“How small of all that human hearts endure / That part which laws or kings can cause or cure.”

Samuel Johnson

So here’s the current “weekend dilemma” that I’ve got to work around: I’m attempting to sell my house here in lovely G-Vegas, NC. Yeah, yeah, I know. But, hey – buy high, sell low – that’s how I roll! Anyway, as any of you who’ve ever sold a home know, there is just a never-ending list of things that have to be fixed, moved, painted, hidden or otherwise “dealt with”. Of course, this not only puts a severe pinch on my workout time, it also alters what I do in a given workout as well as when I do it. Now, weekends for me mean sprints outdoors, since I’m forced most of the week (especially in the winter months), due to my work schedule, to remain indoors. Now, sprinting early in the morning is not a big deal to me time-wise, however, it is a big problem for me temperature-wise. Anyway, it’s doable, but it is a juggle. As I’ve always said, though, it’s finding a way to continue on through times like this that separates those who stay in the game and those who get left by the wayside. “Endeavor to persevere” is my life’s motto.

Sunday’s workout was a sprint and heavy heave thing of beauty. Barefooted sprints and heavy medicine ball heaves in the brutal (for the south, anyway) cold. Can’t get more primal than that!  Of course, this also involved huckin’ the fix about town with the 45-ish pound medicine ball in tow.  Crazy?  Yeah, guilty as charged 🙂  Anyhow, here’s what I did once I hit the field:

  • 10-second sprints, full-out with full recovery between each sprint x 8 (achieved an approximate 2’ drop-off from best distance). Then,
  • 12 or so (I lost count) medicine ball caber tosses for max distance, in a super-set with:
  • Press-put for distance, both dual and single (alternating) armed.  Think shot-put motion, here — for the single arm variety anyway.  For the dual-arm press-put, start of with a goblet squat-like motion with the medicine ball held against the chest and just beneath the chin.  Now, from the ATG (ass to grass) position, explode out of the hole, launching the medicine ball in a trajectory so as to achieve maximum distance*.

*I realize that I need to make some video clips of some of my hybrid exercises, and I’m working on trying to put that together.  What I need is a few month’s sabbatical from my real job 🙂

I tied the drop-offs in the heave super-set to the caber toss.  If I were being more precise, I would have measured the drop-off for each exercise.  The caber toss, though, is kind of like the vertical jump in that it both can be used as a good, overall measure of fatigue.

Tuesday morning, and back in the gym for this workout — with a little wrinkle added-in the weighted dip portion, as explained, here:

  • Weighted Dips, 25 total reps in a rest-pause fashion. So here we go with just one (of the many) dimensions that fall under the all-encompassing umbrella of the “25 for a bigger engine” scheme. The fist 12 reps were done as doubles, the last 13 as singles. There was a 3 to 5 second pause between each “micro set”. I added a bit of a wrinkle here by beginning the first rep of the duals (and by definition, all of the last 13 reps) in the down position, exploding up to the full lockout position with just a tad of a jump (or kipping) start — just enough, though, to get some momentum going; I made sure not to let this digress into a jump squat exercise. Two reasons for beginning this exercise with a kip: (1) I wanted to promote an ultra-high level of CNS stimulation (akin to what would be had in a power modality), and (2) using this mode, I am able to use both a very heavy weight and maintain a good rep speed throughout the course of the extended set.   Kind of a “best of both worlds” idea.

Then I moved on to this super-set:

    1. Barbell Muscle-ups x 5’s
    2. Russian Lunge Scissor Jumps x 5’s (each leg)

Three rounds of that super-set in approximately 20 minutes.

Moving on to Thursday morning, again in the gym:

The complex below was pretty damn challenging.  Once at working weight, I blasted through these exercises in approximately 30 minutes.  Notice that I doubled-up on the weighted, reverse-grip pull-ups. Also, I threw the goblet squats in more as an inter-workout, ballistic stretch, as I can feel some tightening (possibly due to Sunday’s press-puts for distance) in the hip area coming on. This is more a preventative measure than anything else. I only came up halfway from an ATG (ass to the grass) squat, so it looked like a “bounce” up from the full squat position up to the thighs parallel position, right back into a full squat.  Any form of squat (but usually a regular barbell squat) done in this fashion can be referred to as a “cycle squat”.  So here’s the complex (and it was a killer):

  1. DB Split Snatch + Split Jerk combo, x3’s (each arm)
  2. Weighted, Reverse-Grip Pull-ups x 4’s
  3. Goblet “cycle” Squats x 5’s
  4. Russian Lunge Scissor Jumps x 3’s (each leg)
  5. Weighted, Reverse-Grip Pull-ups x 4’s

The DB Snatch +Split Jerk, Barbell Muscle-up and Russian Lunge Scissor Jump are discussed/explained in this post.

