Episode 194 – (Mostly) Training Episode

Performance Menu: Journal of Health & Athletic Excellence

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  1. [7:30] Glute Ham Developer (GHD)
  2. [19:36] Head Position For Deadlift
  3. [25:11] Correcting Squat Asymmetry
  4. [31:42] Transitioning From Endurance To Strength
  5. 1 Power Hypertrophy Upper Lower (PHUL) Program
  6. [39:56] Olympic Lifting Technique Work On Off-Days
  7. [46:58] SEALFit Programming, And Wife’s Recovery Power
  8. [55:06] Building An Athletic Core
  9. [1:04:10] Paleo Dating



1. Glut Ham Developer, Friend or Foe?

Nick says:
Hey guys.  First off, I want to say that I love the pod cast and ever since I dove into the paleo lifestyle almost three years ago, you book and podcasts have become a great source of information and guidance for me.  And Robb, being a fellow science major and guru, I love it when you geek out!  Rockin’!

The question I have refers to the GHD.  How safe and effective do you think it is to include in one’s training program?  I ask because I recent splurged and dropped $800 on one for my garage gym.  I learned the proper technique (at least I think I did) when I USED to work out at my sister’s crossfit gym, as well as read and watched many tutorials on how to properly perform exercises on the GHD (specifically the sit up with the whole slamming the knees down).  Felt I got some benefit when I did them a few years ago when I was still attending their box, and since I kind of strayed away from the whole crossfit psychoness, I figured it would be a cool idea to purchase one for my own.  However, every time I do them, I feel I am just left in days of pain (especially lower back and under rib cage).   For some reason, I don’t recall being in this pain when I did them about a year ago (or maybe I was but was just brainwashed by the whole crossfit thing and thought it was cool to be in pain.)  Even video recorded myself re-evaluate my form, and couldn’t pick anything out.  Would love to hear your thoughts.  Mainly wanted the damn thing to help me keep a sweet 6-pack, but feel as though it may just be counter-productive (yes, I’ll admit it that my workouts are slightly vainly driven…)

Thanks guys!



2. Deadlift head positions and possible neck breakage

German says:
Robb please let me begin with the obligatory “How do you do” to both you and your glorious sidekick Mr.Everett. You have both helped me make significant life altering decisions; for the better I might add. It is people like you whom really do effect positive change in the world. Anyway my question is less nutritional than mechanical; bio-mechanical to be precise. I have recently suffered some herniated nucleus pulposus due to an automobile accident. I am 28 years old and before this I had never had a single issue with my body but now I find myself being careful – overly careful about how I move. My question then without further ado is what is the correct position of the head for dead lifts. I have read many contradictory articles on head up vs head down. My goals are not to become the strongest man in the world, they are more akin to becoming as strong as safely possible without hurting myself. Could you please advise me oh great one as to the proper spinal/cervical positioning for dead lifts and beyond? Thank you and once again you have already helped change my life for the better in too many ways to outline so if you don’t answer this question it won’t break my heart but I might royally screw up my neck – no pressure. Thanks boys!


3. Old ACL Surgery – Recovering from asymmetry

Jack says:
Rob and Greg,

Asymmetry in the squat was mentioned briefly on the podcast with Jason Seib and I wanted to get your take on a proper plan to fix this problem. I had knee surgery 10 years ago and now have bad asymmetry.

27 year old male, Paleo diet, good sleep, 5’4, 160#, 10-15% body fat

I had knee surgery at 17 to repair a complete ACL tear and meniscus damage on my left knee. I have never recovered properly, most likely due to favoring my right knee. I have horrible asymmetry due to mobility issues and lack of musculature in my leg.

I do some mobility work (couch and table top stretches) and it does help. I find myself trying to load up on squats and I feel like I should probably address my issues before pushing myself at all. What’s your take? What should I be doing to try and fix this — low weight squats and lunges?

