“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”

~ John Wooden

Another week of work overdrive, baseball games, home sale hustling, and — oh yeah — workout juggling. The weekend of the 7th/8th was a bust, workout-wise, save for one thing: I discovered that the opening in the carport ceiling leading to my attic is a fantastic place to perform dips. I incorporated many bodyweight sets of these throughout the weekend as we prepared for yet another home sale, open house.

Yup, it's baseball season
Yup, it’s baseball season

Monday morning at the YMCA

1. 7-second, full-out sprints x 3

2. Vertical jump onto a hip-high bench x 5

4 rounds of that superset. This was the initial “sprint trial” for my new Vibram five-fingers (the KSO model). And I must say, they performed admirably. I still prefer running with nothing at all on my feet, however, the Virbrams are a more than satisfactory compromise between “barefooted” and pain-free barefooted.

Wednesday morning at the YMCA

A complex consisting of the following:

1. “Explosive” Muscle-up x 5

2. Weighted Russian Scissor Lunge Jump x 10 total jumps

3. Weighted GHR x 5

Due to time constraints, I only managed 4 rounds of this. My goal was for 5 sets of 5 on each exercise, and had I eliminated the GHR (as I’d initially considered, given the lack of time), I’d have been able to pull it off. The GHR provided a nice toasting of the hamstrings, though — a nice one-two punch of ballistic to strength-speed work – and so I’m glad I kept it in the rotation. The “explosive” barbell muscle-up is performed as one would a normal barbell muscle-up, but instead of a smooth transition between the upright row to the front press, I explode into the transition, pressing the weight as fast as possible. In another version, I’ve done what I call the “Werner” method (for former Swiss and European shot put champion, Werner Gunthor) whereby the upright row is done explosively (pretty near to being a power clean movement) combined with the explosive transition explained above executed from the “catch” position. This takes a hell of a lot of coordination, and it’s a fantastic exercise for honing explosiveness and quick transition.

Check out this video of Werner going through various training regimens.  At 1:05 into the clip, you’ll see the “Werner” muscle-up.  Also notice the over-the-head “caber” toss at 2:17 into the clip.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frFVhwIy_PU]

This is a fantastic training series — made even better if you can speak French 😉  Seriously, though — take a look at all four parts, as it will give you a feel for what the difference is between “working out” and training.  And you’ll get a lot out of these clips even if you don’t speak French.  They are a bit dated, but the principles and exercise execution are spot-on.  I’ll also make reference to these clips a time or two in my forthcoming review of Body by Science.  Hint: My lone critique of the methods outlined in Dr. McGuff’s book deals with the sporting applicability of those methods.  More to come on that soon, though.

Friday morning at the YMCA

I’d gone into the gym with the idea that I’d perform supersets of front squats and behind-the-neck push-jerks, but to my chagrin, the power rack was occupied. I quickly revamped my workout plans to look like this:

  1. Heavy DB Snatch x {1 (each arm, alternating) x 3 total with each arm, rest-pause fashion}
  2. Weighted Reverse-Grip Pull-Ups x 5
  3. Single-arm DB Push-Press x 5 (each arm)
  4. Weighted Reverse-Grip Pull-Ups x 5

3 total rounds of this. Notice the emphasis on the reverse grip pull-ups (6 total reps each set = 30 total reps). Also, I really pushed my limits on the DB snatches. The “rest” portion of the rest-pause here was just long enough to re-grip the DB with the opposite hand.

I’m looking forward to another hectic week to come.  With any luck, I should be able to squeeze in at least a couple of short-but-intense workouts.

In Health,

Keith

4 COMMENTS

    • Great demonstrations of some old-school power/explosive training. And the results speak for themselves; Werner was a freak of nature.

  1. Keith, since my knee is recovering a little, I hit a few sprints on the flight deck w/ two football player buddies of mine. One was an Academy running back, so needless to say he smoked me. The other was a tackle (forget exactly what), and I was pleased to say I was smoking him. He’s a bit lankier than I am, but I never played any D-1 sports in college, and only started sprinting a few months ago for the first time in 6-7 years.

    I’ve definitely noticed increases in speed, despite the fact that I haven’t sprinted in a while, which I feel is due to my power focus in training. My take offs were weak because I’m still favoring the left knee, but overtaking him in the 40yd dashes we were doing was no problem. Thanks for all your advice, because I’ve always wanted to be faster and more athletic, and I don’t really feel my training was taking me there before I started following your training style.

    -bryce

    • Bryce,
      Keep in mind that sprinting is primarily posterior chain driven event. After the initial few “push” (i.e., quad. driven) strides, you should quickly transition into a glute/ham dominant “pull”. If you pay close attention, you’ll see that most slow sprinters never come out of the push phase.

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