Monday, April 30, 2007

Back From the RKC

Just got back from the RKC. I had the honor of instructing eight outstanding individuals as a Team Leader. The quality of the attendees was superb.

I'm constantly amazed every time I go to one of these events at the amount of information and instruction that gets packed into each weekend. My only disappointment is that I didn't get to hang out with Rif much at all. Tracy, his wife, attended and happened to be one of my assistants. She is an inspiration not only to all women but to all who are trying to lose weight. For those of you who don't know, she's lost over 100lbs just training with KBs! Outstanding! Rif presented on "Tension is Strength," which I thought was worth the price of admission alone. He had some outstanding gymnastics drills which demonstrated this point superbly. If there were ever any questions about the need for tension under heavy load, I believe they were answered here.

My disappointment of not hanging out with Rif was made up for by rooming with David Whitely and Doug Neopodal, both of whom were assisting but are Team Leaders in their own right. I laughed more this weekend than I did all of 2006! DW is so funny, I was literally laughing myself to sleep the first night! We also had some great training discussions about sytems, programs, state of the industry and our own plans for the future. These are two high quality trainers that need to met by as many people as possible for the positivity that will spill all over those they come in contact with.

Andrea DuCane led a warm-up on Saturday that was a mix of Z-Health R-Phase (she's an R-Phase Trainer) and some other drills. It was neat to see the mix of the two systems--RKC and Z. I also had a chance to help one of Doug's guys with his shoulder--he tweaked either his biceps tendon or his pec minor--I dunno--I only had 5 minutes to make a difference. He went from barely being able to flex and adduct his shoulder with a flexed elbow to almost 75% ROM. Not bad for 5 minutes worth of work. Behold the power of the CNS! I did get to sit next to Rif during the dinner on Friday night--he almost blew his dinner all over Kenneth Jay across the table during my "Brace or Suck In" TvA/spinal stability demonstration. I made it up to him (I think) by showing him some Z--elbow, wrist, and shoulder--to unlock his left hamstring during the marketing presentation (sorry, JDC). He was surprised to feel the difference it made, even while seated in with the knee in a flexed position.

We had two very quick, but very good workouts--one Friday after the cert and one Saturday after the cert. Here they are:

A. Drop sets, no rest:
Double C+P: 2x40kg/3+3, 2x32kg/3+3, 2x28kg/3+3, 2x24kg/3+3, 2x20kg/3+3 followed immediately by 3 pull-ups
5 guys did this--4 instructors and one attendee (a small (160lbs?)but very powerful guy from CA named Russell) one after another.
We did this for 3 rounds. I led and repeated each set after the last guy finished his set of pull-ups.

B. Same format but with FSQ and Dips--only one round since I had to present on the FSQ the next day and we had a dinner to get to.
FSQ: 2x40kg/3, 2x32kg/3, 2x28kg/3, 2x24kg/3, 2x20kg/3 followed immediately by 5 dips.

Total time: somewhere between 10-15'.

Saturday: This was much faster and was set up as a complex.
A. Double Snatch+Double Clean + See-saw Press + FSQ
2x32--3 reps of each exercise
3 guys went thru this but I was the only one who did the Snatch and I was back in just after the last guy finished his set.

Done in 10 minutes or less.

Quick and dirty workouts but they got the job done.

Special thanks to Pavel for allowing me the honor to serve as one of the instructors. He is a classy guy, excuse me, man: what you see is what you get. Period. For anybody who hasn't gone to an RKC weekend--Go.

I will stand by my opinion that between Z and the RKC, this is the wave of the future for fitness results. Period.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Overlooking the Obvious...

Met with Dr. Cobb again this morning. I love picking this guy's brain. He's full of outstanding training insights. We were looking at this right knee of mine. It cooled off significantly yesterday after performing a lot of applied R-Phase drills/activities/exercises--more on that after I fully digest it. Long story short, we missed the talar joint. I'd done a good job with all my ankle mobs, but it was still stuck and apparently it has been for as long as I'd been experiencing popliteal strains--which has been about 10 years. He did some passive care--adjustments and then I followed that up with an active mobility drill. So although the premise of Z is active work, sometimes there is a place for passive care. But it is almost always followed up by active work. Interesting stuff for sure.

