Friday, February 26, 2010

High Pulls and Swings

Last night I wanted to take a break from the norm and get a full body workout with conditioning at the same time. I decided to turn to my trusty friend, the kettlebell...

I started out with a set of high pulls with the 24k - 10 minutes, switching hands as necessary. I moved on to a set of swings (also with the 24k) for another ten minutes - same as the High Pulls, switching hands as necessary. Twenty short minutes, but by the end I was huffing, puffing and sweating as though I had done an intense 60 minute cardio session - and I got the added benefit of hitting strength and conditioning at the same time.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Twitter and Finger Walk with Me

I've finally crept into this century, that's right - I'm on Twitter. If you'll glance to the right you'll see my most recent tweets and you'll also be able to "follow me." For now I plan on keeping the twitter updates to just my "Best of" lists on Bestcovery, but as time goes on there may be a smattering of different info being tweeted.

Last night I tried something different, I did some finger walking on a sledge hammer. It is not the easiest exercise to explain and it's far from the easiest exercise to perform but it really taxes the hands. Grip Master Paul Knight had a great instructional video up on Youtube a few months back, if I can find it again I'll post it up for all to see - if not I may try to put a video of myself doing it to give you an idea (of course, the weight I'll be using will probably pale in comparison to Mr. Knight), but it is really one heck of a workout for those interested in training grip.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sunday's Workout

Sunday's Workout focused on grip, but prior to digging in to that portion I started out with some super sets of close grip bench and rows. After warm-ups I did four super sets increasing weight with each in the 5-7 rep range. Weights were heavy enough that 7 reps was (or would have been) difficult to hit, but not so heavy that I was completely spent.

Grip work consisted of two hand and one hand pinch, rotating thick bar and some grippers - pinch felt solid but my grippers seemed weak, probably could have used one more day off from the gripper workout the other night. Been doing a bit of research on arm wrestling training and have found some pretty unique exercises that I may incorporate into some workouts later this week.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Impromptu Gripper Workout

Wife is out with the girls and the kids are in bed, so I decides I might as well get a little grip work in!


HG150 X 20 each hand
HG200 X 20 each hand

Work Sets

Lvl 5 X nr fail each hand
Lvl 6 X nr fail each hand
Lvl 7 X nr fail each hand

Strap Holds

Lvl 6 X fail 2 times each hand

May not look like much to those who don't have any experience with grippers (or probably to those who are seriously advanced gripsters), but this was a pretty intense grip workout - much forearm pumpage and some seriously tired hands by the finish.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Barefoot Shoes?

Damn Skippy -the benefits of walking and running barefoot are pretty vast: better running posture, higher efficiency, less chance of injury...

The problem is that due to environment and climate constraints, actually running without some protection isn't really the best idea for a lot of people. Thankfully, there are a few companies out there who've been working on footwear that mimics the movement of the foot when it isn't contained or restrained. This lets you run barefoot, without actually being barefoot - here are the best of the best...

Best Barefoot Running Shoe

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mint Condition...

Well, not yet - but working on it.

Tonight's workout consisted of about twenty-five minutes of intense interval conditioning work followed by about fifteen to twenty minutes of mobility work. I've been doing a lot of work on the computer lately - both at my day job and in the evenings while writing and it has been affecting how I feel.

Doing conditioning and mobility work really seems to help how I feel, and ultimately my mood, especially after a dozen hours of sitting with less than perfect posture in front of a computer. It's not as though I didn't know this already, but sometimes I want to push so hard into the strength workouts to reach goals there, that I end up neglecting the other half of the equation to end up feeling un-balanced and being out of balance is never a good thing.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Best Hand Gripper

This is a huge question among beginning grip strength enthusiasts - which grippers should I get? There are quite a few different brands to choose from and there are advocates (die hard advocates) of each. I've had, and still have, my fair share of grippers (I currently have about two dozen and have sold off quite a few others).

If you are looking for a top quality hand gripper to begin or add to your grip equipment selection, you certainly won't be disappointed by any of the following...

Best Hand Gripper

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Part Two...

On thoughts of last evenings post, I figured I'd expound just a little bit with a lead in from the POD crew - it's not just the fitness aspect of many of our lives that need attention. We're nearly two months into 2010 and I'm sure that many of you have already abandoned your poorly thought out resolutions, but that doesn't meant that you should just give up entirely until next year's ill fated attempt.

Start making changes now to better yourself, think about what you wanted to accomplish this year and what kind of benefits following through would have on your life. Did you want to quit smoking, go back to school, spend more quality time with your kids, learn a foreign language or lose ten pounds? Who cares that you haven't accomplished it yet - that doesn't mean that you can't do it, it just means that your plan had some flaws. Sit down today and focus on the things that you need to do to make your life a better one and develop a plan to get there.

Just wishing positive things to happen won't help, and complaining about the fact that wishing didn't help will do even less. Formulate a sound plan, write it down for some form of accountability, then begin to take action on the necessary steps to achieve your goal.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Every Day is a New Day

Too much time is spent worrying about what could have been, or what should have been. If just a fraction of the time we as a society spent lamenting was put toward accomplishment there would be some absolutely incredible things accomplished.

