April 15, 2014
One of my old training partners, Jon North gave me a quick shout in his PODCAST, Weightlifting Talk. For the record, I never coached Jon while we were training at Sac State. However, he is one of the first people who I’d considered a REAL training partner. I think it was around 2007. I was snatching like 120 at the time (so I thought I was pretty good. This was before people uploaded stuff on youtube. As a matter of fact, I think Jon was the first person whom I can recall uploading a lift on youtube.) So yeah, I thought I was the shit because I was snatching 120. I mean, I was THE MAN at the Sac State weight room. This was before Crossfit blew up so no one had any idea what I was doing besides a small group of 2-3 of us. I was also REALLY into doing showy and daring pull-up and bodyweight exercises because I was into this thing called “functional fitness.”
In walks Jon North and Jessica West. And from that moment onward the intensity level was turned to an 11; even more so when we started training more often with the Hassle Free folks. (Quick side story: I met Donovan Ford in like 05 or 06. I was all like, “stick with it bro! Now when he comes home from the OTC, he’s all like “stick with it, bro!”) One of my favorite meets was one I think that Jon, Jess and I traveled to together. It was the first time I snatched 130. Anyways, sometimes all you need to push for progress is a good training partner; someone who will raise the intensity level and make training fun. I’m glad I had that early on and that Jon was one of those people for me. I’m glad that he’s been successful not only in our sport but as a businessman as well.
April 11, 2014
I’m not a musician. I do not pretend to be one. If someone asks me if I can play an instrument, I say that “I am able to play a guitar.” That being said, I have a strong appreciation for music and sometimes that means singing or playing along to something. One of my goals for the year was to do more musical projects and you’re about to hear the first one. Right meow.
I first came up with this idea simply out of convenience. I didn’t like youtube making my little projects unavailable to people’s mobile phones since I’m apparently the only one who still uses my laptop to do things. In any case, I’m glad I put myself out of my comfort zone and showcased something I’m admittedly not very good at. I think I’m gong to make it a habit.
IF YOU PLAY DRUMS, LIVE IN THE SACRAMENTO AREA, DON’T MIND PLAYING WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS BEGINNER LEVEL MUSICAL EXPERIENCE AND WOULD LIKE TO PLAY SLOW SABBATH JAMS/DOOMY STUFF, HIT ME UP. I’m getting the band back together. No, not really. But yes, Really I’d like to start playing with other people again.
April 11, 2014
I suppose I’m a little bit late on this post considering I posted this video over a week ago.
Earlier this year (17 weeks ago), I implemented a more organized way to include squats into our weightlifting program, called simply “The Midtown Squat Cycle.” I am very pleased with the results not only from my team but myself as well. I now plan out squats in 8 week blocks that work in conjunction with our 4 week lifting schedule (after all, this isn’t a squat team, it’s a weightlifting team.) The program itself is nothing fancy. I incorporated both “daily max” style workouts and percentage based workouts. Rep PR’s were emphasized just as much as 1RM PR’s. One important thing to note is that when I wrote the excel spreadsheet, I borrowed an idea from Jim Wendler and automatically subtracted 10% of the lifter’s absolute max to account for ego and bullshit. My reasoning is that I wasn’t so much concerned about increasing the squat as much as I was concerned with increasing the quality of the lifts. This also gave me a little more room for error when I chose the rep schemes. The last 16 weeks have been more back squat and volume biased. Now we’ll be shifting towards more of a traditional front squat-centric program. The majority of my team showed improvement, some more than others. Jean’s front squat went from 155 to 180 and his back squat went from 180 to 206. Obviously, he’s relatively new to our training process, whereas Cameron, one of my veteran lifters went from 180/195 and 195/205. My squats went 225/235 and 270/285. Honestly, my goal for the year was to back squat 280, so I’m mostly just happy that I made it through my BSQ heavy singles injury free. I doubt I’ll squat that heavy the rest of the year. We’ll now be entering phase 3 of our squat schedule that I have given the title of “The Ulfberht.”
