The Chaos And Pain Revolution

Giving you front row seats to the dawn of a new world.

Throwback Thursday: The Apex Predator Diet, Part 1

Posted on: June 25th, 2015 by chaosandpain No Comments

An Explanation of Throwback Thursday

It occurred to me recently that over the 6 years I’ve been writing for the public, I’ve put out nearly 500 articles.  That’s a lot to sift through.  As such, I thought it might be prudent to repost some of my articles with some extra editing to provide people who’ve never read them the opportunity to do so, and for the newer fans of Chaos and Pain to catch up on what they missed.  Given that my diet was the thing that put my on the map (outside of my former powerlifting world record), I’d start with my diet: The Apex Predator Diet.  Thus, without further adieu, I give you the APD.


Who doesn’t want to be as hard as a Wolverine?

An Overview of the Apex Predator Diet

The Apex Predator Diet is a at its core a cyclical ketogenic diet, not unlike those I’ve supported in the past.  On this diet, you’ll be doing ketogenic (keto) dieting on 30 grams of carbohydrates or less per day for 5-6 days a week (or more, depending on your bodyfat levels).  During the non-carb days, you’ll be consuming 1-2 meals of fatty, preferably bone-in meat per day, supplemented by 5-7 low carbohydrate protein shakes.  The other day or two are referred to as “Rampage” days, during which time you’ll replenish your glycogen stores and satisfy your desire to wreck pizza and cookies.


The Tomohawk Steak.  My vote for most anabolic substance on Earth

The reasoning behind this methodology of dieting is that I found protein-sparing modified fasts like the T-Nation’s Velocity Diet gave me just enough energy to put in a workout that would embarrass an undergraduate girl trying to drop her freshman 15 before going to the beach to pick up guys over the summer- I was truncating my workouts horribly and thinking about nothing more than committing hara kiri out of shame.  Thus, I did some research and discovered those diets are really only suited to the morbidly obese and people who suck at lifting weights, rather than people trying to be so insanely superhuman they make Superman seem like a shiftless, impotent, weaksauce layabout by comparison.  As such, I experimented with a variety of evening meals and finally settled upon beef ribs and bone in steaks, which are eminently satisfying, calorically dense, and restorative in ways you cannot possibly imagine.


Arthur Saxon didn’t count calories to become the strongest man on Earth, he just ate a couple of pounds of meat at every meal.

This diet, though similar to many you’ve likely seen, is vastly superior (if you’re training hard 4+ times a week) to existing frameworks for a couple of reasons:

First, my macronutrient percentages are different.  Conventional wisdom on the cyclical ketogenic diet (CKDs) is that 65-75% of your calories should come from fat.  Ridiculous.  According to my biggest fan on Earth (sarcasm rules), Lyle McDonald, “when subjects are told to limit carbohydrate intake but to consume “unlimited” quantities of protein and fat, they automatically limit caloric intake and consume between 1400 and 2100 calories.”(Ketogenic Diet 101).  I don’t give a damn who you are- that nonsense is not going to support heavy training unless the lifter competes at 114lbs.  Not only is that a caloric intake suitable only to the Olson twins and 19th Century hunger artists, but at the macros suggested by the gurus, you’re not getting nearly enough protein, either.


Let’s do the math:
2100 total calories – 1470 fat calories = 630 calories / 4 calories per gram of protein = 157.5 grams of protein.

The protein shakes I needed to get up to 200 lbs have more calories in them than that, and I mix them in water, not milk.  The Predator Diet is much higher calorie count (3000+), most days, with 50-60% of your calories coming from protein and the remainder from fat.


Second, I cycle calories.  For those of you who are not already incredibly lean, calorie cycling kicks in to keep your metabolism humming.  I’ve not seen another CKD or Traditional ketogenic diet (TKD) that tinkers with calories in this way to accelerate fatloss, which is weird, because…


Third, it’s insanely easy.  One of the things I see people constantly blabbering on about with the Intermittent Fasting diet is how easy it is to not eat for half the day.  I guarantee you it takes no more time to make a shake than it does to make a cup of coffee, and those goofballs must be chugging coffee like Hummers guzzle gas if they’re not eating.  As such, their collective argument is as silly as the Predator Diet is anabolic.


 This is what catabolism looks like.  Well, extreme catabolism, at least.


Fourth, it’s crazy anabolic.  Though you’re operating in a caloric deficit for the majority of the day, you’re getting a constant influx of protein to stave off muscle catabolism, and the high fat meats at the end of the day provide saturated fat and cholesterol, both of which boost testosterone levels, which in turn increase aggression, which in turn makes you tear shit up in the gym, making your system even more anabolic.  Basically, you become a perpetual-motion machine of badassery.


 And this wasn’t even my leanest competition- it was just the last one in which I squatted over 600 without wearing a belt.


Fifth, you’re not insane with hunger at all times.  When hungry, “people tend to conserve energy rather than expend it.”(Russell 148)  That’s definitively not a good thing if you’re training hard, especially if you’re dieting for a competition and/or training twice a day.  I used this diet to cut for all of my meets and ended up on the underside of 7% bodyfat, making my water cut easier, increasing my strength to weight ratio, and allowing me to be insanely ripped while breaking a 40 year old world record in powerlifting.


Sixth, you have planned, insane, gluttonous cheat meals.  These serve a variety of purposes, and they match the occasional gorge of a predator nicely.

Because I realize experimentation is scary for most people, I assure you I’ve already done plenty of experimenting, I’ve got four basic permutations of this diet- Fatass; Sort of a Fatass, Lean; Crazy Lean; and Athletes and Italians.  The first three are fairly self-explanatory, and will be broken out by bodyfat percentage (see explanation below).  The last is because I get a lot of emails from people whining about pre-and post-workout carbs.  They’re of the opinion that they’re indispensable, though I would dispute that opinion.  For those ladies out there who absolutely must have your carbs or you will turn into a raging ball of hormone-fueled fury, laying waste to everything in your path as you make for the counter at Auntie Annie’s in the mall, this should suit your purposes nicely as well.

The bodyfat percetages below will be men; women, followed by the bodytype according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE).  Note: I had a chart for this, but I was told to make it safe for work, meaning no f-bombs, so the chart disappeared and I changed the names of the diets somewhat.

Fatass: 18+%; 25+%; Average

Sort of a Fatass: 9-17%; 19-24%; Athlete-Fitness

Lean: <8%; <18%; Athlete

Crazy Lean: 2-5%; 10-15%; Essential Fat

Note: There is no bodyfat percentage for the Italians and Athletes, but I’d recommend <15% and <21% for those.  It’ll be explained why later.

Werewolves- the ultimate apex predators?

Components of the Apex Predator Diet

Before we get into the finer points of the diet, let’s cover a couple of basics- food and supplement choices.  The reason why I’ve christened this diet the Apex Predator Diet is due to the awesome food choices you’ll be making.  Nowhere will you find bland, tasteless, rubbery bullshit like chicken breasts and steamed broccoli.  On this diet, you won’t even need utensils most of the time, because your food should come with a built-in handle- bone.  Bone is an integral part of meat, and ripping an animal’s flesh off its bones with your teeth is a primal, visceral, ethereal act that stands in stark defiance to modern life and harkens to a time when men were men and women appreciated real men, in addition to being tougher than most of the “men” you see waddling their sloppy asses around the mall these days.  As such, it would stand to reason that if we want to regain that former glory, strength, and aggressive awesomeness we had in times past, we should eat like our forebears.


For those of you who are staring, incredulous, at that statement, consider the following:

“The connection between flesh and bone is primordial and fundamental.  Yet today, bones have fallen out of favor.  We are all familiar with the expression, ‘The nearer the bone the sweeter the meat,’ but we demand everything precut and prepackaged, and that is, increasingly, all we can buy.  Our world is full of recipes for boneless, skinless (and often tastless pieces of meat, chicken, and fish, and we can scarcely recognize whole fish or birds.  We have become so obsessed with ease of preparation and speed that we have lost touch with the visceral appeal of cooking with- and eating- bones.” (20  McLagan)


They understood this, because they were stronger, smarter, and tougher than the lot of us.

“There is a universal understanding that bones and meat are inseparable.  Yiddish: Bones without meat are possible, meat without bones is not possible.  Hebrew: There is no such thing as boneless meat.  Greek: Meat is sold with bones. Norwegian: He who buys the meat has to take the bone with it.  English:  Bones bring meat to town.  He who eats the meat let him eat the bones.  You buy the land you buy the stones: you buy the meat you buy the bones.”(119 Bones)


What heaven used to look like to most of mankind


Eating boneless meat is thus not only effete, ridiculous, artificial, and offensive to the soul of the slaughtered animal, but it’s fucking stupid.  Bone in meat tastes better and is healthier, as cooking it in that fashion “enables the bone nutrients to infuse into the meat, imparting wonderful flavors”(Shanahan) in addition to added nutrients.  After you’ve cooked it that way, you eat it with your hands, as your primal ancestors did, using the bones as the handles for bearing meat to your mouth as they were damn well intended.  Eating becomes more satisfying because you’re restoring the tactile sense in your hands to the process of eating.  As such, it becomes a richer, more natural, more intimate experience and produces greater satiety as a result.  As one probably hot hippie put it,

“eating with your hands gives you a deeper sense of your food, because you are bringing more sense receptors to the table. Temperature and texture become more profound when you can feel them on your fingers first, and the experience of consumption is extended even longer for a more pleasurable process.”(Urban)

Worried about a mess on your hands?  Buy some goddamned Wet Ones and be glad you have fewer dishes to do.  Also, toughen up.

Additionally, you’re going to be consuming an assload of low-carb, blended source protein shakes, multivitamins, EFAs, and fatburners, and will try to mix in some offal if at all possible.  I’ll get into all of that good stuff in the next installment, however, leaving you with the fact that offal tastes absolutely awful (puns abound!), so I generally just take a boatload of multis.


So tune in next Thursday for the next edition of Throwback Thursdsay, when I’ll cover the APD for fatasses.


McDonald, Lyle.  Ketogenic Diet.

McLagan, Jennifer.  Bones: Recipes, History, and Lore.  New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2010.

Russell, Sharmen Apt.  Hunger: An Unnatural History.  New York: Basic Books, 2005.

Shanahan, Cate.

Urban, Shiloh.  “Eat With Your Hands.”

Cannibal Alpha PCT

Posted on: June 22nd, 2015 by chaosandpain No Comments


For those of you who don’t know about it, Cannibal Alpha’s been changed to Cannibal Alpha PCT, and it’s got a whole new formula.  We realized that having a PCT (post cycle therapy) would be more important than having a mild herbal test booster, especially with our introduction of SARMS.  That’s not to say the previous version was shitty- we just changed the end goal so we could match our market.  Cannibal Alpha PCT’s main ingredient is Arimit, which is bascially two semi useful ingredients wrapped around a super powerful one- Arimistane.  Arimistane (Androst 3,5-dien-7,17-dione) is an anti-estrogen like Lex Luthor is anti-Superman.  It kicks serious ass.  And the best part?  Not only does it increase testosterone, but is suppresses estrogen production.  It’s seriously strong, and it rules.  Though it sounds like a pharmacological compound, it’s actually a natural metabolite of 7 Keto DHEA that exists in the body. The results it gives?  More muscle mass, better recovery, decreased fat storage, and increased libido.  Yeah, it’s that awesome- you’ll harden up in the midsection and the nether regions, recover your natural test levels, and just generally kick ass on it.


If you want the whole ingredient listing, check it out:



For more information on Arimistane, hit up this site:

Natty Or Not? Not That Anyone Should Give Two Shits: The History of Performance Enhancing Substances

Posted on: April 28th, 2015 by chaosandpain No Comments
Zero shits are given.

Interestingly, when I began lifting weights, steroids were not a topic of discussion.  Of course, we knew some people used gear and took it for granted that the top pros used shit, but no one actually cared.  It didn’t stop us from following their programs, from lifting 10 times a week, or from doing 60 sets a bodypart.  Instead, it gave us an aspirational goal which, while probably unrealistic, made us shoot for the stars.  It made us definitively and pointedly better, because it gave us supermen for idols- it gave us a huge goal for which to shoot that kept us from being mired in the mediocrity in which modern lifters seem eminently comfortable.

Doug Young- literally everything millenials aren’t.

For the modern lifter, that must seem completely insane- modern lifters spend more time programming and making excuses for their shit lifts than they actually spend lifting.  They endlessly discuss their lack of progress, parse their programs, and nitpick their form, because doing all of that shit means they never actually have to exert themselves in the gym.  They’ve given all of the societal indications of caring without actually putting their heart and soul into training, which is what we used to do, and it’s why we succeeded in spite of the fact that our programming and exercise choices were often subpar, led astray by the evil left hands of Ben and Joe Weider.

Natty bros, the guy on the left is to blame for your plight- Dr. JB Ziegler.  He brought steroids into the American zeitgeist.

Then, we have the “natty” excuse, an excuse so hollow and pathetic it is difficult to describe the contempt for it that I have.  Bear in mind, I never even saw a capsule of dianabol until I was 32- I knew of steroids, and I knew people who used them, but I never gave a shit.  I didn’t give a shit because I knew I could succeed without any assistance, and did so.  I didn’t look to “gurus” to assuage my ego with limits on my natural progress, begging them for an upper end to my gains by which I could measure myself as the peak of potential “natty” gains.  The idea that I was limited by genetics or “nattiness” never occurred to me.  likely because I am not the biggest bitch on Earth, and the fact that I’ve read enough that I know that winners will always do what it takes to win.  Always.  Thus, when I needed a boost, I would take one, but until then, I would strive mightily against genetics, gravity, and humanity in a bold effort to transcend the normal and achieve the impossible.

Elite and not a bit sorry about it.

Don’t believe me about the fact that winners will do what it takes to win?  Well, science says “eat shit”, because you’re obviously not a winner.  A “researcher, Bob Goldman, began asking elite athletes in the 1980s whether they would take a drug that guaranteed them a gold medal but would also kill them within five years.  More than half of the athletes said yes.  When he repeated the survey biannually for the next decade, the results were always the same.  About half of the athletes were ready to take the bargain” (Reynolds).  Conversely, only 2 out of 250 recreational lifters said they would do the same (Ibid).  That’s a pretty impressive disparity- 50% of elite athletes will do what it takes to win, whereas less than 1% of normies would.  Amusingly, this study was done at a time when both steroids and ephedrine were legal and acceptable for use among the average trainee, blissfully avoiding the unnecessary, illegitimate, and indefensible stigmas they now bear.

