25 September 2010

Your back hurts? Quit fucking whining and fix it, Part 1

I was at the gym one day and I saw a guy doing something between a pullover and a lat pull down on the lat pull down machine.  There was a minuscule amount of weight on the machine, to top it off.  But this motherfucker thought he was really gunning his lats, I am sure.  Oh, and he had a weight belt on too.  What pisses me off is that I cannot find a hyperbolic picture to convey the message.

He and I had a brief conversation:

Me: Why are you wearing a weightbelt on this machine? And what's with the paltry amount of weight?

Idiot:  I hurt my back.

Me: I invited you to come lift kettlebells with me and the group. You really should, it will strengthen your back.

Idiot: I know man, but it's too hot outside.

I left, at that comment.  I live in Florida, for those who are unaware, and it is usually miserably hot outside.  However, if you train outside as often as you can, you get used to weather variations.  So, in short, he was making excuses.

Part of the problem of people whining about back problems (and I mean whining, I am not talking about people with slipped or herniated discs and what not, though they can use some back strengthening too) is that they don't have an ass.  This comes from sitting a lot.  Your ass is responsible for extending your hips.  If you got no ass, it's your fault.  And as a result  your lumbar will take the brunt of whatever external load you have to lift, whether it is in everyday life or in the gym.  Too much pressure, not distributed equally means you are fucked.

I bet Jaime doesn't have back problems.

This is just goddamn hideous.  
A technical term for this is called "gluteal amnesia."  The chick directly above looks as if she has "gluteal go fuck yourself I will never help you."

So what the hell do you do to fix this? I don't recommend going and start deadlifting yet.  Even though deadliftin is the shit.  Some things you can do to become aware of your glute include sex, kettlebell swings, hip thrusts, and bridges.  If you are a woman, take up pegging and become aware of your glutes.

This is what pegging is.  When you thrust in, act like you are trying to pinch a coin with your ass cheeks. 
  Here is the inventor of the hip thrust explaining how and why this is a good ass exercise.  Also, he wrote a 600 plus page opus on glute training at www.thegluteguy.com.  

Bridging is a good exercise not just for the glutes, but the spine as well.  Every time I ever overdid it on deadlifts and hurt myself, bridges always sped up my healing process.  Gymnasts know this stuff, and you can find information on it anywhere with a google search.  Here is an example of bridging movements.  (www.legendarystrength.com)

Fix these problems, and you can start working your deadlifts and stuff. I talk about kettlebell swings a lot, but I will include a video for completeness.

Spot on instruction on how to swing and not suck at it.  Remember, the bodyweight shit is the stuff you do before you hit the weights.  Especially if your back is really fucked up.  Don't lift a heavy weight until you are ready, and stop complaining about your back and do something to fix it.  Incidentally, bridging and hip thrusts and kettlebell swings can be done in your house.  So you literally have no excuse.

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

20 September 2010

The missing link (your lats)

As much as I would like to pontificate about whomever the hell this is, I will not.  The missing link I am talking about is in your training.  Here is the missing link in common movements:
Your lat muscles.  This particular set belongs to Dorian Yates.   Lat muscles are involved in pulling heavy shit.  But what many do not know, except for seasoned bench pressers, and strength coaches that are worth a shit, is that your lat muscles can help you crank out more push-ups and help you bench or military press higher weights.   And if you know how to use them, they can help your deadlifting too.

One way to have your lats come help you is to figure out how the hell to consciously use them.  Stand in front of your counter and stick your hand straight out and try to press your hand through the counter. It won't work.  Then run your opposite hand down your side, starting from your armpit and you will feel your lat muscle.  Step one is complete.  Now, you can do exercises to make them stronger, and stronger lats yield stronger pulls and presses, which I and others have said before are the basis of any good program.

Pull-ups or chin-ups are great for your lats.  If you can't do them, get a friend to help.  You'll be glad your did.  You will also notice your biceps getting a nice workout too.  But to concentrate on the movement and being aware of your lats, act is if you are pulling with your elbows.  It's silly, but it works.