Tomorrow we're going to the platform to give it one more shot (I know, I know--after that last post...). We spoke about training and integrating productive, short workouts with a hectic business schedule. It was similar to a brief e-mail exchange I had with Dan John: light technique work on the lifts broken into parts. I will probably hit one heavy training day per week--probably on the weekend when things are more relaxed and stress levels are down.

Light KB work tonite--very light. Feeling very tired after yesterday's full day of Z and my private session today.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Ze House! Ze House!

To twist the immortal words of Tatu from Fantasy Island...

The house has taken my attention, like it or not, for the better part of four months now. Got the big stuff finished last weekend: workers in the house last Friday til Midnight and until 11pm Saturday. And yes, I'm proud to say, I did set up my living room furniture and dining room furniture--for the most part. Now they're just dragging their feet on the punchlist...

Here are my thoughts in no particular order, based on what I've experienced this year so far, that I'm running by a few coaches who have some years on me:
  1. Life is short and priorities change. You're a young man when you're 24. You're a man at 34. If you are still chasing "the glory" at 34 that you were at 24, you may need to re-evaluate your priorities.
  2. Like it or not, your hormonal profile, recovery ability, interests, and responsibilities change between 18 and 34. If you don't change your behavior to accomodate these changes, chances are at the very least you're missing out on all that life has to offer and at the very worst you probably have a social disorder/disease.
  3. Fifteen years of heavy lifting, whatever form it takes, is probably all you have, unless you're a super genetic [possibly] juiced up freak.
  4. Nobody but you cares about your accomplishments/records/etc. Somebody will always better you and be better than you and somebody will always be worse than you.
  5. At the end of the story, the tortoise beat the hare. He just kept plodding along and wasn't distracted by all the...distractions (profound, I know). He kept the finish line in his [mental] sights.
  6. Life's activities are a combination of strength-endurance and power-endurance. Have high levels of both, and the physicalites of life will be relatively easy.
  7. Time is irreplaceable and precious. I've spent wayyy too much time allowing my training schedule to dictate my life. I think it's about time to work my training schedule into my life instead of vice versa.
  8. Olympic lifting is a young man's game. I am no longer a young man.
  9. Olympic lifting can longer be the priority it is. I am on the verge of making a huge transition in one of my businesses and that requires my attention.

So, my right knee doesn't like squatting right now. After taking last weekend completely off from all lifting and Z, my knee cooled off. I performed some bodyweight squats this week and inflamed it. I am running out of time, patience, and desire to figure out how to fix it so I can squat heavy. I no longer hurts to perform pistols, so I hit those this week along with primarily KB lifts.

Today, I capped off the week with the following:

A. Deadlift, barefoot, alternating mixed grip: 245/5, 335/5, 385/5, 405/5; ~3 mins rest

B. Double KB Clean and Press: 2x32kg, 10 sets of 5

C. 2 Hand Swings w/48kg: 7 sets of 10 every minute on the minute

That's all I felt like doing. I have to teach at the RKC next weekend so I need some KB time. The good news is that I feel like my conditioning is up so I shouldn't have any problem while there.

More thoughts on Z, O-lifting, and life as they come...

Friday, April 13, 2007

The John Wayne Weekend

I believe it was John Wayne who said, "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do." So, after knocking off work tonite, I'm going home to paint my house that should've already been painted. What's this gotta do with Z-Health and strength training? Nothing and everything.

Stress is either good or bad. Training is a bad stress. It causes the body to break down and you get stronger--adapt--as it builds itself back up. Laughing and having a good time (within reason--drunken stupors don't count) is good stress and aids in the training process.

I can't remember the last time I laughed--a really good from the bottom-of-your-gut laugh. I can't remember the last time I had a really good training session--it was before I went on the cruise back in February--so at least two months.

