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Saturday, October 23, 2010

How many reps should I do?

We get lot's of questions on what is Prilepin's Chart?
Here it is. Use these as a guideline as to how many lifts you should od at a certain amount of weight for optimal results.

Prilepin’s chart gives set percentages of one’s max to be used in training. Here’s what it looks like:
Prilepin’s Chart
Percent Reps/sets Optimal Total range
55–65 3–6 24 18–30
70–80 3–6 18 12–24
80–90 2–4 15 10–20
90+ 1–2 4 10

Another great Re-post form an article I wrote.

Top 5 Max Effort Lifts for Strongman – Upper Body
By CJ Murphy, MFS for

This is the second installment in the Top 5 series.  This article is on upper body max effort exercises.  As with the lower body article, you need to decide whether you do high, low, or timed reps. 

Here they are in no particular order:

Axle or Fat Bar or Log Clean & Press
Lifting a weight from the ground to overhead is a staple in Strongman contests.  It is also a true strength builder.  It doesn’t really matter if you use a log or a bar, just clean it and throw it overhead.

Banded Log Press
The Banded Log Press is one of our favorite dynamic exercises for Strongman and for several reasons.  It builds and teaches speed in the overhead press and it helps to teach you to “get under the weight”.

Svend Karlsen cleaning a 3" bar with a ton of weight on it at the original TPS.

Getting under the weight is what allows you to press much more than you could do strictly.  Olympic lifters call it a ‘double knee bend’, you can call it a tuna sandwich – just learn to do it.

Power Clean/Power Snatch
This might sound like a repeat of #1, but it is not.  Power Clean/Power Snatches are a little different in that they are more “fluid” athletic movement.  This is because you will use a bar that has revolving sleeves (an Olympic bar).  Cleaning a non-revolving bar, such as an axle or log, is more of a brute strength type of movement.  Using an Olympic bar allows you to do it in a much more dynamic way.  Do yourself a favor and get a good Olympic lifting bar for these. Get strong on gym lifts, they will help your strongman events.

Incline Bench Press
The Incline Press is a great choice for athletes because it is much less technical than a Powerlifting styled flat bench and we feel that it builds strength that has a better carryover to Strongman.

Bosu Ball 1-Arm Lateral Raise
Just kidding on this one.  I only wanted to see if you were paying attention.  What I really meant was….

Dumbbell Overhead Presses
You can do these standing or seated.  We prefer standing because Strongman events are not done seated.  Mix it up: do some standing, do some seated – just go heavy. Try mixing in alternating presses too.

There you have it, our Top 5 Max Effort Lifts for Upper Body movements.  I am sure you have your own favorites just find what works for you and get strong.  I’d like to hear what some of you readers use and have success with, so click the “Artcle Discussion” button or shoot me an email.

Don’t curl in the power rack or I’ll kill you,

Friday, October 22, 2010

Greatest Craigslist post ever!


Divorce Forces Sale of Everything!!

**** E+V+E+R+Y+T+H+I+N+G**********

****NO EARLY BIRDS*******

We can’t get along on anything but we can agree on selling all our stuff. She doesn’t know it yet but she’s getting the kids. I’m not taking those monsters, they don’t even look like me! Why are divorces so expensive? Because there WORTH IT !!!

But enough about me, this is about YOU! And your super savings! We are having a huge humongous yard sale. Yes Lord HUMONGOUS. Everything cheap cheap cheap. That’s 3 cheaps. Her stuff even cheaper because I can‘t stand looking at it anymore. It makes me angry, a bad Mel Gibson type of angry. It disgusts me. She sickens me. Lord knows it wasn’t cheap when she bought it…..She’s cheap! That cheap $*&#!... Oh wait got off track a bit here….

But yes you have a opportunity here to save save save on everything. Super savings. Make our bad experience together something wonderful for yourself and come on down to our humongous yard sale. Everything must go. Come help a fellow American down on his luck.
(all unattended children will be fed sugar and coffee)

Key words:
Lynn, Salem, Marblehead, yard, yardsale, tag, tagsale, garage, garagesale, soup, soup kitchen, Ocean Burger, Walla Walla Washington, fish don’t fry in the kitchen & beans don’t burn on the grill, We’re moving on up baby! Yah looks whose not crying now

  • Location: Swampscott
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

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Boost your bench!

