31 December 2009

Work Capacity

Friday's Training Session:


5 Rounds
21x Thrusters 95/65 lbs.
50 yd. Bear crawl
50 yd. Farmer carry 2x dumbbells 75 lbs.

Minimalist Training Session:

5 Rounds
Find any heavy object that you can lift overhead, hold it there and perform 21x overhead squats
Next, carry the object 25 yards out and 25 yards back as fast as possible
Then, drop the load and bear crawl 25 yards
Perform 21x clapping push-ups and then sprint the 25 yards back to the start

Happy New Year compadres! Drink some water, get out of bed, forget about last night - the random stranger you kissed - last year is in the past! Start 2010 off with a new mindset of discipline and commitment. Remember discipline is your ability to continue to make a hard choice of sacrifice. So make the choice to train hard and live healthy.

"Jerrod" is named after Jerrod Ramos a good friend of mine, who first introduced me to functional fitness type training back in 2006. Day after day training in a YMCA pool, with him pushing me past my limits made me the swimmer I am today. Thanks Jerrod!

Notes: A thruster is a Crossfit exercise that incorporates two movements combined. Start by doing a front squat and at the top continue into a push press, this is one repetition. As the bar is lowered from the overhead position, immediately drop down into the next squat. A bear crawl is performed by walking on all fours as fast as possible. For the minimalist workout carry the load any way possible for the the fifty yards.

30 December 2009


Thursday's Training Session:

Run for 45 mins. moderate pace.

Should not be easy, but not all out. Substitute swim, bike, or row according to your goals. Running is recommended though, to clear out all the lactic acid build-up from the previous two sessions.

29 December 2009

Rest day!

Just what it says. Recoup, recover, relax! If you did Monday and Tuesday's workouts your legs should need a break right about now. Get ready for Thursday and Friday's training by eating healthy and resting. Remember rest is paramount to our fitness. Its this time that the body uses to rebuild and replenish; during rest is when we get stronger.

28 December 2009


Tomorrow's training session is our first go at a depletion workout. What does that mean? Depletion workouts are training sessions that are geared toward exhausting the body's muscle glycogen supply. Your body stores carbohydrates, the primary fuel we burn while training, and muscle glycogen is this storage of carbs. As these storage supplies are depleted your body runs out of power exhausting itself limiting the ability to continue.

This depletion of muscle glycogen has a positive effect on building lean muscle mass and jump starting your body to push past former plateau's. Beware though, upon completing the training your body will require a large intake of calories to replenish and repair the damaged muscles. Stay away from processed food and simple sugars. Here is the training session:

5 Rounds
20x Jumping jacks
20x Push-ups
10x Kettle bell swings 50-60/35 lbs.

(1) 6 Rounds
10x Renegade man-makers with 2x 35/15 lbs. dumbbells
17x Pull-ups (Every time you drop from the bar before 17 complete 30x mountain climbers)

(2) 3 Rounds
Row 500m
Wall sit (Perform wall sit for same amount of time it took you to row 500m)

(3) 1-10-1 reps of:
Overhead squat 95/65 lbs.
L-sit dip
Knees-to-elbows (KTE)

Minimalist training session:

5 Rounds
20x Jumping jacks
20x Push-ups
20x Squat jumps
20x Mountain climbers

(1) 70x Burpee pull-ups

(2) 3 Rounds
Run 400m
Wall sit (Perform wall sit for same amount of time it took you to run 400m)

(3) 1-10-1 reps of:
Handstand push-up (HSPU)
Broad jump or box jump

A renegade man-maker starts with the two dumbbells one in each hand, the individual performs a squat thrust, push-up, left arm row, push-up, right arm row, then jumps back to standing, does a squat clean, and ends with a push press - this is one repetition. 1-10-1 is a pyramid scheme where all the exercises are performed in order for 1 rep, then 2, then 3, working your way up to 10, and then back down to 1. Knees to elbows are performed by hanging from a pull-up bar and bringing your knees up to touch your elbows.

27 December 2009

Making due...

I'm changing the body weight only sessions to minimalist equipment training sessions. Why? Well because despite the fact that you can maintain a high level of fitness training with these methods, they're kind of repetitive and therefore can lead to boredom or stale training. So you will now see a regular training session as well as the minimalist training session.

