Friday, November 30, 2007

Visiting my folks...

I'm on a little trip for the weekend down in Virginia visting my parents. So to celebrate they had me work at the family business today rearrainging and moving some stock stuff and actual physical labor. Great to be home and be able to help my parents out.

Hoping for a bit of training tomorrow.

Deep thoughts for the day:
Movement - Movement - Movement. We don't do enough of it.

As long as you don't lose movement skill and efficiency you cannot be too strong.

I-phase expands Z by a factor of 10 or more - really interesting stuff as I sift through my I-phase manual.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Sweet Science...

A boxing analogy to the dedication to the basics:
There are only 4 punches (Jab, Cross, Hook, Uppercut) but endless combinations of these punches and a lifetime of refinement in the technique of these punches. Add in footwork and the crafting of specific offense and defense to match to an opponent and you have the "Sweet Science".

Applied to the fitness world:
There are only a few basic movements (Vertical push/pull, Horizontal push/pull, Lower body push/pull) but a lifetime to learn and refine the technique, address weaknesses, and of course endless combinations of these basic movements. Add in different loads, leverages, speeds etc...and you have "training".

As the saying the RKC goes - "the elite are just better at the basics"

So - why are you looking for "advanced" exercises and training programs?

If you want to explore basic to advanced - explore your movement skill but remember that even the advanced is based off of the basic.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Missing movements...

Not something people typically ask themselves but the one question that can change someone's world - Are you missing movements?

Most people will answer NO - and most people are wrong!

Z focuses on this question in R-phase where you are re-learning the letters of movement. This is essential to your movement skill and health - the two are connected in case that seems like an odd pairing to you.

Imagine a watch with missing "teeth" on the gears - it may keep time but it will not be the correct time. Skipping pieces of the movment of the gears/joints results in lost time (for your joints that is...).

So - Are you missing movements?

And here is a post of mine from the DD forum today:
The question was which exercise would provide the most "bang for the buck" for a fighter - My answer:

The one that addresses your weaknesses will give you the most bang for your buck.

If the fighter is weak (but fast)- work on strength (bench press lockouts)
If the figher is slow (but strong) - work on speed (plyo push-ups, shot put, medball work)
If the fighter is soft in the core - work on Full contact twist.
If the fighter lacks movement skill - work through the FMS and Z Health.
If the figher needs conditioning - KBs.
If the fighter lacks technique - technique work (LOTS of technique work).

Address the weakness with the right tool and you look like a smart person to your client.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Very annoying...

I am allergic to cats - very allergic. Not the watery eyes and sneeze a bit type of allergy but a wheezing, chest constricting, trouble breathing type of allergy that always leaves me suffering for a few days as my lungs end up feeling "burned" from the attack.

Why bring this up? Because on Thanksgiving I spent a few hours at the house of a friend who owns a couple of cats and I am now in that "burned" lungs suffering period and it is very annoying.

I am a very fortunate person and enjoy a high level of health and performance and this is one of the only things that gets in the way for me. GRRRRR......

So - no training for the moment until my lungs get back to normal.

Monday, November 26, 2007

What are you reading?

I am currently reading "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin De Becker and have Steven Pressfield's "The War of Art" on deck and James Patterson's Double Cross in the hole.

"The Gift of Fear" is a fascinating look at our primal survival signals - I call it my "spidey sense" and recently had an experience that drove this home.
I was headed to the restroom (location to remain unknown) alone and as I passed by the entrance 4 young males entered the building and my "spidey sense" immediately went on full alert. And as I walked by I noticed they were headed the same direction I was headed - so I detoured to "grab a cup of coffee" on the way to the restroom and then headed back to where I had started and avoided being in a room alone with 4 people that made my "spidey sense" flair up.
Now I concider myself a physically capable person (but I avoid confromtation at all costs) and more than likely everything would have been fine - but then why did my primal fear signal go off?

Too often we talk ourselves out of listening to our primal senses.

And - have you seen the Kindle device on
It is a portable "electronic book" device - looks very promising.
Check it out.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Couple of things missing...

Some of you noticed but thought I would bring it to the front, there are a couple of things I started recently that were short lived. Namely - the Korte cycle and the VO2 Max training - why were they short lived you ask?

Basically they had a short life because of the light loading.
"Sprinting" with a light KB didn't feel good and the light volume approach to my PL training didn't feel good either.

