Now What?

I was at the UPS store sending a copy of Before We Go to Jordan Syatt. He had visited my house and we had a delightful time. I signed a copy…and he forgot it. The UPS guy picked up the book, held it next to my face and asked:

“Did you write this?”

Sherlocked!

Jordan and I talked a lot…as happens when strength coaches sit down together. The conversation came up about writing. He asked me; “What is your favorite book of yours?”

I said:

Can You Go?

“Wait, no…
 
“Now What?

“But you just can’t get it yet!”

Well, now you can. Although CYG focused on everybody, with a hint about how I train elite performers, I could argue that Now What? focuses on elite performance.

I would lose that argument! Now What? is my attempt at showing how the tools of time management, the principles of elite performance, daily habit checklists and—what everybody seems to want—programs fit together for both the person chasing fitness (and I explain that) and chasing elite performance.

Let me pat myself on the back: When I did the Audible part of the book, I sailed through it. Rarely did I have to go back and repeat a messed-up word, sentence or paragraph.

It flowed.

I think the reason the audio book was so easy is simple: The book links together concept after concept building up to the simple idea that “Performance should be better than practice.”

In addition, I offer some answers to the most difficult of questions for the athlete, spouse, scholar and artist:

Now What? [That’s a link to the new book!]

Trim your waistline

If you let your waistline “slide” over half you body height, we need to address this. For your health, and how nice you look, you need to bring that measurement down.

 

You need inefficient movements, so we have been working on an idea based on doing three kinds of work in a bit of circuit: big movements, cardio machines and longer Loaded Carries. Let’s look at one example:

 

The basic Template

300 Swings

2 x 500 meter Rows

1 Cook Drill (about 400 meters total)

 

One does not need to do these in order. The following is a great workout:

100 Swings

500 meter Row

100 Swings

500 meter Row

100 Swings

Cook Drill

 

The general explanation is this: The bulk of your Inefficient Exercises should be fairly big movements that will naturally prod the body into deep breathing. There should be some bellows work in the lungs and this can be done with swings, Goblet Squats, Burpees or any training that makes you move up and down and back and forth. The Get Back Up drill would fit here, too.

 

I recommend Phil Maffetone’s numbers for this training. Very simply, he uses the formula 180 minus age (with a few variations) to figure the high range for the Heart Rate. When the HR dips below 160 minus age, it is time to get going again. Reps and sets change when you use a HR Monitor to control a training program. When the HR goes above 180-Age number, stop. When it goes below 160-age, go.

 

You can do this with skipping, running, jump roping, hiking, blading or whatever you feel like doing. I like the control of Kettlebell swings, when the buzzer goes off you either stop or start, but everybody is different.

 

We also encourage work with standard cardiovascular machines for some of the inefficient exercise training. Several bouts of around two minutes seem to have a positive impact on HR, body temperature and accelerated breathing without impacting the other qualities like strength and power too much. So far, two bouts of around two minutes each with a piece of cardiovascular equipment seems repeatable and doable every day. Tossing in these two heats makes the rest of training more inefficient.

 

Finally, some form of Loaded Carry or Rucking to finish off the fat burning session seems to help. We can practically kill you with Car Pushes, but we want a repeatable, moderate finisher that will insist that the whole body works in union and provides some challenges for the whole fat burning process. HeavyHands, Cook Drills, Rucking or any other carry that extends to about five to fifteen minutes is fine.

 

Cook Drill

Loaded Carries demand integrity. Gray Cook has a wonderful drill that we call the Cook Drill at my gym:

 

Pick a weight you can hold in the Bottoms Up position at the rack. Shift hands and retest on the other arm in the Bottoms Up position. You will settle on the load that you can hold in a Bottoms Up Rack in either hand. Generally, men can use the 20 Kilo and women the 10 kilo on the first outing.

 

Now, begin walking, but with one small thing:

 

Hold the weight extended above the head in the Waiter Walk position. As you continue, wait until you feel like you are losing integrity. Then, shift to the rack. Hold this position until you feel that same loss of integrity. Then, shift to the Suitcase Carry position.

 

When you start to lose the integrity in the Suitcase position, shift hands and follow the same progression: Waiter to Rack to Suitcase.

 

 

Train Three Days a Week…Then What?

I think you should lift weights and train generally three days a week. You should focus on what you need to take care of in the gym, strength, mobility or body composition.

 

What about the rest of the time?

Let me answer this in a roundabout way. For a while, I have been explaining the Fundamental Human Movements in a slightly different way.

 

Push, Pull and Squat work in a different way than the other movements. DeLorme’s numbers of 20-30 quality repetitions works well with these three movements. These movements naturally tend to work towards hypertrophy, mobility and, ultimately, strength.

 

In a proper program, you should Push, Pull and Squat with the exact same total number of reps. This doesn’t, for clarity, work with Hinge, Loaded Carry and the Sixth Movement.

 

Push, Pull and Squat also tend to lead to increase in natural hormonal production. You can de-age by getting your Push, Pull and Squat in.

 

I call the Push, Pull and Squat the Sex Drive movements.

 

The Hinge and the Loaded Carries build athletes. We test programs by measuring the Standing Long Jump and the Farmer Walk and, oddly, one can improve both without every do either movement for months at a time. But, if your SLJ and FW improve, we know something good is going on.

 

It’s hard to figure reps, sets and loads for either movement. 500 Kettlebell swings or a 500 pound deadlift for one might be a very taxing workout. Loaded Carries are almost just “Hey, go down and back.” Yet, when done correctly, these movements carry over into all areas of performance.

