A Middle Aged Adolescent  (who cannot possibly be the only one) A Middle Aged Adolescent (who cannot possibly be the only one) - Page 28

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Thread: A Middle Aged Adolescent (who cannot possibly be the only one)

  1. #271
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    • wichita falls texas december seminar 2020
    • wichita falls texas february 2021 seminar
    • starting strength seminar april 2021
    (weekly nonsense on previous page)

    (8, 5, & 2 and 3, 2, 1 rotation)
    Week of: 8/24/20 5 and 2 week
    MONDAY
    1. Squat: 3 sets of 5 Tom 397.5
    2. Romanian deadlifts: 4 sets of 5 reps Tom 380
    3. Power Cleans (3x3) light JC 75 - 95
    3. 4 sets of heavy shrugs 485
    4. reverse hypers (3x10)
    5. abs; banded pulldowns

    TUESDAY
    1. Inclined bench press: 3 sets of 5 Tom 200
    2. Bench press: 4 sets; 2x 8, 212.5, add 50#: 2 sets of 2
    3. 5 sets of 10 Hanging rows
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 8
    Conditioning (second session)
    sled pull 2 miles; 20, 0 (and six 50-yard runs)

    THURSDAY
    1. Deadlift: work up to a set of 2* reps Tom 500
    2. Deadlift: back off sets - 90% of top set; 2 sets of same* reps Tom 450
    3. Squats: (90% of Monday’s weight) 5 sets of 3 Tom 357.5 bands
    4. Reverse Hypers (3x10)
    5. abs: hollow rockers

    FRIDAY
    1. Inclined Bench Press: (10 sets of 3) Tom 157.5, mini bands
    2. Press: 4 sets Tom 165 - 190
    3. Pull ups (5x10)
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 8
    5. 3 sets kettlebell sit ups

    SATURDAY - Conditioning
    swim 1 mile
    Last edited by Nunedog; 08-21-2020 at 07:21 AM.

  2. #272
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    As I approach limit territory in my squats once again, my 5’s have become the first great tests in my 8-5-2 rotation.
    I’m not doing 8’s anymore, as they turned into hellish tests of will with limited benefit. That week, the 5’s I do represent a slight deload, to 80% of max, though I’ll add a pair of singles with the weight I’ll use for 2’s two weeks later.
    It’s the actual 5’s that have had me worried. Six weeks ago, my first round with 395 came as 4’s. Three weeks later, I got the 5’s. Just the other day, I got 5’s with 397.5, but it took every ounce of concentration I had. As I was piling on the weight in my warm up sets this past Monday, I was struck by a slightly alarming realization: ‘Now it’s your turn to have an adventure.’
    That’s probably why I like those rippin’ yarns: I can relate to that heightened mental state.

    In the thick of it, you don’t know how things are going to go. Reps 1 and 2 should be fine, but the danger begins with 3. If you blow your technique there, for example, letting things pitch forward that tiny bit - where the weight seems to be hanging off your lower back as you grind - you’re not going to have the juice to get to 5. I’ve written about this before: the issue is thoracic extension. If I let my back hinge - at all, right in that spot below my shoulder blades, then I’m not conducting force directly to the bar. One of two things then happens: proprioceptively my nervous system realizes something is out of alignment, which it interprets as danger, so it limits the amount of force my lower body can generate. Otherwise, the dampened leverage means a loss of force transferred from my lower body to the bar.
    It’s probably both. The upshot is reps that are forward and don’t want to go. That’s what happened with the 395’s that were 4’s the first time around.

    The trick is to improve your mental game, and everybody’s been through this; these are probably the most epic moments we can muster in everyday life. In my case, I have to visualize that inside my chest is a horizontal metal bar at that hinge point, which is also right at the level where the bar touches my chest in the bench, just under the pecs. I have to jack that horizontal bar forward, toward that spot I look at on the ground, all through the squat. When I do, I can feel that my ribs are high and that my triceps rest against my lats a certain way. All the drama during a set is keeping this position, or reestablishing it as I catch a breath or two between reps.
    Rip has written about this, saying that sometimes it’s not the inability to drive the weight that makes for a missed rep; it’s losing the structure that provides the leverage.

    I’ve been here before, at the 400 mark for 5’s. I got 405 reasonably, but 407.5 were all Hail Mary fifth reps, and 410 didn’t want to go. I might have to creep my reps, getting 4’s and then 5’s with a given weight as I get to the biggest numbers. Monday’s 397.5’s were a sign of things to come. After a decent first set, the second set had a rough number 5. If this trend continues, I knew as I faced set 3, I might just be hoping for 4.
    So there I was under the bar, teeing things up, feeling EVERYTHING, like the bridge of a ship completely in touch with every battle station. I was totally in the moment, not thinking of anything else or even the near future, being done with the set. I’d had to learn to focus on one rep at a time, getting everything right, which is very different from feeling a set as a series of reps.
    The bar is off the hooks; my chest, lats, and triceps feel good, and I’m driving that internal horizontal bar toward my focal point on the ground. Upon a big breath, I break in the hips and knees, also flicking my big toes upward a quarter of an inch, to ensure that most of the action is in my hips and not my knees. Rep 1 is decent. So is 2; I’m getting big air . . . I’m keeping my chest and that imaginary bar forward, even in the bottom position.
    3 is rough. Damn. Did I lose it? Did I forget to jam the bar forward? I will now. 4 will have to tell the tale . . .
    Yeah, I got this. Do everything right, and 5 is mine. It’s a fight - finish it - but that’s way better than the last set.

    As I suck air, I’m pleased. Yes, 397.5 for 5’s make me a pretty splendid fellow. Really, the feeling is not so much exhilaration as it is a genuine satisfaction at summoning the confidence and mental endurance to give every rep its due.
    My mind went to that fisherman in Galway who strolled up to the TV cameras without getting too excited two weeks ago. I know what he was thinking: It’s just what you have to do.

