Wednesday 141210

Workout
Find a 1RM on 5 second pause at the bottom BSquat.  You will likely get to 80% – 85% of your normal BSquat 1RM.

Finish this strength portion with 2 sets of 3 reps @ 80% of today’s 1RM (no pause).

MetCon
10x
125m Row
5 Box Jumps

From The New York Times

Got a Minute? Let’s Work Out

For years, I’ve been writing about the benefits of short bursts of exercise. Studies and anecdotes suggest that 10 minutes, seven minutes, six minutes, or even four minutes of very hard exercise interspersed with periods of rest can lead to a robust improvement in fitness.

But I suspect that this column is the least amount of exercise I will ever write about.

According to a lovely new study, a single minute of intense exercise, embedded within an otherwise easy 10-minute workout, can improve fitness and health.

Just one minute.

This is good news for busy people who have tried, unsuccessfully, to fit even short workouts into their schedules. The overall time commitment for interval-training sessions is not quite as slight as many of us might wish. Consider, for instance, an interval session in which someone rides a stationary bike as hard as possible for 30 seconds, followed by four minutes or so of easy pedaling. If that person completes four of these intervals, with two or three minutes of warm-up and cool-down added at the beginning and end of the workout, the entire session lasts for almost 25 minutes, a time commitment that some people might consider unsustainable.

These concerns reached the laboratory of Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University in Ontario. He and his colleagues have conducted many of the most influential recent studies of high-intensity interval training, and many of the scientists there regularly exercise with interval training.

They, too, had noticed that interval-training sessions were not quite as truncated as some people hoped and had begun to wonder if it might be possible to lower the overall time commitment.

But if so, they wondered, how low could someone go in terms of time and still gain health and fitness benefits?

To find out, the McMaster researchers recruited a group of 14 sedentary and overweight but otherwise healthy men and women. They focused on these volunteers, because sedentary, overweight people often are on the cusp of serious health issues such as diabetes, which might be kept at bay with exercise, but sedentary people also often cite a lack of time as their reason for not exercising.

They invited the volunteers to the lab, where researchers took muscle biopsies and measured their aerobic endurance, blood pressures and blood sugar levels.

Then they asked the volunteers to complete a truly time-efficient, interval-training program using computerized stationary bicycles. Each session consisted of three 20-second “all-out” intervals, during which riders pushed the pedals absolutely as hard as they could manage, followed by two minutes of slow, easy pedaling. The riders also warmed up for two minutes and cooled down for three, for a grand total of 10 minutes of total exercise time, with one minute of that being the intense interval training.

The volunteers completed three of these sessions per week, leading to 30 minutes of weekly exercise, for six weeks.

Then they returned to the lab to be retested.

Their bodies were, it turned out, quite different now. The men and women had increased their endurance capacity by an average of 12 percent, a significant improvement. They also, as a group, had healthier blood pressures and higher levels within their muscles of certain biochemical substances that increase the number and activity of mitochondria. Mitochondria are the energy powerhouses of cells, so more mitochondria mean better endurance and fitness.

Interestingly, the male volunteers also had significantly improved their blood-sugar control, but the female volunteers had not. The researchers suspect that fundamental differences in how the genders burn sugar or fat to fuel exercise might affect how each responds to some aspects of interval training. But more research is needed with both men and women before scientists will be able to understand the import of this difference, Dr. Gibala said.

In the meantime, the message from the study that most of us will grasp at is, of course, that one minute of exercise is all you need. But Dr. Gibala would like people to remember that 10 minutes of overall exercise time is involved for a total of 30 minutes per week.

He also suspects that, with this study, scientists are plumbing the lowest limits of worthwhile exercise time. “We’ve dropped from 30-second all-out intervals to 20-second intervals,” he said, “because for many people those last 10 seconds were excruciating.” Most of us, however, can complete 20-second all-out efforts without wishing to cry, he said.

