Monday, December 19, 2011

Keep on rockin'...

Believe it or not, we're on vacation. And yes, that means that I will not be posting any exercises until we return in January. The supplementary workouts are meant to be complementary to the workouts we do in coached sessions, so since those are adjourned for a couple weeks, there is nothing to complement. Furthermore, hopefully many of you will be traveling, skiing, resting, relaxing, resting, relaxing, resting, relaxing, feasting, resting, sleeping, roasting chestnuts on an open fire, napping, etc.. so I don't want to get in the way of that with seemingly obligatory exercise.

But, for those of you who's bones start itching without some exercise, it just so happens that I've posted a solid 100+ posts all with various workouts included. So dig through the archives and enjoy some of the classics. Or you can conjure up your own.. A deck of cards can be priceless.

Here's some advice:

- If you're going to go for a jog, enjoy it. Make it scenic.
- If you're in the mood for metcon, keep it short and brutal. Anything more than 10-12 minutes and you're just huffing and puffing. Sprints work well. Tabata anything. Go all out.
- Calisthenics/gymnastics are always good. Check out if you draw a blank.
- Strength is best bang for buck. If you don't have weights to squat/press/throw/pull then use slower and harder movements like pushups and lunges. If you have access to pullups, even better. You can split it up and throw them into a metcon. Here's an example: 10 rounds of 10 brupees + 10 Overhead Lunges on each leg (20 total, hold something in ONE hand overhead.).. Get creative... Or: 12 minutes AMRAP of 5-10 pushups, 10-20 situps, 20-30 squats, 30-40 jumping jacks.. Something like that. I literally just made those up without much thought... Keep things simple. 100 pushups and 100  jumping lunges for time ain't a bad idea either. Or do one thing for a minute, then rest a minute and do another thing for a minute. Repeat a bunch of times..
- There's no ONE magic workout to rule them all. So don't think, just move.

Please enjoy yourselves and be safe over the holiday. Keep us posted. Post pics of yourselves doing fun (appropriate) things on facebook. Post questions to the comment threads and I'll try to answer them.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Strong or die: The Lions' lesson.

First things first: watch this video. It's hilarious. If you're offended by other people making jokes about cultural differences using absurdities, then perhaps this isn't for you. The mechanical stuff is legit though.

I've been Watching a lot of big cat documentaries lately. Pretty awesome. Here's one thing (among many others) I picked up: for predators, survival and prosperity correlate to where they as an individual or a group lie on the strength spectrum. A healthy cat is a strong cat. A sick cat is a weak cat. That is how it breaks down in the wild. They don't take genetic predisposition into account and they don't care who has what kind of family history. The cat is either strong enough to bring down a large animal to eat, or too weak to survive. There's very little middle ground for them. This is even more true for solitary cats. If a cat isn't strong enough to impose its will upon a prey animal, it dies. Simple as that. There's no reasoning or excuses. You're either strong or you die. If you can't even tear off a piece of meat, no one will spoon feed you. If you can't fight for a feeding spot on the carcass, you die; there are no leftovers. If you can't outrun a bigger cat, you die. If you can't hold your ground in a fight, you die. They don't play nice. The researchers never refer to any other features other than "strength". How that strength is used is up to the cat. Side note: brawn is not without brain as the strength takes a lot of intelligence to apply correctly.

The funny part is that you'd think that lions would not be so ruthless as they roll in prides and can potentially provide for each other. Quite the contrary. They seem to understand that if an individual is not an asset to the pride, then he or she is a liability. There are no social programs to support them into old age. Once a female's cubs are old enough to find a spot on a carcass and hunt, her work is done and if she can't keep breeding, then she's just a mouth to feed now. What she does is pretty amazing. Without any drama, she'll disappear into a remote clearing and will simply pass and the rest of the pride moves on. The cubs may call for her, but they understand that she's gone.

The moral is that in the wild, there are no excuses or medical studies to fall back on. You're either an asset or you figure it out otherwise. Being strong(er) makes an individual or a group member a valuable asset if not a leader and there is nothing objectionable about that. We, humans, have learned to stop rewarding true strength to instead reward pity points.

I can't tell you how often I hear about a person's genetic background every day. Then I get to hear about how all of their bones are somehow different than others' and their metabolism is as unique as a snowflake. Their hands can't hold things because their skin is special and the sun causes a strange response that no one has ever seen before. Doctors can't explain what's wrong with them and they've already seen the Dali Lama. I'll tell you what ails them: WEAKNESS. Weakness is a debilitating terminal illness that infects every part of the body, including the mind. We are not designed, biologically, to reward or to be weak. Our bodies, minds, and spirits don't like it. Weakness is why your body breaks down. Nothing stimulates growth and as such you do the opposite to conserve nutrients. Also, we make movies that glorify strengths and overcoming obstacles, not decrepitude.

Folks, you get the picture. Be honest with yourselves. Are you strong? Are you an asset or a drain? Instead of feeling guilty about being a drain, perhaps you can start by addressing your weaknesses. Any one of them. We all have some or a lot. Start somewhere. You'll have a few weeks to do it until we reconvene in January.

Maybe these pictures will inspire you:

There is a good reason that every culture I can think of uses images of big cats to symbolize strength, power, and ferocity. Not weakness. Alas, to make it in their world demands at least that.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Still raining.

It's wet, rainy, cold, wet, miserable, wet and wet. So the rest of the sessions for tonight are canceled.

Please take this opportunity to either exercise on your own or lick your wounds if need be.

Enjoy your evening and we'll see you on Wednesday hopefully.

here we go again..

Welp, a fourth cohort has completed the 12-week. on ramp. In hindsight it might seem easy, especially compared to some of the other things we've done and the progress that many have made, but it really is no easy task. 12 weeks of mandatory exercise?? Yikes. That's worse than prison. Kidding.

So this week and into the new year we will be welcoming new people and making friends with them. You guys can all compare stories and discuss which on ramp had it harder..

All kidding aside, I want everyone to remember how this works. The on ramp is for learning. Learning to perform skills like squats and push ups properly under higher intensities than normal. The main goal of the on ramp (from a coach's stand point) is proficiency and conditioning. The actual BHIP program (you guys have 58 different names for it and I'm not sure which you all decided on..) puts a much greater emphasis on STRENGTH. Simple as that. Personally, I wish we had more strength-training but that might be a future option. So we get really strong in our training and then you guys get to decided what to do with that strength. The options are limitless. Just ask around and find out what your fellow bhip junkies are doing in their spare time.. From what I've gathered, more people are doing things that reward strength. Even the runners are starting to see the value in strength.

What we don't do is anything that can be labeled as "cardio". All "cardio" means is that your heart-rate is above resting. THAT'S IT! So you're breathing heavier.. big deal. It's sub-maximal anyway so it doesn't really matter anyway. And no one has ever been too impressed with how huffy and puffy one can get. More people are impressed with feats of strength. I swear they show "Worlds Strongest Man on ESPN every other weekend.

The problem is that many people are led to believe that the degree of a good workout depends on how depleted one feels at the end of it. Such nonsense. A good workout is one that stimulates physical/mental/metabolic progression. The fact that you finished a workout in a pool of sweat, blood, and tears means nothing if it keeps you couched and recovering for 8 days with rhabdo and shin splints.. Been there, done that.

Anyway, please keep that in mind when you train. Every couple of weeks ask yourself: "Am I stronger than a few weeks ago?" Answer that question truthfully. If the answer is 'yes', then well done. If it's a 'No', then you need to change something.. Think about that for a while.

