This Basic Pistol 2 class at KR Training was typical in most ways, but atypical in a very significant one.
Sold out class. Wide variety of folks. One thing that was cool was seeing a lot “pairs”, be it husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, or father and son. Had a fair number of those in this class, and it was nice to see folks strengthening relationships this way.
For the most part, it was a typical Basic Pistol 2 class. Safety, fundamentals, working on sights and trigger, the “press-out”.
What was atypical? The sheer variety of guns. The past some years we’ve seen consolidation towards Glock, M&P, XD/XDm. You get the occasional Sig or 1911, or random other thing. This class was pretty wide across the board. What struck me the most was the sheer number of DA/SA style guns, like Beretta PX4′s and Beretta 92′s. Normally we don’t have to talk much about “guns with a decocker” or the realities of working with DA/SA guns (other than “avoid them”), but we had to make extra effort to work with it in this class. One lady had a P226 DAK, which was a long heavy but at least consistent pull; oddly, she didn’t struggle much with the gun (typically not the case).
We also had a few cases of the opposite gun-fit problem. Whereas normally the problem is small hands with large gun, we had a few cases of large hands and small guns. For example, one gentleman had a fine Springfield 1911, but his hands were so big that the controls didn’t always work. He would press the trigger and the gun wouldn’t go bang; turns out just the way things were with his hands vs. the grip wound up with the grip safety not being fully depressed. We lent him one of Karl’s double-stacked STI’s and an instant world of difference.
The big take-home? Equipment matters. Your equipment can and will influence your ability to shoot. It will affect your skill, both in a good way and a bad way. Sure, you can master a DA/SA trigger press (look at Ben Stoeger), but do you have the time and dedication to do so? Lend someone an M&P or a Glock and after a few shots to get used to the improved trigger (vs. their DA/SA) and it’s a world of difference and improvement.
That little gun you bought for concealed carry? You can’t get your hands on it, you cannot manipulate and shoot it. How useful will that be if you have to use it to defend yourself? Yes, most people can conceal a full-sized pistol without much problem (with the right holster, etc.). There is a place for small guns, but when you are just starting out, when you are just learning to shoot, get a full-sized gun. Learn to shoot well first, then learn to master the little gun later.
Don’t get married to your equipment – it’s just steel and plastic. Work to find the right gun that fits you and you can shoot well; a gun that doesn’t get in your way, that you don’t have to fight. Here’s helpful guide. You will shoot better with the right equipment.
The following is a copy/paste of an email from the Texas State Rifle Association giving an update on how gun-related bills fared in this past Texas legislative session.
Governor Perry Signs All Gun Bills
Last Thursday, Governor Perry added conservative issues to the last two weeks of the Special Session but the list did not include gun-related bills. While this is disappointing, all the pro-gun bills passed during the regular session have now been signed into law and will take effect September 1st. The list includes some major streamlines for concealed handgun licensees.SB 1907 by Sen. Glenn Hegar/ Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt allows CHL-students to have firearms in their personal locked vehicle when parked on a private or public university or college parking lot. A CHL-student could not be prosecuted but they were subject to the rule-making authority of the school and could be expelled. Passed and signed by Governor Perry.
