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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.

Food of the Warriors- The Stew-roids Series Continues

Posted on: February 10th, 2015 by chaosandpain No Comments
We can only hope this idiot cued up that godawful country song “Proud To Be An American” and then stuffed that shotgun down his throat and pulled the trigger.

A recent article in Popular Science,”Striving For The Perfect Diet Is Making Us Sick”, made some interesting points about the manner in which most people go about dieting.  In our current environment of clinical study obsession, it seems people are unwilling to test a hypothesis- instead, they simply want to be told, definitively, by scientists that whatever it is they’re about to try will absolutely work to help them achieve their goal.  Nevermind the utter vapidity of such a mentality, or the mindlessness from which it stems- let’s just look at the simple boredom that would come out of such a life.  Gone, apparently, is the appreciation for adventure, or the excitement that stems from formulating a hypothesis, testing it, and having one’s theory bear fruit.  It’s just plain lazy and banal.

What’s more, however, when such a mentality is applied to dieting, is that it seems to seriously jack people up.  From the gluten-obsessed dipshits who will literally jam their fingers in their ears and scream “LA LA LA LA” like a four year old when you inform them that the entire concept of gluten intolerance is a fabrication to the vegetarians who willfully ignore every scrap of scientific and anecdotal evidence that humans are indeed omnivores to the paleotards who don’t understand the evolution of cultivated foods, our diet obsessed, yet horrendously fat modern Western world continues to screw up their health in the blind search for a magical diet bullet that does not, in fact, exist.  Not only that, but this idiotic mentality is actually being classified as an eating disorder called orthorexia (Moroze) and is classified as “a pathological obsession for biologically pure and healthy nutrition” (Schwartz).  According to the study, this mentality can seriously mess you up to the point of death, as idiot fad diets “lack essential nutrients, and they make the vitamins and minerals a person does get from meals of exclusively, say, leafy greens, impossible for the body to absorb. This can lead to fragile bones, hormonal shifts, and cardiac problems, along with psychological distress and entrenched, delusional thinking. In other words, the opposite of the intended effect” (Ibid).

The weird part about this to me is that history has already given us plenty of nutritional ammunition and anecdotal evidence about the ultimate diet for us to mine.  It’s no secret that humanity is at least devolving from a physical standpoint- one need look no further than the local Walmart to find evidence of that, and there are plenty of authors, from Thomas Sowell to Richard Lynn, who argue convincingly that humanity is devolving from an intellectual standpoint as well.  As such, it makes far more sense to look to our past rather than our present for a guide to optimal nutrition if one wishes to emulate the badasses of bygone eras.

For that reason, I’ve chosen some of the hardest peoples from history and examined their staple foods for some recipes, as one can never have too much ammunition, and frankly I’ve grown bored of eating the same four things endlessly.  Thus, I present to you some of the staple stews and meat pies of the Mongols, the Apaches, the Scythians and Sarmatians, the Romans, and the Teutonic Knights.

*A note on meat pies.  As I’ve gone through this series, it became more and more apparent that the toughest bastards on the planet not only love eating stew and drinking like they’re chasing a cirrhotic liver harder than frat boys chase nearly comatose drunk sluts, but they also seem to love the everloving hell out of meat pies.  That, it seems, is for good reason- they’re easy to make, easy to transport, and provide you with a badass calorie bomb while on the go or simply when you’re standing in your friend’s kitchen at 4:30 in morning, vainly trying to maintain verticality and polish off that 1.75L you started 6 hours prior.  Dating back to the early Neolithic era, meat pies span every corner of the globe, and come in a hell of a lot of different varieties, shapes, and sizes.  Hearty as hell, loaded with protein, and delicious, these things have stayed in the ultimate human diet for almost 12,000 years for damn good reason.  

Scythian/Sarmatian Warriors

Fans of the blog might remember my having mentioned these two tribes in past, due to my love of cannibalistic, human-scalp wearing, heavily tattooed nomadic death dealers.  These two tribes established the Silk Road, ruled over vast swaths of lands stretching from China to Egypt, and fought pretty much anyone and everyone of note in Eurasia over the span of about a thousand years.

Invariably described as blond, broad shouldered, and tanned, these equestrian death machines lived on virtually nothing but milk, meat pies, and stew as they cut a blood-soaked swath through Eurasia, and they seem to have invented the method by which the Mongols eventually came to make their soups and stew- they fill an animal’s stomach with hot rocks, spices, and the animal’s own meat and let it cook itself from the inside out while they systematically burned off all of the animal’s hair to give it a nice, crispy skin to munch on.

Modern descendants of these two tribes still stick to their traditional diet, for the most part, and while interbreeding with the Muslims and Slavs of the region has stripped them of their former blondness, they’re just as fractious and violent as ever.  So, if you want to see what some of the most traditionally angry and violent people in history munch on to fuel their murderous rage, look no further.

Chanakhi (Lamb Stew)


Kosher salt

1 large eggplant, stemmed, cut lengthwise, and then cut into 4-inch-long wedges

1 pound lamb shoulder chops, cut into 3-inch-long pieces

2 cups diced onions

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon tomato paste

One 16-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into big chunks

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper

Butter or vegetable oil, for sauteing

Pizza dough, for covering

Special equipment: Four clay pots

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to a bowl of water and soak the eggplant for about 20 minutes, while you prepare the rest of the stew.
  3. Heat a deep iron skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat, and then brown the lamb (it makes its own oil). Stir in the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent, and then pour in the tomato paste and tomatoes, taking care not to smash the whole tomatoes. Drop in the potatoes. Cover with 1/2 cup water, if necessary, and then add the cilantro, parsley and cayenne and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat butter in a separate pan and saute the eggplant until completely soft and yellowish.
  5. Each serving is baked in its own clay pot. Place 2 to 4 pieces of eggplant into the bottom of each pot, and then ladle in a helping of the lamb and potatoes. Place a whole peeled tomato at the top of the bowl and pour over the broth until the bowl is nearly full.
  6. Roll out the dough 1/4-inch thick and lay a piece only large enough to cover the top onto the stew.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until the dough top looks like bread or a pizza crust. Cut open the dough top and use the bread for dipping.

Chakhokhbili (Georgian Chicken Stew with Herbs and Tomatoes)


A 5 lb. chicken, trimmed of fat and skin and cut into parts (or 2 lbs. chicken thighs or chicken drumsticks. I wouldn’t recommend only breast meat, because it tends to get dry.)

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter or vegetable oil

½ tsp. kosher salt

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper

2 medium yellow onions, cut in half and then into ½ in. slices

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes (or 4 large ripe tomatoes, cored and diced—you can blanch and peel them first if you like, but I don’t bother)

½ Tbsp. red wine vinegar

About 1 ½ cups finely chopped mixed fresh herbs (choose from cilantro, flat-leaf parsley, basil, dill, tarragon, summer savory, celery greens), for instance:

– ½ bunch cilantro, finely chopped (about 2/3 cup)

– ½ bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (about 2/3 cup)

– 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill

  1. If using a whole chicken, cut it into parts, removing fat and skin as you go: separate the wings, the thighs, the drumsticks, and the breast, then cut the breast into 2-inch chunks.
  2. Heat butter or oil in a cast iron skillet until it begins to sizzle. (You can use any heavy-bottomed pan with high sides, but avoid nonstick pans, which keep things from browning properly.) 
  3. Add the chicken pieces, salt, pepper, and cayenne, stirring to coat. Brown the chicken lightly on all sides.
  4. Remove the chicken pieces from the skillet and add the onions. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic until it turns fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the vinegar, and half the herbs, stirring to combine.
  5. Bring the stew to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and add the chicken back to the pan. Stir in the rest of the herbs and cover the pan. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Serve with additional herbs sprinkled on top, with crusty bread, pita bread or naan, or over basmati rice.

Fydzhin (Ossetian Meat Pie)

Ingredients for filling (for 2 pies) 

42 oz of minced beef and pork mix

3 onions

4-5 cloves of garlic

1 hot red pepper

1/2 tsp of black pepper

10 oz of beef broth

salt (amount dependent upon personal preference).

Ingredients for dough

11 cups of flour (includes 2.5 cups for dusting and kneading)

17oz ml of warm water or milk

2 tbsp of butter

1 egg

1 tsp of baking soda

1 tsp of salt.

Directions (dough)

  1. Add 1 kilo of flour to a mixing bowl. Make a depression in the flour. Add warm water or milk, softened butter, 1 egg, baking soda and of salt. Mix by hand.
  2. The dough should be formed into a soft ball.
  3. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes for the dough to rise. Once the dough has risen, add 150 grams of flour and firmly knead the dough.

Directions (dough)

  1. Add the minced beef/pork to a mixing bowl. Finely chop the onions, red pepper and garlic and add to the bowl, together with half tsp of black pepper, and salt (amount dependent upon personal preference).
  2. Add 8oz of beef broth. Squeeze and mix by hand. Leave for 30 minutes before using.
  3. Dust a preparation board with flour and divide the dough into 2 large and 2 smaller balls. The larger pieces will form the base for each of the two pastries and the smaller pieces will form the covers. The picture below shows one of the larger and one of the smaller balls.
  4. Roll out the 2 larger pieces to 5 mm depth.
  5. Rub butter into the base and sides of two circular baking dishes (26-28 cm diameter) before adding each pastry base. Use your fingers to mold the pastry to the shape of the baking dish.
  6. Add one half of the filling to each baking dish.
  7. Use a wooden soon to compress the filling, ensuring that mixture is pressed into the sides.
  8. Roll out the two smaller pieces of dough to 2-3 mm depth and in each make a circular hole in the middle and four slits.
  9. Carefully place the pastry over the baking dish. Use your palms and thumbs to mold the pastry around the dish.
  10. Trim any excess pastry.
  11. Bake the pastry in an oven at 400°F temperature. After 15 minutes, add 3 tbs of broth.
  12. Brush with the yolk of one egg mixed with tsp of milk.
  13. Reduce temperature to 350°F and continue to bake until the pastry is golden.

Serving: Rub with butter and serve immediately. In Ossetia, the top of the pastry is removed and cut into strips, which are then dipped into the meat juices. The meat and remaining pastry is eaten with a fork.

