Training model notes

Over the last few weeks I have been in touch with some of the best trainers I know to keep up with the corner stones to build a training routine for the fall, from the ground up.
I hope some of my notes are helpful to others

  1. Total body training requires: Knee dominate movements i.e. squat
    a. Zercher squat, rear foot elevated split squat, front squat
  2. For every squat (knee dominate) exercise do a hinging/ hip dominate
    a. Kettle bell swing, glute/ham raise, glute bridge, single leg RDL
  3. Upper body movement, use horizontal and vertical press
    a. Push ups, single-arm press, push press, OH press
  4. Upper horizontal/vert oull
    a. row, pull up
  5. Core – Spinal Stability i.e. Carry heavy
    a. Farmer walk, OH carry
  6. Training All planes –
    Frontal, Transverse, Sagittal
  7. Use Bilateral and unilateral variations
    ex. zercher squat > SL RDL 5 x 4 SApress >Bench Press 3 x 8 Neutral pull ups > Farmer carry…
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Yoga, more like Broga

 

Doing anything with attention to how you feel is doing yoga.
– Jean Couch

To all readers who clicked to read more after scanning the opening quote. Yes, I’m going to be that guy. About to mansplain some yoga (while tongue firmly planted in cheek). If you haven’t cringed from the humor and audacity that a heavyweight can offer an opinion beyond strength training or hitting things, I applaud you.
My simple claim is yoga is more than the Lulu-lemon sponsored hour of stretching, capped off by a nap. Well, it does have those elements, but I can now admit after a year of what you can call dedicated practice. Yoga has proven to be an effective method to practice meditation and to combat my lifestyle choice of working through lunch everyday.
I am essentially parroting the same thing most type-As claim after their first “chaturanga”, however that doesn’t make it any less true. With that I will disclose my greatest benefit from adopting a regular yoga practice instead of doubling down on Olympic lifts has been gaining the ability to challenge what goes on in our own minds.

This week began with me recovering from the toughest yoga class I’ve ever been to. I am still convinced that it was held in a hyperbolic time chamber, disguised as a studio. Arriving for a fabled Saturday class that I’ve put off for a long time the easiest part of that class was unrolling my mat. That too was difficult once I stepped in I became intensely aware the AC was off and half a dozen large windows lining the room, welcomed the Florida sun. In that instant, maybe it was the sticky thick air of the room, but the urge to escape the room welled up inside me. Only being able to gulp down my fear of things to come I proceeded to roll out my mat. I was betraying my instincts! The source irrational thing I’ve trusted that’s kept me safe my entire life. But, today it was time for ‘power’ yoga and  greet this feeling of different  and not run away.
The class was different, to put it simply, my mind and body had to quickly adjust to the pace the instructor; as she had a cadence and emotional tone I would describe as religiously empowered, I mean ‘WooWoo’. Teaching yoga or performing the role of yogi was was obviously important to the instructor and I believed it was to the class as well, so why rock their boat if self mastery was one of my sub objectives for sticking with yoga for as long as I have? Because my instincts had scored a half court 3-pointer when I walked in.
As a life long athlete summer heat is manageable; capriciously long positions/holds are tolerable; but apparently when the phrases “surrender” and “center your heart/mind” are used when my rationale mind is hanging on to understand every bio-mechanical benefit and use of this class, that is my flash point. My instincts drew a new picture for me. And it is this one moment that made all worth it. helped me paint a new picture: I was terrified of getting injured; either because my joints and muscles weren’t ready for a class like this or the instructor genuinely lacked empathy and respect for the individual (two people leaving before the half way point of the session of the heat/frustration).
Come on brain why would you think such a mean thing as that? An instructor put a lot of care in to performing expertly do positions with esoteric jargon, issuing verbal cues to push for advanced poses than demoing an adequate regression, “The temperature feels fine to me.” the reply to a red in the face student.
Either my months of previous yoga has been homogenized by corporate overlords and the mantra of play it safe, or I’ve gotten myself into enmeshed with an instructor I didn’t want, but could make the best of it.
Each time I perceived a micro-aggression: breath through it (towels were handed out to everyone but me). Hearing the request to surrender into a pose, don’t cringe. Ask myself at what pace can I do each movement, instead of just copying the pace of the manic pixie in the front of the room.
Is this the secret to yoga? Quieting the monkey mind and all that jazz? Because it has a lot to offer a hyperactive person that traditional meditation can’t do as effectively.

