Wednesday, December 30, 2009

WOW - the response has been HUGE...

    Convict Conditioning How to Bust Free of All Weakness—Using the Lost Secrets of Supreme Survival Strength

When I had the chance to preview and then help with some editing on the book Convict Conditioning I knew it would be both popular and controversial but it has exploded far beyond what I had expected...
"To paraphrase a famous political quote: "It's the progressions stupid.' Coach Wade has laid out a set of progressions in Convict Conditioning that can lead to mastery of the big 6 bodyweight exercises and you would be wise to listen. This is knowledge proven in "extreme' conditions. So respect the progressions and put in your time—you'll be stronger for it."
—Brett Jones Master RKC, CSCS, CK-FMS
Do you travel a lot as I do? Having a solid set of bodyweight exercises to fall back on during travel is essential
Have you been frustrated by trying to hop right in on an exercise like a One-arm Push-up or Single Leg Squat? Maybe you didn't follow the right progression(s) to get there safely and effectively
Regardless of the title and controversy the information is solid and worth your time as a trainer or trainee.

Click the link above to read the description of the book and various testimonials...

Pair it with the Naked Warrior by Pavel and you have a superior bodyweight training pair!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2010 Here we come...
So the recovery continues and writing dominates my days but life is good and I am looking forward to a great 2010 - even with this monkey - I mean cat on my back!
Let me know what you think of the different look for the blog.

I am using a little IMTUG gripper to get started with some hand strength work and still turning Clubs on a regular basis.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

To warm up or not to warm up - That is the question...???

A response to a question on the forum on whether or not to warm up prior to training.

Define "warm-up"? In "big box gym" parlance it is 10 minutes on a treadmill and some static stretching. I have even run into some that say they need 30-40 minutes before they are "ready" to train. Some will say not to "warm-up". Citing the need of survival reaction or the law enforcement officer that needs to go from "zero to hero" in an instance.
Are you a member of military or law enforcement? And does it matter
As has been noted by Zachriah and some others - in moments of survival reaction your body takes care of the warm up (endocrine response etc...)
The answer is somewhere in the middle but not anywhere near traditional recommendations - What if your everyday movement ability and skill was high enough so you were "prepared" after a brief amount of preparation specific to the goals of the session and your individual movement issues?
In Super Joints, Pavel recommends a daily morning routine is advocated so that your body will "remember" this movement work and be better prepared for the day. Z health is a daily routine. We move everyday so why shouldn't we strive for excellent movement everyday. A "warm up" is not an excuse to avoid building full and superb joint mobility and movement skill - but that is precisely what people use a warm up for - they walk around with far (and I mean FAR) from optimal movement skill but feel prepared to train after a "warm up" that provides a "false" increase in their movement. There is a reason an FMS screen is performed without warm up - to catch your true movement - not your warm ups movement. There is a reason Z and Super Joints are daily. Build your movement skill - remove restrictions and target the areas that need attention.

When I am lifting (surgery is a bummer) I don't "warm up" - I perform Movement prep and then Progress into my training. Movement prep might take the form of some ASLR work from FMS and a brief Z session focused on some areas I need to "touch base" with prior to loading them. Then it is a progressive build up to my goal lift.
Lets say that it is squat day - Bodyweight squats are up first, Then an unloaded barbell, then 135 and so on....
Not 15 reps but 4-6 focusing on perfect groove and pattern. Your jumps during your "build up" might be different but when I was squatting "heavy" (for me) it would be something like bodyweight, 135, 225, 315, 365, 405 and by that time I was at or nearing my working weights and was ready to hit my sets with precision and focus. Not fatigued by 4-6 sets of 1-15 reps. Build up instead of "warm up".

Build movement skill and movement ability that is "permanent" a solid foundation that is the base for and supports your goals and your movement potential - don't rely on a "warm up" but rather create a situation where you prepare for the demands of the session.




May the Joy of the Season be with you and your family!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

This is how great writers write....

Friday, December 18, 2009

A quick Travel Year in Review...

It was a banner year for travel here at Applied Strength - aka... - Me!

27 trips total - taking me to Amsterdam (twice), Budapest (twice), Gothenburg, Copenhagen, Canada, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Connecticut, Kansas, West Virginia, New York, Philly, San Diego, Providence, Long Beach, Orlando, Ohio (twice), Minneapolis (a few times of course), Virginia, D.C, and a couple of others...Plus getting married (short honeymoon), surgery (and pulmonary embolism).

