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Demystifying Strength Programming: 1RM + The Rule of 10s

posted by coach Jay D

Training for Strength and High Force Development can get pretty confusing.
If we recall, Strength is Force Development.

Some produce high amounts of Force over a short period of time.
Some produce moderate amounts of force over moderate periods of time.
Some produce low amounts of force over long periods of time.

This is about the point where you can think of “1RM” or the “1 Repetition Max”.
The 1RM is used by strength coaches to asses and project the max load/weight you can move maximally, for 1 repetition (without dying, please).

Projecting the 1RM is a tedious task, walking the fine line between burning out during warm up sets leading up to the 1RM or not.
This is why we can project a 5RM or a 3RM or a 10RM using a 1 REP MAX CALCULATOR, without having to actually test our 1RM when Coach JD or any other CSCS or Professional isn’t around to set the parameters or spot you/prevent death by barbell.

Based on our Baseline (1RM, 3RM, 5RM or 10RM), we can then start projecting percentages and loading schemes.
But I’m not here to lecture on all of the great literature of the Eastern European and Russian Sport Scientists who dedicated their entire lives to the physiology behind this training.
There are great books that you can and should read here and here.

I’m here to Simplify, in laymen’s terms, how to add a Myofibrillar & High/Max Force Development (Strength) element to your training program.
The following is pretty much a simple template guideline for general populations seeking strength:

*USE: Full Body Lifts: Squats, Deadlifts, Bench, Overhead Press, C&J, Snatch*

(i.e. 10 sets of 1 rep)


5/3/2 (set 1 = 5reps; set 2 = 3reps; set 3 = 2reps)

You’d choose one of the full body lifts/compounds as mentioned above and perform the desired set/rep scheme based on the 85%-95% of your 1RM.

You have options:
(A) Work UP TO 85%/95% of 1RM in 1 session within a set scheme of: 10×1, 2×5, 5×2 or 5/3/2
(re-establish/test 1RM, then increase weight every 4-6 weeks, accordingly)

(B) Work AT 85% for entire session; OR 90% for entire session; OR 95% entire session within a set scheme of 10×1, 2×5, 5×2 or 5/3/2
Then work at 90% the next entire session and 95% the following entire session
(re-establish/test 1RM, then increase weight every 4-6 weeks, accordingly)

- Choose 1 or 2 lifts Max to work on per training session (this is hard on the body, so don’t be too ambitious)
- Rest 90s to 3minutes between sets (higher loads require higher efforts/strain on the nervous + muscular system)
- Train Strength 1-3x per week on non-consecutive days
- LOG your loads/weights every session.
- De-load after every 4-6 weeks, working entire week at 65%-75% of your original 1RM (your body needs rest and time to adapt and be stronger than an ox for the next block of training).

Again, these are very basic guidelines so that you can pen your own journey/history towards becoming legendary and doing the epic.

Of course there are other great training programs out there like 5×5, 3×6 or 6×3…etc., but the RULE OF 10s is something you’ll remember and be consistent in working on for life.
You’ll find yourself saying excitedly, “JD mentioned “10s”….ok…10×1, This month!!! 2×5 next month!!! Then 5×2 The following month!!”

This is for Max Strength/Force Development and not to be confused with your General Physical Preparedness/Work Capacity, Hypertrophy/Axillary/Assistance work.

Feel free to add those to the mix AFTER your Strength Training Portion of training…I might even have a little dialogue in the near future for those, too. Who knows?

Have a Strong Day.
Evolve or Die.

Christmas Hacks (pt.2): Training + Movement

posted by coach Jay D

Previously, in Part 1 of Christmas Hacks, we talked about the Eating aspect related to staying on track towards your fat-loss and performance goals. In this section, I’ll get right into the Training + Movement aspects to focus on during the next 2 weeks of gluttony, over-indulgence and sloth that come along with the Holidays.

Train the body as one entire organism; one entire unit, rather than its individual segments. In the training world, we call these “compound movements”; Squat, Bench, Overhead Press, Deadlift, Lunge, Carry, Crawl, Climb, Jump, Pull, Push and Drag. Use your whole body whenever possible. Quite simply, More segments used equals more joints equals more muscles/nerves/capillaries involved equals more metabolic effects equals more positive hormonal effects. Phew! That was a run-on sentence of a mouthful, but ultimately, you’ll be a Strong, Lean, Metabolically Active Machine.