Worst than losing

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
– Winston Churchill

Today marks a week and a day where I have spent a ridiculous  amount of time contemplating how bad should I feel. With what you ask? Not competing in an event that I’ve dreamed about but knew I wasn’t going to personally: to nominally win, improve my understanding of an experience or practice, or to leverage my personal brand to create future opportunities. These might sound very ivory tower definitions (other than winning for the sake of winning) but there is more to the story.

This is a very Bobby Fisher method, I figured out once I was old enough to experience the life lesson: Either you win or you learn. For those not in the know, the calculated brilliance of the prodigy went beyond the board and also came from selecting which tournaments to put his prowess and prestige on the line for.
This week, I followed the same strategy, and without any fanfare or commotion withdrew from a small time Ninja Warrior feeder competition; an easier affair than expected. The only fallout was telling the few people expected to see me flail about the course. News that I was nursing a minor injury was apparently enough for my thick-skinned coworkers to agree competing shouldn’t be in the cards.

So that should be the end of the adventure. Yes, 8 weeks of training, often twice a day ended with no competition. But, if anything I’ve learned from life is things unceremoniously come to an abrupt end all the time. Let’s all thank George R.R. Martin for making a career of it, so we can be better adjusted. I do however still feel bad about withdrawing. Even with the knowledge that a full time rock climber obliterated the course, and I wasn’t even very obsessed with this competition.
What I may have an issue with is putting in the work, caring, and then having to rationalize away the invasive thoughts that: I did not train for the level of the competition. And, I was aware of that lack of preparation, the entire time. In my opinion an infinitely worse feeling than the sting of losing… Recently I wrote about the frustration I was having with my training process. Breaking it down, I am confident that the foundation work I started on wasn’t long enough nor did I have the schedule to adhere to the aggressive training schedule that I’m used to. Quickly recapping, the time commitment to either go to bed earlier or squeeze in work outs during lunch were on the table, but like many people that overpromise to themselves; I didn’t put enough systems in place to make it easy for me to go from

Wake up – morning run, 1pm (MWF) – yoga, 12pm (TTh) – Barbell complex, evening – plyometric conditioning.

It has been in these last few months I’ve really understood that when motivation is high it is an easy ask for your body to train hard for a few weeks. But, to straddle the idea of always innovating your training or keeping different ways to stay motivated is entirely a myth. Especially when I have to admit to myself this salaryman life at a desk is increasingly making me weaker and more susceptible to the most egregious offense than accepting a loss and that’s accepting mediocrity.

work of the day
Technical work –

5×4 Sumo Deadlift
Met – 4 rounds
10 Handstand Push Ups
20 Sumo Deadlif High Pulls
50m KB Farmers carry

Extra Credit –
500m Row
50 pistols

Can ninjas have fans? (a tale of over-training)

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.

With a lot of humility, I can admit I went through a phase of spinning my wheels, frustration, and ultimately experiencing burn out. Only because I lacked the self-awareness to slow down so I could preserve my progress: as an athlete, a hyperactive know it all, a mediocre writer, or even aspiring ninja warrior.  For the uninitiated, burn out is a miserable experience that feels and looks like a dozen disorders rolled into one, but during that time projects I had taken on felt unimportant. Anything that was easy enough to complete before losing my minimal motivation would feel like or really was just fluff. Cleaning out an inbox was a daunting task. Deleting spam email was challenging for a growth-oriented, hyper-competitive guy that asks for feedback on how to hole punch a binder more efficiently. I find myself writing out this experience first to give myself a task that can offer me clear feedback so I can refine, course correct, and continue to level up. Second record what writing while in the throes of burn out looks like **spoiler alert** more terrible than it reads!

