Tuesday, June 29, 2010

oh.. and another thing.

The below programming will start next week. This week is going to be a deload. Lower volume. A few sets of 5s and 10s.

Catching up on training:
pull-ups with a reach 1 minute (I had to use a band for these)
TRX pendulums with a stop 1 minute
Sand bag complex (shoulder, press, lunge, row 5x each) 2 minutes
down-over-up push-ups/kb swing 2 minutes

plate crawl races:
2x forward
2x backward.

BJJ Some throws and an arm-bar.
Couple decent rolls.

BJJ same techniques as Saturday.
Rolled with a new guy (had some judo) good controlled.. nice guy hopefully he'll come back.
Rolled again and just rolled like crap. Got drubbed and tweaked my neck. After that my head wasn't in the game. I was pissed, and upset and decided to go home.
It's hard. I could probably be successful if I just keep everything tight tight tight and smash and smother and really that's just boring. It's boring for me, and it's boring for the guys I roll with. So I open up. Sometimes it works great, and it's loads of fun. if I'm off at all (like yesterday) I just plain suck.
Sometimes I feel like I'm good, like someday I could be legitimately good at jiu-jitsu, and then a day/roll like yesterday happens and it completely blows up my confidence.
I was really upset leaving class last night. It could be the kid waking/keeping me up.. could be overtraining.. could just be head games. I don't really know.
So I'm deloading. Hopefully things will be better.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Fedor Falls, and training methodology..

Strikeforce thoughts:
Fedor Emelianenko lost this weekend. He made no real effort to defend the triangle until it was too late. Fabricio Werdum did a great job of luring Fedor in, and closing the trap.
I don't know if Fedor will bounce back from this. I think his mystique beat a lot of guys before they got in the cage.
This puts Strikeforce in a pickle. Fedor was their biggest draw. He has one more fight on his contract. Do you put him up against Alistair Overeem (who officially holds the strikeforce belt), or do you give him a rematch with Werdum? If he fights Overeem and loses then your best draw is dead, and has no more fights under contract. You sink or float based on the rest of the talent you have and you start touting Overeem as the greatest heavyweight in the world (and no one believes you). If Fedor wins then you end up in a bidding war for your heavyweight champion. If you give him back to Fabricio Werdum then you have a non-draw fighter fighting in a no-win fight. Fedor wins and no one cares he's still mortal he beats a fighter by all accounts he should have beat the first time. If Werdum wins again, Fedor has almost NO value and once again you sink or swim.
We'll see.

Jan Finney got beat down by Christine Cyborg. No doubt about it. After the second knock down she was never going to win that fight. There were 2 points were I thought "This fight is over, call it already:"
The first was the last 30 seconds of the first round, the ref probably didn't want to call the fight that close to the end of the round (even though she should have) not my favorite, but fine.

The second time was in the second round Cyborg gets knee on belly and delivers 11 well picked, hard shots to Finney's soup cooler. Finney's response: lay there covering up.
Those two points should have been the end of the fight. Lately there seems to be a rash of refs letting fights go too long because fighters have been arguing stoppages vehemently and frankly it's got to stop. Let them argue, your job is to keep them from getting mangled there job is risk getting mangled. Do your job so they can do theirs for longer.

Big fights this weekend.. I'm looking forward to them.

Training. Lately I've been just "doing stuff" once per day without any rhyme or reason. I didn't really now how often I was going to be able to train, or how much sleep I was going to get. I did what I could, hit the big lifts and waited for things to calm down. The kid is 6 weeks old, and I feel like I have a handle on things enough to plan out 4 weeks.
Should look like this:

day: optional (see below)
night: BJJ

day: weights (deads see below)
night: off

day: BJJ
Night: sprints or more bjj

day: weights (squats see below)
night: off

day: optional
night: Friday fun (met con)

day: BJJ

Dead days:
5/3/1 deads
3 sets of 10 at 50% (similar to "Boring but big" but because I only have an hour to train I'm starting at 3 sets instead of 5)
5/3/1 presses (just prescribed reps)
chins bw+25 4+ sets

Squat days:
5/3/1 front squats (I know Wendler says back squats only but my back won't handle it.. yet)
3 sets of 10
5/3/1 bench (prescribed reps only)
chins and dips

Optional days: (all the stuff I've neglected to do)
Will be done on monday OR friday.. maybe both.
long warm up (more so than usual)
hip extensions (high reps)
and some... wait for it..
direct arm training!
I've been training for 20 years.. I think maybe I'm due.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

You're not much of a singer, but you'll do for now.

