Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Lunge 30 Day Day 7

So far the lunge every day challenge has been much more gentler than the previous lower body challenge which was squat every day.

Although, the lunging is fatiguing with only bodyweight it seems easier to get over mental hurtles to do about a block or more a day. Typically I do small distance lunging between breaks at work and the guys doing construction down the road give me looks... well fuck em.

Anyways, I feel like my glutes and quads get a pretty decent pump. Overall, there isn't really much pain doing this and I'm hoping that this is going to help with conditioning the muscles particularly the glutes and vmo and strengthen connective tissue in the knees.

I'm liking this challenge because if done at speed I get some metabolic affect and can feel my heart racing. Is this contributing to the enormous gainz (bro talk) that squatting every day has had? Not sure really, I've done some deadlifting and benching lately and I'm seeing my strength return, but I'm not pushing it to the max.

I'd like to start squatting more again, but I trying to still self correct. Lunges plus squats x deadlifts equal gainz for days son. However, I have to play it safe so not to hurt myself.

One thing I am noticing is the stretch across the front of my body in the hip flexor region. This is probably good and I'm not sure if this is improving my posture at all or not. However, it has me thinking about Ido Portal and his idea (not exclusively his) of strength with flexibility. Allow the flexibility to come with the exercise.

This has me thinking about side lunges and squat walking. I've experimented a little with both, but it is an idea I am curious to explore more in order to better build strength, flexibility and training motor patterns. More experiments to come.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

April 2015: Lunge for 30 days

Despite the shady practices of his company there is something to be said about hard work

This months challenge once again gets inspiration from Cory Gregory who is the president of Muscle Pharm supplements.

Although, the supplements seem to be whack for the most part or just like any other generic bodybuilding crap you'd probably buy at GNC; Gregory seems to have some interesting ideas. As you will recall the first challenge for this website was 30-days of squatting which was inspired by an article about him I read on the Tight Tan Slacks of Deszo Ban website.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Failure to complete: Push Up Challenge Derailed By Vacation.

Damn the push up challenge sorta died and I'm really, really sorry for that. I missed probably the last week or so since a vacation to Colorado happened to fall in the last week of March.

I'm super sorry to since I wasn't really posting as many articles as I'd hoped in regards to the push up. I can only speak from anecdotal experience in regards to the first three weeks of doing this challenge... since well the last four were spent skiing, hiking and enjoying the beauty of Colorado.

There were very few push ups to be had on said vacation except for two trips to the Red Rocks amphitheater where I attempted to work out at an elevation my body was completely unaccustomed too.

Anecdotally though my push up game has improved when I was doing the challenge. I didn't always but occasionally I would wrap a mini band around my leg and force my legs apart for increased glute activation.

Bench press has been non-existent in my fitness routine and I did manage to work my way up to a pretty easy feeling 195-lbs. Shoulders were a little wacky and I don't want to re-injure myself which is what I have been trying to improve for over a year now so I avoided going anywhere near 200-lbs.

Not bad really for a guy who only has benched twice in almost two months and though 155-lbs felt hard. Not sure if it is really the push ups, the extra focus on the squat, glutes, mobility work or my new found passion for the hex bar deadlift but the bench was significantly easier that last time around.

Anyways, if you have stayed true to the 30-day push up challenge and kept up with it through out the month of march – congrats.

Look forward to the next challenge here this April.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Benefits of Push-Ups

I think the push up is probably one of the most beneficial bodyweight exercises you can do when performed correctly. Mostly because their is a tremendous amount of variety for which you can do them.

You can do diamond, dive-bombers, planche, one-handed, incline, decline and etc. The types of push-ups you do seem pretty much only limited by the human imagination.

That being said the vast majority and variety of such exercises at times can make scientific info on them a little harder to track down. Some of the benefits seem more anecdotal than supported by science at times.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Final Reflections on the Squat Challenge

We've just finished our first 30 day challenge. Did you make it to the end? Not me I was just a few days shy of doing it.

My knees were in tremendous pain and after reading about Irish Weight Lifter Clarence Kennedy and his knee issues I just didn't want to end up as someone needing surgery later because he didn't take it easy.