To best capture this I have to say for the last couple of weeks, I was semi-conscious of the fact that phoning it in at work, actually that would be too kind. Not putting any effort towards my most important goals that mattered. Currently, I’m still not sure to why, but I would pick some “weakness” to work out, bonus points for any internet article that hyperbolized “If you aren’t doing X you might as well smoke a carton a day and binge on cartons of ice cream.” It didn’t have to matter, of course. Except to feel like I was doing something and then I would shift my focus on the next new thing influencers wanted to promote. Thanks obsession with over-training and love of all things novel. This was the first signs of burn out I was ignoring. I also could be seen regularly: training during lunch and after work; running more miles far beyond any reasonable returns; asking for and taking on projects I could have delegated to someone else on my team; and can’t forget going to bed later and later each night to get negligible things done.

In hindsight, I desperately needed a week off and 56 hours of sleep. What I chose instead was two more weeks of jamming multiple cups of coffee like it was a #challenge, terrible sleep, irritability and downright exhaustion, even occasional nausea after even low intensity conditioning work. I hope it goes without saying, feeling weak is terrible, but notion of having to slow down quite literally drove me mad. Getting visibly upset that running a mile hurt and would be giddy for the days that were schedule to work yoga or my meditation practice. This is the terrible lack of awareness I was meaning. Pretty sure I would have kept doing scores of kettlebell swings, pull ups and box jumps until I had a full blown injury. What prevented a trip to MRI scan city was the fact that eventually an hour of ‘power’ yoga was too taxing and heavy bag work was actual torture on my joints.
This gave me some serious doubt staying in the ninja warrior challenge; since it would involve climbing, jumping, and well ninja-ing about while warrior one made my hips tremble.

I was ready to send ‘a please cancel my registration’ email. Until the person who first suggested trying out for the American Ninja Warrior competition said “I still believe you’ll do well.” We chatted for a bit about how friends were dropping out left and right; also I may have admitted I was suspect of my ability to finish the course, at my current level of training, let alone in any semblance of a competitive time. (As selfish as it sounds, but it’s hard to see the point in something if I can’t gain value from it.) The effect I didn’t expect though was after having a fellow cynical jerk (*reads friend*) authentically say that they believe you can hit your own ridiculous benchmark for success was more powerful than expected. It helped! Maybe just short lived dopamine hit, maybe but my brain just wanted a platitude. Bonus points for the bit of validation coming from someone I look up to who’s been crushing it. Strangely enough despite my aching joint and commitment to doggedly throwing my body into training, working and not sleeping I chose a different set of workouts for the day to shake off the rust and see where I stand. Prognosis: Time to skip some yoga, take midday nap and remember sometimes it takes a fan/friend to share that they believe in you.

My morning and evening work outs.
A lot of resistance cardio, mobility and functional movements:

Warm up
Jog 10min,
Scapula push ups/dip
KB swing w/ T-spine twist (35lbs)
Cardio
5rounds 3minute round of heavy bag work
(used medium resistance band to stay mindful of footwork)
2 x 15 Threaded lunges (70lbs)
2 x 2hand KB Swing (70lbs)
<Some technical convoluted CNS strength based exercise?>
130lbs X 12 (3sec hold) Single arm cable lat pull

Evening ‘s effort to work out things I hate :
Front squat 3×10 @155, 185, 205lbs.
DB Snatch 3×5 70, 90, 110lbs.
Weighted sit up 3×20 & mason twist.

You want me to do what? A 16.4 story

The other night Cross Fit HQ posted 16.4 and rarely have I ever seen a work out that made so many athletes question their own mental and physical prowess at the thought of tackling the workout. For the record so far I haven’t attempted 16.4 but I did interview someone to give me some insight for any warriors that aren’t interested in following crossfit but still enjoy testing their limits:
13minute As many reps as possible –
55 Deadlift 225/155 lbs.
55 WallBall Shots 20/14 lbs
55 Calorie Row
55 Handstand Push-ups

The shear volume of 16.4 was plainly hard to conceive. After asking an elite athlete and a few bro-scientists the message was clear: you weren’t going to score beyond 220 reps w/o scaling and still having a plan; short of being some type of pure blooded freak beast.

