Thursday 150423

Workout (from CFNYC)

5 minute AMRAP:

15 Wall Balls (20/14)
15 Burpees
15 Sit ups
Rest 4 minutes

4 minute AMRAP:

12 Wall Balls (20/14)
12 Burpees
12 Sit ups
Rest 3 minutes

3 minute AMRAP:

9 Wall Balls (20/14)
9 Burpees
9 Sit ups
Rest 2 minutes

2 minute AMRAP:

6 Wall Balls (20/14)
6 Burpees
6 Sit ups

Rest 1 minute

1 minute AMRAP:

3 Wall Balls (20/14)
3 Burpees
3 Sit ups

From Breaking Muscle


A powerlifting buddy of mine once asked me what corrective exercisesand mobility stuff I do on the regular. I shrugged. I have a confession to make: I don’t do a lot of mobility work.

I know, I know, many of you are probably thinking that’s absurd considering the fact I’m supposedly an expert on the topic. How could I possibly be so well versed in a subject I spend less than ten minutes on every time I train? Allow me to explain.


mobility work, how to do mobility work, doing mobility work wrong, foam roller

What Mobility Is Actually For

Mobility is all about positioning and alignment. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, postural alignment is the basis of proper movement. This isn’t as simple as saying that if your posture sucks, then your movement sucks – true though that may be.

What it means is that when your muscles don’t sit at neutral lengths, they pull your skeleton into weird positions. When your skeleton is in these weird positions a lot of muscles can’t fire correctly, which leads to use the wrong muscles to do things. This will short-circuit your progress and could very likely lead to serious injury.

Mobility work, ideally, is focused on restoring lost ranges of motion and returning your muscles to their neutral lengths so you can reteach them how they should work. What that means is that mobility is incredibly important for beginners, particularly beginners of an advanced age.

 It Took Me Three Months to Squat

The older you are, the longer your body has had to develop poor neurological habits.Therefore, it’s going to take a bit longer to break those habits. Don’t worry, though. Barring some rare genetic deformity or a history of repeated, car crash-level bodily traumas, most mobility issues can be resolved in a few months. Seriously.

Like many of you, when I first started training I had a lot of trouble hitting full-depth in my squat and getting my hands overhead in a good position. I spent a lot of time during my warm ups sitting in the bottom of a squat and trying to open up my hips. I would also spend a lot of time doing pass-throughs (or dislocates, depending on your preferred verbiage) with a PVC pipe to open up my shoulders. I did a lot of hip flexor stretching, laying on the ground with my feet on a wall to stretch my adductors and a whole bunch of other things.

mobility work, how to do mobility work, doing mobility work wrong, foam roller

If you guys are interested, I’ll write up an easy mobility cheat sheet outlining the stuff I did, but that’s a bit outside the scope of this particular article. But the point is, it took me roughly two to three months to reach a point where I could simply drop into the bottom of a squat while keeping my knees out, chest up, and back flat.

Active Mobility vs. Passive Mobility

In physical therapy, we use the terms active range of motion (AROM) and passive range of motion (PROM) to define the difference between being able to obtain a position through some outside influence (either having the therapist manually move you there or through the use of a stretching or mobility apparatus), which would be passive, and being able to get there yourself using the proper muscles to achieve that motion, which would be active.Once you regain the ability to actively perform a movement, passive range of motion exercises are no longer utilized because at that point they really don’t do much for you.

So, how does this affect the everyday workout aficionado? The difference between AROM and PROM is similar to the difference between what I call active mobility and passive mobility. Passive mobility is being able to get your body into a position regardless of how you do it. Maybe you use band distractions or you hold onto a rack. Maybe you simply have a buddy help move you into the right position.

Whatever tool(s) you use, passive mobility means getting into a position through the use of assistance that allows you to achieve ranges of motions you are not capable of on your own. The real goal is to achieve this, and then turn it into active mobility.

Mobilizing Means You Need to Lift Lighter

This is the part that frustrates a lot of people. In most cases, if you were strong but immobile, mobilizing yourself will initially make you feel weaker. It’s not that you’ve lost any strength through the ranges you were used to, it’s that now you have additional ranges of motion in your joints that you’ve never trained.

The smartest way to deal with this situation is also the most simple: knock your weights down and work back up. It won’t take nearly as long for those lagging portions of each movement to catch up as it took to build the strength initially.

mobility work, how to do mobility work, doing mobility work wrong, foam roller

A big mistake I see is people who’ve just been bitten by the mobility bug spend half an hour mobilizing the crap out of something, be it their ankles, hips, or vertebrae. Then, immediately afterwards, they go out and try to use this newfound range of motion to lift the same weights they were lifting before. It’s not that this approach is a one-way ticket to snap city (though it can be), it’s that this will frequently defeat the purpose of all that mobility work you just did.

