Current training – April 2013

My sleep is getting better but still far from ideal. I think that’s just part of the parenting gig though.

The Isaac Hayes template I posted about a couple of weeks ago is still working well. My current set up looks like this:

Sunday (heavy)

  • A1: 20kg Turkish get up
  • B1: 20kg one arm jerk 6-8 mins @ 6rpm
  • C1: One arm push up –  hands elevated
  • C2: Partial pistol
  • C3: Tuck back lever
  • D1: 20kg swing 3 mins

Monday (medium)

  • L- seat
  • Bridging
  • Movnat – jumping/climbing/balancing/carrying
  • Prasara yoga

Tuesday (easy) – run (maybe) or light stretching (more likely)

Wednesday (heavy)

  • A1: 20kg Turkish get up
  • B1: 20kg one arm jerk 6-8 mins @ 6rpm
  • C1: One arm push up –  hands elevated
  • C2: Partial pistol
  • C3: Tuck back lever
  • D1: 20kg swing 3 mins

Thursday (medium)

  • L- seat
  • Bridging
  • Movnat – jumping/climbing/balancing/carrying
  • Prasara yoga

Friday (easy) – run


The importance of floor movement

There have been a few pieces flying around the interwebz in the last few months about the importance of floor living.

My kids live on the floor, they are up and down off of it and crawling around constantly. Something happens as we get older – we stop playing, worry about being ‘dirty’ and start to avoid being on the floor, and pretty soon it becomes difficult. This is wrong, we shouldn’t abandon moving around the floor just because we are ‘grown up’.

Most of what I’ve seen written recently has focused on the basics of sitting on the floor, getting up and down and crawling – which are fundamental. It can also be taken a bit further and be much more fun.

Where to start?

Start at the start. Ask yourself – when was the last time you sat on the floor for a decent amount of time?

Dan John made a great suggestion in a recent post: “Watch all the television you want, but you must be on the floor sitting when you do.”

Then practice getting up and down off the floor any way you can. Think about how you are moving and try to make it as easy as possible.

  • One way to do this is practice Turkish Get Ups without weight.
  • Roll on the floor and try some basic crawls – I highly recommend you check out Becoming Bulletproof for more on this.

Once you become more comfortable on the floor you can add variety into the ways you get up and down off of the floor, try different crawls and maybe start to add weight to the movements.

This article on the MovNat site has some excellent examples of how to do this.

And then…

Then take it beyond the fundamental and useful. Get playful and add additional complexity to how you move. Doing so will also bring additional confidence in your ability for floor-based movement.

I’ve mentioned Ido Portal’s floreio work and the book Capoeira Conditioning before and both are excellent examples of how to take this stuff further.

It’s also worth looking into basic tumbling – forward and backward rolls, plus cartwheels. Tumbling Drills is a great resource.

I put some of the basic stuff into my warmups and do more complex movements on my ‘medium‘ days. I think this kind of movement can really help people stay healthy as they age – the more comfortable you are moving around the floor the less you will fear being or falling onto it.

Give it a go – you’ll learn a lot about your body and have a loads of fun.

Here’s Ido Portal showing where you can take this stuff

Great stuff on the new MovNat blog

There’s been some great stuff on the MovNat site since it relaunched a couple of weeks ago. Last week a different technique was broken down each day, before being linked together as a full combo.

I really like where they are going. The content is fantastic and looks like it’s being refined all the time.

Check it out (the first move is a great way to get off the floor while holding a baby BTW):

1: Lateral Four Sitting to Tall Split Kneeling to Tall Half-kneeling

2: Balancing Tiptoe Shuffling

3: Stepping Out

4: Balancing Deep Knee Bend

5: Balancing Deep Knee Bend Pivot

And then the full combo: “Shuffle Job”

Great indoor MovNat combo – adaptability

There was a great post on the MovNat site earlier this week by MovNat Team Instructor, Kellen Milad.

The post explains how you can add adaptability to your training by varying the type of walk, carry, crawl etc as you go through the combo – it’s a great idea.

MovNat training is at its best when done outside but it is not always possible. I really liked how this post demonstrated a range of MovNat skills being trained in an indoor setting.

The facility Kellen is using is amazing – what an awesome collection of toys! Luckily the combo is fairly simple to tailor so it can be done at home with minimal equipment. .

