When you think of a composition, you see the organization and orchestration of several moving parts. Playing apart with disjointed timing, the elements are disharmonious and disruptive to the listener’s ears. Your consciousness listens to your mind and the elements swirling around in it. It can entirely makeover the way you experience day-to-day life if you arrange the elements to craft an elegant composition.
Compile, Compress, Complete
• Compile a list of the thoughts and ideas that swirl around in your head.
• Compress the story of the thought/idea down to its most current state.
• Complete one micro task towards advancing a good thought or idea
Not aggressive, but directed and motivated, your energy will flow in a positive direction. Each adjustment you make to your composition brings you closer to becoming a true work of art!
As much as I love to take time to enjoy the relaxing pace and pristine coastline of Maine, I still find time to exercise even when deep vacation mode sets in. The best way to stay consistent on vaycay is to keep the plan simple, structured and on a fixed schedule (every morning, first or second thing, etc.). If you’re by the shore, give this one a whirl:
1. Run 300-yards in the sand within 2 minutes.
2. Drop and do 10 Push Ups
3. Run 300-yards in the sand within 2 minutes.
4. Drop and do 15 Push Ups
5. Run 300-yards in the sand within 2 minutes.
6. Drop and do 20 Push Ups
7. Run 300-yards in the sand Within 1.5 minutes.
8. Drop and do 10 Push Ups
When you finish the list, add on this double set. Run 600-yards in the sand within 2 minutes followed by 50 Push Ups for time, then do it again.
Have fun and relax 🙂
A workout using all of your muscles that are pullers will build a strong posterior chain and make you flexible! There’s nothing sexier than an upstanding skeleton, so pick up some weight and PULL!!! Here’s how:
Reverse Push Up
Use a Smith Machine or Squat Rack to position a secured barbell at chest height. Then position your hands equidistant from the center of the bar. Lean back and walk your feet forwards until your bod is angled 45 degrees to the floor…
Begin to pull, drawing your elbows backward as if trying to touch them together behind your back. When you get your chest to the bar, pause for a moment.
(No, this photo wasn’t stolen from the A.C. Slater archives)
Be sure to retract (squeeze) your shoulder blades together [without shrugging your shoulders up/tensing into the neck]. I tell my clients: “Imagine you’re trying to hold a pencil between your blades without letting it drop”. This visual cue seems to land with most folks; give it a try in your own mind’s eye. Then, slowly lower yourself back down and mentally prepare for many repeats (see program outline at the end)
Compound the fatigue on your synergists (helpers) with Barbell Bicep Curls. Stand erect, still “squeezing the pencil”, and get ready to CRANK!!!
Barbell Bicep Curls
With abs drawn in and towards the spine, begin barbell ascension with a focused lift.
Get It Up!
Envision no other muscle than your biceps (front of upper arm) doing the work. Mental focus is the thin blue line between workout efficacy and tiresome junk.
With bicep curls, I usually stop the lift when I get the load (barbell, dumbbell, cable, etc.) to armpit height (pictured below). Beyond that, I usually experience decreased muscle excitability and consider it wasted motion and unplanned rest.
Practically extend to completely straight, but not exactly. A little kink at the elbow keeps you right in the zone of intensity and puts the biceps in the position of least leverage to produce force again. Big time challenge, buddy!
After the set finishes you, find a pull-up bar. It’s time for an instant classic:
Get a proper grip and hoist yourself, thinking of the core muscles along side your ribs, underneath your shoulder blades and into your lower back. This is a latissimus exercise, but if you can access your deep core muscles while performing B.R.T. (body-weight resistance training), you’ll feel a serious kind of soreness in the days following your routine.
Note: I keep my thumb off the bar. By barely gripping surfaces, I experience far greater neuromuscular control, perform better reps and need to spend less time in the gym to create.
In the photo below, I am trying to retract my shoulders and “squeeze the pencil”, but if you look closely, you’ll see that my left shoulder is slightly raised. It is shrugging a bit towards my neck and throwing me somewhat out of alignment. It’s these minor details that make a major difference–I’d better lower myself down and try again.