Today, I want to introduce sandbag training - a versatile and effective strength and conditioning tool. Training with a sandbag is unlike the majority of other tools you are used to, because of its organic movement. This movement forces your body to constantly adapt and respond to a continuously shifting weight. In turn, this causes your body to use more muscles and expend greater energy as it is harder to get into a consistent groove. Additionally, grip strength is significantly enhanced and specifically targeted as there is no convenient place to grab a sandbag. Whether you grab a handful and crush it into your palm or try and pinch your way through you will develop immense contact strength. Finally, the core strength forged from training with a sandbag could very well be unrivaled as your trunk is constantly engaged trying stabilize and balance itself under the shifting load.

To make your own sandbag, visit your local Army/Navy store. Purchase an old Army duffel or Navy sea bag that has a side zip. Fill the duffel with two forty pound bags of wood pellets. Zip tie the two zippers together and start training. We use wood pellets over sand, because they fill the bag better, they aren't messy and the bag lasts longer. Feel free to put it to use during tomorrow's training session.

10 Rounds
3x Power clean @ body weight
5x Bench press @ body weight

Minimalist Training Session:
Find an object that weighs 20+ pounds and while carrying it any way possible, complete 400m of walking lunges. Every time you stop to rest, perform 25x dive bomber push-ups.

24 December 2009

Merry Christmas

Temptation is super easy to get caught up into during the holiday season; deserts, eggnog, extra helpings, foo foo drinks and other crap that your body doesn't need. Don't lie, we all over indulge sometimes. Keep training! Tomorrow is Christmas, take ten minutes of high intensity and slay this training session:

5 Rounds
30 sec. Burpees
30 sec. Jumping jacks
30 sec. Mountain climbers
30 sec. Jump lunges

No rest! Look for video demo's and photos coming soon!

23 December 2009

Going the distance...

So we defined the first two types of strength movements as picking something heavy up off the ground and picking something heavy up off the ground and putting it over head. Today well look at the last and equally as versatile movement. Category 3: Your ability to pick something heavy up and carry it. Out of three categories this is the most diverse in its movements. The ability to carry a heavy load for an indeterminable amount of time is an invaluable ability. Again, looking to our armed forces and rescue workers - lugging heavy machine gun parts in full kit, grabbing a fire hose in one hand and carrying a de-smoking fan in the other hand, or shouldering a wounded individual we can see the importance this ability plays in daily life. Maybe you're a mom, with an armload of groceries and a toddler squirming around in the other, hoofing it up four flights of stairs to your apartment. Some of you have the job of hauling 50-80 pound bags of shingles up a two story ladder while roofing. This strength movement is important!

Unlike the other two categories I have not associated a foundational set of movements to Category 3. However, the squat and its variations are paramount to increasing this ability. Proper squatting technique will increase your hip mobility, which allows for greater ease in ascending a steep incline, a set of stairs or a ladder all of which could occur while carrying a load. In our training
we will be utilizing the squat in as many different ways as possible to maximize our mobility. Different variations you will see:

Back Squat - the load is displaced across the individuals trapezius muscles. The back squat allows for maximum load bearing capability in relation to the other variations.
Front Squat - the load is held in the rack position across the collar bone and front shoulder region. This squat is an excellent way to increase your power clean strength.
Overhead Squat - the load is held locked out overhead. Phenomenal core builder, and hip and shoulder mobility tool.
Zercher Lift - the load when training with a barbell or log is held across the crooks of the elbows, when training with a sandbag or other cumbersome object the load is squeezed or bear-hugged to the chest.
Air Squat - no load required. The air squat will be used to knock out high repetitions and to work on strength endurance and speed.

Look forward to training these five variations. There is no workout scheduled for tomorrow, it is an active recovery day. Go for a run or swim. If you have snow hit the trails cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Get outside, breathe fresh air.