Saturday November 13th is the next TPS Training Day.
We will be BENCHING BIG this time on the brand new Metal Militia Thug bench we just got from Bill Crawford of the MM.
Come on down to TPS for a great day of lifting. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you haven't been to one of these, you are missing out. Training days are the BEST way to for you to get a ton of knowledge and experience with a great group of lifters.
You might even get a tip from this guy!

Be here at 12:00 noon for  day of benching.  Bring your shirt too if you need help in tweaking your competitive bench. No shirt, no problem. We can get you up to speed on raw benching too.
Who knows, maybe 405 raw will fall for Steve this time.

Bueller? Bueller?

So, we shot a ton of video at the October Strength Seminar last month. The content is first rate, the audio quality isn't. You can hear what people are saying, but it is not broadcast quality audio. It's more like the old Westside videos. All Content, no production value. <br><br>
Before I go and spend 1000 hours cutting it into a DVD, I was hoping you all could shoot me an email and let me know if there is interest in a DVD copy of the lecture portion. <br><br>
I guarantee that you won't be disappointed with the information. Matt, Juliet, Vincent and Jim are the best at what they do and it shows in the video. <br><br>
Shoot me an email and let me know what you think about this. It will be very reasonably priced. Most likely around $30.00, depending on duplication costs. I look forward to hearing from all of you on this.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Huge change

I just got some pics sent to me from one of Total Transformation Campers.
They are the before/after variey, but these were taken by the client himself, not some photographer in a studio.
These are real world pictures from a real person, with a real life. If he can make progress like this, so cna you!

Here are a few "before" pics.

Here are the "after" pics, these were taken 8 weeks later, upon the completion of Total Transformation camp at Total Performance Sports.
8 weeks later

Congratulations to Paul Senatillaka for his tremendous progress.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

TPS review

The following is a repost from Gregtrainers blog. Greg was here for a Training Day and this is what he thought:


June 28, 2010...4:29 pm

Training Day – My Trip To Total Performance Sports

Jump to Comments
This weekend I went down to Total Performance Sports in Everett MA. The reason behind my trip: Training Environment. I was looking for a better place to train, I was looking for a better place for my readers to train. Does where you train make a difference? I caught up with TPS founder CJ Murphy (Murph) and participated in Training Day, a monthly event down in Everett MA. Here’s what I came away with:
“It’s Fucking Awesome”
That’s how Murph  wants his gym to be remembered. I walked through the front door of a small brick building, a few miles outside the hustle of Boston MA. There are 5 or so tractor tires lining the wall in the gym’s “cardio area.” A guy and a girl are swinging away, delivering blows to a tractor tire on the gym floor with a sledge hammer. Meanwhile a few sweaty, smiling, exhausted members are making their way down from the upper level after a brutal Saturday morning class. My adrenaline is pumping within seconds of looking around. There’s a prowler and and a giant yoke bar stacked in the corner. Straight ahead of me, trophies, from numerous strong man events sit humbly on top of the wooden member cubbies. I was instructed to come at noon, I guess I couldn’t sit around the apartment any longer and I showed an hour early.
I introduce myself to the girl at the front desk and she hands me a waiver and a set of Rules for the gym. I’m nervous, but mostly excited, Murph is busy with a client so I take a seat and start filling out my waiver and reading through the rules. There’s nothing in here about not dropping weights, nothing about chalk, hell these rules are nothing like the ones I’ve been reminded of all to often in a typical gym.
Rule 4: When you are here WORK OUT. The gym is not a playground.
I haven’t walked past the entrance and I can already feel the energy around me.
I sit there, anxious, decide to mix up my pre workout shake. Murph comes out for a minute and introduces himself, reminding me that I am there like 45 minutes early. The girl at the front desk asks if I want a quick tour. Of course I do, anything to get me moving. She shows me around the entrance area, I’ve already got it memorized in my head. Moving on, the weight room. We walk through a door in the back right. The music picks up, my heart rate elevates. I’m on the floor. Power racks, kettle bells, bands, chains, a GHR, mono lift, and chalk on all the bars. A trainer is running a guy through some circuit work, helping him cut weight. Another guy gets busy snatching KB’s.