    (8, 5, & 2 and 3, 2, 1 rotation)
    Week of: 8/31/20 2 and 1 week
    MONDAY
    1. Squat: 3 sets of 2: Tom 430
    2. Romanian deadlifts: 4 sets of 5 reps 380
    3. Power Cleans (3x3) light JC 75 - 95
    3. 4 sets of heavy shrugs 485
    4. reverse hypers (3x10)
    5. abs; banded pulldowns

    TUESDAY
    1. Inclined bench press: 3 sets of 2 Tom 220
    2. Bench press: 2 sets of 8 Tom 215, then add 50# 2 sets of 2 chains
    3. 5 sets of 10 Hanging rows
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 8
    Conditioning (second session)
    sled pull 2 miles; 20, 0 (and six 50-yard runs)

    THURSDAY
    1. Deadlift: work up to a set of 1* reps Tom 520
    2. Deadlift: back off sets - 90% of top set; 2 sets of same* reps Tom 467.5
    3. Squats: (90% of Monday’s weight) 3 sets of 2 Tom 387.5
    4. Reverse Hypers (3x10)
    5. abs: hollow rockers

    FRIDAY
    1. Inclined Bench Press: (10 sets of 3) Tom 157.5, mini bands
    2. Press: 4 sets: Tom 160-185
    3. Pull ups (5x10)
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 5
    5. 3 sets kettlebell sit ups

    SATURDAY - Conditioning
    swim 1 mile

  3. #273
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    One evening in 2007 or ’08, when I was teaching a Judo class in our neighborhood gym, two breathtakingly beautiful women knocked on the door and peered anxiously through the window. Each of them had a gym bag hanging from a shoulder, and they were in white T-shirts, with white tights beneath tiny little shorts and little white tennis shoes below.
    The first one was carrying a portable CD player. ‘We have to teach a class in about an hour, and all the studios are full,’ she said. ‘Do you mind if we use a little space in here to practice?’
    I could think of no objections. ‘Sure. Come on in,’ I managed. It was just a couple of us doing Judo, anyway. We had six Zebra tatami’s laid out, which we could slide further across the room.
    These were fantastic looking women, magnificently built beneath the white T-shirts and tights. One was African American, the other blonde, and most arresting were their faces, each with a clear eyed confidence and features so handsome they had me staring.
    They were Washington Redskins cheerleaders, the subject of flyers that had been up in the gym for a week promoting a special dance class they’d be teaching. Now that the day was here, they had some serious work to do, namely relearning their routine. The two of them moved fast, plugging in the CD player and producing some gold pom-poms from a gym bag, along with a freshly printed set of notes.
    They started the CD player and adjusted the volume. ‘We’ll try not to be too loud.’
    ‘It’s cool,’ I said. ‘We’re not doing anything too profound.’
    We got to work in our separate areas, the ladies studying their notes and pacing out the moves. Once they got three or four sequences figured out, they’d add the music and go through them in real time. One of the guys I was working with was brand new to Judo, so I was explaining the idea of whole bodied movement for the sake of balance and efficiency. Maybe the first loud THWACK from a throw got the girls’ attention, but otherwise they were busy, and we traded throws and tried not to gawk too much.
    Every once in a while they’d stop mid routine and squint at one another, saying, ‘What was it?’ They’d nod along to the music, peering at the notes on the floor, and then the recollection would come to them: ‘Oh, yeah! We turn and then do [such and such].’ My impression was that this was a three minute routine they had once done at a halftime or TV time-out, but it had been a while.
    They probably overheard enough to grasp what I was getting at, that regardless of the hold you take or your angle of attack, the same movement applied. This was right when they were getting to the end of their song and the big finale - the money shot: having landed in a fore and aft stance, they each pushed their hips back over their rear leg and then swung their rears around in a big, slow, epic arc to the same position over the other leg.
    I stood at the end of the mat closest to them and gestured, speaking to my guys. ‘See what I mean? Same principle: it’s all in your center of gravity.’
    The ladies found that pretty funny.

    Not long after that, the two of them joined the rest of the squad for a trip to Aruba, where they were all photographed for a swimsuit calendar. An accompanying video was also produced, called ‘Beauties on the Beach,’ which was a pretty clean behind-the-scenes documentary of the project. However, as THE WASHINGTON POST revealed on August 26, a second video was made, pieced together from cuttings from the raw footage. This was ‘the good parts’ video, capturing all the moments in which bazooms burst out of bathing suits accidentally or the women were topless as they were staging otherwise cleverly concealed poses. Various crotch shots or body paintings in progress also made what added up to be a 10 minute collection burned to a DVD and entitled, ‘For Executive Meeting.’
    The Post obtained a copy of this video from a former employee in the wake of a July article detailing a culture of sexism and harassment. Apparently, it was Larry Michael, the team’s lead radio broadcaster and senior vice president, who ordered that the video be made for team owner Dan Snyder.
    Contacted by the Post, Snyder and Michael denied any knowledge or even the existence of such a video.
    The Post was willing to show it to them, an offer they kept repeating as the team’s public relations office stalled for time and ultimately failed to comment. Days later Snyder released a statement condemning the ‘behavior described in THE WASHINGTON POST’s latest story.’

    That would also make an epic ‘good parts’ video, the panic and embarrassed silence in the front office in the wake of that phone call from the Post. Yeah, they’re busted for doing something juvenile, but its sheer sliminess raises larger questions.
    1. What are these guys revealing about themselves?
    2. What did they gain?

    One would think that the billionaire owner of an NFL team and an experienced broadcaster would have the money and sophistication necessary to hook up with plenty of women from the fast company in which they run, including a few cheerleaders over the years. Maybe neither would dare cheat on his wife, which opens the question of whether or not they have the courage of their convictions. If they do, then a sexy cheerleader tape is just an extra treat in their lusty playground. If they don’t, then a video obtained without the knowledge or consent of the women involved is comically pathetic, like 14-year-olds getting their hands on a PLAYBOY. These guys are either dirtbags or gutless.
    We could presume this was no big deal: they just threw together some clips. It was a ten-minute joke in a conference room one day, not a major part of their lives.
    In that case, they’re simply thoughtless. They did not consider the difficulty this caused the video production staff, (described in the article) one of whom kept a copy as evidence - the one he gave the Post years later. They also seemed unconcerned with exploiting moments the women had thought were private.