I did about 26 days of leg work. I know, I know I'm a tad shy on the who 30 day mark but still that was 26 days of doing squats of all sorts of permutations to bring up my work capacity and squatting capabilities.

To be fair on the other days where I wasn't squatting I was constantly doing mobility work. Working on hips, upper back, neck and etc. Mostly foam rolling but now I am the proud owner of a set of stretch bands and have ghetto rigged them to some kettlebells on my floor to work on my external and internal rotation of the hips and shoulders.

These things have really been opening me up and some how have had a sorta of carry over effect to stretching without them.

Knees still bugging me, but they are getting better. End of the month I go skiing in Colorado so now I am just taking it easy on the legs until the knees start to feel a little stronger.

I can only guess to why my knees were struggling. First and foremost I think it was mobility and alignment. I wasn't particularly flexible to begin with and work an office job. I've had years of low back issues which are from poor hip alignment. So with bad hips and some other nagging issues I think it may have been grinding on my knees.

Trying to take care of the mobility and alignment equation with the bands and rollers. The book "Becoming a Supple Leopard" by Kelley Starrett has been particularly inspiring and useful so far.

Another issue is that I've always squatted fairly infrequently. I've been more of a dead lift man for most my life which has given me some strength in the legs, but still the stresses are different. I squatted maybe once or twice a month if that and then I turned the frequency up to every day.

To say the least the muscle and will power were there it is just maybe the connective tissue was not. If I deadlifted every day for 30 days it may have been a different story for me in regards to the knee pain. However, who knows though?

However, the knee issue aside the challenge was promising I feel like there was definitely a good hormonal shift in my body. I feel like I was getting more toned in all parts of my body and well just my overall fitness improved. I was working out every day doing other things too and really seemed pretty unaffected once I got over the hump of the first day.

I think humans are probably capable of more work than most people think. I look at Crossfit and how extreme the top athletes appear in their constant training and I look at this endeavor I just finished. Lifting and working out just became the norm and my body adapted as needed – it was really interesting.

I think squatting and hurting my knees helped me to also rethink my mobility and to some extent slightly improved it. Only squatting occasionally I wasn't really as aware of my poor posture and position in the squat. Doing it daily and finding out what hurts and what doesn't you really learn quick that you are probably doing things wrong.

Once my knees feel healthy again I plan on keeping high volume squatting in my routine by doing it maybe two or three times a week for warm up.

30 Day Push Up Challenge

There were only 28 days in February this year which sorta throws off the whole 30 day challenge thing.

The intention is to do a new one each month to increase work capacity and bring of lagging parts in a persons training. We are building strength skills, mobility and etc in hope of increases overall performance and strength.

Today is the last day for the squat challenge and as chronicled already in other posts it wasn't really so bad except for some very painful needs. My muscles and my mind could handle the workload but knees just weren't up to the task really. Maybe it was a mobility issue or maybe my legs muscles are stronger than the connective tissue in the knees and surrounding areas.

Well I will rest and recover before I start squatting or even dead lifting again for that matter and instead place my focus on a push up challenge.

Doesn't matter how you do your push ups or how many reps or sets– just do them every day.

My goal is to do a 100 push ups a day. This will either be done spaced out throughout the day or in one work session.

I will probably do a wide variety of styles for this as well.

Reason being is when I was younger I was decent at push ups and could pump out sets of 50 fairly easily. Now I am burned out after about 20. They are a good overall body stimulus with lots and lots of variety.

You should strength the abs since you are in a constant plank position, chest, triceps, to some degree lats and shoulders depending on variation. They incredibly versatile and require no additional equipment.

If a full push up is too hard for you try doing them from the knees or at an incline to lessen the burden.

As usual there will be follow up articles on the benefits of the push ups, as well as my general experience with the challenge going forward. Take care.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Training Reflections Day. 18

When I started this idea for a 30 day squat challenge the winter was looking fairly mild on the West Side of Michigan. We were having Spring like weather and for the first week and a half it was easy for me to get to the gym to do my squat workouts.

Things were going great for the most part, but now we seem to be experiencing a perpetual snow storm. The gym I go to is 15-20 minutes away from my home on a good day and anywhere from 30-50 minutes on an awful day.