SB 299 by Sen. Craig Estes/Rep. Kenneth Sheets provides language to clarify the unintentional display of a firearm by a concealed handgun licensee. The language changed from “failure to conceal” to “intentional display of a weapon in a public place” when force or deadly force is not authorized. Passed and Signed by Governor Perry
SB 864 by Sen. Donna Campbell/Rep. Dan Flynn reduces the number of hours for the initial CHL class. The bill does not touch the required materials, the written test, or firearm proficiency exam. Range qualification is still in place but no counts toward the required hours. Passed and Signed by Governor Perry
HB 48 by Rep. Dan Flynn/Sen. Donna Campbell creates in statute a process for renewing your CHL online without taking a renewal class. Passed and Signed by Governor Perry 6/14/13
HB 698 by Rep.Springer/Sen. Craig Estes requires access to digital fingerprinting not more than 25 miles from the applicant’s residence and is limited to counties with a population of 46,000 or less. This is specific to rural Texans who are forced to drive hundreds of miles for digital fingerprinting. Passed and Signed by Governor Perry 6/14/13
HB 3142 by Rep. Cecil Bell, Jr./Sen. Craig Estes repeals the SA/NA designation for the CHL license. No more gun categories. Passed and Signed by Governor Perry 6/14/13
HB 1421 by Rep. Perry/Sen. Craig Estes provides law enforcement agencies an option in statute to sell confiscated firearms to a federal firearm dealer (FFL) instead of destroying. After the cost of the sale and any other related charges, funds could stay with that law enforcement agency. Passed and Signed by Governor Perry
HB 333 by Rep. Guillen/ Sen. Hinojosa requires hotels and motels to provide advance notice if they prohibit firearms. Passed and Signed by Governor Perry
Check out more bill status at www.tsrapac.com or check directly at the state site www.legis.state.tx.usPlease help rebuild the PAC!~. Political Action Committee funds help pro-gun candidates. We need to support those who support us. Go towww.tsra.com or call 512-615-4200. Make a donation, join the association or up-grade your membership.Keep the Faith,
Some of my comments:
SB 1907 – baby steps
SB 299 – I think the intent of the law was always clear, but it’s nice to have it explicitly clear.
SB 864 – I have some mixed emotions here, but I think the end it doesn’t matter much. There’s no change to curriculum or requirements, merely accounting. The way it was made for a long day often with much filler and ways to meet the required hours. Now things can be more direct, concise, with less time wasted on everyone’s part. There will always be someone willing to abuse this tho, so vet your instructors carefully.
HB 48 – it’s good to embrace the Internet
HB 698 – reduction in burden is always good.
HB 3142 – good. This was silly.
HB 1421 – options are good
HB 333 – good. A little annoyed at the hassle, but hopefully winds up making things better for everyone in the end.
In a lot of ways, what I’m happy about is how these new laws remove things that didn’t make a lot of sense. It’s not really adding, it’s taking away, and that I can deal with.
Finally, if you like these laws, then you should be a member of the TSRA and support the TSRA-PAC. These laws don’t just magically happen. Yes, the NRA gets all the press and likes to take all the glory here, but Alice Tripp deserves so much of the credit for her work to make these things happen. If you are a Texas resident, if you appreciate and benefit from the laws of this state, show your support. (disclosure: I am a Life Member of the TSRA, and only “lobby” for their support because it’s one way I can add my voice to the legislative process… and you can too).
Front squats. Interesting….
Wendler 5/3/1 program, cycle 20, week 4
- Work Set – Front Squat
- 2x5x45 (warmup)
- Assistance – Leg Extensions
- 3 x 15 x 30
- Work Set – Bench Press (working max: 240#)
- 2x5x45 (warmup)
- Assistance – DB Rows
- 3 x 10/10/25 x 45
- Foam Rolling
So this front squat thing. Yeah… curiousity is getting the best of me. I figured I would try it and see. Go really light, see how technique would go, etc.. What’s the harm on a deload week.
No question… my quads feel it more. I also went VERY deep, so I am feeling it in my glutes and hams a bit too, but not really in my lower back.
I don’t know. I might actually dump the leg extensions in favor of a few front squats. So squat, pause squat, then front squat light for like 3×10 or something. It’s mostly an effort to find the technique, the groove, know what I can do in really good form (esp. staying upright).
Otherwise, it was just a simple deload day. Keep it light and simple.
I know. Lots of posting about lifting things up and putting them down.
Not enough posting about shooty goodness.
Mainly, I’ve been busy and finding time to write has been difficult.
