Monthly Archives: September 2011

Wednesday Training, 9.28.11

Warmed-up with some joint mobility work, followed by Hindu Push-Ups and Squats, 15/15 for 10-min.

The kettlebell portion of the workout was done in a modified ladder-style, and was somewhat similar to what I did last Wednesday . There were three circuits:

Circuit 1

Alternated between 1-Arm Military Presses with a 44# KB and Chin-Ups on the Jungle Gym. For each Press I would do two Chins, and ladder up as I went. For the first round, I laddered up to 4 Military Presses and 8 Chins, for the second I laddered up to 3 Military Presses and 6 Chins, and so on, finally finishing with 1 Press and 2 Chins.

Circuit 2

This was a simple circuit of of three exercises. I did 5 1-Arm Clean & Jerks, 5 Jungle Gym Dips, and 10 Jungle Gym Body Rows, repeating the whole circuit three times.

 

Circuit 3

For this circuit, I alternated between KB Swings and 20-m sprints. I did a set of Swings, sprinted 20-m, walked back, and repeated. With the Swings, I started at 5 and laddered-up in intervals of 5 up to 25, and then worked my way back down. It worked like this:

  • 5 KB Swings, 20-m sprint
  • 10 KB Swings, 20-m sprint
  • 15 KB Swings, 20-m sprint
  • 20 KB Swings, 20-m sprint
  • 25 KB Swings, 20-m sprint
  • 20 KB Swings, 20-m sprint
  • 15 KB Swings, 20-m sprint
  • 10 KB Swings, 20-m sprint
  • 5 KB Swings, 20-m sprint

I wrapped-up with about 10-min of yoga.

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Interview with Vegetarian Fighter Aaron Simpson

Here’s a link to a short but great interview with vegetarian fighter Aaron Simpson: 5 Questions with Vegetarian UFC Fighter Aaron Simpson

My favorite part of the interview is when he explains his reasons for giving up meat:

We always talked about raising our kids vegetarian and teaching them compassion and empathy for all living things. I could no longer be a hypocrite and stand by and eat animals. So, almost two years ago, I stopped eating meat. All along I justified it by saying that as a high level athlete I needed to eat meat to stay strong and fit. Little did I know, this was the furthest thing from the truth. It actually really made sense with me when I read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, as it was backed by facts as to why it is wrong and unhealthy to eat animals.

While I don’t have kids, Simpson’s reasons for going veg pretty much mirror my own. And I was glad to see him mention Foer’s Eating Animals, which is arguably the best book on the subject.

Aaron Simpson, along with other fighters like Mac Danzig, Jake Shields, and the Diaz brothers, is just further proof that you don’t need to eat meat to be a fit and strong. You can be tough and compassionate, too!

Monday Training, 9.26.11

This morning I did 12-min of Burpee/Boxing Intervals followed by about 10-min of yoga.

In the afternoon, I started my workout with 10-min of Hindu Push-Ups and Squats, 15/15. Next up, three rounds of Kettlebell work.

  1. Double KB Clean & Jerks, ladder up to 3, three times
  2. Single KB Clean & Jerks, 3X5 on each side
  3. KB Swings, 30/30 for 10-min

In between each round of KBs, I did Jungle Gym Chins, for a total of 3 sets of 10.

Stronger Legs Without a Barbell

Most bodybuilders and strength athletes would thing this is a heretical thing to say, but here it goes: I hate barbell squats. Yes, I know they work a gazillion muscles and build strength and burn fat and so on and so on. I’ve just always hated doing them. It may be partially a bio-mechanical thing, as I’m 6’3″ with about a 36″ inseam. Or I might just not like them.

It’s been years since I’ve seen the inside of a gym, so it’s been years since I’ve been anywhere near a barbell. And surprise… my legs haven’t shrunken to toothpicks. Granted, I’ve always had fairly solid legs, which I owe to a lifelong love a very long hikes and walks. But I’ve found you can get very strong legs without ever having to step into a power rack. In fact, my own legs have gotten quite a bit stronger, bigger, and more muscular this year even though I hardly ever do weighted squats. How did I do it?

There are two major exercises I’ve added to my routines over the past several months, and I think they are the key factors to my improved leg strength.

