Sunday, January 31, 2010

Deads and Pinching

Deads were on today's agenda in the dungeon, which is a good thing because I had a strong desire to move some iron since waking up this morning. Started out with 2 sets of warmup X 10 reps, then followed with 3 X 3 work sets and six sets of singles. Focus was on form and explosion off the ground.

Two hands pinch on my redneck Euro Pinch, eight sets of singles increasing weight with each rep. I don't do barely enough pinch work and I think that my overall grip strength is suffering because of it - my goal is to add some form of pinch work (1 hand, two hand, plates or blocks) to workouts a minimum of two times a weeks and see what kind of benefits is has for overall grip strength.

Finished up with some direct neck work with a head harness, 3 sets from all angles; some plate swings and a little core work

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tonight's Workout and Inspiration

Was cruising through the forums over at Bodyweight Culture and caught a quote in someone's signature - of course that was like 15 hours ago so I'm sure that I'd f' it up if I tried to repeat it verbatim. The basic idea went something like this... "if it's important, do it every day - if it isn't, don't do it at all."

I thought about how that pertains to every day situations and how many people tend to muddle through with things that have little or no importance while completely skipping over something that they should be acting on whole heartedly. Was that the quotes intent, probably not - but anything that makes you think along those lines is valuable, in my opinion anyway.

Tonight's workout was basic, but effective. Push Ups - lots of them & bodyweight rows - lots of them. Alternated sets to near failure, six sets of each. Followed up with a little bit of core work and a little bit of mobility. Now it's time for a shake and a shower.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Swings and Pushes

Last night's workout was quick and (not so) painless.

250 kettlebell swings
5 sets of varied grip push ups to near failure (first three sets done wearing vest loaded to 30lbs)
Squats with vest loaded to 50 lbs - 2 X near failure

Finished up with a bit of stretching and some light mobility work before tossing back a shake and hitting the showers.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Weighted Vests - A Personal Favorite

I'm a big fan of my weighted vest, when things are going well and I'm not sick as a dog I wear it at least a few times a week. Vests can make any bodyweight exercise more challenging or turn a casual stroll into a real workout. If you're in the market for a way to turn up the intensity on your workout, check out...

The Best Weighted Vest Overall

Grip, Grip and more Grip

Yesterday's workout was all about working grip.

I started out with static holds of a barbell in the DO (no hook) hand position, 3 sets to failure.

Then moved onto 2HP, my two hand pinch set up is as basic as can be: 2 35lb (smooth sides out) serve as the apparatus and a piece of 1-1/2 conduit serves to hold additional weight. I did 5 sets of three reps increasing weight with each set before moving onto to sets of singles with a static hold.

I finished up my time in the dungeon with some one finger lifting. I worked the middle and ring fingers on both hands with a few sets of singles and holds. The weights were kept pretty light as I haven't done too much finger lifting of late and I used no padding between my finger and the apparatus. I worked up to a little over 100lbs and could have handled more with the middle fingers but rather than risk too much weight too soon I opted to perform holds with the lighter weight.

I finished up the workout upstairs with some gripper work - nothing too fancy, work sets with the Vulcan, a little choker work and some negatives.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bodyweight and Grip

Last night's training remained on the light side, though I feel fully recovered from this past weekends viral episode I wanted to maintain a reasonably low activity level for a few more days to ensure that everything stayed at 100%.

I did a number of sets of push ups, each with a slight variation to change up the muscles that were doing the bulk of the work: standard, dive bomb, close grip, diamond grip and one legged (one set on each side). Each variation was only done for one set to near failure, rest between sets was minimal.

After my push ups were complete I did some work on the Vulcan Gripper, just a few sets at level one for warm up and then two "work sets" at level five until failure.

In my internet surfing a ways back, I stumbled upon an excellent website on bodyweight training. I visited there a number of times several months ago and learned some very interesting things from the knowledgeable people there - my foray into push ups this week drudged up the memory and caused me to visit this morning to find plenty more good info. I don't think it will be so long before I pay BodyWeight Culture a visit again - this site is definitely worth checking out, whether you're a bodyweight freak or not, I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tops in Elliptical Trainers

For anyone who wants a super low impact workout and has the money to invest, here are...

The Best Elliptical Trainers Overall

There may be less expensive alternatives out there, but these five are the best of the best in terms of features and durability.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

2010 - A Fresh Start?

I would have liked to have thought, after the last few months of '09 plagued my family with a variety of pesky illnesses - but alas, this weekend another nasty bug swept through the clan. It started in the middle of last week with the boy, then the stomach virus ripped it's way through the rest of the household.

I'll spare the details as it wasn't very pretty, but there were missed work days, missed school days and plenty of clean up.