Mongol Warriors

If you don’t know much about the Mongols, you have to be living under a goddamned rock.  Some the swarthiest, stoutest, most robust, bloodthirsty, humanity-destroying, virile, and overall awesome humans to ever live, the Mongols conquered just about the entire Eurasian continent in the late 13th Century.  Fueled by little more than meat, liquor, and hate, the Mongols slaughtered so many people that their conquests removed nearly 700 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere, making their slaughter-happy leader, Genghis, the greatest environmentalist in history.  he is, after all, the only person in history to successfully bring about man-made global cooling (Daily Mail).

Even cooler is the fact that in spite of their penchant for murder, the Mongols have always been remarkably long lived.  Not even the Soviets could crush this aspect of the Mongol character, and in spite of their debilitating poverty and ridiculous drinking habits, the Mongols still have a life expectancy of 68 years (Veverka).

Their secret?  A diet incredibly heavy in meat and liquor and light on everything else.  Oftentimes in battle, the Mongols ate nothing but dried, powdered meat called borts, horse blood and milk, and raw horse flesh.  In camp, however, they ate better, but the consistency of their diet changed little- meat, meat, and more meat, with a side of meat and liquor.  Modern Mongols eat much the same way, and a typical day of eating in modern Mongolia looks something like this:

Breakfast – Kefir and Arvain Guril  (fried and malted barley flour porridge and sweet cream)

Lunch – Süütei Tsai (salted tea with milk) and Chanasan Makh aka Чанасан Мах (Lamb Chops, liver and other organ meats, and carrots)

Dinner – Budaatai Huurga (any kind of meat and rice boiled in Süütei Tsai)


A staple of the Mongols’ diet for centuries, borts is dried meat cut into strips or often ground to a powder.  Depending on the region, the meat used will vary from camel meat to reindeer to horse to beef.

How it’s prepared

The fresh meat is cut into long strips, 2-3 cm thick and 5-7 cm wide and then air dried under the roof of the yurt for about a month.  What’s left are hard, dry sticks of meat, which are then broken into chunks, ground into powder, and stored in a linen bag.  If kept cool and dry, borts will keep for months stored in this fashion.

Borts is most commonly added to soup or tea to provide additional protein (making it awesome for lifters),but it can be used almost anywhere in place of fresh meat.


Khorkhog is probably the most exciting Mongolian dishes, and one of the most tasty ones. The meat of a sheep (sometimes less) is cooked together with vegetables in a closed container, with the help of heated stones. For a large Khorkhog, a metal milk container is normally used. For smaller amounts, other containers serve just as well, in our case two normal cooking bowls put on top of each other.


1/2 or whole Sheep chopped into pieces together with the bones.

6-12lb mix of carrots, white cabbage, onions, potatoes, and other vegetables.

10 – 20 smooth, round, fist sized river stones

1.5-2.5 cups water

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Caraway, to taste


  1. Heat the stones in a fire, until they are hot throughout. With a decent fire, that should take about an hour. 
  2. Place hot stones, meat, and spiced vegetables into the cooking container in layers. In the end, add sufficient water, which will fill the container with steam during the full cooking time.
  3. Close the container and put everything back on the stove on low. The heat of the stones and the stove together results in a uniform cooking process. When the container can be locked, care needs to be taken that the pressure inside doesn’t get too high. Cooking time will vary depending on the equipment used. 
  4. When it is done, take the container from the stove and open it. Fire and fat have given the stones a glossy black color. Let them cool down as far as necessary, and hand them around to your guests. The Mongolians believe that the heat and fat have beneficial or even healing effects, when you hold and rub the stone in your hands for a while.


Crust Ingredients

2 cups flour

5 oz water

Filling Ingredients

10oz  ground meat. Traditionally, mutton is used, other types of meat such as beef work just as well.

Mongolians consider fatty meat to be of higher quality, but there’s no problem in using western style lean meat. Borts can also be used.

1 Onion, minced

2 Garlic cloves, minced

3-5 tbsp. Water




Oil For frying


  1. Mix minced meat, onion and garlic.
  2. Add water until the mass is smooth to work with.
  3. Add enough salt and spices (the dough has no salt).
  4. Prepare the dough
  5. Mix flour and water to create a pliable dough. Let it rest for 15 min.
  6. Cut the dough into 3 cm (1.2 in) thick slices, roll the slices.
  7. Cut the rolls into pieces of 4 cm (1.6 in), flatten the pieces with a finger.


Apache Warriors

The Apache were a loose confederation of tribes of Native Americans that populated the American Southwest until their defeat by an absolutely ridiculously overwhelming force (5,000 US troops vs 30-50 Apache) in the 19th Century.  Well known for their fearsome fighting skill and utter ruthlessness on the battlefield, the Apache were legends in both Mexico and the American Southwest for their strength and courage.

Interestingly enough, a clinical study of 47 traditional Apache recipes was collected for for 13 traditional Apache dishes, and of those 13 dishes, 5 were stews and one was a meat pie/dumpling (Sharma).  If that’s not rather telling for the efficacy of those foods in the diet of anyone wishing to go harder than a Viagra fueled porn star at the Playboy mansion during a LA country cocaine boom, I don’t know what would be.; five were breads, five were chicken or meat-based stews, two were tortilla-based dishes and the remaining one was a traditional Indian dumpling.  Tragically, of the chicken, beef, elk, acorn, and cabbage stews listed in the study, I could only find a recipe for the a venison stew, and the recipe for Indian dumplings/meat pies was also absent from the internet.  Nevertheless, here’s what I could find.

Apache Stew


2 red bell peppers

2 carrots, sliced

5 green Anaheim chilies

3 cups cooked Indian hominy

1/4 cup sunflower oil

8 cups water

1 lb venison, cut into 1 1/2 inch

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 onion, diced

1 teaspoon white pepper

3 garlic cloves, finely

1 cup tumbleweed greens (spinach can be used as an alternative)


  1. Roast the peppers, then peel, seed, and cut into long strips. Roast the chiles, then peel, seed, de-vein and dice.
  2. Heat the oil in a large stew pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is almost smoking, add the venison and cook until the meat is lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the onion and garlic and saute 2 minutes more. Stir in the carrots, peppers, and chiles and cook 1 minute more.
  4. Add the hominy, water, salt, and pepper and bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and let the stew simmer 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until the meat is very tender.
  6. Just before serving, add the tumbleweed greens, stir 1 minute and spoon into bowls.


Indian Dumpling/Meat Pie 

Though I looked everywhere for a recipe for this, all I could find was a description of the dish, which sounds suspiciously like an empanada made with corn tortilla- “A dish made by wrapping the filling (usually ground beef) into the tortilla-based dough then boiled in water” (Sharma).  Sounds simple enough, so if anyone cares to experiment, hit me with a recipe.


Roman Soldiers

The Roman Empire was, as everyone knows, one of the most expansive and enduring in history, and its might and size rested entirely on the backs of its brutal military might.  Oddly, many archaeologists and nutritionists have asserted, common sense to the contrary, that the Roman army was primarily vegetarian.  Analysis of the bones of Roman soldiers, however, shows that they actually ate “ox, sheep, goat, pig, deer, boar, and hare, in most places and in some areas, elk, wolf, fox, badger, beaver, bear, vole, ibex, and otter”, while “Broken beef bones suggest the extraction of marrow for soup”, in addition to implements for making cheese and roasting and boiling meat (Gill). 

Apicius’ Lamb Stew

Ancient cookbooks really just provided guidelines, rather than explicit direction.  As such, the entire thing is done to taste, rather than in a paint-by-numbers manner.  The following recipe is Apicius’ recipe #360, “Another Stew for Lamb.” 


3 pounds lamb ribs

1 onion

Salt and pepper


Olive oil

Red wine

Parsley or cilantro


  1. Heat up a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a pot. Then add lamb ribs and brown all over.
  2. Then add the onion and the parsley or cilantro.
  3. Then add spices.
  4. Give a good stir and add wine. I added lots of wine because I wanted lots of juice to dip bread in or pour over some farro.
  5. Cook for at least 4 hours. Lengthy cooking, however, will mellow the flavors, so you may need to respice if you cook for over 4 hours.


Teutonic Knights

For a bit over 400 years, a monastic order of brutal, baby-killing maniacs tore open the assholes of the Poles and Lithuanians in an effort to stamp out paganism in the region.  According to the Poles, the Teutonic knights were unequaled in their brutality, and even out-performed the Tatars in committing random acts of horror and atrocity.

The knights Templar were enormous, standing over 6′ tall and weighing in at just under 200 lbs, and cut a swath across the Baltics in a full armor and weapons kit that weighed over 60 lbs.  Fueled by little more than stew and liquor, these humongous Germanic death machines were also well-known for their propensity to drink their goddamned faces off, day in and day out.

“They drink beer immoderately, encouraging and forcing one another to such excesses as would be too much for an ox.  And they are not satisfied with drinking to satiety but drink until they are sober again.  So they pass the entire day and often the entire night, and whoever overcomes the others in drinking, he is praised and honored” (Turnbull)

When they weren’t getting hammered, the knights were making smoked meat to keep it from going bad.  Interestingly, they smoked the meat underground and then used it in all of their soups and stews.  As such, their ham hock was far smokier than what we have now.  For the following recipe, you might want to add smoky salt to make the flavor more authentic and ensure your next Eastern European conquest is completely successful.

Zupa z soczewicą- Polish Lentil Soup


1 small smoked ham hock

2 bay leaves

3-4 parsnips

1 leek (cleaned and chopped)

1 celery root with greens

1 box chopped mushrooms

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

1-2 teaspoons thyme

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds (mortar crushed)

1/2 can tomato paste

6 cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon chili powder or paprika (optional)

Salt & Pepper to taste

1/2 cup lentils, picked and rinsed

1/4 cup soup pasta (optional)

Organic sour cream as a topping


  1. Put ham hock in a large pot, fill with water, add 2 bay leaves, and slowly cook for 3-4 hours to make a broth.  Remove ham hock and cut meat into small pieces and set aside.  Discard fat and bone.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients such as the vegetables and seasonings to broth, leaving the pasta and lentils out. Cook until vegetables are soft, about one hour.
  3. Add washed and picked lentils and cook for about 30 minutes until soft.  When done, turn off heat and add pasta and cook for about 20 minutes.
  4. Top with sour cream mixture and serve!