Now that you are aware of them and are hopefully making them stronger, here's how you use them to help your pressing.  If you are bench pressing, do it with your feet on the ground with your shoulders and ass touching the bench, like you are supposed to do.  And for the love of God, keep your goddamn head touching too.  When you break the bar, lower it controlled style, and act like you are trying to break the son of a bitch as you press it up.  Notice the difference.

If you are overhead pressing, it helps to imagine that you are pushing yourself away from the bar, or kettlebell.  Once this simple cue comes to you, you will feel your lat working at the press.  Another way to learn to engage the lat in pressing overhead is the bottoms up kettlebell military press.

Here I am with my friend at our kettlebell club, and we are both bottoms up pressing a 32kg kettlebell.   FYI I am not the one wearing the singlet. 
 And for fuck's sake, if you are gonna do this movement, and have never done it, find an RKC kettlebell instructor or email me because I don't want any of you to hurt your fucking faces trying to do this.

Here is how you can maximize your deadlifting potential with your lats.  Sort of.  One of the things to think about when deadlifting is your grip.  I mean think about it when you go for a maximal effort lift.  If you actively grip the fuck out of the bar, you'll feel your lats flex, which will aid in the lift.  This could be the difference between a red or a white light at a competition.  Do this every time you deadlift, whether you pull conventional or sumo or use a trap bar, or what have you.   Learn about your lats, and improve in life and lifting. 

16 September 2010

My ass is on fire

So in light of what happened on Monday--the 405lb deadlift PR, I decided to fuck around with some light deadlifting Wednesday and I also decided I should probably start barbell squatting again.  It can only help my deadlift, and it can make my legs more muscular, and just generally make me more fit.  As I had not done barbell squats in a year, my ass is really really sore.

I'd be worried that the hair on my ass would get singed, if I were the submissive here. 
What this means is that my ass muscles--also called "glutes"-- got worked out in a different way than they have been lately.  This is good, because often times in a deadlift, people who have a weak lockout tend to have their glutes as their weakest link.  So, I'm going to bring up my lagging squat.  Next time I am in the gym, I will show you how to squat and not look like a douchebag, though I am sure most of you reading hit parallel at  minimum when you squat.

In other news, this guy above thinks that people shouldn't write their own lifting programs.  He also has a lot of great information on how to get girls too, because apparently all males are incapable of said task.  I don't see a problem with following someone elses program.  I followed a bunch of Pavel's programs--mainly Enter the Kettlebell and Return of the Kettlebell and met with great success with these programs.  The prevailing argument over at http://thenategreenexperience.com/blog/Stupid+People+Write+Their+Own+Programs/  is that people be biased towards movements they like, and not what they need to do.

And there's a grain of truth there.  However,  if you are a relatively smart human being, you can use this thing called willpower to do what you need to do, whether you like it or not.  Do I like doing 15 seconds of kettlebell snatches followed by 15 seconds of rest, for 20 minutes? Fuck no.   Do I do it because it is good for me? Yes.  If you have been lifting long enough, and if you can read and think critically, you can look at something like Enter the Kettlebell or Westside barbell type of training and look past the movements, and see what it's trying to say--"Don't do anything stupid in your training, and get better at the movements."  And you can corroborate that with The Science and Practice of Strength Training wherein the author tells you exactly how to not suck at doing both of those things.

I'm sure Lidia had to use willpower to win three silver medals in the Snatch in various European championships in the past few years. 
Currently, I do whatever the hell I want to achieve whatever goal I need.  I even started using an ab wheel, which is probably one of the more beneficial things I have done lately.  I also military presses three or so times a week.  I snatch kettlebells various days, and I deadlift and now squat, twice weekly.  So, learn to read, and synthesize, and lift how you want, and be smart about it.

14 September 2010

A history of your beliefs Part 2

In the 13th century, the Fourth Crusade crippled Byzantium, which was once a cultural and economic epicenter for all of the West and the East.  This paved the way for the Ottoman Turks to come and sack Constantinople and effectively ending the Byzantine Empire. 

The last strike on Constantinople would turn the Hagia Sophia from a beautiful  Christian church to a beautiful Muslim Masjid, over time.  

Again, the religion seems to veil this concept of economic control. 