But I have been working on a deeper and longer article about “minimum competency” regarding defensive pistol skills. That’ll be posted soon, and probably in parts to make it more consumable. So, fret not.
It’s been over 2 years since I started going to the gym, but it’s been just over 2 years since I started on strength training programs. I started with Rippetoe’s Starting Strength (well, closer to a Practical Programming Novice program), hung on that for about 2 months, then switched to Wendler 5/3/1. I just finished up my 20th cycle on 5/3/1. So how do things look?
On my first day(s) of the PP/SS program, I worked my way up to:
Squat– 105 x 5
Bench – 115 x 5
Deadlift – 135 x 5
Press – 65 x 5
About a year ago I finished cycle 10 with these numbers (some were PR’s, some not):
Squat – 250 x 4
Bench – 205 x 6
Deadlift – 315 x 6
Press – 140 x 6
At the end of cycle 20 of 5/3/1 2 years later:
Squat – 295 x 3
Bench – 230 x 2
Deadlift – 380 x 3
Press – 155 x 3 (set on cycle 19)
And all those numbers are true PR’s, the best/most I’ve ever lifted in my life. Not too bad I reckon. If you look at some strength standards I’m pretty much in line with where I should be… tho my squat still needs work.
That’s one thing that gets me. My squat. I used to hate it, fear it, and it caused one of my worst plateaus around 230# (what caused me to move off Rippetoe and onto Wendler, and even then). Now? Well, I’m still not saying I love squatting, but I can say that the day before I hit that 295×3 I was so excited and looking forward to the gym like never before. I was looking to crush that weight, not letting it crush me. 295 for a triple is happy.
Am I meeting my goals? I think so. My primary goal is to get stronger, and it would seem I’m doing that. My larger goal along this path is to have a 1000# total. And while on paper my calculated 1RM’s are almost there, again, that doesn’t matter. I want to MOVE that weight. I’m also not worrying about 1RM’s, so if it’s the weight I used for a triple or whatever, then so be it. Yes it takes me longer to get there, but I’ll be even stronger for it. I did want to hit 1000# by the end of 2013, but I’m skeptical if I’ll make it, just doing the simple math. But that’s OK, because I’ll get close and so long as I’m progressing well… then I’ll get there eventually. What probably makes more sense is for me to not look at the calendar year but training year, which would probably be “June to May” given when I started.
I am figuring I won’t make it before the end of 2013 because I’m slowing down. I’m not knocking out the rep PR’s. I’m backing off to prescribed reps only (tho I’ll allow myself some fun on 5/3/1 days). I’m getting beat up. I do feel better by scaling back, but a reset is likely to happen sooner or later and yes, that does drop down the total, thus I am suspecting 1000 in 2013 won’t happen. But again, that’s alright so long as I continue to make good progress.
The thing is, all of this is coming to a head. Am I still on the right path? I’ve been reading more Brandon Lilly, Dan Green, and other such guys. Cube Method is very interesting to me. Even the fact I ran a 5/3/1 cycle twice with the 2nd being for rep PR’s is alright for me (Clint Darden was even recommending such things). I’m reading more about how the strongest guys like Kaz or Ed Coan did a lot more rep work, like heavy work on 6-10′s, 5′s and triples, rarely going for singles unless peaking for a meet. There’s no question I have more muscle mass than ever before, but is it enough to sustain me? Do I need to gain more?
There’s a saying that the best program is the one you’re not doing. I originally took that to mean a “your program sucks” type of thing. And while perhaps it could mean that, it can also mean that nothing works forever. That perhaps I need a change.
My programming has been centered around 5/3/1 with mostly a “Boring But Big” approach. I have been experimenting with assistance work, but I’m really not at a point of having weak points or really being able to determine what they are; thus, assistance work tends to be ‘whatever’ which is why BBB works out (just keep moving and getting bigger). But I am starting to understand a few things, like I am pretty sure I need more quad work to get my squat numbers up there. And I’m finding that some higher-rep work and a little more of it on assistance stuff is good to my body overall. So I’m not really following any particular Wendler-made template, more following principles.