I'll expand - "sprinting" with a light KB is something I am not ready for right now because I do not have the foudation of KB work to support that type of dynamic loading. There is a tremendous load from the sprint with a KB - regardless of the weight. Rif has written quite a bit on this so if you search his blog you can find wonderful information on the virtual load.
Does this mean that "sprinting" with a KB is bad - absolutely not - it is just something you need to be prepared to handle. So I am going to step back and work on a "density" training approach that I learned from Ethan Reeve. (I'll post a link to the information in another post)

A light volume approach to PL training will work for some but it does not suit me at all. Getting sore as hell from light weights is just annoying to me and a misapplication of the tool from a general perspective. I can operate at a very high percentage of my 1 rep maximum with a pretty high frequency. (I could launch into a discussion of muscle fiber types and a litany of "science" but the simple fact is that I have trained myself to handle heavy wieghts frequently and my individual physiology supports this). So I will be squatting around 2 times a week and will be looking to hit a new personal best at 3 sets of 5 reps.

How is it a misapplication of the tool - for me - I feel very strongly that when I put a barbell in my hands it is for Maximum strength work - period. This does not mean that you cannot use the barbell for other purposes - it just means I think you had better have a damn good reason for it.
If I want to work a metabolic circuit I will pick up a Kettlebell - so I keep my conditioning work separate from my max strength work. Do you?

So I continue to work on my Z drills and am preparing to integrate the I-phase drills into my practice. The wrist and foot/ankle drills are turning out to be very important for me. Where will I-phase take me?
Here is the original "Density Training" post by Ethan Reeve from the forum:

For those of you who do not know of Ethan Reeve - he is one of the elite strength coaches in the country - period. He is has a unique gift for blending PL, OL, KB and many other approaches into an effective training program.

To all concerned,

This may be a little different training than many are accustomed to:
I have had many types of athletes have great success increase their strength
as well as strength or power endurance doing what I term "density training"
For instance, let's say your goal for the 2 pood kettlebell clean-n-press is to do
12 reps in a row. First, you want to use double the voume of your goal which is
24 reps. You will only do this workout twice per week. You will start out
doing 12 sets of 2 reps in 12 mins. Meaning you start a new set every 60 secs.
At first your rest periods will be about 50-55 secs. After this becomes easy to
you move to 8 sets of 3 reps in 8 mins. When this becomes easy move to 6 sets
of 4 reps in 6 mins. When this becomes easy move to 5 sets of 5 reps in
5 mins. You will notice by now your rest periods become shorter as your reps
increase. After this becomes easy move to 4 sets of 6 reps in 4 mins. When this
has become easy for you I can promise that you will be able to do the 12 reps
goal on the clean-n-press. Using this formula I have had many, many athletes
perform between 30-45 reps on chinups in a row. I had one wrestler do 600 chinups
in 63 mins., he was a 3-time state champion.While I have had many other
athletes do between 400-500 chinups in 90-120 mins. Our goal at UT Chatt.
was to have 90+% of our wrestlers do 10 sets of 10 reps on chinups in 10 mins.
We started with 20 sets of 5 in 20 mins. then working to sixes to 7's to 8's
to 9's until we reached 10 sets of 10 in 10 mins. This took a period of 3
months to reach.
However, we then did the 100 reps each day throughout the season along with
our rope climbs, and 3x's per week power cleans, front squats, rdls,
standing presses, bent rows,dips, etc.

Let's say your goal is to do 2 pood kettlebell snatches for 40+40. The total
volume will be 80+80. Do this only twice per week. First you might do 40
sets of 2+2 in 40 mins.
When this becomes easy move to 26 sets of 3+3. Then move to 20 sets of
4+4 in 20 mins. Notice that at first your workout might only be snatches.
However, as you spend less time on the snactches you will be able to put
more lifts into your program.Then move into 16 sets of 5+5. Then 13 sets of
6+6 in 13 mins. After this becomes easy do 11 sets of 7+7, resting one minute
after completion of each set. Then work on 10 sets of 8+8, resting one mins.
after completion of each set. Once you have reached the 10's decrease the
volume to the goal volume because now you are going for pure quality. So,
you will do 4 sets of 10+10 with one mins. break after completion of set.
Then move 4 sets of 11+11. Then to 3 sets of 12+12. Then to 3 sets of 13+13.
Once you have reached 2 sets of 20+20 WITH ONE MINS. BREAK AFTER COMPLETION OF SET
you will be very clos to the 40+40 goal. My caution to you is that you will want to do
this only twice per week. It can be very taxing. Density training is basically
squeezing alot of volume into a short period of time to make it more quality.

If you have any questions, please reply!
In Strength,
Ethan Reeve

I can verify that is approach works - well.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

This should be a time for remembering not only what we have to be thankful for but also whom we are thankful for having in our lives - and I am a blessed man in these regards.