Bringing it back around to the topic of my generation and steroids, we didn’t think of steroids in a pejorative manner or regard them as the magical group of pharmacological miracles that turn shit lifters into supermen than modern trainees do.  Instead, we regarded them as a tool in a toolbox… an option that might confer benefits… and basically something one could do if one wished.  There was neither stigma nor reference for that group of drugs-  they simply were.  It was accepted as a matter of course that methyltestosterone or dianabol were in the supplement Hot Stuff, and that clenbuterol was in the preworkout Ultimate Orange (along with ephedrine and every other heart attack-inducing substance Dan Duchaine could find.  It didn’t matter if people used a stepped up androstenedione to us, or another substance to drop in on ephedrine to make our blood pressure even more ridiculous, but they were considered to be tools for use by people who wished to rather than magical death drugs used by “cheating” psychopaths- they were just a part of a panoply of performance enhancing drugs that humans have used since time immemorial when they wanted to win.

Frankly, I would not be surprised if nearly every person under the age of 25 reading this right now was bleeding from the eyes.  For those of you who are struggling not to punch your laptop, consider the opinion of the Washington Post’s sports columnist Sally Jenkins:

“Maybe we shouldn’t ask athletes to live up to ideals that, let’s face it, are unsupported by the chronically weak performance of human nature. Maybe it’s time to decriminalize performance-enhancing drugs, in view of the fact that the first drug cheat was an ancient Greek and runners brought sport-doping into the modern age in 1904 by dosing themselves with strychnine.

Our Air Force gives fighter jocks “go-pills” to get them through long missions, but we don’t refuse to call them heroes because they’re on speed. So what’s this strange amnesia that causes us to seek purity in athletes? Why should they have to meet a higher moral standard than soldiers? Call me naive.”

“What’s the job of an athlete really? It is to seek the limits of the human body, for our viewing pleasure. Athletes are astronauts of the physique, explorers. Some of them choose to explore by making human guinea pigs out of themselves. So maybe we should quit assigning any ethical value to what they do, and simply enjoy their feats as performance artists. Virtue was another notion dreamed up by the Greeks, only they were a lot less confused about what they meant by the term. Their word for virtue could also be accurately translated as simply “excellence.” As for the word “amateur,” it didn’t exist to them at all.”

“Doping is not a modern art. It’s just the medicine that’s new. As a recent story in National Geographic pointed out, performance enhancement grew with chemistry in the mid-19th century. Athletes choked down sugar cubes dipped in ether, brandy laced with cocaine, nitroglycerine and amphetamines. In that context, the current scourges of steroids and blood boosters are merely a sequential progression” (Jenkins).

Performance enhancing drugs have been used since prehistory.  Ancient neanderthal burials all contain ephedra plants, which were used by that species for unknown purposes, though it is considered to be a PED.  Given the fact that neanderthals were well known for their slaughter of megafauna, it’s not outside of the boundaries of consideration to think they used ephedra as a performance enhancing drug to aid in that pursuit (LoPorto).  And it’s not just the neanderthals who have used PEDS- the ancient Greeks were well known for using any means they could to gain an advantage on their opponents, and not only was that expected, but it was appreciated, provided they didn’t get caught (Bowers).  The Roman gladiators doped to get through fights, and nineteenth century French cyclists and lacrosse players used a combination of wine and coca leaves, called “Vin Mariani”, aka “wine for athletes,” to gain an edge on their competition (Murray).

It’s not just hominids who look for an edge, either- horses consume locoweed, which affects them much in the same way nicotine affects humans (it’s an ergogenic aid [Pesta]); capuchin monkeys and lemurs get high off millipedes and use them as a sex aid, narcotic, and a natural bug repellent (Zambone), reindeer eat the same mushrooms Viking Berserkers used to ingest to make them fearless before  going into battle (leading to a very weird cycle in which shamans and reindeer drink each others’ piss to get high) (McBain), elephants are incorrigible drunks and rampage drunkenly through Indian towns causing wanton destruction (Hussain)… the list goes on and on.  Many high-functioning species use narcotics and other substances to perform in an altered state- it’s the way of the world.

Thomas Hicks: Powered by rat poison.

Fast forward to the modern era and you’ll find nothing’s changed.  In the 1904 Olympics, marathoner Thomas Hicks began the tradition of doping at the Olympics when he won his event using a combination of strychnine, egg whites, and brandy (Abbott).  By the 1940s, the Germans were experimenting heavily with steroids and amphetamines, and Hitler was allegedly guinea pig #1 amongst them.  Pervitin and Isophan, methamphetamines, were the Nazi soldier’s drug of choice (Ulrich).  Later, the Nazis developed a pill that was a combination of morphine, cocaine, and methamphetamine to optimize performance.  Hitler himself was one of the first test subjects for steroids, and it’s reported that he recommended their use for all German athletes as a result (Taylor 146).  Due to the success in the field of combat, athletes began taking these substances shortly thereafter, referring to amphetamines in particular as essential for optimal performance.

“These drugs — nicknamed la bomba by Italian cyclists and atoom by Dutch cyclists — minimize the uncomfortable sensations of fatigue during exercise. By setting a safe upper limit to the body’s performance at peak exertion, these unpleasant sensations prevent bodily harm” (Noakes 847).

Tommy Simpson straight KILT by amphetamines in the Tour de France.

In the 1960s, two athletes died in competition due to complications from amphetamine use, and shortly thereafter, drug testing began in competition.  In 1975, the IOC banned steroid use, but it wasn’t until 1988 that Ronald Reagan banned the non-medical sale of steroids in the United States.  Bear in mind that this ban had nothing to do with the public health- this was simply a political move intended to demonize the Eastern Bloc countries, who had been kicking the shit out of us in international competition and openly admitted to widespread and prolific use of anabolic steroids.  By banning their sale, Reagan made the use of these substances taboo, thus taking away some of the glory the Russians and their satellites could take from their wins in international competition.  Demonization of these substances and propaganda against them has continued until today, in spite of the fact that doctors routinely prescribe anabolic steroids and growth hormone for everything from longevity to mental health, and prescribe amphetamines as a matter of general course to everyone from small children to the elderly.

6’6″ 330 lb offensive tackle (and massive draft bust) Tony Mandarich

And it’s not just lifters, football players, and cyclists who dope- it’s truly a matter of “if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.”  Amphetamines have long been a part of baseball:

“Baseball and greenies [amphetamines] go together like hot dogs and apple pie, assuming the hot dogs come flying off the grill at Warp Seven and the pie sort of jitters and sweats slightly as it is removed from the oven. They’ve been together for a long, untouted while, is the thing” (Kreidler).  

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig has stated that he’s heard about the use of amphetamines in baseball as far back as the 1950s, in fact.  Shit, even badminton players use gear- Indian and Chinese badminton players have gotten popped for steroid use in the last few years, and star tennis player Rafael Nadal is routinely accused of using steroids.  Swimmers and soccer players routinely use albuterol and clenbuterol to improve their performance, competitive pistol shooters and archers take beta blockers, and fighter pilots take amphetamines (Harris).  In fact, performance enhancing drugs essentially permeate every competitive sport or activity, ranging from chess (Grossekathöfer) to golf (Rosaforte) to professional orchestra (Wise) to, believe it or not, billiards (Deardorff).

Badminton champion Lee Cong Wei, who has popped positive for corticosteroid use.

Performance enhancing substances are not limited to steroids, amphetamines, and growth hormones, however.  The most widely used PED is caffeine, and it’s estimated that 85% of the US population consumes caffeine daily to improve alertness and performance (Mitchell).  Similarly, athletes in every sport use ibuprofen to improve their recovery times (Harris).  Miraculously, this is one of the few substances not banned by the WADA, which has banned 162 substances ranging from completely legal selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) to steroids to rat poison (Banned).  This, of course, essentially means that the banned substances list is a more or less arbitrary line in the sand drawn by non-athletes to limit the options of actual athletes to perform to the best of their abilities.

Up next, we’ll cover the history of sports supplements and the bans on those substances by governments and various sporting bodies and federations, and continue to explore reasons why “natty bros” are nothing more than whiny, uncompetitive bitches looking to excuse their poor performance by drawing arbitrary lines in the sand on performance enhancing substances and ascribing near-magical attributes to substances routinely taken across the board by competitive people across the globe and throughout time.


192 Banned Performance Enhancing Substances and Methods

with Pros & Cons of Their Health Effects.  Pro Con.  Web.  23 Apr 2015.

Abbott, Karen.  The 1904 Olympic marathon may have been the strangest ever.  Smithonian.  7 Aug 2012.  Web.  23 Apr 2012.  Web.  23 Apr 2015.

Bowers LD.  Athletic drug testing.  Clin Sports Med. 1998 Apr;17(2):299-318.

Grossekathöfer, Maik.  Outrage Over Ivanchuk: The Great Chess Doping Scandal.  Spiegel Online.  11 Dec 2008.  Web.  28 Apr 2015.

Harris, William.  10 performance-enhancing drugs that aren’t steroids.  06 Nov 2012.  Web.  28 April 2015.

Hussain, Wasbir.  6 drunk elephants electrocute themselves.  Seattle Times.  23 Oct 2007.  Web.  23 Apr 2015.

Jenkins, Sally.  Winning, cheating have ancient roots.  Washington Post.   Aug 2007.  Web.  23 Apr 2015.

Kreidler, Mark.  Baseball finally brings amphetamines into light of day.  ESPN.  15 Nov 2005.  Web.  27 Apr 2015. 

LoPorto, Garret.  Surprising Way Your Neanderthal Genes May Affect You.  Huffington Post.  10 May 2010.  Web.  23 Apr 2015.

McBain, Michael.  Strange fungi facts.  Amanita Shop.  Web.  23 Apr 2015.

Mitchell DC, Knight CA, Hockenberry J, Teplansky R, Hartman TJ.  Beverage caffeine intakes in the U.S.  Food Chem Toxicol. 2014 Jan;63:136-42.

Murray TH.  The coercive power of drugs in sports.  Hastings Cent Rep. 1983 Aug;13(4):24-30.

Noakes TD.  Tainted glory–doping and athletic performance.  N Engl J Med. 2004 Aug 26;351(9):847-9.

Pesta DH, Angadi SS, Burtscher M, Roberts CK.  The effects of caffeine, nicotine, ethanol, and tetrahydrocannabinol on exercise performance.  Nutr Metab (Lond). 2013 Dec 13;10(1):71. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-10-71.

Reynolds, Gretchen.  Phys Ed: Will Olympic Athletes Dope if They Know It Might Kill Them?  New York Times.  20 Jan 2010.  Web.  20 Apr 2015.

Rosaforte, Tim and Sam WeinmanWas Vijay Singh’s biggest crime ignorance?.  30 Jan 2013.  Web.  28 APr 2015.

Taylor, William N.  Anabolic Steroids and the Athlete, 2d ed.  Jefferson: McFarland & Company, 2001.

Ulrich, Andreas.  The Nazi death machine: Hitler’s drugged soldiers.  Der Spiegel.  6 May 2005.  Web.  23 Apr 2015.

Wise, Brian.  Musicians use beta blockers as performance-enabling drugs.  WQXR.  16 Aug 2013.  Web.  28 Apr 2015.!/story/312920-musicians-use-beta-blockers-relieve-stage-fright/

Zambone, Jennifer.  Of monkeys and millipedes.  CEI.  30 Nov 2000.  Web.  23 Apr 2015.

Powerbuilding #2: It’s Not JUST About The Mustaches

Posted on: April 23rd, 2015 by chaosandpain No Comments

Key and Peele could not have said it better, what with their love of Khal Drogo aka Big Dave Navarro, because powerbuilding is my shit.  Apparently, however, the wise “menfolk” of the interwebz feel differently, because of a variety of very weak and easily disassembled arguments.  In any event, here are the wonderful things I’ve learned after feedback from the last installment of this series:

  1. People love dogma like dogs love drinking out of the toilet.
  2. Lazy people too lazy to even bother getting out their recliner to take a shit will scream about being “natty’ until my ears are bleeding like I’ve been listening to Michael Bolton on 10 and refuse to try anything new.
  3. Everyone seems to want to know my opinion on Layne Norton.
  4. The wise men of the internet has developed a very stupid acronym that I’ve already forgotten for “natty bros” they don’t consider to be natty.
Here are my responses to that news:
  1. People are less intelligent than your average drunken koala.
  2. See above and add “lazy.”
  3. I know literally nothing about the man other than he the seeming fact he uses the word “natural” so frequently one would think he’s considering a name change to Natural Norton, and he undulates or something.  I guess he’s some sort of snakeman who panders to the drunken koala people?
Just so you guys keep posting that stupid internet acronym for fake natty.  Because that endears all of you to my heart.

But, being the swell guy I am, I will plate the aforementioned parties by including more “natty” bros in this article, since everyone seems to have missed my inclusion of Mike O’Hearn (who insofar as I know no longer uses that dumbass word) and Roy Hilligenn.  Let me add the qualifier “alleged”, because I don’t know who’s on or not and neither do the wise young men populating Reddit and filling it with all of the love and intellect that website could possibly hold.

For the uninitiated, steroids in the US basically started with a man named Dr. John Zeigler.  They were only ciminalized in the United States in the 1990s, however, after one of our athletes popped positive and lost his gold medal in about the same way a person in Los Angeles loses his car at gunpoint.  Bear in mind, it was not because he died or had adverse effects- it was because a body of Frenchmen said that he couldn’t win because he tested positive for a substance that was legal to use in the US.  Ziegler was a third generation doctor who tested the effects of dianabol on American weightlifters around or after 1959.  Thus, any lifter mentioned before 1959 could be considered (for the excuse- and retardation-oriented) “natty”.  That’s not to say they necessarily were, however, as Ziegler himself noted in 1954 that the Russians “had to catheterize all of these young [lifters], say 22 years old just so they could urinate” because they were taking such enormous doses of methyltestosterone, which was first produced in 1947 (Roach 329).

So, we’ll start with a man who was ostensibly “natty”, to satisfy the Redditors who weep and wail and gnash their teeth about the subject, and then move on to more modern trainers.


Jack Delinger5’6″ 195 lbs

You’ve all heard of the 20 rep squat workout, right?  The workout about which old heads and “natty” kids who only want to lift twice a fortnight jack off to before they go to sleep at night after chugging a gallon of milk a day and admiring their nonexistent abs in the mirror?  Delinger comes from that era, except for the fact that he thought 20 rep sets on squats were for pussies- he would just put 415 on the bar and squat it until he literally fainted.  As you can see from the picture above, his method clearly worked- apparently squatting more than double bodyweight for six sets of more than twenty reps is the way “natty” bros can defy modern conventional “wisdom” and actually get over 160 lbs.