Mincemeat à la Royale
Medieval recipes, like Roman recipes, were really more like loose outlines than specific directions.  As such, this recipe will really require a bit of testing.  Mince pies of the era were quite different than modern mince pies, and bore crusts that were several inches thick to withstand many hours of cooking. For all intents and purposes, they were inedible, and were either given to servants, beggars, or reused to thicken boiled stew.  You might want to just use a store bought crust to save yourself the hassle of dealing with all of that, or simply use a recipe for a pot pie crust.
For the filling, use equal proportions of roast-beef:, raisins, currants, suet, candied citron, orange, lemon, spices and sugar, add a proportionate weight of stewed pears and preserved ginger, the grated rind of three dozen oranges and lemons, and also their juice, one bottle of old rum, one bottle of brandy, and two of old port.
Stew- it does a Teutonic booty good.
Now, go fire up the crock pot, get those meat pies poppin’, and pick up some heavy shit.  then, maybe go burn down your neighbor’s house, bang his wife, and lay claim to a city park just for funsies… because that’s what these guys would have done.


Apicius’ Lamb Stew.  Ancient Foods Today.  16 Jan 2011.  Web.  6 Feb 2015.

Bake Metes and Mince Pies.  Historic Food.  Web.  10 Feb 2015.

Borts – Борц.  All Mongolian Recipes.  Web.  6 Feb 2015.

Cammpi, Warren Vincenzo.  The History of Pie.

Chakhokhbili (Georgian Chicken Stew with Herbs and Tomatoes).  3 Nov 2011.  Web.  10 Feb 2015.

Chanakhi (Lamb Stew).  Cooking Channel.  Web.  10 Feb 2015.

Daily Mail Reporter.  Genghis Khan the green: Invader killed so many people that carbon levels plummeted.  5 Jan 2011.  Web.  6 Feb 2015.

Fydzhin- Ossetian meat pie.  Georgian Recipes.  29 Jun 2014.  Web.  10 Feb 2015.

Gill, N.S.  Did Roman Soldiers Eat Meat?  About Education.  Web.  6 Feb 2015.

Khorkhog – Хорхог.  All Mongolian Recipes.  Web.  6 Feb 2015.

Khuushuur – Хуушуур.  All Mongolian Recipes.  Web.  6 Feb 2015.;postID=1932519598311512563;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=0;src=link

Medieval soup challenge: Alan Fryer takes on lentil soup inspired by Teutonic Knights.  Battle Castle.  22 Nov 2011.  Web.  15 Feb 2015.

The Mongol military might.  Cold Siberia.  Web.  6 Feb 2015.

Moroze RM, Dunn TM, Craig Holland J, Yager J, Weintraub P.  Microthinking About Micronutrients: A Case of Transition From Obsessions About Healthy Eating to Near-Fatal “Orthorexia Nervosa” and Proposed Diagnostic Criteria.  Psychosomatics. 2014 Mar 19.

Otaktay, Chef.  Apache stew.  20 Mar 2008.  Web.  6 Feb 2015.

Polish Lentil Soup Recipe.  Polska Foods.  6 Feb 2015.

Schwartz, Jen.  Striving for the perfect diet is making us sick.  Popular Science.  5 Feb 2015.  Web.  10 Feb 2015.

Sharma S, Cao X, Gittelsohn J, Ethelbah B, Anliker J.  Nutritional composition of commonly consumed traditional Apache foods in Arizona.  Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2008 Feb;59(1):1-10.


Third Week Preview.  Real Life Gamers Cookbook.  7 Jul 2011.  Web.  6 Feb 2015.

Turnbull, Stephen.  Crusader Castles of the Teutonic Knights (1): The red brick castles of Prussia 1230-1466.  Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2003.

Vehlink, Joseph Dommers (trans).  Apicius: Cooking and Dining in Imperial Rome.  Web.  6 Feb 2015.

Veverka, Jesse.  Mongolia’s Meat Diet: An Inconvenient Truth for Veganism.  Clyde Fitch Reader Report.  22 Aug 2012.  Web.  6 Feb 2015.

Milk: It Does A Body Good?

Posted on: January 7th, 2015 by chaosandpain No Comments

A cursory glance around the internet seems to have people falling into three camps about milk:

  1. Milk is the debbil and should be avoided at all costs.
  2. Pasteurized and homogenized milk is the debbil and raw milk is the savior of which ancient texts have claimed will rise again to bring about the salvation of mankind.
  3. Raw milk is the debbil and it’s only the filthy anti-vaxxers who want to drink it and force others to drink it to bring about the downfall of Western Civilization so they can replace it with a leftist-leaning government who will prepare us for conquest by our new alien overlords.

Clearly, none of those three seem to involve a great deal of rational thought- there’s just a lot of misplaced rage at dead-end jobs, loveless marriages, shitty, recalcitrant kids, crushing debt, and erectile dysfunction driving some weird rage into some odd places.  Frankly, I’ve never really had a dog in the fight because I never much cared for milk beyond drinking it after it soaked in some kind of delicious cereal for a while and took on a different flavor- I might have drunk three glasses of milk in my life, otherwise.  Over the years I developed a suspicion of the government that put me a bit more in camp #2 than any of the others, but not so much that I ever sought out raw milk or really advocated for it in any way.

Hoffman was literally prepared to beat a man half to death with a sledgehammer if he’d not drink his milk.

Which then brings me to the now, five years after I read my last hyper-raw milk advocacy diatribe and/or anything resembling support of milk.  Having bought Bob Hoffman’s book Better Nutrition, it occurred to me that the GOMAD (gallon of milk a day) diet advocated by innumerable lifters and bodybuilders of the ’40s and ’50s  had to have had some merit, especially since it occurred at least 30 years after the raw milk witchhunt.  Oh, you didn’t know about the witch hunt?  There was one against raw milk, just as there were against all sorts of naturopathic movements in the early 20th Century.  As they all fell under the same umbrella, I painted this movement with the same broad brush of “the AMA and doctors in general are a pack of evil assholes who keep people sick to make money” conspiracy theory and assumed raw milk was magical and the medical establishment couldn’t battle the wizards living in cattle udders.  In this case, however, this is apparently not so.

“It was common knowledge to New Yorkers that their milk was diluted. And the dealers were neither subtle nor timid about it; all they required was a water pump to boost two quarts of milk to a gallon.  Nor was that the end of the mischief: to improve the color of milk from diseased cattle they frequently added molasses, chalk or plaster of Paris” (Bettman 114).

“Bacteria-infected milk held lethal possibilities of which people were unaware.  The root of this problem was in the dairy farms, invariably dirty, where the milch cows were improperly fed and housed.

It was not unusual for a city administration to sell its garbage to a farmer, who promptly fed it to his cows.  Or a distillery to keep cows and feed them distillery wastes, producing what they called ‘swill milk.’  This particular liquid, which purportedly made babies tipsy, caused a scandal in the New York of 1870 when it was revealed that some of the cows cooped up for years in filthy stables were so enfeebled from tuberculosis that they had to be raised on craned to remain ‘milkable’ until they died” (Bettman 115).

He’d actually come round a couple times a week to poison you!  Nice guy!

If that sounds completely, whacked-out-of-your-head-on-bath-salts-and-slicing-your-face-off-and-feeding-it-to-your-dogs insane, that’s likely because it was.  When the War of 1812 popped off, the US lost its whiskey supply from Britain.  To fill the gap, distilleries started popping up all over the former colonies, and this meant there was a tremendous amount of toxic sludge being created as the grain was distilled for whiskey.  With no place to dump the stuff, the toothless, illiterate shitheaps mumbling non-English around the few teeth they had left rattling around in their heads started feeding the slop to their cows.  Because it was, in fact, toxic sludge, the milk the cows produced couldn’t be used to make butter, yogurt, or cheese, and the babies given the milk had incredibly high rates of tuberculosis and diarrhea (Roach 179).

By the beginning of the 20th Century, infant mortality rates topped 50%, and some doctors finally stepped in to put an end to the insanity.  Pasteurization was introduced, a process that involved heating a liquid to kill off the microbes therein, preventing spoilage and contamination.  Homogenization was then employed to prevent the cream from separating from the milk, a wholly unnecessary practice that required Vitamin A and D to be synthesized and added back into the milk to bring it back to its original nutritive content, and a vast rift began to open between the medical establishment and people who actually like the taste and texture of real milk.

So, the movement to pasteurize and homogenize milk arose not out of some evil scheme put forth by the AMA to destroy the lives and diets of Americans, but rather because  milk at the beginning of the 20th Century was more tainted than Paris Hilton’s asshole after the NBA Championships’ victory party.  While many people seem to think this was the result of some vast conspiracy against humankind, it was in fact completely the opposite- do-gooders were trying to keep the poor from dropping like flies in the street from drinking tainted milk.

Paved with good intentions.


Though their intentions were noble, milk’s current form as a pasteurized and homogenized product may not be the panacea early doctors believed it would be.  Raw milk advocates claim that unpasteurized and non-homogenized milk carries an array of health benefits not shared by what you typically find on the shelves of your grocery store, and that homogenization may actually make milk unhealthy.  For instance:

“Recently, the European GABRIELA study determined that consumption of non-boiled farm milk by farm children resulted in fewer cases of asthma and hay fever than among those children who consumed boiled farm milk. The study concluded that a protective effect of unpasteurized milk might be associated with the whey protein fraction of the unpasteurized milk” (Schutz). 

On top of that, it would appear that raw milk is theoretically more nutritive and generally healthier than Many consumers believe that raw milk is higher in nutritional content than conventional milk, which may have some merit. Raw milk comes from grass-fed cows raised on farms with much higher hygienic standards than factory-farmed cows.  As a result, their milk contains higher levels of fat-soluble vitamins, micronutrients, CLA, and essential fatty acids (Kresser).

While that might seem somewhat compelling, you have to bear in mind that the relative risk of becoming ill from drinking raw milk is about 9 times greater than it is from drinking pasteurized milk.  Frankly, that’s not terrifically worrisome, provided you’re a sensible person with a healthy immune system, as the absolute risk of developing herpagonnasyphilitis or some other catastrophic disease requiring hospitalization is five times lower than the odds of you getting struck by lightning- only about 1 in 6 million (Ibid).  That, however, does not mean there’s no risk- Australian dairy farmers seem to enjoy poisoning small children with milk that’s ostensibly sold for bathing purposes, which has sent mothers everywhere scurrying for kitchen knives to brandish illogically at raw milk advocates.