I'll tell you, having a kid really just messes up your ability to prattle on the interwebz.. well it messes up mine.. individual results may vary.
Training for the last week:
1 minute of "loading" 60lb sand bag/40lb sand bag/2kbs (44 and 62lbs) on to a chest high shelf and back.
1 minute of prowler pushing
1 minute off

15 seconds battling ropes
15 seconds airdyne
15 seconds off
x9 minutes

BJJ: We're working more positional stuff lately. We did shark bait. I was on my back working my guard. It was good. After about 5 minutes there were some diminishing returns as fatigue is no friend to technique.. but my bottom game is coming along. I still have a little problem with drilling positions with some folks.. finding the line between moving technically but quickly versus using athleticism instead of technique.


More positional drilling. I rely too much on one escape from mount. I need a "plan b."

front squats 5 at 185
bench 5 at 185
front squats 15 at 135
bench 15 at 135
working technique and getting reps in.

drop set chest supported rows:
6 at 115
6 at 95
6 at 70
6 at 45

Done and done.

BJJ: worked a judo throw, and more mount escape. 2 rolls both felt really good. Got a bit of a crossface in one.. saw stars for a second.. that hasn't happened in a while.

Today.. is going to be weird.. lots going on at work, so I may end up taking the day off.. might not.
we'll see.

The grizzly bear falls asleep when I sing him this song:


Friday, June 18, 2010

Puttin the cheese on the burger.

I don't know what that means either.
training for the week:
Tuesday: I was still pretty trashed from Monday night's beat downs.
Front squats:
10 at 135
worked up to 2 at 205
10 at 135
Working on mobility, and keeping my heels down and my head up.

set of 6 at bw
sets of 2 at bw+25 until I couldn't get 2.. 3-4 sets

day class.
Technique and no sparring.. ran out of time.

4 sets of 2 at 425

10 at 95
10 at 115 (pushed this one)
5 at 135

Today will be longer intervals at the boathouse.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"But I want to train athletes.."

A lot of folks who get into training want to jump to the head of the class. They want to be Eric Cressey, Mike Boyle and Louie Simmons all rolled into one. They want to train competitive athletes, and leave the "housewives" for someone else. There are a few problems with that:

1)Knowledge. Most trainers just don't have the resume, track record, or even time under the bar to train athletes. In order for someone to listen to you (particularly a competitive person) you have to be speaking from a position of authority.. no 26 self published e-books don't count (particularly if the only person who bought them is your mom). You have to have more knowledge than the people you want to train, and you have to speak with enough authority that those athletes believe you.

2)Contact. If you're not an athlete or coach in a particular sport.. how are you going to come into contact with athletes to train. They're not going to fall out of the sky.

3)Volume. There aren't that many athletes out there to train. Most either drink their own kool-aid, have their strength and conditioning done by their sport coach, or are being trained by someone smarter and more established than you.

The answer is simple: take those sedentary people who want your help and teach them to be an athlete. Get them excited about what they can do. PRs are more addictive than crack, nicotine or heroine. Establish some benchmarks and train your clients to blow past them. This is actually easier in untrained people as they make progress in leaps and bounds.

Case in point:
"R." Adult male, Early 30s. single dad with 2 kids and terrible eating habits (fast food). Could not do 5 push-ups. Was starting to get aches and pains was "feeling old." Lacked the lower body strength to do a reverse lunge. Horrible posture: kyphosis, rounded shoulders, poor ankle mobility and no glutes.

5 months later: can crank out 3x15 push-ups with good form. Deadlifts 205x5 and more importantly "feels great" plays basketball 2xweek, lifts 3x (all with proper warm-up of course) and is looking for things to do. Posture is much better: shoulders squared off, glutes actually fire, ankles improved. He feels good, and looks great.

"S." Adult female. Early 40s. Has significant eczema and allergies. Can do a few push-ups but lacks the trunk strength to hold position long enough to test. Diet consists mainly of cheese, processed meat and sugar. good upper body posture, but zero hip mobility.

5 months later: 3 body weight pull-ups, 18 push-ups with significantly better trunk strength. Diet cleaned up significantly (despite her protests). Direct quote "My skin hasn't been this good since I was a kid.. damn you." She actually wore shorts to the gym today for the first time. I don't weigh people because I could care less especially at first, but "S." had to buy new belts because she went from "down to the last notch" to "too small for the furthest notch." So I'm guessing some bodyfat went away. She is training for a run/bike biathlon in August.