The walls are covered in banners for power lifting gear, a few photos are hung from various meets. There’s a leader board, hanging ominously in front of the monolift.   We walk up a short flight of stairs. I’m immediately greeted by a full Boxing Ring. Speed Bags are hanging in the corner. The room to the left is totally matted and ready to entertain a variety of martial arts. The feeling is rustic and raw. The walls are wood planks, and have various sources of motivation littered throughout them.

We trace our way back to the entrance. I still have 20 minutes to kill. I eye a bunch of foam rollers and get warmed up. I’m deep into my illio tibial band when I hear a deep voice yell “Brother!” I’m summoned into the office. Murph clears off a seat and I sit down. He quickly raps up telling one of his trainers her Body Fat percentages. He alludes to the fact she can probably squat more than I can. This is later confirmed. Murph and I talk shortly about TPS and training.
12PM – Training day begins.
“It is and It’s not”
That’s Murph’s take on whether or not training environment is everything. There’s eight of us surrounding the monolift. We’re squatting and it’s an open forum. You want a weight, step up. In my head I’m reminded of our conversation, it took place only a half hour earlier. Murph made references to great lifters such as Matt Kroc, he lifts in his basement. He told me he has seen plenty of strong guys come from commercial gyms. The environment is what you make it, but good training partners and a good gym can bring even the most focused lifter to the next level. I guess it’s my choice if I am going to call out a big weight and step up. Either way I know I’m surrounded by some of the best, and they have my back.  Murph finishes a big set, his training partners on either side, watching the bar carefully as he powers through a rep. He comes over to me and remarks how he didn’t have to tell them a thing, they know what to do. That’s the difference of lifting with your crew, having a crew. It all comes to fruition.
“They say strength training is making a comeback, I never knew it left”
The day continues, lifters helping lifters. The most experienced to the least experienced are all standing on the same ground: Power lifters, Fathers, athletes, an e-5 in the US Coast Guard. CJ says the two lessons that translate are Work Ethic and Big Exercises. It’s 1:30 and we’ve moved from the monolift to the Deadlift Platform. Nobodies shirt is dry, and we’re getting by on bread and butter; squats and pulls.
“To be the best, you gotta train with the best”
It’s 2:30 now and we’ve been learning and working for 2 hours. I’m spent. Murph makes an exit, thanks us for coming out and heads to his office to change before a consultation. There are four of us left on the floor. I’ve missed pulling 405 off the floor twice. Murph told me I gave up on the first attempt, I had it. I set the weight up again, one of Murph’s lifting partners gives us a short rundown on narrowing our grip and stance. The two other guys tell me I got this weight. I would have hung it up after the first attempt back in my gym. I walk over to the bar. Set up narrow. Pull air into my stomach, get into position, and pull. The weights stuck, four inches off the ground. I’m not giving up. I keep pulling, slowly inching it past my knees. I get past the knee, lock it out.
Is where you’re lifting a contributing factor? I drop the bar on the ground, receive a pat on the back. You can’t argue with results.
I shake the few guys hands who are left around, mix up a shake and head home. I grab a flier detailing membership dues on my way out.

Post workout shake

Here is another gem from an old TPS Newsletter.
May 2007

NEW!! Murphy’s Law: Post Workout!

OK, I’ll keep this short and sweet.

Did you know that you can increase the effectiveness of your workout and ensure that you will build muscles and lose fat by doing just one thing?

Studies show that having a meal about 20 minutes after your training will blast your progress through the roof and the BEST way to do this is with a post workout shake containing carbs and protein in a 2 to 1 ratio. This means it should have 2 grams of simple carbohydrates per serving and 1 gram of protein (i.e. 20 grams of protein and 40 grams of carbs).

