Monday Bacon: Homework

Are you a new powerlifter and don’t recognize this man? Then you’re not quite ready for the big leagues son.

I believe that when another noob gets the powerlifting bug, it makes the strength gods happy. Someone else deciding to be strongest will send smiles down from the black iron heavens and those who have gone before us give a well done clap that appears as thunder. Dramatic? Well, maybe a bit.

I equate it to how welcoming Highland Gamers are to new folks at the Games. Trying to encourage us along to get the bug, expand the ranks, bring more visibility to a fringe sport. But we have a responsibility in that. Ya know? We can’t just show up at these games and believe we’re going to dominate without doing our homework first. Doug Edmunds; David Webster; Alistair Gunn, and Francis Brebner. Know who they are? No? Well get on the Google and start doing your homework. Are you sharing the field with a Top 10  competitor? Show respect. If they hold a world record in an event, shut up and pay attention. Shag for them. But mostly shut up. Us noobs don’t get to be the stars of the show. Yet. Give it time. But give it the respect it deserves.

The same goes with powerlifting. I can recall at least 14 times a new lifter who’s lifted in one or two meets has claimed that they ned to drop or gain up to another weight class in order to “be competitive.” Ya know how to get competitive in your weight class? Get stronger. Duh. Whenever I hear this silly statement, my first question is, “Do you know who Jim Wendler is?” If I get a “no” (and I ALWAYS get a “no”) my response is always the same. Get experience, get stronger, get a total (no, you cannot total at a push/pull meet. They’re fun, and you get valuable platform experience, but you need to show up at the full meets. Warm up your squat  at 7:30am and pull your first deadlift attempt around 8:00pm to fully grasp how hard a full meet can be.) Put the time in the gym needed to gain strength, experience, and do a little bit of homework.

Ed Coan. Are you a “powerlifter” and don’t know who he is? Then you need to open up the books and do some reading. Matt and I went down the list of folks you should have a strong grasp on how they’ve molded the strength world here in ‘Merika.

Dave Tate along with the contributions of EliteFTS. If you’re new to the sport and don’t spend time reading on the site, you just really are lazy. It’s a treasure trove. Plus they have cool hoodies and shirts so you can look like a real powerlifter to your friends instead of just a fat guy who hangs out in the gym a lot. But SRSLY.

Louie Simmons and Westside Barbell. Oh I know, I know. All those huge guys and girls with the bands and chains wouldn’t be nearly as strong as they are without their special “vitamins.” Holy god if I hear that argument one more time I’m going Pulp Fiction on the stupid person’s ass. Look. I have the smallest amount of knowledge of the Westside methods and I can recognize how they’ve impacted the strength world. I’ve been fortunate enough to see some of their lifters at meets and their feats of strength were absolutely amazing. Hard work and a program that works for them did that folks. FOKKK! Do you know how boring you are if all you can say is, “well ya, but is that person clean like me?” You mean WEAK like you? No. No, that lifter is not weak like you. Have you foraged through their medicine cabinets? No? Then S!T!F!U! If you are such a small minded, weak person that you need to fall back on pointing fingers…well, tune in tomorrow. You’ll be the star of the next post. And by Star I mean asshole. Cuz, ya know, it’s me.


This guy. He’s my favorite. I don’t even know why. Maybe it’s because I have the perception that what you see is what you get. One of the more challenging parts of learning more about “famous” people is that often times our ideal image of them is torn apart the closer we get to them. Maybe that’s the case with Wendler, but I dunno. I’ve seen him work. He seems level. At times harsh, yes. But I like that. He also has appeared humble; honest; self aware. He remembers a face and will ask how you’re doing. That’s solid. Oh ya, he’s also been around long enough to know what’s worked for him and shared it with the world. People want to complicate 531 but he seems to have none of it. The absolute greatest experience of my time with the Texas crew was a weekend where Rip, Tommy Suggs, Johnny Sheaffer, and Wendler sat at the same table for a Q&A. It was quite amazing. I had the unfortunate job of being in charge of the time per answer so if a question had 4 minutes of total time to get through it, I’d have to call a warning out to the speakers as they were talking. Ok, first off, I’m not shutting up Tommy Suggs. Nope. Not happening. So often times what would happen is Tommy would talk for 3 1/2 minutes and then Wendler would begin giving his answer and guess who got to tell him time was up? Yup. Me. I was horrified. That was Wendler’s first impression of me. Some bitch with a stopwatch telling him to shut up.

Wendler and Sheaffer Flex

Scheaffer & Wendler hamming it up in Texas.

Others you need to know about…of course Rip. Love’m or hate’m, don’t care. Laying out a sound mechanical argument for his methods is unmatched in my opinion. We train to his methods. They work. We switch up programming a bit more but as for the lifts, we’re dialed in. Dan John, it amazes me how many people believe CF has invented the complex style of training. Gawd. SRSLY. when will you people realize that CF invented nothing? They grouped shit together that’s been around forever and called it CF. Now, they have excellent marketing and a community that has come to mean a lot to people around the globe and I respect that. Good on ya. But you have nothing original in ways of training. Sorry I’m not sorry.

Also, some honorable mentions (and I know I’m missing some here…) Mark Philippi; Mark Bell; Mike Tuscherer; and ya know, Arnold. Who else?

Now, if all you want to do is show up to a local meet once a year and bench and deadlift and are happy with that. Fine. We can help you with that goal and getting stronger for whatever reason is a good thing. But if you consider yourself fully bitten by the bug, get reading. You’ve got homework to do. Something useful to look up on your phone in between sets other than the Facebook or porn. Really.

If you even dream of beating me, you’d better wake up and apologize.

Muhammad Ali

Training Log

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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