So what happened here? There was no super secret mind meld. They didn't go to a psychiatrist. I didn't yell or scream. I got them into shape. I worked on their mobility and stability. I taught them to lift. I taught them that if they pushed their limits that they wouldn't die, just get really really tired.

Most importantly I treated them like athletes. Whatever they could do was not a judgment on their character, but simply a number that I expected to improve. They were judged by effort alone. They saw improvement and improvement became an expectation. Suddenly they feel in control of their bodies, and that's what it means to be an athlete.

Too often people new to the business of training come in with the outward attitude of "I'm far too good to deal with Joe Sofa-spud." The truth is they have no idea how to deal with an out of shape client. They have 1 training method. If the client's needs don't fit their method then the 'trainer' blames the client. You should be able to help anyone willing to do the work. If you can't, then you have no business training anyone. So stop looking for athletes, and build some.


Little drummer boy.

I got beaten like a drum last night. Rolled with an exceptionally good purple belt, and a very advanced brown belt. There was no space the entire night. I was completely stifled both rolls, it was very humbling.

short and brutal:
10 high pulls at 135 (these were not done crossfit style as a deadlift to upright row. these were done as proper clean grip high pulls; starting in the hang position, hip snap and pull the shoulders back let the weight ride the momentum.)
10 bw rows with feet on a swiss ball
20 sec airdyne all out.
2x rest

Took most of this weekend off from training as my folks were in town to see the grizzly bear. I hit some golf balls on Saturday.. which doesn't count as exercise, but sure was fun.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

The truth about HIIT.

I was driving to the track to do yesterday afternoon's workout. I started to get that little 'nervey' feeling in my stomach. I realized something; the real truth about HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training)and it's going to be difficult for some folks to internalize.
The truth is that most people don't work hard enough to qualify. Your interval workout should be so hard that you get butterflies on your way to the gym. You should feel apprehensive before you start. You should get about 60% of the way and want to start bargaining out of the last 20% (don't do it, but you should want to). I'm not saying you have to throw-up every time, and you should set yourself up to be able to get to the rest periods, but it should hurt.. a lot.
Take a look at yourself, if you're casually going to the gym and busting out your 'intervals' and leaving the gym with a spring in your step either you're a stone cold killer, or you're not working hard enough.
If you get to the gym/track/whatever with a little tingle in your belly, if you have to give yourself an "ok, let's do this" before you start, if you have to convince yourself "I'll quit after the next one, but not yet." and do that for 4 intervals till you finish your prescribed workout, then you're doing HIIT.
I have heard a lot of folks in the 'HIIT doesn't work camp' but I have a hard time believing them. I always wonder if they really are getting there, into the deep water. So look at yourself, look at your training, and work a little harder.

deads: 4x2 at 405 building back up.
presses: 3x5 at 135
Abs: some

Day: BJJ basic mount escapes. 1 hard roll.
Night: 1 mile of walk the curves, build to the 50m, sprint 50-75, decelerate to the 100.
the last time I did this I was sore for 4 days.. this time just a little sore.

cleans: lots, various light weights working on technique.
chins: some
ab wheel: 3x some. Have to watch my back on these tendency is to cheat and hyper-flex the lumbar spine, which is less than ideal.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Do you value what you have? First you have to know what you have.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Good things in my training/jiu-jitsu/life. Sometimes I forget that I have taken a long road to get here, and not to get greedy to jump to the next level.
Training: hip mobility is coming around. Feeling strong in pull-ups. Clean technique coming around. I'm trying to keep pushing these more technical lifts while dropping some body-fat, and round out my relative strength. I have to keep the reigns on load, and volume. Can't risk injury, or burn out. I'm training to supplement my BJJ, not the other way around.
Jiu-jitsu: guard work has improved a ton. Feeling more confidant which leads to better flow. Better mobility/flexibility has lead to better base. Shape is a little dull, but that'll come around. Generally speaking I'm just feeling good physically which is a direct result of time off. Can't lose site of what I'm doing well, I need to stay relaxed and flow.
Life: Emotionally it becomes very easy to put all of your parental baggage away when you become someones parent. I can't read minds and the kid can't talk. It's going to be frustrating at times, and it's ok to be frustrated.. even angry at the kid. It's going to be a long road.

Hopefully my luck will hold up.