Moreover, in other aspects of life, the believers of a faith or practice tend to legitimize their actions via their beliefs.  And blame other external forces for events that happen in their lives based upon their beliefs.  There's really no problem with that, however when believers pick and choose which events were ordained by their great higher power and which events were not. 

To use religion as a force to legitimate anything, we have to accept the good and the bad.  Jews seemed to understand this concept.  When ever they wound up in the Diaspora, they thought it might be due to some sort of inherent flaw in the way they worshiped God, and they sought to reconcile this.  These days, morons like this: 

can also use their religion to legitimate their actions.  Doesn't make it right, but people who believe a certain way will do so no matter what.  The point of all this is for you, the believer to justify your own actions, without using something else to do so.  Not only does it build character, but it's a far less of a shady practice.  Take responsibility for your actions, and use your faith to make your life better, so that you might act better and make choices that don't suck. 

13 September 2010

A history of your beliefs Part 1

Recently, some dick weed said he was going to burn a fuck ton of Qur'ans on 9/11.  Centuries ago a bunch of white guys in sheets decided it would be a good idea to scare black people to protect "their" white women and their communities.  Hans Gruber held a bunch of hostages so he could get a shit ton of money from a vault. 

Early Americans wiped out a good portion of the Native American population.  There were the Crusades, The Spanish Inquisition, and a whole hell of a lot of holy wars out there. 

What the hell is the point of most of this?  The point is to talk about how at the center of it all, at least in appearance, religion was used as a form of legitimation for a lot of these acts.  One thing we learned in history class is that pilgrims came here to America to reform the Anglican church.  This crock of shit story covers the fact that if the people who come to America started up their own homestead, away from the Monarchs, they could do more stuff that they wanted to do, like start their own industries and make more money.  And they could worship whatever they wanted and how they wanted as an afterthought. 

I know that religious acceptance wasn't cool in England back then, and I am not denying the importance of legit believers--but who in their right mind thinks that The Cross was the number one issue? 

People always look after their bread first. C.R.E.A.M get the money, dolla dolla bill, ya'll.  

The Ku Klux Klan started in the aftermath of the Civil War, which was a war not bent at abolishing slavery, but preserving the United States.   Later on, the Klan used protestantism to veil their terrorist practices--part of which included scaring the living fuck out of a lot of people, including immigrants who had shitty jobs, and could potentially revolt, like they were doing in Russia at the time (late 19th-early 20th century).  This could be viewed as protection for keeping their money.  If I get challenged on it, I'll develop the argument further. 

Stay tuned for more.  

Keto Dieting Continued, a PR, and how I'm gonna drop a knowledge bomb on you all

So, I refed myself this weekend.  It was grand, and to top it off, me and the old lady had a cheatmeal consisting of stuffed shells, with  skittles and a fuck ton of ice cream for desert.  It was awesome. According to the scale, I am around ten pounds lighter than when I started ketogenic dieting, and my autism is better.  Just kidding. I never had Autism.

Things I notice about dieting this way: eating a four pound thing of chicken is kind of easy, it takes the guess work out of cooking and you lose your taste for shitty foods.  That, and somehow, I still had my energy levels up enough to add 20 pounds to my deadlift, which means I am finally in the 405 pound club.  Next stop, 500.  Another of my immediate goals is to snatch the 32kg (70lb) kettlebell 100 times in five minutes.
Working toward it now, and it's going well.

The knowledge bomb to be dropped will be delivered in the form of a history on terrorism and as it relates to religion.  Be prepared.  It involves a lot of the bullshit in your news media nowadays.

06 September 2010

Even more things I enjoy doing

Last time I told you about things you can do in your workout that will help you not suck.  By the way, number three on the T-Muscle ten awesome challenges should be doable by anyone who is proficient at swinging a kettlebell.   The rest seem pretty good.

First, I had myself a refeed this weekend.  The idea of it is to replace your muscle glycogen and raise your leptin levels.   It went well, I ate normally, had some vegetables and fruits and stuff.  I also had a cheat meal.  I ate some sweet Chicken Parmesan, and I think the sudden influx of all the dairy (after a week without it) made me feel like a piece of shit for a few hours after. 