    What did they gain? Power.
    After that night at the gym, it occurred to me that helping out in a jam and dropping a one-liner that cracked them up is about as good a flirtation as a guy can get with women like that. They’re in the business of allure - not connection - so they walk a fine line. They’ll rehearse the routine and swing their butts like champs, but the white tights beneath the skimpy shorts say it all: this only goes so far.
    Clearly, this drove the guys in the Redskins’ front office bananas, especially considering all the power, money, and influence they had otherwise. The idea of a video and gathering all the outtakes was genius, they must have thought. Forbidden fruit? Yeah, we’ll see who has the last laugh.
    This is not a great leap of logic, since the vast majority of the article details how “interviews with more than 100 current and former employees and a review of internal company documents and other records show that, in his 21 years of ownership, Snyder has presided over an organization in which women say they have been marginalized, discriminated against and exploited. The employees also described an atmosphere in which bullying and demeaning behavior by management created a climate of fear that allowed abusive behavior to continue unchecked.”

    The NFL is considering whether Snyder will have to sell his stake in the team. Sportswriters around town are begging for this to happen, for various reasons. In the meantime, it’s an interesting lesson to keep in mind this time of year. People will say or do just about anything to get your money or your vote. Even the smallest lies tell big truths.

    (8, 5, & 2 and 3, 2, 1 rotation)
    Week of: 9/7/20 8 and 3 week
    MONDAY
    1. Squat: 5, 1, 1, 5, 5; with 80, 90% 377.5, 432.5
    2. Romanian deadlifts: 2x5 reps; 2x2; 365, 405
    3. Power Cleans (3x3) light JC 75 - 95
    3. 4 sets of heavy shrugs 485
    4. reverse hypers (3x10)
    5. abs; banded pulldowns

    TUESDAY
    1. Inclined bench press: 3 sets of 8 Tom 182.5
    2. Bench press: 2 sets of 8 Tom 217.5; add 50 lbs - 2x2
    3. 5 sets of 10 Hanging rows
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 8
    Conditioning (second session)
    sled pull 2 miles; 20, 0 (and six 50-yard runs)

    THURSDAY
    1. Deadlift: work up to a set of 3* reps Tom 472.5
    2. Deadlift: back off sets - 90% of top set; 2 sets of same* reps Tom 425
    3. Squats: (90% of Monday’s weight) 4 sets of 5 Tom 340 bands
    4. Reverse Hypers (3x10)
    5. abs: hollow rockers

    FRIDAY
    1. Inclined Bench Press: (10 sets of 2-3) Tom 160, mini bands
    2. Press: 2 x 5 reps; 2x2 160, 180
    3. Pull ups (5x10)
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 5
    6. 3 sets kettlebell sit ups

    SATURDAY - Conditioning
    swim 1 mile

  4. #274
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    Flipping channels the other night, I came upon the NFL Network’s ‘A Life in Football’ profile of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach. He was a Heisman Trophy winner while playing at the Naval Academy, after which he had to serve his commitment as a Naval officer, including a hitch in Vietnam. With the Cowboys, he was a five time Super Bowl contender and once its Most Valuable Player as they won twice in his tenure, and was named to the Pro Bowl six times. His NFL career lasted 11 years, and he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1985.
    Staubach was a hellbent competitor, according to his former teammates, despite his squeaky-clean image and his quiet, church-going life. (A Catholic, he invented the term ‘Hail Mary’ to describe a last second, desperate pass.) They also said he was the guy they’d bring with them down a dark alley if they had to go, even before they’d choose some lineman twice his size. He was especially dangerous in the fourth quarter of games, having led numerous comeback victories and earned the begrudging respect of his enemies, among them the Pittsburgh Steelers and their fanbase, myself included.
    After his retirement in 1980, Staubach pursued a career in commercial real estate, quite successfully, eventually selling The Staubach Company for 613 million dollars and personally netting 100 million in the deal. He presently serves as chairman of the new firm and over time has won a great many honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
    Years after the glory days of ‘America’s Team,’ an old teammate of his, defensive back Charlie Waters, was coaching at the University of Oregon when tragedy struck. His son, nearly 18, died inexplicably in his sleep. An autopsy failed to reveal why.
    It was 1995, some 17 years after Staubach and Waters had last played together. Waters and his wife were devastated, ‘completely brain dead,’ as he described it. He quit coaching, and they could only think to move back to Dallas, back to home, family, and the world they knew.
    The phone rang. It was Staubach. ‘You have an office and a salary at my firm,’ Staubach told him, ‘and you don’t even have to come in.’
    Waters sums up with the same words that ring a little more emotionally for linebacker Thomas ‘Hollywood’ Henderson moments later: ‘He saved my life.’ Wide receiver Drew Pearson has a story - and he says there are more.

    That’s the moral of the story up front: if you’re an Alpha Dog and you want to break the rules, then do so for the sake of others. Save lives. Make the world a better place.

    Years ago, near the beginning of this blog, I told the story of intervening in a parking lot confrontation. I had pushed my loaded supermarket cart out the door just in time to see an elderly man lose control of his cart, which tapped the door of a nearby car. The driver inside was furious. The old man was truly frail - but the car owner had truly gone kinetic, which is when I sailed right in between them. I’ve always had doubts about the level of my heroism; after all, I figured, no way was this guy actually going to deck the old man. Nowadays, however, after seeing all the violence and hatred on public display, I realize that maybe I was being naive.
    More recently in this same neighborhood, 60 year old Anthony Brennan III was arrested for accosting three teenagers on a bike trail as they were hanging flyers expressing outrage at the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. The incident was captured on cell phone video: Brennan, who was bicycling, gets off his bike while asking to see the flyers. He grabs a set from a young man - who then starts recording - and heads toward a young woman to do the same. Pushing his bike, Brennan rushes toward the man with the camera. The young man falls, and Brennan holds him down with the bike momentarily. Back on his bike, Brennan taunts the teens, calling them deviants who start riots, and swings a fist unsuccessfully at the young man once more before riding away.
    In each of these cases, rage overcomes reason as an unthinking reflex. More significantly, each of these guys is willing to use his advantage over others to do them harm.

