Twosday!

Good things come in sets of two, or at least that’s what my mom tells my brother and I.  (We’re twins, for the record.)  I happen to agree with the proverb, and will proceed to unleash an informational 2 x 2 on you.  If that happens to be too many twos for you, don’t worry, there will actually be three.  Here we go:

Two People I’m Impressed With

I’ve been getting text and Facebook updates about the healthful renaissance (my words, not his) of a friend and brother in the Xi Mu Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. (We met at UD.)  Small changes such as switching from soda to water, hitting the gym 4+ times a week, and keeping snacking/grazing/bored eating in check.  He’s said, “Eventually, you just start doing the stuff subconsciously and don’t even have to think about it, which is great!”  It’s nice to know that I’m not the only person making spinach smoothies in the morning. Nice work Hans! In addition to being a healthy eater, Hans is also a great musician and photographer.  Find his work HERE and HERE.

• 2 Bananas • 1 Apple • 15 Frozen Strawberries • 2 Handfuls of Fresh Spinach Leaves • Enjoy

In addition to Hans kicking butt, I’m also proud of one of my female friends for letting me put her through the paces today.  She usually plays the ‘typical’ girl role and does a disproportionate amount of cardio and hip abductions.  She leaves for law school at Georgetown in a little under two weeks, so I’m trying to show her the light before she goes, so that she’ll be able to kick butt inside and outside the courtroom.  Today we met up at Oceanside High School for a sprint/TRX metabolic circuit.  It’s safe to say that after some introduction and warming up, the 4 circuits that I had her do kicked her butt.  Here’s a look at it:

  • 35 yard backwards run
  • 35 yard forwards sprint
  • 10 TRX Rows
  • 10 TRX Squats
  • 10 TRX Chest Press
  • Superband Pull Throughs
  • TRX Squat to High Knee (6 per leg)
  • TRX Fall Out

With approximately a minute and a half off inbetween sets, she had time to recooperate and get a few tips on exercises.  She did a great job for her first time with both suspension training and this style of conditioning work, and hopefully she’ll be interested in changing over to this more effective style of exercising.  (Aside:  I had to coach the pull-throughs a fair amount, so we played a bit with the rep ranges and different isometric holds in the ‘tall’ position.  The best seemed to be a 2 count hold at the top, with 1 count eccentric and concentric phases.)

Two Exercises You Should Be Doing

I’ve become a huge fan of the half-kneeling position for chops and lifts.  Exercises performed in this position are self limiting, because without proper core stability you can’t complete the exercise; you’ll just tip over.  Because of this, exercises done in the half kneeling position provide better postural cue, meaning you’ll be more likely to do them the right way.  This means that they’ll be both safer and more effective; double whammy!

I’ve been using the half-kneeling position for cable lifts, wood chops, and most recently Unilateral (one-armed) Fat Grip Rows. (Cool name, right?)  However, I’ve tried a new exercise in the half kneeling position, and will already say that it’s going to be a staple exercise in my upper-body workouts.  I’ve only had the chance to peruse Gray Cook’s Athletic Body in Balance, but from it I’ve taken the Half-Kneeling Curl-to-Press.  The obvious benefits here would be the curling and pressing movements, and their effects on the biceps and deltoid/triceps, respectively.  However, I like the exercise because of a few other reasons.  In the half-kneeling position, you stabilize the lumbar spine, preventing dangerous lumbar hyper-extension.  The musculature from the hips to the shoulders (aka the core) are working to maintain a tall spinal position, so in half-kneeling you’re forced to keep your chest up tall.  While  you limit lumbar hyper-extension in half kneeling, you also promote thoracic extension and scapular retraction, because you’re pressing overhead.  (Make sure you pack your shoulder…either contract your lats, or click HERE.)  This is a phenomenal multi-tasking exercise, and I’d certainly incorporate it into your workouts.

The following exercise takes far less explanation.  Technically, you could call it a Dynamic Asymmetrical Anti-Lateral Flexion Exercise.  All that really means is that you’re moving, and one side of your ‘core’ is preventing you from tipping over.  Now, we’ll just refer to it as the Waiter’s Walk.  This is fairly self-explanatory:  Press a weight (I’m using a 30lb dumbbell in the video) overhead, and proceed to walk forwards and/or backwards.  I use this adorable little hallway at my gym, because it’s usually empty other than that nice looking man who decided to walk next to me.  Make sure to squeeze your weight hard, pack your shoulder, and brace your core.  Then walk.  Your obliques will love you for exercising them, your lumbar spine will love you for sparing it excess motion, and your physical therapist/orthopedist will hate me for teaching you safer ways to exercise.  Enjoy!

Two More People Doing It the Right Way

For the most part, people exercise in one of two ways; they’ll do body part specific resistance training, like the bodybuilders of the 60’s, or they’ll do steady state aerobic work.  In both cases, it’s archaic.  While some exercise is certainly better than no exercise at all, one of my big goals is to help promote the most effective forms of exercise.  Recently I saw two people who are doing it ‘the right way.’

Both of these mysterious people were ladies, and both of them I saw while working out at my old high school.  The first girl proceeded to do an entire lap of walking lunges around the 400 meter track.  I’m not even sure if I can do that.  When she was done, she dropped to the ground and proceeded to do push-ups.   When you consider that distance, she did at least 400 lunges, and if you think you need to run to do cardio, just try to do 50 lunges in a row.  Mystery lady A (for awesome) certainly did got some work done.  Funny that I saw this, because Nike just re-released a 2007 ad campaign that specifically mentions lunges.

The second girl I noticed while training my friend today; She walked onto the turf, stretched a bit, jogged a bit, then began running the football sideline, about 80 yards down, then turning around.  I assumed she was warming up for a soccer practice, but then I realized what she was doing.  SPRINTS!!  She would take 80 yards at a speedy clip, jog back, then rocket back down the sideline.  I’m pretty impressed with how fast she can boogie, and everyone loves the aerobic and anaerobic benefit that sprinting offers.  She’ll be faster, leaner, and have a higher V02 max then her non-sprinting friends.  That’s obviously a trait that I prize among women.

Overall it’s nice to see two young women training in more productive ways.  Hopefully one day everyone will be doing massive lunge sets, sprints, and TRX circuits.  Until then, I’ll have to shun major magazines that promote ‘toning’ exercises and Zumba classes.

It was nice to exercise outside twice this past week.  I’ve been doing some investigating with kettlebells, and will be procuring one from Perform Better soon; with that, I’ll be totally portable, and can kick some serious butt wherever I go.  Or at least until it’s too cold in October to be outside.  I hate the cold.

Finally, I’ll leave you with the Nike ad that I referenced earlier, because it’s fantastic.  Tony Gentilcore discussed it briefly HERE, but the comment section is the most interesting part of the post.  Enjoy!

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