MENTAL AND PHYSICAL CHALLENGES, AND A CHANGE IN PLANS
When I signed up to do the Brooklyn Half, my body felt great. But the moment I started training runs, my hip started giving me trouble. So I stopped running, but continued my strength training: a 6-day-a-week barbell and kettlebell training program starting 2 months out from the Brooklyn Half. I never missed a workout.
My friend Passa had followed a strict half marathon program along with our weight training, so I determined I would get to the park entrance with her, and then let her go. At mile three, we entered the park and I still felt pretty good. Not wanting to suffer the long, steep, s-o-b of a hill halfway through the park alone, I decided to stick with Passa a little longer, until we exited the park.
When lifting a stone, you first need the requisite mobility to pull yourself into a deep squat while having your hands on a fixed object. There are two places you can optimally stabilize your spine and trunk: one is while standing, and the other is in the bottom of a deep squat with an upright torso. (It can be done in other positions, but it is not nearly as effective.)
This is exactly what children do when trying to lift a heavy object. They will first explore the best way to lift the object in the deep squat and figure out how to grip it. If they feel comfortable, they will set spinal position and then come up into the hinge (deadlift position) to lift the object. If they cannot get a good grip, they will not pick it up. This will quickly expose any holes in your breathing and bracing strategies and your ability to effectively stabilize your trunk.
Optimal leg drive technique differs from lifter to lifter, but foot placement dictates leg drive technique. Lifters with shorter legs tend to thrive with the feet hooked tightly under the bench and the heels off the ground, while longer-legged lifters do better with the feet out wide and heels flat.
“Give them great meals of beef and iron and steel,” wrote Shakespeare in Henry V. “They will eat like wolves and fight like devils.”
Given a choice, I do not think these fierce warriors would have gone to a fast food joint to get their beef. It has been established that a McDonald’s average customer finishes his meal in a little over 10min. I wonder if there is an inverse relationship between the quality and the time it takes to consume it? I know that in strength training there is—a kid who rushes from set to set will never get strong.
This post is all about programming, but it’d be shortsighted to wrap up without reminding you that I’d rather see a mediocre program executed with outstanding intensity and adherence than an outstanding program executed with mediocre effort. You can’t outprogram “soft,” so be sure you’re working hard in spite of the focus on continued education!
If you’re interested in taking a glimpse into more of my programming philosophies – or get a comprehensive strength and conditioning plan all prepared for you –
There are many exercises to choose from for effective ab training. The key is to practice both feed-forward and feed-back tension and to say farewell to the “burn”. All of the StrongFirst curricula—kettlebell, bodyweight, and barbell—are obsessive about building strong abs. Consider the Total Tension Kettlebell Complex as an example.