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.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

Want to read a good book? Read Gates of Fire.
Don't have time to read a fatty book? Read Warrior Ethos by the same author. It's a nice easy read compared to GoF.

Those of you looking for meal recipes with foods that are less industrial and more sustantive, check out Everyday Paleo. Beware, you will be hungry immediately.

Seems like a little more midline practice might help you all. Had a lot of feedback about how brutal hollow rocks are. That tells me how effective they are at really elliciting a common weakness: the midline.

So here's what we'll do: we'll do some slower work to try and target the midline a little more.

Workout: Do it all the way through.
10 Push Ups*
- 30 seconds UP, 30 seconds down. Use a timer.
- rest 1 minute MAX between each pushups
- Maintain HOLLOW position: suck your belly button to your spine. Lead with your butt on the way up and chest on the way down. Keep your head up by staring at a spot a couple feet in front of you.
- Point your forefingers to 11 o'clock and 1 o'clock. Keep your shoulder blades in check, not just floating around.
- Keep your elbows tight in to the body and point them back, rather than letting them bow out. Keep a tight, rigid posture.
- Be active! The reason your sturdy is because YOU actively created that position. It's not an accident.

10 x
- 15 seconds SIDE PLANK (right elbow)
- 15 seconds Hollow Rock
- 15 seconds Side Plank (left elbow)
- 15 seconds Hollow Rock
- Rest for 1 minute MAX

3. Practice this next-level Maneuver: Candle Stick Roll-Up

Practice for 10 minutes. If you have a good grasp on it then give yourself a number between 50 and 100.

Some of you may have done this with a ball once in a workout. We called it a Juggernaut.

try to do these in a group and help each other out. Provide constructive feedback. Be strong!


P.S. No class FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 2nd. You'll have a nice 4 day weekend.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Midline. It's your friend.

The importance of a strong midline become especially evident when squatting with a weight overhead. As does the idea of "active shoulders"

With that said, here's some fun stuff to do this week. Watch the tutorial videos linked to the movements.

6 x
 - 30 Seconds HOLLOW ROCKS
 - 30 Seconds SUPERMAN or SUPERMAN ROCK (more advanced)

If you do this right, your mid section should burn pretty painfully. Just remember to breathe.


Read anything from this site:

Monday, August 1, 2011

Squat reminder.

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. As you all have noticed, there is always room for learning and expanding what you know. I think squatting can always be reiterated. A better squat can ONLY help you while a complacently lazy squat may hurt you. So, ergo, it would behoove any human being to strive to improve their squat to maintain hip and spinal health.

Many schools of thought exist pertaining to the squat. But a squat is a squat. Here are the basics:

  • Hinge and the hips and sit back, keep your chest up and back straight (neutral).
  • Maintain the aforementioned "form" all the way down as you TRY TO FULLY close your knee joint. Some people think that a squat ends when your hip-crease passes below your knee joint, or just below parallel. WRONG! We want full ROM (range of motion). So we want to go as low as possible while still maintaining, or striving to maintain, neutral spine. This will involve a lot of muscles in your back being used more than normal which usually elicits a lot of discomfort and strange grunting noises.
  • At the bottom of the squat, you're going to want to keep that back tight. Humans are NOT rollie-pollies and should not emulate them. We should look strong and assertive in the squat. Chest in front of shoulders, so pull the shoulders back and stick your sternum (chest bone) high. Back straight (use your hip-flexors and back muscles). Keep your knees out and weight on heels (point your toes up).
  • Drive through your heels and push the Earth away from you. Keep your chest big and very visible in front of your shoulders. Finish by standing tall and authoritative. Feel proud. Breath!
That's about it. But here's a more detailed write-up from a guy who has more time on his hands than I do to write blogs.

We all need to be reminder of the correct way to do things sometimes.. I had a pretty brutal reminder last week. It's not fun, but it makes you better in the end and everyone wins.

Here's some exercises to keep you all busy:

Tabata: 8 rounds 20 ON : 10 OFF
- Squats
Full Recovery (2 min)
- Sit ups
Full recovery
- Mountain climbers

Then hold a fully bottomed-out squat for 5 minutes. Relax into it as much as you can and focus on form and keeping yourself centered on your feet. Avoid falling back. Keep your knees out and your bellybutton forward. Breath easy. Elevate your heels if need-be and stop the clock to rest as needed.