The University of Texas’ Stark Center, Anchor for PFX12

“The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.” – Bertrand Russell

OK, so it’s been a while since I documented a run of workouts, so what better time to take a snapshot of things than Thanksgiving week?  Actually, this turned out to be a fairly typical workout week for me, with lots of varied modalities and overall session intensity variability tossed into the mix.

A snapshot of last week’s workouts –

Monday –
(A1) Powermax360 work: 30 seconds on, 15 off; 2 rounds
(A2) Eccentric Edge, leverage flat bench: 7 reps, max power output, no grind outs
4 total rounds.

Tuesday –
(first workout) – whip snatch + 3 overhead squats: 10 total sets, working up from 135 to 150 lbs
(second workout, 2 hours later) – thrusters x 3 reps: 5 total sets, working up from 135 to 185 lbs

Wednesday –
Lotsa fixie hucking 🙂

Thursday – Autoregulated lifts, with a decided power emphasis (i.e, reps were kept quick, with no grind-outs); 5 total rounds.
(A1) trap bar DLs: workup to 445 x2

(A2) Dips: workup to 95 x 5

(A3) free bar chins: workup to 95 x 3

Assessment: good day for dips, and so-so for chins.  As for DLs?  Meh…  In defense of a sub-par DL showing though, this was a friggin’ tough-ass combo.

Friday –
Sprint starts (30 yards)  and limited monkey & parallel bar work (really feelin’ Thursday’s DLs — not much spring in the legs)

Saturday –
Sprints (100 yards, 8 x <15 seconds, 45 seconds recoverery) and heavy sandbag work — clean & press, snatch, totes, etc.  (yikes!  *Still* feeling those DLs!).

Sunday –
A rare day completely off — unless you count my wrestle with IKEA furniture assembly 🙂

And now for your viewing pleasure…

How about an up-close-and-personal preview of the venue that will serve as the anchor to this spring’s highly anticipated PFX12 symposium?  Having been lucky enough to have been invited (as a personal guest of Ken “Transevolutionary Fitness” O’Neill) to the reception celebrating the official opening of the Stark Center’s Joe and Betty Weider Museum of Physical Culture, I can tell you that this place is just amazing to a dyed-in-the-wool Physical Culturalist like myself.

Anyway, you can get a feel for the scope and breadth of the facility via the short documentary and blog post, here.  Oh, and as an added bonus, yours truly makes a cameo appearance at about mark 2:00.  So does this mean that, since I’ve now rubbed elbows at such an event with the likes of Arnold, Boyer Coe, Larry Scott, Bill Pearl, Ronnie Coleman and Mark Henry, that my acting career will now skyrocket? 🙂  Heh; I wouldn’t hold your breath if I were you…

In other news, it looks like my man Anthony Johnson has this summer’s 21 Convention talks by Skyler and myself up and available now.  The theme of Skyler’s presentation (link here, via Anthony’s blog) centers on training expectations over a lifetime; in other words, taking a long-range of your training efforts, and purposefully directing those efforts so as to positively affect the entirety of your life.  As always, good stuff from my Efficient Exercise training brother-in-arms.

In my own presentation, I explore (among other various topics) the highly n=1 nature of health vs performance, and the often-times contradictory nature of chasing performance as a means of bolstering health.  I’ll warn you ahead of time: if you’re looking for sound-bite answers, quick-fixes, or a one-size-fits-all template, I’m not your guy, and this won’t be your jam.  The truth is, all I can define are general processes that are applicable to iron game pursuits.  Cooking from a book will never make one a chef any more than will painting by numbers make one an artist.  In the same way, training from a template will never make one a true Physical Culturalist.  One must learn hints from others, then forge their own n=1 path.

The Vampire chronicles…

In an upcoming series of posts, I’ll be documenting my recent bloodwork draw, and what those lab numbers reveal.  Nutritionist Holly L’Italien, from Austin’s Merritt Wellness Center will be doing some TTP guest posting as she hacks away at this kid’s bloodwork.  I can tell you this: intelligent bloodwork analysis is a friggin Rubik’s Cube puzzle.  Many, many mitigating and conflicting factors to consider.  This should be interesting as hell, especially as my numbers are anything but straightforward.  Stay tuned.

In health,
Keith

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Pushing Physiological Limits vs Attaining (and Maintaining) Health

Pushing physiological limits, and the study thereof, is indeed an exciting aspect of exercise science.  And, as ABC’s Hungry Beast points out, “…few of us have any idea about what it takes to produce a world-beating result… “.  To that end, check  out this fascinating clip, wherein Kirk Docker deconstructs the machine that is Shane Perkins, Australia’s fastest track cyclist.

Fascinating, yes — but of what relevance does this have to the pursuit of attaining and maintaining optimum health?  Well, the same relevance, I think, that the NASA programs ultimately had on trickle-down technologies (think Teflon) used in everyday life.  What we can glean from studying these superhuman performances can indeed be used — if modified correctly — in the training of mere mortals looking for enhanced quality of life.