Not a lot of planning went into his workouts, either- Delinger would lift five or so days a week, doing a full body workout that was roughly the same each time.  As to his split?  He essentially lifted as much weight as possible until he literally couldn’t move, rested, and then hit the weights again when he was able.  He didn’t dick about with a slide rule and a notepad determining what his training weights and percentages should be- instead, Delinger beating every body part to death like he was Braveheart with a warhammer smacking about the British with heavy weight and high reps, with no shits given about his exact training volume.

To gain weight, Delinger found that high reps with basic compound movements were his best bet- an interesting departure from the norm.  He apparently gained 33 lbs in two and a half months doing 6 sets of 15-20 reps on the following exercises (Delinger):

  1. Heavy Bench Press
  2. Heavy Cheat Barbell Curl
  3. Cheat Bentover Row
  4. Squat
  5. Cheat Upright Row

Definitely a different approach from what you usually see out of powerbuilders, but apparently a highly effective one, because Delinger was built like a brick shithouse.

Mike Francois

5’9″ 235lbs in season/270lbs off season

Mike Francois was one of my favorite bodybuilders of the 90s simply because he was massively strong and looked it.  Though he didn’t ever really get to show the world what he was truly capable of, due to his contraction of ulcerative colitis, Francois definitely brought the most brutal physique of the 90s to the stage every time he stepped on it, and certainly is in consideration for the title of “greatest uncrowned Mr. Olympia” of all time.  Want to know what makes it even better?  His numbers- a 700lb squat, a 525 bench, and a 800 deadlift, which are serious numbers for a 242 lb powerlifter.  Know how he did it?  When he was contest prepping, Mike Francois trained at Westside Barbell.

To get his brutal-as-hell physique, Francois incorporated a lot of 5×5 and 8×2 rep schemes, then used high rep backoff sets and accessory work to backfill his program with volume.  True to his powerlifting-esque training regime, Francois used box squats and rack pulls to supplement his main lifts, in addition to his favorite accessories:

  • Chest: Incline barbell bench press (30* incline)
  • Upper Back: Wide grip cable row to chest
  • Biceps: Barbell curls, Hammer curls
  • Tricep: J-curls (This is a Westside exercise that is kind of a combo skull crusher and close grip bench. Take the weight down to your chest using a narrow grip, the at the bottom of the motion slide the bar back to about your nose, then slide it back out to your chest and then press it up. 
  • Quad tear drop: leg press with feet on lower portion of plate, 6-12 inches apart.
  • Quad sweep: front squats with heels elevated.
  • Rear delts: dual cable flies or reverse pec dec
  • Calves: standing calf raises

Francois credited the no-shits-given attitude of nonstop competition in the gym for a lot of his physique success.  “Each day was a competition. Being the lone bodybuilder (even though I was treated great by all the guys), there was an unspoken challenge. It may have just been in my mind, which is all the really matters anyway when you are trying to make improvements” (Colescott).  That’s where his massive shoulders arose, apparently, as the constant competition led to Francois and his training partners using 400 to 500 lbs on seated shoulder presses, over 900 lbs on rack pulls, and other hideously heavy weights on everything else.

Phil Hernon

5’6′ 239 lbs

Without question the bodybuilder of whom you’ve never heard with the most brutal physique you’ve never seen, Phil Hernon was the man.  Allegedly a proponent of the H.I.T. training system, he was anything but- Hernon trained each bodypart three times a week with ridiculously heavy weights and rotating rep ranges.  And when I say ridiculously heavy, I mean it- at under 240 lbs, Hernon was repping out with over 400 lbs on the incline bench, and was apparently a serious squatter as well.

If those tree trunks he called legs were any indication, Hernon was moving serious weight in the squat rack.

Herndon generally only did three working sets per bodypart, but he did a hell of a lot of warming up beforehand.  For instance, when doing back, shoulders, and chest, he’d do pushups and light lat pulldowns to get his blood moving, then move to incline bench press for a couple of sets of 6 paused reps with 225 and 315.  After that, he’d do a single set of paused reps with 405 to failure pounds is put on the bar 405. he unracks it and proceed to do 5 controlled reps to failure.  After that, it was on to the flex leverage upright bench press loaded as heavy as he could for a set of 8 without a warmup, followed by a warmupless set of low incline dumbbell bench press with the 125s for a set of 12-15 reps.  After that, he’d move on to back, shoulders, and traps using the same sort of system- a combination of machines and compound movements starting with low reps and then working up to higher rep ranges on his accessories.

The next time he’d hit the same bodyparts (in two days), he would repeat the first day’s workout, but with the rep ranges and exercises reversed to rest the first day’s heavy exercise by doing 11 to 15 reps instead of 5 to 7 reps.

Hernon would only take a day off when he felt like he couldn’t continue, as he believed that a muscle would start to degenerate if it wasn’t stimulated within 48-72 hours.  This was the reason he kept each workout’s volume low- frequency of training trumped long, volume-filled training.    In short, Hernon recommended everyone:

  • train a muscle often.
  • keep protein at very high levels to add in the needed synthesis
  • train just enough to stimulate growth but keep it to a point where you are able to train each bodypart again two days later
  • train even when sore, as soreness is not an indicator of recovery
Other Notable Powerbuilders

Bill Ennis

Lest you think that powerbuilding is only good for bodybuilding, think again.  Obviously, all of the dudes I’ve mentioned thus far were strong enough that they make the strongest guy at your gym seem like he’s got enough AIDS that he pops AZT like Tic Tacs, but powerbuilding worked for all of the best lifters of the 70s and 80s as well.  One of those guys, the aforementioned (in the previous installment) Bill Ennis, used powerbuilding to dominate the 198 lb weight class and post a 1906 total at 5.5% bodyfat in 1980.

To achieve this wholesale domination of his class, Ennis used a combination of ultra-low rep sets with bodybuilding assistance exercises, which he considered to be essential for the achievement of complete strength.  In the end, however, Ennis credited his diet with much of his success.  Unlike many powerlifters of the 1980s, Ennis focused heavily on nutrition and utilized what was essentially a strict competition bodybuilding diet- moderate fat, moderate carbohydrate, and high protein.  In many ways, it mirrored Phil Hernon’s paleoish Zone-esque diet.  Ennis ate 9-18 egg whites a day, low fat cottage cheese, and tons of raw vegetables and fruits- roughly 6 oranges and 6 apples daily.  

Like the Bulgarians of his day, Ennis’s training sessions were short and heavy, 45 minutes to an hour.  He focused on one lift per training session and would work up to a daily max and then back off and do low rep sets.   When doing the basic movements, Ennis believed that repping out on the three main lifts was counterproductive, as it cut into his recovery and slowed his gains.  Instead, Ennis used bodybuilding movements like lat pulldowns, pushdowns, leg extensions and the like to backfill his volume and get in his rep work to ensure complete development and prevent muscular imbalances.

Franco Columbo

At a height of 5’3″ and a bodyweight of around 194, Franco was an absolute beast in the gym.  He competed int eh World’s Strongest Man against guys who outweighed him by over 100 lbs and did well until dislocating his leg running with a refrigerator on his back, squatted 655, pulled 780 in the gym, and benched 525 in competition. and deadlifted 700-plus, training twice a day and hitting each bodypart three times a week.  If you want to check out his brutal powerbuilding program, go here.

Aaron Baker

At 5’8″ and 236 lbs, this dude was inclining 435 on the Smith Machine for 6 or 7 reps two weeks out from a show, and worked up to 105s for reps on dumbbell flies.  Though not particularly recognized for his strength, what amounts to a proto-Kai Green, nicknamed “Batman”, was a legit badass powerbuilder in the 1990s.

Johnnie Jackson

The 5’8″ 255 lb Jackson crushes 800-pound deadlifts and 100-pound side laterals, moonlighting as a powerlifter when he’s not competing in bodybuilding. Referred to as the second strongest bodybuilder next to Ronnie Coleman, Jackson might be the third strongest behind Jackson and Stan Efferding but is likely the strongest current IFBB pro bodybuilder with an 825 geared squat and a 600 lb geared bench, plus an 823lb raw deadlift and a 225lb strict curl.

At this point, if you’re not confinced of the efficacy of powerbuilding, you very well might be mentally retarded.  Get your shit together and start adding in bodybuilding movements to add volume and improve your physique and your main lifts- it’s essential.


Aaron Baker Workout.  Get Bulky.  Web.  22 Feb 2015.

Bass, Clarence.  Ripped for powerlifting.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  6 Jan 2012.  Web.  3 Mar 2015.


Colescott, Steve.  Mike Francois at Westside Barbell!  RX Muscle.  21 Jul 2009.  Web.  22 Feb 2015.


Delinger, Jack.  Bulk Training.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  28 Oct 2009.  Web.  22 Apr 2015.

Forum Post.  Phil Hernon’s Training Program.  T-Nation.  29 Mar 2010.  Web.  22 Feb 2015.

Jack Delinger: An All-American Bodybuilder.  Muscle Old School.  Web.  22 Apr 2015.

Meadows, John. October 2013 Interview with IFBB Pro Mike Francois.  Mountain Dog Diet.  23 Oct 2013.  Web.  22 Feb 2015.

Merritt, Greg.  Rated hardcore.  Flex Online.  Web.  22 Feb 2015.

Sloan, C.S.  Big Beyond Belief, HIT, Phil Hernon, and Other Things from the ’90s.  C.S. Sloan’s Integral Strength.  18 Apr 2014.  Web.  22 Feb 2015.

Hooligans of History #2: Gladiators Keep Bringing It

Posted on: April 1st, 2015 by chaosandpain No Comments
Hooligans of History #2: Gladiators Keep Bringing It
by Grimm Kitano

Day of Show

A day in the Colosseum was very similar to a day in the modern arena; there were just more titties and a lot more blood mixed with the smell of shit in the air.  Guys outside selling tickets, sausage stands, hooligans repping their favorite fighter class and old rich guys getting the best seats with young golddiggers on their side and their wives in the stands further back mad as fuck and planning a poisoning later; what a glorious day at the murder park!

The Morning Show: Coffee and Bear Fights

The first events of the day were the animal fights, circus performances, and animal hunts.  The Colosseum was equipped with numerous cages to hold all manner of critters and they were kept hungry and pissed off for game day.  Once set into the arena, they would proceed to rip up everything around them and, occasionally, grab hold of a dumbass in the stands for an appetizer.  Animals are unpredictable, however, and some would freeze up and hide in a corner.  But the trainers wouldn’t have that shit and would use burning straws to get that bitch moving and murdering/getting murdered.  Bears would be chained to bulls and would battle it out; combos such as bull vs elephant, lion vs leopard, and rhino vs buffalo occurred as well.  Unlike gladiators, however, the winner is either killed (if mortally wounded) or made to fight again the next day until it died.  Rome gave no fucks about critters.

The circus acts were a light hearted break from animal brutality and would have trained animals doing the type of things that make you say “aww.”   A example of this would be a rabbit being released  into the arena and a trained tiger would chase it, play with it, carry it in its jaw without crushing its little brains out and deliver it to the trainers.  Everyone was happy…except the rabbit who was likely stewed later.

Then there were the hunts which had a massive amount of animals released into the arena and guys with spears would come in and start stabbing them up.  The first round would be against fairly chill creatures like antelopes, ostriches and donkeys.  The second round would be against animals that were a bit more likely to not pity a fool like elephants, lions and bears.  To the animals’ credit, they did occasionally take out a hunter.  There’s an account of elephants teaming up to fight off hunters and winning.  But more often than not, the hunters would win the fights.  And what was the point of the animal fights outside of entertainment?  Rome just wanted to tell Mother Nature that she can go fuck herself.  That’s pretty much it.

Lunchtime:  Hoagie with a side of Crucifixion

The big show of man vs man didn’t start until the afternoon but some people didn’t want to leave due to fear of losing their seats so what better time to get rid of Rome’s unwanted while most are off getting snacks and taking a piss and shit (l like to call taking a piss and shit a “Papa Sierra” personally) off the side of a ditch somewhere nearby.  Prisoners were shoved into cells below the arena the day before their execution.  Some prisoners didn’t wait that long and killed themselves beforehand in ways such as shoving their heads between cart wheels for a quick crush and snap (AKA a Charlie Sierra).  For the ones that did make it to the big show, their ticket into the afterlife depended on their social status.  Citizens usually received a quick death by the sword.  Non-citizens, on the other hand, had to hang the fuck in there literally via death on a cross (citizens too when they wanted to humiliate them); death by fire or wild animals were used as well.

This is what will happen if Netflix ever goes offline.

One method of execution would be to have two unarmed prisoners enter the arena, give one a sword and tell him to kill the other.  After chasing the man down and finishing him off, they would give the sword to a new guy and have him chase down the guy before him.  When they got to the last prisoner, that individual would be finished off by a beast hunter.  One execution in particular caught my eye.  A writer, Martial, recalled an execution involving the myth of the minotaur.  If you don’t know it, the gist of it is that King Minos’ wife saw a bull that she wanted balls deep inside her, pretended she was a heifer, balanced on that dick and popped out the minotaur.  Well, someone in Rome figured it would be so awesome to see what that actually looked like because imagination isn’t sick enough.  A female prisoner was draped in cowhide and her vagina was covered in blood from a cow that was in heat.  As he did not provide vivid detail, I am sure taking massive amount of bull cock is not a good thing for the human vagina or nearby internal organs.  Oh, and that wasn’t the actual execution so pretty sure they were just passing time until the fires were ready or looking for the right bear to eat her.

Apparently, lions have foot fetishes.

Since I’m sure I’ve depressed you just a bit, I will relate one account to you that I think will lighten the mood.  During the reign of Augustus, a slave was brought into the arena to be eaten by a lion.  When the animal was bought out, it charged toward the slave.  But instead of eating the man, it acted like a common house cat and licked his feet while wagging his tail.  This, of course, pissed the crowd off and they released a leopard to do the job.  The lion gutted the leopard and went right back to chilling with his buddy.  So the organizer called the slave over and asked, “what the fuck, bro?”  It turned out that the slave was a runaway from Africa and while hiding in a cave, a lion entered.  Instead of gnawing on the guy’s bones, however, the lion showed him a thorn in his paw.  He pulled it out and the lion bought the man meat as a thank you for months until he was captured.  He got lucky as hell as the lion that came out of the cage happened to be the lion he helped long ago.  Ultimately, both the slave and the lion were freed.