    This is a world we’re seeing more of nowadays, as White self appointed storm troopers sporting AR-15’s and tactical gear show up at Black political protests to shoulder their way through the marchers. Both sides are packing, as it turns out, and if there’s any surprise here, it’s that only a handful of people have been shot so far.
    Another form of bullying the less capable is swindling them, conning them, in this case politically, into supporting a scheme in which they share no benefit. Such is the case in American politics now, according to historians. This is the road to tyranny, where a single person most often, or a handful of elites, accrues oligarchical power and, with increasing boldness, sidesteps the rule of law as the mob chants its support.
    Timothy Snyder is a professor at Yale and an author and historian of Staubach level stature. He speaks five and reads ten European languages. His numerous books focus on the throes of Eastern Europe, namely the rise and fall of nations through the sweep of the Holocaust, world wars, and repressive regimes. The fate of the United States hangs in the balance right now, he says, as tyranny takes root.
    The problem, he says in a recent discussion, is that Democracy is hard. It does not sustain itself, so it requires constant maintenance in the form of careful, fact-based deliberation. Tyranny, surprisingly, is easy. It’s one man accumulating power by way of the rest of the system collapsing. This is a direct challenge to our Founding Principles. During the American Revolution, the main problem with England’s King George III wasn’t just that he was nuts. It’s that there were laws for managing the colonies, and he was breaking them. Therefore, that became a bedrock principle: the rule of law comes first. No person can rise above it.
    Our downward spiral as a nation accelerated at the impeachment trial of President Trump - whose basic defense has always been that he is above the law, subject to neither court decisions or Congressional oversight. The logic of our Constitution, written in the wake of tangling with a tyrant, was that the three branches of government would distribute ultimate power. However, in the impeachment trial, Senate Republicans announced ahead of time they would render a verdict in favor of the president, and Chief Justice John Roberts, designated by the Constitution to preside - to be in charge and presumably enforce lawful procedure - let that slide. It technically wasn’t even a trial, as two branches of government surrendered to the third.

    Facts - truth - a shared reality - is essential to a deliberative democracy, Snyder says, though this is becoming harder to come by in an age of biased media companies and an internet in which people can find what they want to hear. Yeah, you might be happy with your version of the truth, but alternative facts threaten your wallet. The economy relies on a shared understanding of value. Without it, markets suffer. Ask Russia how their economy is doing.
    Russia’s been playing this game for a while, in a long standing vicious cycle. The Politics of Eternity is teaching people that politics is not about changing the world. It’s about characterizing the world, that, We’re good; they’re bad. Slogans are a big part of this approach. ‘Lock her Up,’ Drain the Swamp,’ and ‘Make America Great Again,’ mainly serve to designate who’s in a group and who’s not. Not much governing is done, yet supporters get fired up.

    Writing as much as he does about Eastern Europe, Snyder clearly sees the hand of Russia in our election process. His critics and other intellectuals are not so sure. The Russia conspiracy, they say, is based on the Left’s inability to accept that a certain brand of American elected Donald Trump. They had to blame the election on some kind of malevolent ‘other.’
    Whatever the case, Donald Trump’s term in office plays into Russia’s hands. Vladimir Putin’s message has always been, ‘Sure, we’re corrupt and dishonest, but so is everyone else.’ Now he can add, ‘Look at the impeachment. America’s institutions are a joke.’
    Whether the Russians are tampering in our election or a certain brand of American is following their playbook, the sole strategy of the Republican Party has become using social media to research what people want to hear and target them with messages that amplify fear, tribalism, and rage.

    (continued below)

  5. #275
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    (from above)

    At stake in this election is a simple choice between truth and falsehood. A new President would mean a government based on policy - based on facts. We can agree or disagree on how to proceed based on a responsible deliberative process. It’s a ton of work, but it can be done.
    The science and experience behind the technique and programming in effective strength training would be an analogy.
    The Presidency of Donald Trump is a based entirely on falsehood. Its only recourse is to foment the politics of nihilism, of fear and rage, leaping out of one’s car to attack an elderly man or chasing kids on a bike trail far from any witnesses. It’s the immorality of knowing the coronavirus is a grave threat yet playing down the danger, allowing his followers to convince one another it’s nothing to worry about. In the confusion, the rough beast slouches toward the White House once more.

    As much as it pains an old Steeler fan to say it, I’m playing for America’s Team this Fall.

    (8, 5, & 2 and 3, 2, 1 rotation)
    Week of: 9/14/20 5 and 2 week
    MONDAY
    1. Squat: 3 sets of 5 Tom 400
    2. Romanian deadlifts: 2x5; 2x2 365, 405
    3. Power Cleans (3x3) light JC 75 - 95
    3. 4 sets of heavy shrugs 485
    4. reverse hypers (3x10)
    5. abs; banded pulldowns

    TUESDAY
    1. Inclined bench press: 3 sets of 5 Tom 200
    2. Bench press: 4 sets; 2x 8, 220, add 50#: 2 sets of 2
    3. 5 sets of 10 Hanging rows
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 8
    Conditioning (second session)
    sled pull 2 miles; 20, 0 (and six 50-yard runs)

    THURSDAY
    1. Deadlift: work up to a set of 2* reps Tom 502.5
    2. Deadlift: back off sets - 90% of top set; 2 sets of same* reps Tom 450
    3. Squats: (90% of Monday’s weight) 5 sets of 3 Tom 360 bands
    4. Reverse Hypers (3x10)
    5. abs: hollow rockers