Quite frankly, the science is all over the map on the benefits of raw milk vs. pasteurized / homogenized milk.  Science can’t decide whether homogenization destroys some of milk’s inherent health benefits or enhances them (Michalski), and while raw milk advocates claim that raw milk is far easier to digest, causes fewer and weaker allergic reactions, and does not cause “leaky gut syndrome” (Hartke), there doesn’t appear to be a single substantial study supporting those claims (Ipaktchian).  Going a bit deeper, there appears to be such a convoluted web of outright misinformation and conspiracy theories surrounding the “persecution” of raw milk that one would really have to take a leap of faith to put much stock in any of the claims of raw milk proponents.

That stated, it’s hard to overlook the role raw milk has played throughout history-

  • African warrior cultures like the Maasai and the Zulus relied extremely heavily on raw milk for protein in their diets.  The Masai men eat a diet called moran, which is consumed for the first 15 years of their life and consists of little more than milk, meat, and blood.  “The principle staple of the Masai diet was milk from their herds.  They treated their cattle ‘like companions and friends,’ Merker tells us, and gave them all proper names.  They drank milk from their beloved Zebu cattle, but especially loved sheep milk because of its high fat content.  Healthy Masai always consumed milk raw, in the fresh or soured state, often mixed with fresh or cooked blood” (Masterjohn).
  • The Mongols used milk as the staple of their diet, whether it be in it natural liquid form or made into one of hundreds of different cheeses they loved.
  • The Vikings drank copious amounts of soured milk, while the Celtic Gauls and British Celts drank fresh milk with every meal (Smith), and the ancient Germans were renown for drinking large quantities of milk as well.


So, where does that put us?  It seems that milk was the staple item for lifters in the first half of the 20th Century, building the physiques of all of Mark Berry’s lifters, all of Bob Hoffman’s lifters, Bill Pearl, Reg Park, and countless others, raw milk was the go to protein source for most of the baddest warriors in history, and a raw milk diet was used in the 1920s at the Mayo Foundation to successfully treat patients for everything from tuberculosis to “high blood pressure, urinary tract infections, diabetes, kidney and prostrate disease, edema, heart failure and chronic fatigue,” in addition to the fact that raw milk is currently being used in German hospitals to a variety of ailments (Goldstein).  In short, milk seems to be the real deal.

If you’re really worried raw milk will mess you up, just drink it in the lightning strike position.

Insofar as the raw vs. pasteurized milk debate goes, there appears to be no clear answer at the moment.  Given the extremely low rate of serious illness caused by raw milk, however, I would suggest that if you can lay hands on the stuff, you might as well.  Provided you like the odds of being five times less likely to contract a serious illness from raw milk than you are likely to get struck by lightning, I think you can leave the hand-wringing over the dangers of unpasteurized milk to soccer moms and nanny state dictators.


Bettman, Otto L.  The Good Old Days- They Were Terrible!  New York: Random House, 1974.

Czapp, Katherine.  Diet of Mongolia.  West A. Price Foundation.  15 Feb 2008.  Web.  6 Jan 2015.

Hartke, K.  Raw milk advocates respond to Stanford study that claims raw milk is no easier for the lactose intolerant to digest.  Campaign for Real Milk.  8 Dec 2014.  Web.  11 Dec 2014.

Goldstein, Michelle.  High quality raw milk enhances health while pasteurized milk contributes to illness.  Natural News.  4 Mar 2013.  Web.  6 Jan 2015.

Ipaktchian, Susan.  Claim that raw milk reduces lactose intolerance doesn’t pass smell test, study finds.  Stanford Medicine.  10 Mar 2014.  Web.  11 Dec 2014.

Kresser, Chris.  Raw Milk Reality: Benefits of Raw Milk.  15 Apr 2014.  Web.  11 Dec 2014.

Masterjohn, Christopher.  The Masai Part II: A glimpse of the Masai diet at the turn of the 20th Century.  Weston A Price Foundation.  13 Sep 2011.  Web.  6 Jan 2014.

Michalski MC.  On the supposed influence of milk homogenization on the risk of CVD, diabetes and allergy.  Br J Nutr. 2007 Apr;97(4):598-610.

Roach, Randy.  Muscle, Smoke, and Mirrors, Volume 1.  Bloomington: Authorhouse, 2008.

Schutz, Mike and Mike Ferree.  Raw Milk FAQs.  Perdue Extension.  Nov 2012.  Web.  11 Dec 2014.

Smith, Heather.  Celtic and Romano British Foods from the Isles- a General Approach.  Web.  6 Jan 2015.

Bacon: Superfood Or Hipster Nonsense?

Posted on: December 19th, 2014 by chaosandpain No Comments

I have never in my life enjoyed eating bacon- it seemed like a pointless food designed to satiate useless people in the effort to fill their bellies as a metaphor for filling their empty souls and lives.  I honestly viewed lovers of bacon with contempt for most of my life, and as I got older and bacon as a fad took off, I came to the conclusion that there couldn’t possibly be any merit to “meat candy” at all, especially with hipsters and paleotards calling it that.  When I started looking into it so that I could put the aforementioned assholes on full blast, however, my opinion changed quickly- it appears that bacon is in fact all that it’s cracked up to be.

Nevermind the fact that if you made a Venn diagram of hipsters, beardos, and people who yammer on endlessly about how much they love bacon (and Kerrygold butter, but that’s another stupid issue for another rant), you’d be looking at a single circle.  Nevermind the fact that I am about to espouse a food that is beloved by “men” who can fit into skinny jeans and wear them proudly.  Nevermind the fact that your Facebook page is likely overrun, as mine is, by Grizzly Adams lookalikes who’ve mistaken hobo chic for masculinity and cannot stop posting pictures of their food, which is invariably 40%  bacon, whether it’s a sheet cake or a fruit salad.  Nevermind the fact that if you find yourself in a cool little indie bookstore in a trendy part of town, half the goddamned books are about bacon, they likely sell sunglasses with faux moustaches dangling from them, and that stupid nonsense is sitting right next to bacon flavored chapstick.  Those asshats might love bacon, but they also love shit like breathing and drinking water, and none of us should quit doing either of those things just because insufferable assholes with a misplaced sense of vanity and a flair for being public nuisances like them as well.

Striving to pull myself from the mental morass that is my sea of problems with internet memes, stupid social trends, and the odious nature of social media and the utter pillocks who apparently perpetuate it, I shall get back on topic.  Research into nutrition over the last ten years reinforced, by and large, my opinion of bacon.  Loren Cordain, for instance, the author of the Paleo Diet, detest bacon, claiming it’s unlike anything paleolithic man ate and deleterious to one’s health due to its nitrate and nitrite content, “low” protein content, and high levels of fats.  Additionally, since factory farmed pigs are raised on a diet of soybean protein, ground grain, and a vitamin-mineral mix, they have less omega 3 fatty acids in them.  For whatever reason, paleo authors seem to think that feedlot pigs are sickly, but as they’re raised to grow as quickly as possible and be as large and lean as possible in a short time, they’re far from sickly- they’re just maltreated.  According to Cordain, though,

“A final way of comparing the artificial and unhealthful characteristics of bacon to free range pork meat is by contrasting the nutritional characteristics of feed lot raised pigs (which are used to produce bacon) to free ranging wild boars.  Although you may think that wild boars are completely unrelated to domesticated pigs, actually they are exactly the same genus and species – except that one lives under the hand of humans whereas the other lives freely.

Wild pigs/boars forage freely and opportunistically and eat mainly vegetable material, but also small game species, eggs, nestling birds. Consequently, for humans eating wild boar meat, we may benefit by consuming the superior nutritional characteristics of wild pigs including leaner meat, greater beneficial polyunsaturated fats and higher vitamin E.

That’s a lot of meat that never got eaten, for no reason I can fathom.

 Because pigs are monogastric animals (single stomach), they have the ability to convert vegetable and plant 18 carbon fatty acids (ALA) to the 20 and 22 carbon fatty acids (EPA and DHA) which reduce inflammation, reduce cardiovascular disease and promote good health for us all when we eat pork. Free ranging pork contains higher concentrations of these beneficial fatty acids than are found in their feed lot produced counterparts.

In the past 200 years, the food processing industry has produced an incredible plethora of food products which are almost irresistible to our taste buds. I’ll list just a few of these, but bacon surely must lie somewhere in the top 5 or 10” (Cordain).

Jesus christ.

In spite of the fact that pigs were domesticated during the paleolithic era (Hirst), Loren Cordain seems as staunchly anti-bacon as the Kardashians are anti-intellectual.  Even weirder, Cordain is apparently not anti-feedlot pork, as his diatribe above was prefaced with a comparison of pork chops and bacon.  Compounding that contradiction is the fact that no two paleo authors seem to agree on anything having to do with what a “paleo” diet is, I decided to see what other paleo authors thought about bacon:

  • the progenitors of the paleolithic diet, S Boyd Eaton and Melvin Konnor, recommend against eating foods high in salt and fatty meat, so bacon is a definite no (Konnor).
  • Ray Audette, the author of Neanderthin, eats a pound of bacon every day for breakfast (Barr).
  • Art DeVany, evolutionary exercise author and author of New Evolution Diet says bacon’s ok, so long as you trim the fat (DeVany).
  • Keith Thomas, who runs the site EvFit (and pulls 429 at 60 years old), eats free-range, nitrate free bacon about once a month.
  • Robb Wolf, author of Paleo Solution, eats bacon regularly.
  • Mark Sisson, author of the Primal Solution, asserts that “There’s no such thing as too much bacon”(Sisson).

Frankly, I don’t know what the big deal is for the people who claim it’s not paleo, especially those in Cordain’s camp- pork belly is no less paleo than modern fruits and veggies, and from what I can see it’s roughly the same in terms of nutrition.  Sure, you might be getting more omega 6’s in factory-farmed bacon, but that’s the case with every kind of factory-farmed meat.  As you can see below, from a macronutrient standpoint, pork bacon and boar bacon differ only slightly, and the edge might go to pork bacon.

