Pretty Busy Weekend!

This weekend was pretty busy, from Friday’s Guy Fawkes Day to Sunday’s Colts Loss.  Yea, I had to throw that in there, I know it just made my girlfriend scowl.  Here’s a small recap of my weekend accompanied by thoughts and some information.

On Friday, I had my usual ‘Heavy’ Lower Body workout, and it was the first time I felt really excited about it in a while.  I don’t mean that I was happy to work out, I meant that I literally felt my Central Nervous System kick on.  My Central Nervous System was excited.  Yea, I know I’m nerdy about that.  Luckily, it happened right before I box squatted 385 for a triple, so maybe I’m not that nerdy after all.  A week ago I was told that I need to get more ‘angry’ when I lift, and I think I’ve been forgetting about that psychological side of training.

While I was excited about my squat, as well as two other exercises that will remain a mystery until Friday, I was pretty pissed off about something else.  I was attempting to find a ‘dead’ medicine ball to use for overhead slams, because I didn’t want to copy the genius in the video below.  I like medicine balls because it trains the core to do what it’s supposed to do; resist motion.  When you generate downward force with the ball, you isometrically resist spinal extension;  Basically, it works your abs.  Also, if you repeat slams really quickly, it’s great cardio.  I was attempting to make a little circuit at the end of my workout that included split squat jumps on the TRX, Med Ball Slams, and Double-Unders (with a jump rope).  My search for a dead ball was noisy, and gained the attention of the director of Adelphi’s CSR, and my boss.  Probably not a good idea to piss her off, so I decided to bail on the slams for the day.  After questioning my attempted use of a great exercise, she then said, “Oh, you’re wearing the toe shoes?”  I knew this wasn’t going to go where I wanted.  Try as I might to explain how awesome my Vibrams are, apparently “They don’t offer any protection if you drop a weight on your foot.”

Because regular sneakers do?  I should start squatting in steel-toed boots…just in case.  I double checked to see how bad the Vibrams are, and while they’re ugly as hell, they’re still not allowed for the safety issue.  I’ve been trying to wear them for all of my lower body training, and while I stand behind their awesomeness, rules are rules.  If you’re wondering, I’m still going to try to wear them in there, unless my boss is reading this, in which case I’ll be wearing a pair of steel Nike Frees.  I’m trying to have the healthiest feet possible; I hope you understand.  In reality though, while I can always workout on Fridays at the JCC, I’ll have to switch back to my Free’s on Mondays.  Maybe I can get a pair of Chucks and be like an old school powerlifting.  Regardless, I’m pretty pissed about the stupid ruling, and if and when I open my own gym, there will be pro-Vibram rulings, and ridicule for people who drop heavy weight on their foot.  If it’s going to break anyway, you might as well wear shoes that help your performance.  To end this complaint, here’s a video of how not to do a med ball slam.

Saturday was a very awesome day, for a few reasons.  In chronological order, I taught my girlfriend how to deadlift, and then I was involved in a sled relay.  She’s never lifted before, and I’m adamant about that because doing 10lb RDL’s in Total Body Conditioning doesn’t count.  I’m not sure how I got her to agree to letting me show her some things, but she was pretty excited about it; she must like me bunches.  She knew going into it that it was important to me, and even laughed when she heard my friend say, “He talked to me for half an hour about this.”  He wasn’t kidding.

I like her, so I didn’t want to beat her up too much, so I tried to keep it easy.  Still, I wanted to introduce her to more efficient training.  After a quick dynamic warm-up, I had her start rack-pulling from just below her knees to force her hips back.  It looked great, so I dropped the pins in the rack as low as they go; Nobody wants to pull off the floor from a 4 inch deficit.  After a few feeler sets to get used to the movement, I decided to load the bar a bit.  In my head, the first standard was good form; Nobody in their right mind would load a poor movement pattern. She didn’t have an issue with the technique, so I started loading light; after 3 sets of 6 with 45lbs, 60lbs, and 75lbs, I realized it was pretty easy for her.  I asked her to pull 95lbs for a triple, but she didn’t have a problem with another set of 6, so I moved on to my second standard; body weight.  While pulling a single, she looked both suprised that the weight went up, and suprised that it was easy on the way down.  She took a quick break, then pulled it for a set of 5.  This on her first day?  Total keeper.  In between sets of deadlifts, I had her do some rows on the TRX and pushups.  She got in her horizontal pulling and pushing in between her hip dominant work.  How efficient is that?  You don’t need to tell me.  She’ll be pulling like Hannah Johnson in no time.

