Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Friendly Reminders

Posted: December 7, 2012 in Articles

I read this on another workout blog and it holds very true, at least in my experience, for everyone. 3 simple things…

1. Your training and eating should match up. 

If you’re trying to build mass, don’t do it in a time you can’t eat enough. If you’re trying to lean up, don’t (expect) to set strength PR’s. This one seems obvious, but you can’t get “big and ripped” at the same time. Do one or the other, instead of trying to ride two horses with just one ass.

2. Spend your “offseason” working on the things you suck at.
 The three lifts I think most powerlifters would benefit from in the “offseason” are the incline press and shoulder pressing, the elevated stiff legged deadlift, and the front squat. If you’re a low bar squatter, go to high bar. If you’re a conventional puller, go sumo for a while.
If you’re a bodybuilder it’s easy. Prioritize the bodyparts you need the most with 2-3X a week training. Same for figure, or fitness, or whatever.
Put the things you hate doing the most at the forefront of your training and get good at them. This is the main training component that will make you better. Stop avoiding doing the shit you suck at.
3. Quit being part of the mental masturbation crew.
Years ago before I ever really wrote anything, I wanted to write a novel. So I started, and I wrote the first chapter. For six months.
This English major I knew finally told me “at some point you just have to write it. Don’t try to make every sentence perfect. Just get the work in, write it all out, and then fine tune it.”
I see this so much now in lifting. Guys and gals are so concerned about every little thing that they forget what they are in the gym for in the first place. To grow, and to get strong. You’re going to be tweaking shit for years, so stop worrying if everyone on the youtubes doesn’t like how you hold your hands on the front squat or if your elbows flared too much on your bench. You’re still lifting, you’re still about getting better, getting stronger. Do THAT first.

Alright Gang, I’ve been reading a lot of good articles lately and I felt I needed to share some of my newly found wisdom. All of this is going to be related to specific goals that we want to achieve through Fire-Tactical training. To give you an example, one author stated that the two most important muscle groups were the posterior chain (back, glutes, hams) and the shoulders, while another adamantly stressed training for your sport (or career). Now the dilemma arises due to the fact that all of this new information is very informative and motivating, but some of it can be contrary to other parts.

The first excerpt I want to relate is from Robb Wolf’s podcast #139 featuring SEALfit’s founder Mark Divine. I’ve only begun listening to Robb Wolf as I dabble in the Paleo craze that’s all the rage. So far, it’s a very good program if you can give him an hour of your time once a week. The episode was really focused on SOF candidates and some of the challenges of eating paleo and serving in the military. Mark explained the SEAL selection process and how candidates train for the entrance physical exam which consists of standard push ups, pull ups, run, etc. I think his intention was to illustrate how serious and challenging it is just to be considered for selection, because he shifts focus to a broad spectrum of athleticism and fitness which is where he stressed training for your specific sport. His workout philosophy consists of 6 main areas: Endurance, Strength, Stamina, Work Capacity, Durability, and Mental Focus. I’ll just elaborate on the first five.

Endurance is “cardio-respiratory capacity expressed through the ability to be efficient at extended work sessions at low intensity”.
Strength is your ability to pick up heavy shit.
Stamina is “the ability to contract adn extend your muscles for a longer duration before muslce failure and need for recovery time.” Train 3 times a week minimum.
Work Capacity is your typical Crossfit AMRAP exercise. It’s an intensity that should be your max effort for short periods. Very similar to a Firefighter’s work load at a fire.
Durability is injury prevention. Core strength, joint flexibility, and recovery.

These are excellent concepts and I enjoy incorporating them into my workouts. They are very similar to Mountain Athlete/Military Athlete. To summarize, this particular website desires a high relative strength. Relative because every team member may be different and these exercises are not intended for a body builder. Also, an intense Work Capacity and Stamina for multiple events over a long period of time round out their philosophy. The hard pill to swallow however, is training for your sport. I like variety and unpredictability in my workouts because I tend to lose focus and get bored after a month or two. This is not to say that I can never go rucking, but if I’m serious about becoming the best at pulling ceiling or humping hose, I should focus on work capacity in bunker gear while wearing an SCBA. That also means that other than improving your cardio, Crossfit has little room in the Fire-Tactical Athlete’s schedule.

Now to juxtapose the above methods with Lift Big, Eat Big. If you’re interested in Powerlifting and Olympic lifting, this is the site for you! A website whose sole purpose is to squat and deadlift maximal weight. They have a few other ideas that I’ll mention too. Their blog has started a series of articles called Tactical Athlete. Basically, they are incorporating their mentality of lifting as heavy as possible and applying it to the Military and Police realms. (No reason Fire can’t get some; we kick the cop’s ass in everything else!) The first of their discussions stated that when carrying 50 pounds of gear, a weapon, and supplies, you need a strong posterior chain. Their answer: Dead Lift and DEEP Squat. You can round out with some Romanian Deal Lifts, Glute-Ham Raises, and Back Extensions, but you should spend nearly all of your time improving the two main lifts. I can agree with that claim because I feel all programs should revolve around the three power lifts: Bench Press, Squat, and Dead Lift. They did not forget olympic lifts either, in case you were wondering. They stated that burpees are for soccer moms, not developing explosive power. That is absolutely true, and burpees are usually reserved for elevating your heart rate and body weight routines. What lift is similar to a Fireman’s carry, or lifting a wounded team member and carrying them to safety? The Snatch and Power Clean. Develop those into your repertoire as well.

LBEB’s second article explained “Conditioning”, which is basically what we’ve already listed as “Work Capacity”. Essentially, Conditioning should be a miserable, grueling experience where you give 110% for 2-10 minute intervals. Suggestions they had were Buddy Sprints/Fireman Carry, 25-50m tire drag sprints, heavy tire drags with a hand rope, tire flips, and farmer’s walks. The mentality behind these exercises was using what’s available to you (no excuses) and I particularly liked the idea of real world, unusual shaped weights and an underground, strongman mentality. Keeps things interesting and in-line with LBEB.

I’ll close with an invitation to visit these websites and to reply to me with any questions or comments you might have. A big thanks to Mark Divine of SEALfit for answering my questions!