Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Only a Dozen, Then Girlie-Hands

Just a quick metabolic night: Snatches with the 32kg.

Weight felt light, but hands couldn't hack it before the palms started to rip.

30s work, (5+5) then 30s rest for 12 rounds.

The bone rhythm really cooks everything--much better and much more explosive than the currently popular way of "drawing the bow". Hams, gluts, and erectors, all filled with blood--same thing with biceps.

From a CV point of view, not super-demanding. I guess that's what swings are for. However, gotta train the hands for multiple sets of 10 with the 48.

Back on the platform tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I Survived.

Feel good today after the platform yesterday. I can therefore only conclude one of two things:
  1. It'll all hit me tomorrow.
  2. The Z on my left shoulder and the Z bone rhythm work on my right leg specifically is working.

I'd like to think "#2."

I'm really enjoying (what a strange word to apply to my opposed to compulsion...) the Z-based lunges. They work the snot out of my legs and for the first time in my life (training life) that I can remember, I am able to lunge routinely without pain in the right knee. What a fantastic feeling! Not only that, they continue to build muscle in all the right places. Today, I performed them with the KB in the press lockout position, again, on the opposite arm from the lunge leg. This position has been instrumental, even critical, in the newfound functioning of the leg.

I'm very interested to see how my squat session on the June 5th is going to go based on how well these lunges are working.

Today's session:

A. KB Press: 40kg/6 x5 sets; 3 minutes rest (I forgot what a great protocol this is for myofibrillar hypertrophy--I'm not a "pump-chaser" but you sure get one with this.)

B. Overhead KB Contralateral Z-based Lunge: 16kg/5+5 x 7 sets; 2 minutes rest. This felt so good I was compelled to keep going.

C. RowPUPs, one arm at at time: 24kg/5+5 x3; 60 seconds rest.

Some metabolic work tomorrow.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Thank You.

A big Thank You to all our men and women in the armed forces and all those who have served and the families who are living without loved ones who paid for our freedom with their lives, once again reminding us that Freedom Isn't Free.

I'd like to publicly honor my dad who served 26 years in the US Air Force. He served in Vietnam in 1968, stared down the Soviets from Great Britain at the height of the Cold War, and was in a support role during Desert Shield/Desert Storm. He retired in 1992 as a Senior Master Sergeant. He is now a Chaplain to a Royal Army Unit stationed at a Royal Air Force base near Cambridge in England. Thanks for your sacrifice, Dad.

I'd also like to remember both my grandfathers who both served in the Army during World War II.

I'm honored to come from such a line of great men.

Flirting With Danger?

Went to the platform today for two reasons: 1) my psyche; 2) test out my current routine

There were some definite differences:
  1. The right knee was fine. The bone rhythm work is working.
  2. Left lat is engaged in a support role in overhead work now--left upper trap no longer hypertonic
  3. Right leg musculature working more--workload feels evenly distributed between left and right legs
  4. Left hip/glute working--able to load from start of the pull
  5. My technique is starting to return to it's original form--if not better. More "folding" for lack of a better term. It's the difference between the Soviet technique of the 70s-80s and the dominant technique today. See the link below for my all-time favorite lifter's style, Anatoli Pisarenko--a superheavyweight monster.

Tomorrow's another day and we'll see how the body feels from today's training session.

Kept it very light and broke some of my own "rules:" Performed 5s instead of doubles. No particular reason except that my gut told me to.

Here's the session:

A. Snatch from above knee: 40kg/5, 50,5, 55/5, 60/5, 65/5, 70/5; no straps, full grip

B. Clean from above knee and Push Press:
70kg/5+5, 75/5+5, 80/5+5, 85/5+5

May fool around on the platform twice a week and keep my strength work with the KB on the other 2 days. I'll probably use the following loading pattern:

50-60; 55-65; 60-70; etc.

Decided that I will barbell squat relatively heavy on the 5th of June in an attempt to reproduce symptoms in my right knee so it can be nice and aggravated for my Dr's visit. That'll be fun.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Optimum v. Maximum

I had an English prof in college who personally hated any writer who started off pieces with definitions from a dictionary. So, in honor of this prof:

Optimum: (from Merriam Webster)
1 : the amount or degree of something that is most favorable to some end; especially : the most favorable condition for the growth and reproduction of an organism 2 : greatest degree attained or attainable under implied or specified conditions —optimum adjective

Maximum: (from Merriam Webster)
1 a : the greatest quantity or value attainable or attained b : the period of highest, greatest, or utmost development 2 : an upper limit allowed (as by a legal authority) or allowable (as by the circumstances of a particular case) —maximum adjective

(I'm not a writer, I'm a bystander who's got to get his thoughts about his training onto "paper" or he'll go nuts.)

I've lived my training career chasing the latter and now I find myself striving for the former. I think most of us as athletes, and most of us who derive a living from training others, are many times guilty of framing training in a maximum light instead of an optimum light.