When you get down to it, about the only thing that would actually be paleo in terms of a diet would be hunting and gathering in a wildlife preserve.  Modern strawberries are genemodded monstrosities compared to wild strawberries, the modern potato doesn’t even begin to resemble its paleolithic counterpart (which had a poisonous, thick skin), and the ancient precursor to the apple was basically the size of a cherry and somewhat sour.  So, it’s ridiculous to avoid bacon because it’s not “paleo”-very little food on Earth is.

Clockwise from top: the type of strawberry you’d see in a store, true wild strawberries, and “white”  alpine strawberries.

So, having put the whole “paleo” baby to bed, it’s time to address the substances that get naturopaths foaming at the mouth like an epileptic while filming bukkake in a room filled with strobe lights- nitrates and nitrites.  Nitrates and nitrites, in the form of sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite, are used in very small amounts in curing meats, and some studies have shown them to be linked with increased risk of colorectal cancer, Alzheimer’s, and a variety of other diseases, presumably due to the fact that they damage DNA.  Sounds horrible, right?  Well, brace yourself, because bacon is not the culprit even if a direct link had been discovered between nitrates and nitrites- radishes and your own spit are.

“In fact, nitrites are produced by your own body in greater amounts than can be obtained from food, and salivary nitrite accounts for 70-90% of our total nitrite exposure. In other words, your spit contains far more nitrites than anything you could ever eat.

When it comes to food, vegetables are the primary source of nitrites. On average, about 93% of nitrites we get from food come from vegetables. It may shock you to learn that one serving of arugula, two servings of butter lettuce, and four servings of celery or beets all have more nitrite than 467 hot dogs. And your own saliva has more nitrites than all of them! So before you eliminate cured meats from your diet, you might want to address your celery intake. And try not to swallow so frequently” (Kresser).




  • Spinach may contain 500 to 1900 parts per million of nitrate
  • Radishes may contain 1500 to 1800 parts per million 
  • Lettuce may contain 600 to 1700 parts per million. 
  • Cured meats is no more than 156 parts per million, and in most cases, the amount added is 120 parts per million or less and after processing the amount remaining in the final product is typically 10 parts per million or less. 


Bacon pump engaged.

Hilarious, right?  Luckily for vegans, though, it seems that dietary nitrates and nitrites are not directly linked with deleterious health effects, and they have actually been shown to have positive health effects.  

“From a therapeutic and nutritional aspect, nitrate and nitrite have been shown to reduce blood pressure (Larsen et al. 2006), protect against ischaemia-reperfusion (Duranski et al. 2005), reduce oxidative stress (Carlstrom et al. 2011), modulate mitochondrial function (Larsen et al. 2011) and reduce oxygen consumption during exercise (Larsen et al. 2007). The latter finding has attracted great interest from the sports community and among exercise physiologists” (Witzberg).  

Yeah, bro- nitrates convert to nitrites, and nitrites convert to nitric oxide.  Thus, when you eat cured meats, you’re getting a little bit of a pump on.

Daily consumption of bacon and a hell of a lot of lifting built this body.
It’s not just the NO2 that makes bacon a baller meat source, however- pork is higher in B vitamins than other meats, has a stellar amino acid profile, and gives you another option when rotating protein sources, which many nutritionists think is ideal for maximal health.  This may be why strength athletes and bodybuilders have long advocated the inclusion of bacon in their diet.  Oh, you didn’t know that those guys have been stuffing their faces with meat candy since the early 20th Century?  Well, they have.  Here’s a short list of some vocal bacon advocates:
  • Mariusz Pudzianowski- multiple winner of the World’s Strongest and and possessor of one of the greatest physiques evreeats a bare minimum of two pounds of bacon a day (Horton). 
  • The Saxon Trio-  these turn of the century strenght behemoths ate over three pounds of bacon a day (Gadreau).
  • Adolph Nordquist- the “Young Sandow was famous for his strength and his incredible physique, and recommended eating bacon to supplement the diet with fat for greater strength (Roach 39).
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger- at his biggest as a competitor, Arnold ate bacon every morning with his breakfast (Arnold).
  • Dan Duchaine- bodybuilding guru and chemist Dan Duchaine recommended bacon as a part of the diet for the entirety of his life.
  • Peary Rader- founder of Iron Man magazine, Olympic weightlifter, and bodybuilder Rader advocated daily consumption of ham or bacon (Roach 293)
  • Vince Gironda- One of the most famous diet and bodybuilding coaches, and an accomplished bodybuilder himself, Gironda espoused the consumption of bacon for maximal strength and definition (Palmieri 51).
  • Reg Park- champion bodybuilder, the first bodybuilder to bench 500 lbs, and early action movie star Park ate bacon on a daily basis as a part of his breakfast.


In the end, it seems that bacon is, in fact, all that it’s cracked up to be, especially in terms of a paleolithic or ketogenic diet.  The annoyance of hipstery crap, nonsensical trends aside, bacon can serve as a badass addition to a diet from a variety of standpoints, and is hardly the harbinger of doom that patchoili-scented naturopath “doctors” like to contend.
… and I know what I’ll be keeping in a baggie to eat as my “peri-workout” nutrition at the gym.  Here’s the recipe, in case you guys want it.
AMI Fact Sheet: Sodium nitrate: the facts.  American Meat Institute.  Web.  19 Dec 2014.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s blueprint.  12 Nov 2014.  Web.  19 Dec 2014.
Barr, Luke.  Neanderthin!  GQ article reprinted online.  Web.  12 Dec 2014.
Cordain, Loren.  Bacon: Is there anything left to discuss?  The Paleo Diet.  Jun 2014.  Web.  12 Dec 2014.
DeVany, Art.  The Beginner’s Guide to Evolutionary Fitness.  2 Dec 2012.  Web.  12 Dec 2014.
Gadreau, Lou.  The Saxon Trio: what they ate and how they trained.  Bob  Web.  19 Dec 2014.
Knekt P, Järvinen R, Dich J, Hakulinen T.  Risk of colorectal and other gastro-intestinal cancers after exposure to nitrate, nitrite and N-nitroso compounds: a follow-up study.  Int J Cancer. 1999 Mar 15;80(6):852-6.
Konner M, Eaton SB.  Paleolithic nutrition: twenty-five years later.  Nutr Clin Pract. 2010 Dec;25(6):594-602.
Kresser, Chris.  The nitrate and nitrite myth: Another reason not to fear bacon.  Chris Kresser.  2 Jul 2014.  Web.  19 Dec 2014.
Maestri, Nicoletta.  Potato history- Archaological evidence for domesticating potatoes.  Web.  19 Dec 2014.
Palmieri, Alan.  Vince Gironda: Legend and myth.  Web.  19 Dec 2014.
Reg Park’s Diet for a Classic Physique!  Classic Physique Builder.  19 Feb 2009.  Web.  19 Dec 2014.
Sisson, Mark.  How Much Is Too Much?  Mark’s Daily Apple.  31 Mar 2010.  18 Dec 2014.
Swann PF.  Carcinogenic risk from nitrite, nitrate and N-nitrosamines in food.  Proc R Soc Med. Feb 1977; 70(2): 113–115.

Witzberg E, Lundberg JO.  Dietary nitrate – a slow train coming.  J Physiol. Nov 15, 2011; 589(Pt 22): 5333–5334.

Baddest Mofos Ever- Armand “To Hell With Cooking Food, I’ll Eat It Raw” Tanny

Posted on: December 9th, 2014 by chaosandpain No Comments
One year after the end of the Great War, something amazing happened in Rochester, New York- the Tanny brothers’ badass mom spurted forth the younger brother of the guy who went on to build the first serious chain of bodybuilding gyms across the country… a younger brother who would go on to bang innumerable sluts and out-perform Hermann Goerner in the one arm clean.  That man’s name should be fresh on the lips of every hard trainer on the planet, yet hardly anyone’s heard of him.  

The name, which should taste sweeter on your lips than Dmitry Klokov’s superhuman semen and go down smoother than a bikini model’s bleached, waxed asshole, is Armand Tanny.

Vic Tanny at the age of 30 on the far left.  Joe Weider’s in the center.
At the ripe old age of 13, Armand Tanny’s older brother bought him his first weight set as a present apparently designed to land him into the “Coolest Goddamned Brothers on Earth Hall of Fame” in the first ballot drawing.  That weight set crippled Armand for the next day, after he trained himself into what was likely rhabdo and left him barely able to move for the next couple days.  The muscle protein cannibalizing weight set, however, povided some of the original equipment for the Tanny family gym, and became the birthplace of his brother’s, Vic Tanny, chain of gyms that was bought out by Bally’s a few decades later.  After training with his brother and the neighborhood guys for only five years, Tanny became one of the few people in the United States to clean and jerk 300 lbs, earning him nationwide attention for his prodigious strength and sick physique… all by the age of 18.


From there, Tanny enrolled in college, attending the a local Rochester school until being lured to the Southern California beaches with the promise of untold amounts of half-naked ass, badass weather, and the best strength training/bodybuilding scene in the country.  After collecting enough credits to qualify as a physical therapist, Tanny was lured away from his premed program by delicious vagina and sandy beaches.  He’d funded his schooling with professional wrestling, at which Tanny blew dogshit, but apparently paid for his party-boy/wrestling/sun-worshipping lifestyle as he amassed a 9W-19L record over the next 20 years even after injuring his knee so badly in a collegiate wrestling match that he had to give up full squats for the rest of his life.


“It wasn’t that I couldn’t finish med school.  I just loved the beach.  I wanted to be there from dawn to dusk.  Education is one thing, but you have to keep your perspective.  You see, I loved chasing pretty girls.” -Armand Tanny [actual quote]


If you’re a “normie”, you likely think that meant that Tanny just hung it up and took up knitting, like every old-timer who will talk a muscular guy’s ear off with tales of what I believe to be entirely fabricated tales of bygone weightlifting glory.  Nope.  His brother Vic followed closely on his heels to Southern California and opened what was widely acknowledged to be the best gym in the area.  Training there and on the weekends with strongman and woman Les and Pudgy Stockton; acrobat, Hollywood stuntman, Russ Saunders; and bodybuilder, strongman, and inventor of the Universal Gym, Harold Zinkin in a homemade weight pit they built on the beach as a predecessor to Muscle Beach, Armand built one of the greatest and strongest physiques the nation had yet seen.