This week, I did two days of singles: Snatch above knee, Clean above knee, and Back Squat, each with 70%. Then I did some rehab work--KB and bodyweight and last night, chins with weight (+16kg/3 x4 sets; +24kg/2 x3; +32kg/1 x2) and descending sets/increased reps with the KB press.

I also got some ART yesterday on my left elbow and right knee. I've been doing Z for a year and am ecstatic with the results. However, due to the stress levels, I needed outside assistance. I followed it up with some Z and knew it was the right decision.

So as soon as I get done writing this, I'm going home and cleaning house--literally. The plumber owes me money and was supposed to finish the kitchen Tuesday. So I have another plumber coming to finish the job today. It'll cost me extra, but it's worth it. The painter's crew hasn't shown up for the last two days. I'll put on some old clothes, cut in the edges, and get rollin'. The first two floors will be done this weekend--by tomorrow night. I know, cause I'm doing it myself.

That's my training for today--my training stressors. Sometimes a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. When I hit the platform on Sunday I know I'll be stronger for it.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Quickest Way to Drop 10 lbs...

Last Sunday night I was feeling pretty good, my plan of using fives had been working--I was upto 220lbs. However, making a transition to my low volume weeks didn't turn out the way I envisioned them. The tension around the house was so thick this week--the contractors have been in my house in some way, shape or form, for almost 4 months (all this to do a 3 week job) that you could cut it with a knife. My wife is not happy which means I'm carrying her burdens. In my book they were seriously slacking last week and the week before. I offered them a bonus to get done by Easter and suddenly their butts' are on fire.

So, combine that stress, with training stress, and my body was not too happy. It's unloaded the 10lbs I've gained. Bottomed out at 210lbs yesterday. So I got a pizza for dinner. That was good.

Now on top of this, both my knees have been sore for the last 3 weeks or so. And my right knee went haywire after front squats on Wednesday. Popliteus is not happy, methinks. This has made me rethink the following post from 3.26.07:
As far as resistance, I really truly favor the low reps: 1-3 is best for
me--at least for my mind. But when I read my training logs and look at the
tonnage I was able to lift in the past, I accomplished this by training in the
3-6 rep range between 60-80%. When I needed to peak, then the reps were lowered and the intensity was increased. Bottom line: I need to build mass to fill out
the 105's. The surest quickest way to do this is to use the aforementioned
parameters. My pysche doesn't necessarily like it, because, let's face it, the
loads used are just plain lighter. I like heavy. But the proof is in the past.
As long as I'm using the Elements of Efficiency, I'll grow like a weed
I think all the time I spent loading the body with those parameters would've been even better if I weren't so compensated at the time.

So here's the theory (some of this I came up with, some of it was corroborated by Dr. Cobb, and the rest is me trying to distill/repeat some of the heady concepts I discuss with him to the best of my ability--I often think much gets lost between my calls with him and these posts, so apologies to everyone ahead of time):

My CNS responds so quickly that this type of loading reproduces my past "pain patterns" based on it's past experience with these loading parameters, which drove my body to it's breaking point. Of course, this seems not to make any sense upon a second read. So, I'll try to break it down even more. Based on the SAID principle, you get what you train for. In the past, the unfortunate by-product of this type of training was pain. My body has been conditioned to produce pain as a result of this type of training. So I do get some positive from the training, but also with a harsh dose of negative too. Perhaps this is why I instinctively prefer the lower reps: no/less pain.

The frustrating thing about this is the constant change. I really wish I was a "6 week guy"--one of those people who can stay on a program for 6 weeks an make progress. So, back to the drawing board: sets of 1-3 and I'm just going to have to push the volume there. Freaky stuff.

I'm taking the rest of this week off and just playing with the KBs. A little CNS detox I guess. Next week I'll start back in on the lower reps and the get back to the O-lifts. I'll eat a little extra and hopefully the weight will rebound back up to close to 220lbs...

Today I used a 40kg KB and did Pavel's ETK Rite of Passage: ladders + chins: 5 ladders of 1,2,3 followed up by the corresponding number of chins with 60s of rest between sets. Worked up a good lather. Good stuff.