    FRIDAY
    1. Inclined Bench Press: (10 sets of 3) Tom 160, mini bands
    2. Press: 4 sets Tom 160 - 180
    3. Pull ups (5x10)
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 8
    5. 3 sets kettlebell sit ups

    SATURDAY - Conditioning
    swim 1 mile

  6. #276
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    On a business trip to Los Angeles, my wife had a free afternoon, so she decided to pay a guest fee and catch a workout at a YMCA, an old, beaten up, and cluttered place where she had to clear a space on the weight room floor for some Olympic lifting. She was the only one in the room, except for a guy on a stationary bike, whom she realized was the actor Jeff Goldblum. This was a full three decades ago, yet he was already famous for films like THE BIG CHILL, THE FLY, and SILVERADO.
    She kept to herself and set up a bar for snatches and clean and jerks. She was a splitter, and this was a day and age when nobody was Olympic lifting.
    Finally, Goldblum couldn’t resist: ‘What in the world are you doing?’ he asked.
    She gave him the rundown. From there, the conversation flowed as she lifted and he pedaled. By the time they went their separate ways, they were complete budsoes, shaking hands and agreeing, ‘It was very nice to meet you. Take it easy.’

    I had one of these moments of instant fellowship this past Saturday, as I jump started a guy’s car in a Home Depot parking lot. His English was rocky at best, but eventually I noticed a tattoo running down his forearm that said, ‘Jiu Jitsu.’
    ‘Jiu Jitsu, huh?’ I said. I pointed at myself. ‘I do Judo - and a little bit of Sambo.’
    At this, he perked up. The only English words that registered were Japanese and Russian. ‘I am from Brazil. I am a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu,’ he said carefully. He pulled out his cellphone and found a picture of himself with a familiar face, arm in arm, each wearing a white gi.
    ‘That is . . . which one?‘ I tapped the phone with my finger.
    ‘Helio.’
    ‘That’s right. Helio Gracie.’
    After that there was much slapping of backs. As a stranger in a strange land, he probably appreciated my knowing Helio more than starting his car. He was no doubt a bigshot - quite possibly the Jeff Goldblum of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. You never know whom you’ll run into.

    In 1994, on a dreary, quiet Sunday afternoon - which it had to be, since the place was always packed on weekdays - I was in the weight room at Patrick Air Force Base in Melbourne, Florida. I had the place to myself, except for one other guy, a strange, gnomish little old-timer, well into his 80’s, with scaly, permanently tanned skin. He was bald, bent, and determined, with an enormous hook nose, which added to his otherworldly appearance, and he was going at it pretty hard, knocking out reps with an empty bar of a sort of a clean-slash-curl to his shoulders and then a press.
    He’d put the bar down and then, hands on hips, push out some concerted puffs, with his mouth rounded into an ‘O.’ Around the back of his neck and tucked into his white T-shirt was a rolled towel. Beneath that, he was in ancient gray sweatpants. This was a very old fashioned way of bearing one’s self in a weight room.
    Eventually, he came closer and sat at the end of a bench with his legs out wide and his hands on his knees. He and I gave each other a nod, and soon he commenced a series of questions.
    ‘Where are you from?’ he asked.
    ‘What’s your name?’
    ‘Who was your father?’
    He furrowed his brow, seeming to search his memory. ‘He was in broadcasting, in New York,’ I said. The man shook his head, but sensing I should hit the ball back across the net, I asked, ‘What’s your name?’
    ‘Henry Mucci.’ (MEW-see)
    ‘Colonel Henry Mucci? There’s a highway named after you. I’ve been on it many times.’
    ‘Yep,’ he nodded. ‘I founded the Sixth Army Rangers. We were in the Philippines.’
    ‘My Dad was in the Philippines, in a tank battalion.’ A second later, I added, ‘He died in 1990.’
    Mucci gave kind of a quiet ‘Yeah,’ as he took that in. Since my Dad couldn’t fill me in on the Sixth Rangers, he explained, ‘We rescued a bunch of prisoners of war. That’s what all the honors were for.’
    We talked for a while. Years later, when I finally learned about that rescue, I could have predicted every part of it, based on Mucci’s stories.

    In May 2001, on a sleepy Saturday morning of pancake making, NPR’s Scott Simon was interviewing OUTSIDE magazine’s Hampton Sides about his new book, GHOST SOLDIERS, when suddenly I had to leap across the kitchen and crank the volume. ‘It’s one of World War Two’s least known but probably most daring commando missions,’ Sides was saying [and I’m paraphrasing] ‘and it was led by this dynamo of a guy, a West Point grad named Henry Mucci.’
    121 members of the Sixth Army Rangers penetrated 30 miles behind enemy lines and freed 513 emaciated, diseased, and all but forgotten survivors of the Bataan Death March, who had been held by the Japanese in the brutal Cabanatuan Death Camp for nearly three years.
    The instant the book arrived, I cracked it open to the picture section in the center. There he was, that dynamo of a guy from the Patrick weight room.

    When I brought up that fancy highway named after him, Mucci pointed out that in the 1930’s, ‘there were no highways,’ but in the summers when he was home from West Point, he was all over the roads, squiring one date after another to fancy Italian restaurants. Mucci was a little guy even in his prime, part of the first American-born generation of a Sicilian family that sold horses. He had money and a car, and it must have been the uniform, but he had no problem sailing into WASP-ier communities to pick up their daughters for nights on the town. Among cadets at West Point, Sides says, he was legendary for bringing phenomenal looking women to dances.
    A decade later, he arrived in New Guinea to turn the mule skinners of the 98th Field Artillery into the Sixth Rangers, training 500 men practically singlehandedly in jungle warfare, judo, and commando tactics. As Sides puts it, ‘Some of the Rangers had come to call him ‘Little MacArthur,’ not only because he smoked a pipe incessantly but also because he had, like the Supreme Commander, a firm grasp of the theatrics of warfare . . . . Mucci was a fitness enthusiast who could outrun and outmarch most subordinates ten years his junior. Thirty three years old, he was a short, sinewy man with a pencil thin mustache, thick, black eyebrows, and enormous forearms bristling with dark hair.’