Take yesterday's training session for example. I am quite capable of squatting 2x32kgs for reps, how many--I dunno--challenge me. But, apparently the load is or was yesterday, too heavy to focus on the bony rhythms I'm striving for while squatting. How do I know? Last night, the knee was pissed off. I had to hit some basic rehab work to re-establish the rhythms. Today, I performed almost the same workload with half the weight and my right leg--hams and adductors especially, are screaming. (We'll see how the left glute is later...) The difference? Optimum/optimal loading versus Maximum/maximal loading. Sometimes the needed stimulus to elicit a training result isn't always "maximum." I'd think this'd be obvious to me for as long as I've been training. But, for as long as I've been training, I've chased a number as the outcome, not a sensation or feeling.

I wonder how different my competitive career would've been if I had learned this hard-fought lesson earlier in life. Yeah, there was always the bio-feedback--but this is different. How so? Physiologically, optimum allows maximum to occur, but not necessarily the opposite. Take the current trend of the wide stance box squat used by Westside influenced powerlifters for example. This style allows for maximal weight to be lifted in the assistance gear that these lifters use. However, this is not an optimal squat pattern because of the torque created at the joints due to the wide stance. What will be the long term ramifications for using such a style? Hip injuries? Back injuries? Knee injuries? Time will tell.

Most of us are not (or no longer) training for anything maximum. We are training for health, body comp change, and pyscho-sociological relief. Many argue that less is truly more. I personally have gotten caught up in the more is better many times in the past and even a little bit now. There is such a thing as too much work when training. To quote Brett Jones, "Just because you can doesn't mean you should." If we are over-stressed, under-recovered, and malnourished, the best plan on paper to accomplish your goals can be the worst thing for you.

More thoughts on this later.

Today's training:

A. Double KB Clean + Press: 2x32kg/10+10 x4; 2 minutes rest

B. Double KB FSQ: 2x16kg/10 x4; 2 minutes rest

C. KB Snatch: 32kg/5+5 every 30 seconds for 5 minutes.
This was good as snatches bother my knee. I was able to find the right rhythm between the ankle, knee, and hip here and this lit up my right hamstrings. Very pleased.

Tomorrow's off. Need it. Feel sore and tired. Just Z.

Monday, May 21, 2007

KB FSQs In Long Spine Are No Joke!

I don't know how many tons I've front squatted with a barbell over the years. I had some pretty good numbers (not real great--405/1, 385/3, 374/3 x3) but I don't recall them being as challenging on the midsection as 2x32kg KBs done in long spine--which means the opposite of Hard Style. LS is where you lenghten from crown of your head to your coccyx and allow your muscles to recruit as your body deems necessary as opposed to using tension--tensing the abs, active negatives, etc. I really felt the torso musculature kick on. This is an advanced technique. If I didn't use LS, then I would've created a flexion moment in the lumbar spine and could've produced a back injury. No excessive lumbar erector recruitment. The strange thing is that my legs were fine. No problem there--all torso work. Fun stuff.

Today's training:

A. KB Clean and Press, L then R: 40kg/5+5; 90s rest

B. KB FSQ: 2x32kg/5 x5; 2 minutes rest; Back down sets: 1x32kg, L, rest 60s then 1x32kg R.
Probably too heavy to work my new form, but I don't have 2x24's yet. May have to mix and match tomorrow.

C. Row-PUPs (rows from push-up position--I hate the name "renegade row")
2x16kg/5 x5; 60s rest; also incredibly difficult in LS

Tomorrow is more high rep Double C+P. Probably 10s.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Body Never (Well Almost) Forgets

Went to the platform yesterday for a quick DL session: 80%/2 for 10 sets, with 2 minutes rest.

185kg (or 407 for those of you not familiar with la systemme internationale...)

Messed around with the mixed grip until the 6th set, where for grins and giggles I used the hook grip: The bar went up with amazing ease. Not that the previous sets were a problem, but this was much easier. The only hard part was the pressure on the thumbs on the second rep. I wore my trusty "Adi-lite" sandals, which add about another inch--inch-and-a-half from which to pull.

I can only chalk this up to the thousands of reps of cleans that I must've done with the hook. This of course is the SAID Principle in full effect. Once you program it in with reps and weight, any pattern is hard to unwire.

On a side, but still related note, I played with the bar in the rack position: It felt more square and centered. I snatched just the bar for some reps--felt different, but I still don't know how--perhaps I was able to stay "longer." I also performed a set of overhead squats. Left shoulder and the hips must still not be set because the right knee popped just like it'd been doing as of late on the barbell lifts. No swelling this morning or last night. That's progress.

It'll be interesting to see how the summer plays out with only DLs for bar work and nothing but KBs and bodyweight plus resistance for a training program.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Don't Think...Do.