But I think about how a reset could be a blessing in disguise, doing more heavy rep work, working up more. I even see how in many respects what I do with 5/3/1 isn’t that different from Cube… but I see where there are differences and how it could benefit me. I’m not sure I want to go to the Cube Method just yet, but I am very interested in it.
I do think I need some more bodybuilding work in my assistance efforts. And while the past some whiles I’ve been trying stuff like 100-rep work, that’s been very beneficial for me, especially on the kinesthetic front. But I want to get heavier… 12-20 reps sort of thing, 3-4 sets, no more than 60 seconds between sets, etc.. try to get 50-75 total “heavy” reps instead, build more mass, hopefully that will carry over.
I just want to be a little less beat up, but keep on the road to 1000. I really don’t want to change my plan too much. But I do find myself being less dogmatic about 5/3/1 and sticking more to principles. I guess after 2 years of it, constant reading and rereading, and learning as much as I can… yeah, you start to figure it out on the deeper and more important levels. But there is something to be said for starting out with a very specific plan, sets, reps, percentages, templates. I think some vets forget what it was like to be a beginner and get annoyed at such questions. I can see how it gets important to move beyond that, but beginners need to start somewhere and I think Jim gets that in his presentation of his program. I think I’m moving a little beyond it, but not quite there yet. That may be part of why I’m intrigued by Cube but not ready to go there yet.
So what’s going forward?
Primary goal remains strength. Secondary, mass building. Tertiary goal, keeping my fat levels in check. I don’t want to get lean, but I don’t need to blimp out either. Because when I hit 1000#, I am going to shift to fat shedding as the primary goal. What that program will be remains to be determined when I get to that point. For now, onwards to 1000.
My workouts going forward will probably be like this:
Squat because that’s what you do. Pause squats because they seem to be the best thing for fixing “out of the hole” issues for raw squatters, and I’ve only done them one cycle and would like at least a couple more to see what they do for me; I’ll continue on the same 3 sets of 3-5 reps at moderate percentages (per Paul Carter’s suggestions). Leg extensions because I want to see about building my quads up more. They will be 12-15 reps, focused on extending the knee purely by contracting the quads, squeeze at the top, etc. (not about weight, about muscle). I suspect down the road pause squats and extensions will be replaced by front squats. Based on what I see in my squats and deadlifts, I’m suspecting I need some quad work. Planks for the abs, and they are a LOT more friendly on my elbows than some other ab work I’ve been doing.
Funny thing. While I was composing this, I read a posting in the Facebook Cube group. Someone was posting the results of their mock meet and they had a rather large disparity between squat and deadlift (small squat, big deadlift). Hrm, that looks familiar. A knowledgable person posted what I’ve been suspecting: quad weakness is attributed to such a thing. Solution? Deep front squats for sets of 8-12 reps. Heh.
I think I will stick with what I’m doing a little bit more tho, just because pause squats are kinda cool and I’d like to see what they do for me.
Incline DB Press
Bench is the main movement. Incline DB’s because I’ve read enough about DB work and incline work to convince me to try these as a way to build a little more mass, have more range of motion, and just overall improve for this movement. I think my shoulders will benefit too. I’ll do them heavy-ish, like 6-10 reps. DB rows will be Kroc-style, 2×10 to warm up, then 1 last set repping out. If I can hit 25 reps, time to increase the weight. JM Press and Face Pulls appear to have been helpful to me, but whereas before I was doing 100 reps straight, I’m going to break it down now to something like 3 sets, 12-20 reps, appropriately “heavy” weight.
That’s all for this. Deadlift. Then hypers for like 12-20 reps 3-5 sets. And side bends for about the same. I’m finding that the combo of hypers and side bends really knock the crap out of my erectors. So I’ll keep this combo up for a little while and see how it goes for me.