Just take a serious look at how you spend your days, make a note every time you have a conversation about not having any time to do the things that you want to do and while you're at it take a note as to how much time a day you spend watching TV and how much time you spend complaining about your job, the traffic and the weather. When you see just how much time you are wasting, maybe you'll begin to realize that you actually have plenty of time if you would just focus your energy on the appropriate activities.

If you can find 90 minutes a night to watch TV, an hour a day to surf the web and an hour on the phone talking to/texting your friends its probably pretty safe to assume that you could find a measly thirty minutes 3-4 times a week to get yourself in better shape.

All of us are only given the very same 24 hours in any given day, some of us are just more adept in focusing and using our time properly - once you get that focus and begin to make use of the ample time you have, you'll begin to see the results that you've been complaining were out of your reach.

So when tomorrow begins, make a concerted effort to save the time you would have otherwise used futilely and use it to start getting your butt in shape.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bodyweight, Mobility and Packing on Pounds

Yesterday's workout consisted of a lot of bodyweight movements performed in circuits: push ups (in varying hand positions), squats, lunges, rows and pull ups. I performed three full circuits to near failure on every movement.

I finished up the workout with about twenty-five minutes of mobility work including some traditional stretches like forward bends, etc. and some poses taken from Scott Sonnen's Prasara yoga book. I'm glad I added the mobility work to the workout, after finishing I felt more loose and limber and more focused than usual following a workout.

When you deal with people in any facet of fitness there are two sides to a broad spectrum, those who feel that they are too heavy and desperate to lose weight and those who feel that no matter how hard they hit the iron that they'll never pack on any bulk. This "best of" list goes out the the latter...

Best Weight Gainer

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Conditioning - Two Ways

Well we weren't hit quite as hard by Mother Nature this go round as we were a few short days ago, but another 17" of the white stuff (and heavy this time), made for some more outdoor conditioning work. I was on top of it this time at my place, hitting the shovel on three separate occasions so I wasn't overwhelmed once the storm had finally stopped.

We've been on the topic of conditioning for a few days in a row thanks to the frequent and overwhelming snow, but say you live where it doesn't snow very often, or if you just want a good alternative to it up here in the Northeast, what would you do?

How 'bout the old boxer's standby for conditioning - the jump rope. Skipping rope is an incredible tool for melting fat, getting in better cardio vascular shape and developing your coordination. Want to give it a shot? Look here for the best of the best:

Best Jump Rope Overall

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

More Snow Coming and Thoughts of a Literary Kind

Mother Nature apparently isn't through with us yet, as I type this more snow is starting to fall on our already covered community. The predictions range from 12-24 more inches, this being in addition to the already 24+ that currently sits on the ground from this past weekend's storm. Now I don't really mind the shoveling part, as I just equate it to an extra workout, but if we do get another two feet I honestly don't know where I'm going to put what I'm shoveling. Guess we'll just have to wait until morning to see what happens in this round of wacky Winter weather.

On a completely different note, something occurred to me today as my wife asked me what I wanted for my slightly belated birthday gift. I responded by requesting a book, that simple request triggered an unusual thought in my mind - when I dreamed of nothing more than to be able to make my living as a writer, I was what I'd consider to be an abundantly avid reader. I devoured sometimes two+ novels a week while working a full time job and handling all the other daily activities that life threw upon me. When I started actually making some money writing, the reading began to slow - now that I'm actually making a large portion of my living writing, I can't even exactly remember the last time I completed a full length book that wasn't some sort of training manual.

I had always looked to reading for mental stimulation, did I stop reading other people's work because I find myself so immersed in reading/re-reading my own prior to submission that I no longer really need that form of stimulation? I'm not exactly sure of the reason, but I do know that I've missed reading things written by others, things that are longer than a magazine article - so in addition to: keeping up with my study of the human body, finding the time to fine tune my own body, writing with enough passion to turn it into my full time career and spending as much time as humanly possible enjoying my family, I plan to read at least one full length novel a month (for starters)... I guess it's gonna be a busy year.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Outdoor Conditioning

Well, as many of you have probably heard, the Mid-Atlantic region was pounded with another huge Winter storm. Mother Nature hit us with somewhere in the neighborhood of 25" inches of snow between Friday and Saturday.

We had the kids out Saturday for some playing around and I got in two long sessions of "conditioning work" with my trusty snow shovel. May be subject to a few more rounds of clean-up today and the fine meteorologists have said that we can expect another four to eight inches on Tuesday.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Grippers and V-bar

Last night I attacked the grippers, I pretty much worked my way through the entire extensive collection warming up with an HG150 for reps and working through: the HG200, BBSA, HG250, COC #2, HG 300 and finishing off with some negs on the COC #3. It was pretty long and painfully pleasurable for a gripper workout - been too long since I hit grippers like that.

Tonight I had a one track mind again - the one inch V-bar. I started off for 106 lbs for reps and worked my way up to the 180's for singles with a hold at the top. My hands were not in the best shape from last nights gripper work, but it didn't seem to have any kind of negative effect.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What You Talkin' 'Bout Phil?

Happy Groundhog Day, I suppose - seriously though, six more freakin' weeks of Winter?

The weatherfolk in our area are already frothing at the mouth with stories of severe Winter weather pounding us in the Philadelphia area, but I gotta tell you I was more than ready to wrap this whole Arctic weather thing up and get on to some warmer weather.

Last night's workout consisted of some active recovery from Sunday's heavy session, along with some core and mobility work. On the agenda tonight - Grip!