“No one has a finer command of language than the person who keeps his mouth shut.”

~ Congressman Sam Rayburn

We began the week in a rainy slop-fest here in lovely G-Vegas, North Carolina. It was debatable as to whether this was an improvement over the previous few days of bitter cold; I’m not so sure either way. I do know, though, that all the rain but the big kibosh on the sprint workout I had planned for the Sunday.  Enter, then, the alternate plan – no workout at all, and lots of football and reading; the lazier side of “random and varied”.  From rain, we progressed right on in to ice, snow and bone-numbing cold.  Yeah, I know — bone-numbing for a southerner is picnic weather for some — all I know is I am more than ready for summer.

Now I’d rather avoid Monday’s at the gym, especially in January. But since I was itching to get back at something – anything — after a long weekend of doing nothing much physical, I decided to suck it up and deal with the crowd. And actually, it wound-up not being all that bad; didn’t have to alter my workout plans a bit.

As an aside, I skipped breakfast on Saturday morning and didn’t eat “lunch” until roughly 3PM, followed by dinner Saturday night at the normal 8PM-ish. Then I fasted until Sunday at 8PM. As is my usual, the AM workouts here are completed while in a (roughly) 10-hour, fasted state. And in what is also my usual, the workouts are red-eye fueled, and approximately two hours after I’ve rolled out of bed.  Which, by the way, can be somewhat difficult sometime, especially during the winter months.

Here’s how things worked out:

Monday AM, sticking to the power and strength modalities, with a little bit of MetCon urgency thrown in to spice things up:

  1. DB Split Snatch x 3 each arm
  2. Weighted Russian Lunge* (scissor) Jump x 6 jumps
  3. Weighted Regular Grip Pull-ups x 4’s

4 rounds in 30 minutes. The power moves (snatch and scissor jumps) were done at what I would consider a near max weight for the exercise and rep scheme. Cramming this into 30 minutes was a chore.

*The Russian Lunge is demonstrated at the :32 mark in this short clip. The version demonstrated here, though, is a non-weighted, speed-oriented version. I performed the same basic exercise, however, I held a heavy dumbbell to my chest and exploded upward on each jump, for maximum height – which, by the way, wasn’t very high (just enough to complete the scissor move), because I selected a weight that would allow only this. Make sure not to go too heavy, though, or you’ll wind up in an ungainly heap on the floor.

Ice, snow and general foul weather bungled my workout plans for Wednesday morning. Not such a bad thing from a randomness point of view, however, having no physical outlet on Wednesday did leave me a bit itchy for something to do. I wonder how much of this phenomenon (the workout “itch”) is mental, and how much is hormone driven?  Anyway, I was more than ready to hit the gym come Thursday morning; here’s what transpired:

A three-part combination consisting of the following:

  1. Clean-Grip Low Pulls x 3’s
  2. Muscle-Ups* x 3’s (Note: this was the barbell version of a muscle-up, not the gymnastic ring version)
  3. Weighted, Regular-Grip Pull-ups x 3’s

4 rounds of that, at working weight, in 30 minutes.

I looked for a video clip of a properly performed barbell muscle-up, and came away empty handed. If anyone knows of one, please let me know. I’ll attempt, though, as best I can, to explain this exercise. I do think it’s worth mastering this move, as it’s a great power movement that incorporates the entire shoulder/trap girdle. It’s easiest, I think, to break this down into two distinct movements, (1) a Snatch (narrow) Grip High Pull, immediately followed by (2) a front Push-Press – or a Push-Jerk, depending upon your druthers. These two movements should feather together seamlessly, i.e., at the apex of the high pull, with the bar in that split-second of “suspended animation”, quickly flip the grip from that of a “pulling movement” (the snatch grip) to that of the pressing movement.  Try to minimize this transition time; the movement should flow seamlessly so as to appear as one, single movement.  Sometimes a slight stagger stance will alleviate the feeling of falling backwards, or having nothing to “push against”, at the high-pull/jerk transition.

And that was a wrap for the week.  No work Friday or Saturday, though I did engage in a fantastic sprint & heave workout on Sunday.  I’ll cover that little beauty in next week’s post.

In Health,

Keith

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Keith Norris is a former standout athlete, a military vet, and an elite strength and conditioning expert with over 35 years of in-the-trenches experience. As a serial entrepreneur in the health and wellness space, he is an owner, co-founder and Chief Development Officer of the largest Paleo conference in the world, Paleo f(x) . As well, Keith is a partner in one of the most innovative lines of boutique training studios in the nation, Efficient Exercise. He’s also a partner in ARXFit training equipment, and a founding member of ID Life. In his spare time, he authors one of the top fitness blogs in the health and wellness sphere, Theory To Practice.

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