Here's something to help the stimulus:

for time-
- Run 400m
- lunge 25m
- broad jump 25m
- lunge 25m
- bear crawl 25m
- lunge 25m
- duck walk 25m
- lunge 25m
- bear crawl 25m
- lunge 25m
- broad jump 25m
-Run 400m

I suggest marking off 25m and lunging out, then doing whatever is next on the way back.

Pull ups are hard for guys too. I can attest to that and I do a lot of them. The first one is hard every time. They never get easy, just more doable. So do hard things. Read this:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

squat therapy and tuck jumps.

Hi everyone. I wanted to add another video to demonstrate some things with issues I've been seeing. 

Here's another video of Liz making life look really easy. She's did a good job of showing us poor form. It can be That subtle, but it will surely eat away at you. Make sure that you set yourself up for good posture before you begin the movement, even if it's something as simple as sitting down at your desk. Obviously you can transfer those cues into a squat. Make sure that you're putting yourself into the proper position rather than just collapsing under gravity. Use your HIP FLEXORS especially the psoas and the iliacus, collectively known as the iliopsoas. Take a look where they connect. Ever wonder why the lower back rounds at the bottom of your squat? Loosen your hammies and strengthen the iliopsoas and you won't have to wonder.

Standing up/driving up from the squat also needs a bit of attention. I really wanted everyone to see how little forward lean there should be in the squat. Old people lean into their knees when standing up. They do this when their lower backs are completely worn out. Let's prevent that as long as we can by keeping the hips well-oiled. take some time and use a box and emulate Liz by sitting down completely and then driving the upper body straight up and vertically without any forward lean at the chest. you can easily put a quick workout together with that. Did someone say tabata?

*People kept jump-roping all around us. That's what that ticking sound is.

I put this second video together a moment ago and I just got to the office from the track. Just wanted to clarify the tuck jump. Keep in mind that if you are modifying it to scale for yourself, that's absolutely fine. Just use this as a reference. And yes, they are supposed to be THAT hard.

Have fun!

Here's that beautiful iliopsoas for you all to enjoy:

Monday, December 5, 2011

Exercise or exOrcise?

When did eating become a regrettable and sinful act? All I heard last week (and will continue to hear) is how much people ate and how "BAD" or "GUILTY" they are. Am I the only one who sees the problem here?

After breathing and hydrating, eating is the most important thing we do. Let's not call it eating for a second, but instead refer to it as consuming nutrients vital to existence.. What do you think would happen if you stopped "eating"? YOU WOULD DIE A SAD AND PAINFUL DEATH!!! 100% guaranteed.

Somehow, a few years ago, someone decided that exercise is the magical antidote to this deplorable act of "eating". So the fitness craze started. We're a good 20+ years into the fitness revolution. Coincidentally, we're also in an obesity epidemic.. perhaps a "pandemic".. oooooo..... Strange how those two are coinciding in what seems like a nice linear fashion.

So if exercise is the cure for this disease called eating, why hasn't it worked for more than a couple notables that have their own show about it on TV? Wait.. Even Oprah failed at it... Odd.

We're lead to believe that NOT exercising is bad for us. You know what would happen if you never exercised again? YOU'D LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER! Nothing would happen. Nothing. Don't believe me? My grandfather is a holocaust survivor (all of my grandparents are, but my paternal grandad is especially cool) who has not exercised a day in his life. In fact, he did the opposite. After surviving for a few years looking like a Halloween decoration, he didn't really have much desire for any exercise as he luckily avoided military duty since he was freed at the end of the war (in the soviet union, exercise was called military prep). He doesn't speak english, so none of our current health advice has ever entered his thoughts. He has been prescribed every medicine known to man and was told by every doctor that he needs more activity in his life and that he's not what they consider to be "healthy". He was always too lazy or preoccupied with collecting random things to heed their advice or even fill the prescriptions. All he did was go on walks and when I was around, he'd drag me with him. I'm fairly certain that he has outlived many of these medical professionals at this point. He is one tough guy who refuses to let life get in the way of him sitting on the couch and watching TV and reading nonsense tabloids. "Health" was never his priority, but living is. So he does just that. He lives.

I can go on for a while about this, but consider this: Jack LaLanne was supposedly this healthy super-strong and fit guy. He died at the age of 97 this past January. He was a beast of a man and a role model for many. The dude was awesome. George Burns, on the other hand, was not a beastly man. He lived to an easy 100 years with a healthy diet of stiff drinks and a daily cigar. Bob Hope also lived a century. We all know who he was.. explain that one to me.

I digress. But as we move towards this special time of regrets and resolutions, please understand what it is that you're asking of yourself and perhaps you can prioritize a little. Maybe you'll enjoy it a little bit more.

Here's some exercises for the exorcists in all of us:

For time:
50 Jumping Jacks
50 Pushups
50 Tuck jumps (squat, jump, tuck the knees up, land into a squat, repeat)
50 situps
50 Mountain Climbers (each leg)
50 squats
50 Jumping Jacks


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hand Stand Progression

For those of you who don't know her, this is Coach Liz showing us some progressions to work into the hand stand. She's incredibly strong and obviously very mobile and flexible. She's worked for it and it shows. Keep in mind that you might not look as distinctly accurate as she does nor might it seem as easy as Liz makes it look. Just be patient, if the intent is in the work, then progress will occur. Don't advance until you master each progression. It may take weeks, just keep at it. Repetition is key.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Food comas are awesome!

Happy post-Thanksgiving/Shopping frenzy Monday. Hopefully everyone is in one piece.

Thanksgiving is a very special time. It rings the beginning of bulking season for those of us (usually guys, sometimes girls) who entertain the idea of imposing our own size upon others. For some, the gains will be "accidental", but that's a whole other story.

If you're anything like me and you woke up one morning to realize that you were put on this planet to consume more resources because you've learned a way to utilize them for the sole purpose of being awesome, then this whole season is one long holiday for you. Here's my advice: exercise stimulates appetite. Think about this for a while, but don't hurt yourself.

Here's a few options for this week:

1. Hand Stand work:

- Practice and develop the hand stand. Here's some progressive pointers.

* Before you start inverting, practice spreading a progressively greater load through your hands evenly. Keep adding your own weight into your hands by leaning more and more into them.

* Active shoulders. It's not overhead just because it's above your dome. It's overhead when your shoulders say its overhead. Same applies here. Start with "downward-facing dog" pose and get your head through the window. Stack yourself really tight and keep walking your hips higher and higher as you push the ground with your hands more and more to deal with the increasing load.

* Get your hips stacked directly over your shoulder. This will take a bit of coordination, so make sure you've recovered plenty from the previous drills. Maybe even save this progression for the next day. Use a couch or a chair or something that you can rest your knees elevated enough to let you stack your hips while your hands are on the ground and shoulders are active. Remember, the more you load your hands, the more you'll have to push against the ground.

* Tighten your mid line. Imagine I'm about to punch you in the gut. Suck it in, make it tight, and get tall.

* work on getting your knees over your hips. A wall to lean on helps this. Face the wall upside-down and walk your feet up the wall as you walk your hand and body in, closer to the wall..

* Reduce/remove support. You're on your own here. It might help to have someone hold your ankles and periodically let go in very short intervals. Try walking around on your hands. This will last a matter of seconds, but it's impressive none-the-less.

2. 5 x 50 jumping jacks/double-unders/ 3x single jump ropes.
          40 flutter kicks (1 = both legs)
          30 mountain climbers
          20 hollow rocks
          10 leg levers


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

proper form.

Whether you're planning on scarfing food all day, or driving or flying, or sitting on the couch watching the Steven Seagal marathon on spike, You're probably going to be sitting for a while.

