Thursday, May 29, 2008

Training 5/29/08 - That's more like it...

Prep work:
20kg Halo x 5+5
20kg Goblet Squat x 5
Thoracic Rotation
20kg Get-up x 3+3
20kg Bottom up Get-up x 2+2

VO2 Max 20kg x 7 reps per 15 sec. x 50 sets
(actually 52 sets in 25:45 - must have missed writing down two sets but the clock doesn't lie!)

This was more like it - a much stronger Cardio response and workload.

Feeling good!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Movements not Muscles...

Why do the knees "cave in" during the squat?

Is it the adductors (groin) muscles? Is it the glute medius? What and why?

Some will say adductors, some will say Glute medius - I say yes/no and don't worry about it...
Here is my answer to someone with this very question...and my response to the recommendation of adductor strengthening to fix the cave in of the knees...

"...the adductors are also considered the "4th" hamstring and function as a hip extensor as well but to say that an aDductor functions as a hip aBductor is interesting to say the least - and/but muscle "function" is dependent on joint angle so in the grand scheme of things who knows.

What we do know is that your knees are caving in so lets focus on the movement and not the "muscles."

The "Fix"- have your training partner place their hands on the outside of your lower leg (just below the knee) and while performing a squat (bodyweight or goblet squat NOT a PL squat) have them apply pressure inward - you will need to apply pressure outward to keep the knees in alignment on the way down and on the way up.
Important - the pressure applied inward by your partner is enough pressure to cause you to have to press out NOT enough to injure you.
Also hit some outside toe pulls to get the glute medius firing better before the partner drill."

In the FMS we use something called Reactive Neuromuscular Training and this is an example of that and "feeding the mistake" to fix a faulty movement pattern and you will note some Z Health thrown in as well (the outside toe pull - don't know what it is? Click the link on the right and find out).

On a rare Nutrition note - check out this little article on "belly busting beverages"...

Watch those liquid calories!

Training 5/27/08
Prep work
32kg Get-up x 3+3
32kg Halo x 3+3
32kg Goblet Squat x 3
Thoracic rotation

32kg Alternating Swings x 20 + 10 Burpees x 5 sets in 9:30
24kg Alternating Swings x 20 + 10 Burpees x 5 sets
Total time for all 10 sets = 21:50

Tough one - this has become one of my favorite workouts. Simple and brutal.
Fun stuff...

Friday, May 23, 2008

5/23/08 - Light Training and Research from Eric Cressey

1st - The research from Eric Cressey

Eric goes into detail about his findings researching UST - unstable surface training - and most of you will be very surprised by what you see...I've been quoting this for some time as I had spoken with Eric about this some time ago.

"Our research showed that replacing as little as 2 to 3 percent of overall training volume with unstable-surface training (UST) in healthy, trained athletes impaired the development of sprinting speed and vertical jump height — and there was a trend toward significance on the agility front, as well. There are a ton of reasons for the decrease in power output and performance. In a broad sense, all of these explanations can be considered fundamentally related to the fact that UST does not adhere to the principle of specificity of training."

And the training...
Prep work:
16kg Halo x 6+6
16kg Goblet squat x 6
Thoracic Rotation

16kg Bottoms up Get-up x 5+5
16kg {SLDL 5+5 + Goblet Squat x 5} x 2 sets
16kg VO2 Max (15sec./15sec.) x 50 sets of 7 reps each set
16kg Windmill x 5+5

Just needed a light day of training and this was partially inspired by the "think you've outgrown your KB" thread on
Reps of the bottoms-up get-up works the grip and wrist very nicely
The 7+7 VO2 Max with the 16kg is too light and easy but it was a great way to spend 25 minutes and my conditioning has come up quite a bit since my early ventures into this protocol. I will go with the 20kg next time for 6+6 and see how it goes.

