Sunday, February 20, 2011

Is unilateral good? Is this unilateral? Two Ropes One Climb and some Cossack Squatting...

Being disconnected from the industrial gym complex has numerous perks. I don't know what's going on there, sure. Then again, I'm not burdened by people telling me that what I'm doing is wrong, even when it probably isn't. Take "unilateral" training. I never knew that there was any debate on it's usefulness. Apparently, it's not all it's cracked up to be, for reasons that I couldn't quite grasp. Explanations left me with a typical, intuitive yet highly intelligent response: SO WHAT?
Okay, a lot of the stuff I'm going to mention isn't strict unilateral work. I know this. I call it that because the load isn't spread evenly on both limbs. I don't want to confuse things further by coming up with yet another term.
I like unilateral srength work. In the bare-bones world of broke, traveling and/or otherwise cramped for space/stuff strength training, working out out one side/limb/whatever disproportionately at a time works out nicely. It lessens the demand for more stuff. Take my friend Fred's Facebook page profile pic. He's doing (I think) a 100 lbs Cossack squat. That's bad ass! When I saw that, I slapped myself for not thinking of it sooner. Squatting 100 lbs with my sandbag is getting pretty easy for me, even in Zercher format. So that was a nice way to use the same amount of weight to make for 20-30 seconds of "OH SHIT THAT'S HARD!" muscular tension. Hey, I'm not training for a competitive lifting sport so what difference does it make if it doesn't help out any competitive lifting? I just want to get that special feeling that I love so much!

That was the weighted side of things...

So, yeah, I escaped from California, and rain and snow and cold and work, for a couple of weeks down in Peru. On the downside, I had to leave all my big-ass ropes, along with my work equipment, in Sacramento to pick up later. All I had for rope back home was my old 1 1/4" rope (25' long) thate I don't use a whole lot anymore. Too thin, but I had an idea. Cut and eye spliced it into two pieces and dragged it to Peru (for reasons you'll read about later, in another blog entry). It was just blind luck that I found out that the beach house my in-laws and I rented had a spot to hang these ropes for climbing. So, hung them both up and started climbing them.

It's important to give credit where it's due. I know Ross Enemait didn't invent this idea but I got it from him so kudos anyway, Ross! It was in his awesome book, "Never Gymless." This is an idea that doesn't get used a lot, or enough as far as I'm concerned. Each side of the body has to work a lot more than if they were grabbing onto the same one rope. It's a lot more unstable and it really hits the biceps hard! Finding that out was really a case of making lemonade out of lemons since I started realizing that my biceps seem to be my weak point for rope climbing work.

Eventually, all my ropes will make their way back from California and I'll get back on track for the 3" rope climb. I made it halfway up not too long ago. In the meantime, I can make happy time with two ropes after finding out how hard this really can be. If you've been getting into ropes as much as I have lately and you've left behind a smaller-diameter rope in favor of the big stuff, this is a good way to squeeze some more life out of those old ropes.


K said...

man I'm from peru, glad to here you like my country (did you say that right..? :D) GOOD POST

Justin_PS said...

My wife is from Peru and I feel like Peru is a second home to me! I have to balance my training with my churros from Mannolo though!

I'm sad to be leaving on Tuesday!

K said...

you've got to buy some aguaymantos (full vitamin C and delicious) and take them to your "first home", I don't care how you take them, but you have to, put them on your socks or whatever

Justin_PS said...

I'm way ahead of you!

I've at them every day since I got here two weeks ago.

I've also got a bush growing at home in a large pot indoors.

K said...

ok, I live in peru and I don't have an aguaymanto bush, I feel like an stupid D:

haha churros from mannolo are great.. wait, that means you are in Lima right?, you should try some native restaurants (La Red, La Mar are some awesome restaurants).. go out and eat a good "ceviche" in the days you have left, I think it's the most healthy native food we have around here, full of protein and an starchy carb (sweet potato) with lots of lemon juice (very healthy and tasty :D)

you should also ask your wife for .. "eggplant"?? here we call it LUCUMA, it's really tasty and also "chirimoyas"
I guess you have already try them because of your wife.. or maybe not.. just giving advices mate

ps: if you don't understand some names ask your wife, I'm sure she will know what I'm talking about
ps2: glad to here you liked my country man :D

Justin_PS said...

K, I love almost everything you've mentioned, except ceviche. I don't like seafood at all!

This is actually my 7th time in Peru. My wife and I have been married nearly 7 years and we try to make it down at least once a year, usually for two weeks or more.