22 December 2009

Going Overhead

Category 2: Your ability to pick something heavy up and put it overhead. Going overhead is a feat of strength you rarely see in a typical gym today. I'm not talking about the guy sitting down doing military presses trying to build shoulders that can't fit through a doorway. Ask that same guy to pick that weight up off the ground, to get it to where you can push it overhead, and I'd be willing to bet he'd be hard-pressed to comply. But let's start there. We know from yesterday, that to start we need to clean whatever load or object we intend to lift overhead. Upon doing so we are now prepared for the second progression from ground to overhead. Like the first category, Category 2 is broken down into three movements as well. The first movement is in fact the "Press." Pure strength, just you, your upper body and the force it can muster up. The press, from standing of course, is the movement of you pushing the load overhead my simply extending your arms to locked out. Obviously, this requires maximum strength on your part and therefore limits the amount of the load being placed overhead.

If by chance you came across an object or load that you needed to lift overhead that you could not press, are you stuck? For example, a firefighter needs to pass an important piece of equipment up to his partner through a first story window. The window's base sits at 8 feet, the firefighter stands 5'11'' tall, his strength does not allow him to simply press the equipment up above his head. This is where the next movement comes into play. He can utilize the "Push-press." The push-press operates on a dip and drive theory that incorporates your hip strength and mobility into the force used to drive the object overhead. The individual slightly dips their hips then snaps them forward explosively to initiate the driving force behind the press. With this method the firefighter is able to hand off the equipment through the window and the rescue mission continues successfully. This is what fitness is about, mastering the necessary movements to maximize body utility and adaptability.

Most people stop there, the push-press fairly easy to learn and highly effective at completing the job is considered the end-all for them. The final movement in the Category 2 progression requires too much technique for them; I however, disagree. Why limit yourself in anyway if there is potential to learn more? You shouldn't, so let me introduce the "Jerk." The jerk is an explosive movement that utilizes your body's power by working as whole unit, instead of isolating parts, to complete an objective. The dip and drive is employed explosively to force the weight in an upward direction while you force your body to drop below the load and catch it when gravity takes over - ending in a dip, drive, dip sequence.

Studying these three movements we observe that the press utilizes maximum strength in using a limited portion of the body to complete an objective. The push-press incorporates the hips into the movement and therefore adds some power, this in turn allows for a greater load. And the jerk, while employing the body as whole unit to accomplish the same task, is the strongest of all three movements. Because the jerk allows for a greater load and higher power development we will train this movement the most. Although, you'll get a taste of the push-press first in tomorrow's session:

4 Rounds
4x Deadlift @ 5RM
20x Push-press go heavy

4 Rounds
4x Single-arm snatch/Overhead squat (OHS)
20x Box jumps 30" box

Body weight only workout:
As fast as possible (AFAP)
50,35, and 20 Reps of:

Notes: 5RM for deadlift is the most weight you can lift for five repetitions before failure. Heavy on the push-press should be near or around 50-75% of your body weight. For the second circuit you will do 1x snatch then 1x OHS repeat 4x on non-dominant hand side first then switch and repeat 4x with other hand before moving onto the box jumps.
For the body weight only workout sets look like 50x pull-ups, 50x squats, 50x push-ups, 50 sit-ups then 35x of each, then 20x of each.

21 December 2009


To reiterate, fitness is your body's ability to control movement. In understanding this we can establish a foundation of training implements that promote a greater level of fitness or body movement control. We do not train body parts! The body is a whole and as a whole functions as a whole. We train body movements. Our view on strength is the body's ability to control movement under a load or opposing force. To increase an individual's strength we either increase the amount of the load used during the movement or increase the number of movements at the original load.

I like to break down this series of strength movements into three categories that come from strength and conditioning coach Dan John. Each of the following categories are the definition of functional fitness and strength. Over the next couple of days we will break down each category into a series of movements we can train regularly to maximize our fitness strength. Today we'll start with Category 1: Your ability to pick something heavy up off the ground. The movement break down of this category from picking up a heavy object from the ground is a three part progression. The first part is a foundational lift, it was the thought to be the only weighted exercise needed by the Greeks they called it the health lift we call it the "Deadlift." The deadlift allows an individual to lift an object off the ground and hold it at waist level while standing fully erect. There is little to no other exercise that engages as many muscles from top to bottom as this lift. Training the deadlift is also relatively open as you can pretty much lift anything from a barbell or dumbbells to a rock, sandbag, or tire. Technique however is paramount, and the key to safe success. Often shirked as a dangerous and unsafe exercise the deadlift has a bad rap. Although, with proper training technique this lift is a fail safe at building a strong and hard working posterior chain.