Quite a year to say the least - RKC and FMS are growing dramatically and business is great!

I am already booked for over 3/4 of the year for 2010 - so 2010 is looking fantastic as well.

Two products in the works now and another video being shot in January.

Life is great!

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Little Research Review...

My most recent Strength and Conditioning Journal (vol 31, num 6, December 2009) and Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (vol 23, num 9, December 2009) arrived and I actually spent a small amount of time looking through them and wanted to highlight a couple of things...

In the S&C Journal:
an article on using the Body Weight Forward Lunge as a screen - Holy Re-inventing the Wheel and leaving a lot out!
The FMS has 7 Screens for a reason - finding an issue in an integrated pattern like a lunge might have nothing to do with the lunge. FMS progresses from integrated to simple patterns for a reason - an Active Straight Leg Raise issue might fix what looks like back hyperextension in a lunge, fixing a Trunk Stability Push-up issue might fix what looks like a core stability problem in the lunge.
One movement doesn't tell the whole story.

An article on stretching the Posterior Shoulder - but no mention of normalizing Thoracic Spine mobility. (must not have seen Secrets of the Shoulder)
Not that the stretches are "wrong" per se (other than the sleeper stretch - just don't like that one) but that the shoulder can only work correctly if the t-spine is not restricted and the scapula can stabilize effectively. So just stretching something that is "tight" might not be the answer - what if it is tight because something else isn't doing it's job and that muscle or structure HAD to become tight as a compensation?
We have to look beyond the sight of pain or tightness.

(there were a couple of others but you get the idea from the S&C Journal)

From the Journal of S&C Research:
An article on using Dynamic Field tests used in an NFL Combine "Setting" to identify Lower Extremity Functional Asymmetries - basically took 6 people (not a large study group) and ran them through three PERFORMANCE tests. Yet again a group that doesn't get the idea that movement quality must PRECEDE performance. NOT that performance testing isn't valid - it's just that movement lays the foundation for performance. Testing performance matters after movement quality is checked otherwise you might just be testing compensation.
I actually like the performance tests that were used but movement comes first.

A comparison of the Free Weight squat and Smith Machine Squat found that the Free Weight squat has 43% higher muscle activation. Well thank goodness that finally been proven!!??
A machine squat (especially a smith machine) can never approximate a actual Barbell Back Squat - period. But it was impressive to see the large difference between the two and it seemed that the researchers were actually looking to prove that the Smith Machine squat was as good as or better than the free weight squat. So Cudos (sp?) to them for simply reporting the data.

A Kinematic analysis of the powerlifting Squat and conventional deadlift in competition looking for crossover effect between the lifts caught my eye...
And actually had some good stuff in it - final findings indicate that the squat is a synergistic movement where the deadlift is a sequential lift. This makes sense to me.
They were looking at the sticking points in the lifts and comparing the two to find similarities or cross over but it appears that the difference in joint angles at the sticking points makes cross over difficult at best.
This also makes sense although I will have to say that #1 - it depends on your individual area of weakness, #2 - these were competition lifts (which is good and bad and they had a good section in the article re: the difference in competition lifts).
Now where they really "brought it home" in style - their data showed that as expected the sticking point in the deadlift was at the knees but what they found was that bar speed began to decrease BEFORE the bar reached the knees. So the popular method for working the sticking point of the knees in the deadlift is to perform "lockouts" with the bar starting at the knees but this misses the fact that bar speed has already gone down before this point and is working on the wrong "weak link".
They recommend starting the bar 6 cm below the knees to hit the entire range from deceleration to the knees.
Also they site the idea that people typically recommend removing the deadlift and just working on the squat - an idea which they refute and simply state that "...deadlift should be properly and strategically placed in a periodized training...."
"In conclusion, .....the best way to improve the deadlift is to deadlift."
Now where have I heard that before??????
Overall - nice study that was actually looking for some interesting stuff.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

More Christmas with Cats....

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas with cats....

Catching up and rolling on...

Spent the past couple of days trying to catch up - on sleep, email, invoices etc...
No matter what you have going on business and life march on the challenge is to learn on the fly and keep up the pace you set.