Press is the main movement. Then do more pressing, but like 5 sets 6-10 reps; I just can’t think of a good replacement but why? This seems to really hit my shoulders well so long as I ensure I press fully, head comes forward, etc.. Side laterals because I do want to see if I can boost my medial delts a bit. Rope pressdowns for like 3 sets 12-20 to hit my triceps (rope works well, since I can then twist the wrist a bit for more squeeze). And hammer curls are just a favorite.
Generally speaking, striving for prescribed reps tho on 5/3/1 week I can try for up to 3 more if I really feel it. Work otherwise to get some reps at heavier weights, build muscle, get stronger.
And 1000 will eventually be mine.
Failed to PR, but I think I have a setup that may help me avoid the dizzy spells.
Wendler 5/3/1 program, cycle 20, week 3
- Work Set – Press (working max: 160#)
- 2x5x45 (warmup)
- 1x5x120 (work)
- Assistance – Press
- 5 x 10 x 85
- Assistance – Lat Pulldowns
- 4 x 15 x 95
- Assistance – Lateral Raises
- 3 x 15/12/12 x 15
- Assistance – Rope Pressdowns
- 3 x 20/15/12 x 30
- Assistance – Hammer Curls
- 3 x 15/12/12 x 20
Straight up, I failed to PR. I repeated the weight from last cycle and there I got 3 reps, here I got 2. But something cool happened.
When I started to warm up, I didn’t intend to do this but it just happened and I went with it. I am working to find better set-ups for each lift, and I’m getting pretty close to a good setup for deadlift. It was really good a couple days ago, so I guess fresh off that I was inspired to hit that today. Walk up to the bar, stand there, relax, let my weight drop. Well, I placed my hands on the bar, tightened up, deep breath and hold… and the dizzy started. But this time, I didn’t unrack the bar. I just left the bar in the rack, but stayed tight with my breath held, let the dizzy pass, kept tight, new breath, then unracked the bar and went. It wasn’t perfect, I need to still get timing on it (can’t wait too long, but gotta wait some), but I was sure a lot more stable. The downside is that I’m sitting there holding a tight isometric hold for what feels like 10-ish seconds, and I wonder if that’s taking a rep out of me? I felt on the last 2-3 sets that I just didn’t have it in me. In fact, on the final set I started and couldn’t get the bar up more than half way!! I re-shouldered it, fresh breath, retightened, and cranked out 1 rep… hated only getting 1 so I ground out a 2nd.
I think I need to work on it, finding the right time to “recover” from the ‘dizzy’ feeling, but well… if this helps me work it, then so be it. I’ll keep at it.
One interesting other thing that happened then during the assistance pressing was of course I continued to work on the exact same setup, but I would find on the last 3 sets on the last some reps, it got tough and I felt a tightening in my torso like never before to keep things going.
So you know…. I didn’t PR, but I still think I progressed.
Do you take any sort of supplement?
Whatever. We all like to ingest things beyond straight food in hopes it will help improve things for us. It could be our mental alertness, our physical strength, our general well-being, longevity, stave off disease, and the list goes on.
Trouble is, is the supplement you’re taking actually doing something? other than emptying your wallet, that is.
It’s hard to know. It’s hard to find useful information presented in a consumable manner (that doesn’t require you to be a scientist).
A few weeks ago I found examine.com and it’s a collection of research and information about all sorts of supplements (and nutrition). I like that they give the names, other names, how to take it, what it can mix with, what it won’t mix it, warnings, issues, what studies have actually found. I like the use of a matrix as a visual tool to help you scan for information. It’s really well-done and put together.
I also appreciate that if you go to their about page, you see pictures and bios of the people behind it. It’s not just another nameless, faceless website, but people standing behind it to try to actually make something solid and respectable.
Anyways… give it a try. It seems to be a good resource.
And yes… most of the stuff you can buy at GNC? You’re wasting your money.