This is what happens when pussies aren’t on the internet talking about lifting instead of lifting.
Two years later, and in spite of his debilitating knee injury, he placed second in the heavyweight class in the Junior Nationals competition in 1941. At a bodyweight of 190lbs and height of 5’9″, he put up an impressive 230lb press, 250 lb snatch, and 330 lb clean and jerk (Draper). Later that year, Armand became the Pacific Coast weightlifting champion with a 270 press, 280 snatch, and 360 clean and jerk, again at a bodyweight of 190, which was exceedingly light for a heavyweight (Wieder).  His most impressive lift, however, was a 300 lb one arm clean at that bodyweight, which was his pet lift and the lift that garnered him the most fame.


Over the next few years, Tanny gained even more fame for his broad-assed shoulders and barn-door lats, in addition to his massive one arm clean, and his brother and Joe Wieder eventually convinced him to enter a couple of bodybuilding competitions.  During the 1940s, he lived with and trained with Steve Reeves and George Eiferman, both of whom were legendary Mr. Americas and actors, and the latter was the inspiration for the cartoon character George of the Jungle.  


Though he only competed four times, he ended up with a fairly impressive record:


  • 1949 Pro Mr America, Winner. 
  • 1949 IFBB North American Championships, 4th.  Clarence Ross winner, Alan Stephan second, Floyd Page third, Armand Tanny fourth, Leo Robert fifth.
  • 1949 Mr USA, 5th.  John Grimek first, Clarence Ross second, Steve Reeves third, George Eiferman fourth, and Tanny fifth out of a field of fifteen competitors.
  • 1950 Mr USA, Winner.  Defeated George Eiferman and Vince Gironda. 


Thereafter, he quit the stage for a brief sojourn to Hawaii, then returned to become a part of the legendary Mae West’s travelling revue, which was a combination of burlesque, bodybuilders, and comedy.  This act was so popular it drew crowds bigger than those legendary crooner Frank Sinatra was drawing at the time, which would basically be akin to a travelling freakshow with bodybuilders, Carrot Top, and run by Joan Rivers’ reanimated corpse out-drawing Taylor Swift.  Thereafter, presumably due to the fact he was exhausted from all of the sloot banging he had done for the last 35 year, Tanny signed on with Joe Wieder as a writer and started training with proto-powerlifters for fun.  When asked why he never competed in the fledgling sport of powerlifting or again in bodybuilding, Tanny’s response was simple- he’d proven everything he needed to, and there was no money whatsoever in either sport.  Why spend time and money pursuing sports that would afford him nothing but expense when he could make plenty of money managing his bothers’ gyms and use it to train and hang out on the beach all day?
At this point, you should likely be wondering what sort of a program this maniac followed- one that allowed him to bang whichever beach-going sloots upon whom he happened, afforded him the ability to crush both professional bodybuilders and elite-level weightlifters.  From everything I can tell, the man was all over the place with experimentation and didn’t follow any kind of a set program- instead, he just trained for a couple of hours a day 6-7 days a week, mixing in gymnastics on the beach, swimming, and wrestling as well.
NOTE: Unlike today’s pussy lifters, Tanny did not avoid recreational activities and sports to avoid injury for lifting, which likely kept him from incurring much in the way of injuries.  
One of the programs Armand Tanny used was a superset program to get the biggest pump on as many muscles as possible.  To do so, he picked opposing muscle groups to be worked for as many sets and reps as possible in ten minutes (Supersets).  Thus, in 50 minutes, he and his training partners got a brutal, full body pump that they then took to the beach to use in banging sloots.

1. Deadlift

1. Abdominal Raise

2. Two Arm Press

2. Two Arm Chin

3. Deep Knee Bend

3. Leg Curl

4. Bench Press

4. Bentover Rowing Motion

5. Biceps Curl

5. Triceps Curl

Though Armand was a bit of a pretty boy (a lot of a bit of a pretty boy), he was heavily involved in powerlifting at its inception, and trained with early champion bench presser Pat Casey and powerlifting phenom Bill “Peanuts” West.  As a result of training with such unconventional and hideously strong juggernauts of the strength world, Tanny ended up espousing some really unconventional training methods and techniques.  For instance, Tanny once wrote as lovingly as most fanboys write about Dan Green’s every bowel movement of the “touch” method.  This method was developed by Bill West and is the bane of every single internet douchebag “lifter”‘s existence- HE LOVED PARTNER ASSISTED REPS.
Yup- you know the handsy spotters helping the bench bros bounce your squat max off their chests with aplomb in your gym?  Well, apparently that shit gets the job done… and not just on the bench press- Bill West’s team used the method on everything in the gym, from the bench to the clean pull to the press to the deadlift and squat.  Bear witness:

“As time went by, he thought why be so conservative — get in there and really help the guy trying to make the lift. Get hold of him bodily when necessary, apply the pressure. The closer the contact, the more realistic the assistance. The idea started getting clearer when Bill used the heavy touch on the power rack bench squat. How was a man going to get that first squat started from a sitting position on the bench with the bar resting on the shoulder level on the cross pins, loaded to two or three hundred pounds more than his best regular squat? A helper on each end usually results in an uneven spot. A steadier and more practical way proved to be method of getting directly behind the lifter, bear hugging him under the arms, and simply boosting him to a standing position.”

“The method may prove awkward at first, but after a bit of practice, the spotter gets to know the lifter’s particular sticking points and the amount of help he really needs. The whole idea of the touch system is to transfer power past sticking points. Complete movements can be made with heavier than regular limit lifts. The lifter gets the opportunity to use very heavy weights.”

Bill “Peanuts” West using the touch method on a dude in his underwear.

“Bill West, himself, was averaging 575 from the deck in every deadlift workout. But for some reason- and it went on for a whole year- he could not make 600 high deadlift. The secret eluded him. He knew if he could high deadlift heavy, his regular deadlift would go up. In a very brief period, using the touch system, it happened exactly that way. His high deadlift program went like this:

505 x 5555 x 1575 x 1605 x 1615 x 1 Touch system630 x 1 Touch system655 x 1 Touch system670 x 1 Touch system405 x 5His regular deadlift shot up to 630″ (Tanny). 


Both Armand Tanny and Bill West trained frequently with Pat Casey, the first man to officially bench press over 600 lbs.  Casey was a huge fan of bench press lockouts, and over time both West and Tanny came to share his appreciation for partials.  One day a week was devoted to lockout work, while a second chest day allowed for full range max work. The first series of sets was done as the photo above indicates- with the pins 2″ above the chest:


“145 x 10

185 x 10

245 x 5

270 x 3

295 x 4 reps x 5 sets

The second series of sets is done with the bar elevated 4 or 5 additional inches but not over 8 inches above the chest:

325 x 1

345 x 1

370 x 6 singles

290 x 10 reps” (Lockout Prones).  



By far and away the most interesting tidbit about Tanny was his I’m-So-Goddamned-Paleo-I-Don’t-Even-Use-Fire diet- after visiting Hawaii, Tanny came back raving about the badass Somoans he’d met.  Tanny reportedly gushed about them like a schoolgirl about the Jonas Brothers, claiming: “They ate everything raw.  you name it, fish, meat, beetles – everything!  They were so strong and healthy” (Roach 183).  After seeing the enormity of their bodies (they’re 5’10’ on average and have abnormally dense muscle and bone tissue) and their prodigrous strength, Tanny changed his diet entirely and started eating everything raw- .75 to 1.5lbs meat a day (tuna, beef, liver, lobster, oysters, clams), in addition to nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables.  He took it even further than that- he would walk out into the surf while hanging out at the beach and kick up 6′-7′ clams to eat as a snack.  Then, Tanny added the advice of the first modern nutritionist Gayelord Hauser and added brewer’s yeast, dessicated liver, yogurt, black strap molasses, and wheat germ oil in an effort to aid digestion and improve his longevity (Roach 184).

Tanny felt like the creatine in his diet, obtained from the massive amounts of raw meat he was eating, was the reason he was able to bring such a complete package of size, cuts, and muscularity to the stage, all while maintaining a level of strength that made him the envy of other lifters around the country at 200 lbs.  Clearly, the fact that he had been training hard with what basically amounted to an early powerbuilding routine for nearly 20 years by the time he won the pro Mr. USA played a major role as well, in addition to the fact that he added an immense amount of GPP to his program in the form of gymnastics on the beach and wrestling.

Whatever it was, Armand Tanny definitely saw the inside of enough women in a relatively prudish time, made a pretty tidy sum of money, lived in the nicest climates in the US, and basically lived as a gym going beach bum who garnered a reputation for being one of the most muscular and strongest dudes in the country- all without really competing- to have baddest mofo status fully engaged.





Armand Tanny.  Dave Draper Online.  Web.  2 Dec 2014.


Doonan, Simon.  Eating Gruel and Loving It.  Slate.  28 Mar 2012.  Web.  8 Dec 2014.

Roach, Randy.  Muscle, Smoke, and Mirrors, Volume 1.  Bloomington: Authorhouse, 2008.

Tanny, Armand.  Touch System for the Deadlift.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  18 Jun 2014.  Web.  8 Dec 2014.


Tanny, Armand.  Lockout Prones.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  16 May 2011.  Web.  3 Dec 2014.


Tanny, Armand.  Supersets for super size.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  9 Jun 2011.  Web.  3 Dec 2014.


Thurber, Jon.  Armand Tanny dies at 90; Muscle Beach bodybuilder won national titles in ’49, ’50.  LA Times.  9 Apr 2009.  Web.  4 Dec 2014.


Todd, Terry.  Armand Tanny remembers Steve Reeves.  Iron Game History.  Dec 2000: 6(4);24-25.

Hey Crossfit Haters- Prepare To Suck It

Posted on: December 9th, 2014 by chaosandpain No Comments
The infamous 365 lb hitched pull from a broad that apparently lives within a stone’s throw of me- this was her third attempt, pulled 75 seconds after her second attempt and within the rules set forth by CrossFit.  Best part?  If she actually learned to deadlift rather than pulling like it was a clean, half of the people reading this would be forced to commit ritual suicide because of what she’d be pulling.

