Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Badass atheltic physique and ability

I am working out in a powerlifting and strongman gym right now; Ganddal AK. It is a bad-ass place full of men that are strong as bears. These guys are directed, honorable and refuse failure or normal ‘safe’ mentalaty. Being in this gym is a huge blessing. There is one thing that is missing though, I don’t blame these guys for it, I do know that it could help them out in the long run. This simple effective and often overlooked training tool is bodyweight (BW).

I know what some may be thinking; “Don’t skinny little dudes use body weight because they can’t lift heavy things”, to a very small extent yes, I challenge those dudes questioning this to drop a comment and go through one of my workouts. For the rest of you, here’s what’s up;

Pushups and pull-ups are pretty standard BW movements, they are also super important! You use pushing and pulling motions in every aspect of life you should be good at them! The unfortunate truth is that most people have no idea how to use their body; they don’t have the athleticism, the strength or the will. Watch a person at your gym do pushups, are their knees and lower back sagging? Is their body a “(“ rather than a “|”, are their elbows all over the place like some wind milling spastic? I am betting that most people you watch will be doing them wrong, the core needs to be tight, the knees locked, elbows in. When was the last time you saw anyone banging out solid pushups? Pushup variations? How about hand walking? In wheelbarrows or handstand walking? Ballistic jumping? Pull-up variations? Ballistic core work? You don’t see this stuff anymore! Working on bodyweight training can greatly enhance your athleticism, strength and mental toughness. It is also cool as hell! Everyone wants to be the gymnast at the Olympics ( don’t lie to yourself, you want that ability, that power and grace, and if you don’t I have no idea why you are here reading ). What if you had 25% of that ability? You would be one hell of a bad-ass. More importantly your body would respond to your demands, it goes from minivan to performance vehicle.

I will be getting a new site soon, and I will introduce you to these methods of training, and show you where you can use them. Until then start thinking about the athletic movements that you have always wanted to do but have been too weak to accomplish, now start thinking about the chance to get where you have always wanted to be: Strong, fast, athletic and lean. I will help you get there; you just need the will and the yearning to learn. Until then here is a crazy picture of Marcus Bondi.

Image taken from:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Skill learning

I was reminded of an important fact today: Lifting is a skill. Like any skill it needs to be taught correctly. I am pretty militant when it comes to teaching proper from, but I forget why it is so important at times.

There are the obvious reasons that I instruct my athletes to lift correctly; Negating the chance of injury, increasing power output, bio-mechanical correctness. What is important to remember is like any highly developed skill, lifting should become second nature. If trained properly over time an athlete won't think twice about completing a familiar complex action, whereas a person who has been learning to complete the lift incorrectly will; a. hurt themselves (badly) b. lack confidence in their movement and continuously perform it wrong stalling any future growth. Olympic lifters are prime examples of this, their technique is so perfect they can throw over 2ookg above their heads and make it look effortless (in regards to technique).

Bruce Lee spent his adult life perfecting his body and mastering basic techniques. In Lee's notebooks "Commentaries on the Martial Way" he makes note of 127 different striking techniques for Jeet Kune DO! IT takes hundreds of thousands of repetitions to master a skill, Lee advocated the simplest strikes in any situation, regardless of the simplicity of the strike the amount of skill work required to reach the his level of proficiency is enormous.

I don't expect everyone who comes to me for training to become paragons of a sport, but I do expect them to learn, and continue to enforce the basics. A solid foundation is the only way to grow, in life and during training. Cheating on form or thinking that you don't need to learn the "trivial basics" will invariably lead to injury and disappointment. Swallow your false pride; If you are going to learn a new skill, learn it correctly, and take the time to reinforce the basics, they make you who you want to be!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mental Toughness

Being in gyms and participating in sports and crazy dangerous recreation my whole life, I have been exposed to a lot of situations that tear people down to their base components. Watching people strip away the layers that they have built up to expose a spirit that is driven and determined is cathartic and inspiring, watching them quit when the work gets hard is disappointing and shameful. These people are separated from each other by their mental toughness, their ability to bear hardship and see it through to the other end. Many lack this trait because they are afraid to earn it, and many more have not ever been put in a situation in which they can progressively excel.

Sports tests people, sets them against themselves and others. At the end of the day it is not how well you did against another person, it is how you lived up to the expectations you have for yourself, if you don’t have any then you better set some.

The other day I got a group of seven young guys (16-17), they are all Norwegian so their English is a bit variable, these guys were hungry for a change of pace, they wanted something different, something to make them stronger, which is why they choose to work with me. I put these guys through a fairly basic workout:

Dynamic Warmup

1a)Pushups : 4x15

1b)Diesel Rows: 4x5-10

2a)Zercher Squat: 4x10 (30kg sandbag)

2b) Bear Crawl: 4x35m

2c)Band Press-outs: 4x8 (each side, black band)

It kicked their collective ass, but those guys dug deep within themselves and went the extra mile; a couple more reps, pushing through the burn, puking and coming back to finish. I asked the one who puked if he was ok, this was his response; “Yeah I’m fine, I've never done or seen training like this, so it’s ok”. I thought he would take it easy, lots of people get scared by throwing up, both clients who have thrown up (another guy lost it on the bench mark workout), collected themselves and came right back.

