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. http://www.mobilitywod.com/2011/11/episode-338365-most-important-mwod-ever-slow-death-by-text.html

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. www.mobilitywod.com. 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: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/magazine/running-christopher-mcdougall.html?_r=4&hp=&pagewanted=all

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 http://www.amazon.com/Seiko-DM50S-Digital-Metronome-Silver/dp/B00074B62A/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1320874201&sr=8-5  . 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