Here's a good pointer.

He talks about texting and typing position, but I'm sure you all get the idea..

Here's a crucial point: YOU CANNOT RECLAIM POSTURE. Once your form breaks, it's a done deal. You must re-set up. So make sure you start sitting or driving or eating in a good position and you'll hold it longer.. Once it breaks, reset it. There's no other real way to get it right.

If you're running and your form breaks, STOP and RESET. I hope you get the picture. If not, email me and I'll keep listing off analogies and examples.

Please enjoy the time off and share some joy with others!

Monday, November 21, 2011


I'm not trying to bash on exercise, but I, personally and professionally, believe that effective training is optimal over merely gassing oneself out doing something merely because it draws a sweat.

Here's an interesting synopsis of some of the detriments of oxidative over-training.

Darn those crazy Z5E people and citing science. Stifling.

FYI: There will not be any sessions held Wednesday. Enjoy your break. Stretch.

On that note, Thanksgiving is upon us and it is a good opportunity to flex some mite in front of relatives.

I suggest boastfully demonstrating how much food you can pack away. But that's just me.

You're going to want to work up an appetite. Here are a few options. You'll need a lot of eggnog.

Eggnog Mile:
for time -  4 x 8oz of eggnogg + 400m Sprint. Scale as needed.

for time - 4 x 8oz eggnog + 25 burpees.

Pumpkin Pie Push ups:
For time - eat an entire pumpkin pie (or anything else) in as few reps of push ups as possible. Yes, it's exactly as you imagine it. The pie sits on the floor below your chompers. 1 chug of eggnog and 5 burpees every time you drop a knee.

Football gone bad:
During the annual turkey day family match-ups, throw in some absurd penalties and incentives. Like eggnog chugging and burpees in excessive amounts.

Brutal catch/dodge ball:
Get into two teams and use different sized balls to either play catch or dodge ball. Impose different penalties for the different balls. 50 Squats is a good one but it is incredibly brutal as you'll be stiff as a brick when you're done. Always entertaining though.

*the key is to keep things simple. If you have family members that are not hip to certain movements, don't waste time teaching. Either modify to simplify or use simple things to begin with.

* Keep a bucket on hand for cleanliness. ;-)

*Please be smart. Use your better judgement before you get rowdy.


For those that take things a little more seriously:

Use the off time to work on mobility. Can't lose there.

1. 150 burpees for time.

2. 10 push ups
     - 30 seconds up
     - 30 seconds down
   - Make it look good and rest as needed between reps.

 6 x
         15 - roll-up tuck-jumps
                 - start laying flat on your back and roll up to a squat and jump up. Tuck your knees to your chest mid-air and land into a squat and roll back onto your back and into the next rep.

         15 - Hand-release Push ups

         15 - leg levers

Please post on what kind of creative and brutal things you may have done with your families.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Don't like running? Join the club..

Not everyone likes to run. Not everyone needs to run. Not everyone should run.

Here's a couple girls who certainly do ABSOLUTELY NO RUNNING. Their training won't allow it if they plan on winning at their sport.

At a body weight of 116.85lbs (53k), Julia is makes a 225 (102k) Clean + Jerk look pretty easy.

They're both really bulky and ugly and hard to look at. No wonder women flee from the sport of weightlifting.

These two girls do absolutely, positively no "cardio". Especially in the weeks leading up to a competition. They might do some light anaerobic conditioning but nothing that might steal strength from their sports. And in a sport where the winner wins by mere grams, maintaining every muscle fiber becomes pretty crucial.

They're not bulky, nor are they overweight. Much like wrestling and fighting, lifting involves weight classes; weight management is key to to this. Since "cardio" is not an option, perhaps they starve themselves.. NOPE. Food = energy. They need an abundance. So no cardio and no restrictive dieting? How could this be possible? They must have "good genes" (while the other 99.9999999% of the world got shafted with crap genes?) Do I like rhetorical questions much? Should I ask a few more of them? Do you want to punch the screen yet?

And breathe.

So if you hate running and don't want to do it, don't worry. You're not alone. It's a good skill to hone with minimal training, but it need not become a staple of your suffering.. errr.. training.

There's plenty of other things you can occupy your time with as far as exercise goes. (I like shrugs and farmer carries..)

Here's something that will still get you just as breathless as a good set of sprints.

- Squat
- Sit ups
-- 100 Jumping Jacks/Jump ropes/ double-unders in between.

Monday, November 14, 2011

All workouts were not created equal..

Please be clear with yourself as to what constitutes a "good workout" for you.

Check out this video of a 115lb girls (soaking wet.. she's tiny) squatting 295lbs like it's nothing.

I suspect this girl is pretty good at many other aspects of life and athletics and "fitness". Just so happens that she also squats more than most guys can imagine squatting.

Does she have big muscles? Does she look like a guy? Does she look worried?

Notice how she just grabs the bar and stays confident under it. Like it's no big deal. I'm sure it feels heavy to her, but that's not important, she has to squat it.

Workouts for those who want em:

1.  A little lactic hero training.

3 x (50m - 100m - 150m - 200m) all out sprint and 1:1 recovery

*so if 50m takes you 20 seconds you recover 20 seconds before doing the 100m. The 100m takes 30 seconds, then you recover 30 seconds before the 150m and so on.

**all out sprints means 95-100% WITH PROPER FORM. If you can't hold the form, then you need to scale it to where you can hold the form. It is painfully obvious as to who has been doing the sprints, correctly, fyi.


Drake Snake: Gradually descending stair-broad-jump-ascents:

Start EACH Flight of stairs with a max broad jump. Lets say you clear 4 steps. Then jump 3 for the next jump and then 2, then 1, and then start over. Try to stay consistent with your max jumps or go for more. Either way, do an entire Drake Snake (ascending every flight of stairs) in that style.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Running. Not just for cowards.

Here's my stance: Being just moderately good at running means you'd make a great coward.. Just enough juice to run away..

Mastering your running and striving to improve the way you move implies that maybe you'd try to get to the action with urgency, which is definitely not what a coward would do.

What is a good runner? A good runner is a fast runner. Simple as that. So now the question becomes "how do I get faster?" As many of you have heard me shpeel before, speed of movement relies on efficiency (as does safety, conveniently). To become efficient at moving, one must reduce any and all extraneous impediments. Meaning, one must reduce the forces that are acting upon him or her in the opposite direction of the movement.

One of those forces is friction. That one is easy. What we do is just get our foot off of the ground as fast as humanly possible during "change of support" phase, thus turning friction into minimal traction (the necessary part to stay in line).

The hard part is to reduce the impeding impact of an incorrect foot strike. If your heels strike the ground before your forefoot, you're putting the brakes on any forward movement and will thus have to re accelerate every time you step forward. That's hard, inefficient, and injurious. No surprise that when a person tells me about all sorts of their running injuries (ITB syndrome, planter faciitis, shin splints, patellar tendinitis, stress fractures, knee and hip issues, the list is long) that their running is generally wrong. Yet they keep doing more and more of it incorrectly. It takes 10 seconds to spot, a few weeks to fix, but few are willing to do the work.

read this:

Then here's my advice. Instead of going for jogs (coward practice), perhaps you could spend a few (like 10-15) weeks working or stride form and consistency.

Figure out how long you can hold proper form for until it breaks down. Most people are looking at less than 100m. I'm talking about a full pull through a full range of motion. Once anything falters, you're done... It's a downward spiral. So even if your chin pops up, you're done. Your goal will be to do several (6-8) well-executed intervals at about half that distance, and slowly build onto that. It wouldn't hurt to break it down even further to shorter intervals.