Training update:
3 minutes partner towel pull-ups (you do 1 I do 1 repeat for 3)
30 seconds airdyne 30 seconds; kb rack hold (62 and 44lb kb) x3
30 seconds sandbag shoulder, and reverse lunge; 30 seconds hex dumbbell end grip x3
15 seconds on 30 off airdyne x3
15 seconds on 30 off prowler x3

BJJ. Couple decent rolls. Working on attacking more in positions where I have the advantage, but not control.

Sunday: off.

some light bw and kettlebell work. Some very light front squats to work on mobility, then BJJ class at night.



Thursday, June 3, 2010

Clock puncher..

Two punch the clock workouts.

BJJ simple sweep and arm bar.
two rolls one with a newer guy, and one with a guy who has done some limited training at an "MMA school." He surprised me with a couple of more advanced techniques, and his total lack of fundamentals. After we rolled I showed him 'good posture' in guard, mount and half-guard. He seemed eager to learn, which is good.

Front squats:
4x5 at 185 abs totally pooped out. I'm getting better at these, but still suck something aweful.

A few sets.

Clocked in.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pay up sucker..

I owe you guys some content.. it's been a couple of weeks since I wrote anything worth learning but quite frankly I'm not up to it yet.. the good news is Lyle McDonald wrote an expansive 8 post tome on overtraining that is spot on.
I deal a lot with rowers, and married one, the hardest lesson I have to teach them is:
More is not better, better is better.
Especially in a power-endurance sport like rowing. He covers that.

A lot of the BJJ athletes I deal with get their training from wrestling. Lots of wrestling training comes from the former Soviet Union, there are many pitfalls to following "the super secret training methods of the (insert Eastern European country) wrestlers/weightlifters/whatever".. he covers those as well..
It's a great series, if you train you should read it.. starts here.

Yesterday's training:
worked up to two singles at 455.
I'm playing with my technique a bit. I used to follow more of a Westside techinique where my shoulders were behind the bar. That has worked well for me, but I'm playing more with a shoulders over the bar stance like Mark Rippetoe recommends. I'm not sold either way. Both have merits.

5 at 135
2x5 at 145


1 giant set (do some till form break, rest a few seconds, do some more.. repeat till you can't complete a full rep)

Cable curl/ press down:
Right arm only
(still noticeably smaller and weaker than left 5 years after surgery trying to correct that)
1 Giant set


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Technique will set you free.

Last Thursday's training was all about working on my clean technique. The weights I can clean (somewhere in the neighborhood of 100kg or less) are based solely on horsepower. I can snap my hips hard enough, and pull fast enough and the weight flys up to about mid chest (even from the hang). This means that I'm leaving a lot of weight in the proverbial tank. With good technique one should only have to pull to just above the navel, and drop down under and squat the weight up. I spent the better part of thursday's training doing just that. I worked up to 80kg starting from the hang, and pulling about 1/2 the distance, and then dropping down under the bar. It was good work. I stopped when my elbow hit my thigh and I missed a lift. Then I power cleaned the weight and did 5 front squats.
I finished with fat grip bench sets of 10 at 135, face pulls, and some ab work.

dips 20 (or amap)
chins 10 (or amap)
sandbag: shoulder, 5 reverse lunges each leg, set down.. x5
prowler+90: high handles down, low handles back.
rest while the others go (3 people).
dips 10 (or amap)
chins 5 (or amap)
sandbag: shoulder, 5 reverse lunges each leg, set down.. x5
prowler+90: high handles down, low handles back.

BJJ. Worked on some basic upa/armbar stuff. Then open mat. I got a couple of good rolls in.. I am feeling great.. more on that later.

Sunday: off.

Monday: BJJ. Worked on a throw from the underhook. Worked on getting mount from side control. I had a great roll with the professor. I haven't rolled with him.. in several months. It is great rolling with him because if I leave any space he takes it. His base is so good that unless a sweep is right on, it doesn't work. I love testing my game against people who are good (or in this case great).
I felt great, we talked after and he said the biggest problem right now is that in certain positions I'm over analyzing; deciding instead of just doing. I can totally see it. I need to be more aggressive in certain situations and not spend too much time thinking about which or what I'm going to do, it's like Saulo Ribeiro says:
"If you think, you are late. If you are late, you use strength. If you use strength, you tire. If you tire, you die."
I was thinking, and I was late.. I wasn't forcing things and tiring (though I was tired, my specific fitness is crap right now) I was thinking about doing one or the other and ending up doing neither. I need to spend more time in those situations, and when I get there, focus on being more aggressive.
I rolled some more after, but this was the important stuff.

I'm off to the gym.