Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Good Luck Lifters!

I'll be traveling to lovely Columbus, OH this weekend for the Arnold Expo and nationals. This is a big event--the first qualifier for Beijing. If you're around, stop by and catch some great athleticism and effort. If you can't be there, check this link for the web cast (provided free by Nifty TV) of the event. In between sessions, you should see some fun clips from last year's Arnold and World Team Qualifier, put together by yours truly.

Monday, February 25, 2008

RealFit: DJ Dr. Ted and Super Sandy

These peeps are the real deal. They maul and saw giant logs by hand, then go run 4 miles and then do something for fun like ride their MTB tandem in 12-hour races; and that's in between commuting by bike to work. You have never seen people eat like these people can eat. They earn every morsel. And cook! Oh, can they cook! Gotta love DJ Dr. Ted and Super Therapist Sandy for setting the bar on functional fitness and eating well super high. They are two people in the health professions who walk the walk, putting the "applied" in applied physiology and the "physical" in physical therapy. Sing it, Carla!

Priorities at Priory

I want to thank varsity football/track coach Marty Combs for inviting me to spend last Friday with several of the St. Louis Priory School physical education teachers and coaches. Yep, there we were at school, while all the other coaches and athletic directors, ahem, were still snuggled in bed on a February snow day! I worked with the group on breaking down elements of the squat, snatch, clean, press/jerk and their various progressions and derivations with implements other than barbells, and how to effectively teach them. We spent a good bit of time discussing flexibility; identifying it and remedying it. We also reviewed the benefits of Burgener Warm Up and various elements of CrossFit that could be most effectively used in a PE setting.

Coach Combs has the enviable opportunity to work with small groups of athletes both in class and sport, from 7th grade on. Priory students are required to participate in athletics, supervised fitness or performance arts year-round, and have a strong tradition in cross country. Coach Combs estimates he has around 25 juniors and seniors on the varsity football team, while close to 100 guys participate in cross country.

Priory has limited facilities right now, but in fall of 2009, the school should have a brand new weight room and gym. But Coach Combs understands that his most valuable asset is a caring, knowledgeable, motivated staff; and he is taking the time to invest in himself and them, to the benefit of all the young men at Priory. He is a teacher; not just a coach looking for W's.

Finally, I would like to sent out a shout to Coach Burgener for referring Coach Combs my way. Even though I live just down the road from Priory, it would've been unlikely that I would have had the opportunity to work with these men without Coach B's recommendation. Thanks, Coach B.

Friday, February 22, 2008

IOC Allows Athletes To Blog

See the USA Today story here. Just don't you dare take any video or pictures inside a venue during a competition. And don't even try to use the "O" word (or anything close to it) in your URL or blog title. Those that own the exclusive rights to the "O" word will hunt you down.

Polish Team Part Deux

There are some nice jumping scenes and illustrations of drilling jerk technique with jerk boxes in this part. Note the head position in the jerks and the deliberate recover footwork. And then some discussion of how to keep that superheavy girth supported and out of the way?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

You Need One of These

Need a reminder each morning to get that work out in? Get it and other fun stuff here.

Inside the Polish National Team Training Hall

Marek Drzewowski of Polska Sztanga posted link to this great peek at the training life of an elite weightlifter. For the true elite athlete, training is work, with focus, purpose and attention to detail. No drama, no egos. Hell, there's not even any music.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Size Matters

When it comes to bodyweight exercises, size matters. When it comes to high level strength training, size matters. When it comes to plyometric work, size matters.

Shorter, lighter humans are capable of handling a greater volume of work, given any relative intensity. It is more appropriate for them to do more volume, and appropriate for larger people to do a lower volume. Over time, the absolute pounding on the system will break down the larger athlete, if volume is not controlled for.

Furthermore, the athlete must have a solid foundation of body awareness, movement skill and strength before many bodyweight exercises can and should be used to train for conditioning. Joints and passive structures must be given time to adapt to the demands of the load; and the musculature given time to support those structures.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

All-Star NSCA Lineup! ;-)

Check out the 2008 NSCA National Conference presenters here. Make sure you scroll all the way down to the last session on the last day. Psyched to see Jimmy Radcliffe and Keijo Häkkinen are on the docket this year. (Vern, you have to introduce me!)

And how about that Steve Cotter busting into the NSCA with some KB stuff?

This Week's Sign that the Apocalypse is Upon Us

Chicken nuggets and soda in one convenient container.

(via Diet Blog)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Real St. Louis Cardinals

Here are a few of the 8 to 10 male Cardinals that live in our back yard. It is hard to see in this picture through the window, but they are absolutely bright red, with pointy heads.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Rehab Sing-A-Long

Well, not the same rehab that Amy Winehouse needs. This is for those of you who could use some physical therapy-type rehab, but just won't go. Sing it.

"I ain't got the time and if my daddy thinks I'm fine;
He's tried to make me go to rehab but I won't go go go"

The Class

I filled in for the CrossFit DesPeres dudes yesterday. Only 5 brave souls--four hip chicks all under 5' 5" and one tall dude about 6' 5"--dared to seek my wisdom. And it was good.

I challenged them with many new movements. We did some traditional athletic warm-up movements to work on rhythm and coordination. And we did some bodyweight movements that were new to them. Lateral movements, anyone? Each activity was designed to help create body awareness and prepare them for tasks later in the workout.

For skill work, we took to the hex bar and everyone commented on how this type of deadlift allowed them to really use their legs to move the weight, not "pull" with their backs. We boosted the height of the bar for Mr. Tall and it worked well. "So I really shouldn't be doing deadlifts from the floor, should I? I could really feel the difference in my back." Bingo!

The Iron Maven Learn to Lift
TM prototype bar was hit with several of the women who struggle with lower extremity flexibility. Vee haf vays ov making you move better, Comrade!

We finished with circuit of a squat series (modification of Vern's
Spectrum Squat), some dumbbell pressing and cross-over and touch. Nothing fancy. I intentionally kept the focus on learning to move and understanding the purpose of each activity. Everyone seemed to appreciate that.

Thanks, Dan and Brandon, for giving me the opportunity to work with your great clients: Dayna, Sharon, Melissa, Megan and Alex. Now where were the rest of those bums? :-)

Friday, February 08, 2008

A Bit of Perspective

Had a good talk with my friend Mel yesterday. She is 3 weeks out from the first competition that will determine the 2008 Olympic team. Her body and mind walk the fine line between breaking personal records and simply breaking down. With three children under the age of 8, she relishes every moment of quiet and rest she can get, in between training sessions.

Although she has set several new personal bests during this training cycle, she is keenly aware of the fact that her body recovers so much more slowly at 33, than it did when she was 23. Her meticulous training logs are a testament to that. She can handle the intensity, but not the volume she once did.

If Mel could give anything back to her fellow lifters, she wishes she could tell the younger athletes to enjoy the journey. To enjoy the gift of youth. To have a bit of perspective. Very few athletes get second or third chances. Very few realize what they have until it is gone. But how do you bottle perspective?

OT: Kirkwood Tragedy

One of the officers killed last night was a patient at the clinic where I occasionally do some PRN work. My heart goes out to his family and friends. He was a good dude and public servant.