So start doing very short intervals. At like 65-85%. If you have a metronome, life gets easier. I like this one  . Work up to a 90bpm pull-pace per foot (set to 180bpm total).

*Hint: First learn to run in place. That's the hard part of running. Once that's dialed in, start moving forward ever so slowly while still holding the pulling pace for maybe 30 seconds at  time. If your form breaks, end that set. You want to work up to at least 90 beats-per-minute (180bpm total) pace per foot. This takes time. Weeks. You must be patient. And you must be OK with breaking your running addictions if you have them. You're used to running 30 miles a week? Tough shit, you're now running 300 feet a week. Until you learn to do it right, don't do it.

If your running form is perfect and you see no need for improving it or you have no desire to become a better runner or don't believe me then simply disregard this post as it does not apply to you.


** Side note: We talk about proper shoes a lot. We like minimal footwear without much squishy stuff below the foot to hinder the movement. It's not that shoes are bad, it's just that they make proper movement more challenging and thus create unnecessary limiting factors that may increase the chances of injury to some.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Welcome to weather.

Folks, weather changes. Deal with it accordingly.

Fitwell is very limited with space. Especially now with the temporary closure of the Pauley Pavillion. We normally have very little extra room. I feel like we've managed to do pretty well considering the logistical ballet we have to do any time we need space.. Especially weekend workouts that we do as a bonus. On Friday we had even less as half of the building was closed off due to a volleyball game. When weather changes, we have even less space than normal as various clubs use the spaces along with other classes and programs. Hopefully you're getting the picture...

There's a reason we hold classes on the track.. We have no other options. Period. Unless you know where we can find a few million dollars laying around to build BHIP a staffed facility, then we're out of options. And if it's raining or there's some big thing going on then we have to make sacrifices.

Fitwell offers plenty of other options for those of you that just can't bear to live a day without exercise. We have classes and an entire strength and conditioning zone full of all sorts of things. Maybe you can go back and revisit a workout from before or just get creative on your own. The point is that you're all adults and should theoretically have the capacity to take your exercising and fitness into your own hands. This is all stuff we've said before and many people are on board. So if this doesn't apply to you and you already know, don't worry about this and disregard.



pick one:

2 x
4 x 30 second sprint :: 90-120 second recovery
1 x 2 minute sprint :: full recovery. ~ 3 minutes


10 x 100m sprints. Full recovery.

* If form breaks before the end of 100m, stop and rest more for next one.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Rain update

If it's raining, all sessions are canceled. Otherwise meet at Janns Steps. Thanks

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Back to speed.

Read these if you want:

The last one might help your dead lift...

Last week was rough/fun. 2 miles in Tabata fashion is no easy task. Especially toward the end. The body runs out of substrates and gets into the lactic shuttle pretty quick and ends up staying there for most of the duration. It's good apocalypse survival training, but to get even faster, we should break it down to going fast and staying fast.

Pick any one or two of these:

1. A-lactic sprints:

- 10 x 10m + 40m sprints @ 95%-100%
Full recovery between efforts. (trust me on this)
 *  Start with 10 meters behind the staring line and very gradually (over the 10 meters) build up the power so that you're at full-blast stride across the start line then hold that for the remainder of the 40 meters.

2. Power Drake:

A lot of you like the stairs.. So I'll keep throwing you curve balls until you start hating them. Last week you guys did some [interesting looking] "broad jumps" up the stairs. No easy task. This week lets build on that.

You'll jumps up the stairs in a similar fashion. Start with a max number of steps cleared in a single and hold that many steps HALF WAY up the stair, and then SPRINT the rest of the way up. Continue on in a descending order. So if your first set was 4 steps, the next should be 3 steps and so on until you have to start over or do single-leg hops before starting over. Either way, full blown power when you sprint up. (I suggest pulling your feet up to the steps rather than merely pushing and bouncing up to the higher step.. like a box jump or a clean..)

 - 2ct Mountain Climbers (butt down, knees to chest, no bouncing)
 - Jumping Jacks


Videos that might help you:

Help your front-rack   - Also, a lot of people are too busy thinking about catching/holding the bar with their hands rather than the back of the chest/frame.

More on shoulder external rotation   - You might not be able to do all of the things he shows, but it's good to think about..

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Location CHANGE for FRIDAY, 10/28

6:15am, 7:15am, 11am, and 12noon classes will meet on the track. 5:15pm and 6:15pm will still meet at Janss Steps but will venture elsewhere for an exciting exercise session. Get there on time or you will be left!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

BHIP Warrior Workout 4

Well, looks like it's that time of the season. Rite of passage time. The current on ramp will be going through a warrior workout of their own to help extract any remnants of fear and weakness from their beings. You are all welcome to come and participate, but not obligated. Come, have fun, put yourself through the paces, brag about stuff.., you know, like any other day..

It's going to be this Saturday 10/29. Come between 9am and 11am. Bring your water and whatever else you may need. You know the drill.

Click here for the cool flier.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Here's a goal: Become a Muscle Car.

*Friday meets at Janss steps.*

Foam Roller: I like a pvc pipe. Seriously. If it's too firm, then glue a yoga mat to the outside.

The recommendations I gave were for those who's goals involved the innate desire to build strength-producing muscle. If that is not your goal, then those numbers do not apply to you. Simple as that. What ever your goals may be, they're YOUR goals and for YOU to take action toward. No one else's.. So if your goals involve mini-skirts, bikinis, speedo trunks, tight dress shirts, skinny jeans, tank tops, super hot facebook photos, scandalous political-career-shattering photos, etc.. then you need to address those goals head on; rather than incidentally hope and blame.

If what you've been told for many years or what you've been doing got you to where you are today and you want to change, then you will need to change those factors. I suggest completely turning your life upside down and inside out. Doing more of the same ain't gonna do it.

FYI: Exercise stimulates appetite. Bottom line. So if you're cutting calories for some odd reason, exercise if only going to hinder that. Do what ever you like with this info but it's like learning there's no santa.. You're gonna have to deal with it.

here's a few workouts for this week.

1. Two Mile Tabata

Run two miles in Tabata fashion. 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. Make sure you're sprinting and not jogging. Otherwise it's a waste of time.

2.  Drake snakes are too easy, make em hard.

a lot of people are obsessed with running up and down those stairs. I get bored watching you. So try to broad-jump up the stairs.

Jump as many steps as you can consitantly for the first flight and reduce by one each subsequent flight until you run out of steps to reduce. Then start over.

So lets say you jumped 4 steps up. Continue with 4 steps all the way up that flight. recover on the way down. Then jump 3 on the next flight up. Then 2 on the next flight. Then 1. Then start over. Let's say you get three steps.. go from there.


p.s. If you feel the need to do more "cardio" after workouts because you think it's lacking in the programming, then you've missed the whole point of our training program and aren't actually working out. You're just wasting your time. Next time let me know and I'll send you on a run to get me coffee since your workouts are all pointless anyway... Thanks for your understanding.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Stronger is better.

Update: Check out more pic from Hoa dang!

In addition to:

Also Check out this video of Bolt. Listen to the cues he gives about how he gets fast..


WOW! If you didn't walk around with a certain swagger after Saturday morning, then you obviously didn't come. That was AWESOME. I wish every workout could be like that. You all did so well. Everyone had fun (or looked like they did) even though the various things you did were excruciating. That's what happens when you're strong. You can enjoy doing difficult things that few other can even imagine doing. They're still difficult, but the difference is that you CAN do them, while most CAN'T.