A slight change to the climbing techniques would mean they could be done on a pull up bar. You could even do the carries with a chair, or bag full of tin cans, and reduce the equipment further.

Check out the video:

Do these things

  • Train in a way you enjoy
  • Make sure you are able to lift, carry, climb, run and jump a bit
  • Sort your posture out
  • Sit less
  • Free your feet
  • Listen to your body, try not to injure yourself (don’t be stupid)
  • Eat proper food – if you don’t understand the words on the label don’t eat it
  • Enjoy treats sometimes – don’t be a bore
  • Be nice to people
  • Think things through, make up your own mind, make decisions
  • Chill out – it’s probably not that important
  • If it is that important – share it with someone that you love


Some basic principles

Here are a couple of basic training principles I’ve been thinking about. I started off trying to write a list of five, but stopped at two instead – no need to make things more complicated than they have to be.

Be strong to be useful

We are all well aware of the value of strength training. Getting stronger makes most other activities easier.

This quote says it all – I’ve seen it attributed to various people – Dan John, Brett Jones and Eric Cressy – all smart guys and worth listening to.

Maximal strength is the glass in which all other strength qualities fit into and at a certain point you will be limited by the size of the glass.

That said, there is a difference between being strong to be useful, and just being strong. You have to be able to apply any strength built in the gym outside of the gym.

This is not just a machines vs free weights thing, but also about keeping balance, like still being able to do a pull up while getting better at picking up heavy stuff.

Gym lifts are impressive, but the ability to express that strength in real life has to be the main aim.

Move so that you can

The human body is capable of a wide variety of incredible and interesting movements – train them, play with them and enjoy them.

This starts with basic natural movements that can be useful in life:

  • If you can crawl it helps play with your kids.
  • If you can run you won’t miss that train.
  • If you can climb tree you can escape a hungry tiger.*

It is also well worth including more playful, exploratory movement as well – gymnastics, handbalancing, capoeira, dancing etc – they teach you lot about your body and what it can do.

If you consistently move in your training, you will be able to consistently move. It sounds obvious but is easy to miss if you focus too heavily on gym training. I think that maintaining wide-ranging movement ability is fundamental to healthy longevity.

* I know tigers are pretty good at tree climbing too. The likelihood in the tiger situation is that you are just fucked – but you get my point.

Current training – July

I’ve decided to made my training update more honest this month.

I usually list out a few workouts on a weekly schedule which no doubt gives the impression I stick with that routine for every week in the month.

The reality is a bit more fluid. I will have a pool of 4-5 workouts that I choose from during the month. Week by week the sessions vary but will have consistencies like handstands, rope climbs, squats etc so that, as well as variety, I also regularly practice the skills I want to get better at.

My choice will be based on the previous session, time, energy levels and any soreness.

Currently it is a combination of basic gymnastics, MovNat, stuff from Capoeira Conditioning and some kettlebells – a fine mix.

I train each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Each session will generally follow this format:

    1. Warm up
    2. Static holds
    3. Handstand practice
    4. Strength/conditioning

      The static and handstand portions generally look like this:

      • A1: Low L-sit – 2 x 20sec
      • A2: German Hang – 2 x 30sec
      • A3: Tuck front lever – 2 x 20sec
      • B1: Face wall handstand – 5 x 30sec
      • C1: Handstand kick up and hold – 10-15

        I then complete the session with one of:

        1. D1: Goblet squat – 3 x 8
          E1: Negativa lateral-cartwheel – 4-6 x 5/5
          E2: Rope pull up (hand by opposite elbow) – 4-6 x 3-5
        2. D1: Cartwheel-QDR – 4-6 x 3/3
          D2: Rope climb (up/down no legs) – 4-6 x 1
          E1: KB swing – 3-5 x 10-15
        3. D1: Goblet – 3 x 8
          E1: Ring routine – 3 x MU-dip-back roll-reverse crank-crank
        4. MovNat – various (may also drop statics and do longer MovNat session)
        5. D1: Extend handstand practice
          E1: QDR – 3-5 x 10-20sec
          F1: KB swing – 3-5 x 10-15

        I’ll also go for an easy run on a Thursday and either a run or bike on Sunday. I may also go climbing at some point.