“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” – John Lubbock

Last Monday afternoon I decided to squeeze in a heavy behind-the-neck push-press session  prior to our weekly Efficient Exercise “training the trainer” meeting.  Little did I know that Skyler had in mind to use me as a crash test dummy for his demonstration of Timed Static Contractions… in the overhead press, no less. Ouch.  If my shoulders weren’t zorched prior to Skyler’s demo, they certainly were following.

But beyond the “haha, brah” of some seriously smoked shoulders (and tri’s), Skyler’s presentation covers precisely why you ought to consider some isometric work in your overall routine.  Just look at the numbers he cites vis-a-vis total fiber recruitment vs traditional eccentrics.  Again, more modality tools to keep in the ol’ tool shed; another shade and/or technique at the artist’s disposal.  

So here’s what I did prior to Skyler’s presentation:

BTN Push press: 125/7; 135/7; 165/7; 185/7; 205/3, 3, 3, 3, 3

…and here is how he finished me off:

And on a side note: quantification is one reason why isometrics cycle in and out of favor with those in the iron game.  I mean, we’re a group that, if nothing else, wants to see some immediate feedback as too how we’re improving workout-to-workout.  ARXFit technology handles that little conundrum quite easily.

Immediately following that bit of of fun, I stumbled into the EE back offices and got on a Skype call with Erwan Le Corre of MovNat fame.  We talked about a host of interesting subjects including picking up big-ass stones in a dry, Austin creek bed (with Clifton Harski), the contribution of strength in technique-driven activity, and the upcoming Paleo f(x) symposium (at which Erwan will be a speaker and panelist).  Good stuff.  And if you listen closely, you’ll be able to hear me slurping on my post workout, raw buttermilk, and mumbling (below my breath?) about my blown-up shoulders and tri’s  😉 Checkout the conversation, here.

So, just how “fit” are you, anyway?  Not an easy question to answer, of course.  We have to follow with questions like “fit for what, exactly?”, and “are we talking about performance or health?”  The attributes that constituted “fit” back when I had the demands of college football placed upon me are much different than what I strive for today.  Mostly, due to the fact that I now consider long term health as part of the overall equation and not that of being a human wrecking ball.   Not that that wasn’t fun, mind you 😉

 So if we can get past the idea that there’s any perfect scoring system for fitness, we can begin to evaluate some pretty cool “damn good” options.  The SPARQ rating system is one such sport-specific testing parameter.  But what about a fitness score (which might be analogous to a credit score) for mere mortals?  Enter the realFit testing methodology.

I had the opportunity this weekend to work with realFit’s Dave Patzwald and Elizabeth Douglas, who put me and a group of other hopefuls well on our way toward finalizing our realFit scores.  Not surprisingly, I kicked ass on the strength/power indicators (bench, squat, chins, dual overhead throw for distance, standing broad jump).  And — surprise, surprise — the endurance attributes handed me my ass.  Think a 4-minute plank, 4-minute wall sit followed by 2-minutes of burpees (preceded by max dead-hang pull-ups, bench press and squat) is easy?  Think again.

…on the way to 55 in a row…

But, yeah — check out the realFit site.  It’s an interesting concept, and a hell of a lot of fun.

In health, fitness and wellness –



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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.


  1. I’m 55yrld. Last week I sold my 35yrld olympic weights and power rack that I used for SQ, DL, OHP, and benching. I’m never doing those exercises again for the rest of my life. In hindsight I wish I ditched them years ago.

    I think the joints of the body have a finite number of reps and I think that number degrades with years of using heavy loads. I’d be better off today had I used dumbbells and single limb movements or techniques like iso’s where the joints don’t move at all.

    My two cents on fitness is that strength trumps everything. There’s no component that is a close second to strength. It is the most useful component when young and the most surely missed when old.

    • Right on, my man. Make sure you come up and say “hey” at the event. Can’t wait to have you here in the ATX – the epicenter of physical culture 😉

  2. Damn, 55 push-ups in a row is no joke. What were the other numbers you put up for the realfit test?

    I’d imagine your numbers are crazy good judging by the numbers you put up in most of your strength workouts.

    • I was trying to figure out a way to share the numbers, but apparently that’s not yet possible. Some of the other tests were the flat bench (which I rarely if ever do) 275 x 4, squats 365 x 3, a 7’6″ broad jump (which sucks after squats!) and a 38’6′ 8 lb ball overhead toss.


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