26 January 2011

Gym Movement Review

If anyone actually reads this, then you might know that I have changed my way of training around a bit, since I started writing this.  I started using my biofeedback by way of what's known as the gym movement protocol, pioneered by Frankie Faires.  Briefly, the idea is to see how your body reacts to a movement.  Let us say, for instance, a deadlift.  If I want to deadlift, I will hinge my hips and mimic the weighted deadlift--though I will test it with no weight--and if it tests well, I load a bar.  How I do I know it tests well? I do a toe touch until I feel tension, and mark a line with a pen on my leg.  I test my DL, and if it's a good day, my hands will move an inch or so past the line.  If it doesn't test better like that, I will do a variation.  One legged deadlift, sumo, whatever.  When I feel like I tried to hard to complete a set, I stop.  I don't grind out the extra rep with a pained look on my face as if I got castrated, or anything.  I stop.  I get better every day this way, by way of density, volume or intensity.  If you read this blog, you should know what those variables mean.  If you do not, ask here, or find out. 

Here is why the idea appeals to me.  In guitar and piano playing, you will potentially fuck your playing up, or be sore if you are too tense.  You can also find a way that suits you better through experimentation--the fingering of a piano piece might not make sense based on the way your hand is shaped, or something like that--so you figure it out for yourself.  The same thing is true via a pre-written template program, or training for your goals and going on how you feel.  One thing I will address is a counter argument to the movement philosophy (Counter Argument) that says if you test movements you will only perform the ones you are good at, and that you will have to perform x movement if you want to get better at x movements.  Well, the fact that in order to do get better at something you have to actually do that particular something should not strike any of us as particularly odd.  And second, how the hell do you define good at something when it comes to lifting a weight?  Is my 400plus pound deadlift comparable to someone else's 600lb deadlift?  When I have pulled one or two muscles deadlifting and the 600lb deadlifter might have had hosts of other injuries to speak of deadlifting?  I am not sure.  But according to my training log, I am pretty decent at kettlebell military pressing.  I also know that if I bench press on a Monday, my military press will test like shit on Tuesday, and if you look at my training logs, you will note that some Tuesdays I did not do military presses for that reason.  So, there goes the idea that you will do only what you are good at.  The same Counter Argument also did not take into account the idea that they should not have done those movements since they did not test better. 

I think that in order for Adam Glass to offer a double money back guarantee AND let you keep the DVD of Grip and Rip 2.1, there must be something to it.  I can attest that it works.  I spent some money and Adam turned a 30 minute phone call into a long discussion about biomechanics, testing movements and what have you.  That's the sign of a guy who gives a fuck. 

Personally, in the stress of being dumped, readying myself to move again, not eating much, wondering when the fuck someone  will realize that they should hire me to teach at a private school because I possess large amounts of awesome, I am still having great training days.  The rest of the shit going on is not negatively impacting what will test well, and what will not test well.  As of late, PRing  and watching old seasons of Married with Children give me the absolute MOST enjoyment and happiness out of my life. 

Me laughing after busting my ass trying to do a pistol squat. 
In life we test things out to find the path of least resistance.  Nobody wants to learn, "the hard way."  So why should this not be applied to fitness?  Every master at a craft--music, etc.--makes the difficult look easy.  So it should be with strength training.  And with Gym Movement, the protocol is a sound way to go about it, and logically it makes sense.  And if you test something, what the hell do you have to lose? So I say this--I give Gym Movement my seal of approval, for whatever the hell it's worth.  My hat goes off to the Movement. 

12 January 2011

Are you your own master?

A lot of people set resolutions around the turn of the new year.  If you are resolute, you probably make goals on a whim.  If you cannot achieve what you set to accomplish--provided the action is not predicated on the actions and decisions of another--then you are not your own master.

If you are trying to accomplish the goal and not actively accomplishing the micro-goals that lead to the macro-goal, then you are not your own master. 

If you are attempting to rid something toxic from your life, there will come a point where you actually have to let it go.  Be it a person, a thing, a vice, or anything else you don't need. 

If you are tempted by what others have to offer and you know it's not good for you, and you still cannot say no, then  you are not your own master. 

One must even be able to say no to Jaime in all her glory.
I am not my own master, to the fullest extent I could be.  I drink pots of coffee a day because I need it to function.  I have no intention of stopping.    Nobody is perfect, but the point of it is to try to be the best you you can be.  Perhaps, regarding the mastery of our existence we must fix what we can control.  The best lesson is an extension of what I learned in elementary school--"Just say no."  I would extend that to say that we should also know when to say, "yes."