 

I call the Hinge and Loaded Carry the Thrive movements.

 

Finally, we have that bizarre catch all, the Sixth Movement. It is everything else. But, here is the key: when you need a Sixth Movement, you NEED it. Rope Climbing might have no value to you…until you need to climb something to save your life. The same goes with swimming or CPR: There is not a lot of need for it, until you need it.

 

I call the Sixth Movements the Survive movements.

 

 

For the athlete, a focus on Thrive will help performance. To look good on the beach, Sex Drive.

 

But, you need to take care of Survive first. Have you seen your eye doctor, dentist or MD lately? If not, take care of this! Do you know how to take a tumble, First Aid, or CPR? Address that. Here is my whole list, from “Do this right now” to “It would be good to take care of this soon.

 

  1. Eye Doctor, Dentist, Medical Doctor
  2. Breakfalling and Tumbling
  3. First Aid, CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver (and using a Defibrillator)
  4. Defensive Driving or Advanced Driving Course
  5. Swimming Class
  6. Bicycle riding and bicycle repair
  7. Stress Management course or appropriate application of stress management tools
  8. Personal Finance Course
  9. Gardening and/or gardening class
  10. Survival Course/ Survival Skills

 

Once you master these, then get back to thriving and sex driving.

Humane Burpee

The longer I work in the weightroom, the smarter I try to be about time. The clock, the stopwatch and the cellular phone might be omnipresent in every facility today, but wasting time is still a big issue.

To deal with time, and time wasting, we all have our tricks. Between sets of lifting exercises, I always schedule mobility and flexibility work. “Resting” is simply changing from one kind of work to another. I also ignore reps and sets sometimes and ask for a few minutes of an exercise:

Two minutes of planks

Three minutes of alternating dumbbell presses

Four minutes of swings

The best way to get time under control is to string together movements that hit every part of the body, demand multiple positions and retain some logic for the participant to easily remember the workout.

My favorite is “The Humane Burpee.” Dan Martin gave us this name and I can’t think of a better term. You can certainly make this harder or easier, but just do the basic example first.

It is based on three exercises: the swing, the Goblet Squat and the Push Up. We use Kettlebells, but dumbbells would be okay, too.

Be sure to follow the advice about reps on the GS and Push Up: we want the reps to descend as we move through the Humane Burpee, hence the name “Humane.”

So, here you go:

15 Swings

5 Goblet Squats

5 Push Ups

15 Swings

4 Goblet Squats

4 Push Ups

15 Swings

3 Goblet Squats

3 Push Ups

15 Swings

2 Goblet Squats

2 Push Ups

15 Swings

1 Goblet Squat

1 Push Up

That comes out to 75 swings, 15 Goblet Squats and 15 Push Ups. The real exercise seems to be the popping up and down for the Push Ups. Most of us don’t take any rest at all through the workout, but feel free to stop when you need to rest.

It takes between three and four minutes to do the workout with proper form. We generally take time after the Humane Burpee to stretch neglected body parts like wrists, ankles and feet. It builds in recovery and time to focus on joints that are often ignored.

This workout is also a great “time crunch” training program. If this is all you have time to do, this ends up being “pretty good.” And “pretty good” is a lot better than nothing.

Changing Lives with One Piece of Equipment

Single implement complexes are a great way to train multiple qualities at once. A complex is doing an exercise for a given number of reps, then moving on to another exercise without ever putting the bar or bell down.

 

In the barbell world, these have been around a long time. Back in the 1960s, Circuit Training and Peripheral Heart Action (PHA) drifted into the Olympic lifting world and many coaches recommended barbell complexes to prep for the big lifts. Here is a standard:

 

Complex

 

Row  x 8

Clean  x 8

Front squat  x 8

Military press  x 8

Back squat  x 8

Good mornings  x 8

 

Generally, do about three total sets of complexes.

 

There are always problems with complexes. First, the number of times the bar has to travel over head to a new starting position is always an issue. In Complex A, you simply bring the bar to the back squat position after the last set of presses. That’s pretty simply.

 

With this example below, you see the bar pass back and forth across the head:

 

Complex

 

Hang snatch

Overhead squat

Back squat

Good mornings

Row

Deadlift

 

After the Good Mornings, one would need to “pop” the bar up and over to do the rows.

 

The second issue is, for many, a much bigger issue. We can squat and deadlift for days with light loads, but the Press is an issue. Pressing, or maybe we should say “missed” pressing, holds back most complexes.

 

For Kettlebell Work, we have developed a simple solution: cut the presses to singles. Certainly, we still do heavy presses and we still press with a lot of volume, but, when it comes time for conditioning, we cut the reps to one.

 

This leads us to one of our favorite workouts, the classic called “Armor Building” in the gym. Why Armor Building? It feels like you are layering yourself with padding as you train…body armor.

 

With Double Kettlebells, clean both two times. Make a solid rack and press once. Shuffle your feet to your squat stance and Front Squat three times. That’s one round.

 

We find it “best” to pull the bells down each set and take a moment to shake off each round. The goal is 30 total rounds in five minutes with 24 Kilo bells in each hand. Now, that is only six a minute, but you won’t have much time to dilly dally between reps here.

 

It’s training session that trains everything. It’s simple:

Two Double KB Cleans

One Double KB Press

Three Double KB Front Squats

 

It’s simple, but it is not easy.