Kill You Dead Bent Over Rows
This move combines a Dead Lift and a Bent Over Row. Bend down with a straight back to get ahold of the barbell, then stand erect.
In the low phase of the lift, your body should look like the number 7.
Pull the barbell up until it touches your belly button, pause there a moment and lower with control. Stand back up to straight and prepare for another rep, bending into the low phase of the Dead Lift before pulling up the row.
Finishing Move: Good Mornings
A lost art is the Good Morning, which is essentially a Dead Lift that is back-loaded instead of lap-loaded. Get the bar in a “comfortable” position across the shoulders, using the trapezius as memory foam padding. Begin the lift by bending at the hip to lower your torso down until you achieve the number 7 position again.
Stand up by squeezing your butt first and follow through until you are completely upright again. There is no movement that should occur in the vertebral column…it should just remain stabilized as you move through the range of motion of each repetition.
If you can execute this routine with perfect technique and consistency, then a battle-tested durable bod will be waiting for you at the finish line.
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your online Technique Training Session to learn every move in this circuit perfectly!
Spirit and Sport,
1. 20 Reverse Push Ups (or until failure)
2. 15-20 Barbell Bicep Curls (you’ll have to test your strength to find your working weight)
3. 10 Chin Ups
4. 12-15 Kill You Dead Bent Over Rows (you’ll have to test your strength to find your working weight)
5. 20 Good Mornings (you’ll have to test your strength to find your working weight)
6. 2-minute Sprint on a Treadmill at no less than 5 mph and an uphill incline of no less than 7.0
Rest 1-2 minutes. Repeat five times.
Nothing’s Worse Than a Busted Shoulder
Weight training programs that focus on moving heavy weight through a single plane of motion leave many bases uncovered when it comes to functional strength and joint stability. It’s quite possible to develop super-strong and ultra-sculpted shoulders with free, multiplanar motion. You begin by palming two weight plates and assuming an athletic-ready position:
Locked and Loaded
1. Skim the Meniscus
2. Throw the Discus
You look in the mirror to check form, not to admire muscle definition or despise figure.
It Takes Years of Dedication
The Disc Drive Series can be a useful way to become immensely strong. Practice the techniques demonstrated in each of the blog entries and you’re well on your way to a pro-form physique. The path to a peaking vessel is years long, and has no particular end. You go through your routines and before long, it’s automated–the highest level of systems functioning. Don’t let stagnation, discouragement or social distraction derail you. No one wants this for you as bad as you do; it’s one of the universal inequalities in life. So sink your teeth in, and plan on having tenacity.
Always The Upstanding Citizen
Grab two plates…hold on tight.
Get a Grip–Now Walk Forth, Young Man
Different foot strikes indicate a stability challenge, as well.
Make sure to take even paces, with shoulders pinned back.
Just Think: Age 30 will be my most athletic year…
Chin up. Shoulders back…this is Charm School, sucka!
So, let’s make this harder, ey?
Doubling the stack width coupled with added surface viscosity places increased demand on the gripping muscles.
The Farmer’s Walk
I can’t tell you how many exercises I take my clients through that could be more effective with improved grip strength. I’ve known this since somewhere near the beginning of my personal training career nearly 8 years ago. Clients would complain of searing, burning pain focused in the forearms, elbows and hands when performing lat pull-downs and rows; dead-lifts were a near impossibility; heavy weight couldn’t be moved without the use of wrist straps.
Your appendages and digits are your most literal translation of the tactile world outside. You get full neural input of the resistances placed on your frame when you are in direct touch with them. The Farmer’s Walk forces you to squeeze with all your might and to manage an efficient posture while swaying. This is truly a strength-building exercise.