Anther one of those types of sessions today. Just had to train without thinking. Trying to stimulate some muscle with drop sets:

Clean and Press is the exercise of choice (no surprise there)

2x32kg/10+10, followed immediately by
2x24kg/10+10, followed immediately by
2x16kg/10+10, followed by 5 minutes rest.

The drop sets took approx. 2.5 minutes to complete.

Just did 2 rounds.

That was enough.

The temptation was to stop momentarily between sets. But this is always a mistake. The scared child in your head starts to scream if that happens and you will inevitably come up with some excuse to rest, or worse, stop. This of course doesn't mean that you keep going no matter what happens: obviously you stop if your form falls apart. So, you keep moving, keep moving, keep moving until you complete your goal (quality and safety are of course part of the goal). Then and only then do you evaluate what you just went through. Feedforward versus feedback. Obviously then you use low skill (to you) exercises for this style of training. High skill exercises performed in this manner leads to form degradation, cementing of faulty movement patterns, and eventually injury.

These are also the types of sessions that can scare you (high reps always scare me). You think about the amount of work ahead of you and experience emotional arousal, which you have to control to make it through the exercise/session. I [sometimes] like these workouts because they are situations I have to conquer. Of course they're artificial, because I determine them, but they seem to help in life's tougher moments. They create inner strength. Only you have the power to do them or walk away. The few times I've walked away, I've always felt smaller for it.

There are of course other applications of this in life: dieting; studying for a degree; building a business to name a few. Many people fail to achieve much more than mediocrity because they think too much. Then doubt and fear enter in and all is lost unless these are conquered.

The key then, is after careful analysis, to walk away or jump in. Of course one is aware of the surrounding environment and processes that environment while in the middle of the challenge, if accepted, but the reaction is visceral--it comes from instinct. Only when said challenge is met, is it evaluated, for good or for bad, for application to the next challenge.

I'm ready for my next challenge--in fact, I just learned about it today. It could be painful or it could be fruitful, either way, a part of me feels that much more prepared for it after that silly little workout I performed today.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Slaying the Beast

The more I think about it, the more I want to be able to do everything with the 48kg, single or double, with ease. And by ease, I mean for 10 reps or more. I think that's a worthy goal for me while I'm sidetracked with this knee rehab. This isn't specific to the platform, but I can't help but think that my overall strength will be up once and if I get back on it.

Tonite's training:

A. Clean + Press, L then R, no rest between sides: 11x1+1; 60s rest

B. Double KB Squat: 2x16kg/5 x6 sets; 60s rest

C. Z Lunges, R then L: Bodyweight 2x20+20; 60s rest

Goin' home. Long day.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

152 BPM

That was my HR after 3 x 20+20 Clean and Press with 2x24kg, resting 3 minutes between sets.

Following the ACSM's guidelines for MHR (220-age = MHR), I was at 81% of my MHR. Sure felt like more. I have no CV endurance. Not that I care...a lot. Started thinking about the importance of this after reading "The Doctor's Heart Cure" by Al Sears, MD last year. He's a big advocate of short intervals over a short work period--10 minutes, I believe (smells like GS--I hate that smell...). If I'm not competing anymore or even on the platform, I've got to come up with a way to tax the Ol' Ticker so messing around a little today. This was just a "wonder if I can do it..." session. Did it. No need to do it again. Maybe the 32's...Probably rarely do this type of "high rep" training, just shortened rest periods with heavier weight to move the heart. Maybe once a month or so.

The beautiful thing about this session was maintaining long spine under load for this length of time: My posture is bolt upright and it's not muscular tension either. It's axial external loading. That's the cool thing about the CNS: ask it the right question, it gives you the right answer. The interesting thing about this was the the KB ballistics are hard enough to give you decent CV stimulation, but easy enough to be good to the body--improving function, if performed correctly.

Today's session:

A. KB FSQ: 2x16kg/5 x5; 2' rest

B. Double KB Cl+Pr: 2x24kg; 3' rest

Taking tomorrow off--just Z.

MRI is on June 6th. D-Day--the beginning of the end for Adolph Hitler 63 years ago. (I'm a history buff.)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Deadlifts, Kettlebells, and MRIs, Oh My!

Admittedly, deadlifting excites me about as much as watching paint dry. After years of wrestling with the snatch and the clean, the deadlift just pales in comparison. I can't get excited about training it. It doesn't mean that it's not important or shouldn't be used--I just don't find any thrill in it. I think I'll run a cycle at the end of the week--multiple sets of low reps. Five's too many--1-2 reps per set, 5-10 sets. In the mean time, I'll get plenty of stimulation from the KB.

I've been thinking about a Clean + Press with 48kg for a 5x5+5. (Not to mention, Double 48s for 5x5.) I think it would be a challenging goal. Not only that, but the benefits of unilateral training cannot be denied: shoring up weak points; striving for bilateral structural balance; CNS "relaxation" from bilateral work; increased local muscular stimulation due to greater ROM and proprioceptive demand--to name a few. I've also got to throw some swings or snatches back into the mix for GPP/improved CV function/spare tire relief.

