W.O.W.’s 3/23 and 3/28/14- Nail Gun, Hammer, Rock

The goal is to drive the nail all the way in, flush with the board.  This is the desired level of inroad, fatigue, weight exposure and metabolic work…the “pop-up timer”.

Nail Gun:  This can drive the nail to the desired location with a single action.  As a result, you can accomplish a lot in a shorter span of time.  This is analogous to proper use of RenEx equipment, SuperSlow Systems equipment (in good condition), Retrofitted MedX and Nautilus (in good condition) and certain select pieces from other manufactures such as Cybex or Nautilus.  Properly done, one set gives you all that you need or can stand.  You can stimulate the entire body in short order.  There is little wasted work energy dissipated in the process.  BTW, timed static contraction probably falls in the category, many times requiring no equipment.

Hammer:  This is an elegant and effective tool for getting the job done.  You can drive the nail in with one strike (remember the Karate Kid?), but you also run a risk of bending the nail and subverting the end goal.  Unless you are very practiced, it is likely a better approach to take a more modulated run-up to the end goal, using more controlled and focused strikes until the head of the nail is quite close to the board and then you can finish it off with some hard strikes.  Most barbell movements fit the hammer analogy.  You could squat single set to failure and get a great HIT/BBS effect, but you also will dissipate some energy (ding the board) and are much more likely to bend the nail (lose form and tweak your back, for instance).  Instead I find these movements can still achieve the goal efficiently but through use of cluster sets or jreps.  In cluster reps instead of reaching failure in 12 continuous reps, you might set a goal of performing 5 very solid reps and then resting an interval (anything between 10 and 30 seconds) then repeat 5 reps focusing on perfect form and hard contractions, then rest and keep repeating 5 reps until you get to a cluster where you fail before completing 5 reps.  This basically gives you a running start at any complicating sticking points so that you accumulate adequate contraction and fatigue rather than premature failure due to not being able to overcome the sticking point.  Jreps would involve dividing the movement above and below the sticking point(s), using a weight where you can show perfect form and then working in the hardest zone, then the easier zone(s).  If there are safety issues, the hard zone can be worked close to failure and only the easy zones taken to failure.  John’s Max Pyramid is another variation of making multiple strikes with the hammer to reach the end goal.  With MP you select a very light weight to hold statically at the point of minimum leverage (mid range for most compound movements) for 20 seconds.  Then you jump the weight and repeat.  Do the increases until you cannot make the 20 second mark.  Then go back down the pyramid in the same fashion.  Your set is done when you reach a weight where you can hold for the full 20 seconds or you arrive at your ridiculously light starting weight.  The “hammer” approach applies to most barbell movements and machines that have strength curve issues, but still have acceptable levels of friction.

Rock: This is a really poor tool for the job.  You will have to be very cautious and measured to get the job done.  Even so, you will likely damage the hand holding the nail, have chunks of the tool fly off and when you finally get down to the board, you will likely ding the board as well.  If you are in a survival situation you may elect to use this tool, but most times you will just wait.  Examples include certain barbell movements done incongruently (see the writings and videos of Bill De Simone-enter Moment Arm Exercise at Youtube or your search engine) for examples of what to do and what not to do.  The most common examples however are poorly designed machines.  Unfortunately, this includes most modern manufactured equipment.  Poor biomechanics married with high friction and poor strength curves results in a “rock” that is not worth using.  These really require workarounds and many times will still leave you frustrated.  Think of almost every hotel gym you have been at.  Think of Curves.  Think of the health clubs or university gyms that replaced an entire line of MedX with the latest line of popular equipment.

My latest WOW’s

3/23: Lumbar Extension on SS Systems Pulldown, MedX Chest Press (horizontal handles), Nautilus Pullover with SS retrofits, MedX Chest Press (vertical handles with hand adduction throughout-squeeze handles together), MedX Compound Row with SS cam, SS Systems neck flexion/extension.  All done at UE-Nail Gun style

3/28:  Barbell Overhead Press (cluster 5’s), Dumbbell rear delt (jrep halves), Dumbbell lateral raise (jrep halves), EZ barbell curl (MAE), EZ lying triceps extension (MAE), EZ reverse curl (SSTF), Dumbbell Shrug, MAE forearms using same dumbbells from shrug.  This workout was representative of the “Hammer” approach.