Moving fast is in vogue right now, within the training world. I agree – Sprinting or moving weights ballistically and powerfully ‘feels’ good; it feels and is athletic. But it’s not the only way. Yes, it gets our body primed for Power and neural activity, but there’s also merit to moving slow and long.

Aerobic training, which is slow and long over time at low intensities does much for recovery. Whether “recovery” is from the previous day’s “Strength/Power/Resistance/I did weights” programming or “recovery” is from simply being inactive or missing training sessions during the holidays – Moving slow and low does wonders for the body when it has rust to kick off and rids fogginess of the mind. “low and slow” DIRECTLY trains your aerobic capabilities while indirectly enhancing your anaerobic capabilities.

“So what is it, JD? High Intensity or Low Intensity. Make up your mind!”, you might be thinking.
The answer is to do both.
Utilize Work:Rest periods of conditioning, weight training or both to get the best of both worlds. Read about Interval Training, here.

Whether it’s treadmill Hill Sprints interspersed with treadmill walking OR Kettlebell Snatches interspersed with Planks OR Sled Pushes interspersed with walks – I aim to Work and Rest in an Interval Training format no longer than a brief 15 minute session. I’m in, I’m out and I’m feeling refreshed knowing that I not only got the best of both Anaerobic and Aerobic Worlds, but I’m strutting out of the gym knowing that I’m a Caloric furnace, even hours after I’ve left the gym.

What they don’t tell you on youtube or in the cooking/recipe-style fitness books and magazine articles is that you ought to be mindful. Be in the now. Be here. The yoga community centres their movement around this ideal. The traditional martial arts place great weight on FOCUS, so why are we simply meatheads or muscleheads blasting through our lifts without putting any of our it into it?

If it’s one thing I’ve learned from the current and last 4 months of weightlifting under my coach, it’s that focus is everything. You might think that clearing your mind is simply too new age for you, but TRUST ME, a mind is a terrible thing to waste (in the gym).

Focus your mind to complete your lift.
Escape all of the madness in your life through FOCUS.
Focus on your task and lift, leaving it all behind.

BEING MINDFUL, might be a hard concept to swallow, but BEING MINDFUL in the context of your training and especially during the Holiday season is exactly what your mind and body crave.

If you’re not able to do yoga or set aside 10 minutes daily for personal meditation time, then focus on your lifts if you’re a lifter; Visualize.
Focus on your movements if you’re into movement and flow; Visualize.
Focus on breathing from the diaphragm in between sets; Recover + Relax.

You need and owe it to yourself to DECOMPRESS your mind.
Rid your body of anxiety and Holiday stress.
It’s the only way your body will perform at its best.

Face it, socializing, shopping, wrapping, praising/worshipping and even eating/boozing all take a lot of work and drain your body and headspace.
BE MINDFUL and FOCUS. You’ll be a better Human and Athlete for it.

No really, take a hike.
After dinner or before dinner or at lunch, TAKE A HIKE. Fight the urge to nap after a big meal.


Get out of the stuffy restaurant or home of your hosts; tell them you have to take a call or have taken up smoking (Don’t actually do it) or forgot something in the car. Go Walk. You need fresh air and your guts inside of you need to digest, which simply isn’t efficient when you go sit or lay down.
Get some winter air into your lungs and walk and feel as exhilarated as those people who head to the Icy Lake and take a dip during the Canadian Winter Months for fundraising.

Rest. Nap when you can, but otherwise aim for some quality REM sleep.

Your body needs to digest and heal itself, not only from your training, but from your holiday food and drink. Give yourself enough hours after socializing and late night partying to rest properly.

In regards to recovery – as always, tack on some mobility/flexibility and release into your training and day. Enhance your performance by noting that you’ve likely missed training days, modified training days or overtrained when you were able to fit in a training day, as a means of compensation. The end result is rust and really, soreness. Do the things you know you need to do in order to RECOVER.

Remember, the goal is Performance and Fat-loss, Not zero training or mediocrity in training.
Quality trumps Quantity, and this is especially true during the Holidays.
Manage your training and Plan your training accordingly.

