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Ben Nadel
It's not enough; but, not enough is better than nothing.
Ben Nadel at CFUNITED 2009 (Lansdowne, VA) with: Ken Auenson
Ben Nadel at CFUNITED 2009 (Lansdowne, VA) with: Ken Auenson@KenAuenson )

Project HUGE: Waking The Beast And My First Video Of 2010

By Ben Nadel on

After months of not working out, I have spent the last 2 weeks really trying to get back into the gym with consistency and enthusiasm. I'm not following any particular workout program at this point, I'm just going in every other day and doing an exercise for legs, push, pull, and a little bit of arm work. For the first few workouts, I was really trying to keep my reps up around 10-15 to see what my body / joints could handle. So far, so good; although, I have been extremely cautious about pushing my left shoulder - I don't know what it will be able to handle.

Yesterday, I got the old "Straps" out of the gym bag to see how my body would respond to deadlifting. Before I started, I got some great tips from Troy Valberg - an amateur strongman competitor and one of Equinox's up and coming personal trainers. He show me how to get my hips back, head up, and bring my entire pulling chain to arousal before lifting the weight off the ground. While it was awkward at first (I'm typically more bent over), I have to say that hitting 315lbs for 5 reps felt rock solid.


Sorry about the video orientation - I forgot that the iPhone has to be on its side to play nicely with Camtasia.

Deadlifting aside, getting back into the gym has had a hugely beneficial effect on my mental state. I've just felt more upbeat and healthy. And, I've started to look forward to the gym again; on "off" days, I find myself wishing it were "tomorrow" so I could go lift. I don't want to get my hopes up too high because I haven't really started pushing my injuries to their limit; but, so far, it's just feeling great to be back!

Reader Comments


Didn't see anything written about the aftermath, just comments on that page ripping on the guy's form. (It looked more like forehead making contact that jaw, but who knows)?

Yeah . . . what Sarah said! Why did you shave? And yes, please watch your back. Back problems really can ruin your life.

Looking good Ben, I am just myself getting back in the gym after the madness of the birth of my 3 month old son.

Your looking like you'll be piling the plates back on over the next few weeks, have to ask though - why the straps?


It was itchy and made eating hard (I kept getting stuff stuck in it - gross). Plus, I was constantly aware that I had it; every time I rubbed my face, drank from a glass, flossed, put my face on my palm, put my face on the pillow, I was very aware that I had a beard. It was just too "present".


My grip strength has never been great and I get sweaty palms when I work out. I am usually ok for the first rep or two; but then, the bar starts to slip.

Ultimately, it comes down to the question: is this exercise for my hands? or for my entire pulling chain? I opt for the "pulling chain" answer and focus on the entire chain rather than the weakest link.

That's not to say I shouldn't increase my grip strength, only that it should be done independently perhaps?


you should try chalking your hands and using an over, under grip on the bar sometime - that's if your gym are ok with the mess!

Straps are cool though if used right and you don't end up relying on them.

good luck with the training man, I'll pop back and see how you are getting on sometime.


I typically do use an over / under grip, even with straps. This video was actually the first time in a long time that I tried using both over.

My problem with the over / under approach was that I never alternated it - left always under, right always over. It got to the point where switching them felt extremely uncomfortable.

I want to see if I can go both over for a while to "Reset" my body; then, get back to over / under with an emphasis on switching it for balance.

Chalk is good, but I am pretty sure my gym would freak if I pulled that move :)

@Ben Nadel,

Yeah, I don't know many commercial gyms that are cool with chalk. I've only been to 2 (University gym for varsity athletes, and a hard-core gym in town).

I'll typically try to do my lighter sets without straps, then put them on when my grip is going to fail before whatever muscle I'm training.


sounds like you have it all well planned, using a hook grip for a while, even with straps, should help strengthen your grip too.

I usually do my light sets with hook then switch it up for the heavy sets but to be honest I don't think I have ever even tried swapping hands!

Might try that sometime, though as you say it would no doubt feel very strange.

Luckily I have my own set up so only the wife can moan at me for the mess!!


Yeah, I try to do my warm up sets without grips. Usually by the time I get to 2 plates, though, I just want to have to think about it.


Yeah, switching hands (over / under) is *way* weird!! I lose like 25% strength just doing that! But, I'm told that over time, not doing it can lead to bicep strain... and I certainly don't need *another* strain to deal with (grumble grumble grumble).

I can't believe you have your own setup - I am jealous :) I one time looked at putting a rack in my studio apartment. I could have if, so long as I didn't mind having no room left over. Not sure my building could handle the weight concentration, though - she's like 100 years old.


Heck yeah!

@Ben Nadel,

Rack in the studio could have worked, for a space saver you could have laid your mattress across the safety bars and gotten rid of a bed :)

Ben have you ever considered doing a video like this shirtless? The world wants to see your 6 pack!

OMG what do you think about this. Cold Fusion calendar featuring 12 CF studs every year. I totally want to sign up to be Mr. August... hot steamy... can I get a heck yeah?

Anyhow Ben I think you would make a great Mr. December.


I have to say it is nice training in your own space. Luckily my floors are like 20" solid concrete so all my neighbours need to worry about is the noise.

Thinking about the swapping of hands, you make a very good point. I think I will try to switch it up more often as I get back into the swing of things.

All the best with the training!!


Ha ha ha ha ha; I don't think you'll ever see me on a calendar.


You too my man. I'm gonna try to post more about training in the future, so I hope you stop by.

Ben . . . here's one way to look at it . . . get more women interested in ColdFusion . . . come up with a CF Dudes calendar. If cool CF male programmers are cool enough to pose for calendar, then CF must be a really cool language . . . ;-)

Tastefully photographed, of course. :-D

Ok Ben I will start putting the calendar together for us.

Can you think of anybody that should be in it?
I already have April and August covered. I think it would be good if you did December. I'm thinking that you could have a bunch of CF guys as reindeer (I would like to volunteer for that), and then you could be sitting on the sleigh only wearing a Santa hat and a red Speedo and holding a whip.

We will have to begin shooting soon.