Post your WOW’s and your thoughts.

192 thoughts on “W.O.W.’s 3/23 and 3/28/14- Nail Gun, Hammer, Rock”

  1. Thanks to all who responded to my question about leg ext., full lockout or stop short. I looked at many youtube videos, consulted my library and your valuable comments.

    The vast majority are in favor of coming to full extension. By either verbal instruction or video performance they include Ellington Darden PHD., Bill Desimone, Mike Mentzer, Med x instructors, John Little, Nautilus instructors, and Gary Bannister, M.ED. author of Arthur Jones biography, In Arthur’s Shadow. Mr. Bannister has a very strong condemnation for personal trainers who advise clients to not go to full extension.

    At least one stated that muscles in complete extension are strengthened that keep the pattela [knee cap] in place, and the position of full extension is the most productive and very safe despite the acute pain in the muscle. All advise a very slow cadence.

  2. Hi all,

    A survey by Professor Caroline Finch appeared the an Australian newspaper called “Fears over screening at gyms” fitness centre failing to screen clients as a potential cause of injury. The research shows that injuries are on the rise in fitness centres because of failing to prescreen clients.

    IMO I don’t think it matters too much about prescreening clients because if a client is screened as low risk than they are than PT’s prescribed/force clients to engage in high risk activities the real reason for increase in injuries.

    Jay, looks like you done a great deal of research. I agree with your findings as I mentioned most of my problems with leg extension exercises is more to do with badly designed leg extension machines.

    Pete, well said.

  3. @Ed Garbe, What is the difference between med x and Nautilus? thanks


    I’m probably not the best person to answer this question since although I’m a bit familiar with nautilus, I’ve never used it. Most everything we use at UE is MedEx.
    I’m sure there’s some folks here better experienced to provide your answer.


  4. @Steve

    Not to pick any one “system” as being suspect, but as gyms continue to up the ante, and create new ways to get their clients to levels of “elite” fitness.

    A series of youtube videos share what goes on with the new craze, and just how nutty it is. (See Elgintensity) The one that actually concerned me the most was a competition at Big Sky (Montana). “Athletes” were Olympic lifting. A couple of the fellows nearly walked into the crowd carrying the weight over their heads. Not the same as a Formula One car going over the fence, but still.

    There is a reason health care is the fastest growing industry in “The West”, and ironically, it is the vain attempt to stay young that is promoting it.

  5. Well, other than adding a gallon of water a day, and not drinking soda, I have not done much with my diet. I am still trying to eat just three meals a day. This morning I weighed and I am down to 180 (lbs). I have not been keeping dates on my weight, but I think I have seen about ten pounds off (with fluctuation) in the last two months.

  6. The reasons we do not use the best exercise equipment available to us are varied; financial, convenience, social, anti social, knowledge deficit, and embarrassment.

    Note I said what is available. A year ago I did not want to drive to the gym and wait for the machines so I did the best I could with my apartment complex office gym. I see this now, and even then, as a mistake. My laziness interrupted my progress on the Nautilus Nitro machines.

    One thing we all have in common is that we are all lazy IMO. We like that let off in a barbell curl and dislike the extra effort of a Nautilus or other cammed curl machine.

    There was a time I was too fat or poor or anti social to make an investment in a good Nautilus gym.

  7. #helloconfused

    I did not think it needed to be clarifed … #hello … We must independently investigate the truth (if we are capable). The works of Jones, Hutchins, Mentzer, Hahn, McGuff, Litte (that’s all folks) are the purest form of progressive exercise revelation to date. These works are the scientific facts. One will not find it from blogs. Key word progressive as we are now in 2014 with BBSmII.

    Once you get this dose of education you will be able to experience true exercise and progress without any detriments to your health or …

  8. WOD:

    I call this the “Doug Holland YouTube Special”.

    Weighted chins
    Nautilus shoulder press
    Hammer leg press
    Nautilus pullover

    All exercises were done at a 6/6 cadence, using the rush factor.

    This routine was fun!

  9. @Grant
    TM ?

    These Are the abbreviations that would be nice to have clarified


  10. @ Thomas, from post #12 above, “this routine was fun!”