A disclaimer to begin- I am capable of differentiating between CrossFit and competitive CrossFit- and asked competitive CrossFitter Brooke Haas to explain the difference to those of you who cannot:


“Training CrossFit:

       -This is who the vast majority of my clientele are and I absolutely love it. These are people that use CrossFit for what it is truly designed for and in many ways it’s a means to an end. They don’t just want to be good in the gym but outside those walls as well. They want to be better cyclists, skiers, hikers, parents, grandparents, athletes… you name it. They use CrossFit to increase their base level of GPP (general physical preparedness) and this correlates to better performance in their specific sport or life.

It doesn’t mean they are any less of an “athlete” than any one of us out there, but they have different goals. In my opinion people can train CrossFit like this for a lifetime. We can come in the gym once a day, follow a 3 on 1 off cycle, or a 3 on 1 off 2 on 1 off cycle of training and see results for years to come. With good varied programming we will get strong, increase our endurance, see improved times, etc. Our work capacity across broad times and modal domains will increase which is the goal regardless. Over time we may need to target some of our weaknesses to help “level out” our work capacity but realistically it could take years and years to get there if at all. For some of us that day may never come depending on what our previous athletic/training background may be. 

      The sacrifice here is minimal. In most cases these people may just be switching training programs and their time commitments and priorities won’t change. Likely we would see these athletes making sacrifices for other goals they may have if any (qualifying for the Boston Marathon, winning a local mountain bike series, working to become a pro surfer). Either way CrossFit is there to develop their base and if any sacrifices are made they would be due to other avenues. 


2. CrossFit as a Recreational Sport:

-This is the person that has been introduced to CrossFit and enjoys the competition aspect of it. Maybe they enter a local competition and find themselves more attracted to this side of CrossFit. Team competitions, local throw downs possibly offering “scaled” divisions as well as “rx’d”, and CrossFit is starting to become more of a sport to them. These athletes may pay closer attention to targeting some of their weaknesses in order to “fast track” their fitness. This is a legitimate goal and one that I think a lot of people fall into. 

      Having specific and realistic goals here are going to be important to helping us define where we are along the line of the competition realm. A good association here is the difference between any recreational and professional sport. You may like to play tennis, golf, compete in a local soccer or softball club, go to swim meets, etc. but it’s a different demand and commitment than those that play those sports professionally.

Sacrifices may start to be required of those that are treating CrossFit more as a sport. Generally it’s going to be more time spent in the gym with either consistency or additional work. It may include some more specific programming outside of the regular class. We may need to pay closer attention to our diets and learn how to treat competitions and train for them as well as how to manage them. Overall it should still be FUN for us though. We can take it seriously but we also haven’t invested “all” of ourselves into an event so we SHOULD be having fun with the journey as well as the competitions along the way.


3. CrossFit as a Sport (Elite Level):

       -Some may think it’s a stretch to call it professional but I disagree. Those that are at the top of the field these days generally make it a living to train. The sacrifices here are heavy and things are not always fun. It’s work, hard work and these athletes are willing to put it in regardless of the outcome and they risk the time invested. I know a number of Games athletes and almost ALL of them either train at a gym, own a gym, or simply compete and do nothing else. Their lifestyle allows them to focus primarily on training and this is what it takes to be at an ELITE level. Most of them have lengthy previous experience in athletics or some kind of strength and conditioning program. Having a base level of fitness and having good exposure to strength training is a plus and although not mandatory it is rare to see people competing at a high level without this. It just takes a whole lot of hard work, and that takes time. 

       This athlete is someone that can basically do every workout on as rx’d, no scaling necessary and posts competitive times/scores with top Regional (top 5 or so) athletes and Games competitors past and present. They may go to some of the more well known competitions and place well. Qualify for Regionals without specific training for the Open and are legitimate contenders for the Games (Top 5-7 in a Region). Truthfully it’s a small percentage of the population of our community. One that makes sacrifices just as any other athlete trying to reach the peak of their sport would. We may find them working through aches and pains, potential injuries, and having to pay close attention on their training programs as well as maintenance outside of the gym as well. Specific programming is often required in the area of the athletes weaknesses and they have to be ever evolving as the demands of these competitors continually increase. Volume will typically increase depending on the age of the athlete and most of them will either have a coach or a group of likeminded individuals at a similar level to train with.

      The sacrifices that are made in the present for these athletes may or may not effect their overall well being in the future. Some of those aches and pains may turn into something more and the risk is worth the potential reward for these athletes. The goals they set in the near future can come at a high price, some who are willing just pay up.”



Behold a CrossFittor outlifting you without straps.  Elgin will save you.  Pussy.

That said, allow me to begin this epic rant by addressing the video everyone who lifts and is on Facebook as seen- Elgintensity’s “Deadlifts from the Washed Up Loser Olympics.”  I’m sure half of you agreed with him in his commentary, as half of you were likely outdeadlifted by the 123 lb girls and/or 190 lb in that video.  As Elgin likes to say, “haters gonna hate,” because he’s a halfwit who’s marginally more original than his poor man’s Ben Stein delivery would indicate, and he lives up to that credo with every second of his “I’ve never seen a strongman deadlift in competition” commentary.





Before we continue, let’s look at the God of the Waterheads’ in gym performance.  At a skinnyfat and wholly unimpressive bodyweight that appears to be 180 lbs of bird shit, Elginsaddity is apparently setting the weak-as-hell and sloppier-than-Phillip-Seymour-Hoffman’s-rotting-heroin-infused-corpse ass end of the strength training world on fire with a 425lb squat that impresses literally no one on Earth, an actually respectable 335 bench, and a CrossFit-tastic 545 deadlift.  In other words, he is basically on par with the strength levels of the Crossfitters upon whom he incessantly bags, but is in no way, shape or form strong enough to consider himself the authority on lifting he apparently does.  But wait, you might be thinking- isn’t this entire article about how Crossfitters don’t suck at lifting, and is it not hypocritical to then call Elgin a mediocre lifter?  Not at all, because CrossFitters consider themselves CrossFitters and don’t provide the powerlifts as the sole metrics of their overall strength, as the “Subhuman’s Champion” does.  This “champion” is in reality a mediocre lifter who does a bad Ben Stein impression while demonstrating a laughable paucity of strength training knowledge and above-average Windows Movie Maker skills.



Behold the awesome physique of the “People’s Champion.”

In an effort to garner undeserved internet fame by capitalizing on the wave of butthurt in the strength community that is CrossFit hate, Elginsaddity put himself front and center in the interminable “I hate CrossFit because I’m fat and weak and they’re at the very least not fat” discussion by posting a couple of videos criticizing the “form” used by CrossFitters.  This is, of course, the How this trend got started is up for discussion- I’d posit it’s likely due to the incessant rambling by CrossFitters about the superiority of their sport in comparison to others.  Like chihuahuas and their incessant ankle-biting and yapping, the CrossFitters’ ankle-biting and yammering is certainly obnoxious, and some measure of hatred of them is therefore deserved.  Unlike Chihuahuas, however, CrossFitters are not simply rackety, useless creatures capable of doing nothing but impotent aggression, carpet shitting, and general obnoxiousness (no, that’s left to the fans of Elgin Mones).  CrossFitters might be more annoying than a roomful of 16 year old entitled bitches at a Sweet Sixteen birthday party, but they are generally incredibly good-looking, reasonably (and in some cases exceptionally) strong people who compete in a sport that has in a few short years eclipsed strongman, powerlifting, and Olympic weightlifting in popularity.



Say what you want about CrossFit, but they can definitely draw a crowd.

Yeah- as much as you guys wish it weren’t so, CrossFit is actually an immensely popular spectator sport.  Whereas no one in their right mind travels to a powerlifting or Olympic weightlifting or powerlifting meet to serve as a spectator, and few major strongman meets draw appreciable crowds, the CrossFit Games have drawn crowds of between 24 and 30 thousand people the last couple of years.  Though the popularity of any given thing is often inversely proportional to the coolness of that thing, the willingness of the average person to watch a bunch of people engage in exercise that average person cannot possibly comprehend or associate with any physical activity is rather telling.  Clearly, the sport has a hook that extends beyond a bunch of people with too much money, board and booty shorts, and a collection of cameras that would shame even the most extreme Instragram-obssessed narcissist- it’s appealing to a spectrum of people that includes a wide array of strength and aesthetics sports, in addition to the average person.



CrossFitters- better looking and more muscular than most other strength athletes… which makes them more marketable and thus “better” from an economic standpoint, at the very least.

I realize, however, that many of you will claim that my statement regarding the strength of CrossFitters is specious, as literally none of the internet’s CrossFit naysayers even possess the modicum of motivation necessary to do the scantiest of research, nevermind actually pick up something heavy (if you haven’t yet caught on, I’m stating, unequivocally, that it is only pussies who claim to lift and dont, shmoes, and undeservedly self-important Asian ambulance chasers who hate CrossFit [with one notable exception]).  So, without further adieu, let’s examine metrics collected from the CrossFit website itself by author and scientist Chris Beardsey of  Let me reiterate- these metrics were not fabricated by myself, nor were they fabricated at all- instead, they are considerably dated (which I’ll address shortly), low-end metrics provided by the CrossFitters to CrossFit over the last few years, compiled and analyzed by Chris Beardsley.  I realize Elginsaddity’s fans have already had problems wrapping their feeble, protein-starved, undertrained minds around this fact, so I will reiterate once more:

THESE METRICS ARE FREELY AVAILABLE TO INTERNET SHIT TALKERS ON THE CROSSFIT WEBSITE.  Feel free to put your heads between your legs and start sucking, by the way, Elgin fans- you’re a lot of dipshits incapable of working the goddamned Google machine with big mouths and tiny cocks.


Yup- they look like total pussies to me.  Good call, internet.  
Kill yourselves.  I don’t care how you do it, so long as you’re dead.

First off, we need a baseline for the determination of relative strength.  Thus, we must take a look at the bodyweight.  The top 125 Crossfitters in the country are all roughly between 150 and 225 lbs, the bulk of them (and seemingly the most successful of them) are between 180lbs and 210lbs, and the median all of the top 500 CrossFitters is about 190 lbs, which would put them in the 181 class for powerlifting.  Yes, the 181 class- they’re actually competitive athletes, meaning they will compete at their optimal bodyweight using whatever means are at their disposal to ensure victory.  As such, we will use performance metrics for 181 lb athletes to assess their performance.