From the deadlift we progress into the "Sumo Deadlift High-pull" or SDHP. The SDHP is a wider stance movement than the deadlift and allows the individual the ability to take an object from the ground and pull it up to chin height. This is useful in putting heavy objects in the back of a truck or on a high shelf. I've also heard success stories of this movement allowing soldiers to pick up and assist their fellow wounded soldiers while under fire. We will begin training this movement next week.

The third and final movement in Category 1 is the "Clean." The clean highly rivals the deadlift in engaging the majority of the body's muscles from top to bottom. If I could only train one movement for the rest of my life it would be the clean or the deadlift. The clean allows an individual to take a load from the ground and pull it high enough to catch at shoulder level. This means the individual is now able to stand erect with the load either shouldered or in the "Rack position." This is a highly technical movement; however, the ability to master the clean opens the door to a world of opportunity for forward progression in daily fitness. We will be doing a lot of cleans and you will get your practice.

All three of these movements require in depth explanations and demonstration. You can find videos of each exercise under the exercises and demos tab at crossfit.com by Coach Glassman a founder in the new wave of functional fitness. Tomorrow's workout is the same for "Both body weight only" and "Regular" training sessions. Courtesy, of Rob Shaul at militaryathlete.com we will be utilizing "Jingle Jangles" for tomorrow's interval training. Estimate a 5-7 yard space you can run in; once marked out and measured sprint back and forth touching the ground at each side. These are jingle jangles.

10 Rounds
30 secs. Jingle Jangles
30 secs. rest

20 December 2009


The majority of people in this world at some point in time will overcome some kind of difficult challenge. They will push past physical discomfort, mental adversity, fatigue, negative external and internal stressors; whether by choice or through coercion they will fight their way through. How many of those same people day in and day out have it in them to get up again and again and again and then once more no matter how many times they get knocked down? It's hard to say. The training we are getting into goes beyond conditioning physical capacity. There will be times when you will have to decide, to make an individual choice to either quit and walk away - failing to complete the objective - or to press on, suffering physically so you can grow stronger mentally.

Not everyone was cut out for this type of training. Not everyone makes that individual choice of self sacrifice to grow. Not everyone is willing to run into a burning building to save a stranger's life, or throw themselves into the line of fire for the freedom of people they may never see again. Why even bother, sweating, crying, bleeding - are these efforts in vain? Why should I squat or do pull-ups, who needs to carry a sand bag around, I don't feel like running in the cold.

"We'll be there in just two more hours Josh," they had been driving since six a.m. and Lisa was excited to get off the road. Her five yr. old son Josh was getting to visit the house she had grown up in for Christmas at Grandpa's in the Colorado Rockies. "Oh shit!" she cried out, trying to control the wheel. The suburban swung left, then flailed right, fish tailing on black ice. "Mom, MOM!!!" Something warm and wet was in her eyes, she was lying on her side. "Mom, I'm stuck!" She moved, glass shards fell from their perch on her shoulder. "Josh, stay still sweetie, mommy is gonna get us out of here." There was snow in the car, it had rolled. She wiped her eyes to clear the blood that had begun to crust over. She felt nauseous, things were in and out of focus. "Ok Josh hold on." Pulling herself up she could make out her surroundings, the car must have gone over the edge, and had suspended itself trapped between a lodge pine and the side of the drop. Eight feet of fresh colorado air stood between them and the ground before falling off to a hundred foot drop just past the base of the pine. Above, the road was a steep and snow covered few yards away. With Josh tightly grasping around her neck his legs wrapped around her hips the two of them barely squeezed though the driver's side window as she pulled them out into the biting air. On all fours Lisa clawed her way up the powdery embankment. Josh in mind and still clinging to her back she began the two mile hike back up the hill to the gas station they had passed minutes earlier.

Tomorrow's workout:
10x pull-ups
10x kettle bell swings 60/35 lbs.
10x clapping push-ups
20x jumping lunges
8 Rounds no rest!

Body weight only workout:
6 Rounds
15x air squats
15x dive bomber push-ups
10x jump squats
10x grasshoppers
5x tuck jumps
5x clapping push-ups
Rest 1 min.

