Saturday, November 26, 2011

What Are You Thankful For?

Right now we’re living in a time when the economy is rough, Sundays are no longer days of rest, the risk of diseases and cancer are high, and there are more broken families than ever before.
With all the negative, we’re all still finding a way to survive and get strong(er).
Extraordinary Resolve.
We find a way to conquer no matter what, no matter how.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we want to know what YOU are thankful for. Let us know in the comment section below.

What are you thankful for?

And for you those of you like me who work hard to be strong, this compilation is for you! 

Extraordinary resolve is not just found in adults....


Friday, November 25, 2011

WOD- Cardio 5 REPEAT

Descending Ladder ( Record time to completion and weight used)

Turkish Getup - 1 rep each set on each side

             Followed by:

1 Arm Snatches - 10, 9, 8,....1 reps

Directions: Start on your back. Use turkish getup to stand up, perform your 10 snatches, then leave the bell up on the 10th snatch.  Return to the ground, reversing your turkish getup.  Switch sides, repeating the same sequence.  When you return to the first side, once you are standing, you will only perform 9 snatches, then go back down to the ground.  You will continue in the descending pattern until you end with 1 turkish getup and 1 snatch on each arm. 

Compare to 9/3/11

Monday, November 21, 2011

You Have to Swing Those Bells!

Do you face three of the same challenges that I regularly confront with my conditioning?
  1. I hate doing cardio in pretty much any form.
  2. I don’t have huge amounts of time to focus on conditioning because getting time to do my strength work can be an issue.
  3. I don’t have (or have access to) a Prowler.
Before some douche bag trainer from the Biggest Loser goes all medieval on my arse and tells me to find a hill and sprint up it until I lose my cookies or grow a pair, indulge me for a moment. I never really saw the point in running unless it involved someone chasing me or me chasing a ball. The whole concept of a “Fun Run” is really one of the great oxymorons of the modern age. However, I have found an alternative that allows me to complete some butt kicking conditioning work without going anywhere near a hill, all in the span of twelve to seventeen minutes (twenty if you include a warm-up period).

The answer—kettlebells. In my mind, there are four main kettlebell exercises—kettlebell swings and their variations, kettlebell snatches, kettlebell clean and presses, and Turkish get-ups.

My conditioning program is simple. I pick two of these exercises, do one of them for ten to twelve minutes, and then do the other exercise for five minutes. With kettlebell swings, two arm, single arm, and alternating arm versions are all fine, and I often mix each of them into the same session, particularly when they form the longer portion of the workout.

At the end of this workout, your heart will be pounding and almost your entire posterior chain will be screaming. Put the kettlebells away, walk around to get your breath back, get your bag, and get on with your life.
I will acknowledge up front that the workouts can be as boring as hell, but I make no apologies for this. I’ll take boring but brutally effective over mind numbing treadmill work any day. Focusing on holding on to your last meal can make the time pass quickly. Believe me. The key to getting through the workout is to focus on ensuring your technique is sound and remains that way for the duration. Once you get over the five-minute mark, fatigue will set in, and for the next five to seven minutes, a technical failure may result in an unwanted injury. If your technique starts to fail you, stop the exercise and move to another exercise. As my mother use to say, an ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure.

Pavel Tsatsouline has written extensively on all things kettlebell related, including proper technique. Sample technique videos are available on my blog and my youtube page and I strongly recommend you study these prior to commencing with this protocol. The protocols presented here are variations on work presented by Pavel, particularly the ten-minute clean and press challenge. For this, I will forever be indebted to him.

One of my favorite variations is to line up four kettlebells of progressively lighter weight and perform twenty repetitions at the heaviest weight. Then I move to the next lightest for twenty repetitions and continue down the chain to the lightest weight before working my way back up the chain. While it’s mentally pleasing to move down the chain with the weight getting lighter, the mental challenge in moving back up the chain is significant.

For those who don’t have access to kettlebells, dumbbells can be used, but take care with your grip if you use two hands when doing swings. I also suggest that you give alternating arm swings a miss with dumbbells.
So the next time you’re contemplating another boring conditioning session for you, mix it up and bring on a kettlebell challenge. Even a two-minute challenge will be significant for an inexperienced client. Remember, you have to swing them bells!

Friday, November 18, 2011

WOD- Max Effort 2 REPEAT

WOD = Max Effort Day

Work up to a max weight for each movement, using the given repetition maximum assigned.  Do so over the course of 3-5 sets for each exercise.  Once you have used the most amount of weight possible for the prescribed repetitions, you are done that exercise.  Therefore, continue on to the next movement and repeat the process of progressive resistance, ending in a max effort attempt for each one.  The max weight used in each one is what gets logged in the "comments" section below.  FYI, the weight logged needs to be the same for your right and left arm!

1) Turkish Getup - 1RM (1 repetition maximum = max weight moved for 1 repetition)
2) Front Squat - 5RM ( 5 repetition maximum = max weight moved for 5 repetition)
3) Overhead Press - 5RM ( 5 repetition maximum = max weight moved for 5 repetition)

Compare to:  9/10/11

Monday, November 14, 2011

Do More of What you Suck At!

Do you ever wonder where you weaknesses come from?  They are the result of your habits and movement patterns.  If you sit a lot for your job, you develop tightness in the hip flexors and hamstrings.  If you don't do stretching exercises to counter this behavior, you will eventually end up with pain and dysfunction.  Or take another more personal example, and perhaps you train heavy weightlifting movements most of the time, like me!  I get great gains in strength and muscle mass, but the weakness that results is that my cardiovascular endurance is relatively poor.  Why? Because I don't train movements or activities with enough frequency to make positive changes to that system. 

So does that mean that I should ignore that weakness?  Well, if you are like me, your ego is saying "yes."  Our egos like us to continue performing the activities and movements that we are good at and like to perform. However, if we want to optimize our fitness, and achieve a more balanced body, you should not ignore your weaknesses.  You should find what you suck at, and work on those movements or activities. 

That doesn't mean stop doing what you enjoy or what you are good at, but simply weave in some work to address the weaknesses you discover.  Try including something at least once or twice a week, and it doesn't have to be a large time commitment.  To make significant changes in my cardiovascular endurance, I could jog 1.5 miles one day, and perform a 10 minute kettlebell interval training session on another day.  In less than 30 minutes a week, I would likely see changes in as little as 3-4 weeks. 

You should do the same.  Find what you suck at, learn activities or exercises that address those weaknesses, and then act on them regularly.  Plan this out, because remember, it will not be things you enjoy doing.  Additionally, your weaknesses may change over the course of a year or two.  You may fix one problem, and then find that another problem needs to be prioritized.  For example, the office worker I mentioned in the first paragraph has tight hip flexors and hamstrings.  Well, after 6 weeks of daily stretching, those muscles are no longer tight, but I bet their abdominal muscles are weak too.  So, time cut back on the stretching to a maintenance level, then focus on strengthening the core over the next 4-6 weeks.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

WOD- Cardio 4 REPEAT


21-15-9    (complete for minimum time)


Compare to 8/27/11

Friday, November 4, 2011

WOD- Cardio 3 Repeat


Reps for minimum time (20 minute time limit)

5 Getups each side
20 Clean, squat, press on each side
30 Suitcase Deadlift each side
40 Snatches each side

Compare to 8/20/11