Finally pulling the trigger on the MRI. Called the Ortho's "administrative assistant" (secretary) today. No word on how soon I can get in. But there's gotta be something else to the swelling. Best to find out.

On Squatting...

Starting a KB FSQ session this week: 4 days a week--5-6 sets of 5. Started with 2x16kg today. More challenging than I thought--not the weight, the movement; trying to get the ankles, knees, and hips to not only move simultaneously on one side but both sides. Should be fun. About 2 weeks here and then I'll move on to pistols.

Today's workout (if I'm not O-lifting it's a workout, not "training"):

A. KB Cl+Pr: 40kg/5+5 x5; 2 mins. rest; probably cut the rest each week by 15s until I'm down to 60s rest between sets.

B. KB FSQ: 2x16kg/5 x6; 2 mins rest; weight easy, technique difficult, especially flatfooted instead of with my weightlifting shoes.

C. Pull-ups: 3x6 bodyweight; 2 mins. rest

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Training ADD

I just love to train (most of the time). But honestly, it depends on the day and my mood that day as to what I "feel" like doing. Today, I was supposed to finish this week's DL cycle but I blew it off cause I didn't "feel" like doing it. I needed something fast and moderately hard. Then I remembered the workouts I've been doing the last couple of Saturdays:

Double C+P: 2x32kg; 10x5+5, decrease the rest over a 3 week period.

I started at 2' between sets. Last week was 90s, and today was 60s. Not too tough--but why? I don't recall ever doing this before. Perhaps it was the DLs over the course of the last 2+ weeks. Perhaps it's just more KB work. Yesterday, I hit 2x5+5 on the C+PuPr with the 48kg. The only hard things were the reps (I don't really like more than 2...) and the torso stability. Other than that, it felt very light going up and resting overhead.

I'm quasi-training for a DL meet, but only cause I have friends who do it. Other than that, it's completely boring.

The right quad, hams, and adductors are filling in nicely with my lunge training. It'll be interesting to see what happens when I return to the bar for squats. Gotta make it thru KB squats and pistols before I get there though.

Back to the Double C+P: I'd feel pretty good when I can so that same program with the 40kgs and then move on to the 48kgs. Double C+P for a 10x5 with 48's would be strong. Something to work toward.

I'll return to the DL on Monday: 375-415 next week as my top sets. Haven't played in the 400s for awhile so this will be fun. The mixed/alternate grip is still very strange after spending 12 years deadlifting w/ straps and an overhand grip. (Yes, weightlifters use straps for their pulls--saves their grip and the skin on their hands, and the thumb.) Pretty soon, I'll be back upto fightin' weight.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Neural Tension

...was up yesterday: poor sleep, early wake-up call, irritable stomach, and higher reps the night before. So right knee was fired up and all the shoulder work didn't cool it off until almost 8pm. So no training yesterday. I was Jones'n for the DL but I erred on the side of caution. Knee feels great today, which is good cause I have to hit those specialty lunges. Should be fun.

And Footwear...

I love how many different shoes women have (generalization here). And I'm amazed at how they will stuff their feet into shoes that just don't fit well all for the sake of glamour and fashion. One of my female clients has been having issues and her feet are particularly sensitive. Since we've been doing Z, her big toes have straightened (no more hallux valgus), her posture improved significantly (none of those stupid-I-can't-stand-'em YTWLs either), and her strength has gone thru the roof. Back to the feet: one of the tenets of Z-Health is the importance of areas in the body with the most amount of joints for making propriocpetive change (spine, feet, hands). As I mentioned, her feet are paticularly sensitive. She'd been changing back and forth between flip-flops and Birken-uglies--I mean -stocks. We did muscle testing on her yesterday in her Tevas and she passed. Today in the Birks, and she failed. No more Birks. The soles are too stiff--in fact they barely move at all which explains why hippies have bad posture...(sorry--couldn't help myself)

Here's the deal: all the "support" shoes are actually expensive casts for your feet. They don't allow your feet to move so the joints that are supposed to articulate to allow the surrounding musculature to transmit force upon ground contact don't move at all. This means other joints over-work along with the surrounding musculature. Bad shoes can even lead to neck problems if left unchecked for a long enough period of time. (Airex pads, half-foam rollers, dyna-discs, and Bosu's are bad for you too for similar reasons, but that's another post altogether. Food for thought though...) Bottom line: Shoes like Nike Free's, Converse Chuck Taylor's, etc. with very little padding and a flexible sole are the best for, well, everything.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Changed My Mind...Again (I'd Think I'd Learn...)

I was going to use the Bear protocol 2-3 time per week on the DLs. But, after performing it twice last week, I had no desire to do it this week. After some introspection, I realized that on heavy barbell work (powerlifts and O-lifts and some of their assistance work) I have no business performing more than 10-20 reps, maybe even 10-15. I can do some higher volume work on silly stuff like my current lunge routine, bodyweight, and even some KB work, but not on the bilateral barbell work.

