Thursday, August 26, 2010

From burly to bouncy.

Last week I wrote a post about jump training, and what it's not. As a follow up I was going to write a post on the continuum of strength: from limit strength to reactive strength.. aka from burly to bouncy, but honestly I won't be able to explain it any better (and probably far worse) than Eric Cressey does in the following video:

watch it and learn.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

That would be good for MMA..

Last night I was in the gym, I was working on my clean technique. A guy comes up to me and asks "what's that good for."
I wanted to answer "pretty much everything."
but figured that would lead to more questions, so I kept it short
"building explosiveness and quickness."
He asks "so are you a boxer or something?"
"Brazilan jiu-jitsu and submission grappling actually."
He gives me a puzzled look.
I explain what it is "... ground fighting, arm locks, chokes, and the like."
"Hey, that would be good for MMA."
"You're probably right."

My training of late has been very good, but at the same time not very precise. Work has been crazy, and I'm still spending a lot of time working on the house and getting the condo prepped to sell, and I have a 3 month old who needs tending.

Schedule looks like this:
Monday: BJJ night class
Tuesday: front squats work up to 10-15 total reps (sets of 3 or 5 at 80kg or more), Technique work (clean/snatch/jerk) chin ups >20 total reps. High rep pressing (my shoulders are sore).
Wednesday: BJJ day class, occasionally no-gi night class.
Thursday: deadlifts 10-15 work reps (>400lbs) sets 0f 2-4, rows.. some form ton of reps, high rep pressing.
Friday: aerobic training on the airdyne (10minute intervals) and complexes (kb and barbell)
Saturday: BJJ and No-Gi training.

Sunday: off.
I try to work in more intervals here and there as I get time and recovery to spare.

That's it, that's the non-plan. Once the kid is going to day care and the condo sells I'll get back on a more regimented schedule.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Coming in for a landing..

150 years ago when I was a high school football player the St. Louis Football cardinals hosted an event called "Pros for Preps." Where current coaches, and coaches from all over the country came in and taught some aspect of strength and or conditioning to local high school coaches and kids.. like me... through hands on drills and labs. One of the best sessions was the coach from the K.C. Chiefs who taught plyometric training (or jump training, or Mr. Sillywiggles, whatever it's called these days). This gentleman (who's name I wish I remembered) spoke for 90 minutes, 10 of it was about jumping, 15 were about programming, the next 60 minutes were about landing. Let me repeat that: he spent 4 times as much time teaching us to land as he did explaining how to add plyometrics into our training. Fast forward 17 years and go to youtube search for "plyometrics" you see all kinds of terribleness.
Most of which comes from a lack of understanding of what plyometrics can do, and should be asked to do. The most common mistakes I see are:

1) Too high. Whaddaymean to high? Mike Boyle has talked about this, but when you jump, you should land in a good athletic position. It doesn't matter if you're jumping over a hurdle, onto a box, or just up. The whole point of these drills is to build reactive strength, and to get athletes prepared to land and keep playing, not to see how high you can get your feet.

2) landing on your heels. First off you'll rattle the chicklets out of your head. Secondly, your Plantar Fascia, ankles, Knees, hips, low back will hate you. Land mid foot and ACTIVELY absorb the impact. Don't stay rigid, catch the ground with your feet.

3) That's hard, it must be useful. Not every sport requires this type of training, and not every athlete should be doing it. If someone has a ton of reactive strength, but little to no limit strength? You're wasting your time. Athletes who have very little control over their bodies should at most be doing "jump and stick" types of movements, not long chains. They need to reset to learn to control their bodies in space. Like anything else, the right training for the right athlete.

4)It ain't cardio. If you're training for rate of force development, you shouldn't be doing 1+ minutes of jumps. This not plyometrics, it's high impact aerobics. Stop jumping for conditioning.
Let's put it this way: If I asked you to do a standing medicine ball throw, how far do you think it would go? If I asked you to take your time and do 10 in series.. probably about the same. Now if I asked you to stand in one spot and throw it for a minute or more, how far do you think it would go in the last 15 seconds? Not very far. A major part of jump training is about teaching your muscles to be as INEFFICIENT as possible, to turn on all of your muscle fibers at one time. If you use it as cardio, you are teaching it to be as EFFICIENT as possible. Congratulations, you've created a paradox. Which means: you're wasting your time.

I am not saying no one should jump, but just because "the NFL guys do it." or "I saw trainer X on youtube doing it" is not a valid reason. Jump training can be very effective, but it is also hard to recover from, and can create a lot of wear and tear. As such it needs to be targeted, programmed sparingly, and incorporated intelligently.

Hat tip to the guys at for posting this video that inspired this post:

Gunthor jumps and lands very well.. and he has a sweet mullet.


