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Tuesday
Jun272017

Flattery in the gym

Yesterday in the gym a couple of young, new members asked me how they could build biceps like these 62-year-old arms! 


First, I told them I'd been consistently training for decades. After I asked how often they work their biceps, and they answered "three or four times weekly," I delivered the news they didn't want to hear.

My advice (to anyone who wants to build bigger arms) is to train biceps specifically only once every week or two! All workouts should be based around lifting heavy weights, all the time:  deadlifts, squats, presses, cleans, rows, etc. Every truly strong person I've known works out their entire body, and they always have big arms!

I didn't even touch on nutrition with these two relatively skinny guys, or I'd probably still be talking...

#truth

Sunday
Jun112017

Training Outdoors in the Wisconsin Summer

It's an understatement to say our season for sunny, warm, outdoor training is brief. Take advantage of cooperative weather when you can, get outside, feel the sunshine and honest sweat.

Bodybuilders should work on the muscle groups lagging behind the others. Often this means less bench pressing and bicep curling, and more squats or rows or hamstring work. Powerlifters sometimes need to add a greater variety of assistance work to their program, and not spend so much time on the big three of bench, squat and deadlift. Competitive CrossFit athletes hammer themselves through a dozen or more primary movements, and an almost endless number of assistance and secondary exercises. These athletes run out of time and energy to fit everything in.

I'm fortunate. I'm a gym rat with extensive experience in all three of these areas, making my living in a large, well-equipped commercial gym. Two different CrossFit gyms are part of my protocol, so I have access to all manner of weight-training toys and devices.

When it's hot outside and the sun is shining, I'm happiest if I can get out there and sweat, moving dragging and lifting heavy stuff. Yesterday was a great example:Pushing my old standby, the Prowler, was enjoyably taxing. Dragging a sled for a couple of hundred yards at a time was grueling. Switching from walking backwards to forwards, I found the longer drags to dig deeply into some mysterious area of my hip. Tough stuff. The cherry-on-top was taking an Assault Bike out into the sunshine. An interval session to begin my workout, and more intervals to end, made for a tough workout.

I rotated between the Prowler and the Sled a whole bunch of times, for an hour, probably. Afterwards, the finisher was joining a group of Olympic lifters carrying a fat bar across the gym, made challenging with kettlebells dangling from bands. Always fun and interesting with a supportive group.

At age 62, I'm overjoyed with my varied, outdoor sessions, and happy to be able to handle the workload.

Saturday
May272017

Working Out Standing Up!

No seats or chairs for me at CrossFit Green Bay this morning. My sciatic nerve was in check, no back pain, and other than being tired, I felt pretty good. The sun was shining, the garage doors were open, and I had plenty of time. This means playtime.

I dragged the prowler outdoors, loaded it moderately heavy. Today I meant to run behind it rather than slowly push it across the concrete.  

With high hooks on the rig to hold it, I added green bands to a fat bar.  Strapped a couple of kettlebells to each end, dangling and bouncing from the bands. Just for fun I added 10# plates to each end of the bar. My intent was to walk from one side of the gym to the other with the bar fully pressed overhead.  And to do this lots of times.

Dumbell racks always beckon me. Knowing workout Murph awaits on Monday (one element of it is 100 pullups), I certainly didn't want to perform any pullups. But one of my favorite exercsies, floor-to-overhead with a dumbell, would provide a wonderful full-body exercise today.

Whenever possible at CFGB, I warm up on the Assault Bike. Remember the old Schwinn Airdyne bikes, usually collecting dust in the corner of an old gym? These new machines are metabolic beasts. I enjoy using one slowly for a few minutes, then pressing the dreaded interval button. This morning I went through eight cycles of ten seconds of intense work (as in, as hard as one can go) ,then ten seconds "rest". Nothing warms me up for a tough workout like the Assault bike.

I moved from one of these to the other, for 90 minutes!  Prowler to dumbells to fat bar, all after a short interval session on the Assault Bike.

Five floor-to-overheads on each arm comprised one set, so ten reps at each weight. Beginning with a 30# dumbell, I moved through 35#, 40#, 45#, 50#, 55#, 60#.  Stopping at 60#, I did five sets at that weight. Last week I got through ten reps at 80#, but today opted for reps rather than weight.

Outside on the Prowler, pushing it "quickly" from one end of the gym to the other proved challenging, but I'm good at sticking to my plan to rest only 10 seconds or so at one end, then get right back to the other. That's quite metabolic, of course.

The fat bars are among my favorites. Today I used the light (45#) version, as it was already in use. There is a 65# fat bar I've used on occasion for walks and lunges. It's difficult, when loaded. This bar today was tough, with a couple of 26# kettlebells bouncing up and down on each end, plus the additional 20# in plates. Walk around with that locked out above your head for a while and tell me your core/abs/midline isn't firing!  From one side of the gym to the other is maybe three dozen small steps each way. I performed this at least a dozen times.

Something interesting happened today. My breakfast was a few hours before this session, and it was five eggs and a bunch of vegetables. No simple carbs. Early in my workout I felt sluggish, my legs were heavy, and I generally felt like I was getting very tired. I added a half scoop of Vitargo and a little protein to my shaker of BCAA and pre-workout, and within minutes I was energized and felt strong again!

This bears out the critical importance of pre- and intra-workout nutrition, an area I feel is often neglected, often by CrossFit athletes. The time surrounding the workout is absolutely not the time to diet!

62 years old and kicking ass in the gym...

 

Thursday
May112017

Added Some Simple Carbs to My Post-Workout Shake and Look What Happened!

Thursday
May112017

Hometown Gym Still Kicks Ass

Last weekend I was in Michigan visiting my father. Of course I got in a couple of workouts at my tried-and-true Community Center gym, where I've been slinging weights since I was a young teenager. Imagine my happy surprise when I found this:

Turf and a prowler and a little dragging platform. Sweet. I spent a good 20 minutes each day, pushing and running and eventually walking, alternated with hand-over-hand rope pulls. It was great, and such a nice addition to the rest of my workouts.