After the deadlifting was done, and I was satisfied that I didn’t need to break up with her, it was on to other exercises.  I had her superset 30 second planks with a half-kneeling curl to press, which I think is fantastic exercise.  The first true coaching I had to do for the day was during her plank, where I found her in a wicked anterior pelvic tilt.  Good thing the other exercise was in half kneeling!  After rotating her hips posteriorly, she realized how much it sucks to be taken out of your natural stabilization pattern.  Good thing I was there to be the form police!

Don’t worry, I wasn’t that mean about it.  While the DOMS is something she’ll (hopefully) come to love, round 2 is next Tuesday. Hopefully I’ll take some video of it!

While I’m on the topic of girls deadlifting, my friend Anna pulled 185lbs for 3 singles last Monday.  That’s more weight than most guys use, and she did it with great form each one; Anna, you deserve a high five.

After Maria’s awesome workout on Saturday, it became Sledurday.  After recruiting two innocent and unsuspecting high schoolers for the sled pull, we took terms alternating between laps in the gym running with it behind us.  While Bryan and I were used to it, it was new for Cody and Jonas; apparently that night Cody slept from 7pm to 9am.  Welcome to conditioning!

Come Sunday morning, I wake up to the last 100 yards of the New York City Marathon.  The timing was perfect, because 100 yards is all I’d want to run in a race anyway.  After catching up on the who’s-who of distance running, I came upon this thought in my head: “Do they look like athletes?”  I don’t think so, in reality they look more like starving runway models.  Here’s a picture of US Marathon runner Paula Radcliffe.  That’s not a good look.

If you search ‘Marathon Runner’ on google, the 4th picture you encounter is one of my favorite for explaining my thoughts on endurance running; it’s worth more than a thousand words.  There always tends to be a spike in joggers and runners after the NYC marathon, and I doubt it’ll be any different this year.  It was the biggest marathon ever, and the masses were sure to be inspired.  While the majority of people will certainly benefit from improving their cardiovascular fitness, they’ll get more out of a well-rounded general physical preparedness program, not just endurance training.  Just answer the question in the picture below!

I think you know the answer to that one.  The sprinter trains for power, and builds endurance as a side effect.  Sure, not many can also run 26 miles, but why would you want to do that in the first place?  If you need to race, then that’s part of your training, but it’s not the best idea for non-racers.  What IS a good idea is metabolic conditioning!  Of course I need an example for you, so you’re about to see a video that was taken just a few hours ago.  In it, you see an upper-body circuit that I devised with kids at school, involving a Plyometric pushup, Chin-Up, Dumbbell Push-Press, and TRX Row.  We hit all 4 major movement patterns in the upper-body, and you can see that by round 4 in this video, it kicked the crap out of me.  Players 2 and 3 are both swimmers on the Adelphi Swim Team, so I’m blaming my fail on the fact that Swimming is all vertical pulling, and they do plyo-pushups at practice.  Or, I can just suck-less net time.  Option 2 is probably better.  Regardless, I think everybody uttered something along the lines of “I think I’m going to puke!” at least once, which means it was an awesome circuit.  Ideally, we’d also have lower body involvement, but we’ll get those circuits taken care of in due time.

My closing thought comes to my own training; As you can tell from this, I trained on both Saturday and Sunday, including pretty demanding metabolic work.  This can be taxing on the Central Nervous System, so I need to re-evaluate what I do on Monday, a day when I usually use HIIT to end my workouts.  To adjust, I’ll most likely perform slightly longer-duration, less intense work.  While I’m not exactly sure of what I’m doing, it may be something such as bike sprints with a longer interval, say 1 minute on and 2 minutes off, for 20 minutes or so.  Yes, still intervals, but not my normal 40 second/20 second split on the elliptical.  A non-machine example would be this:

  1. Jump Squats x 20
  2. Swiss Ball Rollout x 20
  3. Kettlebell Swing x 20
  4. Jump Rope for 2 minutes
  5. Repeat for 20 minutes

My use of that circuit is entirely dependent on if I feel like carrying my kettlbell inside tomorrow, I’ll let you know how that goes.

I hope that everybody’s weekend was as fun as mine, and that the upcoming week is just as exciting!

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