Distinct’s Ultimate Health & Conditioning

We’ve moved!

Well, it’s official. I am now going to fully stop posting here and will solely update the new site. Visit me at www.distincthealth.com! I am still finalizing everything, but the site itself works, looks good and has all of the functionality as this one. More to come!

Do More Pullups
November 21, 2006, 2:32 pm
Filed under: bodyweight, fitness, Health, training/workout examples

hanging_leg_raises.JPGI assume you’re reading this article because you desire to know the ‘secret’ to doing tons of pull-ups, or to doing well any exercise for that matter. Well I’ve got a method here thanks to Pavel Tsatsouline over on DragonDoor that will have you making Marines cry in a matter of months.

Here’s the thing though, it’s not some crazy secret supplement or new training method. In fact, it’s common sense! To be able to perform rep after rep, just do more of them, more often!

Pavel writes of an experience where he uses this method to enable his father-in-law to break his old Marine Corps personal record:

Just a couple of months earlier I had put my father-in-law Roger Antonson, incidentally an ex-Marine, on a program which required him to do an easy five chins every time he went down to his basement. Each day he would total between twenty-five and a hundred chin-ups hardly breaking a sweat. Every month or so Roger would take a few days off and then test himself. Before you knew it, the old leatherneck could knock off twenty consecutive chins, more than he could do forty years ago during his service with the few good men!

It’s amusing and quite easy, but it works extremely well. Most people don’t think of such obvious solutions. They’re sitting around doing reverse curls and cable pull-downs until the cow’s come home and not achieving any worthwhile results. He claims the five keys to success are intensity, repetitions, volume, frequency and exercise selection. Sounds redundant, but it’s not. He lays it all out simply and with much humor in the actual article, entitled ‘Greasing the Groove‘, so go read it!

Tuesday 061114, Wednesday 061115
November 15, 2006, 6:32 am
Filed under: bodyweight, fitness, gymnastics, Health, The Lumber, training/workout examples

Yesterday’s bout of death was a crazy 30 Muscle-ups for time, or 120 pull-ups and 120 dips if you cannot do the MU or don’t have proper equipment. I’m not sure whether I agree that 4 pull-ups and 4 dips is an effective replacement for 1 muscle up for me personally, as I can do 1 muscle-up (however silly I may look) and the level of exhaustion feels more like 2 explosive dip/PU combinations. Needless to say, I only did half of the RX’d substitution explosively and by bringing myself back from the dead many times. I am the new Lazarus of bodyweight training.

Today’s workout is easy and something I never thought I’d see from CrossFit: Run 5k!

I think I’m going to do 5 – 10 miles on my road bike instead.

Monday 061113
November 13, 2006, 11:49 pm
Filed under: fitness, The Lumber, training/workout examples

Thruster 3-2-2-2-1-1-1-1-1 reps

For those who do not know what a thruster is aside from that it’s one of my favourite compound exercises, check out the folowing brief video from CrossFit’s exercise page.

Oh yeah, did I mention that I’m chuckling my ass off over the phrase ‘thruster video’? No? Well I am, so there…

Functional Strength, Speed, Power and Endurance…
October 24, 2006, 9:45 pm
Filed under: bodyweight, fitness, Health, training/workout examples

I found this article, by Kelly Baggett, over at the UK Parkour Assoc’s website. It’s pretty in-depth and rather interesting. Enjoy!

Workout Templates For Various Athletes
by: Kelly Baggett

General Guidelines and Principles:

1. The body does not know whether you’re doing a higher-faster-sports, westside, HIT, swiss ball, kettlebell, or any other training system. It only knows stimulation and recovery. Most training schemes do provide some stimulation and no routine is perfect.

1a. Exercises and routines are just “tools” to improve performance. No tool is more important then whether or not the tool gets the job done. If your car breaks down, it doesn’t matter if you use a rock, a crescent wrench, bailing wire, or an entire set of snap on tools to fix it, the important thing is that it gets fixed. Raising performance is the same.

1b. Most people probably tend to use too many “tools” per training session. Improvement in mobility means you move more freely and easily, improvement in speed work means you run faster in a straight line, improvement in agility means you get better at moving while changing direction, improvement in plyo work means you tend to get better at jumping, while improvement in strength means you get better at developinig tension typically demonstrated by an ability to lift heavier loads or to lift your bodyweight more effectively. It doesn’t necessarily take a boatload of tools to improve those qualities. The ability for the human organism to adapt to stimulation existed prior to the invention of all the high-tech training tools we have today. Stimulation for the indiginous people that inspired g. hubert, r. belle and d. belle consisted of dealing with everyday life (chasing prey, running away from predators, lifting rocks to build a hut etc.) You could take a knowledgeable athlete today and put him on a deserted island, and, if he knew what he were doing and had enough food, he could stimulate performance improvements without a single modern day tool to work with.

1c. The ultimate goal should be to get your knowledge of “stimulation” and “recovery” down so well that you can program your body like a computer and know what happens in advance. (Example: Adjust this, adjust that, insert this, delete that, and here’s what’s gonna happen.)