Puppies and kitties for everyone!

Afternoon Show:  Let’s get it on!

The main attraction begins with the pompa, which is essentially a parade of the people who are making the grand show possible.  The manager, blacksmiths, and gladiators are among the procession making their way to the center of the arena.  Once there, the gladiators would remove their helmets and shields and show off their bodies because broads and bros alike love sweaty nipples.  Any modern bodybuilding contest can confirm that opinion.  As the rest of the procession left the field, the gladiators warmed up by sparring with wooden weapons.  Soon, the gladiators were dismissed once more and the real weapons were brought into the arena for inspection.  Once the officials were sure that faulty weapons would not make their murder boner flaccid, the orchestra pumped up the volume and the first matches commenced.  Speaking of the pump up:

“It was a widespread misconception that all gladiators, as they passed the emperor’s box to greet him, uttered the words ‘Hail, Caesar, those who are about to die salute you’ (Ave, Ceasar, morituri te salutant).  Suetonius, the source of this expression, tells us only that, during a ‘sea battle’ organized by Emperor Claudius on Lake Fucino, the 9,000 prisoners, who had the leading roles, were said to have greeted the emperor with these words.  But there is no suggestion that gladiators would have said anything of the kind.  Nor is it likely, since gladiators went into a fight in the hope of winning and surviving like Roman soldiers facing difficult battle situations.”

The fights were brutal and could go on for extended periods of time.  Fighters were paired up according to class and they often knew their opponents, either from previous fights or from the same school; based on that, it is likely each fighter knew the strength and weaknesses of the other as well.  An umpire was present during the fight to ensure rules were followed and to unleash some inspiration in the form of searing hot plates to ass on a gladiator that may not be too eager to battle.  The crowd was going to get what they paid for, son!  If both fighters were looking like worn out dogshit, the ump would call for a break for water and to get their wind back up.  However, if it’s looking like two titans have graced the arena and they are battling to a stalemate, the ump will call off the fight and leave their fate to the top official or often, the emperor himself.  He may grant an honorable exit (stantes missi).  However, most fights did end with a clear victor.

While I’d like to see a modern caestus fight like the one above, I’d imagine it lacks the whole “murder” aspect that made the games popular with Rome’s poor.

One thing that stands out about the rise of the popularity of the games from small funeral games to massive stadiums of motherfucking destruction is how the politicians of Rome would use them to gain favor with the poor of the city.  The poor had very little say in politics because who gives a fuck about a guy or gal that smells like goat shit and can’t even read his own name.  But the one thing the poor did have was the bulk of the population and when they get kicked around and ignored long enough, they tend to riot and fuck things up.  Unfortunately for the poor, they are kind of dumb and easily distracted by shiny things.  In the modern era, the powers that be maintain control on the populace via shiny new iPhones, toys, and the illusions that their opinions actually mean something via Twitter and Facebook.  The morons are appeased and politicians can go about their regular program of making money and snorting cocaine off a soon to be dead hooker’s tits in a gas station bathroom.  Well, Roman politicians, men of position and emperors kept the bums placated via the arena.  These people wanted the populace to depend on them and to believe that all good things in life will happen as long as they keep sucking on the golden cock of the man in power. Emperors would pass out gifts of meat, gold, pottery and other shinies to be granted after the show.  Got a rebellion brewing?  Fuck it, have a fight night!  Accidentally burned down half the city?  Fuck it,  make a tiger eat christian tits in the arena!  All will be well!

The best thing about the arena to the plebs was that it was the one place where the emperor listened to their opinion.  While the emperor had the final say in any matter and some were of the opinion of “fuck these bitch made fools,” he would often defer the fate of a gladiator to the crowds.  It empowered the crowd to know they had the power of life and death in their hands.  If a fighter asked for mercy and heard ‘Mitte’ (let him go) or ‘Missum” (sent away), he would be allowed to leave the arena alive and return to the gladiator school.  But if they yelled ‘Iugula’ (slit his throat) or saw the turned thumbs signal for death, he was done and was expected to accept his fate with courage.  He would put his arms around the legs or torso of the winner and bow.  The helmet was kept on so the victor did not have to look into his eyes as he thrust his blade between his shoulder blades or neck.  Having “ferrum recepit” (received the iron), he would die as the crowd shouts ‘Habet, hoc habet’ (he has it).

The victor would proceed to give a ‘U mad, bro’ pose to the crowd and walk to the emperor’s box to receive his reward: an olive branch, money, and sometimes a laurel reef when they did some baller shit.  After bowing to the boss of bosses, he would leave via the Porta Sanavivaria (Gate of Health and Life).  Like a celebrity rising up in status, people would have to pay a higher price to see him perform in the arena each time he won.  His opponent was laid upon a bier hung with swathes of material, representing the marriage bed of Libtina, the goddess of death and funerals.  He’s carried through the Porta Libitinaria and taken to the spoliarium.  His weapons were taken away and to make sure he wasn’t faking and attempting an escape, his throat was slit because fuck that malingering bullshit, brochacho.

The Spoliarium, where they dead and dying were stored until they were “disposed of.”

The Post Game Cleanup

The sun has set on a great day in the arena.  Honor and glory were gained; blood, sweat and ass were everywhere, literally.  The air for blocks had to reek of rotting animal corpses.  Intestines and ravaged penises were all over the place and Bobius Maximus Mopio, the custodian, was contemplating stabbing his brain with the rib bone of a disemboweled prostitute in the far corner of the arena.  Think of the last time you went to a party and how great it was; now think of the last time you had to clean up after a party (and dispose of the dead stripper) and you’ll have a tenth of the idea of what the clean up crew of the arena had to deal with.  Getting rid of so many corpses and carcasses was not a simple task and took a lot of manpower.

The human corpses were perhaps the biggest annoyance in that you couldn’t just throw them all on a fire or in a hole and call it a day.  For one thing, human bodies don’t catch fire easily so you burn through a lot of material just to get them a little crispy.  With so many bodies, you’d probably still be left with corpses you’d have to bury anyway.  Even if you decide to dump them in some hole somewhere, you had to consider their status.  Burying a gladiator who died courageously in the arena and was carried out with honor next to some convicted rapist who was dragged out via meathook was considered bullshit in Roman society so the crew had to sort through all these bodies and make sure people received the honors they deserved.

Romoans partied at funerary banquets. They partied hard.

Romans were really superstitious about that whole afterlife thing and the way they buried you (or didn’t) would further add to the honor or dishonor of the deceased in society.  If you were not buried, they felt that your soul would wander the land of the living and you would find no peace.  Thus, criminals and people Rome just didn’t like were tossed right off a cliff without honors or even dirt casted on their bodies.  It was a final ‘fuck you’ to them in the eyes of Roman society; a form of revenge reaching into the afterlife. They would also dump bodies into the Tiber river (I’m guessing they didn’t drink this water because ew) and apparently, this was worse than the cliff because people could see you floating by and pee on you, I suppose.  Even some emperors, like Heliogabalus (they killed him on the toilet, so they say), were chucked into the water to purify Rome of their suckage.

I know it’s retarded to scribble out boobies in fine art, but I also know it sucks to get tattled on by some Christian broad whose conception of art is an ultra clean Jeebus on the cross and find one’s self unemployed.  Congrats!  I saved your job for you!

Christians were denied funerals as well because they wouldn’t get down with being all over the emperor’s nuts.  But the emperors knew they wanted to be all pretty for their little resurrection so some made sure they were promptly ripped up by wild dogs and other beast to make sure their plans of being hot in the afterlife were totally fucked over.  Bodies of the condemned (and living condemned on occasion) were given to the arena’s wild animals as well when feed supply was low.  Frankly, if you didn’t have the cash for a proper burial, your corpse was fucked.  Many gladiators would form something similar to a union just so they could have a proper burial when they died.  The high ranking ones would have their bodies rubbed with ointments and displayed on a bier covered in flowers for a few days before cremation and burial.

Animals were a little tricky to get rid of as well.  If they weren’t too heavy, you could throw them on a cart and just ride them out to the cliff with the humans corpses.  But hippos, rhinos, big cats and the like were a challenge to transport and I would not be surprised if they took them just far enough away from the city, dug a hole and dump them right there.  Another option used was feeding the carcasses to the tamed circus animals, which kept cost down and recycling totally helps the environment.  Finally, giving the meat to the poor was a great way to be rid of the excess.  Plebs ate like crap.  Remember the barley diet of the gladiators?  They ate the same thing but add in the possibility that they may not have had that everyday like the athletes plus eating rat and cat was probably the only meat they could rely on daily.  Knowing they would have plenty of dead deer and hippo to be rid off, game organizers would pass out tickets that could be cashed for prizes and the meat would be right on the list.  Dozens would go home hoisting freshly choked out antelopes and aggravating their sciatica dragging part of an elephant down the street.  Historically speaking, Emperor Caligula was a cockbite of the highest order and should have been stabbed in his face the second he emerged from his mom’s taint,  but the people mourned his passing for one good reason: his games were the shit and he kept that meat train running.  A nice cheap way to keep the arena clean and keep the low class scrub bastards in line; win-win.



To be honest, I’ve omitted topics such as the emperor-gladiators, sea battles and just the mentality that allows this type of carnage to be seen as OK by their culture’s standards.  I find them to be topics that whole books can be written on and I’ve already gone longer with this “short” article than intended.  If you want more on the subject, it’s time to hit a library as I’ve provided more than enough for a brief overview.  In any case, the men and women that were forced or paid to fight in the arena and survived were some of the hardest mofos on the planet and completely worthy of mention in the annals of historically hardass hooligans.  Free feel to slam down a shot and dedicate your next bar fight misdemeanor to your ancestors of the arena.

Roll it. 

Hooligans of History: Of Gladiators

Posted on: March 28th, 2015 by chaosandpain No Comments
Hooligans of History: Of Gladiators
by Grimm Kitano


The Roman gladiatorial games stand as a mirror to all that was Late Republic and Imperial Rome: strength, honor, decadence, cruelty and a massive dose of tits, cock, blood and ass; not necessarily in that order.  The origin is debatable but they were around as far back as 3 BC when matches between fighters were fought to honor the dead at funerals.  Soon, Romans sat back and figured out that mo’ games equaled mo’ money, power and bitches and they grew exponentially.  They lasted nearly a thousand years before entering into decline roughly around 400 AD.  While the reasons varied, Christianity played a big role in getting those pagans to stop killing for Jupiter and turn their attentions to more civilized activities like stomping on unbaptized barbarian cocks for Jesus.

The gladiators were the central attraction to these extremely extravagant spectacles of political and Imperial power.  The men and (sometimes) women whose blood and sweat bathed the sands of the arena were often not of the hardest stock but rather prisoners of war, slaves, and criminals trained into badassness or at least a fit corpse for the mobs to spit on.  Upper class individuals called auctorati that wanted to give ol’ Ma and Pa the big “fuck you, I do what I want” would sign up for the games voluntarily while maintaining their citizenship; they also could have just had massive bills and Papa cut off the credit cards after the $10,000 donkey on dwarf opium orgy.  When in Rome, am I right?

Types of Gladiators

While film gives the impression that fighters were just given weapons and tossed into the arena without thought, film often screws up the reality due to time restraints and perhaps a bit of laziness on their part.  Sure, the rejected captives, criminals and slaves were tossed to the pit as lion chow for the most part.  But the capable were sent to the ludi (gladiator school) for training in diverse styles of combat and were paired to battle according to their styles.  It was some straight up World of Warcraft/Pokemon shit with spear guy versus walking tank guy versus Bridgetana the dwarf wench wearing a spiked wooden cock.  Certain styles were only in the Republic era and some in the Imperial but there was something for everyone.  Here are a few:

Andabata: These fighter fought blind by wearing helmets without eye holes.  Lucky for them, they only fought those of their same class.  It is assumed they were used more for comedic entertainment than serious combat in the Republican Period.

Arbelas: Republic Period- All we really know is they used a crescent shaped knife and fought retiarius classes as well as their own.

Bestiarius:  Fight beast, all day, everyday.  Kill lions, fuck bears; Roll it.

Cestus:  Wore a cestus and punch fools into eternal sleep.  Mike Tyson’s ancestors.  Check it out on Deadliest Warrior, where Chuck Lidell demonstrates the ridiculous brutality of these gloves.

Dimachaerus: Dual wielding swords and light armor.  Pretty much only fights the same class

Eques:  Horseback fighters that only fought the same class of gladiator.


Essedarius: Chariot riders.  They usually only fought the same class but occasionally, they would face off against the retiarius class.

You cannot imagine how much weird gladiatrix porn pervades Deviant Art.  Finding a SFW pic was ridiculously difficult.

Gladiatrix:  Being a gladiator was considered scandalous for a upper class woman and likely pissed off many a daddy dearest.  For the lower class women, it was more “lol, who gives a fuck about the lower class!”  They fought bare breasted and often just to amuse the crowd.  Emperor Domitian would pair them against dwarves and since tiny people were considered a joke, thus were the fights.  But there were some serious bouts, such as the one between Amazonia and Achillia.  Females did not appear to be assigned classes as their male counterparts were as they were more of a twist on the usual combat.  Emperor Serverus banned upper class females gladiators in 200 AD, according to Cassius Dio:

“The women in this contest fought so energetically and savagely, that they were the cause of the other elite women becoming the object of jokes and as a result, it was decreed that no woman should ever again fight in a gladiatorial duel.”

Yup, hardcore broads made sad rich bitches look sad so they bitched and suppressed the awesomeness.  It’s not a modern phenomenon after all.

Hoplomachus: Patterned after the Greek hoplite and would use a lance as a primary weapon with short sword as secondary

Laquearius:  Fighter that used a lasso (or possibly a ball and chain) and dagger.  There’s no idea if he was a serious fighter or just fucking around in the arena as a pre game show of some sort, but they are thought to have been modeled on the ancient Sagartians.

Murmillo:  This class allegedly never fought his own class; he typically fought those with small shields like a thraex or hoplomachus.  The most popular was against the thraex and ‘hooligan’ clubs would form around these two classes in the imperial period and get into riots during games.  Domitian’s favorite gladiator was a murmillo.  Yup, the dog story from earlier.  The other guy liked a thraex.

Paegniarius:  Comedic fighters that used sticks and wore cloth armor or padding.  Funny story for the sociopathic:  Caligula once forced the upper class with physical disabilities to suit up and fight it up in the arena.  They didn’t die but to the crowd, they looked hilarious as hell.  Caligula let out a fuck yea while possibly sucking a goat’s dick.  Unfounded but it’s Caligula so not far fetched.