Overall - feeling very good and getting ready for a very busy June.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Training 5/21/08:

Prep -
Thoracic Rotation
24kg Halo 3+3
24kg Goblet Squat x 5

Bottoms-up Get-Up 24kg x 5 singles each arm
Get-up 32kg x 4+4

Alternating Swings 32kg x 20 x 5 sets in 5:20

24kg Goblet squat x 3
24kg Windmill x 3+3

A decent recovery workout - my breathing is always effected more than I think from the "canned air" of the airplane.
Training for Life
from the blog of Mark Rifkeind

"Since I started training, at age 14, I have always and only trained for competition. Even when I wasn't competing that often, as when I was doing marathon, ultra and triathlon training I was always training with a goal in mind, even if the deadline wasn't that apparent. Since I started in the prehistoric days before the fitness revolution took over and people realized the health benefits to working out, I never conceived of training without a goal in mind. And that goal always included a trip to a competition or a platform or some other form of testing myself and seeing for real if my training concepts, methods and strategies were actually working or whether I needed to 'go back to the drawing board'.
It wasn't until 2002, when I tore my rotator cuff, and in addition to not being able to train the squat or the deadlift I could no longer even bench( the laziest of all exericses!) that I realized that my lifelong strategies and methods were no longer viable. Of course, at the time I had no idea of what I would ( or could) do next as everything I tried hurt more than the last thing and just getting out of a chair was hard. Walking two blocks would cause unbeleivable pain. I was truly at the end of my rope. Thank God for Mike Castrogiovanni and his vision for me getting involved with the RKC. He was the one that told Pavel about me and brought Brett Jones up to my home that fatefull Thanksgiving. As well as pushing me to become RKC and training me for it as well. That was the new begining of this unbelievable recovery that I have been able to make, thanks to Pavel, the kettlebell and the RKC methods. It truly saved my life and my sanity, not to mention the incredible tranformation it has afforded my wife. I will be forever gratefull.
But I also realized something just the other day; all my life, as a competitive athlete, my goals were to become a better competitive athlete. Everything I had was sacrificed on the alter of improvement. My jobs were all taken so they fit into my training schedule, my life revolved around my training, my recovery and my competition schedule.Pain, soreness,poverty were all things that had to be endured to accomplish my goals.
I was training to become better at training.
And even though I knew I couldn no longer go to the Olympics I was still training to achieve the highest level of accomplishment I could. "First you live like a pro, then you get to be a pro" was my mantra.
Even when, at the end, when I was so sore and jacked up from even the smallest workouts I confused that with the "good" soreness one gets from a tough workout.I hadn't accepted that the recovery from my training took eons longer than any supposed benefit I got from the training. Never quit, never surrender was my mindset and limping around for days after a pissant squat or deadlift workout was just more of the price I thought I had to pay to at least keep some semblance of strength as I got older.
SO, when a few days ago I had TONS of things to do for the day, with the heat in the 100's, lots of walking and assembling and carrying and moving and chores to do I realized that not only could I do this stuff after a full day of working, but that it was EASY; that not only could I keep on going( with no food no less and no weakness or hunger) but that the heat didnt bother me, the effort didnt bother me, I could walk as far as I needed to without limping from pain. That I didnt have to get off my feet at 4 pm and spend the next 2 hours trying to 'unwind' myself as I had done for years just to be able to work the next day did I realize that I was now fit for my LIFE, for the first time in years. Many,many, many years.
When I went to Denmark last week and had to walk miles through airports, stand all day for days on end at the cert; not be able to get my 'normal' training and recovery workouts in and was not only OK but thriving I realized that that is the real goal of my training now. Not to be fit for more training or competition but to be fit for life.
I know that if I have to miss workouts it is not only ok, but what my training is supposed to be preparing me FOR. Real world tasks that have to be done. Not just competitive , made up games and tests, as much fun as they are( and they still are for me too), but the real world tests and challenges.To be tough and resilient enough to make it the next 40+ years with vim and vigor and strength and health. " A back of iron and legs that never quit", those are my new goals.
Speaking to my training partner Nick, who, after a bad back injury last year decided that he would continue to train the squat, but not the deadlift or the bench about it said" I still want to train the squat; not to see how much I can lift but to keep myself strong for everyday life. I don't want my training to mess me up so much that I can't do normal things, no matter how much it will let me lift in competition."
Such a smart man for one so young.
Years of training for competition had skewed my point of view and references so much I had lost track of what was really important. Being injured so severely so young of course had a big impact on this but I took it too far. I was always searching for the "flow" state that I found in competition and hard training. It was the place I felt whole again, where I could overcome my injuries and debilitation and soar once more. Now I realize I was just breaking myself down even more and postponing my recovery.When I was 21 I wrote a novel( never published) called " A question of Balance" about my gymnastics competing and coaching experience and that phrase has always stuck with me. Searching for balance has always been a key metaphor in my life, even when I was decidedly out of balance.Perhaps even more because of that.
Now, at 51, in perhaps the best shape of my life, physically and, more importantly, emotionally and spiritually, I feel like I know what that balance looks like, and feels like. I no longer have to be the biggest, or the strongest or the fastest to feel whole. I am whole.
I am so thankful to be out of pain, and be able to move and experience the joy of using my body physically again, to reclaim what I had in the beginning but never really appreciated. They say you don' really know what you have until you lose it and I can attest to that.And how what's really important is so simple and basic that is overlooked by almost all, all the time. And it's right there for everyone to have.
I won't forget this again."

