June 28, 2015
Life takes you to some pretty interesting places sometimes; “interesting” being a loaded descriptor. You might go for months or years on end living every day exactly the same. Maybe it was one day, maybe it was one moment and everything got turned on it’s head. You’ve got the choice to either deal with it or let it overcome you. Maybe it’s a little of both.
Sometimes the easiest thing to do is to put your head down and press forward. It takes confidence to look inward and ask where do I want to go from here. One thing that I know through experience is that it’s a difficult task to be strong if you have no purpose.
Let us find it and be thankful.
June 22, 2015
Here’s 22 minutes of lifting for you to zone out to while at work.
A complete portrait of strength at least by my standards, includes mastery of one’s own bodyweight. Even at 286lbs I was still able to bang out a few muscle ups and do various tricks on the pull-up bar. Now at 228lbs, my options once again are more numerous. In 2005, I decided I wasn’t into any sort of bodybuilding anymore because it “did not serve a purpose.” I decided that instead I would supplement my Olympic lifts with bodyweight training and wrestling. It made for a pretty decent physique and let me be on my high horse when bros at frat parties would ask me how much I bench.
“BENCH? HAHAHAHA! OH, SUCH PEASANTRY. YOU SIMPLETON.”
I eventually grew out of that phase. Although to this day, I rarely if ever bench press. I first mastered the muscle up in 2005 because my friend from high school said that DMX did them for upper body strength. Yup, you read that right. I actually had no idea what the blossoming company, Crossfit was at the time. No. I started doing muscle ups because I wanted to prove to myself that I was as good as fucking DMX, the rapper. Standards.
But that’s actually not where my interest in bodyweight training started. I can actually pin point the exact moment in my childhood that I first realized that mastery of one’s bodyweight is a skill that I never wanted to be without.
I was in 5th or 6th grade. I was with my family on a trip to Monterey for Summer vacation. My brothers were still pretty young at the time so my parents decided that we would visit the “Denis the Menace Park” pretty close to Cannery Row. This was a basically a park with a legit play area for kids instead of a standard play structure. Me being all mature at 12 or 13 years old had no interest in this. Luckily for me, a skate park opened up just across from the park. The only skate park I had ever visited before that was in Davis and that one was so small, it was surely meant for “posers.” I wasn’t all that good. I mean, at 5’6 I looked like I was about as wide as I was tall. With the baggy shorts only leaving my “cankles” exposed and an oversized plaid shirt, I was basically a grunged out pirate ship while at full speed on my deck. But still I was able to bust out a few tricks and shredded to my heart’s delight for two or three hours at the park up until my dad walked up to the chainlink fence letting me know it was time to go.
He told me to throw my board over and hop the fence. Simple enough. I tried 6 or 7 pathetic efforts. Each time I would fall back to the ground weighed down by my pop-tart rich diet and shame. Each time I felt the eyes of other boarders stopping to watch as the fat kid couldn’t hop a chain link fence. Pitiful. What was worse is the look on my dad’s face when he realized his kid probably couldn’t escape a burning building if he had to; A one story building. Having enough, I let my dad know I was just going to take the long way around.
It was a long walk.
That moment probably affected me more than it should have. By the time I was 18, I could leap over a fence or given enough effort pull the damn thing down. Mastery of my bodyweight would always be a skill I’d want to develop. But it didn’t just stop at pull-ups and decently strong abs. I started working out at a rock climbing gym to take my game to another level. I’ve eased up over the years. I’m saving all my really cool bodyweight stuff for after my lifting career. I’ll usually throw in 15 minutes or so of playtime after my workouts 3 days a week. My lifters also work on these skill sets. I don’t make them do most of the stuff that I do. But I do prioritize L sits from both the seated and hanging position, strict pull-ups, chin ups and various torso strengthening such as side bends, Chinese Planks and crunches. This to me represents the bare minimum of what an able bodied person should be able to do.
It would be a hard case for me to make that bodyweight training is directly beneficial to success on the platform, especially given the relatively underdeveloped physiques of some of the world’s best lifters. But I do like to have my lifters work on general strength skills because I like developing them to be generally fit and capable people; That and I don’t want anyone to have to take the long way around.
-Trust the Process.
June 10, 2015
As a rule, I won’t plug products unless they fulfill my criteria of being high value, useful and bullshit free. For example: straps. 90% of people I meet WASTE MONEY on straps. Make your own. They will last longer and perform better. I’ve had mine for 4 years now. They are made of rock climbing webbing and one of my lifters, Duffy, sewed and burnt the ends for me. They cost under two dollars and I guarantee they are better than your straps. At best, yours are made out of the same material. At worst, they are made out of that standard nylon seat belt material that WILL fray and snap. Actually at the very worst, you have those cotton loop ones with the foam pad on the back. My mitts eat those. It’s not that I have a problem with people making money in the fitness industry. I just have a problem with people making money at other’s expense or fulfilling needs that do not need to be filled.