The simpler the carbs the better. An ideal combination is apple juice and whey protein or a pre-made, post workout drink such as those found in the vending machine at TPS.

Are you having a post workout shake? Are you killing yourself in the gym and not seeing gains? Start this after your next workout and watch your waistline disappear.

Any questions?

Copyright© 2007 Total Performance Sports. All rights reserved. You may reproduce this article by including this copyright and, if reproducing it electronically, including a link to

If you have any questions on this type of training, stay tuned to this website for more informative articles, or contact us by email at, .

C.J. Murphy C.F.T., S.S.C.

Cardio before or after lifting?

The following is a re post of an old newsletter item from the July 2007 TPS newsletter. It is a question we get asked all the time so here is your answer.
July 2007
NEW!! Murphy’s Law: Before or After?
In the fitness industry, it seems like we hear a few of the same questions a thousand times each week. Of course it’s not a thousand times, but there are a few common questions and a lot of misconstrued, anecdotal answers. One of the most common questions, and maybe most important, is “cardio or weights first?” Everyone wants to know what to do for the best results and usually I would ask “what results are you looking to achieve?” But in this case, we have science to answer this question. Let me start by clarifying my statements. If your goal is to burn extra calories, ramp up your metabolism, look and feel great, and lose body fat, then science will prove what I’m about to tell you. If your goal is to improve your time in a 400 meter race, or something similar, it might not be the same answer. Many studies have been done on this subject, and for the vast majority of people training for health and fitness, the answer is clear. Studies prove that you need to do your strength training first in your workout if you plan on doing both cardio and strength in the same day. I’ll give you a few reasons and I’ll do it in English instead of pre-med. Performing strength training first in your workout will allow you to have a higher rate of force production. This simply means that you’ll be stronger and have more energy to devote to this component of your training. You will be ale to handle heavier weights safely and more effectively, and you all know that using weights that are challenging to you will bring more results faster! Intense strength training also elevates your metabolism to a higher degree for a longer amount of time post workout then cardio vascular training. Strength training is the key component to fat loss as it builds more lean muscle, which in turn, allows your body to burn more calories for a longer amount of time. This is why we exercise. However, cardiovascular training is very also important. It works very well when done after strength training since it burns even more calories! Doing both on the same day adds up to more calories burned in total, which leads to greater fat loss. When talking about cardio training, we would prefer it to be intense cardio training, not a leisurely stroll. Remember, exercise should be challenging to provide the best results! So if your goal is to lose body fat and overall bodyweight, here is a general guideline for you to follow- start with both. Many people think that they should begin their fitness development by doing only cardio for a few weeks. This approach is ok, but it fails to hit the mark long term. Beginners need to strength train! It’s just that simple! Start your program with 2-3 days of strength training and 2-3 days of some form of cardiovascular training that you enjoy, at a level that is appropriate for you. Beginners need to use a lower intensity of strength training until they become accustomed to weight training. Neglecting the strength training component will make fat loss slower! The take home message here is weight train first, then do your cardio second, or cardio on a different day, and train at a level of intensity appropriate to your fitness level. Increase the intensity at which you train as your fitness level improves and watch those pounds melt away.
Copyright© 2007 Total Performance Sports. All rights reserved.
You may reproduce this article by including this copyright and, if reproducing it electronically, including a link to
If you have any questions on this type of training, stay tuned to this website for more informative articles, or contact us by email at, . C.J. Murphy C.F.T., S.S.C. © Copyright 2007 Total Performance Sports. 11 Victoria Street, Everett, MA (617) 387 5998

Boost your bench

One of the best ways to boost your bench press is to get your back brutally strong and add some size to it.

Increasing the size of your back, especially the upper back will take distance off of your stroke transferring into more weight pressed.

Getting your upper back strong also helps you to handle heavier weight by allowing you to stabilize your body better at liftoff, and all the way through the press. A weak upper back will give out on you as you try to squeeze the shoulder blades together and drive into the bench causing your body to flattten out.

We have three favorite exercise at TPS to fix this. In no particular order:

Heavy barbell rows for reps: 4-6 sets 6-12 reps

Towel Strap Rows using the EFS Belt Squat (if you don't have a Belt Squat a low cable will do).

