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.