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Kdjohn: Physical Philosophy & Iron Insights

Just looked it up.
It actively makes you warm when “turned on”.
I assumed it was better insulation, hence my question.

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Damn I must be covered in the stuff then :joy:



2215hr start

Fat-grip 1-arm DB push press

  • 90x1/arm topset

Gonna drop the O-lifts for now in favour of pushing various fat-grip 1-arm presses; AKA ghetto circus DB. Strict press one day, push press another, and strict/push press/jerk on a third. It’s a nice way to get fired up for the session.

Bear hug keg carry w/ bottom grip

  • 6x40m @ 150

This carry is much harder than the high-low grip. You have to lean back more, which forces your posterior chain to work harder, and the keg is pressed against your body the entire time, which makes breathing much more difficult. The pick from the floor is also harder, as you have squat down and curl yourself around the keg.

Zercher deadlift

  • 220x5 topset
  • 2x5 @ 175

What a savagely primal exercise. I used to do this lift or full cleans, weighted dips and farmer’s carries for a while when training martial arts. I stopped doing it because perceived peer pressure got the best of me and I didn’t think it was an acceptable exercise. Fuck that noise! Squatting your body low, tucking a weight into your arms and grunting like an animal as you haul it off the floor is just so great. Gonna be a fantastic exercise for just getting brutally strong.

T-bar row

  • 175x12 topset
  • 150, 125, 100x12 drops

Holy back pump, Batman. I think I’ll keep this twice per week on carry days, then biceps on Progressive Pull and pressing days.

Additional notes:

  • Got to the end of Z. Deadlifts and my body was telling me there was enough juice left for either biceps or back, but not both, so I figured going ham on T-bar rows was a better choice. Like I said above, I’ll split biceps and additional back work into two different days, because more than 4 exercises on the carry days ends up being too much.

This looked like a phenomenal session. For that keg carry, I actually do TWO picks to get it into position. I’ll bear hug the keg to my lap, then lap it like a stone, squat REAL deep and wrap my arms around it as low as possible so I can carry the keg high up on my chest. Should work as a similar technique for the Hus stone.

Derek Poundstone used a one knee technique for a similar effect: this allowed him to grip the bottom of the stone

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Poundstone’s grip is essentially how I’m holding my keg, but both hands on the bottom. My short arms make properly bearhugging the keg a pain in the ass.

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You need to steal a lesson from stumpy and make a ring!



It’s hella tempting, but I don’t think I could live with myself if I relied on something like that when the time eventually comes, haha.

I’ve been studying how the stone looks from various angles from whatever photos I can find online, and I definitely don’t think pointy-side-down is gonna be the method. There’s a flatter corner that I’ll probably have on the ground, and grip it like I mentioned, similarly to Poundstone.

But that’s still years off.

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2215hr start

Fat-grip 1-arm DB press/PP/jerk

  • 70x3/90x2/100x1 topsets (each arm)

Bit messy on the push press on my left arm, because I was pushing the weight out more than up. I’ll correct it next time.

Incline bench

  • 150x7 topset

Wanted 8, but I was in my head and unfocused.


  • 100 total reps

Originally, I was going to do dropsets on the incline bench, but this felt like a better idea.

Alternating DB hammer curls

  • 50 total reps/arm @ 50

Arm strength has definitely improved, because these were actually pretty strict. Happy realization.

Additional notes:

  • I’ve been engaging in some “physical philosophy” over the last week and had some training epiphanies and re-epiphanies. Most notably: I like hitting big weight at low reps, and I like the “total reps” method. I’d rather employ the barbell for those low-rep goals, and mostly bodyweight and DB’s for the total rep method. Just trying to keep listening to my body so I can push hard and make gains.


0640hr start
4°C, partly cloudy


  • 1.5km warm-up
  • 5x90 sec/2.5 min; hard run/easy jog
  • 1.5km cool-down

This is a tapering week, so this felt downright easy. Good to have these lighter recovery weeks, though.


I miss those days of strongman.

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Training Thoughts.

Time for some self-indulgent training thoughts and monologuing!

I love the thought of being as unequivocally human as possible. Humans are unique beings that are still creatures dominated by our physical bodies, but also have immense cerebral abilities. We tend to swing towards focusing on the latter, but we ultimately can’t exist without our bodies. It’s important to train the mind, but the body needs to be equally looked after.

As this is a training site, I’ll just focus on the “physical philosophy” I’ve been toying with lately. I’ll preface this by saying my understanding of the nitty-gritty of human physiology is rudimentary, and is comprised of what I learned when I got my ACE personal training certification, bro science, and good ol’ physical intuition. I also like to draw on my experience as a martial artist and coach, because humans are at their most raw and primal when fighting. You can learn a lot about what it means to be “human” from fighting.

Part of this “unequivocal humanness” I look at is what we do with our bodies and how they were designed to move. I see two main things: 1) top-end strength, especially bilaterally, is used so infrequently, and is almost entirely reserved for those “life and death” moments; and 2) endurance, in all capacities, dominates the majority of our lives.

If I think about general “body part” breakdowns, I see these themes:

  • Pressing muscles are used for… very little. The only pressing muscles that are used with any regularity seem to be the shoulders, and most shoulder injuries appear to stem from overuse or a lack of stability. Otherwise, the only area that sees regular use of pressing muscles are fighting and throwing – and throwing could be seen as a subset skill involved in fighting. We seem to use our pressing muscles for short, powerful actions (think shoving something away or throwing something hard).
  • Pulling muscles are used very frequently, however. This includes both the back and biceps. Lifting and carrying appear to be the frequent uses of pulling muscles. Pulling muscles seem to be used either isometrically or highly repetitively when engaging in physical labour. Climbing something like a rope isn’t very common, as most climbing would be up rocks or trees. And in those scenarios, we would also naturally want to use our…
  • Legs, which are, in almost all scenarios, used unilaterally. Aside from the initial pick when lifting something, we employ one leg at a time, always repetitively, either in an endurance capacity (running, walking, climbing) or power capacity (sprinting, leaping, jumping). Aside from absorbing force from landing or decelerating, the legs are heavily used in concentric-only movements too.
  • Core/hips, in my opinion, work so closely in concert with each other I almost always link them. I think they, more than anything, bridge all three gaps of single-use power, isometric strength and endurance. Throwing, running, lifting – all rely on your core and hips, but in different capacities.

All that to say, this is the shit that excites me, and is what I want to centre my training around. Obviously the Hus is still the bedrock of my goals (as I think the ability to lift and carry a big-ass object the ultimate test of strength and ability), but everything else for me needs to be built around these principles.

Fuck the system.



2215hr start

1-arm DB press

  • Fat-grip press, 70x3/arm topset
  • Bent press, 85x1/arm topset

Forgot how unbelievably badass the bent press is. When you go heavy, it hits you EVERYWHERE; thighs, hips, back, core, and obviously shoulders. I want to push this lift a bit more.

Bear hug keg carry w/ bottom grip

  • 6x40m @ 150

This was below the threshold enough that I’ll add some additional sets, I think. Technique and speed are catching up to my strength.

Front squat/Back squat

  • 245/310x3 topset

Top-end strength has taken a bit of a nosedive. I’m also doing these after carries, and haven’t pushed heavy squats in a while, so it’s to be expected.

Barbell step-ups

  • 50 total reps (25/leg) @ 150, 00:05:15 time

Knee-height chair. This was horrible. Lungs burning, legs burning, back burning, making horrible sounds. Just brutal. Definitely doing it again. Goal will be sub 5 min.

T-bar rows

  • 50 total reps @ 100, untimed

Definitely need to add weight for this. Not nearly enough suck, and I forgot to time it.

Additional notes:

  • Hit the right notes here: the squats were a “get this up or you die” kinda suck, and the step-ups were a “get this done as fast as possible to make it stop” kinda suck.

I really like reading people’s thoughts on topics like this. Your “self-indulgent” posts are welcomed, haha. I’m not even the one having the thoughts but they make me excited to train.

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Glad you enjoyed it! I’ll always be self conscious about posting stuff like that because it feels egotistical, but the coach in me hopes that someone might stumble on it and get something useful out of it, so I post it anyways.

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Ah yes, the king of all lifts.

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2010hr start

Fat-grip DB bent press

  • worked up to 3x1/side @ 90

With improvements in technique and strength, I can see this becoming a monster lift.

Zercher carry

  • worked up to 5x40m @ 220

Full-cycle (deadlift to lap, squat up) pick. Forgot how much this sucks, but in the “I feel awesome” kinda way.

Double KB swing

  • 50 total reps @ 2x32kg (70lbs)

25/15/10 rep breaks w/ 10 breaths between. Felt these from my feet all the way to my head.