As much fun as it would be to always use those things and do those things in our training, it is important to realize that what we did on saturday is an EXPRESSION of our training. We could flip those tire because we've been training for that with lots of dead lifts, squats, cleans, snatches, pushups, planks, etc.. all of those individual strengths get facetted together to generate the power and forward drive to flip the tires. If any one of those factors was missing, you'd have to either compensate (injurious) with other factors or fail. Neither of those is a good option. So we just get strong and proficient in everything and apply it to a heavy-ass tire, drive it hard, and hope for the best; repeat.

In short, great job, everyone! Keep it up. Keep training and remember that you will always have opportunities to apply that training. Whether it's a mud run 10k, a triathlon, a powerlifting meet, a strongman event, or just a Saturday morning get-together. Some day it might not even be recreational. ZOMBIES!

More on protein:
I can't tell you how refreshing it was when a female participant asked how to best develop more muscle and then said that she was trying to apply the info I gave. I love it. You guys have no idea how frustrating it can get when a female asks me how she can get better at the things we do and I reply with a simple: "Just get stronger." and she'll reply with the obligatory "but I don't want to get bulky.." Makes me want to stab myself in the face with a spoon. To me, what she just said is a copout. It really is. She isn't willing to do the work and now has a seemingly good reason. The reality is that it is not realistic. It is extraordinarily hard for GUYS to get bulky. Don't believe me? Come into the Wooden Center and count the ratio of skinny boys to actually muscular guys. Very few can be considered "developed" let alone "bulky". Females have less than 10% of the testosterone (responsible for muscle size) that guys have (on average). So unless a girl is going to start hormone (test) therapy), she need not worry. Besides, few females object to having muscles. It's the work that people, not just females, object to. It's harder for guys to say "I don't want to get big" as a copout though.. That's grounds for dismissal from the male gene pool.

Back to food.. So if you're into eating more to gain strength and muscle, you're going to have to start increasing in increments. If you're diet is currently a meager 1600 calories of bird feed and you did the math and realized you need 2400 calories of power-generating, muscle-building, heavy-stuff-moving goodness, you can't expect to just start eating that much and not running into problems. This happens with kids (high school and college age) and girls when they get into sports and need to put some meat on their bones. They get told by their coach to eat more and they do... haphazardly. They overload the system and their insulin and leptin and glucagon go crazy. They usually start eating bread and rice since they get told that fat is bad (slamming head against keyboard). They immediatly get tired and fat and slow and thus solidify the theory that the food made them fat and not how their body responded to a change.

Here's a better way. Increments. So if you're at 1600 a day and need to build up. Go to 1680-1700 a day for a week. Then the next week go to 1800, then 1900, then 2000, then 2200.. Keep adding about 10% a week. Just like running and lifting. You wouldn't try to lift 300 if your dead lift was stuck at 185, right? Your hormones will lear to deal with the nutritional surplus and not be overwhelmed. It will be nice and gradual and you'll be able to gauge what works and what your body just doesn't like more of. For me, it's vegetables. I can't eat much of them. I will live in the bathroom forever if I eat more brocolli than I like. But I can eat potatoes (peeled) and saurkraut (unpasteurized) pretty well. So I stick to that. Also, fats help me a lot in my efforts of eating well over 3000 calories a day. I eat organic butter and uncured bacon frequently, but not in excess, contrary to what many have seen. Cottage cheese is a simple way to get protein but not if it gives you any immune or sinus problems.. Feel it out. Share your experiences with us.

Here's some exercises:

- 10 x 50 meter sprints. @ ~95% (stay consistant)
  - 30 second recovery. (Just walk 50 meters back.)
Rest 3-5 minutes.
- 3 x 2 minute @ ~85% (stay consistant)
  - 60-90 second recovery

"Death by Whatever"
 - Choose an exercise and start with 1 repetition. Add a repetition every minute, on the minute until you fail to complete the required repetitions for that minute. Record your score (last successfully completed minute's worth of repetitions).

rest 3 minutes

5 sets of your score in the death by of the same exercise on the minute every minute.

* So if you do pushups and your score is 12, then every minute, on the minute you will do 12 pushups for 5 minutes.
** 5 burpee penalty for failing to complete your required repetitions.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sunset Blvd and 405 Closure

For those you going to our special workout this Saturday, read this:

Re: I-405 Sunset Southbound off-ramp Closure October 15 – 29

As part of the ongoing project to improve the I-405 Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass, the southbound Sunset Boulevard off-ramp will be closed every weekday for two weeks, from October 15th – 29th from 6am to 10am, to allow utility work and bridge-widening at Sunset.
This portion of the Sepulveda Pass project will affect students, staff and faculty commuting to UCLA from the San Fernando/Santa Clarita/Antelope Valleys or the 101 Freeway by forcing commuters to exit the I-405 at either Getty Center Drive or Wilshire Boulevard. As approximately 25 percent of UCLA staff and faculty live north of campus, an off-ramp closure during the peak morning commute hours could add significant time to commuters affected by this construction activity.
During these two weeks we encourage staff and faculty affected by this closure to be flexible to the extent possible in addressing scheduling issues during the dates of the closure. To this end, we ask that supervisors work with Employee & Labor Relations to develop alternative work schedules, to ensure any modification to schedules do not interfere with their department’s staffing and coverage needs or collective bargaining agreements with represented employees.
For more information please visit

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


does BIG = Strong??

Update: here's a simple and over-generalized way to ROUGHLY calculate how much you should eat. I want to preface this by saying QUALITY BEFORE QUANTITY.

To calculate total calories needed you should weigh yourself. Turn that number into grams. So if you weigh 200lbs, that means 200 grams. That is your minimum protein intake for that day/week/month.

Then, you plug that into this formula that I made: [200g(p) x 4c/g]/0.3c + 300c = C (total calories).

.: 200 x 4 = 800 cal minimum just from protein. 800/0.3 = 2,667 calories for sedentary. + 300 cal for activities and that brings you up to a good 3000 calories/day.

3000 calories. Do the math. Good luck doing that on a restricted diet. You will never grow muscle if your diet doesn't support it. Good luck doing that without consuming copious amounts of fat. But you must prioritize protein. Protein even comes from the Greek word: proteios; meaning "most important". They knew what they were talking about back then.

Go eat to get strong.

*** Regarding Demetria's question:
Great question about the size of muscle and maximal strength. Does being "big" make one strong? Usually, yes.. USUALLY. The greater the muscle fiber cross-section the greater it's contractile potential (maximal strength). How does that translate into lifting? USUALLY bigger muscles mean you can lift more, and as a by-product apply more power and speed to other factors of training and subsequently develop even more. Hence why we place such a priority on strength training (as much as we can with limited resources). There are other factors though: substrate levels (nutrition), hydration, sodium/calcium/potassium levels, mood (hormones), MOBILITY, mental focus, commitment, desire, the moon's position relative to the big dipper, you get the point... Ultimately, getting bigger MUSCLES will probably translate into more strength. If it doesn't, you'll still look like you might.

How do I get bigger muscles? Lift HEAVY and EAT! The growth has to be stimulated tissue has to come from somewhere; it doesn't just magically appear. Protein is composed of the amino acids that are vital for the growth to occur. So it is imperative to eat more protein. No two ways about it. It has nothing to do with ethics or moral. Growth comes from hormones triggered by lifting and nutritional intake (surplus) and the building blocks are made of amino acids. Easy.

- Here's my suggestion: Eat 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. FYI, meat has 7 grams per ounce. 1 egg has about 6 grams. So you'll have to get started early. Here's why.
Protein should compose about 30% of your diet. The rest is up to you. Protein has 4 cal/gram. Carbs also have 4 and fat has 9. So if you're like me and eat a lot of protein, you also need a lot of the other stuff too. That's why I eat so much fat. More than double the calories which means I can eat less. Do the math.