1d. Most people do too much overanalyzing of various training minutia and not enough actual training. In in doubt, pick 3 or 4 things and get really good at them.

1e. If combining strength training, speed, agility, plyo, etc. into one workout, always do the faster stuff first. (ex. dynamic mobility followed by speed followed by plyo followed by weights)

1f. If workouts are separated into AM and PM sessions you have some leeway as to what you do first (strength and/or speed)

2. Volume of plyo, speed, and agility work should always be regulated based upon performance. As soon as performance or speed starts to decline on a main movement (assuming you’re taking full rest intervals, which you should), stop the workout. (It’s as simple as that).

2a. For speed work you should rarely ever run distances greater than 50+ yards.

2b. A set of plyo, speed, or agility work should rarely exceed 10 seconds in duration.

2c. The choice of drills chosen for plyo and agility work is not that important in the grand scheme of things. Plyo consists of unilateral and bilateral (1 and 2 leg) hops, jumps and bounds (they all do the same thing). Agility consists of moving forwards, sideways and backward and changing direction. A simple jump for height is one of the best plyo maneuvers there is. Basic change of direction drills will get the job done for agility. If you train parkour as frequently as two times per week, chances are your needs for specific plyo and agility training are low.

2d. With that being said, you know that speed work should consist of sprints for 0 to 50 yards, plyo work consists of hops, jumps, and bounds for less then 10 seconds, while agility work consists of moving forward, sideways, and backward with changes of direction for less then 10 seconds per set. You also know that a workout for any of those qualities should be terminated when performance declines due to fatigue. So how difficult is it really to design and implement a plyo, speed, and agility workout? Not very.

3. Monitoring volume strictly by “performance” on strength work is not such an issue, as muscle growth stimulation is often a goal and does require a certain level of fatigue, which means the load that you can lift at the end of a session may not be the same as the load you lift at the beginning of a strength session, (which is not true when targeting speed, agility and plyo improvements). Two to five sets per strength movement is the norm.

3a. An upper body strength workout would generally consist of some type of upper body push (bench press variation), some type of pull (row or pullup), along with perhaps some supplemental shoulder and “beach” (aka arm) work.

3b. A lower body strength workout would generally consist of some type of squat or deadlift (squat, deadlift, lunge, split squat), along with some type of assistance movement for the glutes and hams.

3c. For strength and power, sets of 3-5 reps are optimal. For hypertrophy, sets of 5-12 are typically optimal.

3d. For strength development heavy loads of 85%-100% (of your 1RM) for sets of 1-5 reps are optimal. For power development lighter loads of 10-60% are optimal.

3e. As a general recommendation, each strength training workout you do may consist of one core strength or power movement for sets of 1-5 reps along with 1 or 2 assistance movements for 5-12 reps, and maybe an ab movement for 2-4 sets of 10-20 reps.

3f. The need for upper body “power” work using loads of 10-60% is virtually nonexistent for any athletes other then powerlifters. With regards to upper body work, an athlete should be lifting heavy focusing on getting stronger and/or bigger.

3g. Until an athlete has a base of lower body strength in place (1.5 to 2 x bw squat and deadlift), specific lighter lower body “power” work in the weight room using loads of 10-60% is also largely useless. These people should concentrate on core movements with progressively heavier bar weights with an emphasis on getting stronger and/or bigger.

3h. Most people will make excellent gains with two upper body workouts per week and either 1 or 2 lower body workouts per week. Beginners seem to progress fastest with 3 of each per week.

3i. Ab work might consist of weighted crunches, standing pulldown abs, kneeling pulldown abs, decline leg raises, hanging leg raises, cable wood chops, russian twists, dumbell and cable side bends, side bends lying sidways in back extension device.

4. Generally speaking, it’s benefical for intermediate and advanced athletes to take a day of rest in between high intensive training elements. High intensive training elements include the aforementioned speed, plyo, agility, and strength work. For younger athletes (<16 years old), beginners (less then one year of training experience), and those who are just introducing the training of certain motor qualities into their routines (ex: a powerlifter introducing speed and agility work), high intensive elements can be done more often.

4a. With regard to strength work, it’s usually beneficial to take an “unloading” week ever 3 to 6 weeks. There are many ways of implementing this. probably the simplest is to cut your volume in half and decrease the load keeping things very easy. I generally prescribe something like 3 sets of 3 reps at 80% for strength work during an unloading week.

4b. Providing you can benefit from specific “power” work, it can often be advantageous to alternate 2-4 weeks of heavy strength oriented training (heavy squats and deadlifts for 3-5 reps) with 2-4 weeks of explosive oriented training (speed box squats with 50-60%, jump squats etc.)

5. Skill work and conditioning can be done on alternate days.

6. It can often be advantageous to transition from a 4-8 week phase of higher volume and/or greater training frequency into a phase of lower/volume and/or frequency.

7. If you’re training consistently yet not making consistent progress or you’re regressing, chances are 10 to 1 you’re doing too much. If in doubt reduce volume and simplify your programming.

Basic workout templates: Continue reading


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