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gym justified III

dice out of the rabbit hole

simple meta-booster

questions for this deadlift

I am writing them down for your convenience because the average user might ask something similar to this. In fact such questions should be asked and one should know the answers why one does some exercise a certain way.

  1. Not a deadlift day, so why did I use this exercise?
  2. How come I don’t lean back with my shoulders?
  3. Isn’t that a little bit too much of a depth deficit?
  4. Doesn’t the fat axle make this way harder?
  5. How come I didn’t use any chalk?
  6. Are 21 reps some magic number?
  7. Why don’t I slam the weights?
  8. What about mixed grip man?
  9. Touch’n go unbroken?
  10. How is it called?
  1. Not a deadlift day, so why did I use this exercise?
  2. How come I don’t lean back with my shoulders?
  3. Isn’t that a little bit t0o much of a depth deficit?
  4. Doesn’t the fat axle make this way harder?
  5. How come I didn’t use any chalk?
  6. Are 21 reps some magic number?
  7. Why don’t I slam the weights?
  8. What about mixed grip man?
  9. Touch’n go unbroken?
  10. How is it called?

The point behind those questions is, that if someone starts to dissect your workout choices and routines, you need to know the answers behinds every possible why one might come up with.

Do you know why you train like you do? Do you actually know? Should you know? If not you, who then should know? Realistically though, very very few actually know if asked.

The purpose of posting the questions was not as much to answer them, as it was to make you think. Do you just blindly follow something without actually knowing any answers why?

answers about that deadlift

I find the most logical way to describe it is fat axle deficit deadlift. Majority would recognise that what I am doing is a variation of conventional stance deadlift, this particular version being one of my favorites. It’s true that on that particular day I did not even plan to do any deadlifts but even so they can be an excellent overall warmup exercise because it activates my whole posterior chain. The deficit part demands additional stretch and more quadriceps activation, longer range of motion, making it all the more complete as a warmup choice.

fat axle, no chalk, 21 reps, etc.

I prefer to use the fat axle whenever weights lifted remain relatively low, it allows me to additionally train my grip strength. To use chalk would somewhat defeat the purpose of that grip training, especially since the weight used here is “only” 101kg. I am using a raw fat axle, 50mm thick. There is no knurling nor marking of any kind on this axle, it’s really slick — custom made to my liking. This fat axle is a little bit shorter then a regular weightlifting bar but it weighs 31kg empty, which is why the total came to be 101kg.

21 reps

Those 21 reps are of course not magical, they happened by accident as I miscounted while trying to do a warmup set of 20 reps. Touch’n go is my preferred style for deadlifts with high rep numbers — coupled with willfully lacking complete hip extension on top — which provides for more time under tension as well.

lack of full hip extension

Additional clarification regarding my lack of full hip extension. I don’t compete in neither powerlifting, CrossFit or any other sport where there are competition rules in place — where you need to sufficiently lean back with your shoulders for lift to count or to count your reps — I have no need to adhere to such regulation. Have you ever wondered why and how Olympic weightlifters do not execute deadlifts without full hip extension on top, leaning back with their shoulders? It's because — in addition creating a wrong muscle memory for the sport of weightlifting — it also creates a potential for injury as you loose some lower back tightness without any obvious benefit other then adhering to the rules of certain sport.

no mixed grip

Similarly — as I don’t compete — mixed grip also makes no sense for me. It's bad for your body as it leads to ever growing irregularities between your left/right side — which then cause new problems — adding to risk of injuries. If it were up to me I would ban mixed grip. Strongest people would remain strongest people even without mixed grip as demonstrated by strongman events where they use straps — while lifting the heaviest deadlifts — which eliminates the need for mixed grip all-together. That being said I don’t judge anyone who decides to use mixed grip, assuming they are aware of irregularities this develops and systematically work towards fixing the issues this creates.