I hope that helps. Glad people are wanting to get strong.. I'll help in any way I can short of feeding you. ;-)

Note: Frequency does not necessarily mean you'll get stronger faster, in fact, often times it's the opposite with heavy compound lifts, epecially the deadlift. Once a week is plenty with the deadlift. However, it still needs to be done frequently enough to create the adaptive stimulus.

Come on Saturday.. DO IT!

** This is only a hypothetical suggestion and I make no official claims or take any responsibility for you and your diet and the results thereof. You are responsible for yourself solely and exclusively. Please consult a physician before making any changes in your life, especially nutritional ones. Maybe even when you rearrange your furniture.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Wanna step it up? Become an instructor.

Not much explanation needed here. Some people are good at instructing. Some are not. If you think you are a good instructor (NOT JUST A GOOD EXERCISER!) then perhaps you would like to help us coach.

Let us know if you're interested. Thanks.

Also, don't forget about Saturday. Be there!

Fast is easy; Slow is not.

Heard good things about the dead lifts. Well done. It's also good to hear that people are not shirking the work, but rather trying to bite off the bigger, more strenuous bites. please be careful and don't over-do it. If your legs are barking at you and begging you to rest, please listen to them. If they recover, they will be strong, if not, then they won't. Make sure you're foam-rolling or doing some sort of therapy when recovering. Ice is always good. Get yourself an arsenal of massagers and lacrosse balls and get to work. Trust me, You'll be better for it. So maybe instead of doing Drake snakes and trudging through them, you guys should have a group roll-out session or a mobility wod session. That is true training.

Of course check for new mobility tips and stretches.

Here's additional labor err.. workouts for you all:

12 minutes AMRAP
- 50 meter sprint
- 10 Hand Release Pushups (advanced: clapping HR pushups)
- 50 meter sprint
- 20 situps

* I suggest putting an abmat at one of the sprint and do pushups at the other end. You guys should all be able to hold proper form for 50 meters after the last 2 weeks of interval work. I see a lot of people looking really good during the warmups.


Special Workout this Saturday, Oct. 15, 9am-11am!

We have a very special workout for all enrolled Ongoing BHIP'ers!

This Saturday, from 9 to 11am
North end of the Intramural Field.
Click below to read this very important "Order to Report" for details!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It's going to be ok

As expected, the weather has thrown everyone for a loop. The evening classes are canceled. No big deal, life goes on, the Olympics are still almost a year away, so you'll get enough training in. Worry not!

Here's what the workout was today, in case some of you decide to go for it (beware, the barbells in the S&C zone at the Wooden Center are impossible to get to and NO you MAY NOT use the ones in Pardee gym.

We did a bunch of burpees and then we worked up to what should have been a 3-rep max of cleans.

Then we did a complex that looked like this:
3 x Cleans
4 x Push Press
5 x Bent Over Rows
6 x Romanian Dead Lifts

If you don't feel confident in this, then don't worry, here's what I suggest:

5 x 1 minute MAX burpees. Recover or a good 2 minutes between each effort.
- Remember: Chest-to-deck at the bottom. Use your hips and get your feet under your shoulders instead of just crawling up. Stay fluid and keep breathing. No pauses, just go ALL OUT for a full minute. GO FOR BROKE!
-Stay consistant or BETTER. Consistancy is key.
*Optional penalty: Assess a 30 second wall-sit for every burpee deviated below your best. But don't let the penalty stop you from getting your true max, that's the important part.

Post your best and your worst efforts.


Also, as a reminder: please try to come between 9am and 11am on Saturday, October 15th for a special day of various events. It will be fun. Bring food and water. Bring extra food for Me. I get hungry ;-).

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


OCTOBER 15th, of the year 2011 B.C..

Those of you who are enrolled in the ON-GOING or the HIGHWAY, or whatever other stupid name we gave it that didn't stick, you shall appear at the I.M. field between 9am and 11am. We will be administering a very special workout event with lots of "fun"/needlessly brutal and excruciating activities designed to remove weakness from you and forge indomitable strength and spirit within you.

Stand By for further updates as I am currently getting them myself. Please spread the good word along to fellow BHIP people. Suit up, and gear up, it's go time.

Monday, October 3, 2011

blog post titles are stoopid

Hi everyone. The weather is quite nice today, but keep in mind that it can change since supposedly it is fall. Dress appropriately for your sessions. It can be blistering hot in the day time and frigid in the evening (not by my measures, but by your claims).

Seems like everyone really "liked" those push sleds, again. They really do make you appreciate the work you put in. And the more you put in, the more you get out of it. You can't fake it and you can't avoid the work because of fear (some people don't like the barbell stuff because they aren't as confident in their skills. Barbells got a bad rep in the 90's.) It is really rewarding to see everyone plowing those things back and forth to near death, standing up with shaky knees walking it off and then doing it again, for no other reason than to be able to do it better next time. AWESOME! We will definitely be seeing them again. They are a great conditioning tool, but because of how taxing they are, we can't combine them with too many other activities so that's both good and bad I guess. And yes, they will surely make an appearence in a forth-coming special workout.

Hopefully you all see why the track work was optional last week. It's in your interest to come in to every workout fully recovered. That way you can put out a true 100% rather than what FEELS like 100% but is actually far less. Also why I'm not that thrilled when I see you all dragging your butts up and down the stairs. We use a lot of our legs in the training sessions and stairs are good at tiring out legs. Unfortunately we live in an age where we gauge how "good" a workout was based on how tired we get at the end rather than output during the workout.

Here's some workouts: Do them on different days.

1. Running work: high intensity.

Warm up with high knees, butt-kickers, kariokas, and running forward with hands against a wall.
   2 x
        4 x 60 second sprint at 90%-95%
              90-120 second recovery

        1 x 3 min @ 85%
              Full recovery and stretch your ankles/achilles

Try to maintain the same distance covered in every respective interval.

2. 10 PUSH UPS. Thats it. Really? Yes, really.  
        BUT, you must maintain your form on the way up and on the way down*. If your forms breaks down, then you must stop that pushup and try to do it better on your next attempt.

*EACH PUSH UP WILL TAKE A FULL MINUTE (unless failed**). 30 seconds to come up, and 30 seconds to come down.
**30 second wall-sit (sit against a wall with thighs parallel to the ground and head and back against the wall) for each failed round. Compile them into a single wall-sit at the end.


Think that arch support and cushion are helping you? Let's see some physics..  Watch the video:

More prowler videos:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Track season.

Happy Autumn, everyone. The track season has begun. This means that it is especially important that we pay attention to the rules of the track. Many have forgotten and now walk on the track as if they're walking drunk through Disneyland. Being careless on the track will get you hurt if not killed. Imagine a 180 pound sprinter smashes into any of you at full stride. Your head will fly off of your neck and your body will shatter. Just ask a football player about how pleasant those collisions are. They train for that, we don't. God help you if you get hit by one of the thrown objects.

Let's review:
Stay on the outermost (unobstructed) lanes when running. If walking to or from class, stay completely off the track. Use the outer perimeter. Stay away from the throwing areas, especially the practice sand-pit that is usually behind us that people mindlessly walk through. Thank you much!

