3/15/10; Unilateral and Ring Work…with a New Weight Vest!

“Beware the Ides of March”, huh? — hey, who says?  Meh,  maybe for Caesar, but not for me.  I tested out my newly-purchased (yea Craig’s List!) weight vest today, and it worked swimmingly; a great addition to the ol’ weightlifting toolbox!   Sorry to disappoint, Caesar.

I began today’s workout with an extended leg-centric warm-up, focusing on plenty of lateral lunges, “duck walks”, skip lunges, lunging “pick-ups”, and “Rockette” kicks.  The reason for this is that following an extended fixie session (I biked for approximately 2-and-a-half hours on Saturday), my legs and hips become rather tight/immobile; the down-side of the human body, simple machine interface.  The aforementioned exercises are a great way to loosen things back up.  And speaking of warm-ups, Mike Young (of Athletic Lab) has a great warm-up primer out on DVD.  Highly recommended stuff.  Give him a shout over at HPC and see if he has any more “misprints” remaining — the DVD, cover and insert were mislabeled as a “sprint mechanics” DVD.  High quality material at a much-reduced price.

Here’s how the meat of this morning’s workout shaped-up:

pistol squats: 15 lb DBs x 6 (each leg); 15 lb DBs + 30 lb vest x 5, 5, 4 (had to “spot” the right leg on each rep of last round)

elevated feet ring flyes: 30lb vest x 7, all rounds

single-leg deadlift (barbell): 135 x 6 (each leg); 135 + 30 lb vest x 6, 5, 5 (failed last round, left leg, at 3)

elevated feet ring flyes: 30lb vest x 7, all rounds

So, 4 total rounds — 4 sets of pistols and single-leg deads, and 8 total sets of ring flyes.  Very little rest between movements.  Elevated feet ring flyes beat the hell out of any kind flat-bench pressing motion, if you ask me.  It’s a more natural flye/pressing motion for one thing, more shoulder-friendly (via easily-manipulated hand positioning), and the entire body is engaged throughout the duration of the movement (think “praying man” plank to the nth degree).  Really, unless you’re a powerlifter, I really don’t see any need for a flat bench.   Need to blast the tris, you say?  Load-up a weight belt and hit dips — there is no better tri movement, in my opinion.

The right leg is slowly but surely catching up and getting back into the game.  I think what I’m dealing with here is a sleepy gluteus medius.  Identify the weakness, and correct it.

Tonight’s nosh (and tomorrow’s lunch): crock pot rabbit, and boiled & buttered beets.  Yum!

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Of Vibrams and Fossil Records

“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.”

~ Ovid

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From Crikit (Lori G's) Photostream

I’m sure many of you have already seen this story, which appeared back in late February:

ScienceDaily (Feb. 27, 2009) — Ancient footprints found at Rutgers’ Koobi Fora Field School show that some of the earliest humans walked like us and did so on anatomically modern feet 1.5 million years ago.

Tim Jones, of the blog, remote central, does a fine commentary on the findings here; if you haven’t already found your way to Tim’s work, it’s well worth the trip.

But why do I bring this particular subject up now?  Ahh, because I’ve just recently purchased my first pair of Vibram five fingers footwear — the KSO model, to be exact.  With help form TTP readers Mark Lepper and Ryon Day, I was able to hone right in on the model I wanted, and was able to predict how to account for accurate sizing (which is European, and you’ll tend to have to get a size smaller than you normally would in a European fit).  My recommendation about sizing is this: you’ll want to go to a local supplier, if at all possible, and test out a few sizes.  Take your time, walk around a bit.  I bought mine at a Great Outdoor Provision Co., in Greenville, NC; the folks there were fantastic, indulging (encouraging, even) my want to try various sizes and models to pinpoint the perfect fit.

Putting the Vibrams on is a bit of a chore the first couple of times, at least until you get the hang of  sliding into them, while at the same time spreading and working your toes into the individual “finger” wells.  Now, though (after about a week of ownership), I can get into my Vibrams just as quick as any other pair of shoes.  I have to say that initially I was pretty sceptical about the whole fit and performance issues of the product.  I just couldn’t imagine that the fit would be snug enough to prevent blisters and chafing, especially when utilized in hard sprinting efforts.  And if the snug fit was there, surely the comfort factor wouldn’t be.  Both of those concerns have been roundly eliminated, though, as I’ve put my Vibrams through the paces — both in the gym and on the track — and they have performed well above my expectations.  And talk about a conversation starter.  If there’s been any drawback to wearing them, it’s that I’ve sacrificed quite a bit of valuable workout time in talking about them to the curious.

All in all, I have to give the Vibrams a big thumbs-up thus far.  They seem to be of good, solid construction as well, so I expect to get plenty of wear out of them.  There’s just no substitute for lifting and sprinting “barefooted”.

In Health,

Keith