Three rounds at working weight, 30 tough minutes of power-oriented work. Look at the magic rep scheme of the reverse-grip pull-ups (24 in this case), which, by the way were not performed as were the other exercises in this scheme (i.e., in a ballistic, power oriented manner), though I did attempt to hit max concentric rep speed every time out.

Then, in the afternoon, the good ol’ Red Cross bloodmobile came to visit.  So I took a needle for “Team Human” — it’s the least I can do, since I refuse to participate in the refined carbohydrate evolution experiment — and gave blood. I’m a trooper who can be counted on here, giving every 56 days.  So, tough workout plus giving blood — as predicted, I was totally wiped-out by that evening.

On to Saturday — sprints, hops and heaves while in the middle of a 24-hour fast.  Again, it was quite cold out; the wind was whipping pretty hard as well, which made measuring drop-off in the sprints an act of futility.  On the last sprint, I failed to even get close to any of my prior marks, so I called it quits at that point.  Anyway, here’s how I had things laid out:

First off, I hit 14-second, full-out, barefooted sprints, super-setting each sprint with a set of side-to-side hops over an approximately knee-high bench.  On one set of the hops, I held on to my medicine ball; the other, I did not.  Like this:

  1. 14-second, full-out sprint
  2. Side-to-Side bench hops (at body weight, for speed, minimizing ground contact time) x 20 hops
  3. 14-second, full-out sprint
  4. Side-to-Side bench hops while holding onto the 45-ish pound medicine ball x 10 hops

4 rounds of that little jewel.  Now, why 14 second sprints?  No magic here, it’s just that it took me approximately 14 seconds to cover baseline to baseline on the soccer field.

Then, I hit the following medicine ball heave super-set:

  1. Overhead Medicine Ball Caber-Toss for distance
  2. Press-Put for height + catch x 3

Same idea here with the press-put for height as was explained above.  This time, though, the aim is to launch the medicine ball vertically as high as possible and catch the thing (at just above head level) on the free-fall descent.  Someday I going to sit down and figure the math on this, but empirically I can tell you that a 45-pound object in free-fall  for a good six feet or so packs a hell of a whollup when it’s caught.   Note that the caber toss clip depicts the exercise being performed with a kettle bell.  The only difference when using a medicine ball is that the hand positioning is obviously different.  The rest of the exercise execution is the same.

All in all, a good week’s worth of exercise.

In Health,

Keith

12 COMMENTS

  1. Awesome workouts. The 45# medicine ball toss is amazing. That seems like a lot of weight to try and throw. I am going to see if my gym will let me sneak the kettle bells or medicine balls out for a power oriented workout like this once spring comes.

    Too bad the cold is so hard for you. I did sprints a month or so ago in 28 deg F weather with my shirt off. The sun was shining so it wasn’t so bad and I got some vitamin D. It just takes some getting used to. Cold showers, which probably aren’t that cold in your area, are a good start.

    • Jeff,
      Yeah, it’s all about becoming acclimated to the cold. The thing here is (thankfully) it never stays really cold for very long — not long enough to get used to it, anyway. Give me heat and humidity any day, and I can motor right on along 🙂

      I really enjoy heavy medicine ball work. It’s a great compliment to barbell/dumbbell power work in that it puts the body in a slightly different position and with the (relatively) lighter weight — and w/o fear of destroying anything near you — the speed aspect of speed-strength can really be emphasized and explosion through the full range of motion can be realized.

  2. At least when you buy a new house, you’ll get a fantastic rate for the mortgage.

    I’ve been doing some of those explosive dips inspired by Richard Blackman who launches himself so high that he claps his hands and manages to catch the grips for the next rep. Unbeliveable. I tried and maybe got an inch off of the grips. With other exercises like squats or military presses I’ve been trying to launch the weight (without losing control of it) also. With dumbell exercises, they have been slamming together at the top, but I’m not trying to attract too much attention.

    • Andy,
      Thanks for that link, btw, to Richard Blackman’s stuff. For anyone interested, check this guy out. Great examples of real-world applications of strength, power and body weight control.

      My next abode will definitely have room for a home gym 🙂 Hear that, Meesus TTP???

  3. Keith,

    What “device” do you use for your weighted dips? I use an old back pack. I do my 25, in sets of 5 with a 45# plate in the sack. But can’t really explode up with that weight yet. When I explode up with the 25# weight plate, it once hit me in te back of the noggin. Not fun.

    Marc

  4. Beast out… lol
    Thanks again, ordered and it should be here next week.

    off topic (you’re used to that from me by now)
    Ate some rib-eye’s from Costco last night. You know what? They were Dam good. I was pleasantly suprised.

    Marc

  5. I feel your pain Keith.
    The local Whole foods here is just insane. I think it was $31.99 for a pound of grass fed rib eye last time I was in there. I do get grass fed flank steak relatively cheap. $9.99 pound. They don’t always have it.
    Ever hear of Lacensebeef.com?

    Marc

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