"Test all things and hold fast to what is good."  1 Thessalonians 5:21

10 January 2011

Incredible training PRs when for all intents and purposes, I should be failing

22 Dec

Squats- 135x2x3, 185, 225, 245x4x1 9m15s 1660lbs moved

Reverse Grip Bench- 135x2, 155, 175x3, 205x2 9m30s 1360lbs moved

Chinups-5,3,4,3 2m30s 3000lbs moved

23 Dec

Swings 40kg- 100 in 6m17s  8800lbs moved
Snatch 16kg 25,15, 10 L/R in 3m58s 3500lbs moved

25 Dec Had a merry fucking Christmas

26 Dec

Presses- 32kg stacked (16 and 16) R: 4,3,3,3 L: 3,3,3,3, 4m35s 1750lbs moved
Swings- 48kg 50 in 5m20s 5300lbs moved

27 Dec

Deadlifts- 135x3, 185x2x3, 225x3, 275, 315, 365x 3x1 10 minutes 3875lbs

Close Grip Bench- 135x3, 185x2, 225x4x1 6m20s 1675lbs moved

DB rows 70x3, 80x3, 90x3, 100x3, 110x2, 120 all L/R 2720 lbs moved in 8m35

Plate Curls 3x5 with 20lbs 300lbs moved in 2m30s

 28 Dec

Deficit Deadlifts- 135x3, 185x3, 225x3, 245x5x2 4085lbs moved in 11 minutes

ez bar curls- 70x5, 90x4, 90x3x3 1520lbs in 4m15s

Rev Grip BP- 135x3, 155x2, 185x2, cannot tell what the fuck I wrote down, and thus have no idea what my last set was. 

31 Dec

Squats- 135x4, 185x2, 225, 255 1360lbs in 8m20s

Close Grip BP-135x5, 185x2, 205, 225, 245 1515lbs in 7m56s

Dumbell Rows-70x3, 80x3, 90x3, 100x2, 110x2, 120x2x2 L/R 3240lbs in 5m41s

2 January

Snatch 20kg  3x10L/R 4m17s 2640lbs moved

Swings 40kg 70 in 6m30s  6160lbs moved

4 Jan

Squats- 135x3, 185x2, 205x2, 225x2, 245, 255, 275 2410lbs in 10m5s

Competition BP- 135x4, 185x3, 205x2, 225, 245 1975lbs in 6m40s

Deficit Deadlifts- 135x3, 185x3, 225, 275, 315x3x1 2405lbs in 9m40s

Dumbell Rows- 80x3, 90x3, 100x3, 110x2, 120, 130, 140, 150 L/R 3140lbs in 13m8s

20lb plate curls- 3,5,5,5,5 920lbs in 4m50s

6 January*

Squats- 135x3, 185x3, 205x3, 225x2x3 2925lbs in 9m40s

Wide Grip Bench- 135x2, 185x2, 205x2 1050lbs in 7m5s

Deficit Deadlifts- 135x3, 185x3, 225x3, 275x2, 315, 335, 345 3180lbs in 30 minutes

Tactical Pullups- 5,3,3,3,3 4m5s 3400lbs moved

Dumbell Hammer Curls 60x4x3 L/R 1440lbs moved 2m10s

9 Jan

Swings-40kg 200 in 8m52s

*On the fifth of January, my wonderful girlfriend decided to be my wonderful ex girlfriend, and had all my stuff waiting for me to take with me.  As a result, I didn't get a lot of sleep, but due to us not eating dinner that I had just purchased prior to the dissolution, I had an extra portion of steak that I cooked up the next morning with eggs.  I didn't get a lot of sleep, and haven't been lately, but the PRs keep on coming, which is good.  The next morning after our dissolution, I hit a great PR--the 345lb deadlift with an overhand grip from a deficit.  The deficit helps with my sticking point and takes longer to complete, which works my grip out more.  Needless to say, I expected to lift like complete shit that day, but was proven wrong. 

88lb military press

08 January 2011

Your back hurts? Quit fucking whining and fix it, Part 3

Part 1
Part 2
Part 4
Part 5

Some of the most amusing moments of my life happen in a gym.  Maybe I am sadistic.  For instance, I saw a guy I know attempting to deadlift.  The problem with his deadlift was that he didn't hinge at his hips at all, and thus his lower body was stationary.  This caused his back to round.  This caused him to lift far less than he is capable of.

The good thing about the blogger site is that I see that people come across these posts due to their search words--lately, some of these have been, "my back fucking hurts when I deadlift," and "when I deadlift my back hurts."  This is not a good thing.  Hopefully you can remedy this soon.  

Observe this completely "unorthodox" deadlift.  This guy might be awesome enough to actually be a reincarnated Byzantine emperor.

I say it was unorthodox because Konstantinov's feet were narrow, and his back was pretty fucking round.  The lift was also pretty heavy.

