Monday, December 20, 2010


I don't know what everyone else calls this. I've always called them clock push-ups. I'm sure we've all seen it: you assume the push-up position and you walk your hands around in a circle while keeping your feet in place. If there is a more commonly-known name, please let me know. I don't want to confuse everyone more than needs be by re-naming common exercises.

Anyway, That's it's a part of one routine that I've been using lately. Sundays are the training day where I'll just come up with stuff just for the hell of it. Routines of things that seem like they might be fun. Sometimes, my best and favorite ones have come out of this. The last one I came up with was the following:

-8 KB snatches, each arm, with a 57 lbs KB
-Clock push-ups... 15 push-ups hands wide, walk 3 paces, 15 hands push-ups shoulder-width, 3 more paces, 15 diamond push-ups.

Rest? As always, as little as needed to keep going!!! Besides, I did this outside in Nebraska one night and it was 11 degrees! Movement is warmth, boys and girls!

At first, I did this for only two or three rounds depending on how much time I had or how much wine and whiskey my father-in-law and I drank the night before. Like I said, this routine proved to be a fast favorite of mine and I used it a lot on the drive from Vermont to Sacramento, CA. Since I could only drive 11 hours, I had plenty of free time so I pushed it to four rounds.

How'd I design and build this routine? What's it good for? Well, like I said, it's fun. I think I used it on the trip over because it was a pretty full-body workout. That's nice after sitting for hours and hours. Ross Enamait's Magic 50 (a favorite of mine) provided some inspiration. I like the combination of a more explosive, lower volume exercise with a higher volume conditioning-oriented one. I've always been big about working one part of the body, resting very little, and moving to another part of the body that wasn't worked by the previous exercise.

So, I do have some general guidelines for my own personal program design. Frankly, I've never understood why on Earth people get so worried about how to put together a workout. I realize that some people are new to all of this and have absolutely no basis in how to begin but there are also a lot of people out there who are plenty knowledgable to come up with their own routine. Instead, they fuss and worry about getting their routine perfect, jump from method-to-method, and flood message boards with questions about Wendler's, Rippletoe's, or Thibs' training protocol.

Maybe that's why I like to read Jamie Lewis' blog so much: I can't help but laugh, bitch, or rant about people's paralysis by analysis about routine construction. First of all, there is no perfect routine! Every, single routine is flawed. You're not missing out on the perfect routine because your weight lifting god is doing something different! Secondly, you're different than Wendler, Rippletoe, Thibs, Lewis, Enamait or Justin_P. What works for all of us may not work for you. It will need modification. We don't all train for the same shit. We don't have the same goals. So, we have to train differently.

That's another thing that pisses me off too. I'm sick and tired of hearing about how if you want to get strong, you have to bench press, squat and deadlift... powerlifting, in other words. Yeah, powerlifters are really strong but are they strong just because of these lifts? FUCK NO! Three lifts don't define strength. I recall a guy I used to roll with in BJJ who told me that his strength training revolved around powerlifts. He was 30 lbs heavier than me and although he'd eventually submit me, I make him work for it. That wasn't because I was more skilled than he was. He was, and still is, an amazing BJJ technician! It was because I was so much stronger than him and despite his size advantages on me, I could manhandle him like a child! I don't do anything resembling powerlifts in my training.

So, if you're starting out and you want to extract some tips based on how I train, I can sum it up for you. That is, if you're aiming for similar goals that I am. What are my goals? Well, I need to be able to lift and drag objects that weight up to 200 lbs (mostly water pumps of varying size) from time-to-time. I need to be able to drag and roll up long hoses. I need to be able to carry them for several dozen yards and throw them into a pick-up truck. I also need some grip strength for hammering stuff and working with wrenches. I have the occasional shoveling work to do. I need to be strong in a lot of weird, contorted positions too. While I'm not doing it a lot lately, I want to stay in good enough shape to be ready to get back into BJJ when I'm close to home again. To top it off, I want to keep myself looking hot enough to make girls pissed off when they see my wedding ring.

In other words, what I need out of my training is a mixed bag of everything. If that's what you're looking for, then here's how I do it...

-Keep the breaks down to a minimum in between exercises.

-Chose exercises that alternate between body parts or different muscle groups (Supersetting is good).

-Alternate between low-reps and high reps and/or different strength attributes.

-Most of all, do things that you enjoy doing!

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