Current training – June 2013

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – well not too much at least.

Not a lot has changed this month – maybe the whole consistancy idea is finally sinking in!

I’m not being too rigid with the routine. I will do all of the things listed below at some point during the week but might move things around to take advantage of the good weather. I’m exercising outside as much as possible at the moment. The sunshine is a rare and welcome thing in my litttle part of the world so I want to spend as much time outside as possible.

Work is pretty crazy at the moment as well so a walk at lunchtime is out of the question. Most days when I finish I just want to get out in the park and run around for a bit (once my girls are in bed that is!).

Saturday – rest

Sunday – run (longer 6-8km)

Monday – home

  • Warm up – Becoming Bulletproof, 16kg Goblet squat & curl, 16kg Windmill
  • A1:Windmill – 16kg x 5/5, Turkish get up, 20kg x 1/1, 24kg x 1/1
  • A2: Goblet squat – 16kg x 8 (plus 3 curls at bottom of last rep), 20kg x 6-8, 24kg x 6-8
  • B1: KB deadlift, 48-65kg – 3 x 5-8
  • C1: KB clean & press – 20kg x 10-20 reps, sets vary
  • C2: Hang from bar – 10-30sec between c&p sets
  • D1: Farmers walk – 24-28kg each hand
Tuesday – run 3-4km (maybe)

Wednesday – park workout

  • Warm up – Becoming Bulletproof, run to the park
  • Run around the park stopping off for a few:
    • Push ups
    • Pull ups
    • Dips
    • Rows
    • Crawls

Thursday – Movnat/playing in the morning, swim in the afternoon

Friday – park workout

  • Warm up – Becoming Bulletproof, run to the park
  • This session is more playful:

How to find ways to move more when at work

I think that anyone that works at a desk all day and is interested in their health and fitness probably feels they need to move more during the day – I know I do. The nature of a desk job means that, even if you put aside an hour every day to do some exercise, you still spend the bulk of your time not moving.

The average work day for a desk-bound exerciser

If we assume 8 hours sleep (lucky you!), 8 hours sat at your desk (luck you again!) and 1 hour exercise that leaves an additional 7 hours to account for. Let’s be generous and say our average desk-bound exerciser has another 3 hours of random moving during the day from walking to/from the train station and office, cooking, showering etc. We still have 4 extra hours left over, let’s be less generous with those and assume they are taken up by sitting eating, commuting and watching some tv in the evening.

So if we combine the moving, and not moving times we get: Andy’s amazing average desk-bound exerciser movement chart
Desk-bound-exerciser-chart

Oh dear. Obviously even our super-good, super-fit, desk-bound exerciser would be better off with some extra movement in their day.

So what can you do?

As much as it would be lovely to simply reduce the work time and add in more exercise that isn’t feasible. Instead we can look at ways to break up the time spent not moving with bits of moving – genius.

Frank Forencich of Exuberant Animal uses a lovely phrase for this kind of thing: movement snacks. The is exactly what we are looking for, bite-sized bits of movement throughout the day that don’t tire you out but break up the inactivity.

There are a million ways you could do this, but here are a few of my favourites:

  • Take the stairs. I think this is the simplest and most worthwhile of all. I work on the 6th floor so even on a really busy day I know I will get 12 flights up and 12 flights down. Chances are I will go to meetings during the day or head out at lunchtime as well so get a fair bit of extra movement this way. It took some time to get used to but now is second nature.
  • Do some joint mobility every time you go to the toilet. Focus on the bits that get tight when you are sat down – shoulders, upper back, hips – it all helps.
  • Go and see people. I sometimes get instant messages from people that sit a few desks away. If you take the time to get up and see people you will move more, be more social, and probably use the stairs more – winner!
  • Practice squatting. Simply changing the angle your knees are stuck at for a little while has to be good for you. Your hips will be happy too.
  • Do a quick lunchtime workout. I’ve unashamedly stolen this from a post on the Dave Draper forum. It doesn’t even just have to be lunchtime but the idea is to do mini workouts throughout the day. This would be loads easier if you could hang a pull up bar somewhere, or have some weights under your desk, and even easier if you are working at home. Equipment isn’t necessary though, a quick workout that I’m doing at lunctimes is 2-3 rounds of:
      • Push ups x 5-10
      • Wall batwing* x 20-30sec
      • Squat x 5-10
      • Wall batwing* x 20-30sec
  • Sit on the floor. This more of a home than work thing, and isn’t really moving but  making time spent sitting more productive. I can’t remember which Dan John post it was from but the idea was: ‘You can watch as much TV as you want, but sit on the floor while you do’. You basically end up fidgeting and stretching the whole time – good stuff.

There are loads of other options but hopefully this gives an idea. The stairs themselves have plenty of opportunity for variety – take 2/3 at once, go up them backwards, on tip toes etc.

* This is taken from Dan John’s excellent book Intervention. You stand a foot or so away from a wall lean back into it, plank yourself, then push you elbows back into the wall hard. If you are doing it right your rhomboids will say ‘wakey wakey!’

Current training – May 2013

Now we’re getting semi-regular sunshine I’m doing as much of my training outside as possible. Being able to exercise with the sun on your face is a wonderful thing.

I’m doing two types of main session, still loosely on the same framework as last month. The first is a basic strength workout where I do some kettlebell lifts in my garden and then loaded carries up and down the street.

The second is some basic bodyweight exercises in a local park. I’m lucky enough to have a couple of outdoor gyms nearby. Inexplicably most of the equipment is for cardio (think rowers, steppers etc), which has always seemed odd as it makes more sense to me to do cardio by moving around the park. Fortunately there are also dipping stations and some play equipment that is good for pull ups.On the other days I’m enjoying some easy Maffetone style runs, always on Thursdays and sometimes on Tuesdays too – depending how energetic I’m feeling. I’m also running to and from the park for those sessions and including sprinting. Quite a bit of running at the moment.

Saturday – rest

Sunday – home

  • Warm up – Becoming Bulletproof, 16kg Goblet squat & curl, 16kg Windmill
  • A1: TGU – 24kg x 1/1
  • A2: Goblet squat – 24kg x 6-10, 28kg x 5-8
  • B1: KB clean & press – 20kg x 10-20 reps, sets vary
  • B2: Chin up – BW/+5kg/+10kg x 10-20 reps, sets vary
  • C1: KB swing – 24kg x 10, 10, 10
  • D1: Farmers walk – 24-28kg each hand
Monday – park workout
  • Warm up – Becoming Bulletproof, run to the park
  • 3-4 rounds of 5-10 reps:
    • Push ups
    • Pull ups
    • Dips
    • Rows
  • Then:
    • Sprinting/cartwheels/tree climbs (play stuff)
Tuesday – run 4-5km (maybe)
Wednesday – home
  • Warm up – Becoming Bulletproof, 16kg Goblet squat & curl, 16kg Windmill
  • A1: TGU – 24kg x 1/1
  • A2: Goblet squat – 24kg x 6-10, 28kg x 5-8
  • B1: KB clean & press – 20kg x 10-20 reps, sets vary
  • B2: Chin up – BW/+5kg/+10kg x 10-20 reps, sets vary
  • C1: KB swing – 28kg x 8, 8, 8
  • D1: Bear hug/shoulder carry

Thursday – run 6-8km

Friday – park workout

  • Warm up – Becoming Bulletproof, run to the park
  • 3-4 rounds of 5-10 reps:
    • Push ups
    • Pull ups
    • Dips
    • Rows
  • Then:
    • Sprinting/cartwheels/tree climbs (play stuff)

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

Keeping training productive on little sleep

I’m still finding my way with my current exercise schedule. As I mentioned in my last training post, sleep is quite bad at the moment. It is getting better but day-to-day I’m still dealing with a pretty hefty sleep deficit.

This means that exercise sessions of around an hour feel hard to recover from. 45 minutes is ok sometimes, but it really depends on what I have been doing. I’ve been trying to find a way to arrange everything so that I feel like I’m being productive and am doing something most days, but not leaving myself exhausted in the process.

Luckily Tom Furman recently posted a programme he calls the Isaac Hayes template which gives a great solution. It breaks the days up into a cycle of hard, medium and easy, with a short session each day.

I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now, running through the cycle twice in a week from Sunday-Friday with a rest on Saturdays.

It’s been working well. The sessions are easy to recover from and sticking with the principles of hard, medium, easy has stopped me worrying about fitting everything into this training session and this week. Instead:

  • Two days a week I work on strength
  • Two days I improve movement and plug any gaps
  • Two days a week I do something restorative
  • And one day I rest and play

As mentioned in Tom’s post: you will not become super-advanced in anything training this way, but instead:

“It’s training for life. You avoid boredom, don’t get overtrained and maintain balance. This truly encompasses the idea of being process oriented vs goal oriented. Show up and do it. The more you show up, amazingly, the better you get. The intensity is built on a base of consistency.

Consistency I can do, it’s the per-session intensity/volume I’m struggling with. So I’ll just show up on a regular basis and see where it takes me.

Here’s how I group everything together. All sessions are done in around 30mins. I will change exercises every 3-4 weeks, but may be a bit more random with the medium days.

Heavy – either 3-5 reps very-hard, or 6-10 reps fairly-hard

  • Gymnastic rings/Muscle ups
  • Dips
  • Push up varieties
  • Chin up varieties
  • Headstand push ups
  • Rope climbing
  • Gymnastic static holds
  • Pistols
  • Natural leg curls
  • Heavy KB swings

Medium – multiple planes of motion, mobility

  • KB timed sets (lighter weights)
  • Powerclub swinging
  • Florieo/capoeira conditioning
  • Prasara yoga
  • Handstands
  • Bridging
  • Postural stuff with bands – pull aparts, good mornings
  • Kettlebell farmers walks
  • Extra ab work

Light – aerobic, stretching

  • Easy running
  • Crawls
  • Light yoga
  • Stretching

Current training – March 2013

The most notable change this month is that I’m taking a break from judo. Both my girls’ sleep is particularly bad at the moment, between them they are up at 1-3 times every night and it’s starting to take its toll. By the time I’m supposed to leave for judo training on a Friday night I’m pretty much ready for bed so rather than go anyway, not be 100% on the mat and be extra exhausted the next day (part of the oh so previous weekend!), I’m going to stay away for a few weeks until things settle down. I’ll train at home on Fridays instead, but can manage the time, volume etc much better there.

Other than that it’s all roughly the same. I’m now using the 20kg kettlebell for jerks which actually feels easier than the 16kg as the extra weight helps me keep my arm relaxed and get more drive from my legs.

I’ve also switched snatches for long cycle jerks. The progress I had with my snatch technique last month disappeared so rather than bang my head against a wall I’m switching to a lift I know I can do. I’m not training to compete in kettlebell lifting so the lifts are largely irrelevant. The point is just to lift the weight many times without putting it down.

The gymnastic ring work is still treating me well so I’ll stick at it for a while longer. I’m adjusting the volume and intensity depending on what stage of the jerk progression I’m at.

Sunday

  • A1: 20kg turkish get up – 1R/1L x 2
  • B1: OALCCJ 16kg jerk edt up to 10mins @ 8rpm
  • C1: Tuck back lever – 20, 30 sec
  • 360 Pulls – 1-3 x 2

Monday

  • A1: Squats
  • B1: Handstand practice
  • C1:Straddle L (bent leg, low)
  • C2: Rope climb

Wednesday

  • A1: 20kg turkish get up – 1R/1L x 2
  • B1: OAJ 20kg edt up to 10mins @ 6rpm
  • C1: Muscle up/ring routine
  • D1: 28kg KB swing

Thursday – run

Friday

  • A1: Squats
  • B1: Handstand practice
  • C1:Straddle L (bent leg, low)
  • C2: Pike press HeS

Using EDT for kettlebell training

As mentioned in my previous post, here are some example Escalating Density Training (EDT) templates that can be used for kettlebell lifting.

I picked up the idea for this from the excellent blog – Girevoy Sport After 40 – which is a goldmine of information on this style of training. Those posts can be found here and here.

The idea is very simple – the reps stay roughly similar but the time taken to do them goes down.

By time

I like using time for jerks as it can be used to force extra time in the rack position, something that takes a bit of getting used to, but also make sure you’re not slacking off and are keeping the reps coming.

Each step is used for one workout. The rpm and weight should be kept constant throughout. When you get to the end increase the weight or rep speed and start again.

  1. 10 sets of 1 minute sets
  2. 5 sets of 2 minute
  3. 4 sets of 3 minute
  4. 3 sets of 4 minute
  5. 2 sets of 5 minute
  6. 1 set of 6 minutes
  7. 7 minutes
  8. 8 minutes
  9. 9 minutes
  10. 10 minutes

I’m using this for one arm jerks and have been switching hands every minute in the early stages and then taking longer between switches once I get to the single longer sets.

By number of repetitions

I prefer this for snatches as I can control the pace a bit more, and keep a better check on technique, without feeling pushed into the next rep before I’m ready.

There are a lot of options. One could be to work towards 100 reps with one hand switch:

  1. 5/5 reps x 10 sets
  2. 6/6 x 8
  3. 8/8 x 6
  4. 10/10 x 5
  5. 12/12 x 4
  6. 15/15 x 3
  7. 20/20 x 2
  8. 25/25 x 2
  9. 50/50

Another (which is what I’m doing) is to switch hands more often but have a greater number of total reps:

  1. 5/5/5/5 x 8 (160)
  2. 6/6/6/6 x 6 (144)
  3. 7/7/7/7 x 6 (168)
  4. 8/8/8/8 x 5 (160)
  5. 9/9/9/9 x 4 (144)
  6. 10/10/10/10 x 4 (160)