Monday, August 9, 2010

117 and on Versus 2

Good weekend. Lots to do and lots done.. and some to be re-done.
Thoughts on the fights:
UFC on Versus 2:

Mark Munoz needs to change his training. He's a NCAA champ, but as a fighter he has no pop. He looks sluggish, something in his training has to change.

Jake Ellenberger looked great dismantling John Howard, solid on the feet, great on the ground. Might be a good first opponent for Jake Shields if the UFC want's to bring Shields in slowly.

Takanori Gomi still has some pop. He looked very sharp against a quality opponent in Tyson Griffin.
Griffin is in a tough spot. He's beaten some quality guys, but lately he seems to have hit the skids a bit. He's a young guy, hopefully he can right the ship.

Jon Jones looked good in beating Vladimir Matyushenko. No one was really surprised. Time to let this kid swim out into deeper water. A fight against a quality gatekeeper (Forrest Griffin, Rich Franklin, or Thiago Silva) should be next. Assuming he doesn't head up to heavyweight.

UFC 117
Phil Davis is a stud, and to my mind is a bigger/better prospect with a better upside than Jon Jones. He's more athletic. Has better all around grappling, and seems more content at 205 (Jones is already having trouble making 205, and will probably end up at 265. I don't think he can hang with the super heavies). We shall see.

Dennis Hallman is showing signs of life. Be interesting to see him back in the mix.

Dustin Hazelett needs to take some time, add some muscle and athleticism, and get better takedowns. McLovin has one of the best ground games in the UFC, but he has a hard time getting guys there. He's lost 6 times and 4 of those have been KOs. His stand-up is sub-par because of his speed and footwork, and his takedowns are terrible. All of which is too bad, because he's a genius on the deck and a lot of fun to watch.

Roy Nelson hit his ceiling. He's good, but he needs to relinquish some control to take his game to the next level. He needs a conditioning coach, and he needs to train at a camp so that he's outside of his comfort zone. I just don't know if his personality will allow it. Clearly he has the ability to set aside his ego, he's a BJJ black belt, you don't get that without being able to do so, but something has changed since then.

Matt Hughes looked great choking out Ricardo Almeida. I don't think he's ready to be in the title mix, but he's not Chuck or Mark Coleman staying at the party too long. It seems to me that when he opened his own gym, the level of competition was lowered (from MFS elite) so Hughes tarnished a bit. Now that some of his guys are starting to bring up their level (Matt Veach, Jon Madsen) Hughes' game is coming back on.

Clay Guida looked good, I just don't know how far he can go without being more dynamic on the feet. His hands are getting better, but his takedown abilities are based in persistence than anything.

Jon Fitch was supposed to get another shot at the title if he beat Thiago Alves. He did, Alves didn't even make weight, and Fitch still beat him (and beat him up). Now Dana White is hemming and hawing about the title fight. At least let him fight Jake Shields for the right to a title shot. Throw the guy a bone.

Alves didn't make weight.. AGAIN. Seriously? your whole job before fight day is to show up on weight with a mean face on. That's it. You have months to prepare. Get it done, or find a new line of work.

I wanted so badly for Chael Sonnen to beat Anderson Silva: I am tired of Anderson's antics. I am tired of the state of stasis in the middleweight division. I have a soft spot for wrestlers turned fighters. I think Sonnen is funny with a good sense of the "show." Besides he's a PNW guy, and a former Oregon wrestler (Oregon no longer has a program). And he did.. sort of. For 23 minutes he beat on Silva. He made Silva look like the slobbery chew toy and Sonnen was the dog. It didn't end up mattering. I watched Anderson pushing Chael's right hand, and shifting his hips. The whole thing happened in slow motion. It was awful. Before the fight I hoped he would pull it out, but fighting Anderson is like russian roulette for 25 minutes. It is very difficult to keep spinning that long and not lose.
Chael Sonnen needs to spend some time in a true BJJ camp/school: American Top Team, Cesar Gracie, Renzo Gracie, somewhere. Just work out of arm-bars and triangles for a year. In a fight that goes his way he spends the whole time in his opponent's guard. He needs to train tougher guard players.

Good fights the past week.
More on my life later.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Everybody wants to be the best,

but don't nobody want to lift no heavy @ss weight.
-Ronnie Coleman

Monday I didn't train, I bought some second hand weights from cragislist.. they're in great condition.
and an Ivanko bar (with crappy knurling, but wtf)
for $335
Got the airdyne and the 62 lb KB moved in.
Will hang the the heavy bag this weekend and probably the chin-up bar.
Things are starting to shape up in my little garage.

I just decided to do a bunch of snatches.
I just used 95 lbs (super light) and worked technique. Things are much better with my second pull, I'm getting down below the bar very quickly, the problem is I'm not getting UNDER the bar. I'm missing out in front, missing behind.. flat out missing.
Keep working kid.