Halving the intervals again, however, to 10-second efforts, probably would mot provide the same benefits, Dr. Gibala said, although “maybe if you did more of them, it might work.” He and his colleagues are studying these and other questions related to interval training.

For now, relying on one minute of hard exercise to ease you through the holidays with your health intact seems feasible, he said. And the exercise does not need to be cycling. Sprint up stairs in 20-second bursts, he said, or even run hard in place. The point is that time constraints shouldn’t keep anyone from exercise. In the time it took to read this column, you could be done with your workout.

Friday 140103

Workout

BSquat
80% x5 x5

MetCon
8x
125m Row
15-Air Squats

From The New York Times

Stanford’s Distinct Training Regimen Redefines Strength

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Keeping Stanford Strong The training program of Shannon Turley, Stanford’s director of football sports performance, emphasizes balance and flexibility over brute strength.
By GREG BISHOP December 30, 2013

PALO ALTO, Calif. — Inside the Stanford weight room earlier this football season, there were weight vests and wooden sticks and core boards. There were kettle bells and roller pads and something called a Bod Pod, a white, egg-shaped contraption that measures body fat.

There were football players, too: pairs with legs bent, a towel held between them for balance; others climbing ropes like back in gym class; working on hip mobility and shoulder stability; the focus not on brute strength, even for a team as physical as Stanford.

And there was Shannon Turley, the architect of a training regimen among the most distinct in college sports. He is Stanford’s director of football sports performance, and for years, he felt it necessary to write letters to N.F.L. scouts to explain the Cardinal’s nontraditional approach. He stopped that practice this year in the wake of Stanford’s success.

Turley’s impact speaks as much to availability as ability. The coaches recruit speed and size and talent. He believes the best players, the ones most on the field, who sustain the most collisions, also carry the most injury risk. His first priority is to keep them on the field.

From 2006, the year before Turley arrived on the Farm, as Stanford’s campus is known, through last season, the number of games missed because of injury on the two-deep roster dropped by 87 percent. In 2012, only two Cardinal players required season-ending or postseason surgical repair; this year, only one.

In an era in which injuries are more scrutinized than ever, this has made Turley something of a celebrity strength coach. Counterparts from other colleges visited. As did N.F.L. personnel. As did Australian Rules football teams. The student newspaper wrote a three-part series about Turley. Bleacher Report compiled a big article. The National Strength and Conditioning Association named Turley its strength and conditioning coach of the year in 2013.

Stanford lost quarterback Andrew Luck, running back Toby Gerhart and Coach Jim Harbaugh to the N.F.L., and yet the Cardinal will make their fourth consecutive Bowl Championship Series appearance Wednesday in the Rose Bowl against Michigan State. The year before Turley arrived, Stanford went 1-11.

Turley considered all that inside his weight room, as he surveyed the flurry of activity around him. “This,” he said, “is real-world applicable man strength.”

This is the era of the strength coach in college football. Strength coaches oversee conditioning in the off-season. They also deal with being allowed fewer scholarships.

Turley is a strength coach, and he is not a strength coach, or not exactly. Strength is not his focus. Function is. Balance is. Flexibility is.

His approach is grounded in physics, on the premise that low man wins on contact, that to get low requires mobility and stability and the ability to apply force in the opposite direction. His players bench press, but he cares more about how they lift — with hands closer together, without bouncing the bar off their chests — than how much. He wants them to bend all the way down when they squat.

Freshmen in Turley’s program do not lift weights upon arrival. Instead, for the first few weeks, they do “body work,” or push-ups and pull-ups and squats or lunges without weights; basically old-school, military calisthenics.

“You have all these different genres of training, and we steal from them all,” Turley said. “CrossFit. Bodybuilding. Power lifting. But ultimately, it’s none of those. It’s a system we’ve developed to train football players.”

A self-described terrible athlete, Turley was always better at training for a sport than playing it. At Virginia Tech, he volunteered as a student assistant trainer. He noticed the best players in the weight room often were not the best players on the field. That made little sense.