Provocator:  They were essentially the “Roman legionnaire” in the arena in armor (with some alterations) and weapon style. A lot of fights were reenactments of Rome glory over the barbarians so these were the guys you pull out when it’s time to make Rome look cool.

Retiarius:  These are the guys with the nets and trident and probably the most easily identified of all the classes, in my opinion.  They would attempt to trap you in the net and if that didn’t work, they would jab at you and back off with the trident. They didn’t really like close combat, much to the annoyance of more heavily armored and slower opponents.  The Roman poet Juvenal was disgusted by about pretty much everything about them and sources are mixed on if they were among the most popular or most hated classes.

Sagittarius:  Archers.  Sometimes a spectator might get shot; Shit happens.

Secutor:  Made to fight the retiarius (so hated they made a class specifically to fight them).  Large rectangular shield, smooth helmet (to not be trapped in net), small eyeholes as to not be poked out by the trident.  The helmet decreased vision, hearing and fresh air so the secutor had to conserve energy in the fight.  The fights were evenly matched.

Thraex:  Thracians fighters originally (Spartacus being the top example) but eventually just wore the armor/weapons of the same.  They used a curved dagger like weapon called a sica and wore helmets similar to that of a Roman soldiers.  Fights against the murmillo were extremely popular.

As I said, there was some serious role playing game shit going on back in the gladiator schools of Rome.  There are variations of the armor and weapons that I’ve left from this list due to not desiring to writing a whole book on this subject.  But what I have provided is enough to show that there was more going on than making one dude poke another dude with a pointed object.  The fighters were among the top athletes of their times, the fights engineered for maximum entertainment and profit, the matchups were varied and exciting to the crowd, and the guy with the net is clearly an asshole.  I don’t know why but fuck that guy.

It’s a hard knocks life.

“He vows to endure to be burned, to be bound, to be beaten, and to be killed by the sword.” 
-The gladiator’s oath, according to Petronius in the Satyricon.

All gladiators swore the oath (sacramentum) upon entry into the gladiator schools around the empire.  However, unlike slaves and criminals, volunteers had far more flexibility regarding contract negotiation. They entered into an agreement called an auctoramentum with a gladiator manager. These contracts would cover matters such as years of service, how much they would earn, the number of fights, and the style of weapon they would use.  After that, it’s off to a cozy 3 by 4 meter cell with another dude and new life as a walking deadman.  But at least they get good food, right?  Well…

Given the portrayal of gladiators in film and that modern diets love to give themselves names like “Mega Uber Awesome Gladiator Force Glute Destruction X,” ($29.95 e-book if anyone is interested by the way), it is easy to see how some would assume that these ancient fighters spent their meal time shoving tons of animals down their throats while getting blowjobs from prostitutes covered in rib sauce.  But anthropologist seem to have discovered otherwise.  Testing on the bones of gladiators indicate that the diet of many gladiators may have leaned more on the high carb side than high protein:

“The bone analysis was based on excavations of the graves of 22 gladiators from about 1,800 years ago in the Roman town of Ephesus, now in Turkey. The bones revealed that the typical food eaten by gladiators was wheat, barley and beans – and this echoed the contemporary term for gladiators as the “barley men”. There was little sign of meat or dairy products in the diet of almost all of these professional fighters, who performed in front of Roman audiences. But there were bones from two people that seemed to have a different pattern, revealing a diet much higher in animal protein and lower in beans and pulses. This could show there were gladiators originally from other parts of the Roman empire who had a different type of diet.”

Chubbies gonna chub.

My personal thoughts are in accord with the last line in the above statement.  Given their location in the vast Roman Empire and the feeding protocols of their managers, one fighter’s diet is likely to have varied from another and could have consisted of massive amounts of animal flesh and organs or a bowl of barley and beans washed down with a warm cup of shut the fuck up and eat.  No, vegetarians, I don’t believe they ate beans and barley because they thought it was awesome or imparted some superhuman ability to rock out with their cock out in the arena.  Even the Roman doctor, Galen, thought the barley gruel diet made the fighters cross the fat fuck border line; he did think the fat layers helped them with minor wounds so there’s a point for the fluffy among us.  But understand that gladiator managers were essentially pimps and a stone cold pimp isn’t in the business of losing money.  The slaves you buy may die in their first fight so best to feed the majority of them the cheap slop and save the steak and wine for the ones that dominate and double your money on game day.

On the matter of training, I’ve a harder time finding information that wasn’t just “they hit poles” or a bodybuilder site that made up a workout and called it “Gladiator Vascocock-Fit V.” We can assume calisthenics were a large part of their fitness training as well as resistance training with sandbags, stones and logs.  Ol’ Dr. Galen also mentions rope climbing as well.  All in all, it sounds like your average Crossfit class with more metal and blood.

Now, the gladiators were not trying to be the best at exercising so the bulk of their training consisted of fight training against the palus (wooden pole) and sparring against their peers from dawn to dusk.  They practiced with wooden swords and shields that were double the weight of the actual weapons they would use in the arena.  They were taught to focus on stabbing more than slashing.  Even the manner in which you should die when you lose was trained into them.  That’s right, people.  It was considered disgusting and dishonorable for a gladiator to die like a punk bitch.  Seneca commented:

“For death, when it stands near us, gives even to inexperienced men the courage not to seek to avoid the inevitable. So the gladiator, no matter how faint-hearted he has been throughout the fight, offers his throat to his opponent and directs the wavering blade to the vital spot.”

Of course, not all gladiators took the “dying nobly” thing to heart.  Again from Seneca:

“Seneca tell the sad story of a German who was assigned to the bestiarii.  Before he was sent into the arena he went to the lavatory, the only place where he could separate himself off from the rest without being watched by the guards.  He took the stick with a sponge at one end that was used for wiping the buttocks and drove it with great force into his throat.  He died of suffocation.  In the same letter Seneca describes another suicide.  A despairing barbarian, a prisoner who was meant to perform in a naumachia (staged naval battle), took his own life by driving a spear into his own body.  His last words were: Why oh why did I not escape long ago from these torments and taunts?  Why should I arm myself to wait for my approaching death?”


Since we are on the subject, let’s address a gladiator’s prospects beyond the arena.  There were few good ones and mostly a life of destitution awaited them if they survived their career.  The general consensus is that gladiators died young; I do recall reading about fighters making it into their 50s but I’ve lost track of the source.  If they did happen to buy or win their freedom, it was not necessarily a blessing from Jupiter either.  Gladiators were considered among the lowest in the lower classes (the free volunteers an exception if they happened to be of a higher class) and while Romans love to watch the fights, they didn’t really give a damn about the average gladiator themselves.  Once freed, the former fighters didn’t know anything but fighting and were at a complete loss in terms of work skills outside of murdering faces; even murdering faces in the army was off limits to them unless Rome was just hard up for troops.  So, the majority of them would stay tied to the arena as trainers and staff;  the less fortunate would probably clean the shitters or just do bitch work for the manager.  But everyone gets old and sad eventually and when they couldn’t work, they’d hang around talking shit about how awesome they were and making you pay them for the privilege like your high school P.E. coach.  When they died, they were treated like the rest of the people in Rome that didn’t have money: thrown over a cliff or tossed in a mass grave.  Frankly, if you didn’t make massive cash in the arena, it was best to die there.  At least you go out with the roar of the crowd and not laying in a cesspit to stay warm in winter.

Oh, Tano’s not done- not by a damn sight.  His article was so long, however, I had to chop it in half because image searching for this thing took literal hours.  Check out the rest of this bad boy in a cuople of days!

Perfecting the Overhead

Posted on: March 17th, 2015 by chaosandpain No Comments

by Jim Dart, PTA & ASC 105K Pro




We’ve all been asked the anchor question… the question which unites bro’s, gym rats, meat heads and weight lifting enthusiasts world-wide. The one question that, from the unassuming and ignorant to what the elite use as a measuring stick of burley manliness, dominant prowess, and alpha-male status…

How much ya bench?!

Now the alternatively frustrating follow up rebuttal….which ultimately is thereby followed up by lengthy explanation, no matter how truncated.

(I’m not sure, it’s not a thing I focus on…)
What do you mean… you don’t know?


Truth be told – Excelling at Overhead Pressing of any variety equalizes imaginary lat syndrome carriers, squashes the swaggered walking, shit talking jokers at the gym and makes the one-trick pony’s and substantially strong envious. Some people are built for pressing, the short armed, barrel chest individuals, but mastering the Overhead requires so much more than good structure – and trust me, a little know-how and solid foundation will go a long way when training for the overhead.


Thanks to some of the forward thinking individuals with the inventions of specialty bars like the Swiss bar, along with neutral gripped handles, logs, axles or hell – even straight bars you can overhead press your face off without running into stagnation. But how do you really get good at overheads? I’m talking about sending up to 1.5x’s your bodyweight (and up!) to the roof with authority… you have to start with the basic form, and work your way up. This article will focus more intently of the Olympic variations, push press, power jerks and split jerks- but fear not, strict pressing will be visited as well.
Lets start off with bar position, as time and time again this is one of the first malpoisitions I see individuals assume, and will doom your press from the start and will equate the perceived weight much more than it actually is.


Get a grip…
To me, the type of grip is dependent on the type of bar that you’re pressing with. I’ve always like a thumbless grip regardless if im using a bar or axle, I feel it gives you more wrist flexibility and is easier for the elbows to be rotated under and slightly past the bar**. Those with good shoulder mobility will have little trouble with it. Using a thumbed grip will give you of a controlled feeling, but tends to exhaust the biceps and forearms in my experience – trick here is find what is comfortable for you.


Left: Bar held high above sternum, lack of stable base with bar in front of hips; spine in neutral and primarily using anterior chain for postural support vs. Right: Bar held on sternum, scapulae retracted and bar held in line with the hip, using posterior chain for stability


The target objective is to rest the bar on your sternum, across the collar bone so that it is resting on the deltoids. Often times you will see individuals hold the bar hovering above the chest – while some do this automatically, to reach maximum weight, and overall efficiency of the movement – the bar should be resting on the collar bone. Direct your attention to the scapula now. In the bench and squat and the Olympic variations, you will want to start with a broad chest and retracted scapula ( slight downward rotation will occur as well). This is no different than the set up for an overhead press. If you rack the bar hovering above the chest, you not only use precious amounts of energy stabilizing it there going into the dip or press, but you essentially eliminate all scapular retraction, postural stability and this will put more strain on the erectors and upper to mid thoracic musculature…in other words you will be less stable and use more energy by not letting your skeleton work as the shelf for the bar.




Left: Bar held above sternum vs. Right: Bar held on sternum




Left: Scapular open/loose packed position when holding bar above sternum vs. Right: Scapular closed packed position when bar held on sternum


Elbow Position
I see the hyper-mobile individual rotate their shoulders so that their elbows are all the way up, almost horizontal to the bar their holding. Unless your drive is 90% of the overhead lift and you literally just drop under the bar then this is not a very efficient way to set up prior to a push press or strict press. The elbows should be up, past the bar; this will allow optimal shelving of the bar, and elbow drive under and through the bar during the press. This will compliment the scapular closed pack position, together it will result in the most stable base for the press.

Elbows in front of the bar, scapular open packed position vs. Elbows in front of the bar, scapular closed pack position.




Strict Press – 

I try to not get caught up on whether or not my strict presses are static, or with a reversal stretch reflex by allowing the bar drop back by pushing the hips forward (while keeping the knees locked)**. Some people do this to generate some momentum to move the bar through a sticking point – I likened this motion to rolling the bar into your body prior to pulling a deadlift, for the purists – go without rocking the hips forward. The trick to the strict press is having a very strong base, meaning being continually braced and planted throughout the press. During the press, its imperative one squeezes their shoulder blades together, as in the squat or bench and slightly lean back so that your shoulders and just minimally behind the hips – this will create a platform to press off of out of your torso, sitting on your hips. Equally squeezing the glutes, and stiffen their legs, this provides a stable base to translate power through the core and arms into the bar. Initiate the press with your delts, drive the bar until just above the brow, at this point you will want to flare the lats, and roll the triceps out into the press – sticking your head through several inches from lockout. Throwing the head through too soon will negate all upper chest and limit anterior delt involvement making it harder to press. As the press is completed you will want to realign your body, standing up tall in proper alignment as you push your head through.


Dip into Push Jerk
Now that you were educated on the importance of having a stable base, tight core, and proper chain of recruitment in the strict press, we can look into Push Presses & Push Jerks.
(taking off at the racked position)

It is imperative at this position you remain stable and solid throughout the dip, for if your upper and mid thoracic regions are weak, your elbows will lose position during the dip, dropping the bar lower on the chest (and possibly away from you) throwing off the whole stability and alignment of the press.

The beauty of the dip, is that you don’t need a huge one to get the bar moving. The quicker you are under the bar the more effective this motion will be for you and the more pounds you’ll be able to move. The dip should be controlled – preferably fast to faster, however beginners may have a hard time managing an upright position if their dip is too erratic. Always control the concentric portion (when you bend your knees and dip down) and explode fully through the bar in an eccentric motion (when you extend your legs) make no mistake the dip – and what happens after, is the lion-share of the lift and will determine a successful press.

Initiate the dip like a quarter squat, however I would suggest you play with your foot position to find what is comfortable – I tend to enjoy a slight toe out. You will want to flex the knees and dip while keeping the torso upright, don’t come onto the toes in the dip because this means you’re coming too forward. Also don’t solely try and drive through the heels, sticking your ass far – this will look like an awkward squat descent. Instead find the happy medium – don’t be afraid to complete the drive through the bar and your weight comes over your toes as this is natural. The eccentric portion of the drive is what happens after the dip, the effective lengthening of the legs through the bar. When driving through from the floor through the bar it will be thrown off of your chest.



Good demonstration of the dip, vertically linear with heels flat during the bars descent.

Now after the dip and drive through the bar where exactly do you initiate the press? In any good OVH article they review the common mistake when initiating the press with the arms versus the legs. When the press is initiated with the arms it will look like that 95% of the press will come from the upper body; the drive into the bar will look disjointed and looks more like a full body hiccup rather than a fluid triumphant eighteen wheeler speeding through a police barricade. The secret to unlocking your ultimate OVH ability is initiating the press by using your legs…


So what does it feel like?
Remember when I wrote above that with a proper drive the bar will jump off of your chest? This is paramount to set up a successful press throughout the motion. Use this momentum generated from the dip to your advantage – letting the bar pop off the collar bone and at this point is when your arm speed catches up to the bar with finesse. Motioning the bar up and back matching the bar speed with your arms but pressing through the bar so that you keep the momentum through the movement. It’s so very important that when you catch the bar and finish the press that you remain stable throughout by keeping the core tight and continuing to squeeze the glutes.


