Swings

Just as I began my first workouts, an interesting exercise was slowly slipping from the gyms, weightrooms and spas of the world: the swing. As the era of Universal and then Nautilus machines pushed kettlebells, fixed barbells and gymnastics equipment from the floor, one of the best overall “fat burning athlete builders” also disappeared. Many European and Australian coaches continued using this in their training programs, but basically the movement went the way of Nehru Jackets (this is the 1960s).

 

Then something amazing happened: Pavel Tsatsouline brought kettlebells and kettlebell training back in the late 1990s. If you have seen a KB, you have Pavel to thank for it. If you know someone certified to teach KBs, they owe Pavel a letter of thanks. The swing is so popular now that monthly 10,000 swing challenges appear on social media as often as memes with sarcastic Willie Wonka.

 

Sadly, swings are very easy to do wrong. Let’s go through a short list here to make you swing better and not look like an idiot…or worse.

 

  1. The Swing is a hip hinge snapping into a plank. Nearly every problem comes from missing this point. When you hinge, your hips bend maximally, but your knees only bend minimally. In other words, don’t squat your swing! (The squat is both hips and knees bending maximally).

 

  1. After a swing workout, you should feel sore in your hamstrings, although I will allow your butt to be sore, too. If you feel it in your lower back, you are doing it wrong! Wrong. Generally, people who swing into a sore back are not hinging. The weight should be aimed at your zipper and you should wisely let it miss. In the hinge, reach deeply straight back with your arms like you are deep snapping to a punter.

 

  1. The top of a swing brings you to a vertical plank. Your shoulders should be packed down (no shrugging at all), your butt cheeks and quads should be squeezing, your lats should be tight and your feet should be pushing straight down. The bell doesn’t have to come very high (it is okay to “float” a bit) so with a heavy bell it might not get up to your belt height. The crown of your head should stretch straight to Zenith and you should look like you are planking on the ground (except you are standing).

 

  1. Don’t TRY to be stupid on swings. Keep your eyes locked in one place and I recommend “eyes on horizon.” Find a spot on the wall that would basically be the horizon and keep looking at it throughout the move. NEVER look down or, worse, back, no matter how famous the person telling you to do this compromising position.

 

  1. The swing is all about generating a lot of power in the strokes. So, hinge and explode (like a tackle in football), snap into the plank and throw it back at your zipper. The swing is different from its cousin, the snatch, in one simple way: in the KB snatch you are thinking of throwing the bell upwards, like in the Highland Games Weight Over Bar. In the swing, it helps to think that you are throwing the bell forward (think it, don’t do it). I actually have people occasionally throw the bell in swings just to get the sense of this violent move.

 

  1. For most of us, the two handed swing is going to be enough. Moving to one handed swings has a great valued for grip strength and cardiovascular work, but all too often, people twist and sway with the one handed movement. Yes, I would love for you to do this right, but if you can’t get competent coaching, stick with the two-hand swing.

 

  1. Swings work very well with a variety of repetition schemes. Although we start each workout with five sets of fifteen swings (followed by goblet squats, marching in place then a flexibility move), rarely do we do the same rep scheme back to back. Two variations that work well and have been well tested by me and my group with 20,000 swings:

 

Variation One:

10 Swings

15 Swings

25 Swings

50 Swings

 

The 50s are tough, but the nice thing about this variation is that you have just done 100 swings. Do this five times and…well, you can do the math. The 50s are tough.

 

Variation Two:

15 Swings

35 Swings

 

We moved to this after realizing that 50 swings five times a day, five days a week for four weeks was really hard. So, this little compromise gives us an easier set followed by a harder set. It’s fifty quick reps and we like to mix in strength and flexibility movements between each round.

 

You can certainly do any combination you feel like doing, but we tested out lots of variations and these worked best.

 

  1. Do NOT do that swing style where the arms go above the head. Just snap the swing forward and somewhere between belt height and shoulder height (as long as the crown of the head is driving to Zenith), actively toss the bell back to the zipper. I just realized that “Zipper to Zenith” might be coaching cue to consider.

 

  1. Pick up the bell “like a professional” and finish the set in the same way. I spend time on every set getting my feet positioned and firm, hinge back, tighten the lats then find my point on the horizon to focus upon. Finishing, put the bell down maintain your back position and strive for a quiet landing on the ground. I like no sound at all, actually.