    It was January 30, 1945 on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. My father was a Harvard University kid spending his junior year abroad, commanding a tank platoon attached to the 43rd Division, as the Sixth Army worked to broaden its zone of control. The high command had another problem. Intelligence was bringing them horrifying tales from desperate escapees, that the Japanese were executing their last remaining American prisoners, in some cases by forcing them into ditches, soaking them with fuel, and burning them alive. The Cabanatuan camp was thirty miles into unsecured territory. ‘Tell Mucci I want to see him,’ the American general ordered.
    Two other units deserve recognition for this raid. The Alamo Scouts, themselves quite the story, were the first to lay eyes on the camp and get critical information back to Mucci. The Rangers were also accompanied by 250 Filipino guerrillas, who provided cover for Mucci’s mission by attacking and slaughtering a nearby encampment of Japanese soldiers.
    When Mucci and the Rangers struck in the darkness, they too were merciless, annihilating the guard towers and pillboxes in seconds and fanning out though the camp in an assault geared to deny the guards any chance of mounting a response. Burly Rangers carried heavy machine guns and sawed through bamboo barracks walls, thuds turning into increasingly wet sounding smacks as bullets laid into Japanese bodies. The prisoners by and large were stunned. They had no idea these were Americans who had come for them; the uniforms, the weapons, and the sheer size of these guys were all unfamiliar. Mentally they were pretty fragile and simply couldn’t process the idea of their enemies - their tormentors - being disemboweled before their very eyes. The prisoners were led, pushed, or carried out of the prison gates, where they encountered Mucci, who was standing on a hilltop and would guide them to freedom.

    (continued below)

  7. #277
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    (from above)

    One of the picture sections in GHOST SOLDIERS has a shot of Mucci shaking hands after the raid with Dr. James Duckworth, who had functioned as American commander in the prison camp. Mucci has some guns. His sleeves are rolled up in such a way to make this clear, in case anyone wondered. On that cloudy Sunday afternoon, he and I did not talk about the raid. It was all girls and cars - so to the story of the raid itself I can add only one observation: he was the real deal. He was there to lift that day. (It occurs to me that maybe he approached me because he thought I could use someone to talk to.)
    He’d roll back and do a set of bench presses from time to time - and I think he stood up and did some curls with a cable machine as well. (Guns - Pipes - Until You Die)
    Mucci died a few years after this, from complications after breaking his hip while swimming in heavy surf. The dude was in his late 80’s, and bodysurfing.

    Back at Cabanatuan, Mucci had 30 miles to travel to the American zone. Staggering toward him, egged on by his Rangers, were 513 disease ridden, starved, and tortured skeletons.
    This was Mucci, however, the fast talking, roadster driving Italian Stallion who had already liberated nearly that many young ladies, one at a time, deep behind enemy lines. He had wheels. Through his Filipino guerrilla counterparts, Mucci had arranged for a carabao caravan to meet them further up the trail. The fragile prisoners would ride in wagons.
    The Rangers greased a light Japanese tank at one point, and air cover obliterated a set of troop transport trucks, but the slog home, hard as it was, was quiet until they encountered a ‘Huk’ village.
    The Hukbalahap were Communist guerrillas who were anti-Japanese and anti-American, and not willing to let anyone pass. In the negotiations Mucci began to have suspicions about his own Filipino translator. Finally he grew impatient. With a gesture toward his radio operator, he said he was about to call in an artillery strike that would level the village. Then he racked the slide on his .45, chambering a round. He put the barrel at the base of his translator’s spine. ‘Walk,’ he said.
    That radio was broken. Mucci was bluffing.
    When they did make contact with their command, they were told that American forces - quite possibly my father among them - had advanced 15 miles. They had a much shorter trip to safety.

    You never know whom you’ll run into in the gym, including some guy who’s had books and movies - plural - made about him. The closing sequence in John Wayne’s BACK TO BATAAN is actual footage of the Rangers and Cabanatuan prisoners crossing back through American lines.
    In Cleveland, I pulled a woman out of icy cold water after she had capsized her kayak. I once had to go tearing down a grassy highway median in a Jeep to get someone to a hospital in an emergency. Whenever I had an epic story to tell, I’d sign my e-mails, ‘Mucci, 6th Rangers.’

    September 21, 2020 Deload Week

    TUESDAY - sled pull, 2 miles; and six 50-yard runs


    THURSDAY
    1. Squats - Work up to 1 rep with 432.5
    2. Deadlift - work up to 1 reps with 500+; 2 sets of 2 with 405
    3. reverse hypers: 3x10

    FRIDAY
    1. Incline bench - work up to 2 reps with 225
    2. bench press - 2 sets of 5 with 220 (chains)
    3. 2 sets of 5 - pull ups 45 lb kb

    SATURDAY
    row 6000 meters

  8. #278
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    Great stuff. Off to Buy the book.

  9. #279
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    I’m going to try to learn from this bit of recent history instead of falling victim to the more likely scenario, which is failing to understand my options. That would bring about slow, costly progress - at best - and quite possibly eliminate the chance of any new personal records. I’m reaching the edge of my performance envelope. Thursday’s workout ground to a halt, which is why I’m off this week. However, I had the dumb luck Friday of running ‘Panic: The Untold Story of the 2008 Financial Crisis,’ on my phone as I lifted. Produced by HBO and Vice Media, it is a fantastic, behind the scenes story - from the guys who were in The Room Where It Happened - of how global disaster was narrowly averted.
    It might not be as exciting as rolling out on the high seas to rescue a pair of young ladies as an entire nation fears the worst, or shooting a prison camp to pieces to save fellow soldiers who are as delicate as baby birds, but the story is no less heroic. It’s also fitting in my present circumstances: I have to take unprecedented action to handle unprecedented challenges.

