“Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are your own fears.”

~ Rudyard Kipling

Here’s a rundown of the three gym sessions I got in this week; two morning sessions and one evening session. Both morning sessions were performed in a fasted state. The “usual” routine for me Monday thru Friday is: dinner the night prior at approximately 8PM, up at 4:30AM, in the gym at 6:15-ish, in the shower by 7:15, breakfast at around 8-ish. Note that I don’t include the time it takes me to warm-up in my total “workout time”

Tuesday morning’s workout:

1. Power Clean X 5, 3, 2 (increased weight each round)

2. Ballistic Dips x 5 (Max hand/bar separation each rep, catch at bottom-out position, quick transition)

3. Dive Bomber Push-ups x 10 (feet elevated approximately 18”)

3 rounds of the combo above, followed by:

· Power Cleans, 5 singles with the weight used in the final round above, followed by,

· Snatch Grip High Pulls, 2 sets of 3

Workout time here was approximately 30 minutes.

Here’s a video of a full clean and jerk, from the blog, A Philosophy of Strength, showcasing some pretty damn near flawless technique. Of course the power clean (or hang clean, if you prefer) is a truncated version of the “clean” portion of the lift – beginning the lift with the bar between knee and mid-thigh and racking the bar at an approximate ¾ squat position – however, the drive, explosive triple extension, and “pull under” technique is identical across the board. Look at the trap action just prior to pull-under in this photo sequence, again from A Philosophy of Strength.

This clip, from my good friends at Straight to the Bar, is a demonstration of good snatch-grip high pull technique.

Thursday morning’s workout:

1. Power Snatch x 5, 3, 2, 2 (increase weight each round)

2. Ballistic Pull-ups (chest above bar level, max “air”) x 5’s

3. Dive Bombers (feet elevated approximately 3’) x 8’s

4 rounds of the above, followed by 2 sets of this superset:

· Snatch grip high pull x 3, 3

· Ballistic pull-ups, same as above, x 2 sets of 5 (in other words, I ended up doing 6 total sets of ballistic pull-ups)

Check out what strength and conditioning coach Charles Poliquin says about the power snatch, under The Athlete’s Lift heading, in this T-Nation article. Now, I don’t agree with Poliquin’s negative take on CrossFit (see my post on the subject, here), but I do agree whole-heartedly with his stance on the power snatch. An absolutely fabulous power exercise, and, if you’re a coach – or an athlete looking to gauge yourself in reference to your competition — it’ll show you pretty damn quick who the playmakers are going to be. And, as you might expect, there’s a strong correlation between performance in the vertical jump and power snatching ability.

Check out this clip from Paul Zaichik, as it is an excellent demonstration of various Dive Bomber/Hindu Push up techniques. The variation I used in this particular workout is demonstrated here at the 3:00 mark. Think bodyweight exercises aren’t challenging? Try these on for size!

I hit the gym on Friday, after work (a typical gym dead time, even in the midst of the January, New Year’s resolution period) for a quick strength session and a bit of steam bath/cold shower contrast action. My meals prior to this workout were at 8AM and 11AM, with the workout itself coming at about 5:30PM. The meat of the workout (following the warm-up) lasted about 30 minutes, just enough time to jump from one exercise to the next. The workout consisted of 4 rounds of the following three exercises:

1. Heavy Deadlifts x 3, 2, 1, 1 (increased weight each round. Attempted to pull the weight as fast as possible.

2. Heavy Dips x 2, 2, 3, 3 (same working weight. Same thing here, attempted to lift the weight as fast as possible.

3. Heavy Glute-Ham Raise x 3, 3, 3, 3 (Same thing; attempting to move a heavy weight as fast as possible. I use a DB for added weight).

Note here that I chose weights in each exercise so that I did not have to “grind out” any repetitions; however, the chosen weight in each exercise was also selected so as to be a bit too heavy to permit a “snappy” repetition, although the attempt was made to move each repetition as fast as possible. This is a fine, line and a tough concept to get across without an actual hands-on demonstration, as it really boils down to a “feel” thing. Call it the “Goldilocks” concept, if you like – not too heavy, not too light, but just right.

The steam bath/cold shower contrast was a nice capper to an intense workout and a very long, first full week back at work.

So let’s quickly deconstruct this workout week as a whole. Also note that, in the back of my mind, I’m planning a sprint day for Sunday – though I may push that up to Saturday afternoon, depending upon the weather (we may have some rain this weekend). What we see here, though, is two power-emphasis days and a strength-emphasis day. If we look ahead to the sprint day, and include that in the week, we see that I’ve hit my 3:1 power-to-strength modality session ratio. Now this is certainly not a hard and fast rule, but rather something that I keep in the back of my mind when formulating a day’s workout in relation to the breakdown of the overall week. You’ll also see that I included a hellofalot of pulling this week; overhead pressing and squat and/or lunge work? Well, not so much. There was no reason for this, other than I felt really good and “in the grove” while hitting the power-pulls this week, so I just went with it. I’ll probably start off next week in the gym with an overhead press/squat/lunge combo of some sort. Nothing is solidified yet, just something I’ll keep on the radar.

In Health,

Keith

6 COMMENTS

  1. Do you do hindu pushups often? I have found that these are a great stretching exercise for the legs, back, etc. I like them!

    • BC — Yeah, I do them mostly as a warm-up exercise, as I find they help get my shoulders ready for the heavier work to follow. At times, I do use them as a primary exercise, especially as an adjunct to power moves (i.e., it’s a great, in between power sets exercise).

  2. What is the main difference between the Hindu pushups and dive bombers? They look similar to me in videos and such. How many do you do in sets?

    Couple more questions while I’m watching a boring Giants Eagles game: Any thoughts on the best way to improve your pullups? I can only do about 7 now at 215 pounds. I only have a doorway pullup bar, not one of the cfit cool ones.

    Did you get the sprint in today? Have you ever done any time trials on bikes? These are really explosive efforts, like sprints. I need to get you fixed up on a tri bike. 🙂

    • BC,
      In a Hindu push-up, the “swoop” motion is not reversed (as it is in the Dive Bomber) to return to the start position. This is one of those things easier demonstrated than explained verbally. Look at the clip I linked in the post, along with what I’ve writen and see if you can then spot the difference. My preference is toward the DB’er, due to the added shoulder work required in the “reverse swoop”.

      To increase your pullup #’s, alternate sessions of ballistic pullups (though, you may not be able to do these on a doorway bar) and kipping pullups (see the CFit site exercise demos) — but again, the doorway bar thing. Do you have access to any other pullup bars? A playground, maybe?

      And yes I did get my sprint session in today. Hurdle bounds and some gymnastic ring work as well! 🙂

      I’ve always wanted to try my hand at velodrome sprinting. Being 200lbs in road sprinting, though, is akin to being sumo-sized in gymnastics 🙂 I wouldn’t mind giving it a shot, though!

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