Looking back over my training logs as a young gym rat tends to validate this: lower total volume on big lifts, larger volumes on auxillary exercises. I'm not sure why I just won't learn this lesson: must be fear of growing old (Is that white paint in my hair??!!) My weight peaked at 252lbs my senior year of college: I was performing mulitple sets of 5 on the hang clean (poorly) with 315, 5x5 on the seated military press with 225, and still-leg deadlifting 500lbs off a 5 inch block...The spring before I had benched 390, shirted, in a WNPF meet (are they still around?) at 216lbs. Might be time to really study those training logs...

Brett Jones, strength-stud, and I were talking and he recalled his squat improving by 50lbs just by perfroming DLs and pistols. I like pistols. They're actually in my rotation after these lunges.

It'll be interesting to see how this spring and summer turn out. I'd be nice if I've developed enough structural strength by October to get back on the platform. That's the goal anyway...

Today's training:

A. Deadlift: 335/1; 385/5, 345/5; 3 minutes rest

B. Weighted Chins: +16kg
3x5; 3 mins rest

C. Unilateral KB Complex Ladder (1+1, 2+2, 3+3, 4+4)
Snatch Pull + Snatch + Clean & Press
2 rounds
160 reps total
Rest: approx 1:1

Good lather. Goal: increase CV, some hypertrophy.

Monday I performed the following as a chain, 5 reps each:
Cl&Pr + Sn. 2x 5+5+5 each hand w/ 32kg. Fun.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Chaffing Armpits

Technically speaking, the lats are supposed to "lock in" on the deadlift, contracting isometrically to keep the bar close/on the body, also aiding in the cinching mechanism created thru the thoracolumbar fascia to protect the spine. Just like to say that since I've been doing my specialized Z for this left shoulder, I'm really feeling both lats, especially my left one while deadlifting. The left one is new since Z--I could never get it to "activate" before no matter how much SMR and stretching I performed. Plus now I'm nice and square over the bar for the first time in maybe ever. Very nice.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Pavel v. Alwyn: Who's Right?

I've been evaluating my own life over the last 18 months or so and had some ideas rolling around in my head. Not the least of which is how "lucky" we are as fitness professionals to even have this industry. One hundred years ago, who would have heard of such a thing? Of course, there were the exceptions, like Sandow, who was a consultant to kings across Europe, but really, a whole industry dedicated to losing fat and getting in shape? In light of what's going on in places like Sudan where people are starving to death, part of me feels deeply embarrassed and ashamed of my "opportunity."

With regards to fat loss it seems that we as Americans need "motivation." Being fat, winded, over-medicated, and chronically sweaty and uncomfortable doesn't seem to be enough. I was interested in Pavel's response on a forum thread when someone asked how to get motivated or what to do to get motivated. Pavel simply answered, "I don't know." At first, I was taken aback. then I thought, that's not his job and perhaps it's not mine--to motivate. We provide solutions to a problem: overweight/overfat people who need positive physical change. Identifying it and wanting to change should be enough motivation for the individual. Pavel is just simply not willing to be a cheerleader. I like that.

Alwyn, posted a thought-provoking blog yesterday on fat loss as project management.
The point he was making is that trainers should be hired for a job, say a 20lbs. fat loss for a flat fee. And however long it takes is however long it takes. The longer it takes the less money the trainer would end up making and vice versa. Alwyn compared it to building a house. On the surface, I agree. But since I just finished rennovating the top two floors of my house, I thought twice. The human being is infinitely more complex than a piece of wood, sheetrock, mud, screws, and countertops. Obviously.

One of the issues we run into with clients is they aren't always motivated. We have to console and conjole them to achieve their goals. We have to motivate them. Phil Kaplan, psychological trainer to the trainers, has figured out a way to do this. He says he has 100% results with his clients. Admittedly, I don't. Who's a better trainer? Pavel, Alwyn, Phil, or me? I don't know. I guess I'm lacking in the psychology department. Sheet rock, unlike a human, doesn't complain that it doesn't like the type of screw holding it in place or the type of mud covering its seams. This is why I like Pavel. "Deal with it," he'd say. I don't know Alwyn personally, so I don't know what he tells his clients. I know what I want to tell some of mine.

I can write a kick-butt fat loss diet and fat loss training plan that will strip the fat off very fast. How do I know? I've used them on self-motivated clients, including myself. But how do you motivate a woman who chronically sabotages her fat loss by eating sugary junk food because she's emotionally distraught or that's the way she deals with stress? All the straight talk in the world can't help that. That's a counseling issue and I don't want to be in that game.