Push Jerk
(taking off from a successful Push Press)
At this point, a quick drop under the bar is all that is needed to perform a Push Jerk. During the continued momentum during the press, dropping the hips will let your body fall under the bar subtracting inches from your ROM. Get under the bar by dropping the hip and flexing at the knees. You will then “catch” the bar, receiving it at the lockout, rather than pressing it out like a push press. Often times during a Push Jerk, after the drive you will come up on the toes – when you drop under the bar you strive for a flat foot at the catch as this will ensure a stable base. Often times the repositioning will result in a wider foot placement than in the initial driving. Some people purposefully do this to help eliminate the ROM and become more stable. A pyramid is harder to knock down than a Sky Scraper, ya dig?


Splitting under the jerk requires a good amount of proprioception and coordination. Quick footwork is the cornerstone of this maneuver. Catching the bar with a Push Jerk – while dropping the hips and catching the bar rather than finishing it out with a press will still result in the lifter having a higher center of gravity. The split jerk accomplishes this to a higher degree. It is more stable than the push jerk, and drops the lifters center of gravity more so – inherently creating a more stable base. The drawback is that it potentially requires more time to complete the movement, and if the lifter isn’t quick enough or does not have a complete enough drive through and under the bar then it may prove difficult to complete.
Starting with parallel feet, after the dip and the drive – when the lifter begins to split the feet, the lifters dominant foot lands in front, and non dominant lands in back; the front leg will land at 12 o’clock, or slightly with a toe in at 11 o’clock. The front knee should be as close to 45 degree angle as possible; the weight should be on the front foot. The back knee should land optimally at around 45-65 degree angle depending how big of a front flexion the lifter has, the length of the lunge will also contribute to the amount of knee flexion the back leg will have. The back heel should be slightly up and the ball of the feet planted ( in some weight lifting theories the back foot will also be in a slight toe-in at 1 o’clock identical to the front foot.)



Ilyin demonstrating the back foot slightly turned in at 1 o’clock, front foot facing 12 o’clock.


You’re defective…
Form defects results in short comings as the end result. An improper drive will result in an inadequate split, shuffling the feet front and back with an inefficient jerk of the bar. Short changing the drive through the bar prior to the drop will result in not having enough time for the “actual” split, resulting in an extended back leg, landing with a flat foot. Landing with an assymetrical or back foot turned outward is resultant from inadequate extension at the hip on the back leg, and landing with a semi flexed knee, heel raised and loaded ball of foot. Catching the bar too far out in front is resultant from a dip where the lifter either loaded the fore-foot too much, or lost upper/mid thoracic tightness prior to the punch, dropping the bar lower and away from midline.


The OVH movement is a rather complex one, no matter what variation you are performing. But there is bar-none (no pun intended, more badass maneuver than throwing four plates overhead, slamming down the barbell or axle in a triumphant yell. Most people can’t press 405 off their chest, versus performing acrobatic maneuvers and magically appearing the bar dangling from the ceiling. These movements can be applied to anything over, or even requiring a degree of triple extension. They will teach you how to stay tight, while performing stable breathing throughout the set; as well as generate a fuck-ton of horse power along the way, from the floor – through the body – into the implement.




Jimmy Dart practices as a Physical Therapist Assistant, en route towards his DPT, in addition to his BSBA. With over 17 years of competition experience, he’s achieved All-American status in Collegiate T&F and is an ASC 105K Professional Strongman. He is currently ranked 5th best in the 105K’s in America and is looking forward to competing at the Arnold in March. Jimmy is endorsed by Chaos and Pain Supplements. You can check out Chaos and Pain supplements and his athlete profile and competition history at – no hype, all results.



Works Cited –
1) Workout of the Day – WOD Archive, Jan. 2015, Michael Burgener/Admin. Published 12/20/2009. Accessed 1/18/2015
2) First Pull: A Review of the Split Jerk, JP Millette. Published 09/30/2013. Accessed 1/18/2015.
3) Fitness Pain Free – Why You Overhead Press Sucks: Joint by Joint, approach for Crossfit, Dan; Author. Published 12/01/2012. Accessed 1/18/2015.

Powerbuilding. It’s Awesomesauce On Badass Sandwich.

Posted on: March 4th, 2015 by chaosandpain No Comments
Lee Priest was a strong bastard in his day… because he was not a minimalist and learned from his contemporaries in other sports.
As I mentioned in a recent article, there seems to be a trend toward minimalism in today’s trainee.  I’m not simply referring to powerlifting, either- the strength training/physical culture world has become so fractured that hard lines have been drawn in the sand regarding training techniques and styles that people don’t dare cross, lest they arouse the ire of others within their given subculture.  For instance:
Ok, so not all amateur bodybuilders are tards, but the vocal ones on forums are 100% retarded.  Somehow, I don’t think Milan Šádek is on seeking affirmation from 16 year olds with gyno.
  • amateur bodybuilders  (not pros, as they actually understand how to train to maximize hypertrophy) scream endlessly about the value of “perfect form” and rail against training heavy or with loose form.  From Reddit to Facebook to Youtube, they’re constantly bemoaning the likes of Brad Castleberry for their “shitty form”… nevermind the fact that that shitty form has him lean, 255 lbs at 5’9″, and strong as shit all the time.  Has he been to “snap city”?  Nope.  That doesn’t stop the pussies on the internet from whining about his form, however, and the weights he’s using to “pump up his ego.”

I’ve seen pot pies with more muscularity and intensity than this chap.
  • powerlifters yammer on endlessly about the uselessness of bodybuilding movements and seem to hold it as a point of honor when they look like fat bags of pasty white dogshit.  Then, they have the utter audacity to flip out on people on the street when questioned if they bodybuild, incredulous that someone would actually be giving them a compliment for appearing as though they lift.  Retarded, yet that’s what they do daily.
Any time I need an ego boost about my shit-dog clean technique, I know right where to look.
  • CrossFitters are perhaps the worst of the lot, telling everyone nearby with their clothing and words of their love for CrossFit and decrying the utility of exercises that would actually lower their risk of injury and resolve muscular imbalances, like leg curls, seated rows, and dumbbell and cable work for their “vanity muscles.”
Ugh.  Someone had to make the CrossFitter look good, I guess.
  • Olympic weightlifters in the United States are notorious for furiously masturbating to the deliberate misinformation propagated by the Bulgarians in the 1980s, so they eschew any and all assistance work for endless light sets of squats and the Olympic lifts to “perfect their form.”  As such, they blow at everything from their own sport down on through basic fitness.

So, how’d it get this way?  Frankly, I blame the internet, because I’m old and crotchety and shoot rock salt at the young whippersnappers in my yard as they scamper hither and yon in their damnable skinny jeans, listening to Miley Cyrus dubstep remixes or whatever horrible shit that passes as music is these days.  Prior to the internet, there were divisions between the sports, but nothing like what goes on now, at least in my experience.  The camps have become so dogmatic that they’re blind to the fact that all of them can learn a great deal from each other, and that they’d all benefit from doing so.

Lee Priest- powerbuilder and grand world champion of bulking.

That is where power bodybuilding, or powerbuilding, comes in- it crosses the lines between the different lifting disciplines to create the thickest, leanest, strongest people the world has ever seen.  Nowhere in powerbuilding would you find fatties happy to be fat and look like they don’t lift (save, perhaps, for Lee Priest and his hilarious obsession with KFC), and nowhere withing the confines of this style of training would you find a lifter whose training poundages didn’t match the impressiveness of their physique.  Instead, powerbuilding has always been jam-packed with huge, strong, ripped dudes throwing massive weights around like they were pinatas at a Mexican midget’s birthday party- we’re talking about badass, hard-as-nails, thicker-than-a-mack-truck bastards like:

Scott Wilson
1980s mass monster with who is considered to have one of the broadest sets of shoulders in history


Superstar Billy Graham, Western USA Tenn Mr. America, World Strongest Man competitor, and possessor of a 605 bench press who trained with Pat Casey, Arnold, Franco, and Dave Draper in the late 1960s.


Brutally thick and strong Mike Mentzer
Huge squatter and possessor of some of the craziest triceps in history, Paul “Quadzilla” Demayo


Training partners and general lunatics Branch Warren and Johnnie Jackson

One would hope that you might find the above pictures at least somewhat compelling, as those maniacs are all cut from the same cloth as Chaos and Pain’s Baddest mofos like Ivan Putsky, John Grimek, Chuck Sipes, Phil Grippaldi, Steve Stanko, Stan Efferding, Franco Columbu, Bruno Samartino, John DeFendis, Benny Podda, and Marvin Eder.  A quick bit of googling will net you their routines, all of which I’ve posted in their requisite articles, and all of which were lengthy, brutally heavy, and frequent in the extreme.  The following workouts are no different- while they might vary in rep ranges and exercise selection, each of the following routines utilizes weights designed to make the lifter shit their pant s in fear before starting each set, training volumes designed to destroy the person undertaking the program or make them into the most brutal sonofabitch who’s ever lived, and all of which require focus and intensity that would make the nerds in the CIA’s Stargate Project look like drooling halfwits with a bad case of ADHD.

Bill Ennis, just walking into meets and trashing kids while looking like a bodybuilder and rocking 5.5% bodyfat.

Behold, then, the awesomeness of powerbuilding programs- programs designed to make lifters brutally strong, massive, and ripped.  And before you assert that these programs have never allowed a lifter to dominate powerlifting, bear in mind that Stan Efferding and Johnnie Jackson are both IFBB professional bodybuilders and are fifth and sixth on the best of the best list on Powerliftingwatch at 275 for the deadlift, IFBB pro Greg Doucette has the ninth best bench press at 198 in the history of the sport, IFBB pro Amit Sapir has the world record in the raw squat, Stan Efferding has held the unwrapped squat and total records at 275 lbs for the last four years, and that all of the great powerlifters of the late 1970s (John Kuc, Jon Cole, Rick Gaugler, Ricky Dale Crain, Ernie Frantz, and Jack Barnes) and most of the great powerlifters of the 1980s (like Gene Bell, Joe Ladnier, Larry Pacifico, and Ken Lain) trained with a powerbuilding style.  Hell, the first guy to bench press 600 lbs in competition, Pat Casey, was a bodybuilder.  Therefore, it might be time to put aside your Smolov/Sheiko/program du jour and take a page out of a time wherein Magnum Pi was an authority on facial hair and dudes were actually proud to look like they’d stepped inside a gym before.

The Powerbuilding Elite

Mike O’Hearn

6’3″, 285lbs.

Frankly, I was surprised at this, but when I started googling “power building”, his name started popping up like plastic rodents in a short-circuiting Whack-A-Mole game.  Insofar as I knew, O’Hearn gave up powerlifting and bodybuilding years ago to be a cover model, American Gladiator (he’s the only person to be a gladiator on both the old and the new show, Battle Dome gladiator, and actor.  Apparently, that’s not so, because he looks as big and lean as he’s ever been at 46, and has been putting up crazy PRs recently like a double with 500 on the incline, bottom position pin squats with 650 for 8 sets of 8, and highish reps on seated behind the neck press with 405 lbs.

O’Hearn’s self-stated training style is “power bodybuilding” and as he’s bulked back up, he’s been heavily espousing this style of training, mixing it up in the gym with the likes of such strong sonsofbitches as Kali Muscle, NFL punter and oft-voted “best body in the NFL” punter Steve Weatherford, IFBB pro and world record holding powerlifter Stan Efferding, and synthol-ed Mickey Rourke look-alike Rich Piana.  From what I can see of O’Hearn’s training, his workouts are a hell of a lot longer, heavier, and more intense than what he recommends for the average trainee, but you guys will get the gist of his methods from O’Hearn’s 12 week power bodybuilding program.  If you check out his Facebook page, you can see he also highly recommends exercises like the bottom-position pin squats (also one of my faves), shrugs, machine rear laterals, incline JM presses and all sorts of cables for arms, seated dumbbell work for shoulders, and a bunch of other stuff- the following is just his bare-bones recommendation.




Barbell Incline Bench Press – Medium Grip -1-3 sets, low weight

Working Sets

Barbell Incline Bench Press – Medium Grip -6 x 5 as heavy as possible

Dumbbell Bench Press- 4-5 x 10

Incline Dumbbell Flyes-3 x 8-10

Pm: 30 minutes cardio/crunches




Barbell Squat- 1-3 sets, low weight

Working Sets

Barbell Squat 7 x 3 as heavy as possible

Leg Press 5 x 10 as heavy as possible

Leg Extensions 3 x 10 as heavy as possible

PM: 30 min treadmill/ crunches



Standing Shoulder Press – 3 x 8

Wide-Grip Upright Barbell Row – 3 x 8

Standing Dumbbell Upright Row – 3 x 8

Side Lateral Raise – 4 x 12

Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise – 4 x 12



Barbell Curl – 3 x 8

Seated Dumbbell Curl – 3 x 8-12

Preacher Curl – 3 x 8-12

Lying Triceps Press – 4 x 8-12

Triceps Pushdown – 4 x 8-12

Dumbbell Incline Triceps Extension (shown with cable) – 4 x 8-12

PM: 30 min jog/ crunches




Barbell Deadlift – 1-3 sets, low weight

Working Sets

Barbell Deadlift – 7 x 2

One-Arm Dumbbell Row –  5 x 10

Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown – 3 x 8

PM: 30min Cardio/crunches


Sergio Oliva

5’9″, 235lbs.

Frankly, I find it hard to believe that anyone could not be aware of Sergio Oliva, but on the off chance one of you just crawled out from under a rock and are still trying to blink the sunlight out of your eyes, here’s the lowdown on Oliva:

  • he took 2nd place in the 1962 Cuban National Olympic Weightlifting Champions
  • 1966 AAU Jr. Mr. America
  • 1967-1969 Mr. Olympia
  • 1972-1973 WBBG Mr. Galaxy
  • 1975, 1976 and 1978 WBBG Mr. Olympus
  • 1977 and 1980 WABBA Professional World Champion
  • 1980 and 1981 WABBA Professional World Cup winner

Oliva’s strength was as massive as his arms and quads (his quads were always 27″ and his largest waist measurement was 28″).  He hammered at his body the same way he hammered steel in the foundry where he worked, and his efforts paid off- at 235 lbs, he was strong enough to tangle with most powerlifters and not embarrass himself.