Proper mechanics will reinforce proper movement patterns that utilize full ranges of motion and optimal positions. If you mobilize yourself to achieve these positions, but then immediately try to use a load your body can only handle through half of your newfound range, guess what? Your body is going to default to your old, crappy mechanics. Why?Because you haven’t allowed it to learn anything else.

Mobility Work: You’re Doing It Wrong

I frequent a number of gyms in my area – some due to preference, others due to time constraints. The other day when I was training at my preferred home base, I heard a few of the trainers talking about mobility and working out. I heard one of them say how she had started focusing on doing thirty to forty minutes of mobility work in order to do a twenty or thirty minute workout.

I recognize that mobility is all the rage at the moment and while I disagree that it’s simply a fad, it does suffer from some of the downsides of being popular. Mobility is incredibly important but it’s also a very early step on the path to optimal performance. Twenty minutes of mobility work when you’re first starting out might be necessary, but unless you’ve got some crazy problems, you shouldn’t be spending more time mobilizing than training. If you genuinely feel like the way you workout forces you to mobilize that much, then you’re probably working out wrong.

Invest time early on to mobilize and achieve proper mechanics. Once you do this, the best way to maintain your mechanics is to use them. If you’re not a beginner and you still need twenty minutes of mobility just to get into a squat, it’s time to take a good hard look at the way you train. You might not like what you see.

Wednesday 150128



1000m Row
50-Good Mornings

every 10 sit-ups count toward your JanABuary total

Compare to: Tuesday 110920

My legs hurt too. The following might help.  from

Yoga Poses to Ease Post-Workout Muscle Soreness


So you killed leg day, but now you can’t even walk to the bathroom without being in pain. Post-workout muscle soreness is both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s a good thing because that indicates that you had a successful, muscle-building workout. Soreness is caused by the micro-tears in the muscles from working really hard. If you are sore, good job! You are building muscle.

Unfortunately, muscle soreness is can also be pretty uncomfortable- even painful- and also quite inconvenient in a lot of situations. If you work out a lot, you are going to be sore all the time, and that’s just no fun. 

Here are yoga poses for post-workout muscle soreness. These poses will help ease muscle soreness, as well as increase your mobility & flexibility for your future workouts.

 Yoga Poses for Post-Workout Muscle Soreness


yoga poses sore muscles post workout

Standing Forward Bend

Clasp your hands together behind your back, hinge forward at the hips, let your head hang, and bring your arms overhead. Sway slowly from side to side, letting the weight of your arms stretch your shoulders at different angles.

yoga poses sore muscles post workout

Standing Side Bend

Stand with your feet together and your arms overhead with your palms together. Keeping your arms straight- or close to straight- lean to the left and right, taking the time to feel your sides open.

yoga poses sore muscles post workout

Wide Legged Forward Bend Twist

Stand with your feet placed 3-4 feet apart, and hinge your torso forward at the hips. “Roll” your spine down and rest your hands on the floor, letting your neck & head relax. Bring one arm upwards and look up at it, feeling your spine twist and open. Switch arms and repeat.


yoga poses sore muscles post workout

Standing Forward Bend
Stand with your feet together, and bend over, “rolling” your spine down as you reach towards the floor. Let your neck relax and your head hang.


yoga poses sore muscles post workoutReclining Bound Angle Pose

Start in an upright (sitting) Bound Angle Pose (the “butterfly” stretch), then roll your spine back until your are laying down. This will stretch your hip flexors (and ladies take note, this pose is also great for relieving menstrual cramps).

yoga poses sore muscles post workout

Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

Begin on your knees, with your arms at your side, looking straight forward. Slowly draw your arms up over your head, then using one arm at a time, reach your hands behind you to grasp your heels. Make sure your hips are positioned over your knees, then relax your neck and shoulders so your head hangs back and your throat feels “open”.

yoga poses sore muscles post workout

Crescent Lunge

Start in a high lunge, then slowly lower the back knee down to the floor. Keep your torso to an upright position, and make sure your front knee does not extend forward over your toes.


yoga poses sore muscles post workout

Wind-Relieving Pose

Lay with your back flat on the ground and legs fully extended. Bring both knees in towards your chest, clasp your hands around your legs, and round your back so your buttocks come slightly off the floor. Attempt to bring your forehead to your knees, then rock slowly from side to side to gently massage your spine.

