On being a true alpha

If you watch any of the ridiculous reality TV-shows, you’ll see tons and tons of insecure guys claiming to be alpha and using it as an excuse to be assholes.

That’s not what being alpha is about. Being alpha is not about being a bully and it sure isn’t about acting like a clown on national television. Thinking about it, that’s about as far from alpha as you could possibly get.

In the animal kingdom where the term comes from, there is only one alpha. One. Not you and your buddy. One. Only exception to this is the alpha pair consisting of a male and a female. Alphas usually attain their status by fighting. Thing is, we’re not animals.


In our world, an alpha is a natural leader – the kind of person you want to go to war with. Not the one beating you into place.

So what’s a natural leader like, and how can I bring out the leader in me?

It all starts with why. You gotta figured out what your purpose is, what your values are and who you want to be. Having a purpose, a mission will make you act with drive. Determination and direction are qualities people can relate to. If you make it absolutely clear to people what kind of person you are and what you stand for, it’ll make it easier for them to relate to you. Authenticity is the most important trait of a leader.

Nobody wants to follow somebody who doesn’t know where they’re going.

  • Identify your own core values and live by them.
  • Have a goal and work your ass off to get there.
  • Help other people reach their goals and avoid the company of people trying to pull you down.

More is better right?

Just a few days ago, somebody came to me with a question.

See she’s been working hard on getting her strength up and recently hit a 110kg double in the back squat. That’s a decent level.

She’s also been doing hill sprints once a week. She’s winning at training.


So what was the question? “I keep increasing the weights I lift, should I also increase the amount of hills I run?”.

Good question.

Answer is: it depends.

While you obviously have to increase the stress on the body to force adaptation, you also get to a point where you’re putting an unnecessary amount of stress on your body and not really getting closer to your goals.

For most people, working up to 15-20 short sprints (30-50m) once a week will be a sweet spot. There’s still plenty of days left to train your legs and to rest your legs.

There are obviously other ways to force adaptation than just doing more work – you can increase intensity (ie run faster), density (shorter rests) or volume (longer sprints, more sprints). But it all boils down to one thing – what are you trying to accomplish? How much stress are you willing to put your body under for cardiovascular purposes? Keep in mind that the more you stress yourself doing cardio, the less stress you can tolerate in the weight room.

Identify the goal and draw up a plan. More isn’t always better.

When the zombies come…

Glenn Pendlay likes to think about zombies too.
Going by the assumption that the .22 has enough stopping power, I’d probably go with a Heckler&Koch submachinegun (MP5/MP7/UMP) since it’s so easy to carry around and operate, but that’s just nitpicking.
Read this great post, so you wont end up with the wring weapon when they come!

Glenn Pendlay

Yesterday in training, we started talking about what we will do when the zombies come. Of course at some point we ended up arguing about what gun a man should pick if he could only have one gun with which to survive the zombie hoards I posed the following question as a poll on the livestream of our workout.

If you had to pick only one of these things to have when the zombies come, which would you pick?

A) A clip fed semi-auto rifle chambered in 22 long rifle, and all the ammo you could carry with you.

B) An M-16 and all the ammo you could carry with you.

c) A pump 12 guage shotgun and all the ammo you could carry with you.

C) A large caliber bolt action sniper rifle with a good scope, and all the ammo you could carry with you.

D) A crossbow…

View original post 1,423 more words

Strength training essentials #2

In part 1, I covered footwear.

This installment is all about the belts. See belts will not make your abs weaker, support your back or tighten your waist. Using a belt is a good thing and once you’ve attained a decent level of strength, I’d suggest you get one. Personally I use an extremely well.made belt from the swedish leatherworker Yngve Wahlander – it has a lifetime warranty which is usually a good way to spot a quality product.

I recommend getting one with a lever as it’s so easy and fast to put on/take off. As it’s your own belt, you only need one (or possibly two) settings – and the lever belt gives you just that, two different settings.


Titan and Strengthshop do their own belts as well, and they’re a tad cheaper. Things to look for in a belt:

  • No logo or embroidery if you ever plan on competing
  • 10-13mm thickness, 10cm wide, no taper.
  • Lever belt is easier to use.
  • Buy nice, don’t buy twice – a good belt will last (literally in the case of Wahlander) you a lifetime.