PR… and that’s enough.
Wendler 5/3/1 program, cycle 20, week 3
- Work Set – Deadlift (working max: 395#)
- 1x5x160 (warmup)
- 1x5x300 (work)
- 1x3x380 (PR)
- Foam Rolling
I’ve been feeling so beat up, I decided it put everything into the main lift then go home. No assistance work today.
Working up to the PR was interesting.
First, I do think I’m getting a ritual down for deadlift that’s working out pretty well for me. To set up and get to the bar. Refined it a bit more today, and it’s working well. Really helping my bar path and how my body “unwinds” as I stand up.
As I warmed up, I was thinking “gosh, the weights are heavy today”. Bad sign. Don’t do that because then yes, they will be heavy. Just lift.
When I did 340, my grip was dying. That really bothered me because there’s no reason for it to. I figure it was because I was gripping much harder and more securely on all the other sets, maybe they were tiring out? I don’t know, but it really bugged me. I wondered if I would be alright for the 380 (true PR, never lifted that much weight before, ever). I thought for a moment about wrapping my wrists, but no… why? this isn’t a competition. This is training, and if I miss I miss. And to help me not miss, grip harder! Plus I figured alternating grip on the last set would help some too (I always grip double-overhand, except on the last set I alternate).
I took a light whiff of ammonia, and yeah… I am starting to see how that works. I was so in the zone, so focused… I hit the bar and the 380 flew up. Now, in my effort to keep it to prescribed reps, 1 is all I need. But I felt VERY good and just kept going. I tell myself “no more than 3″ and I stuck to that. I did feel like I could have gotten 1-2 more (2 would have been a grinder). So this is all good.
I really felt good about this PR. And that was enough.
I was debating if I should go up 5 or 10 pounds on both squat and deadlift next cycle. This clinched it: 10.
Black Sabbath’s new album “13″ is released today.
They have a proper video for the first single, “God is Dead?”
Last week they streamed the core of the album (no bonus tracks) on iTunes. My buddy “W” and I listened to it and came to a basic conclusion:
This doesn’t sound like Black Sabbath. It sounds like Ozzy Osborne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and that drummer from RATM (no offense to Brad). Or maybe “Black Sabbath, featuring Ozzy Osborne”. Something just didn’t feel right. Sure, the riffs are awesome, Tony and Geezer are legendary. But somehow the whole thing just didn’t feel together; like there was something missing. I think it’s vocals — it sounds like Ozzy singing, not John. I can’t totally fault that of course, but it’s the reality of how it feels. And while Brad Wilk is certainly a good drummer, he’s not Bill Ward. Brad is very technically sound, but Bill’s got this laid back “just behind the beat” groove and feel. They’re just different drummers and it’s not the same without Bill behind the kit.
I read that Rick Rubin had the guys listen to their first album again, an attempt to recapture that moment. Maybe that’s the problem? Trying to recapture magic from 40+ years ago — that’s difficult, because people change, life is different. I do think they did a fair job at it, because much of the album does sound “like old Sabbath” (i.e. first 3–5 albums, depending how you look at it). The song “Zeitgeist” instantly reminded me of “Planet Caravan”. But yet, the sound also comes across like a band with musicians that have been around for 40+ years, so technique and sound and interests and everything has changed. Or maybe because there’s an overt effort to make a particular sound, that it’s trying too hard? I don’t know.
Overall I do like the album, and I’m sure it’s going to go to #1 and be considered the best album of 2013… but I’m wondering how much of that is because truly it’s a good album, or because of the hype and legend around it? Sure, I pre-ordered my copy. Yes it’s freshly installed on my iDevice to listen to on endless loop while working today. But I’m just not sure it’s worthy of being hailed as their finest and best work. Maybe 3.5 out of 5 stars.
But I’m thankful for it, because it’s one more round of riffage from The Father… and that answers the question: no God (Iommi) isn’t dead.