I'm finally feeling (nearly) back to myself and decided to keep tonight very light on the activity scale as to not aggravate anything that may still be lingering beneath the surface. I did some stretching and some light mobility work then a few sets of push ups just to get some blood pumping - it felt good to be moving again, but after four days of almost no solid food and very little sleep, I am still feeling well below normal in the strength department.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tuesday's Workout

1" V-bar work and some playing on the Tetting Hub before getting into some bending. A decent number of 60d's were put away, mainly in double overhand style. I've definitely gotten stronger in DO bending over the course of the last few months, but I still think that there is plenty of room for improvement in technique which will allow me to crush down some bigger steel. Looks like it's going to be practice, practice, practice and doing "shoulder dislocations" and more wrist work if I want to take my DO bending to the next level.

I also did some neck work with a harness and finished off with a set of squats to failure with my weighted vest on. All in all it took about thirty five minutes, but it was thirty five minutes well spent.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sunday's Workout and Recumbents

Sunday had a nice variety of movements: I started out with deads in a similar vein to Thursday, around eight sets and up to around 325 lbs then I jumped into: 1" V-bar, pullovers, plate curls and some pinching. I ended up out in the cold with about a two mile walk suited up in my weighted vest. The workout was pretty quick, but there was a decent amount of weight moved and my hands and wrists got plenty of work.

I'm still working hard, contributing fitness reviews to Bestcovery for all of you who are in want or need of putting together your home gyms. Today we focus on a very important piece of cardio equipment...

Best Recumbent Bike Overall

Friday, January 8, 2010


Its been a little while since I've done any PL movements, my focus of late has been on improving my conditioning and on grip specific exercises - thus my favorite lift of all time had taken a back seat for a period of time.

Last night I decided to dust off the old Olympic bar and have at some deads. I played it very conservative, warming up carefully and slowly loading the bar. I ended up pulling 300 and some small change for a few before calling it a night, all told including warmups I did 7-8 sets and moved a reasonable amount of weight. I feel A-Okay today, no aches or pains to speak of. It felt good, I plan on putting deads back into the regular rotation of my routine as it felt like it was way too long since I last pulled.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Swinging and Treadmill Reviewing

Last night's workout consisted mainly of kettlebell swings - one set of 265 reps switching hands. The follow up to the swings included some light pinch work and some gripper work.

I picked up a new pair of kicks a few weeks back for some sprint work and haven't been able to enjoy them nearly as much as I would have liked to with the Arctic blast we are suffering through here in the Northeast. This weather is precisely the reason it's good for runners and other endurance athletes to have equipment that they can work on indoors. If the 20 degree weather has got you trapped inside, but you still want to make the best of your workout time have a look at...

The Best Treadmill Money Can Buy

and keep your health on track regardless of what Mother Nature throws at you.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Guest Article for Bare Essentials

A few months back I was asked if I'd like to do a guest piece for a magazine called Bare Essentials and I honestly didn't have to think very long about it. I stumbled upon the website via Beyond Strong (Professional Stuntman and Strongman extraordinaire Nick McKinless' site) and there was a lot of good content on there.

The piece is about my view of the emergence of women in strength sports and it details three very impressive ladies including Carol Ann Myers.

You can check the article, and the rest of the magazine out by following this link:

What it takes to be a Woman of Power

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sunday's Workout and Getting your Punch On

Upon rising this morning I felt totally ready to hit the streets for a trek with my weighted vest, that is until I opened up the front door to get an idea of the outside temp. The thermometer read 24, but with the wind chill I expect it felt a bit closer to the teens. I'm still trying to keep some minor cold symptoms at bay, so rather than run right out into the Arctic I opted to do some intervals on my stair climber - not exactly the workout I had in mind, but a decent workout none-the-less.

You don't necessarily need to pound the pavement to get a good workout or elevate your heart rate, in fact one great indoor workout not only gets your blood pumping, but it's also one of the very best stress relievers. Hitting a heavy bag melts away all of the anxiety from a rough day at the office and will help develop your lungs, your "wind" and it will help develop a strong back and shoulders.

If you want to add this valuable piece of training equipment into your home gym, but don't know where to look first - you can't go wrong with any of the following.

Best Heavy Bag Overall

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Y'all Ready for 2010!

I took New Years Day off from working out to watch the Flyers heartbreaking loss to the Bruins in the Winter Classic and to eat a bunch of food and shoot the bull with my family at our annual New Years Day party.

Today will be back to business and I've got some interesting training goals in mind for the coming months. The question I have for you is - Are you ready to start '10 off with a bang? Do you have the best possible plan in place to achieve your health and fitness goals?

If you don't, you should stop wasting time and get to formulating that plan - any health or fitness goal becomes much more difficult (if not impossible) to achieve without the proper plan. This weekend you should set aside some time and begin putting pen to paper and listing your health goals so you can get on the road to achieving them. If you have any questions on where to start - feel free to leave them in the comments here and I'll do my best to answer them (no catches, just ask and I'll answer).