Why Westside isn’t all you think it is

I hear it regularly – if you box squat, you should get in a wide stance and sit so far back you need the box to avoid falling. Thing is, when asked why, most people will simply tell you “because Louie Simmons says so and his lifters are the best in the world”. Well first of all, they’re not. Louie might tell you they are, but they’re not. Just to name a couple of people you’ve probably never heard of, Carl-Yngvar has a 1135kg/2505lbs total in single-ply under IPF rules (which also include HEAVY testing and WADA whereabouts) in 120kg+ , and Kjell has a 913kg/2015lbs total (under same rules) in the -83kg weight class. In comparison the best lifter from Westside has a 1318kg/2910lbs total in the -275lbs weight class. This is in triple-ply, without walking the squats out and in an untested federation. Though Kjell is a world champion, Carl-Yngvar only placed 3rd at the 2012 European Championships. Westsiders are not as dominant as Louie makes them out to be. Just like boxing, powerlifting has tons of federations but in PL, they have different rulesets as well. Look at IPF for a worldwide federation with a ruleset that resembles real lifting (walking out squats, squatting to hip below knee, single ply gear) and regular testing.


For a raw lifter, you want your box squat to look pretty much like your regular squat, maybe with a little more sit back. But then again, I’m not really too big a fan of the box squat at all for the raw lifter and I sure as hell wouldn’t do the majority of my squatting to a box. However sitting waaaay back on the box just doesn’t make any sense for the raw lifter. Why would you train in a movement pattern that you’re 100% dependent on a box to get in? It’s also a great way to put an extreme amount of stress on your hips, which means increase risk of injury. That’s why Westsiders wear briefs when they box squat.

Chad from Juggernaught Training systems has made an excellent post about more Westside shortcomings. Check it out here.

It all starts with you!

I see so many people pointing fingers at others.

I see so many people bitching about cheating, PEDs and what not.

I see so many people focusing on all the wrong things.


It all starts with me! And it all starts with you.

Living your life from the inside out, and not the other way around will make sure you can look yourself in the eyes at night. It starts with why.

Your why is something you’d be proud to tell your kids about. That’s a little something I’ve picked up over the past six months – whenever I’m unsure of how to act, I ask myself one simple question: “would I be proud to tell Laura that I did xxx?”. 99/100 that guides me gently back on track to who I am.

So who do you want to be? Do you want to be the one whining, bitching and belittling others on the internet?

Seriously, unless you’re Usain Bolt (hi Usain, can you please send me an autographed t-shirt?) nobody cares how you do compared to someone else. The only person you should worry about is yourself. The person you were yesterday. As long as you’re a better person than he is, you’re on the right track.

Focus on you. You’re the shit!

Update from Famez HQ

Last week marked the ending of a five week cycle. It’s been great to get back on track and I feel like my plan has worked out very well. Except for the fact that I can’t seem to lose weight. On the upside though, my waist measurement has dropped a couple of cms, and I’m looking a lot tighter.

I’ve been able to train without any issues from my hip, which has been and will continue to be priority number one. If I can stay healthy, I’ll get stronger. It’s that simple.

My best lifts during this cycle were pretty light but I actually managed to make them feel light. 167,5kg on the back squat, 190kg in the conventional deadlift, a couple of triples at 145 in the paused squat and 11 reps at 77,5kg in the press. Nothing too impressive, but a good place to start.


Going forward, I’ll be sticking to training three times a week with an optional weightlifting day and an optional hill sprints day, the split is gonna look like this:

Day 1: Press, more press, chins and dips. This day is all about building the press, so I’ll also do some overhead triceps and possibly some DB/KB presses.

Day 2: Squats, paused squats, deadlifts and deficit sumo deadlifts. Lots of abs and unilateral legwork.

Day 3: Bench press, rows, more rows, upper back and guns. Back/arms day with a bit of bench press thrown in.

Lower body training will focus on getting strength back, while remaining healthy. Hypertrophy is not a priority at this point. Abs are a weakpoint, so they get extra work. Volume stays pretty much the same as for the past five weeks as that’s worked very well for me. Same with frequency – only squatting once a week has been good.

As for upper body, the bench press is back. I’ve also moved the chins to my pressing day, as I found it a bit too easy. Bench press will be programmed based on a conservative max, but this cycle should reintroduce some good weights on the other three lifts. After this cycle I’ll have a very good idea of what to expect from my next meet in November.

I’ve made another minor modification to the split and switched days 1 and 2. The reason for this is that I usually run hills during the weekend, and with only one weekly lower body day, I figured it was silly to do it so close to hill sprints.

Apart from that, I’m really enjoying training only three times a week (+hills +weightlifting), and the 5 week cycle was really good for me. I’ll be using a 9 week cycle based on the same principles (three singles and some backoff volume). This’ll also help me figure out how to plan the cycle leading up to TSK Cup in November.