If the majority of you readers, or even I tried to mimic this type of technique, we'd probably get seriously fucked up in the process.  Why? Because we are not Konstantinov.

Similarly, if we try to mimic exactly what Kara does, it might not be the best that we can do at the time.

The point of the videos is to show you that you will do different things with your body type.  A while back,  I focused a lot on what other people had to say about the deadlift.  A lot of it was helpful.  Some of it made my back hurt.  Some of it worked.  But to get to where I am now, it took experimenting, and doing what felt best, though it might not necessarily be orthodox.

It has been said, that the wider your hands are, the more work it is to lift the weight.  In other words, a farther distance for your body to travel from floor to lockout.  The straighter the arms, less distance for the rest of you to travel.  One way I differ from a lot of opinions and even a lot of lifters is that when I stagger my grip, my arms have to go pretty wide, other wise I get a lot of discomfort in my wrist. 

A picture we have all seen a bunch of times. 
If my hands were like Franco's are in a staggered grip, it would put me in a lot of pain for the lift.  My solution was to work on my pronated deadlift--I PRed in this the other day with 345, from a deficit--and use the staggered grip for heavy efforts.  I was advised to try a hooked grip as well, something which I will attempt my next session.

The above gentleman's problem was that he wasn't terribly flexible in his hamstrings and he has no glute strength.  Thus, a bad hip hinge is executed.  Box squatting can help reinforce an unfamiliar motor pattern, if indeed the person cannot consciously do the movement.  They will more than likely be able to reach their ass back to sit down on the box and not fall over. 

I don't know how much she can deadlift, but this ass certainly lifts my spirits. 
One way to fix the problem.  Another way that you can get jumping into your deadlifting without killing yourself is to use a rack deadlift.  Just do it like a normal deadlift.  Start close to your lockout, and push your feet into the earth.  Good thing about a rack pull close to your lock out is that it will strengthen your glutes and your hamstrings and get them used to moving this way.  Often times, a weak lockout is a lack of glute strength/hamstring strength.  If your shit is fucked up, this might be a good way to fix it.  The explosion in the glutes is also why I favor the kettlebell swing, and why my sticking point is around the floor and not at lockout--I neglected a lot of quad work over the years.  Bridging and bodyweight squatting might help these things too.  Experiment with it.

I think she has Lordosis.
The take home point is this: if your back hurts, try to fix it.  Going and doing the same style of deadlifting will yield the same results.  You'll get hurt.  Test out what people tell you, and question everything, even me.  If someone says to something in a lift, test it with a reasonable load, and see if you like it.  See if it's comfortable.  See if it's safe.  Konstantinov no doubt got to where he was by figuring out what was best for him.  Andy Bolton as well.  And anyone else who has an "unorthodox" technique.  If you're still hurting send me videos and I will try to help.  But again, figure out if what I tell you is worth trying or not, and figure it out for yourself.

04 January 2011

Do whatever the fuck you want, and do it intelligently

Here's a winner.  This was the biggest pile of horeshit with some truth sprinkled in here and there.  Some people do lift weights to get big.  Apparently, doing kettlebell swings for volume also causes you to fill with cortisol, and is bad for your joints. 

Among other useful gems, this guy says one cannot deadlift the day after you swing kettlebells for ten minutes.  And one of the best things about the article is that strength only involves a maximum effort, compounded exercise.  At least that is the implication. 

What a crock of shit. 
So Valery Fedorenko isn't strong.  Poor guy.  Or any other kettlebell athlete, not strong.  Bud Jeffries isn't strong either.  By the way, Bud can squat 900lbs, and regularly does high endurance conditioning with max lifts thrown in between.  I also swing regularly and deadlift.  Occasionally, I have done both in the same day. 

What can we take away from the article?  That if your goal is to get big, you probably shouldn't do much conditioning stuff.  You should still do enough so that you aren't wheezing when you do a max lift, or walk up the stairs.  It is also true that you cannot out train a shitty diet.

Your training should focus on your goals.  If your goal is to get conditioned, do conditioning work.  You should also listen to your body, by testing your movements.  And of course, it would be foolish to start throwing in massive amounts of volume training on a whim.  But if tons of seasoned lifters--like the Bulgarians--can do what they do, then anyone can do seemingly insane things with their training.  You have to build into it.  Yes you will be sore at first.  Then you won't.  I rarely get sore these days and I do lots of swings and deadlifts.  Now, of course, in light of my goals the goal lifts are of primary importance--meaning I will always test something that will benefit my deadlift, squat, and bench.  And then I do whatever the hell I want.  Usually it might be something that will still help my lifts--rows, pullups, swings, snatches. 

The take home point of what I am saying is that you can do whatever the fuck you want, as long as its goal oriented and good for you.  Don't rely on someone else to tell you what to do, think and test for yourself.