Since I don't know Alwyn personally, perhaps it's not fair to compare and contrast his ideas to Pavel's. But since humans have something that wood and other inanimate objects do not--emotions--I think even the best project managers would fail with many clients and would end up working for peanuts. So, what are we left doing? We are either cheerleading or not cheerleading. Perhaps since cheerleading is such a vital part of what we as trainers do, it explains why Pavel no longer sees individuals on a one-on-one basis. Perhaps Alwyn too has figured it out and it explains why he has clients train in small group settings. Perhaps we as personal trainers expect too much from ourselves when working with clients on an individual basis. Maybe the small group setting is the secret weapon. Maybe he doesn't motivate people either. I understand that he charges a pretty hefty fee. Maybe that's motivation enough.

Friday, May 04, 2007

The NEW Functional Training: Dynamic Joint Mobility, Tension, Relaxation, and Lifting for Rehabilitation and Performance

That was the name of the presentation I gave this morning at the Resident/Fellow Meeting at Duke Sports Medicine. I had 30 minutes including questions.

I didn't do as well as I or my wife would've liked, because, well, I could care less what these people thought of me as a professional. (Wrong attitude? Probably. That being said, the doc who scheduled me must've thought well enough of me to put me on that schedule. Plus, it didn't make me any money and wasn't pertinent to my current life goals.) In fact, she thought I did so poorly that she gave graded me a D+! Part of it was of course that she knew most of the material; also it was a different crowd; and I was out of my element; it was 7am and I don't usually get up until then. Her basic point was that I failed to make mine.

Two years ago, I would've been on the money cause I wanted to be seen as "The Man." I would have shown those Ortho's and PT's how smart I was and how much I knew and how much they didn't. Now, as I mentioned, it doesn't further my goals or contribute to my ability to be a Fitness Professional. I just care about my clients' reaching their goals. Of course, as I write this, I guess I must be feeling some remorse or doubt for not performing upto my inherent expectations. But it was funny: as I was prepping yesterday, I heard Loral Langmeyer's (author of "The Millionaire Maker") voice in the back of my head, "Only particpate in those activities which draw you closer to achieving your financial goals..." My wife pointed out that maybe I was listening to the wrong voice while prepping...Funny thing is, while we were discussing this very point this morning on the way to work, I got a call regarding my other business, the one that will provide for my future, and I wouldn't have gotten that call had I not stopped working on the lecture and done the work necessary for that business. Of course my lovely and wonderful bride also pointed out that if I had been practicing for the last 4 months, God love her, then maybe I would've had a better presentation. I then reminded her of Loral...

All that being said, I'm glad I went. I'd cut the talk down if I had to do it again and focus on just one or two points and really hammer them. And I guess I do care to a certain extent what people think of me: I just want to be excellent at what I do and for deeper reasons than I care to go into publicly. So I'm torn between being excellent in what I currently do, and developing my other business, which has a much bigger impact eternally. I'll never know what would've happened if I'd devoted more time to the lecture. I may have portrayed myself better in front of this particular crowd, but conversely I'm not sure I would've developed my other business to its current degree or would be looking at the opportunities now in front of me...Interestingly, I've gotten good feedback regarding my participation in the RKC and it was much more important to be excellent and provide an excellent experience for those who particpated..."Where your treasure is, there your heart is also..."-Jesus

Below is a copy of the outline I used and my comments that I attempted to elaborate on (my comments are in yellow):

What is Functional Training?
-Current Paradigm:
--Functional Movements
Squatting, lunging, stepping, reaching, pulling, pushing, pressing, throwing
Often unilateral or alternating/cyclic in nature (Single leg squat, alternating lunges…)
--Proprioceptively Enriched: Balance Challenging
Standing on Bosu, Airex, Dyna-Disc, etc
-Circus Tricks?
What exactly are we training here?
What are our goals?
What outcome do we expect?
Are we using common sense?

Problems With Current Functional Training Paradigm
-SAID Principle Violation
What is the SAID Principle?
Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands
Lift heavy, get stronger; run fast, run fast; etc
You ALWAYS get EXACTLY what you train for.
-Too much skill: Wobble board
How much of this is a skill?
If you practice long enough, will you succeed in achieving “perfect balance?” Will your skill become better?
-Too much tension:
Too much tension leads to chronic postural defects (Startle Reflex)
Current “Stability Training”
-Wrong kind/wrong amount of Tension
Not matching the amount of tension to the load
Heavy bracing/flexing to lift light loads or breath-holding while sprinting
-Not enough Tension?
Can damage joints and soft tissue structures
Incorrectly pressing a weight overhead
-Promoting Weakness?
“Jam” your joints and you’ll shut down surrounding muscles (Arthrokinetic Reflex)
-Neurologically Incorrect: Joints v. Muscles
Current Functional Training seeks to improve proprioceptive function through the muscles via the stretch reflex, muscle spindle fibers, and the GTOs
Problem: There are more proprioceptors in the joint capsules than the muscle bellys.
Specifically: MECHANORECPTORS, the largest, fastest, and most populously concentrated type of proprioceptor
Should focus our efforts on the joints themselves, not the muscles.
Ask for 2 volunteers
Glute-med muscle testing pre and post Single leg balance on Bosu (give the fix after the next section)

The NEW Functional Training
-Joint Mobility: Passive v. Active
Definitions: Passive—someone other than the individual moves joint thru ROM
Active: Individual moves own joint through ROM
Why? Motor Learning.
Pianist Example
-Tension and Relaxation: Jekyll and Hyde?
Tension can make you strong and safe: Lifting near maximal and maximum loads
Tension can make you weak and dangerous: Unstable surface training
Relaxation can be safe and make you strong: Necessary for recovery; reduce the negative effects of tension
Relaxation can be dangerous and make you weak: Not staying tight under heavier loads
-Isometrics, Irradiation, and Strength
Isometrics: Muscle fibers contract but neither lengthen or shorten
Already used in rehab setting
Used in performance setting whether intentional or unintentional
Heavy Supports with weight
Stretch-Shortening Cycle: All movements
-Irradiation: the recruitment of other muscles to “share” loading of target muscles
Get tighter = get stronger…sometimes (short term)
Demonstration 1: The fist
Demonstration 2: The handshake
Take home point? Increased short-term tension recruits more muscles and makes you stronger
Application: Heavy loads are required to increase strength—increased tension increases the ability to move heavy loads.

-Joint Mobility and it’s Relationship to Muscular Tension
Back to the Bosu demonstration:
Too much tension, in this case caused by an unstable surface, immobilizes joints, invokes the Arthrokinetic Reflex, and therefore promotes muscle weakness
The Bosu fix: Outside Toe Pull + 3 steps
Followed by Glut. Med. Test

Training for Rehabilitation v. Performance
· Opposite Sides of the Same Coin?
o Who are the best athletes? The ones who can best express the balance between tension and relaxation and have fluid movement and body control, i.e.: mobility. Michael Jordan
o Why do people get injured? They lack the ability to balance tension and relaxation and/or they lack body control, coordination, and mobility
o How do we get athletes to perform better? More coordination without a decrease in mobility (There is some truth in lifting weights make you muscle-bound.)
o Both should be trained the same way: Full ROM with an accompaniment of strength through the new ROM
· Mobility before Movement
o Why increase loading in movements thru speed or external resistance before we have full ROM and control through that ROM?
o Increase strength of muscles by releasing arthrokinetic reflex
· Unloaded movements for neural re-education and connective tissue strength
o Dynamic Joint Mobility Exercises
o Demonstration of Z-Health
· Loaded movements for hypertrophy and absolute strength
o Increased mobility increases both hypertrophy and absolute strength
§ My Squat Testimony

Case Study: My History
Athletic: Cross Country, Wrestling (Regional Champion), Powerlifting (WNPF NJ State Bench Press Champion, 220lbs, Junior Division, 1993), Olympic Weightlifting (2000 National Qualifier, 105kg; 1999 NJ State Champion, 105kg)
Medical: Broken L Arm: 1989; Dislocated R Patella: 1989; L Rotator Cuff Strain: 1993; Bilateral Patella-femoral pain: 1993; R Rotator Cuff Strain: 1994; R Groin/Adductor Strain: 1996; Chronic R Popliteus Strains: 1997-2000; R Wrist Sprain: 2000; Chronic Right Posas Spasms: 1997-2006; Chronic R ITB Pain: 1989-2006; L4-L5-S1 Nerve Root Impingements: 2002, resulting in radiculothapy: 2002-2003; R Hip Labrum Tear: 2005 (Cortizone: April ’05); L Hip Labrum (Double) Tear and Articular Cartilage Damage, Degeneration, Arthritis, Trochanteric Bursitis: 2005; R Quad Tendon Tear, 2005
By January of 2005, I had tried all of the following methods to alleviate the pain in my hips and right knee: chiropractic, ART, acupressure, acupuncture with and without electrical stimulation, deep tissue massage, e-stim, myofascial release: both active and passive care, “core” training, stability training, balance training, etc.
I could “activate” my TvA, my VMO, my Glut. Med, and any muscle you wanted, but I couldn’t get out of pain.
The result? A cortisone shot in April 2005. The result of that? More pain and another labral tear in my left hip in September of 2005
By January of 2006, I had so much pain in my body, specifically my knees and my hips, I had to hold onto my sink to sit on the toilet
That’s when I discovered “Z-Health”
Demonstration: KB Pistol

More Information?
Z-Health, Dr. Eric Cobb
Power to the People, Pavel Tsatsouline
Fast and Loose, Pavel Tsatsouline
Low Back Disorders, Dr. Stuart McGill

This ought to ruffle some feathers...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Great Advice for Master's Lifters (Over 35...)