What are you training for?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Back from Amsterdam....

I am back from Amsterdam and sitting in the Newark Airport waiting for my flight home and it has been a great few days!

The two day FMS workshop went very well - 44 attendees and was well received by all.  Once again it was primarily physiotherapists with a smattering of trainers and strength coaches.  A great group and I had a blast teaching.

The KB Basics workshop went very well.  KBs are in their infancy in the Netherlands but I think you will be seeing more of them coming along.  Again a great group and a mix of physios and trainers and people just there for their own education.  My workshops are very much based on learning the proper form and not just getting "smoked".  Another great day!

Once again the Human Motion group took very good care of me and I had a great time.  My teaching and presenting was "On" this weekend.  Really good flow and feel to the teaching - those of you who present for a living will know what I am talking about.  Look for more things coming from the Human Motion group!!

Jet lag and fatigue - I made sure my diet was a bit better this trip and made sure I got a good amount of sleep each night and that made a huge difference.  Still feeling the trip but doing well.

Now I get back to work and get ready for the RKC level 1 and RKC level 2 in June!

Oh, and I apparently made someone's blog who was trying to promote Sandbag training and I am a "groove lift/gym bunny" or something to that effect.  This person does not know me and it unaware of my background etc... and why try to insult someone to market a product??
For the record - 1) I like sanbags, 2) if anyone mistakes me for a "gym bunny" they need very serious help with an eye and mental evaluation, 3) putting a 360 lb atlas stone on a 38" platform is apparently a "grooved" lift - LOL  ;)

Funny stuff!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Travel, Training, and Thoughts....

(had to reach a bit for that last T...)

Travel -
I will be leaving tomorrow for Amsterdam to teach a 2 day FMS workshop and a 1 day KB Basics workshop. The Human Motion group is at it again -
I will blog from Amsterdam.

Training -
Pull-ups BW x 10 , 10
Box pistol x 5+5
Full Pistol + 25# x 5+5
One arm push-up x 3+3
Half hour Spinning Class and the taught a 1/2 hour Stretch class

My "cardio" for spinning was good due to KBs ;)
and my first full pistols since dinging my knee a few weeks ago - progress is good.

My weight is down to 189-190 partly due to my training and partly due to Intermittent Fasting and I am overall very pleased with this and will just continue on this program and maybe try to PL at 181 again.

Training - 5/13/08
32kg Get-ups 1+1
32kg Bottoms-up Get-ups x one attempt each arm, 1 right + 0 Left
28kg Bottoms-up Get-up x 1 Right + 1/2 Left
24kg Bottoms-up Get-up x 1+1
{24kg Alternating swing x 20 + 10 Burpees} x 10 sets in 19:25

Great progress (In my opinion) - took 20:15 the last time I did this workout. I had about 30-35 seconds rest between sets and was able to keep the pace. Kicked by butt!
The bottoms up get-ups are revealing an asymmetry between my left and right arms - very interesting.