Possibly irrelevant:

I did Crossfit for about 8 months and stopped after getting sick of beating myself up. I followed Starting Strength for a bit after Crossfit and now lift without much direction.

Squat:    195# – 3×5
Deadlift: 275# – 3×5
Press:    135# 1RM



4. Recovery after Ironman

Jessica says:
Dear Rob and Greg,

I’m about to do Ironman Lake Placid this coming weekend, which will be my fourth Ironman in five years. (I know…I know)  After my race, I plan on taking time to ‘detox’ from endurance sports and work on my overall strength and stability.  I’ve had a couple of recurring injuries (calf pulls, hip strains) that I know are sympomatic of overall poor strength and flexiblity.

Do you have any suggestions for how to transition into a strength and conditioning program after a couple of years of endurance focus?  I plan on really cleaning up my eating to be at least 90% paleo (I try to as best I can while IM training, but after a five hour ride, I’ll eat the first thing I see).

I’m a 35 year old female, no other health problems, about 5’10 and 160 pounds.  I’ve also been struggling over the past couple of years to lose about 15 pounds, so I’m hoping my ‘detox’ will help with that as well.

Thanks for everything you do, and for sharing what you know with the masses.

Kind regards,


5. Power/Hypertrophy

Andrew says:
Dear Robb and Greg:

You guys are the best! My wife and I are addicted to your podcasts and are motoring through back episodes.
My question is with regard to a training system developed by Brandon Campbell of Campbell Fitness, below is a Youtube video detailing the program.  Do you feel that this model is adequate to get some respectable strength numbers on the big lifts (2Xbodyweight on deads, 1.75XBW on Squat, etc) or is the “Power” portion too infrequent? I’ve been using Wendler’s 5/3/1 for 6 months with some steady success but am feeling a plateau coming on and was interested in cycling onto something different for another 6 months or so before proceeding to Simmons’ Conjugate stuff.
Thanks guys, great content! My wife got me the Performance Menu subscription for my birthday this year and I irrelevantly sport my Catalyst Athletics T-shirt around Hawaii where I am stationed with the Air Force, even though I’ve never been to the gym. 15% discount, what!



6. Oly technique work on off-days?

Eric says:
Love the podcast, excited that y’all will be answering more training questions moving forward. Here’s mine..

Train crossfit 4x/week and love it but really want to dial in my oly lift technique to improve my efficiency on the lifts.  What are your thoughts on doing light technique work 2x a week on off days at 50-60% to “grease the groove”?  Any thoughts on using a “every minute on the minute” type scheme with the light weight to improve technique + get some “zone 1” aerobic work in?  Would the technique work on off days hurt my recovery?

28yr old male, 5’6, 140lbs, low-stress job, good diet, 7hrs/night of sleep.



