Monday, February 26, 2007

My own progress, and progress of the site

I am not a huge fan of working in HTML, so now that I have secured a new copy of flash I am re-tooling the site in that format, and the new version should be up in a week or two. This is why some things that should have been updated have not been.
As to my own progress, I tweaked something in my hip flexor due to dropping into some renegade presses without a proper warm up and have been sans workout for the past two weeks. Now that I am getting back into it I will be working on posting more info as to what I am doing.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Kettlebell Training At Equinox

One of the reasons I like training at Equinox is that they aren't afraid to take some risks in the pursuit of a higher standard of physical training. You aren't going to run into many if any chain gyms that are willing to employ kettlebell training, but we are the exception. Up until now I have been the only trainer at Equinox Palo Alto that is qualified through the Kettlebell Athletics Certification course to provide kettlebell instruction. Within the next few weeks we should have several of our current trainers certified in the use of kettlebells. Today myself and Travis Kinyon did a pre-certification orientation for the trainers. I can tell this will be interesting, as within a few minutes Bryan and Alan were tossing kettlebells to eachother from across the gym. Here we go.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Chasing a big bench?

When you think of exercises men do in the gym, what comes to mind? First and foremost are probably curls, and the barbell bench press. I have already mentioned curls being inferior to the deadlift for biceps development, so now it is time to attack the bench press.
With proper technique there is nothing wrong with the bench press, and it is very useful for chest and power development. The question is; just how functional is it? Former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes stated that working the chest was his least favorite, because it just did not apply to what he did. The fact is that unless your sport is bench pressing, trying to bench press massive amounts of weight is fairly pointless.
This does not mean that you should abandon the bench press by any means. One of the reasons I favor kettlebells is for whole body development, so it wouldn’t make much sense for me to yank out a body part. We know that no matter what we do, just about every part of the body is involved, so we must break things down into a matter of percentages.
What this means is looking at your chosen sport or movement, and deciding which bodypart should take precedence in the developmental curve. Let’s take Mixed Martial Arts for example, the chosen sport of Matt Hughes. MMA involves a lot of punching, kicking, throwing, and grappling. The chest is involved in the movements of this sport, but lags far behind the back, legs, shoulders, etc. Knowing this, why would Matt then devote even twenty five percent of his workout time to chasing a big bench?
Most often the pursuit of high numbers on bench press is purely an ego issue. What if, however, it is for the aesthetic? Many agree (and I am one of them) that while the Barbell Bench Press is superior for building strength, power, and widening the chest, for building the visual appeal most look for, dumbbells are actually superior.
Another issue to be addressed is that of shoulder injuries in relation to the Barbell Bench Press. The majority of rotator cuff injuries I encounter are a direct result of barbell bench pressing. Many look at the bench press as a very simple endeavor; you lie down and press the bar. In reality there is a lot of technique, and preferably some pre-habilitation work that is an important part of bench-pressing safely and effectively.
One exercise that is useful in warming up the shoulders for bench pressing is one suggested by Louie Simmons of West Side Barbell. This was originally performed with a kettlebell, but can also be done with a barbell weight plate, starting at ten pounds and moving up to twenty-five pounds. Bracing yourself against the bench with one hand while leaning over, use the other to hold the weight plate and rotate your shoulder in the socket, ten repetitions one direction, then ten repetitions in the other. This is a derivative of standard shoulder rotations.
Understanding that this is not a recommendation against doing the bench press, it is important to understand why we do the exercises we do, and make sure we are not wasting valuable time in the gym, or worse yet risking possible injury when it is entirely unnecessary.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Re-tuning the 3 day split program

For those of you familiar with the 3 day split on my site in 'Weight Training II', you will recall that there was a good deal of volume in that routine. This is fine for more advanced trainees, but I found too many people without the experience were tackling it simply because it looked harder. So I have modified it, but also I think, have made it more effective and intense. Primarily I knocked out a couple of the exercises and made them bi-weekly substitutes for the primaries. This routine should be done once a week. Do not do it twice, three days in a row each. Remember that rest+recovery=results.
The new routine will be posted by the end of the day. :)

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

3 month Kettlebell Challenge

Having built what I consider to be a sufficient base of strength and mass I have recently decided to re-gear my training program toward combat endurance in accordance with my current status in the National Guard. The requirements involved here are
1. Being able to haul awkward weights (such as packs, ammo cans, mortar tubes, etc.) over long distances and also during short interval sprints.
2. To be able to apply both strength and low intensity endurance simultaneously in short bursts such as kicking in doors, jumping barriers, performing fireman's carry with up to 220 lbs.
3. To build the strength necessary for being Dominant in real world hand to hand combat, which is much different from sport or street fighting.

In order to do this I am applying some of the crossfit principles as well as my own. I am going to build up to using some of the workouts of the day as warm ups, but my central program will revolve around the use of kettlebells, one day of traditional weight training focusing on the olympic lifts, and three days of running with a pack or other weight.
I will be employing the use of the kettlebells as my primary strength training and endurace tools. This will include one day of primarily strength based movements (or 'grinds'), and two days focusing on the endurance based movements ('ballistic'). There is no real strict separation between the strength and endurance training, which is the intention as the event I am training for has no respect for any such distinction.
I believe that ultimately this training program (sufficiently adapted for non-combat training) will be very useful in all around strength and endurance development.
Having come off nearly two weeks of not working out due to a death in the family I am taking the next two weeks to build back up before embarking upon this program. I will also be posting details on the workouts as far as what I am doing, and how I am progressing, i.e. weights, kettlebell weights, run times, etc. This will also help to keep me honest and on task. :)


Note: My position in the guard is no endorsement of any political plan or ideal. I simply do not discuss such things. My primary purpose is the training, support, and education of young soldiers going into harm's way.