These are just a few important Training + Movement Guidelines to Hack Your Programming with amidst the Partying.

Merry Christmas to all and Have and Healthy and Happy 2016.
Make it your Strongest.

Evolve or Die.

Christmas Hacks (pt.1): Eating

posted by coach Jay D

Rounding out 2015, we’ve arrived at what could be the hardest two weeks of the entire year.

Face it, if you’ve been on a strategic meal plan or training regimen, for weeks/months up to now, then NOW is the time when you’re most likely to fall off.

In part 1 of this series here are 5 Eating strategies to implement and execute during the Holidays that’ll keep you on track towards your training and performance goals.

When not heading out for the Christmas party luncheon, dinner or drinks, PLAN your meals accordingly. PLAN what time of day you’ll be eating your own meals prior to the party; PLAN what to bring to the party; PLAN what you will order at the restaurant; PLAN how many servings/rounds you’ll visit the potluck buffet table; PLAN how many ‘adult’ beverages you’ll cap off the night at.

Whether you are hosting the party or coming through as a guest, PREP healthy food choices. The PREP of healthy dishes for a house party keeps you accountable and gives you safe and healthy options.

It also serves as an opportunity to show others that you actually care to share your healthy lifestyle with them. Face it – for a lot of your friends and family, YOU may be the only exposure into the health and fitness world that they have. Be brave and proactive; be the gateway and expose them to the concept and truth that eating well can be delicious and enjoyable, too. Who the hell wants to eat JUST grilled chicken breast on a bed of steamed frozen veg, anways? JUST. EAT. REAL. FOOD.

Try a 24h fast leading up to the party or after the party. Try both. Not extreme enough to live that sort of cruel POW camp lifestyle? Me neither.

Try an intermittent fast for a day or two leading up to the parties and thereafter. Establish a fasting window time frame where the only thing you put through your GI-tract is water. Set this to about 16h. Yes, 16h of no food.

This, of course, can and should be included with your sleep time. The remaining 8h will be called your “feeding” window. Include your party, luncheon/dinner and drinks consumption, here.

I’ve been a true believer and advocate of Fasting for a few years now, even practicing it through different training phases and times of the year. It enhances performance, helps with overall digestion and health; but that’s another entire blog entry to be talked about. Google here, for details and studies.

At the actual party, be plant-based centric. In other words center your plate around colorful veggie-filled dishes, ESPECIALLY if you’re not a vegan/vegetarian.

At minimum, 1/2 of your plate should strive to be stacked with plants of some sort. This will help with digestion, help you obtain all of those healthy minerals and vitamins to be strong like the Hulkster, and balance out the possible refined/pro-inflammatory foods you might ingest (alcohol/carbs/meats)

Also, on the other 1/2 (or less) of your plate, emphasize real sources of protein and lean sources of protein and healthy fats. If you’re vegan/vegetarian, paleo/primal, let’s all agree here towards the fact that real sources of protein and healthy fats are best, while refined/processed are terrible. High protein foods along with stacks of plants on your plate will leave you full, hydrated and well-nourished. Indirectly, it’ll leave little to no room for heavy carbs and desserts.

At the end of the day, don’t go buckwild with the food and drink at parties. There is life the next day and you DO have training goals to achieve. However, ENJOY yourself.

Don’t be a blacksheep and/or feel uncomfortable. Oppositely, don’t be the source of other people feeling discomfort with their choices. Rather, lead by example and stay true to your needs without being dogmatic about food. Holidays are for enjoyment; the term “enjoyment’ as defined by your needs and perception, subjectively.

I know that the holidays can be a hard time when you’re striving towards fat-loss, hitting a new PR in your lifts or simply be healthier, but only if you make it that way.

If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.
Refer here, annually.
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas.

Evolve or Die.

The History of the Squat

posted by coach Jay D

What’s better?
A Bodyweight Squat?
A Pistol Squat?
Hindu Squats?

Powerlifting Squats?
Olympic Weightlifting; Ass to Grass Squats?

These are all arguments that have been going on forever.

My take: your squat is based on your needs.
If your goal is to move as much weight as possible, utilize leverages and your body type/anthropometry to your advantage, then you might want to study the Powerlifting style; if you are more ballistic and required to get underneath a bar fast, catch it, then stand up, your go-to should be a weightlifting style squat.

