Saturday, 24 November 2012

A few words on Injury ...and this weeks training

Hey guys and girls,

Another great week of training with some real ups and downs.
During my Monday session I felt tension in my lower back (sacrum area) during my first exercise (the snatch).  I decided to ignore it and push on with my Deadlift.  This is a classic case of not taking my own advice.  If I had been training a client and they had told me they were feeling this pain then I would have found an alternative but being an idiot I didn’t and I promptly spent the rest of the day in discomfort and not able to move properly.

Although the effects of this disappeared by the next day it is still worth noting that on reflection I do not believe that I made the right decision here.  This kind of pain should never be ignored or played down.  The pain of fatigue during a tough conditioning session, this you can (and to a certain extent) should ignore.  But any unusual tweaks, aches or other pains during exercise need to be treated with respect.

There is no point in risking injury for a couple more reps, sets minutes or seconds.  You only get one body and you can only build it into the machine that you want it to be if you preserve it from being damaged unnecessarily.

I put this lesson into practise on Friday when doing my deadlift, on the final set I could feel my form wavering.  I wanted to get a final rep out but knew that it wasn’t worth compromising my form and possibly my back.  I know that this wariness came from my little tweak on Monday and that I might make the same mistake a few months down the line but hopefully the lesson will stick!

I have seen guys allow themselves to be injured during Jiu-Jitsu sparring simply because their ego wouldn’t allow them to tap until they had to.  Whatever type of training you are involved in, it is essential that you respect the potential damage it could do to your body and adjust accordingly.  Developing strength, skill and/or fitness is a long term game and avoiding injury is essential in ensuring that you make it to the finish line!

That said, some injuries are out of your control!

Just yesterday (Friday) I went out snowboarding after my workout, I thought I was doing quite well but ended up taking a tumble and hurting my right knee and my ribs.
After a quick check over in the infirmary at the slopes it was decided that no ribs were broken and they have steadily improved since then.
My knee however isn’t feeling great.  I have a pain down the inside edge of my knee joint which I suspect is a strain or partial tear on my medial collateral ligament.  I know that I did a similar injury last year while sparring at Jiu-Jitsu.

Time will tell how serious it is but until then I am going to play it sensible.  If anything aggravates it then I will stop doing it.  Eating right, plenty of sleep and good mobility work will all help.

Respect injuries, allow them to repair and come back stronger and wiser. If you push yourself to hard, to soon and don’t allow time to recover then you risk re-injury and an even lengthier delay in your progress.

Anyway, here is what I have been up to training wise this week.
Any questions, leave a comment below.

Monday 19th November:
Strength session
1)      BB Snatch 3-5 x 3-5
2)      Deadlift 4 x 10 (105kg)
3a) L, Y & W Shoulder pre-hap exercises 3 x 12-15 each
3b) BB overhead press 3 x 10

Tuesday 20th November:
Strength session
1)      Hang Power cleans 3-4 x 5
2)      Front squats 4 x 10 (62.5kg – 65kg)
3a) Back Lever (flat tuck) 3 x (5 x 2 sec holds)
3b) Front Lever (straddle) 3 x (5 x 2 sec holds)
4a) Inverted bodyweight rows 3 x 10
4b) Ring dips 3 x 10

Wednesday 21st November:
Recovery day – everyone needs them! (also I got up at 4.20am to start work at 6am and worked until 4.30pm!

Thursday 22nd November:
Conditioning session
Decided to re-visit a session that I only did a couple of weeks ago.

Tabata intervals (20 sec high pace work, 10 sec rest) Repeated for 6 minutes
Alternating between-
Bar facing burpees & BB Hang power clean and push press (60lbs)
Then with no rest straight into a progressive run
Set treadmill to 2% incline and 5mph, increase the speed by 0.3mph every 20 seconds until failure.
Rest for 5 minutes then repeat for 3 rounds.

On my second round all the treadmills were occupied so I just rowed at a moderate-high pace for 5 minutes.

1st round (progressive run) beat 9.2mph and covered 0.63 miles
3rd rounds beat 8.9mph and covered 0.54 miles

On all rounds I was trying to achieve a minimum of 8 burpees and 7-8 clean & press every 20 seconds.

Tough little session, especially mentally.  Knowing that you can give up at any stage on the progressive run but trying to push it and keep going is a real battle with yourself.
I felt supercharged for the rest of the day after this one.

Friday 23rd November:
Strength session
1)      1 DB Snatch x 5 per side (alternating), x 4 per side, x 3 per side
2)      Deadlifts 3x8, 1x7 (@ 110kg)
3a) Handstand practice 3 x max hold
3b) Symmetrical Deadbugs 3 x 30 sec per side
4a) 1 Arm negative assisted pull ups 3 x 5 per side
4b) 2 DB neutral grip overhead press 3x8, 1x7
5a) DB Windmills 3 x 5p per side (very light weight, just re-training movement)
5b) Cable face pull to external rotation 3 x 12

Saturday 24th November:
BJJ partner drills x 45 mins

Train hard, live happy

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Raising the bar

Couple more days of sessions for you.