Though likely of little interest to the bulk of you, I found it interesting that the best of the CrossFit men, with one notable exception in that little 150lber, are between 5’10” and 6′ and between 190 and 205.  Here’s a comparison of the height and weight of the top 500 CrossFitters:

So, now that we have that out of the way, let’s look at the reported deadlift on the CrossFit website for the top 125 Crossfitters- they’ve got two guys who deadlift over 650 and a couple more who deadlift over 600, with an average of around 510.  The top 75 all deadlift over 500, and the top 50 all deadlift over 550.  
Yeah, none of you would like to be as strong or as jacked as Khalipa.  Suuuuuuuuuure.
Kill yourselves.  Again.
Again, bear in mind that these stats are old- for instance, Jason Khalipa’s clean is listed at 335 on the CrossFit site, but he’s on video clean and jerking 355 (which would tend to indicate his clean is even higher than 355).  In the same video, Froning snatches 305 when his snatch is listed lower online.  Matthew Fraser’s snatch PR is 315 on video, but 300 on the CF website.  Meanwhile, I took so long to write this article that the discrepancy was wider when Beardsley did his analysis.  In any event, rest assured that the PRs of Crossfitters, who don’t even train for maximal strength, are greater than those listed in this analysis.
Meanwhile, this random CrossFitter looks 10x as good as Elgin and has actually been laid in the last year.  
And note the background slogan, which is appropriate- Elgin’s consistently failed to do so.  Lots of bullshit and nothing to back it but a micropenis.
So, how strong are the top 50 powerlifters at 181 in 2013?  They deadlifted between 590 and 715- obviously bigger than the Crossfitters, but not shockingly so.  There are at least 12 CrossFitters with 600+ deadlifts, which would but them in the top 35 at 181, and the three CrossFitters with > 650lb deadlifts would crack the top 5.  According to the USPA’s lifter classifications (which I think are incredibly low, but I’ve discussed my opinion of lifter rankings before), the average of the top 125 CrossFitters’ deadlifters are right around the Master cutoff of 515, and at least there are easily 100 CrossFitters who class Elite by the USPA’s classifications at 181.   



So then we have the metric I’ve mentioned I find laughable in CrossFit- their back squats.  By powerlifter standards, CrossFitters just can’t hang… or can they?  Using the USPA standards, 501 is a master classification, 547 is elite, and 596 is international elite.  Given that I have only been outsquatted once in the history of the 181lb division, I feel like I am entitled to cast aspersions on everyone in terms of squatting- I don’t use any progression scheme, follow no program, and don’t even back squat fully outside of meets much.  I do a combination of jump squats and partials, and with that, I’ve got the second best unwrapped squat in the history of powerlifting.  Elginsaddity’s squat is suicide-inducing, so his opinion is null and void.  CrossFitters, however, can weigh in on the topic, because in spite of the fact that they don’t even really train the lift, they’re better at it than most parties.  Plenty of CrossFitters have a 500+ squat, which would get them into the top 30, and 6 CFers have a squat would land them in the top 8.


Guess who’s nowhere near the top of anything at 181?  Elginsaddity.




So, there you have it.  CrossFit might be at times somewhat homoerotic.  It certainly sucks at times.  But competitive CrossFitters are not, as are popularly bandied about “washed up losers.”  The only people who would characterize them as such are never-beens and never-will-bes, like your friend Elginsaddity and should die in a fire because he’d have to have sex to have AIDS.



He’s like, thhhhhhhho bufffffff.


Congratulations, fans of those pussies!   You suck in multiple dimensions.  Fans of Elgin Moines suck, and the lot of you should head to New Guinea and drink some Kool Aid, the useless, worthless, and weak omegas that you are.  You’re weaker than the people over whom you profess superiority, which is weaker than an AIDS baby in a Oly meet.  You don’t understand strength sports, fail to understand strength metrics at any point, and lack the testicular fortitude to prove yourselves on the battlefield… unlike CrossFitters.

So to the rest of you, stop listening to know nothings who will be never be nothings- I have proven myself because I absolutely hate people.  They’ll never prove themselves, because they’re leeches.  Treat them as such.  Salt those idiots.  Move on with your lives.  SALT IS GOD.  That is all.

Chanel’s Interview With Pam Bosko

Posted on: October 6th, 2014 by chaosandpain No Comments
Pamela Bosko is a Canadian based Powerlifter who competes in the 148lbs raw classic class in both Canadian and American Federations . She is a pioneer member of the Relentless charity organization and phenomenon and rocks out with a 350lb squat w/o wraps, 195lb bench, 405lb deadlift and an overall best classic raw total of 940lbs. She is currently coached by Dan Green and is also a BBBC Athete. She is an inspiration to many lifters including myself. Her heart and her strength and balls truly go hand in hand in hand and many people could testify to that.


Q: Tell us a little about yourself. how did you begin competing in powerlifting?

A: I started competing in powerlifting after being bitten by the strength bug via strongwoman. I started competing in strongwoman and absolutely realized that comps were few in far between in these parts. The APF had just started up in Fargo, North Dakota which is about a 4 hour drive south for me. In November 2009, I went down and competed in a push/pull and haven’t really looked back since.

Q: Do you train often with a team or crew? Are they mostly raw lifters such as yourself?

A:  I train solo approx. 95% of the time. I train at McDole’s Gym here in Winnipeg, which is an amazing place but powerlifting is only recently starting to catch on. I travel down to Fargo, North Dakota roughly once a month to train with the crew at Edgar’s House of Pain which is home to some incredible lifters. I’ve accomplished a good amount training by myself, and as crazy as it sounds, I prefer to lift alone. Having said that, if I want to continue making progress, I need to be around people that are better and stronger than me. This is why I make sure to get down to Edgar’s House of Pain on a regular basis.

Q: I know a lot about being around people who are much stronger than myself as well. I know that you are an important contributor to Relentless Detroit/Minnesota. How do you think the turn out this year will be and what have you done training wise to prepare for this meet?

A: Relentless! I’m glad you are asking about Relentless as it has done so much good for the powerlifting world and the families and children we support. I’ve been with Relentless since the start in 2011 and looking back, from the amount of children and families involved, to the amount of lifters involved, to the amount of money generated, to the impact Relentless in ways unrelated to powerlifting. To say the least, the venue in Detroit will be busting at the seams in November with people, fundraising and new relationships.

Considering Detroit is still 4 months away, I haven’t started meet prep yet. I’m in the process of hammering down  the details but will start training in the next few days. I started a new career in mid-February, so after Relentless Minnesota in March, my focus and time has been spent working. I still hit the gym 4-5 days a week but some days I’m in and out quick, i.e. I’ll do my main lift and a quick accessory lift and get out.  I know I haven’t gotten weaker and in fact, my 41 year-old body needed the break. Maybe I’m at a different place in my life right now, but I have a very difficult time relating or even being around people anymore who view powerlifting as the end all be all and that’s all they do. I zone out after a couple of minutes.

Q: In your opinion, what was your most memorable meet (or stongman competition) you were ever a part of and why? What made it so memorable?

A: I would have to say it was my 5th meet which was actually the first Relentless in March 2011. It was my most memorable for a few reasons. It would be my last meet before undergoing my third shoulder reconstruction 2 months later in June. I also knew I’d be out for a minimum of 9-12 months afterwards and wanted to enjoy every single moment on the platform. I so badly wanted to hit an elite total at this meet just in case for some crazy reason I would never bench again after surgery. I had come close in my previous two meets to totalling elite and just missed the mark. I was hungry for this total but also terrified at the off chance my full meets were over. I ended up totalling 892 lbs at 165 and put my elite total on the books. It was also memorable since it was the first Relentless meet. I often look back at that meet and think ‘Wow, we had no idea what we were getting into and we have no idea where this is going to go but all I know is it’s going to be good!”

Q: How is the crocheting going?

A: It’s going really good. I can’t keep up though – I think people tend to forget I have a day job and training to do as well lol

Q: How do you keep up with your diet and nutrition when conflicted with the challenges of day to day work and responsibilities?

A; For years I struggled with eating disorders. When I say years, I mean half of my life. Food will always be a slippery slope for me but I’ve gotten to a place now where I have found balance with food. Balance with food is a direct result of finding balance and peace within myself after all these years. Through trial and error and lots of help, I’ve found what kind of foods, quantities and frequency work for me to keep me off that slippery slope while I stay healthy and work to get stronger.

Q: I think a lot of women especially will be able to relate to your story. What are your future goals in the competition world?

A:My most imminent future goal is putting together a 1000 lbs raw without wraps total at 148 lbs. I’m slowly inching my way there and it is within my reach. My main issue isn’t that I don’t have the strength, it’s that I need to lift smarter at meets i.e. start picking better attempts and stop making technical errors.

My future goals in lifting are fairly straight forward. I want to be involved in the sport for a long time so obviously an imminent and future goal is to stay healthy. Another goal is to continue learning but of course, to pass on to others the knowledge and experience I have gave gained. I keep chipping away at my strength goals and at one point thought when I hit those ‘magic’ numbers, I’d cross over and compete equipped. I can comfortably say I have no desire to compete equipped and still debating on wearing knee wraps in Detroit.

Q: One last question before we wrap it up. Would you rather 1) run your tongue down the top 2 feet of a bench platform at a meet or 2) press your tongue into Marshall Johnson’s nostril?

A: I would have to pick pressing my tongue into Marshall Johnson’s nostril. Marshall and I happen to be very close friends so I know his level of hygiene is really good, much better than the umpteen sweaty lifters who have laid on the bench I chose not to lick. Actually I have a funny nose related story about Marshall that’s fitting for this question. I was over at Marshall’s house visiting and sitting on the sofa crocheting (I tend to crochet a lot). Marshall says to me, “Pam, is this how it works?”. I turn to look at him to see one of my crochet hooks in his nose. Marshall has a pierced septum and he put the crochet hook through his septum. I just shook my head, laughed and posted a pic of it to Facebook. Ahhhhhh, good ol’ Marshall.

Pam and I when she dropped into the Anvil here in Toronto.

Interview by Chanel Nolet, Competitive 132lbs powerlifter and strongwoman based out of Toronto.