Conversely, I plug my sponsor, Forklifter all the time. They provide a high quality service at a high value price point. I mean . . . it’s meat, healthy carbs and veggies. If you disagree with that then there’s no hope for you.
So bringing it back to my original goal for this post,
I’m going to plug a product.
I maintain that the BEST option for wrist support is Johnson & Johnson athletic tape. Not that Muller or ACE crap. Johnson & Johnson. The second best option and one that I used for years is the standard boxing wrap. They come in two varieties, the shorter less-stretchy version (for some reason we used to call them white boy wraps back in the day. I couldn’t explain to you why) and the longer more-stretchy versions. I recommend the shorter one and for God’s sake please take your thumb out of the loop. It bothers me at a very deep level when I see people lifting with their thumbs still in the loop like a doofus. A lesser preferred option and one that I have been using for the past 2 years are the new fangled PR wraps or “Crossfit wraps” as I like to call them. They’re decent. Decent enough that I saw no need to change them over the past two years except when I need the extra support. Then I go back to the old faithful athletic tape.
These are something new for me. I looked at the ones off of Risto but based on how well their shoes hold up, I decided I’d look elsewhere. My search took me to Wyvernworks on Etsy. He makes fantasy and LARP gear but after searching around a bit, I decided that his wrist supports looked like they could hold up to training. I made the mistake of ordering two different styles so I asked him for the link to the ones I got.
They came in on Monday and after hitting some front squats and push presses in them, I can say that they DO support my wrist very well. Time will tell how they will hold up to training but I am pretty confident so far. Take note, I wear my buckles on the inside of my wrist to let the extra material support the joint from the outside.
I’ll post an update after a month or so of hard training getting ready for Nationals.
June 9, 2015
Honestly, I was just looking for an excuse to use this song.
June 8, 2015
u either haz it. Or u do not.
The last few months I have NOT had. it. I’ve been pretty spread thin as far as working on my other various coaching projects and responsibilities. The good news is that this extra push is reflected in the club. We have more numbers and are stronger than ever as a team. This whole thing is my baby. Every day I drive into work thinking about ways to make it bigger, how I can give more to help everyone get better.
Unfortunately, this extra push has not left a lot of energy for my own training. It’s been harder than ever to follow my own advice.
I picked the meet at Warriorz last weekend for myself because I knew it would be smaller and a good opportunity to keep my skills sharp even if I wasn’t at top strength. I took my taper week VERY seriously. The most I hit last week was 130/155 respectively and very slow crappy reps at that. But I knew if I was going to have a good showing my main priorities would be sleep and time to myself. I knew if I had those two things I could at least put together a decent total.
It turns out I had the meet of my life. I weighed an all time low of 102.4. And I hit 148/185. All PRs at this bodyweight and an all time PR total.
I’m going to take this next week to heal my body and focus on more business stuff I’ve been neglecting going into the meet (there’s always something I’m neglecting).
The team competes in Reno this weekend. I can tell you they are all very fired up to get out there.
The 3rd installment in my series of mixtapes. I figured it was about time we had a SPACE themed one because why the heck not, right? In the meantime, the first mixtape is down until I buy more space from soundcloud.
1) Toro y Moi-Lilly
2) Neon Indian-Annie
3) Funkadelic-Can You Get to That
4) Jamie XX-Sleep Sound
5) Pentagram-Earth Flight
6) Dum Dum Girls-LOst Boys and Girls Club
7) Death Grips-On GP
8) Jamie Liddel-Do Yourself a Favor
9) Daft Punk-Giorgio by Moroder
10) Tame Impala-Let it Happen
11) Alabama Shakes-Gimmie All your Love
12) David Bowie-Space Oddity
The cover art is from the 1983 film, Heavy Metal. I also included sound bytes from Bill Moyer’s interview with Joseph Campbell entitled “Power of Myth.”
June 4, 2015
How you feel when you make a double at 90%.
I know, it’s old. Still good though!
I remember the first time I snatched 130kg for a double. It was me, Jon North, my old coach Jackie, and two other of my Sac state lifting buddies in the old Sac High weightroom. I hit the first one and was so excited I forgot I was going for a double until Jackie started yelling at me. I hit the second and then lost my mind for like 20 seconds.
This was in like 2007 or 2008. Weightlifting felt so new.