From advice I did receive from a more experienced lifter made this suggestion to break up the workout
DLs: 10 – 10 – 10 – 5 – 3 – 3 – 5 – 5 – 4
The wall balls: 15 – 8 – 8 – 8 – 8 – 8
The row wasn’t bad only the time remaining after 55 cal of left the time around 12:50, leaving time for 2 HSPU.
This gave me a lot of insight on how to improve my training , and additionally is ever doing 55 deadlifts @225lbs. something important to my training.

Train like a ninja, better bring a friend

“When someone cares they make an effort, not excuses.” – every coach ever.

The other night while training with codename pixie, I remembered the only thing I could promise almost 10 weeks ago when she agreed to join my gym, “you won’t get shredded like some instagram model, but you will get stronger.”

In the passing weeks my prophecy has been fulfilled. But, then again the only way to fail my one simple measure of succeeding would be to just never show up. Something that I’m sad to say has happened a lot in the last dozen years spent training would be fighters and former athletes. (One day I would be excited to write more about the days of training with fighters that we seeking infamy and the mindset it requires.) Back to the topic of the day: The workout for this day was a first; where our different goals for training had some layover: She had a photo-shoot and me with my own super serious ninja training that can’t be neglected. Hah, or more accurately I was just excited that the pixie had been diligently training and finally has built up to working in with my workout.
Hopefully the WOD makes enough sense: Enter the pain cave and challenge yourself with things you hate… and add just a bit of complementary movements. Since I’m the person that writing the program and know I’d give up pizza before doing an entire work out of sled push/drags.
Warm up five minutes of jump rope and PVC pipe cleans
Row: 500meters; 350meters; 200meters
Dips: 21; 15; 9
Sled pushes 70lbs x 4
2 x 15 toes to bars
2 x 20 decline sit-ups
3 x 3 minute rounds of bag work
Stretch

In closing this was a much more fun workout than usual, mainly because having a friend catch up with your higher volume of training give you hope to keep pushing yourself. Also it helps to remember when bringing your friend along to train in your regularly scheduled crucibles address physical dysfunctions first (they maybe unaware of), then use all the sweet fitness gypsy methods to get them up to snuff before adding a bar or bounding drill to their workout. So, that looks a lot like working on mobility, unilateral(I.e. Lunge) and eventually bilateral(squat) exercises to learn how coordinated the person is. Of course we all want our friend to do pistols and handstand pushups, but apparently making sure their able to move in such dynamic ways
I strongly believe weight training should be used in these process for most clients that are looking to accomplish a goal. Because the caveman logic I use is get strong first; reap the rewards of being able is compared to that was

Ninja Warrior pt 3

“Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.”

After a long week of saying goodbye to coworkers going on to bigger things, canceling trips, injuring myself midweek training, and not to mention recording the very first Savage Science Podcast (way way way harder than I thought. Seriously in the comments whoever has advice on how to format a philosophy of training show please share or get with me.)

So to go into the Monday workout: I recklessly wanted to tax my hip-flexors and ability to stabilize though my trunk w/
5 x 12 overhead squat (OHS), 95 lbs
5×7(ea) deep lunges,
5×15(ea) step up, 36in
100 Russian  twist, 40lbs kb

What I discovered while doing so much unilateral work is that coming soon my body will be ready to handle a lot more bounding drills while at this heavy weight (223lbs/92kg). The reason I think this is important is because you have to learn how to be kind to your body and knowing that thrashing yourself is never a great decision when preparing for a new challenge.

So the workouts continue to be mentally easier than what I remember my body can do, but at the same time this isn’t finding my one rep max on back squat, bench press and deadlift like I’ve been doing for so long.