This is from Randy Hauer, an RKC, GS competitor, and a Master's level Oly Lifter, in response to a previous post of mine. Very sound advice I think. I just don't need to take it for another 6 months Randy...

I can't add to your training knowledge, but I do have the edge in the gray hairs dept. Here's the three rules I live or die by as a Master:
1) Less is more: less volume, lower intensity, shorter sessions.
2) Leave more in the tank each workout than you think you should. It doesn't hold as much as it used to and it's almost never topped off.
3) "I get to lift weights today!" if I don't feel that way when I wake up on a training day, it's time to back it down until I do feel that way. Age has its actually will get more results out of less work than younger guys will.I find it helps to be more process oriented rather than results oriented. It's OK to let it all hang out once in a while in training and I do, but I've learned to accept that unlike in my 20s, the recovery time may be weeks down the road, not days.

Some very salient points, especially as the responsibilities of life creep in: marriage, job, business, kids, aging parents, etc.

For me personally, I thrive on a little which is why I'm doing exactly the opposite right now (he said, post workout, with lats and obliques throbbing...) I'm not sure how that makes sense, but I do know that I'm trying to learn a new pattern/skill--moving all the bones in my right leg simultaneous on any bending exercise, the lunge in this case. So I need the volume. However, the load is light and geared to rehab loads. I'm also trying to put some muscle on so I don't waste away. I still hold out hope that I may be on the platform by the end of the third quarter...

Today was very interesting: My left lat was almost cramping after my deadlifts. This tells me that it is engaging finally and that the shoulder rehab is working very well. Pressing is also getting easier: the elbow is staying under the wrist for more of the time while pressing.

Here's today's quick session:

A. Deadlift
375lbs/5, 5' rest, then 335/5

B. Unilateral KB Clean and Press (L then R)
40kg/5+5, 3' rest, then 32kg/5+5

C. Unilateral KB Press
40kg/5+5, 2' rest, then 32kg/5+5

D. Pull-ups, bodybuilder style
Bodyweight x 7

The hardest part was the deadlift and it wasn't the weight--it was the grip--double overhand--no hook. One-at-a-time. I also got some lumbar erector activation, which I'm not used to. Long spine will do that to you.

Tomorrow will be more high volume. Fun. (I'm listening Randy, I'm listening...)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Rethinking Priority of Movement

After the 6th day of R-Phase, I've been rethinking my emphasis/focus/obsession with being able to squat heavy again (Heavy of course, is a relative term: I mean Olympic squats in the mid 400s for mutliple sets and reps and then beyond...). Most of our natural movements are asymmetrical and the legs aren't perfectly square (no, this is not a functional training post...). My right knee has always bothered me on everything--running included (by running I mean sprinting). So, I've decided to spend some time doing R-Phase lunges. These are stationary lunges where the support femur is in line with the rest of the body: so if you dropped a plumb line from the crown of the skull down the body, the femur would be in line with the torso.

Admittedly, I've overlooked this style of lunge in the past. Come to think of it, I've probably discounted it. But performed properly, it make the regular lunge and the split squat feel tame in comparison. Performed properly means focusing on bone rhythms--that is, making sure the tib/fib and the femur at the knee and hip joints all move synchronously. When performing a lunge in this manner, there is no need to try to activate any particular muscles like the glute or VMO--they all activate they way the Good Lord intended: automatically. I'm using the KBs for this one: On Monday, I used 2x16kg in the rack position and today I used 1x32kg in the contralateral hand, following the Z opposite joints principle. My left shoulder is an issue so when holding in the left rack with a spear grip (or lack thereof), the right leg is the working leg. This is to ensure that my right vastus lateralis fires. On the platform under Dr. Cobb's watchfull eye, the barbell rack is actually shutting of the VL. So, KBs are the order of the day until I clean up the shoulder.

I'm also contemplating joining the PTTP Deadlift Team. They compete in October at the AAU Nationals. I need a 500 to join the team. No problem there. Finding and getting to the meet is going to be the problem. I'm not sure my hectic schedule will allow it.

In the meantime, I'm going to be putting on some muscle so if I ever get back to the platform, I'll have the leverage I need.

I'm not going to be doing anything fancy--no mental energy. So I'm combining Pavel's Bear Protocol for the Deadlift and his "Hot Wheels for Summer" from BB. Here's what it looks like. (Of course, I'll be on my usual 2 week cycles...)

M-W-F: Deadlift, PTTP Bear; Lunge, HWFS
T-TH-S: Deadlift, PTTP, KB Press ,PTTP, Pull-ups.

Nothing fancy. I'm keeping the weight light on the lunges so I can up the volume and work the technique. But here's the cool thing: the lats and obliques are getting killed in the contralateral rack position if I stay in long spine. This should also help the shoulder.

Lots of fun. So the goal is to get the left and the right legs feeling the same while peforming unilateral movement, simultaneously correct the left shoulder, and then hopefully move on to the squat. We'll see how this works...