 

  1. Finally, I use the swing in warm ups, athletic prep, and general training for all populations. If you want to do them correctly, hire a SFG certified KB instructor. There are plenty of regressions and corrections that can be added to your program to clean up your movement, but no article or video is as good as hands on coaching. Obviously, I believe that about all training ideas, too.

 

Hopefully, the swing is here to stay. It remains dear to all of us who want a simple, effective training tool that addresses so many issues. Swing away.

Killer Apps

There is a documentary about computers that shaped the way I coach. Very simply, it was thought that the world would probably only need five computers. There is a great scene in the movie, Apollo XIII, where all the guys in white shirts and skinny black ties pop out their sliderules to calculate the trajectory of the lunar module.

 

This all changed one day when a programmer asked his friend, “Does this have value?” His friend, the head of an accounting firm, answered: “I hire 400 people a week to do what you say I can do with the push of a button?” “This” was the spreadsheet and it changed the demand for computers. This was the “Killer App” and the reason you MUST have a computer to keep up.

 

I began looking at equipment in a whole new light after seeing this show. I watch these idiotic youtube videos where people use equipment to do all kinds of odd and strange things. My favorite was a guy who tied himself to a tree to practice sprinting (the rope held him in place). One could also sprint without being tied to a tree, for clarity’s sake. People are fighting right now for your freedom to do any stupid thing you can think of but let’s honor them by doing the right moves with the right tools.

 

Barbell: I love the barbell and I have been using them since 1965. Here is why you NEED to have one: the Press family and Deadlifts. A typical barbell can be loaded with enough 45 pound plates to sneak up to 700 pounds. That is a lot of weight. You can also get the bar to jump from 55 pounds to 60 pounds if that is where you are at today. I have argued for years, that if all you did was press (military or bench) and deadlift, you might have most of your training locked in.

 

Moreover, you are going to compete in Powerlifting (Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift) or Olympic lift (Snatch, Clean and Jerk), a barbell is a must.

 

TRX: my knock on the TRX for a long time is that the information on how to use it including running in place, lunges, and a lot of this and that. My question was “why” should I have one. Here is why: the T, Y, and I Pulls, the Single Arm Rows and the Double Rows target the area of the body that often gets missed and ignored. That whole area of the upper back and rear shoulders is probably the most underdeveloped area of most people I work with in the gym. I have attempted odd variations of planks, dozens of pulls with other equipment, but the TRX answers these issues smarter and faster.

 

Kettlebells: I love the kettlebell. Like my intern said the other day, it just looks like your training even if you are carrying them out to the car. Three moves make the KB irreplaceable: the Goblet Squat, the Swing and the Turkish Get Up. Yes, you can use other things for these three moves, but the ease of transition and the feel of having the correct load in the right place (off center in the TGU and Swing) just makes a good KB worth having in your gym.

 

Mini-Bands: I never understood why you would use these until I was told to do one simple movement. The Lateral Walk with a mini-band around the socks (you really need to wear socks!) is the perfect way to light up and train the Glute Medius. A set of Swings followed by a set of Squats followed by a long Lateral Walk with Mini-Bands will teach you more about your butt than an anatomy class.

 

Ab wheels: For ten dollars, you can do the best “anterior chain” ever invented (outside of a perfect pull up). I don’t know of a workout, program or plan that couldn’t be improved a bit by rolling out on one of these devices. You will notice they rise and fall in popularity, but here is my theory about why you don’t see them used much: it is really hard.

 

Dumbbells: you can do a lot of things with dumbbells, but we all know the knock on these in a gym. No matter how many are there in a rack, someone complains to the owner: “Hey, you have 35s and 40s…why no 37.5s?” I like dumbbells for Farmer Walks. All those really heavy dumbbells at the end of the rack that are covered in dust are perfect for walking around the gym and training literally every muscle in the body.

 

Killer Apps can be a perfect program, if there is such a thing:

 

Military or Bench Press (Barbell)

T-Y-I Pulls and Rows (TRX)

Deadlifts or Swings (Barbell or KBs)

Goblet Squats (KB)

Farmer Walks (Dumbbell)

TGU (KB)

Ab Wheel Rollout (Ab Wheel)

 

Get a limited amount of equipment and get back to simple and successful training.

