunger is met by – meat and milk. It’s just not limited to those.

The 4th sentence is “wait”, haha.



So many numbers and analysis in here it makes my head hurt.


This stuff is so light compared to my day job, lol. Some people doodle when bored, I apparently do math.


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