    A good workout should never be “fun”. It should be brutally hard. The first question in the BBS Q and A book addresses this topic of intensity.

    I guess you just used the wrong adjective to describe the workout. I wish I had a training partner or the funds to hire a trainer to push me to work as hard as possible. My best gains have always come when I had a trainer.

  11. @Jay,

    No, I enjoyed the workout. All sets were taken to MMF and a rush factor was used. It was very intense and I was gassed at the end. But I find enjoyment in this so it is, to me, fun.

    Context is everything here. Most people don’t like to work hard because it’s uncomfortable and not “fun”. This is one reason many hate their jobs. It’s why many hate to exercise. I don’t find it enjoyable to do NTF work in the gym; I’d rather not go. It’s no fun.

  12. @Thomas

    You are clearly sadistic, as evidenced by the fact that you injure people for a living. So, it’s possible these same tendencies allow you to derive enjoyment and “fun” from the pain and brutality inflicted upon yourself during an intense workout. :-)

  13. @ Thomas, You are right, many people hate to exercise and many hate their jobs. In regards to jobs many people do not have the insight to see the value of having a challenging career and continuing to work into their 70’s or beyond. American financial institutions have brainwashed us into thinking we all should retire early and give them our money so they can use it.

    Did you ever go the the food court at the mall, early morning, and see all these middle aged people sitting there looking so depressed?

    A bumper sticker said it best, “RETIREMENT SUCKS!”

  14. Wow – today

    TBDL – 3 X 5r warm up, then 1 x 10 workset NTF {still feeling my way back in, with these.
    Immediately to Hyper extensions for 1 x 20r, immediately to bodyweight squats for 1 x 30r, immediately to lying leg raises for 1 x 30r.

    finished with 4 x 10 behind the back wrist curls. As TBDL feeling my way in with these, as have not done them for a while.

    In regards to work, i hate my job. Retirement does not suck, its lack of money and or health to enjoy retirement.
    Read somewhere only 10% of the workforce enjoy their job, and only 1% of 1% get paid well for it ?
    Well i dont know if thats true, but i’m definitely in the 90% or whatever % it is, that does not like their job.
    Its just buisness, just money to me, if magically i had the same income from not working, then i’d stop instantly.

    Anyway now off to flop on the couch and read Zone Training the J reos method-Vol 1.

  15. Joe,

    Lol. You’re not a good chiropractor if you haven’t caused are least one stroke in your career (obviously kidding!!).

  16. Jay,

    I agree. Some people don’t like anything unless it’s “fun” (I find it really interesting when athletes say this; they are usually under achievers or supremely gifted). I translate this kind of “fun” as things that are easy, effortless and sometimes lazy (we all need this at times, but not all of the time). This, to me, is what HIT philosophy is talking about when it says exercise shouldn’t be fun.

  17. Re: Fun

    I think most of us here find training in some way “fun” or we wouldn’t have continued doing it for so long. There are definitely times in the middle of a brutal workout where I have to question why I do this to myself. But then it has been such a positive in my life and has really kept me young as I approach my 50’s.

    Not fun in the conventional sense of the word by any means.

  18. I hate “working out” and I think that is the reason I have been drawn to the Super Slow/BBS/Heavy Duty type workouts over the years. I also do get better results.

  19. Fun?

    Jay…This is interpretive to me when we define the word.
    When Doug uses the word “fun” I think it’s in a term of social, frivolity, happy.
    When I work out at my daughter’s gym I truly believe many people are having fun…as they tacitly push the weights while reading a book or discussing news with someone next to them. It’s social fun, and they’re happy doing it. Recreation is fun also…but many define it as exercise.
    But I believe for myself (and I think Thomas) working out “fun” is more euphoric…it’s going someplace different for a while, a short trip for the mind and body, a new experience ieach week, and then typically for me, a sense of calmness afterwards.
    I suggest that we may not have to be so literal in understanding comments/feelings and assigning nomenclature, but allow them to be more interpretive.

  20. My workouts are not fun, they are filled with discomfort and mental overloads, however the moment I have completed the workout and am recovering the feelings of reward, accomplishment, mental strength, discipline, dedication, self awareness, inner strength, pride and empowerment are spectacular with all of these personal strengths flowing into my career, personal life.

