Thursday, March 29, 2007

An introduction to the brutality of bodyweight exercises

Later I will go into more detail on different exercises, positioning, transference of tension by percentage from one point of the body to another, but for now this will be just a basic overview.
A select few of my clients were recently introduced to one handed push ups, and one was introduced to the one legged squat, or 'pistol', a favorite of martial artists, SWAT operators, and Russian Spec Ops. A one legged squat is performed with one leg held straight out in front, and then squatting down, preferably until your butt hits the floor, then standing back up. Sound impossible? It isn't.
Now when you think of a one handed push up you might think it's impressive, and a good party trick, but does it really relate to true strength that much? This is one of those cases of something being so simple that it often escapes our grasp. The answer is: of course it does. This is not some tricky faux-one arm push up with the entire body sideways, twisting the hips. This is with your shoulders squared to the floor, coming down, and driving yourself back up. This action requires true strength.
Now lwt's look at a different type of bodyweight exercise, one which falls more into the category of endurance: The burpee, or as I like to call it 'fun on a budget'. Mostly fun for me, as I watch you do it.
The burpee is performed by dropping down onto your hands, kicking back into a push up position, reversing the action, then jumping up as high and explosively as possible. In the beginning, five of these will be sufficient to leave you breathing hard. Integrate them with some push ups, or bodyweight squats, and you have an endurance circuit.
Pull ups. How many people do you know who can bench press a lot, but do virtually no pull ups? I knwo that I spend a lot of time in my day to day life doing bench pressing motions- wait a minute, no I don't. I know it sounds like I am on the warpath against the bench press, but I assure you I am not. It is simply a matter of cost vs. benefit. The amount of time I see people spend on the bench press is simply not in proportion to the benefit, and the possibility of injury.
Pull ups are a great exercise. If you think about it, if you have the ability to knock out 10, 15, or even 20 pull ups, you must be in great shape, right? Can the same be said of barbell curls? Nope. It doesn't even come close. Let's say you are on of the legions who feels you simply must use some weight to get results. despite this not being true, I will humor you. Do pull ups with a weight plate hanging from your belt, or your foot hooked in a kettlebell. Use some heavyweight chains hanging from your belt in the manner of the Westside Barbell Club. As you pull up and the chains are raised off the floor, the amount of weight increases, thus building more explosive power in the ascent.
Push Ups are also an exercise that lends itself to great variety. Elevating your feet, doing them with one leg in the air, doing explosive push ups off a medicine ball or kettlbell, handstand pushups, etc. The variety is virtually endless, and each one transfers then tension to a different point in your body. Doing one legged push ups with your supporting foot on a kettlebell handle works the leg as you must push it into the floor to maintain your balance.
More to come...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

More on crossfit/ kettlebell training in application to running

For the past month or so all of my training has been of the functional nature, as far as dragging tires, kettlebells, jumping, pull ups, push ups, rowing, etc. One thing I do not do much is run. In fact, without realizing it, I have run about once in the past three months. I don't run much in the first place in order to save my joints, and because it's just not necessary unless you want to get good at running. However, I do intend to start running with a pack or dragging a 20-40 lb. duffel bag. So in order to kick the specificity of running back in I went for a quick three miler on sunday. I ran it like it was nothing, most of the time breathing through my nose thanks to my new allergy medication. :)
So my belief that my high endurance training would condition my cardio and leg strength sufficiently for running without acutally having to perform the event was correct. The only issue I had was some soreness the next day from my feet striking the ground, as my workouts are normally almost all non-impact.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Today's Workout

This was horrible. In a good way. It was not performed in this exact order, but these are the totals.

KB High Pull, caught mid air, squat, drop, 1 pull up. 5x12k, 5x12k, 5x16k, 5x16k
Burpee, one arm KB snatch with each arm, pull up " "
Burpee, Mule kick (pushing into partial handstand, pull up " "
Deck Squat hlding kettlbell, pull up " "

24 inch box jump 6 sets of 10

Hindu squats 2x20

Concept 2 rower 500m

Pain and Suffering: Perform a two handed high pull, release the ketlebell at head level and catch underneath, squat holding it, stand back up, grip by the horns, and perform a deck squat holding kettlebell. Just like the name implies, this sucks.
5x12k, 5x12k, 5x16k, 5x16k

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Out for the week

Hello faithful readers. I am blogging from my blackberry, so excuse any mistakes. Turns out my one day evaluation became six days at Camp Roberts in SLO.I will be away all this week, but will be back to resume training next monday.I appreciate everyone's patience regarding my situation, and I will pass on more news as I get it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Today's Workout

Someone else estimated the tire to weigh 80 lbs, so I'll go with that.

-80 pound tire drag for 100 feet- 5 rounds
-Tire drag walking backwards 50 feet, 50 feet of yanking tire toward me across the parking lot- 5 rounds.
-1000 meters on concept 2 rower, resistance set at 10- Just under five minutes
-Various Kettlebell swings 16, 24 kilos
-Silver back rolls (rolling kettlebell end over end, 50 feet?), 4 rounds 40 kilo kettlebell
Single arm kettlebell swing/snatch 10 times each arm- 12 kilo, 5 times each arm- 16 kilo, 3 times each arm- 24 kilo
Fireman's Carry M.Werner
Kettlebell Cleans- 10 each arm- 16 kilos, 5 each arm- 24 kilos, 1 each arm- 32 kilos
Fireman's Carry- C. Gaines: 245 lb. Trainer

Other assorted swings and presses.
Total time: 1.5 hours

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Daily Workout

I’ve decided to keep track of my daily workouts as much as possible.

Today’s workout:

50 foot tire drag- 4 rounds with 200 meter run in-between (no tire)
1000 meters on concept 2 rower
One Arm Dumbbell Snatch 5x40 lbs., 5x40 lbs., 5x50 lbs., 5x50 lbs. Each hand.
Turkish Get Up (Barbell) 40 lbs, 45 lbs.
1000 meters on concept 2 rower
Fireman’s carry of C. Gaines, 245 lb. Personal Trainer.

Why lift weigths for running?

One of the reasons runners trash their knees and ankles as they get older, is because of a lack of muscular support around the knee joint. Another factor is running on hard surfaces, but today we’ll deal with muscular support.
The body works in a very synergistic fashion, different parts working together. The knee joint is not meant to work on it’s own to absorb impact and create movement. Therefore it does not make any sense to push it too it’s limits, and offer it no help.
I routinely run in to endurance athletes who do little if any weight training. The ones who do often do not know why they do it, it is only because they think they are supposed to.
I have already laid out the basic idea, that in order to assist your knee joint and make it stronger to absorb impact, you want to strengthen the knee joint’s support system, which is the muscle around it.
In addition, by making the legs stronger you are reducing the number of times the foot strikes the ground, and therefore lessening the shock. Let’s say it takes you 30 total foot strikes to cover one hundred feet. If your legs were stronger and able to propel you farther and faster, your strike number may drop down to 27 per 100 feet.
This is similar to how we bring the resting heart rate down through exercise, thus reducing the total workload over a lifetime and extending the longevity of the heart.
While lifting weights is good, focusing on compound movements or kettlebells is even better, as it has a stronger effect on the connective tissue than smaller piece like doing leg extensions or one arm dumbbell curls.
So lift some weights already.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Tire Drag

I did the tire drag with my brother today, and made it through about 10 50 foot rounds with push ups in-between. My brother made it through two rounds before collapsing, which actually isn't bad considering he doesn't train this way. This turned out being way harder than I thought it would be, probably because I started out dragging it up the incline of my dad's driveway. The push ups in-between rounds made it much harder as well. Altogether I think this is definitely the way to go for building up strength and endurance in my legs. And for completely breaking my spirit.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Building combat endurance Pt. 1

I have begun fine tuning my approach to building combat endurace, otherwise known as tactical endurance. Part of this involves making sure I can always train, regardless of where I might be. I use bodyweight exercises such as Hindu Squats, Push Ups, running, etc. The kettlebells will be useful once I get a few of my own, and I'm going to put a lockable box in the back of my jeep to keep them in. Part of this was removing my back seat, which I did today. I also picked up a tire from a friend of mine (complete with rim) which I estimate to weigh about 80 lbs. I made a harness for it today using an old camelbak I have, and I'm going to start dragging it tomorrow. The camelbak is useful because I can keep water and some powergel or something in there. Once I get good with the tire I'm going to start carrying a duffelbag as well over my shoulder and start increasing the weight on that. I'm going to workout with my brother tomorrow, so I might have him take some pictures. It'll look cool in the snow. :)
My system of training has changed so much over the past four months it's unbelievable, and it's only getting better. I am in better shape than I've ever been, and I am only getting stronger and gaining more endurance. If I can just get Equinox to let me bring the tire in, we'll really have some fun.