Archives For November 2011

My week in training-Saturday

November 26, 2011 — 1 Comment

Today focused on Squats and Pressing.  The squats were done with 2 kb’s, and were never even from side to side. The video has the weights etc…


Wednesday did two sessions-a small KB session in the morning, and another small session in the afternoon of balancing and a little climbing, then in the evening worked on some planks.

 Kettlebells on the beach

Thursday (thanksgiving) was a little regenerative workout in the morning (planks, prone hip extensions, bridges ) but besides that I didn’t do a damn thing.

Friday I went with a group of friends and hiked 1,500″ up over a distance of 1.5 miles carrying a 20kg bell.  Barefoot. It took 30 minutes to the top, and another 30 down. The bell was not put down except at the top of the hike. That’s fatiguing.

A Week In My Training-Tuesday

November 22, 2011 — 3 Comments

Earlier today with Brian Tabor I did Bench Press and Trap Bar deadlifts and my sets were

  • bench-135×5, 185×4, 205×3, 225×2, 275×1, 225×10
  • TrapDL-135×5, 185×5, 235×5, 285×5, 285×5, 285×5

Then we did some agility work, rolls, balancing and ground movement out in the sun on the turf field at SDSU.  Finished with 20 minutes of sauna.

This evening went to open gymnastics.  This was play, but holy hell I’m gonna be sore as shit.  

  • Pole climbs with jump into foam pit x 4
  • backflips into foam pit x 5
  • front flips into foam pit x 3
  • kong vaults into foam pit x 3
  • big ass diving flips into foam pit x 5 (a note about foam pits-it is an amazing workout to get out of a damn foam pit!!)
  • parallel bars back and forth for about 15 minutes of just stuff
  • 3 upside down rope climbs (shoulda filmed the first!)
  • about 30-40 various vaults over those big pads
  • 5 back flips on the floor
  • like 10 handstand attempts
  • pistols on balance beam around 5/leg-from sitting to standing, really hard
  • precision jumps beam to beam-did this til someone ate shit, like ten 6′ jumps
  • crow pose pushup into handstand x 5
  • sommersaults
  • handstand walking
  • TGU’s of 120lb girl (2 on right side, failed on left, dammit)
  • rolls with big circle pad

And that’s play. Not exercise per se. And there is a difference.  But I’ll still be sore.


This week will probably be as typical of my training as any, given my pretty unique travel schedule.  Basically I am focusing on getting my TGU to be awesomer than yours-and I’m talking to everyone. So I’m doing TGU’s with lots of different things, because I feel like it forces my body to adapt and be stable under many objects.  Also, I’m not going super heavy on any squatting (little knee thing), but am doing mostly odd object (like a human) or KB front squats.  Then I will do easy deadlifts every so often.  Pressing, balancing, and climbing….Ultimately It will all depend on who and where I’m training.

Yesterday I trained with Franz Snideman, senior RKC in his studio.

Warmup-Forward, backwards, side, and hard rolls.  Some ground movements too.

Workout-TGU sets

  • 16kg, press in each position-1/arm
  • 24kg, bottom up-2/arm (success on both arms, left is getting awesomer)
  • 44kg, 2/arm
  • 110lb with ez curl bar 1/arm (left arm got up then stumbled on way down)

100lb ball shouldering, 3 sets of each side, 100lb clean and press x 2, 100lb snatch x3 (only caught 1)

150lb ball shouldering, just 1 per side (it hurst the ear)

150lb ball clean and press-just one to try

two attempts of picking up the 150 and 100-failed to stand up, but did load the lap with both

50lb reverse get up

4 squats of the 100lb ball and 50lb ball hugged

double KB front squat with

  • double 40kgx2
  • 40kg and 44kg (1 per side)

That was it…here is some video of it.


November 14, 2011 — 2 Comments

No, not the “be good 80% of the time and don’t give a shit 20% of the time” 80/20 rule.  The other one: 80% of your gains come from 20% of the stuff you do.

