26 April 2011

Misconceptions demystified

At long last, here is the aforementioned video I promised. 

You may have questions about this, and that is OK.  It seems, at first, counter productive.   But I and many others will assure you it is not.  

Some things I did not cover, I will address now.  If a given movement does not test well, you can test a variation.  For example, yesterday I didn't get the desired test result for a deadlift.  One handed deadlifts tested better, so I did them.  Today, pull ups or chin ups did not test well, but staggered grip pull ups tested the best.  You can vary an exercise a lot, and they are bound to test better or worse, depending on your own biomechanics. 

If a given movement doesn't test well, do it's opposite.  The other day I demonstrated this protocol to some people.  Pressing overhead did not test well for them, but rows did.  I then got asked if I was a "fucking wizard." 

Follow the test.  I haven't done normal squats for a while, because squats with my heels elevated have tested far better than any other variation. 

You WILL get a PR every day.  Write your shit down.  You WILL get better at getting better. 

Another note on logging progress:  Write your start and stop times.  Density is important.  Charles Staley knows this.  Measure your volume.  These are where the PRs come in.  Questions are welcome. 

19 April 2011

Ways to maximize your effectiveness as an instructor.

I am not a certified fitness instructor.  But according to Frankie Faires, I am a fine motor athlete--also called a musician.  That being said, I teach other people how to be a fine motor athlete, and I have dabbled in teaching people the protocols of Gym Movement, to a degree of success, as I mentioned previously. 

I don't know how many of you reading this teach anything, or ever plan on it, as a profession, but there comes a point in our life where we all wish to impart a certain amount of knowledge to another person or group of people.  

I wonder the things she could teach me

One thing you must be able to do as a teacher is convey a single idea in several different ways.  Scenario one:  You are trying to teach someone how to deadlift and not fuck their entire back up.  You have several different ways you can do this.  The first option is to say, "Pick the bar up off the ground."  Some will do it pain free, with this instruction.  The next option would be to say, "Look straight, shoot your ass back, grab the bar, and stand up."  Others will respond to this very well.  A third way to do the same thing would be to say, "Flex your hips, and keep your shins slightly angled, stand about four inches away from the bar, alternate your grip, look straight and stand up."  Still, some people will respond to this very well. 

Some of the factors that determine the effectiveness of your instruction include (but are not limited to) the following: Age, education, and experience with the given task being discussed.  Not to mention the propensity for Aural or Visual stimuli.  

Powerful Visual Stimulus.  This would not work for a blind person. 

While you must be adept and conveying things in a variety of ways, you must also learn to whittle each way down to the minimal effective amount of explanation. I talk about this a lot regarding training, and musicianship, but it applies to everything.  You can spend a good chunk of time instructing someone to do anything, like our example of the deadlift.  There will come a point where you (and the student) will get tired of you talking.  And they will have to experience the sensation for themselves.  Your job is to get them there with minimum fuss, and minimum bullshit.  Learn to use the minimal effective amount of communication.

The minimal effective amount, again, will vary from student to student.  This will also vary based on your education level.  If you don't have a good vocabulary, get one.  Read a dictionary.  Don't say something with four words that can be said with two.  Unless you have to.  These are all things to test. 

The most important thing you should do as a teacher is two fold.  The student must be willing to question everything you say, and you must encourage them to do so.  You must also be able to support what you believe and what you teach.  The other is to let them create something themselves.  Give them the tells to do what they do safely, and let them go until it gets too hard.  And repeat.  This is the same way I lift when I lift.  it is something to test in life.  I do whatever I want (based on my goals) and once it becomes hard, I chill out.  I repeat it.  The same applies for instruction.  

In conclusion, learn a variety of ways to communicate a concept, do it with the minimal effective amount of effort, and encourage the student to question you and run their own test. 

Why the hell not?

12 April 2011

Immaculate (mis)conceptions: Shit that I couldn't do before, but can do now

 Read the first part

I stopped posting  my training log on here because I rarely get comments on it and I don't think most people give a shit.  Plus, I have a program I use to track my training, and I like it.  I will however share some recent things about my training in an attempt to clear up other misconceptions.

It's a volume race

I didn't bring this up last time, so I will address it now.  Looking at the logs of others who follow Gym Movement, it is really tempting to say that this might be true.  And, I suspect some people might adopt this way of training because of the volume they can potentially reach after a while of training this way.  But the truth of it is, the less you beat the fuck out of yourself, the more you can do.  In every fitness book around someone says, 'to press a lot, you must press a lot.'  A true statement, and with this system, you allow yourself to press--or perform any other movement--whenever the time is, and for how long the time is right.

That said, I like pressing so much, and I do it so often because it tests so well, my shoulders girdle is two inches greater in measurement than it was on 10 February.  All because I am at a point where I can do a lot of shoulder work.

Gratuitous, but awesome
What I am doing as of late

I have access to barbells and dumbbells around two days a week.  On those two days, I will usually go in and do several varieties of deadlifts, squats and bench presses, some military presses with dumbbells, some rows,dips, pullups, high pulls, and anything else I feel like.  I do this two times a week, and sometimes a third if I can get to the gym.

Sometimes on the same day, or other days I will do a lot of kettlebell work.  Usually in the form of snatching--doubles, singles, whatever-- and pressing, push pressing, or long cycle clean and jerks.  I usually follow this up with some sort of sprinting.

Some cool shit I can do now

8 Tactical (thumbless, pronated grip) Pull-ups
Tactical Pull-ups with 25lbs strapped on to me for a few reps
Chin-ups with 35lbs of weight strapped on to me
With pronated grip, I can deadlift about 335lbs
Dips with an added 135lbs of weight
Plate Curls with a 25lb plate for 7 reps--if you have never tried them do it, and understand the challenge they possess.
Pistol Squats
Handstand Pushups
135lb EZ bar curls

And generally, an amount of training volume I never thought I would wind up doing in my life. 

Utterly Gratuitous


I don't force myself to do anything now, and I believe I am truly reaping the benefits of this type of training.  You can test literally anything you feel like--even sprinting, as I tend to do to the chagrin of my other meatheaded friends.

If you train this way, you will take your training to new heights, as I and many others have done.