Locations for this week:
Monday: Track
Wednesday: Track
Friday: Wilson Plaza

Here's Something to keep you busy:

Tabata Bottom-to-Bottom squats. - (20 seconds ON :: 10 seconds OFF) x 8
Basically reverse squats. You start and finish each squat at the bottom position. When you're ON, you're basically pinging the top of the squat as fast as you can and then dropping back down as fast as you can. You rest at the bottom. 5 burpee penalty if you find yourself not at the bottom for any reason at any point during the rest periods. Assess the burpees immediately after finishing the 8th (final) round.

Optional: If you hit the track this week. Do some 50M or 100M or 200M repeat. Whatever you can hold without deviating. Do 6 - 10 of those sprints with a good recovery between each effort.

- If you want to get into the lactic threshold a little more, then shorten the Recovery::Work to about 1::1. For big power output, go 3::1.
*So if 100M takes you 20 seconds and you're trying to stay in the lactic threshold, recover no more than 20 seconds before your next effort. If you're going for all out power than recover for up to 60 seconds or more if needed.


** Update**
Demetria brought up a good question. Heartrate.. I'll try to find more info about target heart-rates, but for now, I'd like you all to think of them as RELATIVE speed limits. Realative to YOU and only YOU. The figures that are used in those charts are very broad and generalized. Thus, "target zones" don't apply to everyone equally.

I would suggest using "percieved exertion" instead. Practice that in a warm-up. Start with what you think is about 50% exertion. Then build it up gradually and note how it feels and what your heart-rate is (if you're wearing a monitor). Try to keep detailed logs of this and you will see the correlation better. Thus, when you're trying to stay in a certain "zone", you'll have a better idea of where YOU need to be based on YOUR exertion potential. And, as you get more conditioned and your heart rate potentials and your VO2max changes, thus will your RPE (rate of percieved exertion)/heart rate chart. What was once 95% will now become 85%. Imagine running a marathon or a 5K at 95% rather that 85%.. What might your time look like?

Also, you can use your monitor as an indicator that something is wrong. If you feel like you're at 100% and your heart rate is what was once 75%, then you know something is wrong and you should rest. Or if you feel like you're going 85% and your heart rate is where you once had your 100%, then something may have changed as well.

Personally, I'm not the biggest fan of monitors as they create artifical ceiling which people will then use as speed limits. I've always just tried to push as hard as I can and perform the task at hand, whether it is 100 meters or a 10k, most efficiently. Don't forget, you're always competing with yourself to become a little better (whatever that means to you) than you were yesterday. try to use the monitor as an indicator of where you are rather than where you can't be.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Lots of you did last week's workout and everyone reported very highly about it. Glad you all got pumped up for it and did it. maybe it wasn't the most fun thing to do, but sometimes that comes with the territory.

This week, we'll take a step back to our training roots. Low volume, high intensity, progressive and productive training.

I'm obsessed with this site: ZONE5ENDURANCE. They cite actual science with actual conclusions and practical applications rather than "just run more if you want to be a better runner". Feel free to check them out, and for many of you, change your aerobic training methodology. You'll be better for it. Trust me. Less IS more when training your aerobic threshold or as we call it VO2max. How much less, you ask? Well, I'll tell you.. 30 Seconds.. Yep you read that correctly.. 30 seconds of high intensity will induce an aerobic response, thus training and hopefully elevating the VO2max.
READ THIS: 30-Second Max. Effort Sprints Are Aerobic

I know some of you didn't read it and kind of just skimmed the title.. At least read the abstract and maybe the conclusion.. Do it!!

So here's a workout:


2 x
    4 x 30 second sprint :: 90 second recovery
    1 x 2 minute sprint :: full recovery. ~ 3 minutes


On a different day, perhaps Thursday

Hold the bottom of a squat for 10 minutes. Hold on to what ever you need and elevate your heels with something solid in you need. But keep your weight in your heels.


Also, please pay attention to the following location changes:

Monday, 9/19: Grass Area to East of the North Athletic Field near the back of Ashe and close to the Student Activities Center and Kaufman Hall.

Wednesday, 9/21: Track as usual.

Friday: Janss Steps.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Location, Location, Location

Things are a bit busy 'round campus with the start of school. Here's where we'll meet this week.

Monday, 9/19: Grass Area to East of the North Athletic Field near the back of Ashe and close to the Student Activities Center and Kaufman Hall.

Wednesday, 9/21: Track as usual.

Friday: Janss Steps.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

10 Years.

I don't think I need to get too detailed about this. We all remember exactly what we were doing 10 years ago. Some of us might even remember every bite of food we ate that fateful day. The day that brought us together as a nation, and even compelled other nations to join us in that distinctly American tradition of getting back up, standing up tall, dusting off and fighting back.

I truly miss seeing American flags flying. I love it when I see a flag that has been shredding to strands. That thing has been abused by the wind for god knows how long, but it will continue flailing as long as there is even a single little thread left. It really does make my spine tingle when I see that. This is why we train: so that regardless of how punishing or brutal life becomes. Regardless of how hard and strenuous things may get. Regardless of the challenge, we may continue to press on to pursue our goals and dreams with every last fiber of our being.

"Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed." - William Earnest Henley 

As we spend this week remembering and honoring, lets try not to fall into the pits of sorrow, but rather squeeze those back muscles tight and stand tall. Walk proud. This is America and that's how we roll. 
Try to remember the great things that human beings did for one another that day. Complete stranger who might have killed each other on the 405 out of road rage risked life and limb to help others. People did things they never thought possible in order to survive and save others. When pushed, we are all capable of doing a lot. But when another life is in the picture, we can become superhuman. This has been documents many times ( "The Third Man Factor" - John Geiger, "Deep Survival" - Laurence Gonzales.) This week, try to think of someone who you might really step out of your comfort zone for. Someone who you might run into an inferno for. Perhaps someone who you wouldn't just die for, but maybe even survive for. 

Here is a special workout to help honor, remember, and commemorate the incredible things that people can do for others, especially our first-responders (fire fighters, cops, emt's). Try to think about the brave men and women who raced up dozens of flights of stairs to help get others to safety. Think about fire fighters that have to carry air tanks and 50 more pounds of gear in hopes of carrying out an even bigger person. It's stifling to even imagine but we will try..

Run 3 laps on the track. During EACH lap, complete an entire Drake-Snake when running on the West side of the track. You will thus do 3 snakes total. You will start the snake on one end of the stadium seats and finish at the other end and continue running the lap. If you find yourself trudging along slow and lazy, try to think about the price others had to pay and how insignificant your levels of discomfort are right now. Feel free to wear a back pack with 10-20 pounds of stuff. Maybe even do it in work clothes and work shoes; you might not have exercise clothes ready when something happens. 

I suggest you all coordinate something together. It would be awesome if everyone was out there together doing this. So put "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue" on your ipods and go out there and GET SUM!! 

Have fun, enjoy, give thanks, and be nice to someone random this week. Pay it forward.

Over and OUT!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Back to work.. Get busy.. At least pretend.

Welcome back everyone! Hope everyone had a pleasant weekend. It's nice to just relax, isn't it?? Yeah, right, I'm sure everyone did daily tabatas. Either way, we have a hot week ahead of us. Make sure you're going to bed hydrated, and waking up hydrated. Freeze a few water bottles and grab a couple before you leave the house.. It'll stay cold longer.

Note: If you start overheating, make sure you cool down BEFORE drinking ANY water. You may vomit and dehydrate yourself further. Procedure: Find shade. Soak your head and neck, use your shirt or a cloth as it will hold water longer. Rinse your mouth with some water and spit it out. Don't hesitate to call EMS (310-825-1491 if you're on campus), you can always send them off if you change your mind. Once you are cooled off, then drink a small amount of water periodically. Call it a day and get cooled off and keep hydrating. If you see someone who is looking like death, apply these steps to them; especially if they have stopped sweating (that's an indicator that death is not far, fyi).