Strength day

1. BB Full squat Cleans 3 x 3

2. Front squats 4 x 10 (62.5kg)

3a. BB Bench press 3 x 10
3b. Free hanging Inverted bodyweight rows 3 x 10 (Hanging from a bar, pulling myself up horizontal, legs crunches up, then doing horizontal rows from there)

4a. Arch rocks 3 x 15
4b. Hollow body rocks 3 x 15

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BJJ partner drills & sparring x 60 mins

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Conditioning Benchmark session

100 Rope turns
10 Burpees (no sprawl, full squat to squat thrust, no press up)
10 Press ups
10 Bodyweight squats (full R.O.M.)
10 Pull ups (no kipping)

x 10 rounds as quickly as possible

Last time (23 Oct, almost 4 weeks ago) I finished this in 32min 50 sec and it felt tough.
I was pretty tired from a week at work but once I got into the swing of this I felt like I was going well.

Managed to finish today in 27min 35 sec (taking over 5 minutes off my previous time)

I was really happy with this but about 5 minutes after finishing I had major blood sugar level crash and felt rubbish.  Still, overall very pleased with the result.

Again, second attempts at benchmark sessions often yield good gains so it will be interesting to see how I fair in subsequent attempts.

Keep pushing yourselves people!

Train hard, live happy

Thursday, 15 November 2012

BJJ Kimonos / Gi's

Hey Guys and Girls (especially the fighters amongst you)

Just a quick one.  If you train BJJ or No-Gi grappling then I highly recomment this website.

They stock a lot of Keiko kit.
I have a Keiko Gi myself and I can highly recommend them, they are very high quality but until now have been quite hard to get hold of in the UK.

They also stock IBJJF standard No-Gi competition tops which you need for most No-Gi tournaments.

Bit of a plug I know, but for any BJJ Kimonos (Gi's), sweet Gi material kit bags, shorts and street wear then check it out.

More training info coming soon guys

Train hard, live happy

p.s. - I will not benefit financially if you buy anything from this website, I just believe that they offer great kit at very decent prices.

Rowing Test

Hey bad-asses!

Hope you have all been working hard.

Here is my training for the last few days.

Tuesday 13th Nov:
1) BB Hang Power Snatch x 5 + 1 Overhead squat  x 3 sets

2) Deadlift 4 x 10 (100kg / 102.5kg)

3a) Negative (assisted) One arm pull ups 3 x 5 per side
3b) 1 DB Overhead press x 10 + 20 sec overhead hold (lats activated) x 3 sets

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Wednesday 14th Nov:
BJJ drills with a partner + sparring x 90 mins

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Thursday 15th Nov:
Rowing Test

Row 500 meters as quickly as possible, then rest as long as it takes you to row it.
repeat this for 6 sets
Take the average of all 6 sets, this is your score

I scored an average of 1.43 (.4)

Rested 5 minutes

Tabata Intervals x 6 mins (alternating between)
- Barbell Landmines (Olympic bar + 5kg plate)
- Burpees (press up at bottom and Pull up at top)

Tough little conditioning session, I am a big fan of the Barbell Landmines and I haven't done them for a while so it was good to do them today.

Any questions, drop a comment below

Keep training hard and living happy

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Rocky Story

Hey guys.

Thought I would share this video about the real story behind how Stallone got Rocky made.
Simply put it is incredible.

A great lesson in self belief and dedication to achieving your goals.

Obviously this story is on quite a big level but it does happen everyday, people work hard at something, they make scarifies, they show dedication and eventually they achieve their goals.  It doesn't always look glamorous because it can be a day-to-day grind but if you really want to achieve something then its worth paying the price.

Last weekend one of my team mates at Carlson Gracie Camberley went to the English Open and won Gold in his division.  It's a competition he has done for 4 year running but never previously got the gold.  2 years ago he had a rough run at the competition and briefly contemplated giving up Jiu-Jitsu but he didn't.  He set his mind on the Gold and worked hard and consistently to get it.

Similarly I know an amateur Power Lifter who broke his neck last year.  After a long lay off from training he still had issues when he came back to training (he struggled to do press ups because of a loss of strength through one shoulder).  He didn't make excuses though. He trained regularly and smartly, putting in hard work week after week and yesterday he achieved one of his goals of pulling a 200kg Deadlift.

You want it?
Go and get it.
It might not be easy and it defiantly won't happen overnight.
You want it? Do it.

Train hard, Live happy

Monday, 12 November 2012

Working hard

Hey guys and gals.