Thoughts -
And now a collection of random thoughts collected from amongst my Internet travels....

"Training movements not muscles" is a philosophy that I espouse but which movements?
The movements should be dictated by two things - your Goals and your FMS results.
Your goals will direct everything. Your FMS results will guide you as to your restrictions and asymmetries and corrective strategies to "fix" them.
Remember - You cannot optimize dysfunction! Try to get on the track with a bent frame and you will eventually blow a tire (or worse - see the NY magazine article on Women's injuries).

Thanks to Brad Nelson for posting these elsewhere - the top article is on the money spent on youth athletics and the dream of competing on an elite level and the second article is a frightening look at injuries in women's athletics.

Progress on the DL or any lift - If you work on a certain goal exercise for a period of time and do not hit your goal what do you do? Review your routine and I mean your overall routine and then study what you have done. What part of the lift did you miss on? Were you trying to accomplish too much at once or were you aiming at dissimilar targets? Once you have done a thorough debrief and research - restructure and get back at it.
Remember - The weakest link rules the chain.

I will probably add to this post later once I have a chance to get some training in but for now I'll sign off.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Training 5-08-08:

Pull-up + 24# x 5, 5, 5, 5
Box Pistol x 4, 3, 2, 1
1/arm Push-up x 4, 3, 2, 1
Get-up 32kg x 1+1, Bottom-up Get-up 32kg x 1/2+1/2
Get-up 32kg x 2+2
Bottom-up Get-up 24kg x 1+1
Swings - 32kg then 28kg then 24kg
{Side stepping x 20 + 1/arm x 10+10 + Alternating x 20 + 2 arm x 20}
rollouts x 5, 5

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Training 5-6-08:

Pull-ups + 45# x 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Box pistols x 3, 2, 2, 2
1/arm Push-ups x 3, 2, 2, 1
24kg Get-ups x 3+3
24kg Bottoms-up Get-up x 1+1
24kg Snatches 10+10 x 6 sets in 8 minutes

I moved the box pistols down a setting maybe 8" off the ground - this is helping me groove my pistols much better.
Ok - I see what the hype is about on the bottoms-up get-up. If safety is assured - it is a great move.
Got a lot of work to do on the snatches!

Otherwise - feeling good and staying busy.

Friday, May 02, 2008

May 2 - Training...

Pull-ups + 25# x 5, 4, 3, 2, 2
Box Pistols x 3, 2, 2, 1
One-arm Push-up x 3, 2, 2, 1
32kg Get-up x 5 singles each arm
32kg Snatches 5+5 x 5 sets in 4:25

This is really a return to some of the most successful training from my past - when I won the first Tactical Strength Challenge in October of 2002. You can see it at the link below.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Keeping it light and Happy...

Easy training and a plan comes together
I will be hitting a combination of bodyweight and kettlebell work for the next few weeks/months.

Bodyweight Pull-ups x 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
1-arm Push-ups x 3, 2, 1, 1
Box Pistols 3, 2, 1, 1
16 kg Get-up x 5 r+L
16 kg 1 arm swings x 25+25+20+20+15+15+10+10+5+5

Pavel's Fighter pull-up program will be the blueprint for the bodyweight work - after a couple of weeks on the bodyweight pull-ups I will cycle back in reps and begin adding weight on the pull-ups. For the one arm push-ups I will work the reps a bit and then go to the one arm/one leg variety. Pistols will work a bit lower depth and then shoot for full bodyweight pistols.
KBs will cycle in weight with a Get-up and Swing/Snatch emphasis.

I reviewed Gray Cook and Lee Burton's new 2 disc DVD set - Secrets of Primitive Patterns and all I can say is WOW - great information. After taking 4 pages of notes on my first viewing I tried some of the screening and assessment tests and it revealed a lot. So I will also be working on some corrective strategies for that. For now it is only available on but maybe will carry it as well.

A belated Congratulations to Sara Cheatham for achieving the rank of Senior RKC - I look forward to working with her in the future. Great to have another strong representation of the RKC School of Strength.

Thank you to those of you who have taken the time to review either my products or my services as requested in the post below.

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