 

 

Bigger Better Deal

An interesting thing happens every time I write an article on the Internet. It’s not exactly criticism, but it is what we used to call “one-upmanship.” In full candor, William Shakespeare faced a different kind of criticism; his poor work led to the audience throwing vegetables at him, so I should be careful here. What happens is this: no matter the topic, no matter the point, if there is a “feedback” or “comment” box after the article, someone is going to post a BBD.

 

“BBD” stands for “Bigger Better Deal.” When I discuss a year long approach to losing simply one pound in 365 days (better than what 99% of us will do in a year), I will see a post that says: “I lost 16 pounds in three weeks doing the RX45!” Often, the people posting are directing you to their affiliate site so they can make a little extra cash, but I digress: absolutely, no question about it, no matter what you do, no matter how well you do it, someone is going to tell you a better way to do it.

 

If you want to have a fun plane ride, sit between a Vegan and a Paleodiet person. My standard joke line is this: “How do you know someone is a Vegan? You met them five minutes ago. How do you know someone is a crossfitter? You met them ten seconds ago.” Throw a world record and someone is going to give you a hint about how to toss farther. I am sure that somebody told Wilt Chamberlain that if he would have shot better than 36 for 63 he would have easily scored more than 100 points that night in 1962.

 

A lot of BBD is caused by the overwhelming amount of information that is available today. I was told that if you read two books a week on Amazon that discussed diet (not including cookbooks), it will take you 65 years to finish them. I can’t prove this and I will die happy not fulfilling this task.

 

The interesting thing is this: if you took every diet, every Way of Eating, and smashed them into a Venn Diagram, I don’t know if any single one would not agree to do the following:

 

  1. Don’t eat Frankenstein fats. (Those created in a lab)
  2. Don’t eat Cardboard Carbs. (Foods that are in boxes and appeal to you when stoned)
  3. Eat colorful vegetables.

 

If we put together each and every training method, you might find some argue one set of exercise versus multiple sets of exercise. Some methods ask for whole body days and others split the body into parts. Some argue that we should train the lungs and the body will follow or we should train the legs and the lungs will just have to keep up. But, if there was a secret, the happy connected area of the Venn diagram, we tend to find this:

 

  1. Move without pain, move well, and move often.
  2. Intelligent, repeatable workouts over years trump injuries and surgeries.
  3. Recovery is the time when adaption occurs, so plan it in.

 

Like a Paleo guy told me a few years ago, the key is to: “Live long and well, then drop dead.” It’s not bad advice about life.

 

So, here is the key: explore new exercises, equipment, and programs. Enjoy the process of learning which might be the Fountain of Youth. Just don’t ignore your excellent progress because somebody BBD’ed you. And, they always will.

 

My daughter, Lindsay, need to register her car, so I went with her to the local station. On the way, she reminded me of a story that shows what I think is the key to training.

 

Years ago, I taught at Judge Memorial Catholic High School. Judge is famous for a lot of things, but it is locally famous for its total lack of parking spaces. As a veteran teacher, I had a prime designated parking space, Number 27. The downside is that, as a family, we were struggling financially and I didn’t have a car to park in the spot. For the young people reading this, we were called a “One Car Family.”

 

I made an offer: if anyone wanted my space (which I defended, by the way, to the death; it was a bad idea to park in my space), one merely had to pick me up from my house about two miles away and make sure I got home. Soon, each morning, we would have people sitting in my living room waiting to shuttle me off to school.

 

This is “win-win.” Of all the tricks in my coaching and training career, “win-win” is probably the least appreciated idea. Recently, I have been writing about my approach to daily training called the Intentional Community where a group of us all agree to meet every day to train at a specific time. I provide the equipment and location and everybody else provides energy and enthusiasm.

 

You see, I am not always excited about training. But, when five or six people are knocking on your door to “get going,” it is pretty easy to get going. We have several rules that might help your training:

 

First, show up. Simple to write, simple to say and simple to follow but very few people adhere to fitness programs for the “simple” reason they fail to show up. Even if you go to the gym or walk over to your fitness equipment and just wave a few things around for thirty seconds, I think you are far better served than staying on the couch, bed or computer chair. Trust me, if you just show up, you will do more than just a few waves.

 

Second, finish the program. No matter what thing you say you are going to do, whether it is a two weeks to bigger biceps or six weeks to ripped abs, I want you to finish the program. Charles Staley noted years ago that “the best program is the one you are not doing.” This simply means that the diet you are going to start on Monday is miles better than what you are doing today and the groovy thing you just read online is far better than the program given to you by the world’s finest trainer.