    While I strengthen your physique using strength exercise, I strengthen my character and self belief, relationship with myself and relationships with my friends and loved ones.

    Good observation on food malls at shopping centers, they reflect many a diseased mind and body of society, lost hope, learned helplessness & loneliness.

    There was an interesting documentary here in Australia about toxicity in womens breast tissue and fat & cancer, samples taken from around the world showed that the USA ranked higher by up to 70% more toxic compounds stored in breast fat and milk than any other region in the world, it reported that in USA out of 80.000 manufactured chemicals only 1% are tested and approved for use near humans, maybe this in part is having an effect upon physical and mental health in USA?

    My own research has found that ‘raw’ animal fats consumed bind toxicity in the body and eliminate these toxins through elimination but heavy processing and cooking heat damages these fats rendering them biologically toxic, sticking inside the body, trapping these toxic compounds within itself eventually over the years poisoning the cells and perhaps leading to cancerous growths.

    I just mention this as these all effect emotion, motivation and will power in life.



  21. Jon,

    Fun…literal – enjoyment, amusement, lighthearted pleasure, entertaining, joking or teasing.
    I’m not sure that Thomas was perceiving his “fun” as any of these…but I do understand and appreciate his interpretation of “fun’ when it comes to a workout. I too have “fun” in my workouts without any of those literal emotions…maybe mental enjoyment to a minor degree
    But I have been in gyms where I have evidenced obvious enjoyment, amusement, lighthearted pleasure, entertaining, joking or teasing. My daughter used to managed two Curves look-a-likes in Savannah. I think they were having “fun” similar to what is described in BBS. And they thought they were getting exercise too…whatever.
    Again…all IMO!!


  22. Speaking for my self I like the hard work and everything that goes with it.

    Discomfort, heavy breathing,thinking your not going making another minuet. Once in a while vomit.

    That is fun for me. Puts a smile on my face when its over.

  23. Hi

    You exercise hard to have fun, you don’t have fun to exercise hard.

    Most fitness centres should be called leisure centres.

    Have you ever watched people on “cardio equipment” moving limbs in a mindless numbing way. Try doing that for an hour now that is hard. To keep them on these mindless numbing machines what do they do add a few computer type games TV screens, IPods and now you have a disco happening.

    Shannon Gray from Monash Injury Research Institute said of 1979 people (between 2002-2012) were injured in fitness centre, more than half were using motorised equipment such as treadmills – that is not fun that is painful.

  24. Nothing trains your ability to focus as much as a proper set of SuperSlow/RenX exercise … your mind wants to run away from it … and that’s when it’s time to turn and fight … focus more on the goal not what you are feeling … the mind needs to recover maybe as much as the muscles

  25. John,

    Now, how do you sell that to the public? Most say “No thanks”.

    Thankfully, that degree of focus and mental fight is not required to make reasonable gains in strength, muscle and health for the average Joe.

  26. Ed,

    I apologize, I was being sarcastic. Sometimes, humor, sarcasm, being a smart &@@ doesn’t translate through the digital world.

    However, I do appreciate the work you do on this community. Keep it up. That was sincere.


  27. I see no fun in workingout the way I do it.And I’m not looking for fun nor do I miss it. I do feel pleasure however in the feeling after a workout(achievement ,proud etc.)and certainly while experiencing the benefits outside the gym.
    I concentrate on the exercises and my body so there isn’t even the awereness of fun or the missing of it(I even forget often how many reps I made).
    If people miss some fun while being active its mostly because they have no clear idea about the reason to workout. Most of them probably never will accept this and expect to keep living/doing like pleasure seekers.
    There are many thingss that aren’t fun but are needed to do but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like it to do or even hate it.

  28. Jon,

    No problem! And it was probably a good question to make my point a bit clearer to some.
    Often times we take things too literally (IMO) and that can often cause angst for some when it’s not necessary.
    As Ad said in his last post, he receives pleasure from his workout. Well to some,
    pleasure and “fun” can be closely related.
    I see this whole protocol as continuing to evolve and it’s important that we don’t put verbal/physical restrictions out there that could contain it and slow it’s evolution. There is so much to still learn evidenced by the varied learning WOW’s that Doug publishes every week or two.
    I think most of us understand that the interpretation of “fun” that Doug suggests, should not be part of exercise, and more associated with recreation.
    But again, no problem…appreciate your postings.