Been a few days since I checked in with you.  It has been opening weekend at the mountain so I have been very busy with work and then squeezing in my training.  Here is what I have been over the last few days.

Wednesday (7th Nov):
BJJ Drills (with a partner) 45 minutes
Then Conditioning,
Tabata Intervals (20 sec of intensive work, 10 sec rest repeated for time) alternating between
Bar facing burpees & Barbell Hang power clean & push press (60lbs / 25kg)
x 6 minutes
Then straight into a progressive run on the treadmill, starting at 5mph and increasing it by 0.3mph every 20 seconds until failure.
Rest for 5 minutes
x 3 rounds of the entire thing.

On my runs I beat 8.6mph, then 9.2mph, then 8.6mph again.

This one was tough, the combination of Burpees and Clean & Press really took it out of me, recommended for anyone that wants to push themselves.

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Thursday (8th Nov):

1. 1 DB Snatch 4 x 3-5 per side
2. Deadlifts 4 x 10 (100kg)
3a. BB Push press 3 x 10
3b. Side to side pull ups 3 x 10-12 (5-6 per side)
4a. Symmetrical Deadbugs 3 x 30 sec per side
4b. 1 DB overhead hold (with lat activated) 3 x 30 sec per side

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Friday (9th Nov):

1. BB Hang Power Cleans 4 x 4-5
2. Front squats 4 x 10 (60kg)
3a. DB Chest press 3 x 10 (pause at bottom, powerful concentric)
3b. BB Bent over row 3 x 10
4a. Cable face pulls with external rotations 3 x 12
4b. Handstand practice 3 x max

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Saturday (10th Nov):

BJJ Partner drills x 90 mins

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Sunday (11th Nov):

Rest day - went Snowboarding for 2 hours (lots of falling over)

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Monday (12th Nov):

Conditioning day again, so I thought I would re-test a benchmark session that I did a couple of months ago.

12 Deadlifts
9 Hang Power Cleans
6 Push press
x 5 rounds as quickly as possible (minimal rest)

All with a 50kg Barbell.  Last time (1st September) I managed to do this in 12min 46 sec
Today I did it in 11min 15 sec.

I am happy with the progress but I still feel there is more time to be shaved off this one!

I will hopefully be doing some BJJ drills again tonight but for now that is it.

Stay posted. Any questions, just drop a comment.

Keep training hard and living happy.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Change and adapt

Hey Guys & Girls,

There is a lot of training related information and thoughts running through my head right now so I will try and keep this concise.

Firstly, over the last couple of days I have continued my usual training routine (workout detailed below) but with one great addition. I have found someone to do BJJ drills with.  We have managed to figure out where we can get some decent mats in the local gym and have already done a couple of sessions running through basic movements.

It feels great to do some skills practice again and I hope that we can continue with regular drilling, I also hope that we can get at least 1 or 2 others training regularly and eventually introduce light sparring too.  Very exciting (especially as at the moment there doesn't seem to be much chance of me getting to the nearest BJJ school).

On top of the BJJ drills I have, since my last post done another strength session:

1. Hang Power Cleans 4 x 4 (about 55kg)

2. Front Squats 4 x 10 (about 55-60kg)

3a. Back lever 5 x submax (flat tuck and attempted straddle)
3b. Front lever 5 x submax (straddle)

As you can see I have adjusted my strength training slightly, moving the reps down (from around 12 to around 10) and increasing the weight.
I was also very happy to have partially achieved a straddle position in the back lever.

If you are unfamiliar with Back Levers then check out this video (it doesn't actually include a straddle as one of its progressions but it comes in between the 'advance/flat tuck' and the 'bent knee' variations.

I have been doing more research to try to come up with a better programme for myself.  I try to research in chunks as there is a lot of information out there and it can get very confusing.  Also, you have to consider that a lot of the information and advice being given might not be specific to your goals.  In particular I have been looking in a bit more detail at the Conjugate method (as made famous by West Side Barbell.

I won't get into the details as I am far from an authority on the subject but if you want to look it up then it definitely wouldn't be a waste of your time.

The point of this is that I am constructing a new programme template for myself.
I always intended that the current basic template (which I have been detailing so far on this blog) would be temporary, until I got settled.

I intend to spend a few more weeks on this template to allow myself time to get into a proper pattern with my new job, establish how tired and achy I am going to be once I start snowboarding regularly and determine other key factors, such as: how often I can meet with a training partner for BJJ drills, how much time I will have in the evenings to train, how tired I will be from a full day working on the mountain etc.

However, in the mean time I am going to try and add a bit more variety to the selection of exercises that I use with my current template.  So keep reading.

Train hard, live happy.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Small steps & Giant leaps

So, yesterday it was time to re-test myself on one of my Benchmark conditioning sessions, running up Tunnel mountain.  A 2.3km trail, elevating 240m (790 ft) to the 1,690m (5,540 ft) summit.