Chest and Back 

Bench Press supersetted with Chinning Bar.

Set 1: 200lbs x 8, 15 reps on chinning bar

Set 2: 220lbs x 8, 15 reps on chinning bar

Set 3; 260lbs x 8, 10 reps on chinning bar

Set 4: 300lbs x 8, 10 reps on chinning bar

Set 5: 320lbs x 8, 8 reps on chinning bar

Set 6: 350lbs x 8, 8 reps on chinning bar

Set 7: 380lbs x 8, 5 reps on chinning bar

DB Flyes supersetted with Dips- 5 x 15 reps with 80lb dumbbells for flyes, supersetted with weighted dips.


Shoulders, Biceps and Triceps

Overhead Press- 5 x 15 x 200 lbs

Extending Heavy Curls. 5 x 5 reps x 200 lbs

French Curls. 5 x 5 reps x 200 lbs

Scott (Curls) Bench. 5 x 10 reps x 150 lbs

Scott (Curls) Bench with Dumbbells. 5 x 5 reps x 60 lb dumbbell

Seated Triceps Extension. 5 x 5 x 60 lbs dumbbell, supersetted with Tricep Press Downs


Abs, Heavy Squats and Calves

Situps- 10 x 50

Leg Raises- 5 x 20

Side Bends with Bar Behind Neck- 5 x 200

Squats- 300 x 5, 400 x 5, 440 x 5, 470 x 5, 500 x 4

Standing Heel Raises- 10 x 8 x 300 lbs


Chest, Back and Shoulders

Bench Press- 200 x 5, 220 x 5, 260 x 5, 300 x 5, 320 x 5, 350 x 5, 380 x 5

Press Behind Neck- 5 x 5 reps x 250 lbs, supersetted with Rowing Machine, 200 pounds

Sitting Press with Dumbbells- 5 x 5 x 80 lb dumbbells.

Dips- 5 x 8


Heavy Arms 

Press- 3 x, 5 x 200 lbs

Extending Heavy Curls- 3 x 5 x 200 lbs

French Curls- 3 x 5 x 200 lbs

Scott Bench for Triceps- 3 x 5 x 200 lbs

Scott Bench for Triceps with Dumbbell- 3 x 5 x 50 lb dumbbell, supersetted with Tricep Press Downs.

Chinning Behind Neck- 5 x 5 reps

Chinning Bar with Closed Hands- 5 x 5 reps, supersetted with Tricep Machine Pull Downs


Abs and Legs

Situps- 5 x 10

Leg Raises- 5 x 10

Side Bends with Bar Behind Neck- 5 x 50

Squats- 3 x 3 x 300 lbs; 2 x 3 x 400 lbs; 3 x 20 x 250 lbs

Front Squats- 5 x 10 x 200 lbs

Sitting Heel Raises- 5 x 5 x 200 lbs

Steve Michalik

5’10”, 210lbs.

Well known for his psychotic intensity, undying love of AAS, and for having trained John DeFendis until he achieved his ultimate and ridiculous final Super Saiyan form.  Training two days on, one day off, Steve smashed heavy legs and back Day One, slaughtered chest, shoulders, and arms Day 2, and massacred his abs and calves on a daily basis.  Every workout was basically a bloodbath in which Michalik would work up to an incredibly heavy last set, then do three weight drops in that set to pulverize whatever was left of the bloody hamburger that was the bodypart being trained into a painful pile of pumped up muscle mush.

While the weights below might not scream “HOLY SHIT HE WAS STRONG” at you, bear in mind a bad car accident cut Michalik’s career short and we never really got to see what he was capable of, but Michalik was strong as all hell.  According to 1974 IFBB Mr. America winner Don Modzelewski,

“I ran into [Michalik] and just asked if he could give me some advice. Out of the goodness of his heart, he came down and trained me every night, six days a week, for about twelve weeks, and never asked me for a dime. He was no longer training at that time, but one Sunday morning plopped down on a bench with a jelly doughnut in his mouth and, without a warm-up, knocked out twenty reps in the bench with 315, with his ankles crossed up in the air.” (Colescott).

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a 5’10”, 210 lb man bench a set of 20 with his legs in the air and 315lbs, all while munching on a jelly doughnut.  That, in my book, equals seriously strong.

Michalik with 1982 Mr. O Samir “Lion of Lebanon” Bannout

Michalik’s Split

Day One


a. Leg Presses – four sets – 450 lbs. to 800 lbs.

b. Leg Curls – four sets – 125 lbs. – 15 repetitions.


c. Hack Squats – four sets – 150 lbs. to 325 lbs. – super-setted with

d. Leg Extensions – constant weight of 225 lbs. – ten repetitions.

e. Full Squats – four sets – 205 lbs. to 405 lbs. – ten repetitions.


a. Long Pulley Cable Rowing – seated – six sets – 150 lbs. to 200 lbs.

b. Bent-over Rowing – four sets – 150 lbs. to 245 lbs. Triple drop on last set.


c. Seated Lat Pull-downs – six sets – 150 lbs. to 275 lbs.

d. Deadlifts – four sets – 205 lbs. to 400 lbs.  Triple drop on last set.

It wouldn’t be a party without this picture.

Day Two


a. Barbell Pullover – constant weight – 75 lbs. four sets of 15 repetitions for rib-box stretch.

b. Bench Press – six sets – 205 lbs. to 405 .bs.


c. Decline press – six sets – 20t lbs. to 345 lbs.

d. Incline Press – six sets – 150 lbs. to 300 lbs.  Triple drop on last set.


a. Seated Press (on machine) – five sets – 150 lbs. to 205 lbs.

b. Seated Behind the Neck Press (on machine) – 5 sets – 125 lbs. to 175 lbs.  Triple drop on last set.


c. Lateral Raises (dumbbells) – 4 sets – 25 lbs. to 45 lbs.

d. Shrugs – 4 sets – 205 lbs. to 300 lbs.  Triple drop on last set.


a. Lying Triceps Curl on Flat Bench – 6 sets – 110 lbs. to 200 lbs.

b. Seated Triceps Curl – 6 sets – 100 to 150 lbs.  Triple drop on last set.

Regular Set:

c. Decline Triceps Curl – 6 sets – 100 to 150 lbs.  Triple drop on last set.


a. Preacher Curl – oNe Arm – 4 sets – 50 to 75 lbs.

b. Incline Curl (on half-moon bench) – 4 sets – 65 to 85 lbs.  Triple drop on last set.


c. Standing Curl – 6 sets – constant weight – 120 lbs. super-setted with-

d. Preacher Curl – constant weight – 110 lbs.  Triple drop on last set.

Every Day

Calves – 15 sets of about 20 reps – 150 to 250 lbs.

Abdominals – On an adjustable abdominal board. 50 to 75 repetitions on each rung for a drop set.  One to two sets of each drop set (Mr. USA).

Roy Hilligenn

5’6”, 180 lbs,

Roy Hilligenn might be the baddest man of whom you’ve never heard.  At 5’6″, 180lbs, he might have been the biggest guy I’m going to mention in this series, but he his strength was so prodigeous than when coupled with his Aryan good looks, he’d have been the only person in Hitler’s spank bank if he’d lived long enough to witness Hilligenn’s lifts.  Hilligenn was the first South African to clean and jerk double bodyweight, tied the world record in the same lift in competition, and eventually unofficially broke the world record in that lift, smashing John Davis’s record with a 402lb exhibition lift at a bodyweight that was 50 lbs less than Davis’s, and crushing his own weight class’s best lift by 32 lbs.  Hell, Hilligenn was even crazy strong into his old age- at 72, he did 35 reps with 400 lbs in the deadlift at a bodyweight of 165 (Bass).

Hilligenn with 405 overhead.

Hilligenn’s training poundages are pretty badass even by today’s standards, considering the frequency with which he trained, his bodyweight, and the equipment available to lifters in the early 1950s.  While training for the 1951 Mr. America, which he won, Hilligenn was moving some impressive weights:

Full Squat- 420 x 10

Bench Press- 280 x 10

Seated DB Press- 90s x 10

Dumbbell Row- 155 x 10

Incline DB press- 115 x 10

Though his program wasn’t really one that could be considered hard and fast or particularly codified, Hilligenn stuck to an interesting 6 day split, wherein he alternated Olympic weightlifting and bodybuilding days.  Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Hilligenn did bodybuilding exercises from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., then hit a second session from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.  Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday were his Olympic lifting days, which consisted of just one session per day.  For his bodybuilding workouts, Roy typically went higher rep, sticking around the 10-15 rep range and going for a burn and a pump.  For most exercises, he’d use five sets, using a combination of barbells, dumbbells, and cables.

Hilligenn’s Olympic days were much heavier and ultilized much lower rep ranges- for these he stuck in the 1-3 rep range.  On each of these days, he’d do all three of the olympic lifts, followed by jerks out of the squat stands for triples and doubles, then snatch grip high pulls, then clean grip high pulls, adding weight until he could no longer pull it.  Frankly, this seems like a really utilitarian, if brutal, methodology, and one that could easily be applied to any other strength sport with ease.

I couldn’t find a single iota of info on this dude’s training, but Mahmut Irmak is the only person I’ve seen make Andreas Munzer look like he should have been riding a Rascal through an Arkansas Wal-Mart.

As you can see, there are plenty of different ways to attack your physique with powerbuilding, and all ofthem yield pretty phenomenal results.  Still to come, we’ve got Mike Francois, Rich Gaspari, Phil Herndon, and a bunch of other badass, ultra-strong, weight-destroying badasses and their programs lined up to give you an idea on how to alter your program to bring your physique up to match your lifts, and vice-versa.  In the meantime, start working on that mustache- they appear to confer some sort of physique and strength advantage science has yet to explain.


Bass, Clarence.  Roy Hilligenn, a Marvel – Then & Now.  Web.  22 Feb 2015.

Colescott, Steve.  Surviving Mr. America’s gym.  Musclemag.  16 Feb 2012.  Web.  3 Mar 2015.

The Mr. USA Story.  Eric’s Gym.  Web.  24 Feb 2015.

Nuckols, Greg.  Powerlifters Should Train More Like Bodybuilders.  StrengthTheory.  7 Feb 2015.  Web.  22 Feb 2015.

O’Hearn, Mike.  mike O’Hearn’s power bodybuilding: The 12-Week program.  12 Nov 2014.  Web.  3 Mar 2015.

Roy Hilligenn- The smiling superman.  Iron Game History.  Aug 1994:3(4);8-10.

Sergio Oliva Training Routine.  Muscle and Brawn.  5 Jun 2010.  Web.  26 Feb 2015.

Wimz Headed To The Club Aren’t The Only Ones Who Should Accessorize

Posted on: February 20th, 2015 by chaosandpain No Comments
Is that a heroin addict, or your average powerlifter?  The arms look a little big for an average powerlifter.

One of the weirdest trends in powerlifting today is the mentality seemingly shared by every lifting new jack on the planet- the belief that accessory work is as pointless, useless, and possibly detrimental to one’s strength as a combined heroin and krokodil addiction would be.  I’ve no idea what the source of this belief could be, but it is quite possibly one of the most ridiculous thought processes ever shared by a large group of people in history.  The belief that the Earth is only 6,000 years old rivals this belief in its utter, jaw dropping, jibberingly moronic mentality.  Perhaps we should blame some of the more famous training programs and their progenitors, which seem to treat bodybuilding exercises as tantamount to heresy and produce naught but mediocre lifters- I’ve no goddamned clue.

I might have to make a caption contest for this shitshow.

By now, you’re likely shaking your head in disbelief, shocked that I would dare to laugh in the face of Millennial internet lifting dogma, which seems to have cemented itself in the heads of everyone in spite of the fact that such dogma rarely leads to impressive totals.  I can do so, however, because I end up training people who have utilized the most popular programs on the internet, and they all suffer from the same issues- ridiculous muscular imbalances, easily fixable weaknesses in small muscle groups, small, weak arms, “shoulder impingement issues” (HOLY CHRIST, YOU DON’T HAVE A SHOULDER TO IMPINGE BECAUSE YOU TREAT SHOULDER TRAINING LIKE SOME ESOTERIC RITUAL ONLY BODYBUILDERS AND CROSSFITTERS DO), weak abs, weak calves, and a hideous misunderstanding of how strength training actually works.

Jim Cash- brutal lifter, brutal physique… brought to you by bodybuilding.

Yeah, that’s right- if you think accessory training is pointless, you should probably go drown yourself in an unflushed toilet, because you have all of the common sense of a halfwit fishing around in a garbage disposal for a hard candy while reaching for the light switch next to the sink to better see your confectionery prey.  If you’re asking yourself why, let me tell you:

  • just about every great lifter in history, save the Bulgarians of the 1970s and 1980s, has incorporated bodybuilding exercises in their programs.  
  • All of the old time strongmen advocated curls and tricep extensions in their training programs. 
  • Olympic weightlifting great Vasily Alexeev benched and curled religiously, as did Phil Grippaldi and David Rigert, none of whom necessarily needed strong biceps or pecs for their sport (Ivanov).   
  • Pat Casey, the first man to bench 600 in competition, began his career as a bodybuilder and continued to do tons of curls, tricep extensions, leg curls, and leg extensions throughout his powerlifting career (Gallagher).  
  • Kirk Karwoski, for all intents and purposes, trained like a bodybuilder for his entire career (Gallagher).  
  • Jon Kuc did more accessory work than he did primary lifts, and he looked phenomenal while setting the powerlifting world on fire (Kuc).  
  • The coach of the Chinese Olympic weightlifting team, Coach Fang, says that “a weightlifter MUST use bodybuilding exercises to progress in the snatch and clean and jerk,” and recommends that at every workout a lifter should choose one or two small bodyparts at the end of each workout and do 6 sets for each to failure, with whatever weight one chooses (Winter).

Jay Rosciglione.  Think he skipped his accessory work?

Coach Fang’s program includes training one or two small muscles at the end of every workout, with a particular focus on upper back, lats, triceps, obliques, and abs in particular.  Those recommendations seem to fit in with the accessory work espoused by other great lifters, as upper back work is one of the staples of Chuck Vogelpohl’s training (Simmons), general bodybuilding training was a staple of beastly bench presser George Halbert (Simmons), Jon Kuc continually stressed the importance of ab work (Kuc), and every great powerlifter in history has done heavy and extensive tricep accessory work.

Tell big Bill he should have skipped leg extensions and done more squats.  I dare you.

