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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Bench Press Singles, Femora Brassica

18 June 2016

Squat 430 lbs. x 4, 440 lbs. x 4, 410 lbs. x 4, 405 lbs. x 4

Belt and wraps on the 440x4 set, belt only on the other sets. I really wanted to hit 440x4, although program called for 425x4.

Hack squat 4s x 12

Weighted situps on incline ab board

Squats are getting pretty easy. Against better judgement, I have widened my stance and am squatmorning more. Rippetoe would be proud. Makes a world of difference - instead of being painful and each rep feeling like I'm about to burst a blood vessel, the weights pop up like nothing and my knees feel great. However, as with most good things in life, there is a catch. More on that below.

20 June 2016

Bench press 320 lbs. x 2, 340 lbs. x 2, 365 lbs. x 1, 380 lbs. x 1

Decided to hit a few conservative singles after my working set today. 365x1 went up like 315, so I decided to go full potato and try 380 instead of 375 for my final set. Shaky, but up it went too. I'll also try a few squat singles on Saturday, then do the same for the pull and the SlingShot bench press next week. No maxing, just to see where I'm at.

Paused bench press 295 lbs. x 3, 275 lbs. 2s x 3

Pulldowns 5x5

Hammer curl 5 sets

Golfer's elbow is already feeling better. That Flexbar thing is almost like voodoo.

Femora Brassica

I wrote about how mourning the squat and using a ridiculously wide stance helps you lift bigger weights easily. I'd say it's almost as effective as throwing on one of those old squat suits. The kind that couldn't stand up without a person inside it. Unfortunately, this squatting technique leads to an aesthetically highly unpleasant condition called Turnip Thighs (which the medical profession officially refers to as Femora brassica). Squatting this way tends to overdevelop the thigh adductors, glutes and upper hamstrings while neglecting (or insufficiently addressing) the lower quadriceps. The result is a thigh that is relatively small and undeveloped at the knee, while massive at the top. In other words, shaped like the common turnip (Brassica rapa).

This is your thigh on squatmornings

"I just started squatting and my legs are blowing up!" exclaims the euphoric squatting noob, his legs still throbbing like rotten molars from the linear progression squat workout three days ago. "I can't find pants big enough to fit my legs!" Well, not so fast, Noob. While that's all technically true, it hardly paints an accurate picture. Take a tape measure and wrap it around your thigh just above the knee. Yeah, I know. Funny how nobody ever complains about their pants being too tight above the knee. Good luck buying new pants every six weeks or so, suffering hours of painful sweat-chafing every day the thermometer shows more than 70 degrees and living in fear of embarrassing rippage each time you bend over to pick something up from the floor.

At least Noob can be forgiven for, well, being a noob. He still believes in bulking and cutting, leg work for bigger arms and Santa Claus. Yet to be disabused of his newfound faith in squatmornings and milk, he flexes his pale turnip thighs and sees tanned, rippling quads in the mirror. What's your excuse?

While we're at it, in-vogue bulking programs greatly compound the Femora brassica effect. Imagine a pair of lean thighs developed into the shape of turnips. The thick parts rubbing against one another, steadily and monotonously. The agony building up like steam in a pressure cooker. Hour after walking hour. Inescapable. Now add a few inches of fat and increase the contact (and, by extension, pain) area by a factor of at least two. If there is a God up there, surely He's turned His back on us by now.

The solution is simple. Reduce the weight, bring your stance in and shift the bar a couple inches higher on your traps. Extra work for your quads via leg extensions and hack squats and close-stance leg presses. Develop your legs into a shape that does not resemble a root vegetable. Can you do that? Why not?

For a while I actually thought I had made it. A hip injury forced me to abandon heavy wide-stance squats. I brought my stance together and did a bunch of other quad work too. It worked. But it didn't last. As soon as I healed up, out went the stance and up went the weight. Then horror. Yesterday I put on a pair of my regular dress pants and could barely get them all the way up. Where was the sticking point, you ask? Hint: it wasn't just above the knee. Whistling past the graveyard, I wrote it off as weekend bloat. The condition remains unchanged today. I've fallen off the wagon. The plates on the bar are like sobriety coins, cast into the gutter after a roaring bender.

My chafed thighs ache as I write this post. It isn't even 9AM yet.


michiganmethod said...


Turnip thigh crew checking in. I've been thinking about adding in leg press to my squat days, and this has convinced me that I need to do it. The thigh chafe is real.

"The plates on the bar are like sobriety coins, cast into the gutter after a roaring bender." I'm making a de-motivational poster with this as the quote.

Fatman said...

I had a bit of a meltdown yesterday when I wrote this. It's fine now.

We can use the demotivational posters as props for the Mediocrity Method seminars.

Cowboyguy said...

Haven't been here an awhile and first post I see has an essay about turnips! Hell yeah fatman.

Cowboyguy said...

Also putting less weight on the bar is about the only thing I'm good at these days

:/ said...

I started out my squatting career idolizing weight lifters and doing high bar, close stance squats. After several years of that I found starting strength and switched to squat mornings. My quads literally atrophied to untrained status. But hey, my deadlift went up?

Cowboyguy said...

Also since I am using a home gym and don't have leg press things I've been doing wall balls with a 40# slam ball. Burns my quads. Unfortunately I think I might be a closet crossfitter though

Fatman said...

"My quads literally atrophied to untrained status."

I realized this after squatmorninging 500+ for reps. Can't even say that my deadlift went up by that much.

"Unfortunately I think I might be a closet crossfitter though"

If your knees can take it, do sissy squats with a full contraction on top. No weights needed. Slow the reps down once they get too easy.