Today is my 24th birthday, and I thought how could I better celebrate than by compiling 24 random health & fitness related thoughts into a somewhat coherent logic train that I could use to edutain my readers. Wonderful, I’m happy you liked the idea. Let’s get right into this poorly organized mish-mosh of topics. But first, you know you think this, too:
I’m sore as hell. It was a combination of Saturday’s workout and Sundays Workout. On Saturday I trained with my friend Julian, and we took our squats to a medium box height (just below parallel), Zercher good mornings which are the absolute devil which made me hate life, then we were ready to push the Prowler. Unfortunately, there was a basketball game in the gymnasium we typically use, so we Julian mentioned some doing higher-rep trap bar deadlifts. Okay, game on.
I’m not a fan of higher rep deadlifts for personal records, because your form is bound to break down as you complete more repetitions. With sub-maximal weights and sub-maximal reps, it’s going to be a little less dangerous, but you’ll still hate life. My personal example is 3 sets of 10 with 315lbs followed by one set of 15, just for the hell of it. Doing those with 60-90 seconds between reps didn’t help either.
I followed that Saturday workout with a trip to Moe’s Southwest Grill, which I probably love more than Ben Bruno loves Chipotle. The Home Wrecker burrito is my preferred post squaturday workout meal, and I loaded mine up with rice, pinto beans, pulled pork, lettuce, salsa, guacamole, and cheese. I love me some guac, so I got a side of that as well. After doing some reading and Skyping with friends when I got home, my mom decided we should go to a local Tex-Mex restaurant for dinner, to celebrate for my brother and I. After a combo-platter that included chorizo sausage and steak tacos, some beef chili, and sweet potato fries, I don’t think I want to eat beans for at least a week. When in doubt, Tex-Mex for the win.
Sunday included a lift, training some clients, and working the floor. I’ve brought the evil bench-press back into my training for a while, and after I was done benching I paired eccentric chin-ups and the standing half-press. I used a regular shoulder width chin-up (supinated) grip, and took about 8-10 seconds on each rep of the chin-ups. I believe that I used 4 work sets, of 6 reps for the chin-ups and 8 reps for the press. I wasn’t able to take any videos, but you can read about the standing half press in Tony Gentilcore’s blog post HERE, and you’ll see the video below:
Between the high rep trap bar deadlifts, and the eccentric chin-ups, some inverted rows earlier in the workout, and some fat grip cable rows, my back is shot. Through my warm-up and between my sets of bench-presses, I banged out a number of sets of the half-kneeling pull-apart, which is awesome. I’ll elaborate on it in a future post, but my point is this: Most people don’t do nearly enough upper back work. I’ve said a number of times, but if you won’t take my word for it, take Jason Ferruggia’s word for it:
In addition to the upper back work, you probably need to do more hip dominant work. Push your hips back when you squat, learn how to deadlift, and take reverse lunges over forwards lunges. You’ll feel better, and that extra glute and hamstring work will make everyone happy. Oh, you’re using the leg press? That doesn’t count. Cut that shit out.
When it comes to personal favorites for the lower body, I have to go with the sumo deadlift as my bilateral lift, and the clean-grip reverse lunge as my single-leg lift. I find that I can really sit back into the sumo stance deadlift and get my hamstrings and glutes involved, but I also need to focus on getting more leg drive into that lift. As far as the reverse lunge, that variation will jack up your hamstrings for days the first time you try it; Definitely a favorite for when I train myself, but I tend to be a little more conservative with personal training clients. We’ll use the trap bar deadlift, and will usually go to a ValSlide reverse lunge or deficit reverse lunge either in the goblet or suitcase positions. Both are equally as difficult, and you will thoroughly enjoy them.
While I’m recommending exercises to you, let’s back track in your workout: Spend some time warming-up. On Sunday, I watched a high school senior walk into the gym, put 45’s on an Olympic bar, pull his phone out of the pocket of his jeans, then begin to lay down. Not so fast, bucko. “What the hell are you doing?” …”Umm, what? I’m going to bench.” Like hell you are. Instead of going on an rant about idiots in the gym, I thought of Jon Goodman and took this tenderfoot on a quick tour of the foam roller, some shoulder mobility drills, and my preferred “warm-up in a hurry” sequence of push-ups and several TRX row variations. He was receptive to the idea, and I think a light bulb clicked when I said something along the lines of “You can either do it now, or you can do it in physical therapy.” Hopefully I’m making some progress, but I’m not sure; he did proceed to blast his pecs from every possible angle with cable flyes galore. Apparently at one point in time, Dave Tate of EliteFTS said, “Trying to get a bigger bench by doing cable crossovers is like preparing for the SATs with a coloring book.” Speaking of EliteFTS, if this video doesn’t get you motivated to train, I don’t know what does. It’s not the guys, or the exercises, or the weights that they’re moving, it’s their extraordinary resolve to prepare, perform, and prevail. (Fans of the site should appreciate that.)
Thanks to fellow blogger Hey Joob, I found a website called Eat Big Lift Big, which provides “research-based information on all topics relating to fitness, nutrition, recovery, strength, and mass gains.” The site has some great information that blends “pick up heavy sh*t” with “there is scientific efficacy behind what we’re doing. As example, check out this sweet shirt that they’ve made:
Maybe that shirt isn’t entirely true, but it’s pretty damn close, and I find it hilarious. I just ordered one for myself, along with one more, so you can expect some pictures in the future. Happy Birthday to me.
Finally, congratulations are in order to the New York Giants on their Super Bowl win last night. I’m not a Giants fan, but they’re a far better team to route for than the Patriots. (Sorry, Pats fans.) The game ended up being a battle between the Pats’ offence and the Giant’s defense, and I think gives credits to the adages, “Offense wins games, defense wins championships”, as well as “The best offense is a good defense.”
Now that the Super Bowl is over, it’s golf season. The Majors begin with the Masters in early April, and I’m already excited for playing and watching golf this year. I didn’t get to play much last year, but with some routine practice I can get a lot better. Here’s to some extra time on the range, and developing rotatory power by practicing my rotational medicine ball throws. Here’s a video of LPGA professional Nannette Hill working with Anthony Renna of Five Iron Fitness:
In addition to the rope climbing I discussed in my last post, I’ve also been using a rock wall with my students to develop muscular endurance, flexibility, and balance. It’s a blast for them to use, and I have some fun climbing on it as well. I plan on going rock climbing this weekend, but without the cake and pizza that you have at birthday parties as a kid. Check out the gym I’ll go to, Island Rock.
Even though I played lacrosse in high school, I’m not one for the team sports. I play golf, which is the epitome of Darwinian individual competition. I’ll play in Badminton tournaments at school, and fare pretty well, but that’s about it. You want to play pick-up Ultimate over the summer? Count me in. If you’ve read this far, I’ll admit that I went to a Quidditch club information meeting at school tonight. Yes, Quidditch. From Harry Potter. That’s what’s up.
So I happen to be a little nerdy, and prefer LOTR over ESPN. I’m over it. Unfortunately, my birthday is also almost over, so I’ll wrap this up. I was humbled by the showing of love from my family and friends throughout the day, and I’m grateful that I was able to spend the day doing what I love. Hopefully I can have enough influence so that you spent the day doing some of the things that I love, and you can appreciate this final picture. This is what it’s all about: