Archive for the ‘Our Philosophy’ Category

Finding Purpose on the Platform

Posted: January 19, 2012 in Our Philosophy

When I first came to university, I participated in a forum discussion about what people used as motivation to train. Many posted pictures of successful athletes or stereotyped images of Ali with associated quotes. What a joy I must have been when I threw up this self-made contraption:

What you see above were my motivations at 17 years old. Aside from the aforementioned stereotyped quotes, there’s my family crest and pictures of myself from years beforehand, where I had been successful in challenges or, as you can see, just liked the way I looked. Note: even women of powerful conversation and imaginative mind can be overcome by muscles if you are younger than 18. If the same goes afterwards, you’re chatting up a nympho with Daddy issues – RUN.

If I were to attempt to create the same thing now, the image would be entirely different. Sure, a lot of that I still find interesting, but back then my motivations were gripped by the social scene, my dreams of becoming a super hero, my desire to fight. I don’t think I understood what I was going through at the time, I doubt anyone ever really does. That picture is less of a motivational jpeg and more of a story of my life up until that point…family, sport, a desire to succeed, bravado, creativity and super heroes.

Now, the image of motivation in my head is simply a red silhouette of myself imposed on a deep black background. It’s less so an image I want to draw, but more an imagined pictorial representation of what it is I experience when I exercise. Exercise for me has become the ultimate form of expression and investigation, where all decisions are made and all stresses allow me to be reborn after every single session.

The only similar experience I can help explain this feeling with is, as absurd as this may sound, the act of prayer. I grew up in a Catholic household, attended Catholic education and was invited to pray often. Often I did, alone. It was there, lying in bed or at the chapel, where I experienced that feeling of enlightenment for the first time. Like I was having a conversation with God, a guide of some kind that was present within me at that time, allowing me to discover things about myself I had never known before.

As a disclaimer, I hold no religious belief, that’s not what this was about. But through my youth, I did learn that the purpose of prayer is not simply to give “Him” glory, but to ask questions and think about the answers…to gain clarity amidst stress…to reflect. (and of course, as a Catholic, to apologise profusely for everything you’ve ever done, ever, period)

I always assumed I knew what people talked about when they said exercise was a “way of life”. “I love to exercise, I do it all the time” – ergo I must live that way of life…but that’s not the full story I believe I understand now. I often believe my obsession with exercise is perceived as bravado or arrogance, I guess you can think about it whatever you like, but when I’m training, the last thing I’m thinking about is your impressions of what I do under the bar. To describe this feeling as “good” doesn’t cut it. Exercise has gone from being “good” to being a seemingly celestial necessity, where the bar either hits the mark or it doesnt – there is no gray area. I train every day of my life that it is possible for me to train because now, deep inside of me, there is a liberating truth aching to get out that claws itself that little bit closer to existing in this world every time I force myself to overcome resistance.

I don’t know what that truth is yet…but I’m going to keep on praying.

Advertisements

Life is currently kicking up a shit storm – my hons project is taking up a disproportionate  amount of time, but alas, it’s interesting.

I’m working with amateur golfers, investigating the effects of blind somatosensory training on club head/ball speed – I’ll keep nerds posted and very likely post my dissertation up here come February.

Recently illness and university work have been an issue. Illness has meant more sleep, which has meant less time, which has meant less time for training which is unfortunately not essential. That said, at times like this, I remember Dave Tate’s concept that I harp on about often – training should be a constant. As such, I make time for it as often as possible.

We’ve kept up with the Sadiv/Speed work method but are roughly a week behind. Despite this, I’ve put 2.5kg on my 1RM bench ad 65kg on my 1RM OHP.

I can honestly say that this training frequency/intensity is seemingly perfect for us at the moment.

The Sadiv sets let you spend an ample amount of time at a high intensity and with my own program design, it appears a sweet spot has been reached. Earlier, I was able to say that this was certainly a method of returning to a better form. I can now honestly say that working Sadiv’s and speed work as we have is ample motivation to improve your lifting numbers. Furthermore, considering I have increased my caloric intake and put on 4kgs without putting in much effort, I can personally vouch for this regime’s ability to promote hypertrophy.

As for enjoyment, it is by far the most fun Ross and I have had in the gym since CommonStrength began. It’s challenging, you’re operating at a high relative weight consistently and it has a thrilling daily variation to it. It is also very easy to modify as you progress…

Lifting at 80kg for 10 then 82.5kg for 5 and 80kg for 5? Did that 82.5 feel easy? Do it for ten. Was it hell? Do it for two, 80kg for 8 then try the 5 reps next time. It’s easy to manipulate and the effects are so far startling. You simply up the reps at a given weight or decrease them. No worries about how many reps in sets, sets all together, just hit a single weight, once a minute, ten times…when it’s easy…take it up!

I can only hope someone out there tried it as we’ve detailed in the beginning.

It works.

Currently nothing more to update with the lifts, I’ll detail them as days done, but I don’t think the Sadiv/Speed method will stop for some time.

For now, CommonStrength will focus on improving performance outside of the regime itself – a more specific look into exercises themselves, nutrition, motivation and progress.

Go train, suckas!

 

Go your own way

Posted: August 27, 2011 in Our Philosophy

You are not here forever.

Every day, the opportunities to take a step forward in the direction you’ve been planning to go (feel free to call this direction your dreams) are ambling and dwindling around you. More importantly, they’re right in front of you…even more importantly, you’re not doing anything about them. Apathy is a hell of a drug – I know this because I’ve experienced the results of being lazy and not being lazy…the contrast is startling.

“Why? Why not? Why not me? Why not now?”  – Jim Rohn.

Successful people have learned the benefit of taking that step forward.

————

If you’re looking for motivation, first ask yourself if you’re doing what you want to do in the first place. Does it make sense not to be motivated to do something you actually want to do? You’d think that if you truly wanted to do something, you’d have a limitless amount of energy for it.

If you’ve decided you do want to do something, then ask yourself why. Your motives behind your actions are what bolster your energy for that activity. Perhaps your motives have changed now but you’re in too deep. It’s important to remember that that’s OK! You’re a human creature, you’ll grow, you’ll have new experiences, you’ll change…it’s never too late to change the game you’re playing.

If you’ve decided you want to do something and your motives are relevant and good, yet still you can’t find the motivation, you’re probably stuck in an apathetic state you’ve learned from years of sitting in front of a computer and procrastinating because, whatever the activity, your heart just wasn’t in it. Perhaps you weren’t at a computer…perhaps you were on a playing field or wearing a uniform. Now, it’s a case of breaking free from those shackles and creating a new rhythm…your own rhythm, your own light, your own life, where you make your own rules and, out of principle, enforce them vigorously.

Remember that your motivation will be challenged. Even when you are in the right place, doing what you want to do, you can be shot down. A quote for life – you’re not tested when you’re on top of the mountain, you’re tested on the climb. Be relentless in your pursuit of your own  dreams…if you’re sitting waiting for a stroke of luck, you’ll wait your whole damn life.

So, if you’re looking for motivation and your apathetic habits are slowing you down, or you’re up against seemingly unbeatable/unbearable circumstances and it’s not down to your heart not truly being in it, what do you do next? I suggest asking yourself the following:

– Why are you here?
– Why did you start on this journey?
– What have you given up to get there?
– What have you gained so far?
– What is the ultimate goal?

It’s not selfish and an entirely necessary process for progress…consistent reflection and redirection. (That’s why CS started in the first place)

If you answer these and your motivation is still lacking, a kick up the ass with inspirational media (songs, videos, images) can sometimes pull you out of the ditch and back onto the pitch…as said before, we’re all human creatures subject to limitless experience and perception – motivation for you may be entirely different from someone else, even within the same task.

Of course, remember that some things either are impossible or become impossible due to decisions you’ve made – don’t be afraid to admit it’s time to go back to square one. Sometimes you need to walk back before you charge forward.

————

The message I’m trying to put across here is one of change. You can become something different – just make sure your intentions are YOURS and that they’re GOOD…and if you’re unhappy with what you’ve become, you can change again. You did it before, why not make a change for the better this time?

Courage is not to live without fear – it is to live despite it.

For the last month I’ve been working on a top-secret project. Deep within the hostile bowels of my hidden laboratory (The Arc gym in Glasgow) I have been subjecting a previously unconditioned specimen (Crack) to high levels of stress by way of exercise.

The purpose of this experiment was to prove my hypothesis that subjecting an unconditioned human being to the physical stresses of exercise would improve every facet of that individuals physical nature, in both a direct (lifting barbell = get better at lifting barbell) and indirect (lifting barbell = get better at sprinting) fashions.

Crack is an overweight male in his early 20s, who decided that he wanted to lose weight and get fitter/stronger. He just so happened to have a massive set of balls and a confident approach – something to keep in mind.

————

On day one we tested the following with the following results:

Resting heart rate – 125bpm (no word of a lie, there was admitted anxiety re: testing)   (blood pressure testing was not possible due to equipment failures)
LOWER BODY STRENGTH/ENDURANCE : Leg press – 175kg for 8 reps
UPPER BODY ENDURANCE: Press ups – 7 in 1 minute
SPRINT ABILITY – Indoor Hockey Field in 5.72s
VERTICAL LEAP – 261cm
SIT + REACH – 8cm from wall

The leg press was our only option in testing leg strength as a squat would require more focus on technique, therefore gains would be more in line with adapting to a movement pattern and not “pure” strength gain. The machine did not go any higher than 175kg, which meant our real strength test became more endurance based and in fact landed right in between recommended rep ranges for each.

The main observation with the press-up testing was that the core musculature gave in before the arms/chest.

Sprint ability was decided by two factors – our subject played hockey in his early teens and it was the longest length, as defined by markers, the hall could provide for us.

Sit + Reach was determined without the appropriate equipment. As such, we relied on how far the distance was between the tip of the subject’s middle finger and the wall his bare feet were pressed up against.

————

The exercises were performed with the standard CommonStrength (common sense) philosophy in mind – pushing and pulling with the upper body (horizontally and vertically) and Quad + Hamstring based  leg movements. Rotation would normally be a part of this ideal – in this case, it was removed purely out of simplicity (which was part of the plan). I’m not suggesting rotational work isn’t simple or essential, personally I think it is both of those things, but when your first time gym goer puts on this shorts, he’s thinking “bench press” not “pallof press”.

Exercises were carried out in the 10-15 rep range. This is because the idea was to teach proper technique in learning the new movements (just as Ross and I did prior to commencing 5×5’s) and as such, more “practice” was performed because more reps were carried out – simple, right? 5 sets were performed with 90s rest in the first week, decreasing by 10s every week.  Upper body pushing/pulling was performed in super sets for time’s sake.

Lower body exercises were performed with additional core work – 15s plank, 15s side plank and 15s side plank (other) with a 15s dorsal raise. Each week, this increased by 3 seconds.

Work was carried out on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday, alternating each of the following work outs with every visit (A,B,A,B,A,B, etc)

Workout A

Bench press and upright rows. (5×15)
Leg press. (15×5 w/core work)

Workout B

Pull-downs and Overhead press. (5×15)

Straight legged Deadlift. (5×10 w/core work)

Both workouts were followed by 30 minutes of steady state cardio ~140bpm.

————

“How much did he bench press?”
“What % is that of his bodyweight?”
“Was he standing or sitting for his overhead press?”

Who gives a shit?

In each consecutive session the workload increased – reps/sets remained the same, but recovery decreased and the weights increased. Every single session was aimed at failure on the last rep of the last set – this was achieved.

What point am I trying to make by being vague? Read on.

————

After 4 weeks of this, a week was spent doing a hybrid workout, where all of these exercises were combined into one circuit. This happened because I felt Crack would be getting bored and I was unable to re-test immediately. We re-tested that Friday of week 5.

Before I go on to discuss results, it should be noted that the testing second time around was all performed on the same day, except for sprints due to hall availability…read for yourself see what you think re: improved recovery – testing all of these on day 1 was not possible due to Crack’s unconditioned state.

————

Results:

Resting heart rate – 76bpm
LOWER BODY STRENGTH/ENDURANCE : Leg press – 175kg for 25 reps (OH YEAH)
UPPER BODY ENDURANCE: Press ups – 20 in 1 minute (YO MAMA)
SPRINT ABILITY – Indoor Hockey Field in 4.82s
VERTICAL LEAP – 271cm
SIT + REACH – 1cm from wall.

Discussion (Brief):

RHR = massive decrease which shows what? Well, hopefully a better cardiovascular system, but this result is clouded by that day 1 anxiety. That said, it does show that though the gym is a daunting experience to first force yourself into, it gets easier! Worried about what other people will think when they see you? If they’re new, they feel the same as you, if they’re not, they’ve been there and they don’t care. Don’t let gawkers hold you back, it’s entirely likely they’ve just zoned out on a treadmill and happen to be looking in your direction.

Leg press – Going from 8 to 25 reps is a fantastic gain – one which Crack himself was really confident about. He did in fact (in only 5 weeks) more than triple his output in this exercise. I think it’s quite clear this shows that performing a leg press against increasing resistance for a 5 week period does in fact make an individual better at leg pressing!

Press-ups – This huge gain is a prime example of indirect benefits via exercise. We did ZERO press ups over the 5 weeks, yet made a huge gain. Put together the added upper body pushing ability, core endurance and weight loss and it’s no surprise that gains were made.

Sprinting ability – Again, we did ZERO sprints during this time. Therefore, I put this down to increased leg and core strength with weight loss.

Vertical leap – As stated for Sprinting ability – no vertical leaps were performed.

Sit and Reach – An inch gain made here. The only real mobility work here was the straight leg Deadlifts. Nonetheless, it is impressive that flexibility was gained in the cold state (prior to warm-up). To be honest, I feel this goes again Chad Waterbury’s notes on core strength improving flexibility in the limbs via neurological dis inhibition as it’s quite clear core strength was vastly improved.

All together, the work out provided seems to have improved Crack’s cardiovascular health, strength, endurance, explosive power, sprinting ability and flexibility. Cool, eh?

Conclusion:

What does all of the above tell us? I believe it provides (on the smallest scale possible) evidence of the following:

– Carrying out basic movements against resistance will improve your physical body in every way you can imagine.
– Stronger legs/Core/Weight loss = Better Sprinting
– Large gains in flexibility can only be made via flexibility/mobility work (i.e. it requires a large amount of specificity for gain, even at this early stage)
–  New gym goers will respond to just about any kind of stress!

I was deliberately vague so as to highlight simplicity and somewhat mirror the approach of a first time gym goer, who quite simply just wants to get fitter and stronger. My point is that getting into the gym is half the battle and that doing simple exercises and making them harder every time they get easy is a sure-fire way to make your body a more able vessel for your life. Running to catch a bus will be easier, as will tying your shoe laces, walking to work, picking up heavy boxes and, above all, looking at yourself in the mirror – Crack lost several chins during this 5 week time period. We would have measured weight loss, but Crack decided it would be a distraction and that he’d rather watch the weight fall off in the mirror.

Final conclusion: Exercise is awesome, everyone should do it – it makes everything you do better. I haven’t even touched on benefits in concentration, memory and mood.

Until next time…

Go train!

(I’m not trying to force this forward as some kind of super in depth research paper – I’m just making a point!)

Questionable morales, zero intelligence and a tiny rabbit dick? You’ve found the perfect workout to get yourself out of the house and into a jail cell this summer!

Just ahead, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to getting yourself into peak shape for looting Debenhams and grabbing yourself the finest in pre-musky clothing goods for elderly women(because hey, it’s a riot, bro!) all the while finally getting that 15 minutes of fame via the numerous pictures and videos that are scooping up scum bag criminals left, right and centre. So, what’s the basis behind this work out?

I’ll cover the regime over 3 chapters – just remember that this workout is designed with the most important principle in Strength and Conditioning in mind – SPECIFICITY. This is NOT to be attempted by Joe Public, only those brave enough to take to the streets to “get their taxes back”.

————

Chapter 1 – Lifting heavy stuff

Movement 1 – The Front Squat

The Front Squat is essential in developing Maximum Riot Performance (MRP) as it has immense carry over, not just in picking up heavy stuff, but sprinting from the boys (and girls) in blue! I’ve blogged previously about my admiration of the front squat, but alas, times change – the technique I described is way out dated! In order to make massive gains in MRP, you MUST start lifting no lighter than three times your bodyweight, right off the bat! Think about it this way – do you get to warm-up before a riot? NO. Do you want to get CRAZZZZY strong? YES! How do we do that? Heavy ass front squats performed in three easy steps.

1. From the standing position with your elbows high and the bar resting across your anterior deltoids, bend over as much as possible at the hips, whilst rounding your spine. (Think touching your toes with your nose)
2. From this safe and balanced position, begin bending at the knees.
3. Stand up from wherever you’ve landed (it’s not important, the point is that you are as courageous as possible when bending over at the hips) and go back to your starting position.

Movement 2 – The Deadlift

I harp on about the Deadlift in almost every post I make – rest assured, this is no different. The Deadlift is as close to looting specific as an exercise can be (and therefore ESSENTIAL to MRP development).  I’ve given some excellent descriptions before courtesy of Mark Rippetoe  – again, time has changed and that goon is over rated. Here’s how to Deadlift for MRP.

1. Stand with your shins 1ft away from the bar – place your feet wherever you like. Grab in bar in a double underhand grip. It is essential to hunch your back as much as possible to ensure you’re using the maximum amount of musculature.
2. Push a little with your legs to assist heaving the weight up past your knees with your back.
3. Assuming you’re not crippled, look at yourself in the mirror and remind yourself that you are a bin raiding douche bag.
4. Wallow in self pity or kill yourself.
5. Back to the starting position.

I recommend doing 49 reps with as many sets as it takes to make you infertile.

Movement 3 – Bench Press/Farmer’s Walk Supersets.

Benching may not be as specific as you might think, but it’s certainly useful when developing the strength to push other heroes out of the way whilst marching towards Starbucks – God only knows why, but the thought process probably began with joking about needing a strong coffee following random acts of arson at a cat and dog home – that’s a sure fire way to tell the government you’re mistreated, right? As for Farmer’s Walks, you pick up heavy stuff and walk with it. MRP FTW! GET BIG GUNZ! RAZOR SHARP ABZ!

Benching with a spotter is for pussies – begin with a light weight (approx 2x bodyweight). Get someone to assist you in lifting the weight off the hooks, ensuring they immediately run like hell away from the testosterone epicentre that is your enormous bust right after the weight is in your control. For maximum MRP development, the barbell should descend in line with your neck.

Assistance work:

Bicep curls – keep those guns pumped for those Kodak moments.

FLEX!

————

 Chapter 2 – Beating up the innocent!

What could be more specific than swinging a club around to develop MRP?

In order to make sure that 70 year old shop owner won’t dare try to defend his hard earned cash ever again, get yourself training with Indian Clubs!
These remarkable pieces of equipment were created for the sole purpose of riot preparation. I recommend using these to practice bat wielding with your friends!

Try our “Focus Exercise” to develop brutal strength and accuracy in all weapon wielding situations. Again, it’s SUPER easy…

1. Get yourself into a baseball bat swinging position, holding the club firmly with both hands.
2. Aim directly for the side of a living target’s cranium – fellow looters make GREAT training partners.
3. Drive with the legs, rotate through the hips and torso and BAM! Follow your target to the ground and continue your batting practice.
4. Continue until target convulsing has ceased. That way both you AND your bro can make notable gains in MRP from the work of only one man!  Trust me, I read books and stuff.

The same workout can be carried out with a variety of equipment, for example a sledgehammer, curtain pole, exhaust pipe or toaster.

Assistance work:

Bicep curls. Well, why the fuck not?

————

Chapter 3 – Nutrition for MRP (SCIF)

Those of you in the fitness world will likely be aware of a growing trend – intermittent fasting. For your average individual, it’s an effective way to lose weight and maintain/gain muscle…but rioters are not average individuals by any stretch of the imagination!

For the riot based intermittent fasting approach (Street Certified Intermittent Fasting), some fine adjustments are made.

Meals are to consist purely of 2×4 sized salt blocks, licked consistently throughout a 12 hour period (10am – 10pm). During this time, there is to be ZERO fluid intake, as this interrupts the adaptations occurring in your electrolyte balance, which would VASTLY decrease progress in MRP gaining.

The programme should be performed for no less than 10 days.

Key point – losing consciousness and/or calling for an ambulance/seeking medical attention at any point is for “haters”. Don’t be a hater.

Assistance work:

Bicep curls.  *poker face*

————

In conclusion I’d like to state, yet again, that this regime is specific to looters – it can be applied in a variety of forms and is NOT specific to those participating in the shameful events that are spreading throughout England.

Come anywhere near my house and I will cut you.

Happy training, folks!

Never Forget the Fight

Posted: July 5, 2011 in Our Philosophy

This last while has been immensely awkward. Exam study, unsure of future location so gym membership seemed pointless, not enough cash for membership come time – everything seemed against me getting some exercise into my life. Of course, that’s never the case. If you have legs, you can jog, sprint…you can always do press-ups, you can hold planks, you can find a bar for pull-ups, you can mix them all up and create a challenging circuit…there are variations of every exercise you can imagine, bodyweight or not.

When it comes to maximal lifting, well, that’s just not the case. You’re unlikely to find a 200kg downed tree to Deadlift, there are no racks in nature and rarely a spotter…in short, true maximal STRENGTH training is hard to do out-with a gym setting. Unless of course you go entirely old school (or you have a pretty absurd base-level of strength) and start moving cars, big stones, etc, etc, but that raises the issue of specificity.

At this moment in time (now certainly not until Friday) I do not know what my future holds. I do not know where I need to be, so gym memberships are an annoying simple complexity at the moment. What is a boy to do in the mean time? Old gains may be slipping, I can’t even know for sure. The answer is simple:

Never stop challenging yourself.
Regardless of the situation, whatever the sport you’ve ever been involved in, you must ensure that you never go “soft”. Any athlete who has ever had an injury knows the importance of staying active – not just for recovery of the injury, but to prevent the onset of a sluggish, lazy mind. It’s all too easy to think “impossible” or “I have no choice” and to become idle.

What’s important here is the mental game. You’re trying to prevent the decay of the “never say die” approach of successful athletes…earned through years of agony, lost in a brief moment of self-sympathy. Of course, you’re also trying to prevent your body from physically becoming accustomed to rest which can take as little as a week.

My personal method was that regardless of the training effect, I would never stop trying to gut myself with exercise. Running sprints, suffocating circuits, whatever, I set out to reach a point where I wanted to quit, solely to resist that self-pity and feel that unparalleled emotion that courses through your body after denying yourself peace, embracing the battle and winning the war.

The opportunities are all around you…
We’ve been moving flats recently and did it in 2 phases, which basically meant that we had to pack, lift, throw, run and heave our lives’ contents up and down an unforgiving amount of stairs 4 times over two days. We turned the whole thing into exercise and all of a sudden, a boring and monotonous activity became a thriller with seemingly no end. We were sprinting up and down sets of stairs with various amounts of resistance (varied object shapes/weights) which meant no two lifts were the same. It was awkward, exhausting and, as we’d hoped, challenging…plus, it was fun/functional, we were getting shit done!

