Glutes, Hams, Crossfit…and Jim Radcliffe

In previous posts I’ve mentioned how I love the Glute/Ham Raise  (GHR) exercise, and especially so the exercise as it is performed on a specifically designed GHR bench (though the “poor man’s” version is a suitable compromise).  Another exercise — one that I’ve not commented on very much — is the glute bridge/hamstring curl performed using blast straps or, as a suitable compromise, on a physio ball.

Have a look at the “suspended hamstring curl” demo here (and under the “lower body” tab), from the TRX site’s video library.  And yeah, if used wisely, and within an overall intelligently designed program, these straps (or hell, the home made version works just as well) are an awesome compliment.  I can’t think of any other “in the gym” exercise that works the glute/ham synchronicity the way this exercise, properly performed (Hips high, and keep ’em high!) does.  Check out Dr.  Yessis‘ thoughts on working the glute/ham complex; my thoughts are similar.  Now, I don’t know what the good Dr.’s glute/ham contraption looks like, but I do know I can at least approximate that motion using a cheap set of blast straps and stirrups.  Note:  this does not mean that I’ve given up on the GHR, RDL, SLDL, Good Mornings, and the whole host of other glute/ham exercises.  Far from it.  I’m just saying that the glute bridge/ham curl is a complete glute/ham exercise that one ought to consider keeping at the top of the ol’  toolbox.

Workouts?  Workouts!

A nice combo to get the week that began on 10/4/10 kicked-off right.  Let’s dub this one the Rosedale.

The following, in a giant-set format:

deep lunge position pec flye (approx. 45-degree elevation from bottom-out to top-of-range arm motion): 130 x 15; 140 x 14

floor press: 215 x 8, 7

bent-over row: 265 x 8, 7

CZT compound rep,  chest press/row: 3, 3

Just 2 rounds?  Yeah, just two.  A pre-exhaust scheme coupled with a CZT blast will put a definite hurtin’ on you in a hurry.  On to some lower-body work:

Trap bar low pulls (think fast!  Think power!): 320 x 8, 8

blast strap glute bridge/ham curl: 10, 10

Oh, and speaking of the need for athletes to hone the ability to generate immediate power — and ability to express that power, repeatedly, over a rather large span of time (soccer match, tennis match, football game, for example), see this article about the Oregon Ducks, and their brilliant S&C coach, Jim Radcliffe.  Coach “Rad” is definitely my kind of guy; ethical, a contagious enthusiasm for S&C work, and the love he feels for each and every one of his student-athletes permeates his being.  How could anyone not want to perform for this gentleman?  Truly a strength coach’s strength coach.  Have a look at this clip about coach Rad, and see what I mean (hat tip to the Iron Maven, Tracy Fober, for this find.  Tracy always has fantastic content at her site, A Philosophy of Strength and Health; be sure to drop by often — you’ll be glad you did).

And more on coach Rad, if you’re so inclined.  I could learn from and about this guy for days on end and not tire of it in the least.

Wednesday’s “What Can I Do in 25-Minutes” Workout –

25 minutes?  Yep; start to finish.  Rest between sets and/or exercises?  Let’s just call it “minimal”, and leave it at that 🙂

Tru squat: (wide stance, below parallel, 41×1 tempo) Rest-Pause x 2 reps at each weight 80, 115, 150 x 6 sets of 2; then immediately to:

Blast Strap Glute Raise/Ham Curl: x 7, 6

Nautilus Pec Dec: 110 x 8 ( 42×2 tempo), then immediately to:

weighted dips: Rest-Pause; 70 x 5, 2, 2, 1, 1

Nautilus pull-over: 230 x 9 (51×1 tempo), then immediately to:

reverse-grip pull-ups: bodyweight x 10, 6 @ 50×0 tempo

Nautilus shoulder lateral raise: 170 x 10 (40×0 tempo), then immediately to:

X-Ccentric jammer: (think “thruster”, with a nice, forward lean-in)+50 lbs x 7 resp-pause singles (40×0 tempo)

And what better way to round-out the week on Friday, than with some power snatch/OHS combos?

power snatch (+OHS): 115 x 3 (3), 3(3); 125 x 3(3); 135 x 3(3); 145 x 5(5), 3(3), 3(3)

The notation here means that I, for example, popped-off 3 power snatches, then immediately followed that with 3 overhead squats at the same weight.

Oh, and hey – Jamie Scott, over at the Primal Muse, shares what he likes — and dislikes — about Crossfit. And I’d say his observations are spot-on.  Nice write-up, Jamie.  Also of note: check-out Jamie’s six-part High Fat Diets for Cyclists series, beginning here — sensational work is an understatement.

And remember folks, athletic prowess begins where good health ends; toward that end, check-out the finest essay I have seen to date on the issue of performance enhancing drug use in sport.