Rolling on - Indian Clubs again yesterday and today
These are feeling great and allowing me to practice my skill and get "active" again with some very mindful movement.

Writing, work and some interesting news...

The DVD of the month in Muscle and Fitness magazine for Jan 2010 -
Kalos Sthenos - Kettlebells from the Ground Up by Brett Jones, Gray Cook and Mark Cheng!
How about that - kettlebells and mindful movement as the DVD of the month in a bodybuilding magazine??!!!
I'm picking up a copy tomorrow to checkout the details.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


Hot showers, sleeping through the night - simple stuff but it all feels a bit better after a stay in the hospital!

Made a trip to the store to break my isolation - great to be out and about...

20 minutes (give or take) of Indian Club turning and a 20 or so minute walk for a bit of activity today - feeling good.

Now for some rest etc...

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


I'll be released from the hospital today. My 3 am blood test finally came back at the right level and I will be sent home at some point this morning or early afternoon.

Rest and recuperation will be the theme of the next few days. I don't know if you have ever had an extended hospital stay but lets just say that the hospital is NOT where you go for rest. Alarms, taking vitals, blood tests etc... are happening 24 hours a day.
Now I will say that I have received excellent care - simply excellent - but it is time to go home.

Thank you to everyone for your support over these past few days - it has been a great comfort and help.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Hopefully only one more day...

My blood levels are close but no cigar so one more day in the hospital - hopefully!!!
(fingers and toes crossed)

On a positive note I am moving around much better and the Hernia repair feels like it is healing up quite well. Still have a pressure dressing over the original hernia site to make sure no fluid accumulates there and I haven't had any negative effects to the hernia surgery due to the thinning of my blood.

Fewer blood tests and more waiting today....

On a related note - I was speaking to my Dr. this morning and he told me that it was fortunate that I'm not a complainer. Otherwise he might not have taken my shortness of breath quite so seriously. But I was aware enough of my situation to know that I needed to check in with my Dr.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

A new definition of Balance...

I am used to talking asymmetry and balancing out movement patterns and restriction in the body but I am involved in another type of balancing act at the moment - balancing out my blood levels and reaching therapeutic level with my medications.
Blood draws every 6 hours and tweaking the meds to get me in the right zones which will allow me to go home (looking like monday now...) and lots of rest are the order of the day.

"Shock Value"

We talk about shock value in re: to marketing, news stories etc... but shock value has a whole other meaning when you find out that the shortness of breath you almost blew off was actually a life threatening situation. I have been extremely blessed and fortunate in my life and was again in this case.
My PCP's nurse took my phone call on Friday morning and recognized the situation right away and they made sure I was taken care of quickly. (Guess who's getting a Christmas Card?)
I reached a point while waiting for the results of a CT scan with contrast (getting that contrast put in is an interesting experience) where I was complaining about the cost and "what a waste of time this was...." (i think my wife said something about being a "typical male" - not sure what that means...) when the Dr. came back and confirmed that it was indeed a PE and that I would be admitted etc... WHAM!!! Right between the eyes!
It's just a shock - no other way to describe it. I'm fine and everything is ok but the realization that it could have very quickly and very easily been far more is "shock value" as far as I am concerned at the moment.
Considering my age, fitness and the fact that I have basically zero other risk factors (other than recent surgery - a major risk factor) - it has even more "shock value" - I mean I am fit and strong etc.... this shouldn't be happening to me...all of that...
And my situation is really mild - it didn't go the other way and I did get taken care of and people receive far worse news or have far worse outcomes than I am having so don't think that I am inflating the experience. But - every experience is unique and significant to the individual.

Lesson learned - Listen to your body and get help from the right people.
And be thankful for every moment - "No day is guaranteed anyone."

Friday, December 04, 2009

Well - Sometimes you just never know...

After having shortness of breath overnight and checking in with my Dr. this morning I was sent to the ER for testing and turns out I have a Pulmonary Embolism (one clot in the lower lobe of the right lung).
I have been admitted the hospital and am on heparin and cumadin and might not get out till Monday - just what i had planned for the weekend....

Things are steady and looking good now - but you just never know....

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Day 5 post surgery

Huge improvement in the last couple of days!
Pain is greatly reduced and I am walking around a lot more.

Also spending a significant amount of time working on the two DVD + manual products that we will have coming out soon.

Thanks for all of the well wishes

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