If we consider, once more, my health-performance curve, it’s not difficult to ascertain exactly where on the curve that Shane resides; decidedly (and unapologetically so), in the land of C.

And more power to him; he’s exciting as hell to watch and to study.  But to the extent that the general population — those who ought to be concerned with easily-achievable, overall health and well-being — continues to equate “health” with the exploits of the Shane Perkinses of the world, only exacerbates their reluctance to engage in any fitness program whatsoever.  Why do anything, when I sure as hell can’t do that?  Part of conquering the American (and increasingly so, world-wide) health crisis will be the wholesale paradigm shift away from equating “health” to superhuman athletic performance, and the athletes who produce those performances.

~

An Autoregulation example

I’ve fielded quite a few questions as of late regarding the real-life execution of Autoregulation, and I figured that filming an actual utilization episode might help to clear things up.  As I state in the clip, the Autoregulation template can only be considered just that — a basic recipe, and no more.  Watch an expert chef, like Meesus TTP, create an actual gourmet meal by using a recipe as little more than a rough guideline and you’ll know what I’m getting at.  Some things you can only learn from time in the kitchen — or time under the bar.  It has to be — pardon the cliche — a process.

The Autoregulation weight selection template for the 5 to 7 rep range is simple enough:

1. 50% of expected 6-rep max for 10 -12 reps

2. 75% of expected 6-rep max for 6 reps

3. expected 6-rep max for maximum repetitions

4. adjusted load (according to the performance of set #3, with a target of 6 reps), again, for maximum repetitions.

Of course, we have a preliminary warm-up (and/or “feel-out” sets) for most exercises prior to diving into the 50% set.  And most times (as in the example below), my entire workout is built around the Autoregulated exercise.  Sometimes, though, I’ll Autoreg two back-to-back exercises in the same workout.  The beauty of Autoregulation is that it can accommodate this kind of variance quite well; flexibility being the hallmark of this method.  Consider Autoregulation the adjustable wrench in my Physical Culture toolbox.  Come on out to the 21 convention next month in Orlando, and we’ll drill even deeper into this most useful concept.

~

The week’s workouts

Sunday, 6/12

Sprints, jumps, tire flips and rope climbs

Monday, 6/13

Hella fixie ride!  HEAT!

Tuesday, 6/14

(A1) trap bar DL (low grip): 155/12, 245/10, 335/6, 425/5, (3+2)

(A2) ARX overhead press: HR/3, 3, 3, 3

(B1) powermax360 shoulder circles x 30 seconds, reverse circles 2nd round x 30 seconds

(B2) seated DB clean & press: 45/10, 10

Wednesday, 6/15

Volume day; 10 sets  of  10

(A1) high bar back squats: 185, 10 sets of 10
(A2) chins: bw, 10 sets of 10

Thursday, 6/16 (see the clip of this workout above)

(A1) dips: bw/12; 45/10; 70/6; 90/6, 6 (autoregulated)

(A2) snatch-grip high pulls: 155/10; 175/7, 7, 7, 7

(B1) ARX dip negatives x 3

*each set of dips was preceded by approximately 7 to 10, CNS activating push-pulls on the Powermax 360.

Saturday, 6/17

Volume/Metcon: approximately 20 minutes of the following:

30 seconds on, 15 seconds recovery of 6 different powermax360 movements, followed by alternating hi-box step-ups with 135 lbs (about 30 total steps).  Wash, rinse, repeat…

Sunday, 6/19

Sprints: 10 x 100 yards (blast 40, cruise 60 format) + 5 x 120 at a straight 75% effort.  Tire flips, jumps, monkey bar hi-jinks and rope climb shenanigans.

~

Mark Sisson, author of “The Primal Blueprint”, to visit Efficient Exercise 

If you happen to be in the ATX on Friday, June 24th, at 7PM, c’mon out and join us as we welcome Mark Sisson to the “epicenter of Physical Culture”, and more specifically to Efficient Exercise’s 45th and Burnet Rosedale location, for an informal pot-luck dinner.

Mark, of course, maintains the ever-informative “Mark’s Daily Apple” blog, and is the author of  (among other works), The Primal Blueprint.

The event will be hosted by Austin’s own Primal Living Meet-Up Group, so this is a great opportunity not only to meet one of the guiding stars of the Primal Living movement — Mark Sisson — but to also chat-up the local members of this fascinating group of health-minded individuals.

So bring your favorite Primal/Paleo dish, and come join us for some stimulating conversation and warm camaraderie.   Austin’s own Snap Kitchen will be providing some Primal/Paleo-friendly goodies as well, so don’t miss out!

And hey, all of our peeps over at Crossfit Austin, I want you guys to know that y’all are more than welcome as well.  C’mon out and help spread that good, Austin, Physical Culture vibe!

In health,

Keith