He read research papers and went to clinics and peppered trainers and physical therapists and doctors with questions. He watched YouTube clips. He devoured training manuals.

Eventually, he developed a basic program, or seven basic programs, divided by position groups, with one for linemen and one for quarterbacks and one for hybrids. Some of those are personalized for specific players with injuries or weaknesses that require variations.

Turley does not need a “horrendously large weight-room floor” or “Brazilian hardwood floors.” He wants equipment that is versatile and efficient. One of his favorite exercises, the push-up bridge, in which players stabilize their body in a plank position and spell out words using one arm, requires only a towel and the floor. The core boards are leaned on and stood on and can be used at practice or in the weight room.

This can all seem a bit strange at first, said Trent Murphy, a senior linebacker. Turley eliminated Murphy’s nagging injuries and helped shape him into an N.F.L. prospect.

“Most people don’t get it,” Murphy said. “And that’s fine.”

For the subtle art of injury prevention, the Cardinal stretch and stretch and stretch. They stretch before and after lifts and before and after practice. They stretch for fun.

Even Coach David Shaw has a tailored program. He spends most fall Saturday afternoons standing on the sideline, which tightens his lower back. The work afterward, according to Shaw, involves his “posterior chain” and stretching. A portion of what cut down on Stanford’s pulled muscles and hamstring tweaks — “Shannon’s immeasurable impact,” Shaw said — also works for its coach.

Turley Read more Friday 140103

Thursday 121213

Workout

Oxygen Debt 125m Rows

125m
20 sec rest

125m
18 sec rest

125m
16 sec rest

125m
14 sec rest

125m
12 sec rest

125m
10 sec rest

125m
8 sec rest

125m
6 sec rest

125m
4 sec rest

125m
2 sec rest

250m

Thursday 110421

Workout

A MetCon from CrossFit’s main page…
3x rounds for time of:
Run 100 meters*
50** Push-ups
Run 100 meters
50 Sit-ups
Run 100 meters
50 Squats
Run 100 meters
50 Back extensions***

*If it is raining, row 125m per
**In an effort to keep this under 30 minutes, I suggest a scaled version(s)…either do 30 reps per round or do 50, 35, and 20.

***As we only have 1 GHD, sub Good mornings

Saturday 101120

Proper Hip Drive for the Olympic Lifts
Written by Sage Burgener – with an amazing demonstration by Michele Vieux

Kettlebell swings are sooo much fun, right?! Right! However, they are not the answer to ALL of life’s problems. Kettlebell swings are an excellent exercise that we incorporate into many workouts (and are proven to make one’s butt look ghettofabulous), but this doesn’t mean that the mechanics of a kettlebell swing should transfer over to all the other movements we do in the gym . . . especially Olympic lifting.

Lately, I’ve had the sense that many people believe the hip drive on kettlebell swing (which is horizontal) is the same as the hip drive on the snatch and clean and jerk (which is vertical). We know that a horizontal hip thrust with a kettlebell gets momentum moving on the weight, but it doesn’t work that way with the Olympic movements. If you want the bar to travel fast over your head, it needs to move vertically. Why? Because the shortest distance between two points is a straight line (and that really IS physics) and we want that barbell over our head in the least amount of time possible. Who wants to be lifting a million kilos over their head for 47 hours?! No one!

On the other hand, kicking the hips forward will cause the bar to bang off your body, which then causes it to swing around you and you’ll either miss the bar out in front of you or it will go flying so far back and around your head that you won’t be able to hold onto it anymore.

Our goal is to maintain control of the barbell by keeping it close to our body through the whole entire movement. The only way to accomplish this is by moving the hips straight up and straight down and LIGHTLY brushing the barbell off your hips . . . NOT banging it . . . EVER.

Remember, the bar does what your hips do. Move them vertically so the bar will move vertically. Do it . . . you won’t . . . .

Workout
10x
125m Row
10-Air Squats
10-Push-ups
Rest (and complete the Squats and Push-ups) 1:10