If you are unfamiliar with an exercise youtube.com has almost every variation of movement! As always this workout is interchangeable with exercises that will work for you, and can and should be scaled to meet your fitness level.

18 December 2009

Limited resources...

Ok so your limited on time, you do not have a gym at your disposal, home equipment is scarce - can you still increase and enhance your fitness level? Without a doubt! Body weight exercises are a phenomenal training tool. Not to mention now a days there is a tremendous variety of movements that can be utilized and when combined into an intense circuit will leave you with nothing, but success. To emphasize this perspective visualize the gymnast. Probably pound for pound some of the strongest athletes in the world. Gymnastics stemmed from Greek training where fitness was paramount; it was in their gymnasium that the Greeks could be found running, jumping, wrestling and boxing.

Some of the basic gymnast conditioning exercises that we can implement consist of these following thirty:

1. All varieties of push-ups
2. All varieties of pull-ups
3. Dips
4. Rope climbs
5. Sit-ups
6. Leg lifts
7. V-ups
8. Knees to elbows
9. L-sits
10. Hollow rocks
11. Mountain climbers
12. Stair running
13. Box jumps
14. Depth jumps
15. Broad jumps
16. Tuck jumps
17. Squat jumps
18. Wall sits
19. Lunges
20. Jump lunges
21. Sprints
24. Burpees
25. Burpee pull-ups
26. Jack knives
27. Jumping jacks
28. Grasshoppers
29. Up downs
30. Handstand walks

To further emphasize the ability of an individual to train at an elite level with limited resources I will begin including a body weight only exercise program along with my regularly posted sessions. There are no scheduled workouts this weekend. Get outside do something fun for yourself, play a sport, or try a new hobby. Use your fitness! Without purpose all things waste away.

17 December 2009


With the way people move about today's world as multi-tasker's consistently adding items to their schedules it's no wonder that the excuse, "I haven't got the time to train" is relevant. On the other side to that is an old school mindset that training sessions are long-winded and can exceed two hours. I, even with a fairly open schedule, would not hesitate to put the kibosh on such nonsense. Don't misinterpret my intentions - long, hard, grinding training sessions are some times necessary for establishing depletion in your body's fitness; however, we will touch on that later. For now let's focus on a much shorter duration of training.

The difference between and also the key factor in a short, quick, get-in get-out training segment and a long, hard grind that makes it just as effective is intensity. The level of intensity that you bring to your short training stints will be the determining factor in your success or failure. Short bouts of hard charging fury are found in several training methods. These include methods like High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), density training, and circuit training. The purpose of all these training techniques lies in the ultimate goal of maximizing the fitness benefit in a limited amount of time, mostly sub 20 minutes.

HIIT aims to challenge the individual with usually between six to ten intervals where you are tasked with a given exercise to perform at maximum body output for a short duration followed by a rest period. Rest periods are usually run on a 2:1 ratio of exercise to rest. An example of an HIIT session would look like this:

Hill sprints
3 min. warm-up
60 sec. sprint
30 sec. rest
8 sets
3 min. cool-down
Total work time expended: 18 min.

A favorite technique of mine and one that we will put to good use is density training. Density training is a highly effective method of increasing your repetition numbers in a given exercise. This technique can be put to use in a few different formats.
The first way is to start with a set time, let's say 20 minutes. Next choose your exercise, we will select a 20 foot rope climb. The goal is to climb the rope every minute on the minute for the extent of workout. Whatever time that remains within the minute after you have completed your climb is your rest interval. The second way of putting this method to use is by performing the maximum amount of repetitions possible in a given time. If we took the snatch, the workout could look like this - max snatches performed in ten minutes. Similar to the last technique the final way to use density training is to establish a set number of repetitions for an exercise, for instance 100 burpees, and then you go to town completing all repetitions as fast as possible.

For tomorrow's workout session we will be utilizing the final method - circuit training. This training implement is as simple as it sounds. A series of exercises are arranged in a sequence of completion, the individual then sets out to complete all the prescribed repetitions of each exercise with no rest until the completion of the circuit. Our training circuit for tomorrow is the following:

6 Rounds
5x muscle-ups
10x sand bag cleans 100/60 lbs.
15x kettle bell swings 60/35 lbs.
20x sledgehammer swings each way (total 40x)
1 min. rest

As always this workout is interchangeable with exercises that will work for you, and can and should be scaled to meet your fitness level. Some suggestions for substitutes:
3x pull-ups/3x dips for 1x muscle-up
barbell, dumbbell or any other object cleans
dumbbell swings, burpees
ball slams, wood chopping

16 December 2009

It's a means not an end...