April 8, 2014
I was helping a friend out with his lifting technique though text message the other day (which is an arduous process on both ends. I wouldn’t recommend it.) I drew him a few quick sketches to illustrate what I was trying to say. They looked something like this.
April 1, 2014
Cupcake: Cup-cake. Verb.
Definition: to be unfocused on the task at hand. Wasting time.
Example: You would rather cupcake on the foam roller for 45 minutes than make three singles at your 90%.
I hate to be the guy on the internet that reminisces about high school athletics. It makes this post seem more tragic than anything else. But do you remember the guy that was consistently late to football practice? I mean he knew that he had to be at practice dressed in uniform at 3:29 on the dot. And he also knew the whole team had to do up-downs (burpees) if he was late. But even still you would see him chatting up Sally Sue in the hallway at 3:21 as you were jogging your ass to practice on time like a sensible athlete. That’s cupcaking.
(Edit: I also coached high school athletics for several years. Cupcaking was not tolerated.)
Cupcaking is taking a 60 minute workout and stretching it to two hours. It’s doing a bunch of erroneous stretches and foam rolling every 5 mins because your glute medius is super tight, bro. Cupcaking is missing your attempts because your more concerned on whatever else is going on that isn’t your workout. That’s why I’ve got a strict no-cupcaking policy on my team.
I already know what you’re thinking. It’s supposed to be fun.
I agree. But do you know what my idea of a good time is? Making my 90%s. Having focused and productive workouts. And that’s the attitude that I like to perpetuate to my team. There seems to be this opposing attitude where you’re not supposed to take this stuff too seriously. It’s just working out. It doesn’t change anything or benefit anyone but yourself. And while that may be true, it’s also OK TO TAKE YOURSELF SERIOUSLY. I mean, fitness costs a lot of money and it’s a major time commitment. Heck, life commitment. Why not take it seriously?
Relax. Have fun. Get excited about training and be silly when it’s appropriate. But never underestimate the importance of the training environment. It’s everything. And for all you coaches out there, it’s up to you to make sure that the training environment is conducive to lifting big weights.
March 30, 2014
Donny has recently been posting up new videos of his training and advices for weightlifters. In this one, he’s wearing the shirt design I drew for him years ago. I hope (in a very small way) that he still draws strength from it.
Probably like yourself, I’m a Donny Shankle fan. Because I’m an American. Even the driest most boring videos are made better by his baritone narration. My personal favorite is the video in which he tells how he “got attempted to be mugged” at Euro Disney. Which one is your favorite?
March 26, 2014
Be prepared to listen to the frumpiest, doomiest, dustiest, most “just got home from a Dungeons and Dragons convention” record that’s come out so far this year. I saw these guys play in SF a week ago. In my opinion, their new material is step forward from their last record released in 2012. While I liked it, I felt it relied heavily on standard doom archetypes. And while that’s not necessarily even an issue in many cases, I felt like the band could do well to change their pace a little more frequently. I’ve listened to the new record streaming HERE via Pitchfork and so far I’m very pleased with the direction that the band is headed. I feel like they’re on par other popular contemporary doom acts like Pallbearer (one of my current favorite bands) by not shying away from their source material while still creating a NEW cohesive sound.
The guys are pretty nice too and sound great live. Check ‘em out.
Be warned. This is mood music meant to be listened to in solitude while doing things like writing, drawing or thinking introspectively. I wouldn’t expect most people to be into this sound. Don’t try bumping this while riding shotgun in your girlfriend’s Jetta and expect to have a good time.
March 25, 2014
I’ve been on a Southern/Rockabilly kick lately.
Lots of Johnny Cash, Reverend Horton Heat, ZZ Top and this little number.
March 19, 2014
What’s that word that the kids are saying nowadays? Swag? Well if so,
Tara asked me if I was going to post this photo on my “Instagram” account. I told her that I was just going to ride this one out and hope it dies off before I do.
A huge thank you to our friends from Caffeine and Kilos for setting us up with these bad boys. Now we just gotta sell ‘em. Come by home base and pick up a shirt. The money we raise will help get us to Nationals and The American Open.