7. SEALFit programming review. Also, wife is Wolverine, I am Bubble Boy?

Butch says:
Lift-master Greg and Pseudo-master Robb,
You rock. I love listening to the podcast, pretending I understand the “science,” then preaching your wisdom like I know what I’m talking about. I spread your glory, you’re welcome. Feel free to skim/skip to the questions.
I recently separated from the Navy with the sole purpose of growing a glorious beard, training for 6 months, and joining the Air Force Pararescue program. The last two years in the Navy I was a Scout for Naval Special Warfare Recruiting in Los Angeles, trying to turn those wannabe SEALs into BUDS-worthy candidates. Of course, exercise philosophy in prep is mega-volume, no pain no gain, overall suck. I would often dish out, but not participate in, the beat downs (cause I didn’t HAVE to, its way more fun to watch and mock). I’m now preparing myself, specifically the physical aspect. I’ve got the mental aspect down, I know what I want, and I know what I have to go through to get it, because I often supervised it. I was using your advice from episode 135 on the Academy student trying to go to BUDS: CFFB, plus MEBB, throwing in my runs and swims. Unfortunately, I did get a little enamored with Oly lifts (because let’s face it, pushups/situps/pullups to failure, rinse, repeat is just boooring), and not long after I started getting a little wonky on my own interpretation of programming mixtures. I have now settled on Mark Divine’s “8 Weeks to SEALFit,” it has all the training aspects integrated in a seemingly good rotation/progression, and I don’t have to think for myself! I did listen to and enjoy episode 139 with the CDR, and I know you were pretty clear on your recommendations to the BUDS prep question, so to avoid a re-hash and waste your guy’s time, what is your opinion of the SEALFit programming? I’m not training for the tests or benchmarks of school, I know what they all are and can currently pass well above minimums. I’m training to better withstand the daily beatings (and by better withstand, I mean relatively…) Volume and over-training aren’t as much of an issue for me. I’m unemployed and have no obligations. I eat when I’m hungry, sleep when I’m tried, body comp doesn’t matter one bit (I’m 5’11”, 180, don’t know BF%, don’t care. Look fit, feel fit). Durability/endurance matters. This is my sole concern until October.
Number two: Before settling on the SEALFit programming about a week ago, my wife would match me workout for workout on whatever I did, scaled to her %. I had considerable soreness on days after workouts, and she had none. It didn’t matter what we did, MEBB two or three lifts with a 10 minute metcon after, or a long-ass chipper with sprints and burpees,  she’d wake up the next morning bouncing around like a spring chicken and I’d hobble around like an old man in a car accident. I sleep better/longer, eat cleaner (I know Greg “loves” quantifying the % paleo adherence! I’m 90/10, she’s maybe 50/50) I’m not bitching about being sore, and it’s not impacting training, but my wife’s insane recovery power is making me feel like a little girl. Please tell me it’s because I just pushed harder on the workouts than my Asian 5’3” 120lb all-muscle monster of a wife (or at least SAY that out loud so I feel better). If not, maybe I’ll just let her wear the pants and go be some badass SpecWar chick while I play homemaker. Thanks in advance for your likely emasculating answers guys.
A few rounds of free NorCal Margaritas to Squatchy for getting this question in before October.


8. building an athletic core

Ben says:
Today’s podcast with Jim Laird got me thinking about my weakness in core strength. I don’t have much of a sports background except some occasional basketball and I definitely lack the core strength to keep my upper and lower body in sync. Jim mentioned something about having an “athletic core.” I was wondering if you/he had any suggestions for building a good athletic core foundation. I’m sure hip drive has a lot to do with it as well. I’m interested in what you have to say. Maybe you could tackle this on your podcast as well.


9. Paleo Dating

Matt says:

I live in the Reno area.  Everytime I tell a girl on match.com that I eat a mostly paleo/primal diet, they stop responding to my emails.  The hell is that?  How do we spread the Paleo word without seeming like creepy weirdo’s?



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Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation

Have you heard about the Paleo diet and were curious about how to get started? Or maybe you’ve been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you? Or maybe you just want a 30-day meal plan and shopping list to make things easier? Then Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation is for you.


  1. Ryan says

    Wow, You guys went for one target audience this episode. Had no interest at all in this one so it’s two weeks w/o a Podcast. Looking forward to next week. This is a crappy week too, I am w/o Bacon because the Farmers market had none.

  2. says

    I love me some GHD sit ups, but I recommend that you focus on keeping a stable, neutral midline an simply go from parallel to the floor to perpendicular, or sitting strait up w/ a straight back. Avoid any kind of crunching (flexion) or reaching back to touch the ground (extension). Crossfitters will “no rep” you but this way you are maximizing the benefit while minimizing the potentially troublesome range of motion.

  3. Bill says

    Not sure how much demand there’d be for it, but I’d love to see John Meadows on the show for training from a bodybuilding perspective. His stuff is amazing. Diet principles are fairly inline with the paleo crowd.

  4. Gannon says

    OMG you need to dedicate an entire podcast of you two giving dating advice. I literally had a little pee come out I was laughing so hard during the last segment. Keep up the good work!

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