 

And, that is fine, of course. Just finish the program you are doing. You might want to remind yourself that just a few weeks ago, THIS program was the greatest workout ever devised.

 

Third, in a community, we are a Band of Brothers. Shakespeare says it best:

From this day to the ending of the world,

But we in it shall be remembered-

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me

Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,

This day shall gentle his condition;

And gentlemen in England now-a-bed

Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,

And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks

That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

 

So, as we shed our blood, but I do expect a bit more: if I look stiff or slow, point it out. If you are underloading or overloading, I will point it out to you. We are a group that also keeps an eye on each other hoping to make us all a little better.

 

There is also a great method of training in the “win-win” mentality. Usually, we all call it “I go/You go” and it is a simple way to get in a lot of work, some coaching and appropriate rest periods. I do my set of exercises and put the load down. Immediately, “You” begin your set. This continues for as long as we need to get our full amount of reps and sets. This can also be done with more traditional cardio work providing an element of interval training into one’s usual routine.

 

Once you apply the concept of “win-win,” use this as a mental training trick for everything you do. It is a trick I learned from Thomas J. Stanley’s book, The Millionaire Mind. Whenever you meet someone who has successfully shed weight, finished a rough diet, or had success in fitness or sports, cheer them along. Give them honest praise and really feel some excitement. This little mental shift will make you more focus and disciplined in your program and diet adherence.

 

In every problem you face in fitness, health and performance, seek out a “win-win” solution first. Invite friends and family to help you solve it. When you see others succeed, gladly celebrate their success. You will be the winner long-term.

 

I have ONE rule…

I have an odd rule that drives many people crazy. My assistants and interns always laugh because I get so frustrated with people when they break this rule. The problem is simple: I forget to tell people that I have this rule! It is fairly obvious:

 

Do NOT criticize, condemn or correct a training program that you are doing until you complete it.

 

Years ago, I followed a very strict and disciplined diet that involved only protein shakes and 28 days of hard living for everyone around me. Upon completion, Alywn Cosgrove told me: “Yeah, now that you have finished it, you can criticize it.” The insight was so simple and clear that now I use it as a tool. Finish it, then fix it.

 

During the past year, I have been asked to put together, among other things, a 10,000 Kettlebell Swing Challenge and two training programs for two very different tasks. I undertook the 10,000 swing challenge twice to figure out what rep schemes worked best for doing the entire twenty day program.

 

Upon publishing the article, that very day I began receiving emails and posts with “better ideas.”

 

“Wouldn’t it be better to do twenty sets of twenty-five reps to get 500 a day?” No, because you can never keep track of the sets as we tried it and you simply get lost after 12 sets or so.

 

“Wouldn’t this rep scheme be better (insert a bunch of random numbers)?” No, as doing…wait, I just realized something: you are asking questions without even trying what we came up with after 20,000 reps. On Day One of the article’s publication, the readers were already coming up with “better” ideas without doing a single swing.

 

It reminded me of something my brother-in-law, Craig Hemingway, told me: he works as an EMT and often gives presentations to schools. He has a rule just before the question and answer period. He simply explains two things: when you raise your hand, I want a question. A question finishes with a question mark. A story, on the other hand, is when you tell us about your grandpa or someone else who has been in an ambulance. We only want questions right now.

 

You see, most people want to tell their stories. They don’t really want to follow my programs or anybody else’s program;, they want to tell me about their programs. It’s funny: in our gym, we don’t often follow “our programs” because we are often experimenting with ideas that we find other people doing.

 

This week, Marc and Mike are looking at a very interesting six-week training program that involves circuits every day and timed intervals. Outside of an equipment issue or two, they are following the program exactly. I am following the program of another fitness professional, a 21-day program, so I can intelligently comment on it in a few weeks. If the program says: “do this,” I “do this.”

 

Oddly, if you know your history, I reflect on this quote by Amelia Earhart when people ask my why I so often train using other people’s training programs: “In soloing, as in other activities, it is far easier to start something than it is to finish it.” For nearly every single goal you have in mind, someone else has cleared that path before you. Why not just follow it?

 

Certainly, we take notes and discuss “better.” Certainly, we could sit around an ask questions that are really stories. But, when it comes to the program, do the program.