11 responses to “Glutes, Hams, Crossfit…and Jim Radcliffe

  1. If we could call this a conjugate scheme, we’d say Monday is a high effort, wednesday is a high intensiveness (control vs. power), Friday is high power/skill? It’s difficult for me to quantify because I see conjugate and I think “Max effort, Speed Work, Repetition work.”

    Similarly, I’m attempting to incorporate a conjugate method into my climbing training. I’d like to get your thoughts on this (perhaps during/after the business meeting). I’m attempting to quality certain grip exercises as “power/plyo, max effort, repetition/groove greasing” and build them into an overall plan. Paralysis by analysis is certainly evident.

    • Yeah, we have to look beyond the Conjugate Method theory as it is applied toward bettering powerlifters. Louie speaks volumes toward the need for powerlifters to be…er…powerful, but in truth, they have to posses, and train for, a high degree of “grind it out” strength. I’m not so interested in honing this aspect of strength specifically, preferring instead to train more like a power/speed/short sprint athlete.

      To break the paralysis by analysis vex, start by examining what trainable attributes are required of a great climber, then back into the ME, DE, repitition scheme as it would apply to those attributes. That is to say, ME for a climber will bear little resemblance to ME as applied to powerlifting, however, the theory will still apply.

      But yeah, we’ll definitely kick-around some ideas next week — conjugate for climbers? You may just have yourself an idea for the next internet e-book best seller 🙂 I’m figuring we’re both gonna be movie stars, though, after we appear in Mark’s upcoming Robert Rogriguez-inspired CZT shoot 🙂

  2. Here I am, stooging on the couch on a Saturday night after a session of hard intervals on the fixie this morning (20mins @ threshold, 3x 2min out of the saddle climbs [30 secs off], 3x 4mins of 12 secs (accelerating every 4 secs) on, 8 secs off [60 secs off between sets], and thinking I’d just have a look see at what Keith has blogged about… and he blogged about me!! Far out. Thanks for the recognition! One more post to go on the cycling and high fat diet/strength training to draw it all together!



    • Great insight in both the series and in the Crossfit critique, Jamie. Drop by and let’s talk shop if you ever come through Austin. Maybe we can figure out a way to prove to the endurance community that they truly are better served to consume a higher fat/Paleo-like diet, include some serious strength training, and to run/cycle train in an intensive, interval fashion.

  3. That Alva Noë is a commendably clear thinker and erudite writer. I share his views on performance-enhancing drugs. I would add something though. There’s another type of objection to drug-use that he did not address and it’s part of a broader category, which is the objection to individual/national athletic success being increasingly determined by finance.

    The practicalities of doing an audit on an athlete’s environmental advantages – just thinking about it we know it’s a road we don’t want to go down. We can’t level the playing-field. But we nevertheless do feel special respect for the Third World athlete who did not train with the advantages conferred by wealth. Drugs, and the experts who can administer them optimally, cost money.

    When cybernetic implants become accepted in sport, people will regard sports as a freak-show, not a meaningful contest, regardless of how muh sacrifice may still be involved in winning. The bottom line will be: who got the Coke-cola sponsorship that allowed him to get the strongest robot legs or the fastest fibre-optic reflexes?

    I suspect however that these developments do not engender pointlessness in athletics; they only expose it. Wanting to be the fastest or strongest is absurd. It’s never made any sense or been a ‘fair’ test of anything that matters. The analogue of thinking that athletic victory is ‘important’ and a source of valid pride is thinking that the mentally and physically disabled are unimportant and should live in shame.

    Yes, able-bodied and disabled athletes have a kind of cult of willpower and respect and reward what is achieved by determination. In my opinion, this is the wrong reason to respect sport and athletics. Determination can be completely wrongheaded and futile – it is not a good in itself except according to silly romantic philosophies of ‘self-determination’.

    What is good and beautiful in athletics, sport, life itself is absorption and mastery. Becoming one with an event. A great rock musician may have little natural gifts in vocals or guitar but may still carry it off with charisma because he has conviction, absorption and attains his own artistry. He might not have the fingers or the brain to win a ‘guitar contest’ but his self-expression is consummate and we perceive and appreciate this.

    Expressing oneself fully in all physical, mental and moral dimensions is beautiful, but wanting to win at any price is ugly. Seeing athletes shooting up in order to beat their rivals – regardless of whether they have specialists to administer the shot or they do it in toilet-stalls – is ugly.

  4. ham curls on a stability ball is similar to that TRX exercise. they are challenging, to say the least. I have access to a TRX at my gym — maybe I’ll put together and upper and lower day of 5 or 6 exercises and try that for a while!

    • Yep, and I like the stability ball version as well. I do think the strap version is a bit more difficult, at least in the “ham curl” portion of the movement, and when first introducing the exercise I’ll generally use the ball.

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