Dehydration is scary. If you've ever been legitimately dehydrated, then you know. It's like being drunk, drugged, sick, hung-over, and dellusional all at once. The body really does do it's own shut-down procedure and if it gets too far in the process, it will not restart. Bummer.
Anyway, now for the fun stuff

Here's some work to do:

1. Do this all the way through with little/no rest.

10 minutes: Jump-rope/double-unders/jumping jacks
8 minutes: Overhead hold (pvc pipe, water bottle, anything challenging)/ hand-stand hold (super advanced; rest as needed, don't pass out, use your abmat under your precious dome.) The idea is to maintain active shoulders, so don't get lazy.. get em up!
6 minutes: SQUAT! Chest up, toes up, knees out. Neutral spine. No dropped chests. FULL DEPTH.
4 minutes: Situps
2 minutes: Pushups. hand release. Keep your knees OFF the ground the ENTIRE time and your toes dug in. Point your fore-fingers to 10 o'clock and 1 o'clock.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Long weekend = rest = strong

I was just watching tennis. I really enjoy that sport. so much power. Especially in womens' tennis. Those girsl are beastly. Much respect. I'm always reminded of a thought I had once: Why is it the best tennis players usually also have the fastest serves and the hardest hits. POWER! They generate the most power. when fatigue sets in, talent and skills start to dwindle. Having a surplus of powere-genereation ability will let an athlete stave off that cripling fatigue. Tennis is definitely not the only sport where that happens but it is very evident since it is not a team sport and teammates can't pick up the slack.. Build that surplus folks.

This week is short. No BHIP sessions on THIS FRIDAY or NEXT MONDAY! FREEEEEDOM. This is a good opportunity to rest and relax and tend to matters of longevity. Lick your wounds folks. MobilityWOD is a good place.

Also, many of you might want get a nice lifting sesh in. This is optional to those of you who want it. You'll either need access to a gym or the S&C zone at the Wooden Center.

I suggest the following:

7 x 5 Front Squats (do them all at the same HEAVY load. You should feel lucky to be alive at the end of each set.)

2 x 5 Deadlifts ( after a good, progressive warmup in which you gradually increase the weights. Go for broke.)

5 x 5 Press (again, warm up gradually and make all 5 sets count)

You should be beat to a pulp at the end of this.

Here's a supplementary workout:

4 x
- 400m
- 50 Squats

If you decide to do something of your own, post it up in the comments and maybe someone else will dig it too..

Have fun!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Vitamin PULL.

For some reason people associate strength with pushing. Gym rats are always comparing how much weight they can push off of their chest (bench press) and many machines and "routines" emphasize pushing movements. The reality of it is that it's the pulling movements that will develop real strengths (as will a properly-executed bench press, but few are). Think about it, most pushing movements are evading the real "enemy"/force.. GRAVITY. Gravity always points in the same direction and we are in a constant struggle against it. Regardless of our position, we are always structurally opposing gravity. Since the ground (our purchase point) is always below, our posterior muscles (those on our backside) do a lot of work levering our bodies to be upright and vertical. This is why us humans are SUPPOSED to have very well-developed glutes, hamstrings, and backs. But few of us do.. and where do we see a lot of problems in aging populations?? THE BACK.

Gravity will always win, but if we avoid strengthening our backsides, gravity will win sooner than expected. It's painful to see young people hunching over and just pretending like it's OK to be that way. It's painful to watch older folks succumbing to the forces of gravity in a barely-upright posture. It almost looks like the human body is just giving in, surrendering under a never-ended pull from gravity. It's really a tug-of-war and unless you're willing to pull your share of the load, you're only doing mean-ol' Mr. Gravity a favor.

This is why pulling movements are so beneficial. They counter gravity with an overload. Think about a proper dead lift. You're essentially spitting in the face of gravity and standing upright with much more that gravity intended for you. And if you continue to do this with increasing loads, you're essentially winning that albeit futile tug-of-war match against gravity.

Further stimuating thoughts: Think about the posterior chain's (back-side muscles from foot to top of head) role in other parts of life:
Running: keeps you vertical as you lean forward.
Jumping: Hip-extension power
Sprinting: combine running and jumping into one.
The list is long.

So here's some stuff to help you utilize your posterior:

SPRINT 10 x 40 meters.
   - shoot for around a 1:3 work:recovery interval. 1:2 for those looking for a bit more lung burning. But if you're work times start getting inconsistent, then recover a little more. You want 100% efforts on these.

Work on pullups. If you can do pullups, do 3 ladders from 1 - 5. Strict, not kipping.

3 x (1,2,3,4,5) strict pullups. 1:1 work:rest between reps. Full recovery between sets. Do "negative" pullups with whatever you don't finish. So just jump up to max height and slowly come back down, resisting dropping through the full range of motion.

Here's a progression you can do for developing the pull up. FYI: no one is exempt. You can onoly gain from developing the pulling strengths, even if you don't think you'll ever do a pull up. It would BEHOOVE you to try.

I suggest you copy-paste-print the following.

Pullup Progression

Level 1:

A. Bar Hang: 3 x max hold, rest 90 sec b/t sets. Goal 3 x 30 sec.

B. Strict Ring Rows w/scap retraction: 3 x 6-8 @ 3011, rest 90 sec.

Use an angle that makes 6-8 reps difficult.

Level 2:

A. Scap pullups: must work to 3 x 10 @ 3 sec hold each rep. (1013

tempo) Rest 90 sec. Once you do 3 x 10 successfully, you must


B. Strict Ring Rows w/scap retraction: 3 x 4-6 @ 3011, rest 90 sec.

Use an angle that makes 4-6 reps difficult.

Level 3:

A. Negative Pullups: work to a smooth 30 sec negative. Do 2-3 sets of

1 in training. You only need to successfully do one 30 sec negative to

advance!! Rest 2-3 min b/t negs.

B. Also, do Partner Assisted Pullups: 2 x 3 @ 3011, rest 2 min.

Level 4:

A. Weighted Negative Pullups: work to a 30 sec negative with 8 lb.,

then 15lb weight vest. Do 2-3 sets of 1 in training. Rest 2-3 min b/t

You only need to successfully do one 30 sec negative

w/each weight to advance!!

B. Also, do Partner Assisted Pullups: 2 x 5 @ 3011, rest 2 min.

C. Practice kip swings.

Level 5:

A. Deadhang Pullups: work singles, increase volume until ~10 reps can

be done in one workout. (not one set) On last rep you do, do a

negative as slowly as you can!

B. After all pullup work done, do Partner Assisted Pullups: 2 x 6 @

3011, rest 2 min

C. Practice kip swings.

Level 6:

A. Deadhang Pullups: work to 3 x 3 reps, rest 3 min b/t sets. On last

rep of last set, do a negative as slowly as you can!

B. After all pullup work done, do Partner Assisted Pullups: 2 x 8 @

3011, rest 2 min

C. Practice kip swings.

Level 7:

A. Weighted Pullups: work up to 15lb x 1 rep. Do 3 x 1-3 @ 30X1, rest

3 min

B. Practice kip swings.

Level 8:

A. Begin Kipping Pullups: Kip swings, then do 3-5 sets kipping pullups

with good technique, rest as needed.

Level 9:

A. Chest to Bar Kipping Pullups: Do 3-5 sets with good technique, rest

as needed.

Level 10:

A. Chest to Bar Deadhang Chin-ups: do 3 x amrap-1 @ 30X1, rest 3

min. Use reverse grip, pin bar to chest for 1 sec.