Want massive legs and definition?
Read up on how bodybuilders use hypertrophy programming and time under tension when squatting.

We’ve been squatting since we came into this world and nobody taught us how.

But in terms of the lifting aspect of a barbell squat…where did it start? Why did it start?

Featured below is a great piece by John Broz and regarding the history of the Squat.

Always dig and know your ‘WHY’? It will make you more passionate and connected to your lifting.

I love this stuff. Enjoy.

Craft Your Lift.

Top 10 Alternatives to the Barbell Snatch

posted by coach Jay D

My new love is the Snatch. Its variations include, but are not limited to the Power Snatch and even the Snatch High Pull.

Whatever the case, the Snatch is a lift of beauty displaying not only Power, but precision and technique.

That said, here are the top 10 alternatives for any athlete looking to gain the benefits of Power/Speed Strength without having to learn the technical aspects of a Barbell Snatch.

10. The Dumbbell Snatch

9. The Kettlebell Swing or Kettlebell Snatch

8. The Sandbag Clean or
Staggered Snatch

7. Kneeling Jump to Box Jump

6. Broad Jumps

5. Barbell Jump Squats

4. Depth Jumps

3. Weighted Vest Jump Squats

2. Band Deadlifts or Band Rack Pulls

1. Box Jumps

I wouldn’t recommend putting all of the above, let alone more than 3 exercises together in a training session. Oppositely, any of these exercises performed individually within a program over time with gradual progressions and loads will benefit any athlete looking to improve their Power Development (Jumping, Sprinting, Striking, Lifting).

- After foam rolling, mobility and general warm ups, Power Training should be placed first within a training program.
- Work for low volume sets; 5 sets of 3, 6 sets of 2 or Multiple Singles – 10 sets of 1
- Ensure Rest periods are at minimum 90s to 5 minutes long, as to spare the Nervous System and reduce fatigue/burnout
- Goal should be Fast Force Development over an instant of time; Quick Explosive movements
- Loads should be 30% to 65% of 1RM if using external loads/weights
- Ensure you or your athlete has established sound foundations of General Strength and Movement Patterns
- Always remember that Power development has more to do with the Nervous System/Neurological Adaptations, rather than the Muscular/Hypertrophy side of training

Keep these in mind and you’ll be tearing it up on the field, the platform and in life in no time.

Evolve or Die.

Heroes: Bill Kazmaier

posted by coach Jay D

Video Piece on Legendary Strongman, Bill Kazmaier.

He seems like a gentle giant…but remember, don’t mistake kindness for weakness.

I heard he’s coming to town. Hmm?

Overcoming Laziness (Sloth)

posted by coach Jay D

Strength Seekers, in training, as in eating well, as in sleeping, as in studying, as in saving money and investing – it gets hard.
Shoot, Life is hard.

Sometimes, we get lazy. I’m not really sure what steps we took to carve out this path of Sloth, but I’ll share a powerful video and concept that’ll hopefully light a fire underneath your ass and get you going.

Here, the SealFit Coach + Commander, Mark Divine breaks down, Laziness as, “A Feeling of Incompetence”.
He also breaks down what to do about it through 4 of the following progressive levels:

- Ignorant to your lack of “suck”/lack of skill and ability
- subconscious fear (expressed through Laziness)

- addressing the need for improvement
- acknowledging, “I really need some work and help here, but that’s ok…where to next/what to do next?”
- Mental and Moral Courage Development

- “Embrace The Suck”; soldiers in the Gulf War used this term sardonically as a coping mechanism to deal with/embrace a bad situation (aka, “Suck it up!)
- Confidence Development
- Out of Lazy Cycle + Into Success Cycle
- Commitment
- Doing the Steps required to get to your goal consistently

- Not realizing how great your skill set has become
- humbly doing a thing; not posturing or being Egocentric/Ego-Driven (“I workout! Look at me! Instagram it!”)
- Life Changing + Life Long

Hopefully, a brief understanding of where we fall within this continuum helps you as much as it helps me.
Evolve or Die.