The first is the Hindu Squat, which in recent years has been popularized by Matt Furey. This is essentially a very deep, bodyweight-only squat. It’s excellent for not only strength but incredible endurance as well. The best written explanation I’ve found is on Fitness Black Book:

How to Do The Hindu Squat

  1. Start with your hands pulled into your chest and feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Squat down while keeping your back straight and bring your arms down behind you for balance.
  3. Unlike the Prisoner Squat, you are going to want to roll up onto the balls of your feet as you lower down. At the very bottom you will almost be up on your toes.
  4. At the bottom, swing your arms forward as you push up of your toes.
  5. Your arms will reach out in front of you as you approach the top. Once you reach the top, your heels should be touching the floor again and then you pull your hands back in towards your chest. At this point start the movement over.
  6. The breathing is important and different than other exercises. Exhale on the way down and inhale on the way up. Do this for each and every rep. The breathing is as important as the movement.
  7. Start with 20-30 reps and slowly work up to 500. Within time, you will want to do this for 500+ reps for 15 minutes straight. This is easier said than done…and is a serious cardio workout.

And here’s a video of the Hindu Squat performed by Steve Maxwell:

I currently do Hindu Squats as part of my warm-up for Kettlebell training, and frequently do them on off days to stay limber. Hindu Squats have definitely improved my grappling, which isn’t surprising as they have long been popular with Indian wrestlers.

The second major exercise I’ve added to my routines that has helped to improve my  leg strength is the Long-Cycle Kettlebell Clean & Jerk. This is a fairly technical move, and is difficult to explain in writing, so I’ll sit back and let Scott Sonnon do it for me via video:

While at first this might seem primarily like an overhead lift, a great deal of leg and hip work is involved. Just because you aren’t squatting very deep for the Clean & Jerk doesn’t mean your legs aren’t getting a work-out. They are… trust me! The Clean & Jerk is very much a full-body exercise.

Like the Hindu Squat, Long-Cycle Kettlebell Clean & Jerk are great for improved athletic performance because they incorporate so much of the body and greatly improve both strength and conditioning.

To be honest, if you’re looking to build enormous bodybuilder legs, you will definitely need to do more than these two exercises. But for those of you who are looking to build solid, functional strength in you legs, give Hindu Squats and Kettlebell Clean & Jerks a try!

Friday Training, 9.24.11

In the afternoon I worked-out with my friend Travis. Warmed-up with Hindu Squats and Push-ups, 15/15 for 10-min. Next, 3 sets of Jungle Gym Rows.

Then it was time for Long Cycle Kettlebell Clean & Jerks. We went for 20-min straight, switching hands every 5-reps. We finished our session with 10-min of yoga.

This was our first time doing 20-min of the Long Cycle. It was challenging, but neither of us felt destroyed at the end. We’ll stick with 20-min for a while, before adding more time.

Wednesday Training, 9.21.11

Warmed-up with some joint mobility work, followed by Hindu Push-Ups and Squats, 15/15 for 10-min.

The kettlebell portion of the workout was done in a modified ladder-style. There were two circuits:

Circuit 1

Alternated between 1-Arm Clean & Jerks with a 44# KB and Chin-Ups on the Jungle Gym. For each Clean & Jerk I would do two Chins, and ladder up as I went. I did three rungs of ladders, so the circuit went like this…

  1. C&J: 1, Chins: 2
  2. C&J: 2, Chins: 4
  3. C&J: 3, Chins: 6

At the third round, I’d drop back down to 1 C&J and 2 Chins, and work my way up again. I did this three times, for a total of 18 Clean & Jerks and 36 Chins.

Circuit 2

For this circuit, I alternated between KB Swings and 20-m sprints. I did a set of Swings, sprinted 20-m, walked back, and repeated. With the Swings, I started at 5 and laddered-up in intervals of 5 up to 25, and then worked my way back down. It worked like this:

  • 5 KB Swings, 20-m sprint
  • 10 KB Swings, 20-m sprint
  • 15 KB Swings, 20-m sprint
  • 20 KB Swings, 20-m sprint
  • 25 KB Swings, 20-m sprint
  • 20 KB Swings, 20-m sprint
  • 15 KB Swings, 20-m sprint
  • 10 KB Swings, 20-m sprint
  • 5 KB Swings, 20-m sprint

It was a nice day at the park, so instead of my usual yoga sequence to cool down I just took a leisurely stroll for about 10-min.

Monday Training, 9.19.11

After a break, I’m excited to be back to regular training!

I met up with my friend and training partner Travis, who had been waylaid for a few weeks by illness and injury. Today’s session was largely built around Kettlebell Clean & Jerks.

We warmed-up with 10-min of Hindu Push-Ups and Squats, 15/15, followed by one set each of Jungle Gym Chins and Body Rows. Next, three rounds of Kettlebell work.

  1. Double KB Clean & Jerks, ladder up to 3, three times
  2. Single KB Clean & Jerks, 3X5 on each side
  3. KB Swings, 30/30 for 10-min

In between each round of KBs, we did more Hindu Push-Ups and Jungle Gym Chins and Rows.

The workout finished with about 10-min of yoga.