Last time (just over 2 weeks ago) I reached the summit in 20min 25 sec.
This time the path was still a bit icy from some recent snow fall, admittedly I wasn't carrying the Camelbak belt that I had last time but that wasn't of any significant weight, It felt as hard as the first time I ran it but I really thought I was moving slower this time. I deliberately didn't check my stopwatch until I was almost at the top and I was shocked when I made it to the summit in 17min 50 sec.

Needless to say I was very happy with this improvement.  Taking 2min 35 sec off my previous time (over 10%) is a substantial improvement in just over 2 weeks.  Now some of that improvement may be down to adjusting to the elevation here in Banff and the second attempt at any particular conditioning workout usually yield pretty good gains but I am still happy with this achievement.
It will be very interesting to see how I do on my third attempt.  All I can do is train hard and see.

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Today I adjusted my strength training, after about 4 rotations through my high rep cycle I have moved my rep range down to around 10 reps, adjusting the weight used accordingly.

1. BB Hang Power Snatch + 2 Overhead squats 4 x 3 (about 45kg)

2. Deadlifts 4 x 10 (100kg)

3a. BB Push press 3 x 10 (about 55kg)
3b. Assisted one arm Pull-ups 3 x 10 per side (broken sets)

4a. Symmetrical Deadbugs 3 x 30 sec per side
4b. 1 DB overhead holds (w/ Lats activated) 3 x 30 sec per side (about 20kg)

Really good session, I definitely want to dedicate more time to the symmetrical Deadbugs and overhead holds, they were both recommended to me by my Osteopath and when done correctly they really challenged me.  If people are interested then drop a comment and I will post a video on them.

Train hard, live happy.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Fighting without an opponent

Being away from my Carlson Gracie BJJ team is one thing that I just can't compensate for in my individual training.  Yesterday was my recovery day so as usual I went through some solo Jiu-Jitsu drills.  Most of these were done on a small gym mat and take me about 45 minutes to get through.  The movements are chosen to keep me mobile for Jiu-Jitsu and to ensure my body and mind are still as sharp as they can be in sport specific movements.

After I had finished these drills I decided to do some work on the Swiss ball.  I have watched a few videos of BJJ artist's practising their movement on these but never really had a go myself.  I thought it might be a good idea to film it, so here it is.

Now I know my movement isn't great, I'm a bit wobbly and I use the same handful of movements repetitively but I thought it might be useful to put the video up here.  Hopefully in a few months I can look back on it and see improvements in both the quantity and quality of my movements.  Also, I thought it might give a few of you ideas.  Hope it helps.

Any comments welcome, just drop them below.

Keep training hard and living happy.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Motivation and Achievement

I watched Rocky Balboa again recently.  Yes, the series can be very cheesy but in particular the first and final film's of the series carry a very powerful message.  Below is a couple of scenes from the first Rocky film. It's a bit long but the important part is the speech Rocky gives in the last 2 minutes.

There he is, the night before the biggest fight of his life and beating his rival, Apollo Creed isn't his main concern.  What really matters to him is proving that he is worth something, justifying to himself that his existence isn't for nothing, that he can rise above his past and the situations that he finds himself in and make something of himself.

In the final film in the series (Rocky Balboa) he then delivers the speech in the video below, to his son.  His son, feeling hard-done-by having to live in his father's shadow, blames him for all the problems and hardships in his life.  He hides behind that as the reason he isn't happy, the reason he isn't where or who he wants to be in life.  The response that Rocky gives is one of my favourite speeches, just watch it...

Life is tough, its a fact.  Yes, some people seem to have things easier than others but if you want to achieve something you have to dig down and work hard for it.  Sometimes it's just a case of taking hit after hit, surviving everything life throws at you.  Some people won't make it, they will give up and most likely blame everyone and everything but themselves for their failure.  The ones who don't, the people that face up to the challenges, that don't blame others but just keep on with dedication and persistence, they are the ones that achieve their goals, they succeed.

And as the first video shows, succeeding doesn't necessarily mean achieving the tasks that other people expect you to.  Success can only be defined by you.  What do YOU want to be?  Who do YOU want to be?  Know that, then do what you have to to achieve it.  People will tell you that you can't but don't let them define what you can and can't do.  Only you can do that, and at times even you will doubt it.

Work hard and keep working.

Here was my little workout for yesterday, keeping myself moving and getting the body working.

Tabata intervals (20 sec on, 10 sec off)
- Burpees (lateral jump over bar)
- Skipping
       x 2 minutes
- Bodyweight squats
- Pull up to press up
       x 2 minutes
- BB Overhead sit ups
- Over shoulder bridges
       x 2 minutes

Rest 2 minutes
x 4 rounds

Train hard, live happy