The very awesome carnivorous man behind the turn around of, Adam Bornstein (@bornfitness) posted something today: “if you change your exercises every single workout, you’re probably limiting what you’re capable of achieving #thehardtruth” I agree with a caveat or two.
Why I agree: working towards goals means improving in certain things, and in order to reach those goals you must practice whatever IT is that you are trying to improve.  Repetition of good practice gets you where you want to be. Indeed this is true in respect to S&C.  Martin Berkham of generally has people workout 3x week only doing the big lifts, and recovering fully afterwards; but there is no arguing that his program is solely focused on strength and getting lean and jacked. I have no problem with this if that is the only goal someone has. Berkham’s program (and other similar programs) works really well for those two goals, involves little variance, is easy to follow, and requires relatively little time commitment.  I don’t like two of these, the other two I do like.
Little variance
1. Boring. As. Shit. The counter point is “is progress boring? is getting leaner boring?” and they’re good counters.  I won’t even argue them, except for once you’ve reached a certain leanness, and a certain level of strength, I think getting better at other stuff too is a good idea. I certainly believe so.  I’m not impressed when people add a few lbs to a lift each month-there is a point of diminishing returns of how strong you are relative to athleticism and physical abilities.  So, once you’ve reached some basic strength levels, it’s probably not too important if your back squat, dead lift, or bench improve a few lbs.  AND, once those gains start coming slower and slower, which they will, that’s when people get discouraged, and start doing really dumb stuff because they’ve stalled, and been bored as shit for a while.  My thought is: keep doing the big lifts in the program, but focus on gaining new skills.  I say this because strength maintenance is easier than strength gain.
2. Specific adaptations. You get good at the handful of things you do, maybe even really good, but you suck at everything else.  You can’t dance, you can’t change direction, you basically are an uncoordinated yet fit looking person.
Relatively little time
1. I don’t like the minimal effective dose attitude at all. It annoys me. Why are we encouraging people to move as little as possible? We should be encouraging people to move as much as possible. I’m disinteresting in perpetuating a lazy, pathetic culture that wants easy minimal effort approaches to getting the things they want.
Easy to follow
1. Awesome because as a whole our society is predominately incredibly uneducated in regards to fitness and nutrition and health. These “only do the big lifts” systems cater and are great for the people out there (lots of them) who do not give a shit about learning enough to form any of their own thoughts on health, or to question things being told to them. Please see Adam’s articles debunking myths here, here, and here as a start.
2. People can’t afford personal trainers, or any good coaching.
It works really well
1. Just reiterating that if your only goal is to look jacked, and gain strength, a lean gains-esque program is awesome.
So, rather than just sounding negative, here is what I personally like to do, and I feel works well for utilizing the principles of the 80/20 rule.
Prioritize your individual goals, be it strength, mobility, awesome pecs, whatever, and do as Adam says: repeat them often enough to actually get closer to achieving what you are capable of achieving IN THOSE GOALS. (I think everyone’s priority should be to move better-and I know that is terribly general, and am doing a post about that).  Then, add in the right amount of variance in your workouts to keep things fun and interesting, to not neglect other skills and capabilities, to spend more time moving, that are easy to do, and aren’t just plain stupid.  The right amount of variance will vary from person to person, because too much “stuff” will take away from the goals, but amounts less than that do all the positives I just wrote above.  And just plain stupid stuff involves many things we see in gyms quite frequently-know why you are doing something. My variance stuff involves unilateral work, explosive training, core stuff (i hesitate saying that…), climbing and other MovNat things, playing sports that you enjoy, hiking.
The big guns of S&C.  S=Deadlift, front squat, overhead press, pull-ups (weighted); C=pushups, horizontal row, some rotation, some carrying and some explosive thing. And sprinting (but please do not just start sprinting without working up to it for god’s sake). Do the big guns twice a week, and work hard and heavy for 3 sets, I like triples on the S and volume on the C, and singles on the explosive (not max singles, just explosive singles). Really quick something like:
Mon-Workout A 1. Heavy BB DL 3×3 & 1 arm bench press 3x an easy 5, supersetted. 2.Weighted pull-ups 3×3 and step ups 3×10/leg supersetted. 3. Power cleans 15, 1 rep every 30 seconds. 4. 2×10 alternating med ball wall rugby throws 5. unilateral farmer walks 3xgym floor length/arm
Tuesday-Pushups, horizontal rows, rowing machine, jump rope, and other stuff you find fun. But not much, and not heavy. Go hiking and do fun stuff for example. PLAY.
Wednesday-Workout B 1. heavy BB front squat 3×5 & BB overhead press 3×3, supersetted, 2. Bent over DB row 3×5 and bulgarian split squats DB goblet hold 3×5/leg 3. DB snatch 20 total, alternating arms, 1 rep every 30 seconds. 4. 20 half getups 5. KB or DB unilateral rack walks 3xgym floor length/arm
Thursday-PLAY like but different to Tuesday
Friday-workout A
Sat-Sprint and play
Sun-Watch football and drink beer.
The following week do B on mon and fri, and A on wednesday.
Each workout starts with turkish getups and dynamic stretching drills, and in-between pairings would go ankle mob, wall slides, and the workout would end with quad&hip combo stretch.
The caveat here is if you are lacking basic strength or mobility, and/or are injured-then you should leave the playing around and exploring until you’ve fixed yourself and gained a good strength and mobility base.
So that’s my more than 140 character response to Adam’s tweet.

Barefoot running argument

November 14, 2011 — 5 Comments

The problem I see with what feels like most academics and scientists is they are such slaves to our science and technology that it blinds them to common sense. For example, with no definitive studies “proving” barefooting is better for everyone, a scientist will default to the assumption that the tech we have developed with our shoes/cushioning/orthotics is invariably better than what common sense tells some of us: our body has evolved allowing us to safely run barefoot! Also this reminds me of the nutrition mess which we are in-reductionism.
My thoughts are easy enough: given the time to work to skillful (barefoot) running technique, the impact of running, inherent to both heel striking and mid/forefoot striking, will be better handled/dispersed through the body when compared to a heel strike-which no matter the skill acquired in heel striking, will always transmit the force up the chain often resulting in more stress on knee/hip etc (vs force distributed with lower leg parts when barefooting) The softer the shoe the harder the foot strike as the body searches for input about where it is on earth. Skilled (important to say skilled) bare footing should see less impactful landings, and as such less stress on the body. However, this takes time to (re)learn how to run-and lots of people use the excuse/argument that traditional running is as safe because BEGINNERS have poor barefoot technique and as a result have impact forces, an the resultant injuries, which are as bad as regular running. It’s a skill, like Olympic lifting, you have to get good at it before doing lots of volume or intensity.

And this came out today

But really my feelings are best shown in a picture.