These guys are being challenged and they are rising to that challenge, these physical challenges will expand their sense of self and temper their resolution for the rest of their lives. When they are done training with me they will be far more able to face physical and mental challenges in any situation that may arise. I am giving them the tools and they are using them. I have a shit eating grin during these training sessions, nothing makes me happier then to see people bettering themselves, unless that is seeing them doing as part of my training.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Here is the youtube link:

I was looking for a bit of recovery work today as well as some strong conditioning. My Traps are beat to hell from yesterdays workout, so I minimized their involvement.

Four rounds:

4x6 tire flips (250-275kg)
4x6 jumps
4x2 25meter bear crawls
4x20 lateral tire jumps

I ended up breathing like an asthmatic in a hay barn, but damn did it feel good.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

What happened to being a man?

Our society has reached the point where the majority of kids would rather sit at home on their doughy asses then go outside and run around. I know that this bodes ill for the cushion industry, but it also spells disaster for our youth. This actually goes beyond youth! I know many males who grew up with nice easy going fathers who weren’t bad by any means, but they certainly weren’t “MEN” in the old school definition of the word. These guys were chill and soft and nice, and they raised kids who had no idea what masculinity really was. These males (they have a penis, so I have to be true to gender) are searching for some form of identity, some way of rationalizing who they are versus who they want to be.

The modern male is told that who he wants to be is wrong. Being masculine is an outdated form of sexisim! Are those 1950’s values you are talking about? You know they used to beat their wives, right? Why do you have to be a man? Can’t you just get in touch with the inner you and be happy?

Let me debunk these silly little thoughts starting with domestic violence. Guys who beat there wife should have their arms broken (preferably by said wife) and all their assets should be given to their wife and family. That negates the 1950’s mentality. As for masculinity, it is not sexism, it is being who you are and who you want to be, and being strong in that. You can be a rugged, strong, take no shit from fools sort of dude without stepping on anyone’s toes. If you are a real man you don’t need to get up in people’s faces or throw your weight around. As to getting in touch with the inner you; Self-actualization is cool, constantly praising your ineffectual life isn’t, how will that make you happy. Gain confidence, have pride in who you are and what you stand for.

The young males of today have no direction. Their role models for life are sucking down Prozac and sitting on ride on mowers to cut their .1 acre lawns. Main stream Physicality is stuck in gyms and confined to fat dudes doing crunches on BOSU balls, while their personal trainer praises them for their ‘effort’. That is the template the boys of today are following; Soft dudes with no idea how to strive for a damn thing. Is this the world we want for kids? Because that is the world people are giving them.

I refuse to participate in this emasculating trend. Kids need to play and get bruises and explore. Men need to be strong, directed and passionate. If you want to find out how to do that; stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pedestrian dodgeing

Here in Norway pedestrians are considered sacrosanct. At least they consider themselves as such, the drivers play along. It seems to be a fun game, like those trust exercises where you fall into the arms of the person behind you. Only in this game the arms are a two ton truck and you want ot avoid them. The rules go like this; without looking left or right the pedestrian hurdles himself boldly into the crosswalk, eyes fixed dead ahead, trusting that the driver is not a 89 year old with partial blindness (what are the chances really), or a vapid idiot on their cell phone, or any number of potential catastrophes. The Pedestrian crosses at a slow walk, almost a saunter, as if to say “Yes I win, and yes I look great doing it”, he then makes it to the other side and thinks wistfully of the next street crossing. The drivers seem excited for this game as they pay very close attention…most of the time.

This is dumb, If I had a nickel for every time I have seen this in the last couple of months I would be able to buy several cups of coffee ( it is more expensive here). I like that people break for pedestrians, it makes walking in the city far more fun. I am never going to trust another driver though, when I am in the car all the other drivers are dangerous idiots and I need to pay attention in case they do something dumb. That Is my opinion when walking as well. I have stopped Anna several times when she was stepping into the crosswalk, the car that was coming always stopped, but it has been close. Paying attention isn’t hard, you watch the world around you and keep your shit together.

Although, it is really easy to be dumb. I was at the gym yesterday and I wanted to do some tire throws for rotational strength and explosive power. There is a concrete wall about a meter and a half high that I decided to throw the tire towards. As the day was sunny and I was sweaty and gross I decided to take my shirt off. I also had the thought “my glasses might fall off”, so I set them and my shirt on the rock wall and proceeded to thrown the tire like a mad man. After ten throws I switched to my left side, after the second throw I skimmed the top of the wall and knocked my shirt off. “Damn” I thought, now I need to get the tire. Once I got over the wall I thought “Shit, my glasses!”. I spent five minutes looking and dreading what I would find (smashed and twisted metal), apparently I have a very high opinion of myself, as the glasses were fine. If I had paid attention and used my brain I wouldn’t have had to do that. My glasses might have been smashed, and I am in Norway with no insurance or backup pair. It would have been an expensive situation.

I am not advocating paranoia; I am saying pay attention to what you do and how you do it. If you find negative patterns in your behavior address these issues. If you realize that you walk through the world like a zombie wake up. Life is precious; don’t spend it with your head up your ass doing stupid stuff all the time.