Stand facing the Belt Squat and hold the Spud Inc. Towel Strap, bend about 45 degrees at the hips and row back and up. This smokes your rhomboids and traps in a very unique way. We haven't been able to duplicate it with bars or dumbells. One of our top choices.

Safety Bar Back Raises : You'll see this one again. This exercise absolutely blasts your traps, rhomboids, and posterior chain like no other.

SSB Back Raise

We use the EFS 45 Degree Back Raise Bench for this. Watch the video to see how.

Squat/Deadlift Tips:

When discussing the Squat and Deadlift the talk is usually of the posterior chain and lower body strength. The torso (or the much Metrosexual term "Core" is interchangeable) is overlooked frequently. A few sets of situps or crunches won't cut it. All power is transmitted through the torso, so it better be strong .

One of our all time favorites for getting balls strong in this area is the Farmers Deadlift. If you don't have a set of Farmers handles, buy some, until you do, use a barbell.

BB Deadlifts

Using Farmer's handles makes the exercise a little tougher because it allows you to use more weight without worrying about having to balance the bar. Go heavy and do sets of 3-5.

Don't forget the lower back. Watch the video for an exercise Fred Hatfield taught me years ago, and credits to his 1000 pound squat.

This exercise builds spinal erectors that look like two cobra's on your back.


Safety Bar Back Raises are awesome for the squat and deadlift too.


A great new post from Sean

Sean Hyson from Men's Fitness just put htis awesome post on his blog:

The 25-Rep Rule

posted on October 20, 2010
written by sean hyson
I felt like writing an article today, so here goes.
The 25-Rep RuleFollow this simple guideline for big strength gains
If you can add (although a lot of people think we lifters can’t), you can get stronger. Just obey the “25-rep rule”, says C.J. Murphy, MFS, a Boston strength coach and owner of Total Performance Sports.
Murph squat
This is Murph. Don’t fuck with him.

Choose an exercise (this works best for major barbell lifts, such as the bench press and squat) and perform several low-rep sets—just make sure the total number of reps adds up to roughly 25. For instance, you could do five sets of five reps, six sets of four, or eight sets of three. “That could be a weekly progression,” says Murph. “Do 5x5 the first week, then 6x4 the second week, 8x3, and repeat the cycle.”
Always leave at least one rep “in the tank” on every set. You can start very conservatively and add weight each set so that the last set is the toughest. Perform each rep explosively.
Sticking with 25 reps or so is a good guideline because nearly every configuration will give you a balance of volume and heavy weight for growth and strength. Don’t go to extremes, like 12 sets of 2—that takes a long time—and keep the reps at around six or fewer (3x8, for example, nets you more size gains and less pure strength). It all adds up to big progress.
Visit Murph at

Note: Joe Stankowsi, of, has generously donated his Ultimate Home Gym Guide
to whoever leaves the best (most interesting and/or informative comment) this month. It’s an awesome e-book on how to create the home gym of your dreams dirt cheap. (I know, as I wrote the foreword.) Zach Even-Esh also gives advice on constructing your own sandbags.
If that isn’t enough, Joe is also offering a phone/email consultation. Take advantage of his wisdom. I have for fitness magazines over the last six years.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

3 fitness/Nutrition tips they don't want you to know.

Here is a great post by my boy Sean Hyson of Men's Fitness.
Check his blog out at

3 Fitness and Nutrition Tips “They” Don’t Want Me to Tell

posted on October 14, 2010
written by Sean Hyson

There are certain ways of training and eating that they just don’t want you to follow.
Who’s “they”?
Call them “The Establishment”. The old guard of trainers, nutritionists, government employees, and gurus who tell us we need to jog for hours and eat 11 servings of grains a day (as the old Food Pyramid suggested) if we want to be lean and healthy. They have their reasons for these recommendations, and most of them aren’t based on your well-being. Ignoring all the politics and the biased research, here’s what I believe you should do to get bigger, stronger, leaner, and healthier.