I love google images.
I feel fine now, and am back on the Ketogenic path for the week.

As a note, only handicapped people should take elevators.  And people who are carrying a lot of shit and might kill themselves walking down the stairs.  Also, if you are in danger of shitting your pants, take the elevator. 

Otherwise, you have no reason to take an elevator.  As promised, here are more things you can do to not suck in your training.
  1. I saw in Convict Conditioning (http://www.dragondoor.com/b41.html) somewhere where the author recommended picking a friend up on your shoulder and sprinting a distance, and having your friend do the same thing upon being set down.  I have not done this, but I don't see why it wouldn't be bad ass.  
  2. The kettlebell Long Cycle.  For those not in the know, the Long Cycle is a simple exercise--you clean and jerk two kettlebells for reps.  That's a clean, followed by a jerk.  Work up to a pair of 32kg bells if you're a male.  It's absolutely brutal.  
  3. Sprint up a hill.  Or sprint up stairs.  This doesn't need any explanation.  
  4. Play Racquetball.  I don't know if any of you have played it, but the bursts of energy required are often short and very intense.  And you run the risk of getting hit by the ball sometimes.  Also, it is way better than tennis.  
  5. Have sex.  If you're a guy, stand up and hold on to your girlfriend and you'll get a much better workout and a nice pump in your quads. 

In conclusion, you can combine one or more of these.  Just do more than you are capable of.  You are always capable of more than you think you are.  So make it happen, and do something that's worth a shit with your training.
This is about the only reason tennis interests me.    

02 September 2010

Some things I enjoy doing

Here is a video of me juggling some kettlebells.  I started with two 35 pound bells and moved down to one, so that I might do more tricks.  Most people like to run for cardio, for some ungodly reason.  Jim Wendler once said to ask yourself the following question:  "Is what I am doing awesome?"

Gymnasts do awesome shit that most of us can't/don't do.

Picking up heavy shit is awesome too. 
Certainly, getting your cardio with a weighted object is far better than wearing shitty padded shoes, and running besides smog blowing cars, especially while you're breathing heavily.  Also, the good thing about lifting for cardio is that you can actually gain muscle and strength too, as opposed to losing both.  Here's a good cardio feat:  Steve Justa carried a 700lb Barbell for half a mile.  He is a big advocate of carrying heavy shit. 
Looks pretty awesome to me.   
The point is, there are some things you can do to make your life more fun, you're training better, and your ego through the goddamn roof.  In the world of lifting, this type of stuff is called GPP (general physical preparedness).  It gets your heart going too, and it works out your core.  So what can you do to get good cardio and not suck at life at the same time?  Here are a few options: 

  1. Farmer's walks:  Grab some heavy shit, preferably two things, one for each hand and walk a distance.
  2. Pull a sled.  Or something heavy.  Some people do trucks, you can also do cars. Use a harness, attach to the object and walk.  
  3. Battle ropes.  Take a thick rope, and grab it and use your whole body to shake the damn thing.  I saw Bud Jeffries (www.strongerman.com) do this for fifteen minutes straight.  You can also make a ton of dick jokes in process. 
  4. Carrying an atlas stone.  An atlas stone is a big spherical stone.  Carry it. Shoulder it.  Do it all for a time period.  
  5. Flip a big ass tire.  For time.  
  6. Swing/snatch/juggle kettlebells. Go for time.  Try to increase your time every time.  You can read more about what you can do with swinging kettlebells at www.strongerman.com as well.  Bud lost over a hundred pounds by upping the ante on his swings, and watching his food consumption.  
  7. Swing a sledgehammer.  Hit something rubbery, like a tire.  I don't think I need to explain this one. 
  8. Carry a loaded barbell on your back.  Walk with it.
  9. Lock out a deadlift, and carry it somewhere.  
  10. The Jack Reape deadlift challenge.  Deadlift 315lbs for however many reps you can in 30 minutes.  My friend Faizal Enu RKC (http://faizalenu.blogspot.com/) managed 154 reps. 
This is just a sampling of how to work your heart out and not suck it up.  Obviously, many of you will enjoy one thing more than another.  I enjoy the kettlebell work.  It gives me nice goals to set, and a swell way to track my progress.  Work with what you got.  If you don't have some of things, you can use other things.  Sandbags can substitute some things too.  In Basque Country, one portion of their strongman competitions is to chop wood.  If you don't have a sledge hammer and a tire, chop wood.  These all work your core better than bosu balls. Fact of the matter is, any time you hold on to something heavy you have to work your core out.  Get to it.  Also, check out Bud's website and Faizal's blog.  They are good friends, and directly responsible for my current strength levels.
About as useful as a set of tits on a tractor.