 

Quit tweaking (or twerking) things to “make it better.” When I did the Soviet Squat Program, I walked to the bar and squatted. I always make the joke that if my squat wouldn’t have improved doing all those squats (Six sets of six in the front squat with 80% of my max!), I would have flown to Russia and punched every Soviet I could find. I followed it exactly and my squats went through the roof.

 

Here is how you KNOW a program is actually doing its job, with only a hint of sarcasm: you find a dozen flaws in the program and you fix them by doing what you always do anyway.

 

Dive into a new program every so often. Immerse yourself in it or, as Mark Twight says, drink the Kool Aid. Keep a journal, take notes and monitor your progress, but stick to the plan. Any plan that is attempted with vigor is far better than doing the same thing with little intensity.

 

Then, after you finish it, critique it. “Mine the gems” from it and adapt and adopt into your normal training.

 

But, finish what you start.

Building your Home Gym

I wish I could say this nicely, but I hate commercial gyms. I can’t stand public training facilities. Since 1971, the bulk of my training has been in my backyard, my garage or my porch. When you add up the commute time, the gym fees and the hassle of dealing with some zit backed teen who slimes every flat surface in the facility, I prefer to stay home.

 

I started small. I had my Sears Ted Williams 110 pound weight set and all the spare weights from the neighborhood. In the tenth grade, I could Incline 182 ½ pounds because that is all I had to work with on my porch. I had more flies (the buzzing kind) than pounds. In 1991, the best gym I ever trained in closed and I started again with an Olympic bar, two 35 pound plates and two 25 pound plates. Oddly, I made progress.

 

Having a perfect home gym might take a few years. In fact, I think it is a mistake to equip your gym too well in the beginning. You want your gym to “grow” as you know you can commit to more and more work. Having a perfect home gym from the start will look pretty when you give tours, but you might never use anything. When it is coming out of your pocket, it helps to “know” that you are going to use a piece of equipment.

 

Outfitting a home gym, your perfect gym comes down to Cost to Benefit. If you are an elite Olympic lifter, you might want to have the finest barbell in the world, but, if you are like me and only lift in a few meets a year, a klunker works pretty good.

 

With the fear of sounding cheap, most of the equipment you might own for your perfect home gym is usually borrowed, bought at discount or rigged together with your own hands.

 

My gym is filled with borrowed, discounted and rigged together training tools. Men’s Health called it “America’s Top Gym.” So, I must be on to something.

 

The PERFECT GYM is going to be a little about taste. Some of us like movies in black and white with a crying clown. I don’t. There is no right or wrong here, so let’s simply look at what I want and feel free to add and subtract.

 

The Basic Basics:

An Olympic barbell: if you are pressing, squatting or deadlifting, you need one. How much weight you need is a good question. For the home gym where you train by yourself, you are going to find that for a number of reasons, you might need less than you think. I err on the side of safety training alone. I strive to make every lift in the plan and never miss.

 

One other thing: when you train at home, you have expensive stuff close to you. For years, I trained with my wife’s brand new car right behind my platform. If I missed a lift or bounced the plates, it would hit the car. I don’t fear missing lifts, I fear my wife.

A Kettlebell. For things like Goblet Squats and Swings, it is hard to replace the KB. I have fourteen in my gym now, but I train groups at my house. For most of us, one is pretty good and maybe a few pairs of KBs for doubles work would be good, too.

 

Originally, I only had one 28 Kilo Kettlebell and I tried to master all the moves on this one bell. It was far too heavy for some of the movements, but it was great for the swing (I still use the 28 for most of my swing work), the press and the Goblet squat. I am sure you can do much of the KB world with other equipment, but KBs have one big advantage: you can take one out to a field or park and train with it. My 28 and I have had many adventures and it sits right behind me in my car.

 

TRX or some kind of similar setup. I like the vast number of pulls I can do with the TRX. I can make things easier or harder with a step and I really can play with some of my weak areas. So, for me: the T, the Y, the I and the single arm rows make this indispensible. For outdoor training, this and your KB can turn any place into a full workout gym. I have four TRXs in my gym and two Rip Trainers. When not in use they take up very little space.

 

Ab Wheels. I get the cheap ones at Ross Dress for Less for ten dollars in mid-January. About two weeks after New Years is the best time to buy lower end gym equipment. The ab wheel is the absolute king of full body tension and it can help your pull up power and counter the effects of lots of hinging. Recently, I got the big steel version from Sorinex as we tend to break the plastic ones often. It has rollerblade wheels and can support multiple large people without fear of smashing the face on the floor.

