Moving Daze, and X-Ccentric Equipment

So, just how does one prepare for the rigors of moving day (actually moving days…or even more appropriately, daze)?  Well, if you’re an idgit like me, you do so by cranking-out a couple of tough-ass workouts in the days prior, just to be sure that you’re good & well zorched even before lifting that first dastardly-heavy armoire.  What the hell was I thinking?  Well, to put it simply, I wasn’t.  Even as Meesus TTP and I sat through the signing process at Alamo Title Company, two thoughts ran through my mind.  One was that I actually did have a positive net worth there for a while, during that short time I was out from under my last mortgage; the other was that, yes — quite possibly, ripping-off 12 sets of power snatches was no way to prepare for the following couple of day’s worth of toting around the assorted heavy and cumbersome accumulations of 45 years of wanton consumerism.  My grandfather’s advice to me when I was a young lad (but already knew everything there was to know) — and which I promptly dismissed as the babblings of a madman — was to never own more than you could carry across the river; I’m sure his soul had a good laugh at my expense this weekend.

Wednesday’s session; Mike Mentzer HIT, anyone  🙂  I pulled-off this doozie at the Efficient Exercise downtown location:

Tru squat: (weight – 100, counter weight – 115, wide stance, 3rd pin, 4040 tempo*) 12, approx. 15 secs. rest, 10 – then immediately to:

Super-slow leg curl: 150 lbs x 10, approx. 15 secs. rest, 10 –  4040 tempo

Nautilus Pec Dec: 110 x 7 ( 4040 tempo), then immediately to:

Nautilus chest press/crunch: 150 x 12 ( 4040 tempo)

Nautilus pull-over: 200 x 10 (4020 tempo), then immediately to:

Strict reverse grip pull-ups: bodyweight x 6, 15 secs pause, 4 (5010 tempo)

Nautilus shoulder lateral raise: 160 x 10 (2040 tempo), then immediately to:

*X-Ccentric upright press: (no counter weight, no added weight) x 7 (4020 tempo)

Friday’s between-client power snatch session, Efficient Exercise Rosedale location:

And by the way, this one might not rank very high on the creative scale, but damn if it doesn’t reek of effective work!

power snatch: 115 x 7, 7; 135 x 7 sets of 3.  45-minute break, then: 135 x 5 sets of 3

X-Ccentric Equipment

*This is some of the the coolest, most inventive pieces of equipment (next to its kissing-cousin, the CZT line of equipment) that I’ve run across in all of my years in the iron game.  Part free-weight, part machine — a true hybrid piece of weight training equipment.   With the added bonus being that it looks downright medieval 🙂

The cool thing about this equipment — aside from fantastic leverages, biomechanical suitability and a fabulous strength-curve matching  — is the ability for the trainer to apply precise amounts of positive and/or negative assistance to the trainee.  Check-out the following couple of clips to get a feel for what I mean:

As you can see, there is no limit to to the way this piece of equipment can be utilized.

As is with the CZT, the X-Ccentric line of equipment is a fantastic addition to the weightroom arsenal.

Paleo 101, Workin’ the Groove, and Settling In

Since Monday was a holiday (here in the US, at least), I figured it would be a great time to ease into the Austin fixie scene, get a feel for traffic patterns and, well, just the overall vibe and such.  And what I found was this: Austin is definitely a bike-friendly town; courteous drivers, plentiful bike lanes, fabulous rolling hills, too many ultra-cool coffee shops to count…wow, fixie paradise!  I went into the Efficient Exercise Rosedale studio and did a little bit of prep work for my Tuesday clients, then saddled-up and hit a series of sprints over to our downtown ATX studio to do some prep work for those clients (see my route, here).  Five miles of hard intermittent sprinting each way was a nice, bodily reintroduction to the biking experience.   How’s that for mixing business with pleasure, huh?  Yeah, to say the least, I’m lovin’ this new gig  🙂

So today following my client sessions I decided to ease back into the weightlifting scene by hitting some power cleans and close-grip high pulls.  Nothing real radical or too strenuous, just climbing back onto the on-ramp, so to speak.