And for those of you who think that leg extensions and leg curls are pointless exercises for people with crap leg development, think again- I’ve used them with great success in the past as an accessory movement or as a replacement for squatting on my light days, the Chinese and Egyptian Olympic weightlifting teams use isometric holds on leg extensions (Winter), drug-free lifter John Kuc used leg extensions and curls as his sole accessory work for squats (Kuc), Ed Coan loves unilateral leg curls (Koenig), and beastly strongman and powerlifter Bill Kazmaier was a huge fan of extensions and leg curls (Kazmaier).

If an Olympic weightlifter is chumping you in a front double biceps pose, it’s time to rethink your training routine.

If you’re wondering, then, what sort of accessory work you should be doing, let me impart a bit of wisdom gleaned from training for over 20 years- if you’re pushing yourself and moving weight, there is almost no exercise that is a total waste of time.  Sure, you’d be better off back squatting with a heavy barbell than doing pistols on a bosu ball, but even the pistols will have a net positive effect on your lifting if they’re used in concert with heavy compound movements.  Neglecting small bodyparts will only serve to exacerbate the muscular imbalances you’ll invariably have if you train only a few movements.  It’s a virtual guarantee that your form isn’t perfect, and if it is, it’s a guarantee you’re not pushing yourself in the gym.  Either way, you’re going to jackyourself up if you don’t hit all of the little shit you might think is pointless.  To satisfy your curiosity, here’s an incomplete list of the accessory work I do on a regular basis- listing everything I ever do would take far too long and would likely only serve to confuse half of you.  Let’s just say I take insanely short rest periods and train six to ten times a week when I’m training hard.  My reps on these range from about five to fifteen, and occasionally go up to over thirty if I feel like getting a pump or I’m doing dips or pullups.

Clearly, inclines worked for Kevin Levrone.


  • Incline Dumbbell Press.  For these, I pause deep at the bottom, explode to the top, hold it at full extension, and then do about a 2 second descent.  Most of the great benchers I know do these, and they are definitely worth doing for shoulder stretch and extra pec work. 
  • Dips.  Though I don’t do these as much as I used to, they’re great for most people.  Loading the belt is a pain in the ass once you get over three plates, and doing sets of 50+ gets tedious.  As a general rule for dips and pullups I pick a total rep number and do sets of whatever until I hit that total.  I.e., I’ll pick 300 reps and do sets of 40-75 until I hit 300.
  • Cable Flies.  Frankly, I love these things, and do them with high reps and finish my sets with presses.
Who wouldn’t want a back like Kai’s?
  • Seated Hammer Rows.  I could do these for hours, and occasionally do.  My reps range from 5-12, and I don’t have a set number of sets- I just get a massive pump and waddle around the gym like a flying squirrel with a myostatin deficiency. 
  • Barbell rows from the floor.  Another of my favorites, I do them more or less like Pendlay rows, but with slightly more body English and a hell of a lot of explosiveness- if I leave the gym with an unbruised sternum, I’ve failed.  I keep my reps low on these and use them as a replacement for deadlifts, along with shrugs.
  • Shrugs.  I pull these off the rack from knee height, so it’s a bit of a combination lift, and work up as heavy as I can pull it off the pins (usually around 9 plates).
  • Pullups.  I often have days that consist of naught but pullups, and just stay in the gym doing sets of 12-20 until I hit the hour mark and go home.  Keep your rest periods short and just go bananas on these.
  • Face Pulls.  I throw these into random days for extra upper back work, on the recommendation of Chuck Vogelpohl.

The man.  The myth.  The legend, doing his namesake lift.
  • Klokov Presses.  I’m all over the place on these, doing anything from an hour and a half of sets of 12 with 135 to an hour of singles and doubles.  Honestly, these things are invaluable for shoulder health.
  • Laterals.  I do these somewhat sparingly, but still hit them every couple of weeks.
  • Rear Laterals.  I throw these in on both shoulder and chest workouts, doing either machines or free weights.
Mentzer was no weakling, and he loved his hammer curls.


  • Hammer curls.  I usually do these with a rope in the cables, but will go heavy to be a showoff with the dumbbells as well and work up to the 105s for four on occasion.  These were a favorite of Bill Kazmaier, who claimed they helped his bench immeasurably (Kazmaier).  
  • Pushdowns.  I’ll do these with a cambered bar, reverse grip and regular, the rope, or any other attachment I might have at hand.  Reps range from 5-50, depending on my mood.
  • Skullcrushers.  I do these laying on the floor with dumbbells, lowering the weight slowly to just above and outside my ears.  I pause them on the floor, then explode to the top.  This is a favorite movement of top amateur bodybuilder and former world record holding powerlifter Ryan Celli, who asserts that if you gain strength in this movement, your bench will definitely go up.
Ernie Frantz credited calf strength for his pulling power.


  • Leg Extensions.  Though I’ve railed against these in the distant past, I’ve come to love them.  I don’t retract my legs entirely, so as to keep stress off my knees, but I use the full stack and hold each rep for at least 3 seconds for an isometric contraction for reps.  Occasionally, I’ll do these for a half hour with 60-90 second rests between sets, going to failure each set, then do leg curls and calf raises and jet.
  • Leg Curls.  I prefer to do these unilaterally and standing, but however I do them, I hold each rep at the top for an isometric contraction, then stop just short of full extension to keep constant tension on the muscle.
  • Calf Raises.  These are essential for pulling power, stability in walking out the weight, and stability in squatting.  Anytime you see a powerlifter with shitty calves, you’re seeing a shitty powerlifter.


Pudz doesn’t do 360 reps of abs a week just to look pretty.  A weak midsection equals a weak lifter.


  • Ab wheel.  My favorite exercise, I just do these whenever I feel like it while watching tv.  Usually 5-10 sets to failure a couple of times a week.
  • Standing crunches.  I use an ab strap for these and stand in the pulldown station, going to full extension and holding the contraction for a count or two on each rep.

So, there you have it- you should definitely be doing accessory work, no matter what your favorite internet message board might say to the contrary.  Avoidance of accessory work will only lead to plateaus, injuries, and general suckitude.  Don’t suck, and don’t look like shit- hit those bodybuilding movements and have a physique that matches your lifts.


Gallagher, Marty.  Kirk Karwoski.  Parrillo Performance Press.  1 March 2007.  Web.  20 Feb 2015.

Gallagher, Marty.  Pat Casey: The First Powerlifting Superstar.  Starting Strength.  2014.  Web.  20 Feb 2015.

Ivanov, Dmitri.  EFS Classic: The Science of Winning According to Vasili Alexeyev.

Kazmaier, Bill.  The Bench Press, Part Two.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  16 Apr 2014.  Web.  20 Feb 2015.

Kazmaier, Bill.  Squat and Deadlift.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  30 Apr 2014.  Web.  20 Feb 2015.

Koenig, John.  Atlas Speaks: An Interview with Ed Coan.  T-Nation.  15 Feb 2001.  Web.  20 Feb 2015.

Kuc, John.  Advanced Bench Press Training Routine.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  17 Mar 2014.  Web.  19 Feb 2015.

Kuc, John.  Advanced Squat Training.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  22 Oct 2013.  Web.  20 Feb 2015.

Simmons, Louie.  How to Reach the Top.  Westside Barbell.  16 Jun 2013.  Web.  20 Feb 2015.

Simmons, Louie.  Training The Back.  Westside Barbell.  14 Jun 2013.  Web.  20 Feb 2015.

Winter, Gregor.  Isometric Leg Extension Holds.  All Things Gym.  7 Dec 2013.  Web.  20 Feb 2015.

Winter, Gregor.  Larry’s Chinese Weightlifting Experience Part 1 – Snatches & Squats.  All Things Gym.  4 Jan 2014.  Web.  18 Feb 2015.

The NY Attorney General Says You Shouldn’t Trust Supplement Companies- Is He Right?

Posted on: February 17th, 2015 by chaosandpain No Comments

Given the New York Attorney General’s attitude toward the supplement industry in general, it seems appropriate that someone in the industry respond.  I shall be that someone.  Headlines like “Leave supplements on the shelves until we have better oversight” began hitting the internet and papers earlier this month, spurred by an investigation conducted by the office of the New York state Attorney General that revealed that supplements on the shelves of GNC, Walmart, Target, and Walgreens contained little, if any, of the herbs they were alleged to contain.  Nevermind the fact that the tests conducted used a method alleged to be totally useless for determining the supplements’ contents by an assistant professor at Harvard- that fact is rarely mentioned in coverage of the story, save the one I’ve linked above (the short version is that it was a newly created DNA test that doesn’t work on herbal extracts).  Instead, calls for the regulation of the supplement industry by the FDA have come fast and furious from the aging and infirm legislators of our great land, who sit like Statler and Waldorf on the Muppets heckling every industry they cannot understand.

The nutritional supplement industry has existed longer than modern medicine, and bears a more storied and successful history.  Certainly, quackery and general malfeasance have been rife in the industry, but where there is dark, there is also light, and the supplement industry is no different.  Americans in particular have been obsessed with vitamins the first appeared in the popular press in 1910, and their interest has only increased over time, in spite of the government’s best efforts to stifle them.  I suppose that like now, the press was in large part to blame for this interest, but Americans have been concerned with what they perceived as a steady decline in the quality of their food since the early 1930s, and have sought ways to mitigate that decline as a result (Apple 7).

Always trustworthy, the press.

Concurrent with that phenomenon has been the marked decline in faith in the medical profession, which is only exacerbated by the fact that doctors don’t know their asses from a hole in the wall when it comes to training and nutrition.  Doctors will invariably spout archaic soundbites about the dangers of excessive protein consumption and the evils of heavy weightlifting, in spite of reams of studies contradicting their decades-old “common knowledge”.  Their ignorance of these subjects parallels the government’s famous ignorance of the same, which has manifested itself in the progressively more idiotic and hilarious dietary recommendations and the its periodic crackdowns on dietary supplement sales.  Think the latest round of prohormone seizures was a new thing?  Hardly- the government’s been in the pockets of the pharmaceutical industry and pharmacy lobbyists for over a century, and periodically try multiple times to ban the sale of non-prescription dietary supplements (Apple 55, 131).

Certainly, that’s not to say that there haven’t been a bevy of snake oil salesmen lining the shelves with utterly useless trash for the last 100 years.  Quite the contrary, in fact.  Just as dietary supplements are as old as recorded history, so are hucksters, charlatans, and snake oil salesmen.  As such, there have thousands of examples of utterly worthless tripe being pawned off on the public as a panacea, but that has not stopped people from purchasing them, which would indicate they couldn’t possibly all be worthless.   In 2002, 123.5 million Americans had self-reported using dietary supplements to treat a variety of health conditions, and United States consumers spent over $30 billion on supplements in 1999.  While we’ll all admit that the American public is largely a pack of overstuffed, under-educated, bovine dipshits, it’s not possible that over half of the population is so incredibly stupid they’d spend about $250 a year on worthless bullshit.

Mmmmm-hmmmm.  Sure, Dan.

So, the question stands as such- how does one tell what’s worthwhile and what’s not?  A damn fine question, as even reputable companies have over the years pawned utter trash off on their customers- Biotest and MHP have given the world the utterly pointless “myostatin blockers” Myostat CSP-3 and Myo-X (supplements that literally could not possibly work from a scientific standpoint), Gaspari’s spiked their proteins, all sorts of companies have produced ecdysterone and deer antler products (which again cannot scientifically work), and companies like MuscleMeds pawn off collagen protein, which is nigh on worthless for muscle building, as high-quality beef protein.  On the other side, you’ve got products like Hot Stuff and Russian Bear that allegedly contained methyltestosterone and other steroids but did not list them on the label, the clenbuterol-filled preworkout Ultimate Orange, and allegedly amphetamine-jammed preworkout Craze- products that worked like a charm, but only because they contained unlisted and illegal drugs.  Again, this leaves us with a bit of quandary- how to choose what’s good over what’s not?

Maybe avoid any product with ads like this- it’s not like dudes hung like bears open with “I PROMISE I DON’T HAVE A TINY DICK” at bars.

The answer isn’t all that simple, because as I stated above, even good companies put out bullshit products from time to time.  The method upon which I eventually fell was to simply do my research so as to understand exactly what was in my supplements.  I discovered the methods behind protein spiking, to know what to look for on labels to see if they’d have been spiked; I researched “fecunded egg yolk” to see exactly what in the hell was in Myo-X and why; I scoured the internet for unbiased reviews, making note of the overall opinion of certain companies; and finally, I developed a deep and abiding hatred for proprietary blends and the companies who use them.  Label transparency, it seems, is the only real thing you can trust in the supplement industry, because the fact that most supplements are made in CGMP facilities, and those facilities require:

“CGMP regulations assures the identity, strength, quality, and purity of drug products by requiring that manufacturers of medications adequately control manufacturing operations. This includes establishing strong quality management systems, obtaining appropriate quality raw materials, establishing robust operating procedures, detecting and investigating product quality deviations, and maintaining reliable testing laboratories” (FDA).

Proprietary blends- the fat girl Myspace angle of the supplement industry.

Thus, if a company has a transparent labels bereft of proprietary blends, what’s on the label should actually be in the product.  Proprietary blends, on the other hand, could contain massive amounts of cheap ingredients and minute amounts of the more expensive (and effective) ingredients, yet still be in adherence with CGMP practices.  Beyond that, it’s simply aggravating to have no idea what, exactly, is in your supplement, and how you might need to beef it up, if need be.  To me, that’s intensely aggravating.  It’s akin, in my mind, to a company putting out a blockbuster movie or a best-selling book and turning the synopsis of their product into a word jumble, or someone on the internet advertising themselves as big in some places and small in others, ugly in some spots and hot in others, and of an indeterminate gender, after posting androgynous pics of themselves from odd angles in very low light.

I’d go ahead and avoid mustachioed supplement retailers as well. 

In short, educate yourself, avoid proprietary blends, and feel free to ask supplement companies questions- if they can’t answer them intelligently, you probably don’t want to do business with them anyway.  you don’t have to walk through a supplement store clutching your butthole in fear of a good, hard, prison rape, but that’s not to say you shouldn’t be on the lookout for a shady character in a Biotest shirt to steal your wallet and leave you with no gainz, either.  We don’t need the FDA to step in and tell us what to do- just keep your eyes open, your head on your shoulders, and do your homework, and everything will be good to go.


Apple, Rima D. Vitamania: Vitamins in American Culture.  1996.

Facts About the Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs).  FDA.  Web.  17 Feb 2015.

Wang G.  Dietary Supplements: A Historical Examination of its Regulation (2002 Third Year Paper).  Harvard University.  Apr 2002.  Web.  17 Feb 2015.