01 September 2010

Ketogenic Diet update.

I first found out about this type of dieting a while ago, and had a passing interest.  Later on in life, I stumbled upon a blog called Chaos and Pain (www.chaosandpain.blogspot.com) wherein the author (Jamie Lewis) detailed it extensively.  Go to his site and get the extensive version.  As a note, if you're a pussy and can't handle bluntness, don't read anything on his blog.  The gist of the diet is to not eat carbohydrates and to get calories from fat and protein.  This will cause you to burn fat for energy which will cause you to get lean. 

What is more interesting, is that a ketogenic diet can help with autism and seizures.  According to a study, autistic children from four to ten years of age used a ketogenic diet for six months.  30 children started the study, most couldn't hack the diet.  18 could, and they did so in a four week, followed by two weeks off ketosis type of cycle. 

Significant improvement (> 12 units of the Childhood Autism Rating Scale) was recorded in two patients (pre-Scale: 35.00 +/- 1.41[mean +/- SD]), average improvement (> 8-12 units) in eight patients (pre-Scale: 41.88 +/- 3.14[mean +/- SD]), and minor improvement (2-8 units) in eight patients (pre-Scale: 45.25 +/- 2.76 [mean +/- SD]). Although these data are very preliminary, there is some evidence that the ketogenic diet may be used in autistic behavior as an additional or alternative therapy.(Journal of Child Neurology, Volume 18, issue 2 (February 2003), p. 113-118.
ISSN: 0883-0738 DOI: 10.1177/08830738030180020501
Sage Publications)
The epilepsy foundation (http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/answerplace/medical/treatment/diet/) has a shit ton to say about ketogenic dieting as well.  They say that, "When carefully monitored by a medical team familiar with its use, the diet helps two out of three children who are tried on it and may prevent seizures completely in one out of three."  

Who the fuck knew?
Hopefully the research keeps on flowing with this kind of stuff.  Which leads to me.  I decided to do this to lose some fat.  This is my third day of it, and I haven't experienced any of the horrible things that some people say they do on a diet like this.  I have not gotten any headaches.  Then again, I drink over a gallon of water daily.  Water moves stuff through you.  Carbohydrates hold water.  I have no carbs.  Ergo I need more water. 

We could all use a little water.    
 The headaches I do get are from a lack of caffeine.  I don't want to throw too much milk in my coffee and have the carbs in milk fuck me out of ketosis.  I also have not experienced any drop in energy, in spite of the fact that I still train my ass off--I rarely lift less than 75% of my Deadlift 1RM--I deadlift twice a week--and I train kettlebell ballistics and heavy presses on other days of the week.  I plan on starting back my kettlebell juggling regularly too.  If you can do it for minutes, it knocks the tar out of you. 

Then again, this is only my third day of it.   Also of note, I am not constipated.  I take a fiber supplement.  You should too.  I have been eating eggs, lean beef, and chicken wings (thanks again Jamie Lewis of Chaosandpain).  The wings are great because they have more protein than fat, and you can make four pounds of the stuff all at once, and eat it through out the day.  According to my package, one four ounce serving has 18 grams of fat and 21 grams of protein.  They round up and say it's 250 calories, but the math adds up to 246.  Do the math on four pounds.  You get a lot of protein and fat on it.  So, this could all be subject to change.  I could potentially feel like crap tomorrow, or next week.  I plan on going at it for a few more days, and refeeding on Sunday, and starting over again.  I will have pictures also when I see a significant change.  

For many people this is probably normal.