power cleans: 135 x 10; 165 x 7; 185 x 3, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2

close-grip high pulls: 185 x 5, 5, 5, 5

Now, the Efficient Exercise downtown facility is chock-full of Nautilus MedEx equipment (along with a ton of other really cool play toys!), and so following my client sessions tomorrow (I train clients at the downtown facility on Wednesdays), I plan on hitting a Mentzer-inspired HIT session.   Again, more so to ease into things here.  As I’ll have to take substantial training time off in order to move into my new house in about a week (way excited about this!  Moving that is — not the missed workouts part  🙂  ), I’ll have to repeat this phase-in process once more.  And I don’t look at this as a setback, either — rather, I take the long view, and see this as a necessity to remain in the game for the long-haul.  It’s a great time to focus on technique flaws, form alterations (and abominations!)…small things that tend to get glossed-over when the training focus is on “hard, heavy and fast”.  Everything under the sun has its season. 

Oh, and I heard this yesterday on NPR’s “The Human Edge” series; a little bit of Paleo 101, if you will.  If you’re looking for a tidy intro, of sorts, for friends and family who want to now the most basis of all questions that we get asked in relation to our diet selections — why the overt avoidance of neolithic foods?  — this piece is a nice, concise referenceIt’s an easy answer, of course — but sometimes, though, it’s good for people to hear that same answer from multiple sources.

A Couple of Interesting Finds

“Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”

– Benjamin Franklin

I know many people are intrigued (as am I) by the protocol, and the science behind the protocol, underpinning Doug McGuff’s Body By Science methodology.  During my travels over the past couple of weeks, and, in rather serendipitous fashion, I came across both a podcast and a book which offer complementary information to Doug’s work, so I thought I’d pass them along to you.

First up is a Super Human Radio Show podcast.  In this episode (#325), host Carl  Lanore interviews Joshua Trentine of Overload Fitness.  The subject is Super Slow/one-set-to-failure training.  If you’re curious as to how this methodology plays-out in someone with a favorable genetic hand, check out both the interview and Joshua’s website.  Of course, you can always consider Mike Mentzer as the genetically gifted, one-set-to-failure gold standard.  I would suspect that Dorian Yates leans toward this methodology as well.  One thing to keep in mind here is that we’re talking about enhanced hypertrophy, and not necessarilly improving sproting prowess.  But here is where it all gets very interesting to me.

If you look at the Long duration Isolation methodology proposed by Jay Schroeder (here’s a nice encapsulation of the method, thanks to Kelly Baggett of    You’ll see that there’s not a whole lot of real world difference between it and the super-slow (or HIT) methodology.  I feel like there’s definitely something to these methods, but, just like any other method out there, neither is a “one size fits all” or holy grail of training.  For a specific time and for a specific purpose, though, one (or a combination) of these methods might just be the best fit.

I will give Schroeder this — if in fact he was responsible for Adam Archuleta’s training leading up to the 2001 draft, he did a marvelous job.  Archuleta was, in my opinion, someone of (only) decent natural ability who trained/pushed/willed himself into a professional career.  How much credit Jay Schroeder can take for this is anybody’s guess.  It does, though, make for interesting speculation and conversation.   I can say that having personally experimented with a Long Duration Isolation protocol, that performance of the methodology is, in fact, brutal.  Was I a better athlete for having performed the methodology?  Hard to tell.  To be honest, though, I didn’t perform this methodology in a vacuum, nor did I keep to it for long (it’s boring as all hell for one thing).  I can report that I didn’t loose anything, though, with my strength, power and speed having not slipped any that I could tell.

Schroeder contends that a muscle in isolation is not static, but is actually in a rapid fire/release pattern, and that it’s precisely the fast-twitch fibers that are targeted during the set.  Now it’s difficult to tell (because Schroeder never lets on, and, to be frank, he’s a bit evasive) whether he means from the get-go, or after the slow-twitch fibers have dropped out.  In either case, I do think that there is at least some overlap between these two methodologies that I’d love to see explored.

My next find is a book by the publishers of Scientific American titled, Building the Elite Athlete.   The book is actually a collection of past articles, but still, it’s an intriguing read.  I found the couple of articles on gene doping especially interesting.  And by the way, you can pick up used copies of this book cheap — I don’t think I paid more than 5 bucks for mine, postage included.  It’s a 5 bucks well spent.

In health,