T Nation

Road to Ragnarok



12 Nov 18

Warm up- dynamic stretches, planche lean

Power clean from floor

Hang clean low pull 2x8@185
+Pendlay Row 2x8@185

Hang clean mid pull 1x6@185
Clean pull from floor 1x5@185

BB Row 2x8@185

Lat pulldown 3x8

Reverse hyper x15,10 (unweighted)


I’m in for this log. Always exciting for me to watch beginner martial artists start training.

Not to be a hot-shot, but I have over a decade of various styles under my belt (pun intended) and many many years of teaching, so lemme know if you ever want some advice.

Regarding the Power Look Program; if I can offer some advice, it would be to keep the assistance volume really, really low. CT can obviously touch on this better than myself, but I ran the whole thing and initially thought the volume was too low, but towards the end of it I was very glad of it. Just be conscious of how you’re feeling.


Hey man, welcome to the log! Don’t worry you didn’t come off as a hot shot at all, I’m always open to input from guys who have more experience than I do!

Yeah I’m thinking I’d better drop the rep range for the clean assistance for next week, the 4x8 was what CT recommended but that was based off it being Deadlift assistance, I think 8 reps is probably a bit too much for Oly stuff. Was pretty gassed by the end of it lol

Which martial arts do you practice man? Also how do you find balancing strength work with combat sports?



The 4x8 is doable, in my opinion (I think CT even has an article about higher-rep Olympic lift variations for size), it’s just all the extra stuff like lat pulldowns and the amount of hang clean variations you have. I would pick one variation as assistance, then rotate it to another during the different intervals of the program (like how it’s already laid out).

I used to practice Hapkido (basically Korean jiu-jitsu), then added BJJ, Muay Thai and modernized Silat (Indonesian close-quarters combat style) into the mix.

In terms of balancing strength work with martial arts, you need to figure out where your priorities lie. I’m terrible at balancing it myself, because I love strength work almost as much as the martial arts and in the past have added too much of both.

What I’ve found has allowed me to train both passionately, above all else, is managing my recovery and keeping excessive stress low (physical and mental). I also tend to follow what I call the “2:1 Rule”, which basically means that if I’m prioritizing my martial arts training for a period, my strength work can not exceed half the amount of time spent doing martial arts. Example: let’s say I spend a total of 5-6 hours during the week training. My strength work can not exceed HALF that amount of time (2.5-3 hours). Thus, a 2:1 ratio.

I also do stuff like make sure my workouts periodize going through light weeks, and I do the same with my martial arts training; I go hard in some sessions and other times I make sure to take a week of only technical training.

I’ll stop here, because I’m rambling now and this is probably turning into an essay.


Good call, I was really just playing around with the assistance for cleans yesterday to hash out what would work best for me going forward. I plan on just doing 1x clean assistance 1xrow on Mondays going forward. I think i’m gonna keep the pulldowns for now, there’s 2 heavy “push” focused days in the program and only 1 real “pull” day so I don’t want to end up with imbalances in the shoulder girdle. I hear what you’re saying though for sure.

That’s awesome dude! Is Silat the one that uses a lot of bladed weapons or am I thinking of the wrong one?

I’m in the same boat, really love the weights but that feeling I get when class finishes for the night and I’m absolutely battered is pretty addicting too haha. I’ll have to do some math and make use of that 2:1 rule you mentioned.

Thanks for all the advice man!


13 Nov 18

Shadow boxing/kick technique, tuck planche holds on paralettes and plyo pushups.

Bench Press
5x3 @185

DB full ROM Bench

CG Floor press with 1 sec pause at the bottom
4x8 @ 135

DB triceps extension 2x10 @30


Hey man, just found your log. Looks like good stuff. I’ll be following.

You asked this like two weeks ago, but I have a reverse hyper, and have found that about twice a week, maybe on your heaviest “spine-compressing” days, where you might squat, deadlift, Oly-lift, overhead press, or do Strongman stuff, do 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.

I’ve had success doing 4x8 with a weight, doing 3x12 with the same weight (later in the week), then raising the weight by 5-10 lbs and repeating it the next week. Kind of a linear progression type thing in a way.