Did some complexes after:
clean-front squat-press-good morning-row 5 reps each at 95
chinsx5-walking lungesx20-reverse extensionsx10

BJJ. Just went in and rolled to shake some of the rust off. It'd been a week since I have been at class.

Thursday: big day.
It keeps cropping up everywhere that many people with sciatica get relief by doing SMR on the piriformis. I keep thinking:
"hey, I should try that."
Then I do my normal warm-up.. mostly because I am an idiot.
This time I did it. I got out the baseball (yes it f-ing hurt..) and smushed my piriformis into submission. Suddenly my back didn't hurt.. more than that it actually felt GOOD. Holy Hell.. that's awesome.. why have I not been doing this for months? Oh, right.. that whole idiot thing.
Needless to say, I will be doing this more.

315x5 good fast easy
365x3 no problem how high am I going today? My back feels awesome, I'm fairly well rested.. maybe I should try and get the 500 lb monkey off my back.. Don't be stupid.. ok if 455 is fast I'll go for it, if not I'll take it easy.
405x2 good clean lifts. Using my abs better today. Man my back feels awesome.
455x1 smoke show.. never gone up this fast. Screw it! we're going for it.
505x0 grinder.. grinder off the floor, grinder up the shin, grinder to the knee.. still grinding.. still grinding.. lost my air, lost my arch, missed the lift.
I've never missed a deadlift at lockout. Normally if it comes off the floor it goes for a ride.
It's in the mail though. I am >< this close.
5x chins
5x ohp at 135

Happy Anniversary to the wife!
5 years ago today.


Monday, August 2, 2010

We are MOVING..

I tried to find a picture of Eddie Murphy to go along with the title of this post (from one of my favorite comedies) I couldn't find a single one.. there were eleventeen hundred of him in a fat-suit, but none in the silly faux-african garb from Trading Places.. there is no justice in the world.
(Edit: My friend Matt found the following picture.. which I'm pretty sure means he's in league with the devil.)

Moving always beats me up.. mostly because I tend to load/unload the truck like there's a time limit and I only get to keep what I can load/unload inside of an hour, but partially because it beats everyone up.
To make sure that all of this stress and activity don't take too much of a toll I've been eating like crap too (sort of a feature of having your kitchen all packed up into boxes).

Friday night, my cousin and her daughter came over and helped us pack. They are masterful packers. I am not. I generally just chunk everything into one large box and let natural selection take care of the weaker of my possessions (there is less to put away that way). To contrast they pack things with packing materials and care so that they arrive unharmed.. this increases the load for the unpacker greatly.

Saturday: Paul, Light duty Joe, Chad and Michelle came over kicked the crap out of loading and unloading. We even got the living room set up and most of the kitchen put away.
From the ages of 18-33 I moved every year. A couple times across the country. I did not have a ton of money and being mobile kept me from accumulating a bunch of stuff.. not so much so after a wedding, and several baby showers (not to mention a couple of years just staying in one spot). We have exponentially more stuff. It's amazing. We're still sorting through it.

Saturday night we were invited to go out to a very fancy restaurant for dinner. The pork belly appetizer was great, steak was pretty good, the company was fantastic.. All of this was a jarring juxtaposition against running around schlepping boxes and generally working like a dog.

Sunday morning was all about setting up the Grizzly's room. Putting his crib together, and arranging furniture. From 11 to about 3 we went over to the wife's grandparent's for her grandfather's birthday. We had a nice brunch (the Grizzly was well behaved).

After that it was time to pick up the last few things from the condo. The two main items were Tenzing the cat, and the dishwasher (long story something about stainless and matching the fridge). I carried the dishwasher from the condo to the truck, and then from the truck to the kitchen in the house (up a flight of stairs) by myself.. lifting weights is awesome.

I had far less trouble with the dishwasher than I did with the cat. Tenzing is an indoor cat, and a large one. He does not like to leave his condo. I packed him in a box (with lots of holes for air) and he pushed his way through the box. After that it was game over, there was no getting him anywhere near a box. I ended up going to the pet store and buying a pet carrier, then I had to make up with him before I could get him in the box. He was high maintenance the whole rest of the night. The entire time I was trying to sleep he would climb on to my chest and sniff my breath to make sure I hadn't snuck off while he was exploring.

The dishwasher was easier, but far from easy. I had to re-wire the junction box, and spend $12 on an "universal dishwasher kit" to get one $2 adapter I needed.. by the way on Sunday, Home Depot closes at 8, but Lowe's is open till 9. This may have been important.

No training tonight, I'm off to Woodenville this afternoon to buy weights for the home gym. I'm going to build some squat stands based on these.. this weekend or next. Once this all gets put together I'll give you a tour.