Additional notes:

  • 1-arm presses, carries, posterior chain work and biceps are gonna make up the majority of my strength work from now on. I really just don’t care about the rest of it right now. This is what motivates me and fires me up. Pulling a @ChongLordUno and just doing what I like feels great.
  • Mornings will rotate between steady-state runs, sprints/intervals + throwing, and ruck walks + hill climbs. I’ll do a 1-on-1-off schedule; the aforementioned work in the mornings (duh) and strength in the evenings. Days off will just be yoga before bed. Let’s be as human as possible.


2215hr start

Bear hug keg carry w/ bottom grip

  • 5x50m @ 150, 3 min rest
  • 2x40m @ 150, 2 min rest
  • 3x30m @ 150, 2 min rest

Adding an extra 10m really kicked my ass. Progression here will be trying to hit 10x50m @ 150, then reducing rest, then adding weight.

Hanging leg raise

  • 3x10 straight legs
  • 2x10 bent legs

Toes to bar on the straight legs, then knees to chest on bent legs.

Alternating DB hammer curl

  • 50 total reps/arm @ 50

Grip was failing before biceps here. When you start getting tired, this slowly creeps into a multi-joint movement, as your shoulders and traps try to assist in bringing the weight up.



I believe it’s good to talk about things that trouble your mind, especially for someone like me who has a tendency to let things get trapped in the mind and having a mountain of thoughts build up.

My mental health has been increasingly deteriorating as of late, for a number of reasons. I’ve contacted a counselling group about scheduling appointments, and am just waiting to hear back from them. So steps to heal are being taken.

I can always tell when I’m out of balance, because my mind and my soul are constantly at war with one another, to the point where it feels like there’s two separate identities inside my body fighting for control. On the one hand, my mind frets, second-guessing everything and trying to come up with contingency plans for every scenario. On the other hand, my soul struggles to assert what I know to be true and break the anxiety of my mind. I know my soul should lead, but the anxiety of my mind is just so overpowering at times.

It’s bled into training too. My mind worries about what “should” be being done, while my soul fights to push what lines up with my principles and desires.

I’ll just write out the frequent conversations that go on. It’s easier that way:

This isn’t the right way to train. We should be focusing on the Big Basics.

Right? What is “right”? There is no “right way” to train. Training fulfills a need. A desire. Do we desire to be great, or to be one of the masses?

But people only recognize stuff like big benches and squats. They care about a good physique and biceps and proportions.

And? Why put so much stock in what others care about. Are they your heroes? Are they who inspire you? Or would you prefer to bask in the glory of heroes like Heracles, or Milo of Croton, or more recent giants of strength like Arthur Saxon and George Hackenschmidt?

No one cares about them anymore, though. And those so-called “giants of strength” used obscure lifts that no one has any context for.

People will recognize greatness regardless of the source. If you can raise your bodyweight or greater above your head with one arm, or carry twice your weight over a distance, or throw a heavy object far, will people think you’re nothing? I think not. And again, why place stock in what others think? Achieve greatness for yourself and for those who matter to you. The masses should mean nothing.

But the methods being used might not work. What if we’re just spinning our wheels?

Hard work is what works. The body will adapt. If you can curl 75lbs for 75 reps, your biceps will grow. If you can carry twice your bodyweight, your back and legs will grow. If you can raise your bodyweight above your head with one arm, your entire body will grow. Attack the weights with the fire and intensity willed by the Iron Gods, and you will grow.


@kdjohn - Hey man, sorry if I missed something, but… All good in here?


Still around, amigo. Just flying under the radar at the moment.

Taking a bit of a break from logging on the internet. I came to the shocking and disappointing realization that I was subconsciously building my training around what I thought people on T-Nation would find cool, and what would garner likes. I’m embarrassed to say so.

I’m a very reward-driven person, fiercely competitive and can become obsessed with things, so it’s not all that surprising. Every little like was a hit of dopamine, and that shit can quickly become addictive especially with an obsessive personality like mine.

Not logging has led me to cut back on my T-Nation browsing in general, which had the added benefit of being on the web and thus my phone less, which has led me to becoming far more present for my kid, which was sorely needed. I didn’t realize how many of his signs and cues I was missing, which was leading to a significant amount of frustration on his part. Our relationship, and as a result his ability to interpret and respond to the world, has improved massively as a result. That gives me a greater high than any amount of likes.

All that to say, I’m still here, still training my ass off and still spying everyone’s log and encouraging you guys from up North. Just doing it quietly.