Often enough, and more so then not in a typical gym, there is the mentality that training or "the workout" is the end goal.
This is a misconception that can lead to burning out, injury, and even lack of interest. People want to "appear fit" or look the part, often without the work or ethics necessary to properly do so. Physical aesthetic is merely a side effect of hard and intense training, and should never be the objective or goal in mind.

On my way home from Thanksgiving vacation with my family I was boarding a Northwest flight out of Boston. As I stepped inside the stewardess out rightly without a hello or anything asked me how much I benched. Oddly enough this is a common misconception as well, that your bench press relates to your physical aptitude in general. How can lying on your back while pushing a load away from your body be the measuring factor of an individuals overall fitness level? Well it can't be and it isn't. I was actually caught off guard and did not know how to respond to her simply because I rarely train the bench press.

Our fitness level is a tool that we apply to everyday life, whether it be in work as soldiers, firefighters, construction workers, or for pleasure enjoying sports and outdoor recreation - the greater the level of fitness the more opportunity we are afforded.

Tomorrow's training segment will be centered around active recovery. I look at active recovery as a day of rest from the demands of training and an opportunity to enjoy a physical activity or sport. For me personally that involves Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and swimming. Try to find time for yourself to partake in whatever physical activity you enjoy!

15 December 2009


Lets talk about being real, honest, upfront. I happen to be nine beers in, bourbon stout a seven percent delicious goodness that I consumed like water. What better time to write openly, then when without inhibition. When it comes to fitness and training to reach an objective level a certain amount of dedication is required. That level pertains to your willingness to sacrifice comfort in order to progress. It is this willingness, or a.k.a. will power that is imperative to understand. Without will power or the choice to push past discomfort and adversity we will not grow.

I want to grow, in fact I want to be the best in everything I can! Okay, how am I going achieve that? Discipline. Done. Simple, right? Not so much, discipline is a skill that takes time and sacrifice to develop. Discipline stems from self sacrifice with an objective in mind.

Day 1: I awoke at 6:30 a.m. (not as early as most, so insignificant) I then after getting ready hopped on my bicycle and peddled through six inches of compressed snow to work. I know other people who do this; I do, and they inspire me. However, how many of you waking up for work on an 18 degree day with snow blowing in your face, each stroke of your peddle turning in vain while threatening to dump you on your face, would decide willingly to sacrifice a warm ride in a car? Good if you said yes, that's dedication, that's promise.

Take from today: That out there, somewhere, there is someone pushing, driving, drilling, striving for a result - giving, sacrificing everything they have to make the best of themselves. I want you to be that person, I want you to excel beyond expectations, to push beyond measure, to strive to be something more than you thought you could become.

Our work in physical measure begins tomorrow. Test yourself, push your limits... I will be completing this training:

5x1 Overhead Squats
5x3 Front Squats
5x5 Back Squats

14 December 2009

Learning to walk...

I am starting this blog as an organic experiment. People will get mad and disagree, it's gonna be about fitness and its gonna suck - at least for me and you'll see why as it unwinds. It stems in response to my dissatisfaction with the current approach, that I view, our society's efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle has undergone. What follows are to be the thoughts of a man sharing his experienced-based knowledge of hard hits and busted limbs to a lifestyle of general physical preparedness.

Consider: The efforts of man are in vain without purpose.

It's hard not to be judgemental, unbiased, to hold no prejudice. Each individual is entitled to their own, so I challenge you to take yours and let go. I want to focus on the achievement of an elite level of what we deem as fitness, which I view as one of the pillar stones to success in a well rounded and long life. How amongst the titans of mass, the generation of athletic mannequins that shaped our fitness realm can one break free? Understanding! Understanding should be simple and sound. Long drawn out hypothesis's can be confusing and misleading. Here is simplicity. Fitness = your body's ability to control movement. Done. It's true, think about it.

I'll probably hate myself later while I'm putting in the work, you want in? You want to be a guinea pig like me? We start tomorrow!