Organic meat, that is. Here’s why.
Your average steak at the butcher’s counter is a poor representative of what beef is supposed to be. It’s akin to any other offensive stereotype, like thinking that all Irishmen are drunks (and for the record, I haven’t had a beer since this morning).
To my knowledge, all the studies that link red meat with cancer and heart disease looked at people who consumed conventional beef—the kind that’s raised on feedlots in “factory farms”, where the cows are treated like inmates of a Nazi death camp.
These are cows that are fed mainly grains instead of grass. Those grains were exposed to pesticides, and are often genetically engineered and irradiated—two practices that haven’t been clearly established as safe. They also tend to be fertilized with sewage sludge.
Sounds delicious.
This heinous diet, not surprisingly, causes the cows to get sick, so they’re injected with antibiotics. Then the cows are given hormones to speed their growth, a process that the European Union believes is dangerous to human health. As a matter of fact, it won’t allow the sale of American beef in Europe for this reason.
Now NONE of these problems are an issue when you buy Certified Organic beef, preferably 100% grass fed. (I buy mine from Grateful Harvest and it tastes fantastic.) Not only is organic meat much safer, but its fat is healthier. It’s got more Omega-3 fatty acids than conventional meat, which are anti-inflammatory, heart-healthy fats, and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which may fight cancer.
And what about the saturated fat? It’s a major factor in producing testosterone, which your body needs for building muscle, burning fat, and maintaining your sex drive. It also builds the membranes in your body’s cells, protects your liver from the effects of alcohol, and boosts your immune system.
As much research as there is to indicate that saturated fats damage the heart, there’s just as much that suggests otherwise. According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, a non-profit charity that disseminates nutrition information, the rise in heart disease cases in America parallels a DECLINE of animal fats in the diet. If you want to protect your heart, you’d do better to avoid trans fats and refined carbohydrates—which most Americans gorge on in place of fatty meats, thinking they’ve done themselves a favor.
STOP BENCH PRESSINGFor some guys, this is like asking them to stop breathing. But more and more experts are giving up on the bench press, saying that the results aren’t worth the risk of injury.
CJ Murphy, a strongman and owner of Total Performance Sports in Boston, says he doesn’t use the flat barbell bench press in his clients’ workouts unless they’re football players or powerlifters—athletes who are tested on it. Jason Ferruggia, my training adviser at Men’s Fitness, doesn’t recommend benching anymore, and blames it for some of the shoulder problems he’s had. John Alvino, another coach in New Jersey who writes for me, goes so far as to say he thinks that the bench press will slowly decline in popularity over the next decade.
In addition to being an awkward exercise that isn’t particularly functional (where else in life do you push hard on something while lying flat on your back, unless your girlfriend is fat?), it puts a lot of strain on the AC joint in the shoulder. The subscapularis, a rotator cuff muscle, gets overworked, while the infraspinatus, another part of the cuff on the back of the shoulder, gets weaker. This throws off the biomechanics of the press, and puts more wear on the joint.

bench press
To be fair, there are plenty of corrective “prehab” exercises you can do to prevent injuries from benching, and many coaches will program those in their workouts. You can also get regular active release (ART) to help keep the joint free of scar tissue, but I think it’s still just a matter of time. There’s no long-time bench presser I know of, especially one who can put up some serious weight, who hasn’t/doesn’t have some shoulder pain to show for it.
For most of us, the overhead press, pushups, and dumbbell presses done at different angles provide plenty of work.

USE SALTThe Establishment is really cracking down on salt these days. But the salt that people are overeating in processed foods isn’t the same as what washes up on the beach. Sea salt has a different mineral content than the sodium chloride you grew up sprinkling (or pouring) on your eggs. The trace minerals in sea salt balance blood sugar levels, help with the absorption of food, and even act as a natural anti-histamine. Furthermore, sea salt doesn’t have nearly the same effect on blood pressure that table salt does.
Pollution in the oceans makes safe, quality sea salt a little harder to come by, but look for Celtic, New Zealand, or French sources. If it’s a hot day and you’re being active outdoors, you could even add sea salt to a glass of water to help restore your electrolyte balance.
grass-fed beef