yoga poses sore muscles post workout

Two Knee Spinal Twist

Lay with your back on the ground, and your knees bent. Let your knees fall to one side, and look in the opposite direction, with your arms extended to both sides.


yoga poses sore muscles post workoutChilds Pose

Sit with your knees slightly apart and folded underneath your body, then lean forward to rest your forehead on the ground. Rest with your arms by your sides, or increase the stretch by reaching your arms forward.

yoga poses sore muscles post workoutPlow Pose

From a sitting position, roll your spine backwards and down to the floor, and bring your knees into your chest. Place your hands on your lower back for support as you extend your legs upward towards the ceiling. Finally, lay your arms on the floor when you are stable, lower your legs down towards your face, and aim to touch your toes to the floor above your head.

yoga poses sore muscles post workoutDownward Dog

Stand with your feet together, hinge forward at the hips, and bend your knees so that your palms are flat on the floor (if they aren’t already). Shift your weight so that your arms are supporting you as you hop or walk your legs back. Use your hands to push your body back towards your heels until you feel a stretch throughout your back and legs


yoga poses sore muscles post workoutSide Plank Pose

Starting from either Plank Pose or Downward Dog (whatever you are more comfortable with) shift your weight to one arm, and rotate your body to the side. Engage your core and lift your hips upwards, and extend your free arm overhead.

yoga poses sore muscles post workout

Sphinx Pose

Lay on your stomach and place your elbows below your shoulders. Prop yourself up on your forearms, taking care to keep your shoulders down and away from your ears.

yoga poses sore muscles post workoutCobra Pose

Lay on your stomach and place your hands flat on the floor beneath your shoulders. Slowly press up with your arms, straightening them only to the a point that is still comfortable for your back. Take care to keep your hips on the ground, and your shoulders away from your ears.

– See more at:

Monday 141027

We were to squat today.  It is too nice not to run.  so…

Run 400 meters
50 pull-ups

Run 400 meters
50 push-ups

Run 400 meters
50 sit-ups

Run 400 meters
50 squats

From The Atlantic

Teaching Math to People Who Think They Hate It

A popular Cornell professor tries to help language-arts types learn how to “make math” instead of just studying it.

The author’s son and husband take the scalene triangle challenge. (Jessica Lahey )

Math has never been my strong suit. I opted out of it at every turn, particularly in college, where I enrolled in linguistics to fulfill my quantitative reasoning requirement. I even tried to overcome my aversion by taking a second whack at Algebra in my forties, but sadly, I still hand restaurant bills to my husband when it’s time to calculate the tip, and have long since given up on helping my teenage son with his Algebra II homework. Despite my negative feelings about math, I am a huge fan of Steven Strogatz, author, columnist, and Professor of Applied Mathematics at Cornell University.

I follow Steve Strogatz on Twitter, and while I don’t always understand his tweets (“Would you like Bayesian or frequentist statistics with that?”), I do find them fascinating. When Steve tweeted that he’d be teaching an introductory math course for non-math majors at Cornell University (#old_dog#new_tricks#excited), I emailed and asked him to tell me more. Why would a veteran professor of higher math choose to spend a semester in the company of undergraduates, many of whom would rather visit the dentist than spend two hours a week exploring mathematical concepts?

The short answer is that Strogatz has discovered a certain thrill in rectifying the crimes and misdemeanors of math education. Strogatz asks his students, more than half of them seniors, to provide a “mathematical biography.” Their stories reveal unpleasant experiences with math along the way. Rather than question the quality of the teaching they received, they blamed math itself—or worse, their own intelligence or lack of innate talent. Strogatz loves the challenge, “There’s something remarkable about working with a group of students who think they hate math or find it boring, and then turning them around, even just a little bit.”

Strogatz believes the key to this turnaround lies not in the material, or the inherent talent of the student, but in changing the way math is taught to liberal arts majors. The curriculum he teaches is called Discovering the Art of Mathematics: Mathematical Inquiry in the Liberal Arts (DAoM); it was developed at Westfield State University byJulian Fleron and three colleagues and funded by a grant by the National Science Foundation. The DAoM approach, which is publicly available through a free collection of books and workshops, is rooted in inquiry-based learning: It focuses on student-led investigations into problems, experiments, and prompts. The typical mathematics for liberal arts class on the other hand, is typically presented in lecture format, usually by non-tenure track instructors, and only serves to further disenfranchise students, Fleron claims.

Twelve years of compulsory education in mathematics leaves us with a populace that is proud to announce they cannot balance their checkbook, when they would never share that they were illiterate. What we are doing—and the way we are doing it—results in an enormous Read more Monday 141027