“Warm Marble” The Lethal Physique of Bruce Lee

posted by coach Jay D

In Memory of Bruce Lee’s Birthday Today, I’d like to share a great article by John Little with an Intro by Mike Mentzer, entitled, “Warm Marble”.

Bruce was always concerned with efficiency and effectiveness in the martial arts, strength training and movement, in general. Aside from being well-read into his books regarding philosophy, martial arts and nutrition, Bruce read tons into Kinesiology/Physical Education and Physiology.
The man believed in simplicity. He Simplified. But remember…Simple is not Easy.
He Refined.

Here’s a small slice of Bruce’s training that would be a great template for all Strength Seekers involved in the martial arts, Strength Sports and Bodybuilding and general fitness.

“Warm Marble: The Lethal Physique of Bruce Lee” by John Little; Intro by Mike Mentzer

“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”
- Bruce Lee

Movember: Move

posted by coach Jay D

Movember is just around the corner, and if you’ve spotted me at the head of your class, or in a one-on-one setting, just the same, then you’ve caught my face-fur harvesting in progress. This lack of contact with my razor, is all a means of setting the groundwork for Movember, when I’ll be raising funds towards Prostate Cancer Research, as well as doing everything in my power to create an awareness towards men’s health. My moustache, during this time will literally and symbolically, change the face of Men’s Health, while creating awareness and solidarity surrounding the matter.

One of the initiatives in this year’s Movember 2013, is MOVE.

MOVE is pretty much a call to arms for all Mo’Bros and Mo’Sistahs supporting the Movember Movements. It demands that each and every one of us, literally “Move” – in all forms.

In other words, it’s physical activity; it’s MOVEMENT; something that will make all of our lives that much better in quality and hopefully, longer.

I, therefore challenge all of you, men and women Strength Seekers out there to get off your asses at some point for duration of Movember and Move.
Move Daily.
Move Strongly.
Move with Vigor and Passion.

Watch the video below for details + Stay Twuned to all of JD Training’s Social Media for tips and propaganda surrounding this very important Movement next month…

Evolve or Die.

JD List: 5 Ways to Supercharge Your Monday

posted by coach Jay D

Get some sleep. I’m talking 6-8hrs. Make a Point to scrap your mobile devices and internet connections before sleep.
Power them off and store away or Charge, if needed.
Turn off your TVs and Radios, just the same.
Books are OK, but make sure you give yourself an absolute cut off time when reading; “Harry Potter” can get pretty involved, I know.

Get up Early. If you’re waiting until the last moment to really push your sleep time, shower time, eat time and travel time, you’re screwed. Give yourself time, it’s the best gift that you could ever praise yourself with. You’ll have an extra moment to yourself. Plan your day here. Prep your meals and food, here. Meditate. Recite Positive Affirmations. Listen to your favourite iTunes Playlist. If not, at the very least, give yourself 10 minutes that belong to YOU doing whatever you can claim as “You Time”. Uninterrupted.

I never classify Hikes or Leisure walks as part of a “training” regimen. I won’t even claim that I do it for personal fitness improvement. Really, this morning ritual is for mental clarity and re-connecting with Nature and our surroundings. Ask yourself how well do you know your neighbourhood? Sure, you drive through it every day; sure you grew up there or have been raising your kids there, but when was the actual last time that you turned a certain corner on foot, or walked through the local park of suburbia?! Listen and watch how the animals on your block Live. Let the Sunrise inspire and motivate you, just the same.

Mondays should be dedicated to Green Smoothies (some sort of leafy greens, limes/limewater and whatever you think of that’s green, but not from your nose), as they’ll detox and alkanize your blood after all of the binge drinking, sugary, salty, meaty and fatty indulgence that took place from Friday to Sunday night. It’s a tune up for your body. Lots and lots of Ice is key here. Make’em thicker than my eyebrows.

It’s a War.
Time can be both our friend (as stated in #2 of this list) or our biggest Enemy.
Don’t expect to get anything done without a written plan. Sounds stupid, but is it really? I’m not talking about detailed mapped precision, here. I’m talking about a hard copy, paper journal or calendar. It can be Nutrition, Training or really Life-related. You do it in Business for meetings, why wouldn’t you do it where it counts most – Your personal life? Randomized Living = Randomized Results. Know this Truth.

Have A Strong Monday.
Evolve or Die.