Monday, June 30, 2008

Fun in the Sun

So far, I've been lovin' summer and about 95% of my training has been outdoors. I've been doing mostly kettlebell stuff for a quite a few weeks now, and I can definitely tell my body is ready for some heavy iron again. Since I've been enjoying working out in the sunshine and fresh air so much, I decided to bring my crappy, home barbell set outside and do some damage. I don't own enough plates for me to max out on squat or deadlifts, so I decided to go with some High Pulls. I used density training (setting a time limit & seeing how much you can get done in that amount of time) for the high pulls and then finished normal. The time limit was 15 minutes. I started with 3 reps and kept going until fatigue set in, and then obviously lowered the reps until the time was up. This is a backward approach to how most people train (which is why I like it), similar to Charles Staley's EDT method of training or Wake Forest's Strength Coach, Ethan Reeve's take on density training.

Here's what it looked like:

- 10 min. Joint Mobility warm-up w/ some tumbling drills

A1. (EDT - 15 min.) Barbell High Pulls x 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1
B1. Heavy Sandbag Squat x 4, 3, 3
C1. Light Sandbag Lunge Matrix (forward/side/reverse) x 2 ea. leg ea. direction x 2
rest: 30 sec.
C2. Kettlebell Swing w/ band 2 x 8
rest: 60 sec.
D1. Barbell RDL's 2 x 10
D2. Sandbag Pistol Squat 2 x 2 ea. leg
rest: 45 sec.
E1. KB Windmill 3 x 3 ea. side
E2. Sandbag Rotational Throw 3 x 2 ea. side
rest: 45 sec.

Time (not including warm-up): 43 min.

After I finished I cooled down with some advice from Eric Cressey I read. He says sometimes, instead of static stretching at the end of his athlete's workouts, he'll just have them run through some more mobility/dynamic flexibility drill and just have them hold each position longer than usual. I liked it a lot...nice way to cool down.

- Max

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Step-up : a real squat alternative?

I'm a big fan of squats, especially box squats, but very few people (at least at my gym) squat correctly. No wonder everyone thinks they're dangerous and hurt your knees. To quote Dan John, "Squats don't hurt your knees. The way YOU squat hurts your knees."

Heavy Step-Ups might be a great alternative to squats. Read this great article on them over at Straight to the Bar. Not saying you should give up squatting all together. Keep working on your form with bodyweight squats or try box squats. You could also do some heavy squat variation once a week and some heavy step-ups on another day or do a three week cycle of squats followed by a three week cycle of step-ups. This would be a nice way to keep punishing those legs while taking stress off your back and letting your CNS recover.

I think heavy unilateral work (one limb) is HIGHLY underated. Everyone's in love with heavy squats and deadlifts (me included), but have you ever tried HEAVY step-ups, split squats, bulgarian split squats, lunges, and pistols??? Not easy at all.......

Don't give up the basics. They work. Always have, always will. Just don't be afraid to substitue heavy unilateral work for a few weeks to give your body a break once in a while.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Top 10 Mistakes When Training For Vertical Jump

Kelly Baggett gives us another great article...

Where do you fall in the list?

- Max

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A Primal Blueprint

Mark Sisson wrote a great post on his blog Mark Sisson's Daily Apple.

He discusses how our ancestor's lived thousands of years ago and how we should be living today......think the blueprint is much different?

If you're interested in how to eat better, feel better, perform better, and become just plain healthier, I highly recommend you check out his blog.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

It's Time to Try Something New

This guy knows how to stay low.....

Here's a great read from Eric Cressey on why kids get injured so much these days....

Newsletter 113

I have to say, I totally agree. I played several different sports throughout the year up until I was in 5th grade. From then on, I concentrated only on basketball. I played roughly 100 games per year from then until my senior season was over. Throw in some open gyms, pick-up games at random places, and just practicing on my own most days out of the week and that's A TON of basketball!! Looking back, I would have been much better going out for track and field in the spring, playing football in the fall, and just focusing on the weights in the summer, and not on playing so much. Were those extra 50 to 60 games in the spring, summer, and fall (yes, there are fall AAU leagues) really helping that much?? I would have moved much better/efficiently, experienced less injuries/pain, had much more desire to play/practice HARD, and just been a better all-around athlete. You could make the argument that someone wouldn't be as good at their sport, but are all those hours of just light practicing because your knees are killing you really doing anything? Playing one sport year round obviously leads to overuse injuries and a limiting range of motion. I don't care if you've practiced 10x more than your oppenent. If he is able to stay lower than you (there obviously will be exceptions, but if you're on the same playing level), he is a) going to be quicker and b) going to drive past you and score. He probably will have less joint pain throughout the season. Like I said, there are exceptions, but don't under appreciate the value of staying low.

I'm not saying playing your sport isn't valuable...but would you be better off being a better all-around athlete. Yes, even if you don't want to go out for other sports, spend less time playing competetively and more time learning a new skill that will help you in your given sport (lifting weights through a full range of motion, learing some gymnastics/bodyweight movements, wall climbing, flag football, etc.). Anything that has you moving in a different way and developing other athletic qualities will help you become more aware of your body and reduce your chance of injury.

So, how can you improve in this area?

Helpful Videos:

Wall Hip Mobility 1

Wall Hip Mobility 2

Hip Mobility 3

Ankle Mobility

don't forget to do a: Dynamic Warm-up

Helpful articles:

The 3rd World Squat (a great article!)

The Essential 8 Mobility Drills

The Mobility Complex

It takes discipline to do this stuff. Make it a habit. I think that you'll find that you perform much better both on the court and in the weight room.

- Max