    Two Mondays ago, I got 5’s with 400 in the squat. It was epic, just like I had written about before: it required desire, focus, and and pure aggression. To my great surprise, I then got my deadlifts on Thursday, a double with 502.5. I also toughed out a pair of back-off sets, but after that, my body was done. Squats were not happening. My lower back had been unhappy for about a week. Not only was I due for my quarterly de-load, the limit level sets were crushing me.
    I have to hand it to Andy Baker: his routines work so well, you’ll blow up eventually. In my 8-5-2 rotation, the 8’s went first, a few months ago. Now I can’t swing the 5’s because the weight’s so heavy. A new routine is not the answer, as I learned last March. Also, in responding to a question on this Forum not long ago, Baker said that once you get to a certain point - such as a 500 deadlift - all bets are off. You have to figure out what works in uncharted territory.

    The 2008 Financial Crisis was the result of an Andy Baker level great idea taken to an extreme. In the years just prior, a strong and steady housing market meant that there were plenty of mortgages out there, mortgages being the loans people had taken out to buy houses. Every month, homeowners with good credit and steady jobs would pay back a bit of principal and interest, and ‘holding the paper’ on a mortgage, which is what the banks were doing, was considered a very low risk investment with steady returns. Eventually, it got to the point that mortgages were a better bet than Treasury bonds, so in a sign of the times, thousands of mortgages would be bundled together, and shares of those pools were sold as mortgage backed securities.
    Investors were off to the races. Home prices were still rising, and all was good. More and more people wanted in on the action, so more investment instruments had to be created - out of thin air - to meet the demand. Banks and mortgage companies started lowering their standards, loaning to folks with lesser incomes and shadier credit ratings, but still these subprime mortgages, predatory loans, and Adjustable Rate Mortgages were bundled and passed on to the market without a second thought. Everybody was making big bucks; everybody was squatting 400 as these securities were sold over and over or collected and bet as the basis for even larger deals and greater returns.

    The problem with selling McMansions to low income folks is that they can’t afford living in them once they get them, or they screw up and lose their jobs. They default on their mortgage payments. That means their houses go back on the market. In some cases, those adjustable rate mortgages either did, or threatened to, kick in to unaffordable, high interest rates, and when those folks couldn’t refinance - because they were always risky - they too defaulted, putting their houses back on the market.
    Empty houses change the nature of competition in a market. Realtors are dying to sell what they have, so prices drop. The whirling updraft of steady and increasing mortgage payments disappeared.
    Imagine that you’re an investor. You buy a security from another investor, named A. Hang on, you tell A. I’ll pay you as soon as soon as I get the money from C. You sell the security to C, adding a bit for profit, but then he suddenly finds out it’s worthless. He can’t sell it and pay you, and you can’t pay A, and now you’re all in trouble. That was about to happen on a massive scale, which was when the investment house Bear Stearns called JP Morgan, looking for a loan of ’29 billion dollars this weekend, or we go out of business.’ Bear Stearns in this case is C. They had to be good for the money.

    HBO and Vice’s program tells the story of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and New York Federal Reserve President Timothy Geithner working very, very carefully to prevent a domino-styled collapse of the American and international banking systems. It was a terrifying responsibility, they say. They met several times a day and discussed their options as calmly as possible.
    ‘We’re going to have to bail out Bear Stearns,’ they told then-president George W. Bush.
    ‘Why? It’s their fault. They made bad investments.’ President Bush had to get very savvy on banking in a very short time.
    No, they explained. The international banking system is very fragile because it’s so interconnected. It’s an infinite number of situations, large and small, long term and short, where B will pay A as soon as he gets the money from C, over time or all at once - and really, you have hundreds, or thousands, of players involved like this. If you screw any one of those guys, you also kill everyone he touches. That’s how the Great Depression happened. One-third of banks vanished. Credit and finance collapsed, and businesses couldn’t get loans to function.
    Eventually, they worked out a deal. JP Morgan Chase joined the Federal Reserve in buying Bear Stearns in the first bailout of the crisis. The only immediate fallout was among the general public, who could scarcely believe what they were seeing. One giant bank swallowed another at pennies on the dollar while the government took on the bad debt. ‘This is democracy?’ they demanded in street protests. ‘You’re making sweetheart deals with rich guys while we’re losing our homes?’
    The public had no idea of the danger they were really in, but Paulson, Bernanke, and Geithner were aiming for the center of gravity.

    In the calm discussions in my own paneled boardroom, I have to take stock of recent discoveries.
    1. I can have only one heavy day per week of a given exercise.
    While I had already been doing this for squats and deads, I was beating the Hell out of myself with bench press. My upper body was becoming a sore and overtrained mess - so this week’s radical policy shift does have precedent: I switched the focus to inclines and dropped the bench work to something light and free of physical and mental angst.
    This is when I heard from Jeff Brophy, a Forum member with his own log in this section. He too had to change his bench game, narrowing his grip and giving up dips and rows. However, he eventually matched his best lifts. Brophy had an important trick to pass along, chains on the bar. Using climbing quickdraws, (which I had to Google) he could hang chains that accounted for 40 pounds at chest level and increased to 60 at arms’ length. I could rig my chains to that same effect, using loops made from an old jib sheet.
    My body appreciated the reset. All the lifts have been climbing slowly: presses, inclines, and bench.
    2. Less is more, and this is the first time I really yielded to being an older lifter. I’m only benching one day a week, and that makes all the difference. I’ve also bagged all additional tricep work.
    3. Swimming is a better plan for Saturdays than rowing. It’s great for shoulder recovery, and the posterior chain that’s been seeing duty on Mondays and Thursdays appreciates the time off.
    That was a long three and a half months of the early pandemic, before the pools opened once more.