 

Good stuff that you might consider.

 

I don’t have a bench in my gym. It takes up a lot of space and most people just don’t need to bench as much as we think. I do have squat racks, but one could certainly just clean the bell up and do squats like the old timers a century ago. I have a Pull Up/Dip combo and it has certainly proved its worth.

 

These three (bench, racks, and pull up/dip rack) can be expensive and take up a lot of space. This is where the “perfect gym” is always going to be an issue: the trade offs. I like a lot of ground in my gyms: the floor is an often forgotten area to train. Since the onset of machines, and this isn’t a knock on them although I don’t use them, most gyms try to cram every square inch with crap. Our floors are for Olympic lifts, Turkish Get Ups, rolling (foam and tumbling), corrective work, mobility and flexibility work.

 

Space is precious in most home gyms, so use it wisely.

 

I like everything to have a place, so I invested in a rack to hold my Kettlebells. You could do without one, but it sits right against the wall and takes up very little space. I always have at least fourteen bells in the gym the three shelves hold them all. I would also recommend plastic bins to hold any kind of thing like pads, foam rollers, ab wheels or anything else that will tend to clutter up the place.

 

I have a long rope in the backyard that serves a dual purpose. It is mounted fairly high up a tree for rope climbing but it extends far down the yard, too. You can train the Battling Ropes method and still get the best ab workout I know pretending to be Tarzan. Rope climbing is still the most underrated training tool I know. Next to the rope, off of another branch, I hang two rings. We do a variety of things from simple pull ups (the rings rotate into a place that seems to save the elbows) to a bunch of Crow’s Nests and other gymnastic moves. Nothing too fancy, but it is an excellent and fun method of developing grip and core strength.

 

Bret Contreras kindly sent me a Hip Thruster machine and I’m not sure how I ever trained without it before now. It is simple, yes, but you can really work the hinge movement hard (and safely) and develop wonderful buns. At least, that is what people tell me after I walk past them. I tend to only use bands with this, but we are set up to load it with barbells and weights.

 

Marc Halpern brought us three bags. One weighs 25 pounds, the next is 50 and the big one is 80. I love bag carries, especially in the Bear Hug. A great little workout is “Bear/Bear” where you carry the heavy bag in a bear hug for a ways, drop it and Bear Crawl back. Then, Bear Crawl back to the bag and Bear Hug it back. These bags are very inexpensive, you can use salt bags for water softeners as weight and toss them in a duffel bag. How you train with them is only constrained by your imagination.

 

Mike Rosenberg sent me Farmer Bars in 2001 and they have been part of my gym since that time. They are simply the best. Now, for most of us, just do your Farmer Walks with either KBs or the Trap Bar. I use this loading for Farmer Walks with Trap Bars:

Up to 135 pounds, 135.

135 to 185, 185

186-205, 205.

Over 205, 225 pounds.

 

I know it is simple, but it works very well. Trying to get two Farmer Bars to be loaded evenly is oddly hard (the math is one thing, trying to get it all to balance is another), so just load up the Trap Bar and walk away.

 

I use every piece of equipment for carries, but I think the Trap Bar is worth the money for Farmer Walks.

 

I also have an inexpensive vibration plate. I’m not sure about whether it clears my lymphatic system or not, but this thing sure makes stretches better. One knee on the plate makes for the best Hip Flexor stretch I know.

 

I use PVC for making practice Scottish Hammers and Parallettes Bars. I need to make another Slosh Pipe again as “some people” break them by dropping them on the ground. I love making my own equipment and many of the ideas are absolute idiocy, but it is fun. My first sled was a broken wheelbarrow loaded with concrete. Today, I have a nice fancy one and a Prowler, but nothing was as fun as sprinting with the rusty old wheelbarrow scraping the earth with the noise of a fighter jet. Alas.

 

For music, I like Pandora. I put it on “The Who” and it tends to have a nice mix for us. Recently, I bought a nice speaker with a Bluetooth connection provides plenty of sound. When I train alone, I listen to Torme, Sinatra, and Jobim. You also need to cover the walls with white boards to record thoughts and ideas and maybe even the workout. A clock or two is also helpful and my friends are great at providing fun stuff for the wall.

 

My gym is a “No Eye Wash Zone.” That’s MLB talk for “no bullshit.” Equipment is important, of course, but without discipline and enthusiasm, it just doesn’t matter.