Good Training

Last night I was watching videos of Laura Phelps-Sweatt, the strongest woman powerlifter and one of the strongest humans in the world, training with Gracie Vanasse, and it made me want to move. Problem was that it was 11 o’clock at night, so my options were limited. I call these “girlfriend pushups”:

Watching the video, I realize that I need to focus on keeping a neutral head position so that I don’t cheat off the last couple inches.

Here’s Laura and Gracie doing box squats. Laura stays well below her competition max of 670-775 pounds, so my guess is that she’s training for explosion (with more weight on the bar than my max record in the same weight class, plus green bands for progressive resistance):

Lego Roundup

Military Training

I’m in the middle of writing a guest blog for Carrying the Gun on my experience at the Women in Combat symposium held this week in Washington, D.C. The symposium featured speakers from the militaries of the US, Canada, Norway, Sweden, and the home of everyone’s favorite building toy, Denmark. One of the most important subjects covered was the gender-mainstreaming of military physical fitness tests to reliably measure occupational competence despite the subtle biological differences in the average man and the average woman. I was researching more about Denmark’s physical fitness test when I found this.

Lego CEO

CNBC interviewed Lego CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp on the viability of the company’s new factory near Shanghai, China. It’s an interesting window into how the company navigates a ruthless business world guided by Nordic values. Also, the interviewer mentions that Lego has never had to recall a single brick, which I hadn’t heard before. 


Lego outdoes itself again with its intricate version of the Sandcrawler (video), the famous Star Wars desert vehicle.

Good Training

Since I deadlift heavy every other week and this was not one of those weeks, I took the opportunity to do some box jumps and single leg squats. These light deadlift weeks are probably the most fun I have in weight training.

Having mastered the highest box at the Gold’s Gym where I train, I’ve taken to buying notebooks four at a time to continue increasing the box height every week.

Doing the single leg squats on the overturned stability dome has really increased my balance over the months. I’m strong enough now to comfortably “surf” the DC metro, which is generally unheard of because the relatively modern transit system accelerates and decelerates very rapidly–much faster than the NYC subway, for instance. Maybe I’ll post a fun surfing video in the near future.

Good Training

Pulled 425 for 3 yesterday. That breaks my previous record of 415 for 2 by 10 pounds and an extra repetition, making this decidedly the strongest I have ever been. My lifetime max is 430 for 1, so in two weeks I’ll set a new max by pulling 440. I should get it for two.

Previous training here, here, here, and here.

Good Training

Squatted yesterday. Of the power exercises that I do, the squat is the least intuitive to me. My squat max is well below that of my deadlift. I’m not sure what this means.

Tuesdays are also core day for me and my training partner/girlfriend Caryn Benisch. I usually superset back extension curl-ups with hanging vertical leg scissors. You can watch the latter below.

Good Training

Here’s another one. Just did dips and pullups today. Forgot, as I am wont, to record a lifetime pullup record of 115. But here’s a dip with 175 pounds on the dip belt at 160 lbs. bodyweight:

More Good Training

Time for another training video. Last Friday I deadlifted 405 pounds for 4 repetitions. It’s the first time I’ve handled weight over 400 pounds since 2001, when I set the New York State powerlifting record for my division in the Amateur Athletic Union. I plan to throw 425 on the bar in the next fortnight and go for a new record for 2 (having pulled 415 for 2 in the month prior to my first powerlifting meet).

In competition, I used a regulation straight bar. But I love the diamond bar because it doesn’t require me to drag 400 pounds over my kneecaps.

What’s crazy about weight training is that, as you start getting stronger and lifting heavier weights, new factors start to present themselves. For any deadlift over 300 pounds, any discomfort in my back and legs is overshadowed by the pain of the bar crushing down onto the skin and tissue in my hands. I had to learn a new grip style to cope with the heavier weight, which is why I over-rotate my hands on the bar before squeezing it and re-rotating them back to a natural position. This way I’m squeezing not just the bar but a flap of callousy skin that gets folded over by the twist. It’s just more physical material to hold onto.

Last set of videos here.

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