    Thanks for the kind words. Have a great day!

    All IMO!

  29. 3 days after restarting leg extensions, [this time to full extension], my knee no longer hurts. One of the many opinions I consulted stated that the position of full contraction in the leg extension strengthens the muscles surrounding the knee cap, keeping it in place.

    I hurt my knee 2 years ago doing a Hammer Strength squat, [that is the official name of the exercise]. The actual movement is more like a deadlift, only with parallel handles. I was midway through the set when I think my foot moved twisting my knee, and then very acute pain. I had even hired a trainer to supervise me.

  30. @ Ed Garbe, Interesting that you suggested we should not put out verbal restrictions on the protocol. Look at the acronym “WOW”, workout of the week. Does’nt that imply we should workout once every 7 days? For those of us trying to reach our absolute potential using very high intensity we need more than 7 days of rest. I think “WOW” has brainwashed some.

    I wonder what acronym Mike Mentzer would have used.

  31. @ Eric,

    I have been thinking about your posts concerning the Spartan races and the responses. Every 1/3 summer or so I get a wild hair and “peak bag” an 11,000 ft mountain in Wyoming. At the top is an incredible view, and you are one chasm away from the Grand Teton.

    I never train for this. I have seen some people run up and down it, but… Some years ago I had been doing Tabata’s on my Airdyne. Toward the end, the last 1/2 mile I was walking 20 seconds, resting 10, 20/10, 20/10 and so forth.

    The round trip itself is 12 miles. The elevation difference is 6000 to 11,000 feet. I don’t measure measure the percentage of some of the grade, but in places obviously, it gets pretty nasty.

    So, to sum this up, if I can take a day in the summer and punish myself for 8-10 hours on a mountain in Wyoming, I can fully believe you can get through (as others here have stated they have with various endurance races/activities) a Spartan “adventure” reasonably well.

    On a side note, will there be 200,000 Persians waiting for you at the end?


  32. I’ve been doing some experimenting with the frequency method for my hand stand pushups.

    Unsurprisingly, I’m getting results. My long term goal is to simply progress hand stand pushups to the point where I can begin to incorporate them into a HIT routine at home. I’m just not quite strong enough, and I don’t like Pike pushups very much.

    For the sake of making it interesting, I’m also adding two more things into my daily routine: calf raises, and band resisted kettlebell swings. The former is just to give HVT a try for calves, since they haven’t budged in a long time, and are comically small, despite good gainz elsewhere.

    For the swings, I just missed them, and missed deadlifting. I felt that dynamic hip extension was wanting from my training of late, and it’s hard to beat swings. Rather then adding weight to the kettlebell, or buying a heavier one, or building a t-bar, I decided to try the band approach. The effect is great – they feel much safer than a heavier swing, because they unload at the bottom when strain on the low back is greatest, but still allow for a near max effort hip extension and a faster eccentric. I just did a few short sets – nothing near fatigue, and they feel great.

    Very un-HIT, I know. I’ll still be doing 1-2 HIT sessions a week, but figured I’d report my progress on the other things. It may be that certain muscle groups/movements simply respond to varying degrees of frequency/intensity. It’s also cool to be able to do hand balancing, which necessitates frequent practice.

  33. Bryce,

    i admit i love the Swing too.

    If done infrequently – 1x every 7 days with moderate volume for 6-12 weeks, then left out for the same period before returning.

    I feel a hip/hinge posterior chain movement is missing from BBS, so do swings or d/ls on alternate cycles.

    Others may feel the LP is sufficient however ?

  34. Chris, I’m with you. End range hip extension is unattainable with a leg press. However, the Renex hip/lumbar machine looks pretty fantastic for ROM.

    I don’t know if I would go out of my way to buy a kettlebell these days, but since I already have several (even after selling some), I won’t waste the opportunity to get a good stimulus in for zero dollars.

  35. WOD: Upper Body 3×3, first two sets are warmups, one minute between sets.

    Handstand Pushups:(feet against a wall.)

    Ring Chins: rotating grip during the rep.

    Hanging Leg Raises.

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