1. Grip the rims of two weight plates using just finger tips. Hold them by your sides.
2. Stand up super tall and let the arms hang down, with a little stiffness in the elbow to avoid hyper-extending.
3. Walk forwards as far as you can until you feel like the grip is about to slip!
4. Hold on for dear life and take a few more steps for good measure.
5. Progress to stacked plates when you become bored with the traditional version.
6. Total 4 sets, mixed into core work (gluteus, abs, trunk, etc.)
Questions, comments or concerns, e-mail:
Hmm, how do I get this 12 Kg plate from over-my-head to-the-left, to beside me on the right? Hmm…
Focus on the Footwork
The Multi-Planar Lunge is one of fitness’ greatest challenges. It focuses on the entire body, while moving the limbs through three different planes of motion. It stabilizes the ankle and hip with powerful pivots, while developing spatial and proprioceptive awareness with optimal structural alignments.
It’s All In the Hips
You End Up Looking Like a Heiroglyphics Character
Step by Step
1. Elevate the plate, pivot the back leg to face torso to plate.
2. Initiate movement with the pivot foot, open the angle at the hip and begin the plate’s descent.
3. Allow the arms to fall straight as the plate swoops its way across the pendulum of your body.
4. Let the weight bottom out in the middle.
5. Transfer the force with a counter pivot and whip the pendulum through your midsection.
6. Allow the plate to freely fly upward to the opposite side.
7. Ride the transition and catch it high.
8. Reverse kinetic orientation and repeat.
Repeat on Both Sides as Directed
Integrated within the same workout as the Chop Squat, the Multi-Planar Lunge brings strength and athleticism together in gorgeous harmony. Master these moves and look for the next issue of the Disc Drive series to continue to build a better fitness program!
Q & A
Time to Clean Your Plate
Plate work is some of my favorite. Just like kettle bells, dumbbells and machines, plates are just another tool in the gym that I can use to shape my body in a totally unique way. The demands placed on the core are equivalent to working with kettle bells. The majority of moves are bi-lateral, so it offers the same potential for symmetry as the machines. Unlike dumbbells, however, plate manipulation requires more advanced skill probably gained through extensive exercise experience.
Where to Begin?
Chop Squat with Rotation
1. As the basis of working with plates, understanding the Chop Squat is critical.
2. Hold the plate bi-laterally (evenly balanced right to left). Choose the weight wisely.
3. Let the plate sway in an arc to better understand the mechanics.
4. Drive from the hips and lower back to propel the plate skyward along the arc.
5. Overcome inertia, knock it off axis and shift the center of gravity.
6. Lock in rhythm with the swaying pendulum.
7. One Max Effort hurls the plate skyward on an arc.
8. Catch it high.
9. Once elevated, observe the distribution of different downward forces on your body as the position of the plate changes overhead.
Big Wide Orbital Arc
The Laws of Physics: The longer the lever of the pendulum, the more force it takes to overcome inertia, accelerate and decelerate it.
10. Arms bone straight, collapse the hips, knees and vertebral rotators simultaneously as the plate scrapes the perimeter.
A Complete Collapse
11. Catch it low.
12. Allow your body to give into the force so that you can accurately calculate how hard to counter.
The change in direction is initiated at the waist and then transferred through the arms. Drive first with the gluteus on the side over which the plate falls. Sequentially fire the external obliques, the erectors and the [rear] deltoids. Stabilize the shoulder with the middle trapezius, rhomboids, deltoids and the muscles with scapular insertions.
Repeat In Sequence
Mastering Plate Chop Squats does a body good! Everything gets stronger; you become more flexible; your heart rate is jacked and it’s highly functional. Whether for recreation or pro-competition, Chop Squats build athleticism and physique, and conquer uncoordinated efforts and imbalances.
– Use Plate Chop Squats as part of your general warm-up prior to weight training
– Start with a light 5-pound plate and become acclimated to the mechanics
– Always use a mirror to observe yourself
– Do Three Sets of 15 repeats to each side with 30 seconds of rest between sets
See beauty in yourself and the world loves you all around. You are Beautifully Sculpted; evenly shaped. Have a grasp on your reality by touching something–it’s likely right there, in the same place at the same time…everyday. Celebrate the pendulum of your life. It’s time for the upswing.
Excerpt from “The Art of Exercise”
Q & A