Absolutely, the pulldowns were just an example. I haven’t looked at the Power Look program in a while but I’m pretty sure it’s an optional assistance exercise that’s recommended.

Yep, Silat uses both long and short blades, as well as single and double sticks, staff and open-hand. It emphasises patterns of movement that can be applied to both weapons and open-hand, so that in principle you can teach someone to fight very quickly (many people forget it was originally a warfare art).

Also; this. Really helped when I did that program. I went slightly higher rep, but that exercise is awesome.


Hey brother, welcome! Thanks for the solid advice for the reverse hypers, I’ll be sure to make use of that going forward! Do you practice any martial arts yourself?



Oh yeah definitely, if I’m not feeling it on a given day the bonus work will be the first thing to go!

I wish there was a place around me that offered some less well-known arts like Silat. Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe Silat is what Nightwing from the DC universe uses right? (I’m a big nerd for stuff like that)

Definitely on board with reverse hypers going forward, fell off a mountain in Colorado about 4 years ago and my back hasn’t been the same since, so hopefully it helps! Thanks again for the input man, much appreciated!


I think he uses Eskrima, which is basically the Filipino version of Silat.

Whereabouts do you live? Filipino martial arts are rather popular, and can usually be found in most large cities. Silat and Eskrima/kali have lots of similarities.


Ah gotcha, thanks!

I’m about 50km outside of Toronto, Canada. There are a few places that offer it downtown but it’s a bit of a drive and I don’t have much time between School and Work. Definitely something to think about if I ever end up working downtown though!


No I don’t, but I’d really really like to. There’s nothing combat related at all in my town, except for some Taikwondo offered to elementary age children at the YMCA. And I’m in the biggest town in the area. Have to drive 3-5 hours to get to anywhere bigger. So I don’t think I’ll be able to find any classes unless I moved when I’m older (I’m 19).

I don’t suppose there’s much you can do with zero experience at home? I have a punching bag that I occasionally mess around with, but I’d like to get better at boxing and learn some form of martial arts eventually.


Well I’m certainly not the most experienced by far when it comes to martial arts here, if I were in your shoes here’s what I would do:

  • You could reach out to the Taekwondo instructor and ask if he/she would consider training you one on one. Probably not super likely but worth a shot.

-Look up some boxing instructional videos on YouTube. Since you don’t have a coach I’d recommend taking some videos of yourself hitting the bag then watch it side by side with the YouTube vid so you can correct your form.

-If you’re planning on getting into any sort of grappling there’s a lot of “ground work “ you could do so at least your body is a bit better prepared when you start classes down the road. Knight BJJ and FightTips on YouTube have some good videos about that stuff.

Hope that helps man!


14 Nov 18

Front squat 5x3@185

Paused Front squat 2x8@135, 2x8@115

Split squat 1x8/leg @ 95

Had to get to my early morning class so only did one set of split squats. My wrists have really been bothering me lately so I switched from clean grip to “arms crossed” grip today. Moved a bit less weight than I wanted to but definitely felt my upper back was more involved. I think I’ve been over compensating by pushing up on the bar during clean grip front squats, so that’s probably why my wrists were so sore lol.


Have you ever tried this?

Doesn’t require the flexibility of the clean grip but (in my opinion) feels a lot more secure and sturdy than the cross grip.


I second using straps. When I first started front squatting and practicing cleans, I did all my front squats with straps. Really help me practice keeping my elbows up and upper back tight.


Yeah exactly. Really helps.

For what it’s worth, whenever I’ve had someone first start front squatting (which I always recommend learning how to do before cleaning), I teach them the “mummy style” or whatever it’s called. Have them hold their arms straight out. I feel it teaches them to support the barbell on their shoulders, and not become dependent on their wrists/arms to hold it up.

Once they reach like 75-95 lbs (just the general weight we stop with - kinda depends on how big the person is) with that, they would switch to a clean grip, and if that is not immediately available, we work on flexibility.

If no progress is made there, we’ll just use straps. Works good enough.

Just for anyone who’s wondering!


The term you’re looking for is “zombie” or “Frankenstein” squat.


Oh yeah that’s it. Thanks!