I am thankful for my family - without whom I couldn't have become the person I am today and the people responsible for providing me so many opportunities in my life.

I am thankful for my "significant other" - a positive and loving light in my life.

I am thankful for my friends - steady friendship, support, and sharing from people that I am lucky to be able to call friend.

I am simply thankful - for life, love and the world we share.

Thank you to everyone in my life - you are more important to me that you know.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Training today - 11/21/07

Squats - 405 x 2, 455 x 2, 495 x 2, 1, 515 x 1, 405 x 5

Bench w/ doubled monster mini bands
(+4" of band tension in a different power rack)
225 x 1, 185 x 1 (got stuck under the pins),
135 x 5,5,5,5,5

Squats felt great but the rep at 515 was above parallel. The set of 5 at 405 at the end was like an empty bar. So I am at a transitional point in my squat where 405-455feels very easy but above that I do start to feel the weight. I think I am going to work up my 5x5 from 405 and up to see where I can take it.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Surprise myself sometimes...

I was demonstrating some very basics agility/footwork drills today and was shocked at how well I am moving now. It feels quick and efficient - light on my feet and fluid. Not how it used to be.

The combination of squats, KBs, and Z are providing me with a new level of mobility and efficiency. Gotta love it!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Quick training today:

Squats w/ doubled monster mini bands
315 x 5, 365 x 3, 405 x 2, 425 x 1, 365 x 2

DB Bench 100# x 5, 5
DB one arm row 130# x 5, 5

Quick but effective - hitting 425 for a single with the doubled monster mini's is a PR and the DB work was just a spur of the moment decision and felt good.

There will be some more substanative posts coming - thanks for hanging in there.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It has been a pretty exciting and busy week...

Had to travel to Minneapolis to teach an FMS workshop and the announcment of the step up to Master Instructor in the RKC community so I had a great weekend but missed a couple of workouts and my deep seated defect of not being able to stay away from the heavier weights so today:

405 x 3, 455 x 2, 475 x 1,
405 x 3, 455 x 2, 475 x 1
Bench -
315 x 1,1,1 275 x 3

Felt good to go under the bar and move a bit of weight again - (don't know if I am going to be able to stay with the Korte cycle).
Hello my name is Brett and I am a squat-aholic and a load-aholic...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Training Today - 11/07/07

Squat 315 x 8 sets of 5
Bench 205 x 8 sets of 5
DL 345 x 6 sets of 5

I was VERY sore going into today's workout but had to buck up and get under the bar. And ended up having a very good day.

This Korte cycle is starting out tough and I might have a modification up my sleeve.
(as usual)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Just couldn't do it...

I couldn't take only squatting once a week! (Hello my name is Brett and I am a squat-aholic...)
So I started on the Korte 3x3 program today - 3x3 is a very misleading name for the program because the first 4 weeks are some pretty serious volume! ( has the full Korte articles for those interested) The name 3x3 comes mainly from the fact that you will performing all 3 lifts 3 times a week.

Today - 11/5/07
Squat - 315 x 6 sets of 5
Bench - 205 x 6 sets of 6
DL - 345 x 8 sets of 5

If I can walk on Wednesday I go back in for something similar.

The percentages are low (58% of a projected 1 rm) this week but the volume more that makes up for it. We will see if I can handle the volume. Very different for me ;)

And now a "shout out" to my friend and fellow Sr. RKC - Rif
If you haven't been catching Rif's blog I highly suggest that you check it out - here is an individual with 35 years of experience as a competitor, coach and trainer sharing his insights - it is not to be missed.

One of the amazing things about Rif is that he ended a high level Gymnastics career because of a double knee dislocation and severe shoulder dislocation - yet he went on to compete in distance running, bodybuilding, and powerlifting. Not the best sports for a knee that has less than 80 degrees of movement and a scarred down shoulder but Rif competed and at a high level. Yet people still knock him for his injuries and "training people the same way that injured him" - Nothing could be further from the truth.
Rif's injuries have nothing to do with Kettlebells, Z or foam rolling - these are the tools that are allowing Rif to restore his lost function and what makes him such a great trainer and coach. He has "been there and done that" and is now expanding into new techniques (Z).
Haters hate and will take cheap shots where they can but I for one count myself lucky to have Rif as a friend and fellow Sr. RKC. The opportunity to learn from someone of his experience is not to be missed.
Thanks Rif.

Congrats to Geoff Neupert for a successful return to the platform!

And Congrats to Aaron for pressing the bulldog and Franz for getting his program (I am reading - just not enough time to post to everyone)
And Mike Nelson - a question on the breathing stuff from your blog - are the drills I showed at the RKC in the right direction?

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