Monthly Archives: January 2014

Russian Squat Cycle (6 weeks)

Palo Alto Barbell, how do you feel after a big squat personal record (PR)?

How do you feel after a big squat personal record (PR)?

A lot of folks have been asking me about the squat program I just finished. I thought I would share it here. If you get a chance to do it, please let me know how it goes!

Summary: I just finished a very short (6 week), intense Russian Squat Cycle.  My poor teammates did a 12 week program and had even bigger gains.  I began later than they did because I had to work around the American Open.  I wouldn’t recommend doing this during a build up to a competition. For us, this happened over the winter holidays and our huge PRs just happened a few weeks into the new year.  This made for great times eating and training (no cutting for competitions!).  The squats even woke me up in the middle of the night a few times and demanded calories.

How does one put 9 kgs (~20lbs) on a back squat in such a short time?

  1. PR your back squat right before you begin the new cycle so you know what your max is.
  2. Commit to squatting 3 days a week with at least one rest day between each squat day.
  3. Suck up as much sleep and protein into you body as you can stand.
  4. Stretch and do abs as much as you can.
  5. Believe in your coach and the program.  It works!

What exactly does a 6 week Russian Squat Program look like?

Week 1:

Day 1 (Monday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Day 2 (Wednesday) – 80% x 3 x 6

Day 3 (Saturday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Week 2:

Day 4 (Monday) – 80% x 4 x 6

Day 5 (Wednesday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Day 6 (Saturday) – 80% x 5 x 6

Week 3:

Day 7 (Monday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Day 8 (Wednesday) – 80% x 6 x 6

Day 9 (Saturday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Week 4:

Day 10 (Monday) – 85% x 5 x 5

Day 11 (Wednesday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Day 12 (Saturday) – 90% x 4 x 4

Week 5:

Day 13 (Monday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Day 14 (Wednesday) – 95% x 3 x 3

Day 15 (Saturday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Week 6:

Day 16 (Monday) – 100% x 2 x 2

Day 17 (Wednesday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Day 18 (Saturday) – 105% x 1 x 1  (make your PR and then go heavier!)

Note: The percentage listed is the percentage of your back squat. For example, if your best is 50kg, then 80% of 50kg is 40kg. On day one do 40kg back squats for six sets of two. As always, warmup well before doing your squats. Always start with an empty bar and build up to your working sets. For this cycle, our team always began with squats. The squats were a good way to warm up and tire us out so that our technique really needed to shine to get us through the workouts.

Let me know if you have any questions.  Enjoy your new, bigger back squat! And, if you like, do follow me on Instagram:

Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Ever

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

He is a very picky eater. I caught him with a triple-decker cookie. “You told me I could have one!”

Note: This chocolate chip cookie receipe is not gluten free, sugar free, low carb, or paleo.  These cookies are not good for you unless you need to gain weight (which some do!), but they taste amazing.

Blend until smooth

  • 3/4 c butter, softened
  • 1/2 c white sugar
  • 1 c brown sugar

Add and mix

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 t baking soda

Add gradually and mix

  • 2c white flour

Mix in by hand

  • 2.5 c semi sweet chocolate chips

Drop heaping spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at ~350 for 10-12 minutes depending on how crispy you like your cookies.  I usually make a double batch and keep them in the fridge for the family.

Throw Back Thursday

American Open Weightlifting Championships December 2013

American Open Weightlifting Championships December 2013

A new year is a good time to reflect on where you were 12 months ago.  Every time I do this it feels like it was so long ago that I am not even the same person.  I believe that is a good thing.

These are the top ten things that changed for me this year:

  1. I went from ‘working out’ to ‘training’.
  2. I went from ‘eating’ to ‘fueling my body’.
  3. I went from fighting my weaknesses to maximizing my strengths.
  4. I went from hiding my enormous legs to being proud of them.
  5. I went from dieting to ‘bulking and cutting’.
  6. I went from dabbling in olympic weightlifting to being a national competitor.
  7. I went from killing myself at work to a more efficient contractor role.
  8. I went from worrying about spending enough time with my children to worrying about setting a good example for them.
  9. I went from worrying about my legacy to being able to die today.
  10. I went from a lot of friends who don’t share my values to a very few who make me a better person.
Starting Strength

Wendy’s First Weightlifting Experience – Starting Strength with Mark Rippetoe!

How have you changed this last year?



What is a good online source for weightlifting?

Coach Burgener of Mike's Gym

Coach Burgener of Mike’s Gym

I received this text this morning.  Wow, where to start?  Of course with ‘needs analysis’.  What do you mean by weightlifting?  What exactly are you looking for? Turns out my friend Erin joined a straight-up crossfit gym (woohoo, you go girl) and is curious.  She has only done a few lifts and wants to know more.  You can tell she is getting the bug.  I asked who her coach was (they all have different styles) and what her experience was so far.

I pointed her to YouTube, the best thing for weightlifting since the barbell and two very trusted resources.  Given her affiliation with CrossFit (and not some independent barbell club), I pointed her to Coach B (Mike Bergener) and Chad Vaughn.  These are both good places to start and will stay in the style that her current coach is teaching.  I had the pleasure of training with both of these wonderful people and they are a very good place to start.

Chad Vaughn's Big Snatch Pull

Chad Vaughn’s Big Snatch Pull

As Erin progresses my suggestions will change.  If she had different goals, affiliations, or coaches, my recommendation would change as well.  I look forward to going on this journey with her!