To conclude, what I’m trying to get at here is that whatever your situation, never forget the fight. Tussle with adversity as often as you can, resist freedom, do not allow yourself an ounce of pity and realise, finally, that gains are made when you truly push yourself beyond your own limit. In the end, it doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing if what you’re doing isn’t the best you can.

This applies to any facet of your life…work, study, relationships, they all require you to resist giving up for a perceived benefit…before you judge your company or your equipment, first judge yourself. Deliberately call yourself out…if you offend yourself, you’ll find out exactly what it is you’re not doing that needs done, plus you’ll discover something about your day to day motivations in the process.

————

Some recent interests:

– Dave Tate’s opinion on goal-setting (you may think by the title he’s about to talk baloney, read on)
Martin Rooney’s rebellion against pussified gym rats
– Pat Barry/Cheick Kongo going to war in an unforgettable 1-rounder.
No ejaculations for 7 days leads to a serum testosterone increase of 45.7% 

Happy Training!

If you read no further, read THIS ARTICLE. Summarises everything I love about training and put me up to updating the blog.

Ross and I have been pretty busy of late – an exam around the corner, a throat infection, a dissolved gym membership and the pure elation of an empty flat.

Needless to say, though it has been not possible to strength train maximally, we haven’t let training hard slip from our grasp.

We’ve been doing a metabolic circuit I threw together early this year. It works quite simply:

Upper body push – 20s
Core Exercise – 20s
Speed squats (bw) – 20s
Upper body pull – 20s
Core Exercise – 20s
Jump squats w/ rotation – 20s
Repeat Above
1 minute Plank

That’s one round. Rest for one minute then repeat.

The idea is that you do each exercise as hard and as fast as possible, with the core work being as strict as possible. We tend to vary this with each round – first round planks, second round side planks, third round dorsal raises, etc.

When this first became a training modality for us both, we were exhausted and slowed at the end of the second round. After about 12 weeks of doing this every second/third day, we managed to blast an entire 5 rounds with an unrelenting pace that had us both consider that we might be dying…thankfully, that wasn’t the case.

Key points of this regimen:

Developing power/power endurance – pushing/pulling as powerfully as you can and doing it for extended amounts of time has a pretty well established training effect…you get better at doing things powerfully and you get better at doing them for extended amounts of time.

Aerobic/Anaerobic Capacity – you will without a doubt be out of breath during these circuits. Think of it like this – you’re pushing and all the blood goes to your arms, then suddenly, just when you’re feeling warmed up, you’re restricting your breathing with a core exrcise. 20 seconds later and you’re jumping up and down, legs beginning to draw blood and ache, only to pick up something heavy and rattle it against your rib cage a couple of times before yet more breath restriction followed by even more lower limb punishment. Essentially, just when your body is starting to adapt and provide nutrients for one muscle set, you fire up another.

Breathing restrictions – Everything you do in this circuit robs you of the ability to breathe maximally. Your core is engaging the entire time…this further limits oxygen consumption which makes a pretty standard workload feel like climbing Everest with only a pair of Y-fronts strapped to your ankles for comfort.

Be strict – you work on time and intensity. Everything you do has to be on time and on the mark with regards to intensity – all out.

1 minute plank finishers – these are, IMO, the most horrible part of the work-out. It’s all quite chaotic until at last you have a solid minute of just planking out, out of breath, aching all over and being as strict as you can in your position where time is all you have to ponder.

Be utterly relentless – I know this is a repeat, but seriously, every movement you make is of prime importance in this regime. Everything is all in and the prize you get at the end is knowing that you’re forging an able body with an iron will. This can, if you want it to, carry over into your personal life. Try, at least once in your life, to deny yourself the pleasure of relaxation in light of something drastic and terrible. You might surprise yourself.

————

Mark Twight had the 300 cast performing similar work-outs, whilst also testing their ability to lift, jump and throw.

————

For now, maximal strength training has to be put on a side-line (at least until the beginning of July). However, this training circuit has reminded me how much I love intense cardiovascular work…perhaps I’ll look to Strongman work-outs in the near future.

Ciao, for now.