13cm of deficit

The deficit used in the video is quite big and there is no other specific reason other than I just happen to have those jerk boxes that high by default. My flexibility allows me to use them for deadlifts, so those 13cm of depth, makes for quite a unique deficit deadlift. Such depth is quite unusual and is not something I would generally recommend. Usually you would use something like 2-3cm, stacked maybe up to 10cm at most. Long story short, deficit is great for additional range of motion, flexibility and muscle activation, improved pulling power + I prefer this version of the deadlift.

slamming the weights

As a general rule I never slam the weights. I prefer to control the weight and not the other way around. It's harder but you lift like a boss. Contrary to opinion of some, slamming shows bad manners and disrespect to equipment, to the gym and the whole gym community where you train. Slamming is never justified and dropping should only be tolerated/reserved for Olympic weightlifting.


chinese plank hold • for time

How long can you hold a Chinese plank? No skill and no technique needed for this either with bonus that you can almost certainly try this at home with hardly any risk.

You need to log in at this point, content bellow, like the standards will then be individualized to your age, height, weight, etc.


> Level 3    Guardian          06 min+
> Level 2    Fit human         03 min+
> Level 1    Homo sapiens      90 sec+
- - - - -
~ sub:level  demi-sapiens      55 sec
… non:level  non-fit creature  30 sec or less

Everyone should be able to hold at least close to a minute and a half. I am not for example expecting of you a Shaolin monk like ability who can easily hold this position while meditating. They do it for other reasons probably but for modern human its really hard to find a more simple — yet useful — exercise to strengthen your lower back without moving and just holding still. It doesn’t work just your lower back, expect to feel a notable burning sensation in hamstrings and your butt as well. What’s great about this exercise is that even if you are really bad when you first try it, big improvements are possible in short time.


  1. Arms need to be on your tummy or hips. You can also relax/extend arms to gently touch but not push against the floor. Having your hands behind your neck makes it all somewhat easier so it doesn't count as a valid standard.

  2. What matters is that you hold as horizontal position as you can, for this reason setting your height to only 10-15cm above the floor can already be high enough and as safe as it gets.

  3. Height of your two blocks, bolsters, bumpers, chairs, benches, etc. doesn’t really matter that much. You can improvise as long as what you use is safe but in general remain at/or lower than a bench height.

  4. Only minimal support from upper part of shoulders and tip of your heels is allowed. I show this nicely on the photo.

  5. Listening to the music, watching Netflix or even falling asleep is allowed as long as your form remains intact.

satisfied faces after gruelling session @ Gym Justified

Like kids, we were happy to re-gain one of our favorites toys. It has been a while since we were able to do a double ski-relay session as one of the machines was broken and needed replacing one tiny part that seemed to take forever to reach us.

highway to hell @ Gym Justified

no replacement

They call it by many names, one of them non-arguably being the AirDyne or the very least it can be called the Satan’s tricycle — as it has one big fan and two tiny wheels under the dyne.

It will reward hard effort like no other and I have yet to meet anyone who can genuinely claim to love this machine. Even after so many years of usage it never seizes to fascinate me. I respect it, love it and hate it.

Hopefully you were fortunate enough to ever try an all out one minute effort on one of these. There is absolutely no comparable replacement for something as brutal as this machine can be. Schwinn invented and introduced the AirDyne all the way back in 1979.

Nobel Prize in the category for the most evil exercise machine to ever be invented would easily be handed for this invention were there ever such a prize and I were the judge.

invisible message

There is an invisible message hidden in plain sight while you are looking at featured image above. Captured all out effort with my friend Siniša in front and my better half Špelca next to him is not the message. Did you even notice those two young boys being present?

Why are those two boys present? Their parents are present. Their parents are introducing them to the environment where only hard work is respected. Environment where hard work is normal, where effort is normal, where suffering is normal and at the same time — to environment where results are anything but normal.

The first boy is by the squat rack, he is the youngest son of my friend Siniša, who is going at it on the bike. That boy had his brother brother there as well, just not visible in this frame.

The second boy which is examining that nice bench press is my son, his mother is right in front of him, going through an all out effort while his three years younger sister (not in frame) is a further few meters ahead spinning on gymnastic rings.

everyday hero

I think it’s important, to not just tell kids what to do but allow them to also witness what we do. We don’t need to force them to do anything. At first they will explore, then they will want to play, later they will look for ways to take part one way or the other. That’s the closest most of us will ever get to being a real life hero to our kids or youth in general.

Embrace your potential — become an invisible everyday hero — motivate by example.

uphill recovery

Marck Goran Lorencin © all rights reserved