    If there’s any analogy to be made between a worldwide financial collapse and my squats, it’s the idea of systemic strain caused by one exercise. The bold policy decision this time around, unlike bailing for a new routine or reorienting weights and exercises, is to drop to 3’s.
    My 8-5-2’s are becoming 5-3-2’s, so the squats can keep going up. President Bush can probably be convinced of the wisdom of this. The public will never understand.

    (continued below)

  10. #280
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    starting strength coach development program
    (from above)

    A heroic tale is one in which the protagonists navigate numerous dangers in pursuit of a lofty goal. In the Fall of 2008, the dangers were constant and varied, as Paulson, Bernanke, and Geithner worked to stave off a global economic collapse. Keeping the public, and especially the markets, largely in the dark about the danger they were in was part their strategy, despite the public protests. People who had lost their homes had no idea they had been conned, but Paulson, Bernanke, and Geithner had an entirely different conception to worry about. It was widely believed - assumed - throughout the market that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, federally backed mortgage holding companies established by Congress, would pay any debts on mortgages they held. In effect, they were insuring the validity of about half the mortgages in the US. If they defaulted, chaos would ensue, so preemptively the Fed took over these institutions and secured the necessary funding from Congress. This was their second Herculean feat.
    Conceptions and mindset were the main fronts in the battle, Paulson explains. At issue was the nations’s confidence in their government’s ability to handle a crisis. If people didn’t think it could, then banks, consumers, investors, and employers panic, and this shared mental construct, this arrangement we call an economy, vanishes.

    When the rescue of Lehman Brothers fell through, Paulson, Bernanke, and Geithner watched the Dow Jones Industrial Average fall. The banks’ interlending market was drying up. Privately, they figured it was only a few days until ATM machines stopped working. How much the public knew, they weren’t sure, until a McDonald’s restaurant franchisee called the Fed offices. ‘I can’t make payroll next week,’ he said. ‘The Bank of America usually fronts it, but I don’t know if they’re going to do it.’ Folks were catching on. Soon, the Fed chairs found themselves in a meeting with Congressional leaders, where Chairman Bernanke began the proceedings: “If you don’t give Secretary Paulson what he needs, then in 72 hours the US banking system will fail, shortly after which the world system will collapse.’
    Another way of spotting the heroes in an adventure is contrasting them with the characters who do not function well under pressure. Barack Obama, while still campaigning to be President, called Paulson to say he understood and supported the Fed’s approach, and that it would continue under his administration - ‘but you’d better tell the Republicans what’s going on. If they get out there saying the wrong things, they’ll wreck the coalition we need to solve this thing.’ McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, either could not or would not accept the complexities involved, and she continued to fan the flames of outrage.
    The McCain campaign was already in a tailspin, as evidenced by the fact that they called for a ‘suspension’ so that Senators McCain and Obama could race back to Washington and lend assistance. In a White House meeting that President Bush knew was a bad idea from the beginning, all the players were there, the candidates, the Fed leaders, and Congressional leaders. Obama made his presentation how things should proceed. The table turned to McCain, who simply had nothing to say. He had no grasp of the economics involved; nor had his staff prepared him in any way. The reaction was pure shock. This meeting was purely a campaign gambit, done for appearances’ sake, everyone realized.
    ‘You don’t have a plan?’ the Democratic side shouted incredulously. ‘Are you kidding?’ Soon, it was a full fledged shouting match, a ‘food fight,’ President Bush recalls, laughing in spite of himself.

    The story comes to an end because, as Paulson says, ‘the system worked.’ There are those that understood the complexities involved, along with the attendant responsibility, and those who failed to get it or still took the low road. Republicans declared to President Bush, ‘I didn’t come to Washington to bail out Wall Street.’
    ‘Neither did I, but we still have to do it.’
    They then bellowed recklessly in speeches, ’Should Joe Six-pack have to bail out the Fat Cats?’ - harmful rhetoric that gave rise to the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements.
    The heroes are the ones who stayed steady in the presence of danger. They relied on the lessons of history and economics. They stepped outside and gave straight faced press conferences after the ’72 Hours’ meeting and the ‘food fight’ in the White House. They kept the secret that one night while working late, Secretary Paulson started vomiting into a wastebasket and had difficulty breathing. If that news had gotten out, the markets could have collapsed.
    The other news that didn’t get out was that ALL that bailout money to the banks and the auto industry came back to the government - along with a 50 billion dollar profit.
    ‘It was the most successful and the most broadly hated program in history,’ Paulson says.
    It was History’s highest stakes poker game ever, played by some cool customers who bet the Farm - and won.

    (5, 3, & 2 and 3, 2, 1 rotation)
    Week of: 9/28/20 5 and 3 week
    MONDAY
    1. Squat: 5, 5, 1, 1; with 80, 90% 377.5, 432.5
    2. Romanian deadlifts: 2x5 reps; 2x2; 365, 405
    3. Power Cleans (3x3) light JC 75 - 95
    3. 4 sets of heavy shrugs 485
    4. reverse hypers (3x10)
    5. abs; banded pulldowns

    TUESDAY
    1. Inclined bench press: 3 sets of 8 Tom 185
    2. Bench press: 2 sets of 8 Tom 220; add 50 lbs - 2x2
    3. 5 sets of 10 Hanging rows
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 8
    Conditioning (second session)
    sled pull 2 miles; 20, 0 (and six 50-yard runs)

    THURSDAY
    1. Deadlift: work up to a set of 3* reps Tom 475
    2. Deadlift: back off sets - 90% of top set; 2 sets of same* reps Tom 427.5
    3. Squats: (90% of Monday’s weight) 4 sets of 5 Tom 340 chains
    4. Reverse Hypers (3x10)
    5. abs: hollow rockers

    FRIDAY
    1. Inclined Bench Press: (10 sets of 2-3) Tom 160, mini bands
    2. Press: 2 x 5 reps; 2x2 162.5, 182.5
    3. Pull ups (5x10)
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 5
    6. 3 sets kettlebell sit ups

    SATURDAY - Conditioning
    swim 1 mile

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